Columnists

Embedded Image

 

TSN on Twitter

Read more NBA tweets from TSN!

Apr 17, 2015

Warriors edge Cavs in Power Rankings

The Golden State Warriors finish on top of the TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings, just ahead of the surging Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers.

Steph Curry

The Golden State Warriors finish on top of the TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings, just ahead of the surging Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers.

 

 

 

Golden State Warriors

Record: 67-15 This Week: 1 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    110.0
  • PAPG
    99.9
  • DIFF
    +10.1
  • FG%
    .478
  • OPP FG%
    .428

The Warriors figured out how to beat the game, with a backcourt (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson) that bombs away and is complemented by bigs, most notably veteran C Andrew Bogut, that can defend

Key Injuries: None.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 53-29 This Week: 2 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    103.1
  • PAPG
    98.7
  • DIFF
    +4..4
  • FG%
    .458
  • OPP FG%
    .456

34-9 since opening the season 19-20, the Cavaliers are neck-and-neck with the Warriors as favourites, with an easier path the Final through the Eastern Conference. The fascinating part of the Cavaliers' surge is that they are doing it while practically ostracizing PF Kevin Love, who had 11.9 field goal attempts per game after the All-Star break. He had 18.5 per game in Minnesota last year.

Key Injuries: C Anderson Varejao (Achilles).

LA Clippers

Record: 56-26 This Week 3 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    106.7
  • PAPG
    100.1
  • DIFF
    +6.6
  • FG%
    .473
  • OPP FG%
    .442

The Clippers' only loss in the last 15 games of the regular season was a four-point home defeat against Golden State. SG J.J. Redick averaged nearly 20 points per game down the stretch (19.6 per game after the All-Star break), and having a 43.7% three-point shooter helps open up space for bigs Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Key Injuries: None.

San Antonio Spurs

Record: 55-27 This Week: 4 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    103.2
  • PAPG
    97.0
  • DIFF
    +6.2
  • FG%
    .468
  • OPP FG%
    .444

Had won 11 straight going into a regular-season-ending loss at New Orleans, and if there's any team that has earned benefit of the doubt as it pertains to its ability to play at a higher level in the postseason, it would have to be the Spurs. This Spurs team is different though, evolving with all-purpose SF Kawhi Leonard as the focal point.

Key Injuries: None.

Atlanta Hawks

Record: 60-22 This Week: 5 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.5
  • PAPG
    97.1
  • DIFF
    +5.4
  • FG%
    .466
  • OPP FG%
    .439

Lost their last three games of the regular season, but it was still a 60-win campaign, pretty much out of nowhere. They're not the Warriors, but an offensively-efficient lineup that has C Al Horford to provide a defensive backbone. As great as this season was, can they be expected to keep up with LeBron and Co.?

Key Injuries: SG Thabo Sefolosha (ankle).

Houston Rockets

Record: 56-26 This Week: 6 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    103.9
  • PAPG
    100.5
  • DIFF
    +3.4
  • FG%
    .444
  • OPP FG%
    .443

Rockets have a good team, albeit one that probably doesn't have the horses to compete for a championship with two starters out of the lineup due to injuries. 

Key Injuries: PG Patrick Beverly (wrist), PF Donatas Motiejunas (back).

Chicago Bulls

Record: 50-32 This Week: 7 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    100.8
  • PAPG
    97.8
  • DIFF
    +3.0
  • FG%
    .442
  • OPP FG%
    .435

Can the Bulls pull together for a defensive-charged postseason? In the last 14 games of the regular season, they held opponents to 92 or fewer points 10 times, and keeping the score low would be a shift in pace for other Eastern Conference contenders. 

Key Injuries: None.

New Orleans Pelicans

Record: 45-37 This Week: 8 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    99.4
  • PAPG
    98.6
  • DIFF
    +0.8
  • FG%
    .457
  • OPP FG%
    .456

This could be overrating a Pelicans club that just squeezed into the playoffs, but they are getting healthy and Anthony Davis is a difference-maker. Of course, a first-round matchup with Golden State figures to be more of a learning experience than anything else, but it's a step forward for the franchise.

Key Injuries: None.

Dallas Mavericks

Record: 50-32 This Week: 9 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    105.2
  • PAPG
    102.3
  • DIFF
    +2.9
  • FG%
    .463
  • OPP FG%
    .450

Got mediocre results down the stretch, going 11-12 in the last 23 games of the regular season, as injuries knocked starters out at various points. Dallas' defence slipped and it's going to be difficult to have playoff success with Chandler Parsons hurting and Dirk Nowitzki declining.

