With the NBA season marked exactly at the halfway point, it’s safe to say these teams built an identity. It’s clear who the best and the worst teams in the league are. Of course, there are a few surprises, but for the most part, the NBA remains divided up by three real championship contenders, and two other teams that hope for an upset.
- Golden States Warriors (34-6): Just like the last power ranking, this doesn’t need much discussion. When you have Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be the No. 1 team in the NBA. However, this team seems suspect. I won’t be surprised if they get knocked out of the playoffs a little earlier than expected.
- San Antonio Spurs (31-9): The San Antonio Spurs’ narrative never changes. Even when they aren’t a favorite, they find a way to make it interesting. It’s crazy to think that they haven’t lost a step after losing Tim Duncan to retirement, but they haven’t. One may make a compelling case for the defending champions being at the No. 2 spot, but the Spurs are playing slightly better than them.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (29-10): The Cleveland Cavaliers are the defending champion and will probably repeat this year. They have their flaws and I certainly have my own personal questions, but they are the most complete team in the league. Also, any team with Lebron James on it will succeed.
- Houston Rockets (32-11): This is where it gets interesting. The Houston Rockets are the best of the “second-tier” teams in the NBA. They aren’t elite, but they are very good and so far this season, they’ve proven to be your typical Mike D’Antoni coached team; a lot of offense, and very little defense. However, this year their offense is so elite, it overshadows their lack of sound defense. It’s earned them a pretty impressive record through 43 games, too.
- Los Angeles Clippers (28-14): Right at the moment you think they’ve fallen, they go and win six straight games without their franchise player, Blake Griffin. I’m not sure how they are doing this, but the only reason that comes to mind is Chris Paul and Doc Rivers. Two of the league’s best at what they do. Along with the entire NBA, we are waiting for something to happen that derails the squad.
- Toronto Raptors (27-13): Could’ve easily been the No. 4 team, but Los Angeles has been far too impressive as of late. The Raptors have been too, though, after winning three straight games and firmly holding onto the second spot in the Eastern Conference, 2 and a half games behind Cleveland for first and two games ahead of the Boston Celtics for third. They still don’t stand a single chance against the Cavaliers, which has been proven multiple times.
- Boston Celtics (25-15): The Celtics are the Celtics. Their only star is Isaiah Thomas, and many debate him even being a bonafide star. In my opinion, he is, though. This is a team that can surprise many by winning tough games, but twill let many down the next day by losing to the 76ers. We’ll see how the remainder of the season plays out for them.
- Utah Jazz (26-16): This is the surprise of the league by far. The jazz are currently fifth in the Western Conference and trending, after winning three straight games. I’m optimistic to see how this team performs in the second half of the season and more importantly, in the playoffs.
- Atlanta Hawks (24-17): The Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder remind me of each other. They can’t seem to string together more than three consistently good games. Both teams also lost a star in Jeff Teague for Atlanta and Kevin durant for Oklahoma City. Atlanta is a team that may really be in rebuilding mode but has just enough talent to stay relevant in the NBA.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (25-17): The Thunder will round off the top 10 power rankings because of Russell Westbrook and what he’s done for his team. His 20 triple-doubles have made his teammates better than they were at the season’s beggining. Enes Kanter just scored 29 points against DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings. Alex Abrines, a rookie, even scored 13. They will probably go further than what many guessed before the season started, but a championship is out of reach. Their ceiling may just be a Western conference Finals appearance.
Always well thought out and statistically accurate.