(Photo: Fernando Medina, Getty Images)
Half of the 2014-2015 N.B.A. season has concluded & Golden State remains strongest thus far. But, unlike 1-month ago, Atlanta is #2, moving up 3-positions and remaining the strongest team in the East.
Power Rankings here are based upon current Conference position & 18 statistical categories, including Offense (Points, Assists, Field Goals, Free Throws & 3-Pt FG’s), Defense (Opp Pts, Assists, FG’s, FT’s, 3’s, Rebounds, Blocks, Steals, Turnovers) & Point Differential’s (Point, FG, FT & 3-Pt FG Differentials).
NBA POWER RANKINGS (Previous Ranking)
1. Golden State Warriors (1)
- After back to back losses to the Los Angeles’ ball clubs on 12/23 & 12/25 the Warriors have won 10 of their last 11 games to stay on top with the league’s best record.
2. Atlanta Hawks (5)
- Hottest team in the league and moving up the rankings quickly. The Hawks have won 13 in a row which is the 2nd longest winning streak of the season, 2nd only to the Warriors 16 game winning streak earlier in the season. The Hawks are also 1 game away from tying the franchise record of a 14 game winning streak set in December of 1993.
3. Portland Trailblazers (3)
- Blazers have hit last a rough patch having lost their last 4 games against the league’s elite teams (Grizzlies, Spurs, Clippers and Hawks) but remain 2nd only to the Warriors in the Western Conference.
4. San Antonio Spurs (4)
- The Spurs got Kawhi Leonard back after missing 15 games due to injury and haven’t lost in the 3 games since his return. It hasn’t been close as the Spurs’ average margin of victory in the 3 games since Leonard returned is 14.6 and includes a 14 point win over the Trailblazers.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (8)
- Clippers have been playing slightly better than .500 ball since the last rankings (9-6 from 12/20-1/18) but have acquired Austin Rivers and hope to add Nate Robinson soon in hopes of climbing out of their current 6th position in the Western Conference.
6. Memphis Grizzlies (2)
- The Grizzlies defense has taken a bit of a hit in the past month, having given up an average of 100.2 points per game to their opponents in the last 14 games and dropping their season rankings to 10th in opponents points per game and 11th in defensive rating.
7. Dallas Mavericks (9)
- The Mavericks acquired Rajon Rondo in trade from the Boston Celtics on December 18, 2014 and have gone 10-5 since his acquisition.
8. Washington Wizards (6)
- The Wizards have gone 9-7 in the last 16 games (from 12/20-1/18) and that would have been good enough to retain the top spot in the Eastern Conference if not for the white hot Atlanta Hawks.
9. Chicago Bulls (10)
- Despite having the most depth of talent in the Eastern Conference the Bulls have struggled to move up to the top. The Bulls have lost 5 of their last 7 (up to 1/18) and they’ve struggled on the defensive end. Since our last rankings (16 games from 12/20 to 1/18) the Bulls rank 19th in the NBA in defensive rating.
10. Milwaukee Bucks (16)
- The Bucks have been consistently average throughout the year which is a huge improvement from the previous 4 seasons where they have failed to reach the .500 mark and considering they have lost their rookie phenom in Jabari Parker for the season. The Bucks are holding on to their 6th spot in the East and looking good for their first playoff berth in 2 years.
11. Toronto Raptors (7)
- The Raptors were 13-3 and on top of the Eastern Conference when DeMar DeRozen injured his groin. DeRozen missed the next 21 in which the Raptors would struggle without him, going 12-9.
12. Phoenix Suns (15)
13. Houston Rockets (11)
14. New Orleans Pelicans (14)
15. Oklahoma City Thunder (11)
- The Thunder got back Kevin Durant on 12/2 and Russell Westbrook 1 game before that but the Thunder haven’t taken off since then as many expected. The Thunder have gone 15-8 since 12/2 (to 1/18) when both stars were in the line up but still find themselves 3 games back of Phoenix for the 8th and final playoff spot.
16. Indiana Pacers (19)
17. Denver Nuggets (18)
18. Detroit Pistons (27)
- Surprisingly, the 2nd hottest team in the league to the Hawks have been the Detroit Pistons who have gone 11-3 in the last 14 games (12/20-1/18) which includes a 7 game winning streak. Their .786 winning percentage in the last month is 2nd only to the Hawks. In their recent run (12/20-1/18) Brandon Jennings has been impressive, averaging 19.8 points, 6.5 assists and shooting 43.6 percent from 3.
19. Boston Celtics (21)
20. Cleveland Cavaliers (12)
21. Charlotte Hornets (29)
22. Miami Heat (22)
23. Brooklyn Nets (20)
24. Sacramento Kings (22)
25. Utah Jazz (24)
26. Orlando Magic (25)
27. Los Angeles Lakers (26)
28. New York Knicks (23)
29. Philadelphia 76ers (28)
30. Minnesota Timberwolves (30)
Each category is weighted the same, irrespective of how a Fan, Player, Trainer, Agent, Coach, G.M. or Owner may revere a stat category, injury or current streak. Scoring, handling-the-ball, (or not turning-it-over), rebounding, and blocking a shot is just as important/relevant as Free-throw Shooting Percentage, Points/Field-Goal Differentials, stealing the ball or holding the opposition to fewest points per game.
*1/18/2015 (Prepared prior to games played on Sunday, January 18th, 2015)