Key Injuries: SF Chandler Parsons (knee).

Portland Trail Blazers

Record: 51-31 This Week: 10 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.8
  • PAPG
    98.6
  • DIFF
    +4.2
  • FG%
    .450
  • OPP FG%
    .439

Lost five of six to finish the season as injuries are wreaking havoc on Portland's wings. If Arron Afflalo and C.J. McCollum aren't ready for the start of the playoffs, the Blazers will be fighting uphill.

Key Injuries: SG Wesley Matthews (Achilles), SG Arron Afflalo (shoulder), SF Dorell Wright (hand).

Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 55-27 This Week: 11 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    98.3
  • PAPG
    95.1
  • DIFF
    +3.2
  • FG%
    .458
  • OPP FG%
    .442

A team that could make some noise in the playoffs if healthy, but with two starters hurt, including PG Mike Conley, it looks like a tough road for the Grizz.

Key Injuries: PG Mike Conley (foot), SF Tony Allen (hamstring).

Oklahoma City Thunder

Record: 45-37 This Week: 11 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    104.0
  • PAPG
    101.8
  • DIFF
    +2.2
  • FG%
    .447
  • OPP FG%
    .440

No playoffs for the Thunder, after going 4-7 in the last 11 games, but even as Russell and the Westbrook All-Stars, they are better than some teams that reached the postseason.

Washington Wizards

Record: 46-36 This Week: 14 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    98.5
  • PAPG
    97.8
  • DIFF
    +0.7
  • FG%
    .462
  • OPP FG%
    .433

Can the Wizards with their young (and inefficient) backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal do any damage in the playoffs? Doesn't seem likely, but matched up against a Raptors team without a playoff pedigree is about as good a matchup as they could hope for after going 15-21 to finish the year. 

Key Injuries: None.

Toronto Raptors

Record: 49-33 This Week: 13 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    104.0
  • PAPG
    100.9
  • DIFF
    +3.1
  • FG%
    .455
  • OPP FG%
    .459

Team defence remains a concern for the Raptors, but veteran guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have to be the crunch-time difference for a team that has established expectations for the first time in a long time. At least win a round, right?

Key Injuries: None.

Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 41-41 This Week: 15 Last Week: 16

Team Stats

  • PPG
    97.8
  • PAPG
    97.4
  • DIFF
    +0.4
  • FG%
    .459
  • OPP FG%
    .437

The Bucks are a surprise playoff team, with new coach Jason Kidd putting together a lineup that is tough to play against. Forwards Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo can affect the game in a variety of ways and they'll have to be really good for the Bucks to compete with the Bulls.

Key Injuries: SG Jabari Parker (knee).

Indiana Pacers

Record: 38-44 This Week: 16 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    97.3
  • PAPG
    97.0
  • DIFF
    +0.3
  • FG%
    .439
  • OPP FG%
    .435

No playoffs for th Pacers, though they won six in a row before losing in the regular-season finale to make it interesting. The return of SF Paul George was a positive sign too, setting up better times for next season.

 

Boston Celtics

Record: 40-42 This Week: 17 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.4
  • PAPG
    101.2
  • DIFF
    +0.2
  • FG%
    .443
  • OPP FG%
    .450

Won six straight, including two wins over Cleveland, to earn a playoff berth. Big credit to head coach Brad Stevens for getting this lineup into the playoffs, even if the odds are stacked heavily against them. 

Key Injuries: None.

Utah Jazz

Record: 38-44 This Week: 18 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    95.1
  • PAPG
    94.9
  • DIFF
    +0.2
  • FG%
    .447
  • OPP FG%
    .446

A strong finish, going 21-11 to finish the season, with young players -- including SG Rodney Hood and C Rudy Gobert -- taking on bigger roles provides reason to be optimistic about Utah's chances next season.

Phoenix Suns

Record: 38-44 This Week: 19 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.4
  • PAPG
    103.3
  • DIFF
    -0.9
  • FG%
    .452
  • OPP FG%
    .452

Limped to the finish, losing 10 of 11, and their shooting was abysmal down the stretch, hitting 29.8% of threes as a team after the All-Star break.

 

Brooklyn Nets

Record: 38-44 This Week: 20 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    98.0
  • PAPG
    100.9
  • DIFF
    -2.9
  • FG%
    .451
  • OPP FG%
    .456

The Nets eked into a playoff spot, but their underlying stats are not playoff-calibre and with PG Deron Williams having such a poor season, it's hard to imagine them doing anything significant in the postseason.

Key Injuries: SF Mirza Teletovic (chest).

Miami Heat

Record: 37-45 This Week: 21 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    94.7
  • PAPG
    97.3
  • DIFF
    -2.6
  • FG%
    .456
  • OPP FG%
    .454
Turns out that LeBron really does make that big a difference, as if there was any doubt, but with Chris Bosh unable to finish the season, Dwyane Wade couldn't quite carry the rest -- including breakout C Hassan Whiteside -- to the playoffs. 

 

Denver Nuggets

Record: 30-52 This Week: 22 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.5
  • PAPG
    105.0
  • DIFF
    -3.5
  • FG%
    .433
  • OPP FG%
    .458

This was a vintage Nuggets team, like mid-1980s Alex English, Doug Moe Era Can't Defend Anyone Nuggets team. Change is needed.

Sacramento Kings

Record: 29-53 This Week: 23 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.3
  • PAPG
    105.0
  • DIFF
    -3.7
  • FG%
    .455
  • OPP FG%
    .456
What a strange year. The Kings found a way to take a fringe competitive team and make it worse by firing their coach, alientating their star centre in the process. There is some talent to build around, but only if DeMarcus Cousins is on board.

 

Charlotte Hornets

Record: 33-49 This Week: 24 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    94.2
  • PAPG
    97.3
  • DIFF
    -3.1
  • FG%
    .420
  • OPP FG%
    .440
Inefficiency is the name of the game of the Hornets, mostly because their most frequent shooters -- guard Mo Williams and Kemba Walker, along with centre Al Jefferson -- are low-percentage finishers.

 

Detroit Pistons

Record: 32-50 This Week: 25 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    98.5
  • PAPG
    99.5
  • DIFF
    -1.0
  • FG%
    .432
  • OPP FG%
    .456

Not sure about the long-term plan in Detroit. They got better after shedding Josh Smith, and appear ready to build around PG Reggie Jackson and C Andre Drummond, but help is needed -- even moreso if PF Greg Monroe signs elsewhere.

Orlando Magic

Record: 25-57 This Week: 26 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    95.7
  • PAPG
    101.4
  • DIFF
    -5.7
  • FG%
    .453
  • OPP FG%
    .463

The results weren't great for the Magic, but there was progress this year. Young guards Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo show promise, as do SF Tobias Harris and C Nikola Vucevic, but they are still a long way from having the offensive consistency needed to be a playoff team.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Record: 16-66 This Week: 27 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    97.8
  • PAPG
    106.5
  • DIFF
    -8.7
  • FG%
    .438
  • OPP FG%
    .487

Minnesota's season was virtually a write-off due to injuries, but they did get to see rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine play bigger minutes and they're set up for a high lottery pick, so there is lots of room to get better next season. It just happens that they are starting from further down the table than they might have expected.

LA Lakers

Record: 21-61 This Week: 28 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    98.5
  • PAPG
    105.3
  • DIFF
    -6.8
  • FG%
    .435
  • OPP FG%
    .466

It's the end of an era, as the Lakers are rebuilding from the ground up. They'll likely always be a preferred destination for free agents -- the benefits of being a marquee team -- but they're incredibly far from being competitive right now.

Philadelphia 76ers

Record: 18-64 This Week: 29 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    92.0
  • PAPG
    101.0
  • DIFF
    -9.0
  • FG%
    .408
  • OPP FG%
    .449

The perennial rebuilding project continues in Philly, where they hit the over on the preseason total of 16 wins, but they're still awful. The hope will be that they can start to move forward with the big man duo of Nerlens Noel and Andrew Embiid, another high lottery pick this year, and 3,000 future second-round picks.

New York Knicks

Record: 17-65 This Week: 30 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    91.9
  • PAPG
    101.2
  • DIFF
    -9.3
  • FG%
    .428
  • OPP FG%
    .460
It turns out that being a coach does not equal being a great architecht of a basketball team. Maybe Phil Jackson will learn from this experience. He had better or the Knicks are going to stay bad for a while.
Follow Scott Cullen on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen and e-mail him at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca.