NBA Week 22 Power Rankings: Everything the Warriors Touch Turns to Gold

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This is really getting somewhat tiresome. Maybe next week some other team will top the rankings because I’m feeling significant ranker’s fatigue (which is a thing as of now). In all seriousness, this is just a testament to how dominant the Warriors have been this season. Everything they do seems to work, and everything they touch seems to turn to gold.

 1:gsw Golden State Warriors (60-13)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 1   

The Warriors have clinched the Pacific division for the first time since 1975-1976 as well as the top seed in the Western conference, and Steph Curry is the MVP. Period.

 2:sas San Antonio Spurs (47-26)Ellipse 1 copy 32   Last Week: 4   

The Spurs are currently sitting in sixth in the West, on pace to meet the struggling Grizzlies in the first round, and as usual, the Spurs have to like their chances to at least make a run to the Western Conference finals to presumably meet the incredible Warriors

 3:cle Cleveland Cavaliers (48-27)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 2   

Interesting note: The Cavaliers at 48-27 are comfortably in second in the East, and have a worse record (albeit marginally) than the sixth place team in the West (the Spurs). It belabors the point that the East is the vastly inferior conference, but it’s just another example of the Western dominance in the NBA.

 4:lac Los Angeles Clippers (49-25)Ellipse 1 copy 32   Last Week: 6   

Yep.

 5: houHouston Rockets (50-23) Ellipse 1 copy 32   Last Week: 7   

Keep stirrin’ that pot James.

 6:atl Atlanta Hawks (55-18)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 5   

The concern with the Hawks is higher than it has been in quite some time, but it’s probably not time to give up on the Hawks. Sure, the lack of a bonafide “superstar”, playoff experience, and “winning mentality” may be red flags to some, but I’m still confident in Mike Budenholzer’s system. The same system has worked for the last fifteen years in San Antonio, there’s no reason it can’t work in Atlanta.

 7:mem Memphis Grizzlies (50-24)  Ellipse 1 copy 3 #24   Last Week: 3   

Getting rocked twice in a week by three elite teams (Cavaliers, Warriors and Spurs) cannot bode well for a team that suddenly finds themselves in a dogfight with the Rockets and Clippers for the best of the home court situations in the West (a matchup with Dallas is the dream). You can’t lose by a combined 59 points over a three game span, regardless of the caliber of the opposition.

 8:por Portland Trail Blazers (47-25)   Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 9   

Guess who’s put the ball in the basket from the field the most times this season? It’s not your usual household names (LeBron, Steph Curry, James Harden, or the like (although they are very close behind our leader)). It’s actually LaMarcus Aldridge, flying under the radar for yet another season, pacing the field with 600 made baskets on the season. Sure there are other scoring metrics, LaMarcus doesn’t get to the line like some of the other guys ahead of him, but he’s seventh in the league in scoring at 23.6 points per game (And averaging 10.4 rebounds per game as well!) and the obvious MVP for this Blazers team. The name of the game is put the ball in the basket, and Aldridge does it as well as anyone from the floor.

 9:chi Chicago Bulls (45-29)  Ellipse 1 copy 33   Last Week: 12

The hero Chicago needs:

Happy birthday, Benny.

10:okc Oklahoma City Thunder (42-32)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #22   Last Week: 8   

A moment of silence for Kevin Durant, the Thunder’s playoff dreams, and Russell Westbrook’s back.

11:nop New Orleans Pelicans (39-34)Ellipse 1 copy 33   Last Week: 14

Can the Pelicans catch up with the Thunder in these last few games to snag a chance to get swept by the Warriors? We don’t think so, but stay tuned on “Anthony Davis and his Pod of Idiots”.

12: dal Dallas Mavericks (45-29)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #22   Last Week: 10

There has to be some concern in Dallas right now. The offense will generally be there for this team, even without the polarizing Monta Ellis on the floor, but the defense is just “not good enough”. Unfortunately in the West, “not good enough” is more than just “not good enough”. It means a much too early summer vacation.

13:tor Toronto Raptors (43-30) Ellipse 1 copy 3 #22   Last Week: 11

Without Kyle Lowry, the Raptors motto becomes… #WeTheShit

14:mia Miami Heat (34-39) Ellipse 1 copy 33   Last Week: 17

Wade did not miss a beat after having fluid drained from his left knee (standard practice now for him, it seems) and the Heat are casually 2-0 against Cleveland recently (Potential first round playoff matchup?).

15:ind Indiana Pacers (32-41)Ellipse 1 copy 33   Last Week: 18

PG13 Update of the week: Roy Hibbert says that he looks great in practice. All I want is for him to look great in games and cause problems in the playoffs.

16:bos Boston Celtics (32-41)Ellipse 1 copy 33   Last Week: 19

And… we’re back? In the crap pack, you can never write anyone off, and the Celtics bounced back slightly and are definitely within striking distance of the postseason. If I had to make a call right now (Even though every call I make manages to be wrong, bear with me.) I would say that the Celtics probably end up on the outside looking in at the two teams right above them here in the rankings.

17:was Washington Wizards (41-33)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 16

The only thing keeping the Wizards alive at this point is the fact that John Wall is good and the rest of them used to be good.

18:utah Utah Jazz (32-41)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #23   Last Week: 15

I gave the ranking benefit to the Wizards even though I really don’t think the Wizards are significantly better at this point given the resurgence of Rudy and the Jazz (Really, they’re better than their record!) just because the Wizards will actually make the playoffs and lose handily in the first round. Some teams seem to have no direction, but the Jazz seem to have a plan and Quin Snyder seems like a coach that can headman the rebuilding process.

19:bkn Brooklyn Nets (32-40)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 20

A first round sweep at the hands of the Hawks are really all that the Nets have left at this point, given that the Hawks are inevitably going to swap draft picks with the Nets in the upcoming draft (a by-product of the Joe Johnson trade, also known as the best fleece job in recent history.) , so they might as well try their best to show up for the sweep.

20:phx Phoenix Suns (38-36) Ellipse 1 copy 3 #27   Last Week: 13

Since the Suns have their collective heads up their asses as they fall completely out of playoff contention, I think we should replace this section with an ode to the best of Steve Nash.

21:det Detroit Pistons (28-45)Ellipse 1 copy 33   Last Week: 24

“At least we still have Andre Drummond AND Reggie Jackson…”

22:mil Milwaukee Bucks (36-37) Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 23

The positive we can take from the Bucks offensive free fall is that they can still remain afloat with stifling defense (They’re second in the league at 99.6 points given up per 100 possessions. The Warriors are first, naturally.).  At least we still have Giannis…

23:cha Charlotte Hornets (31-41)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 22

I was comparing Lance Stephenson’s production (or terrible lack thereof) this season to his breakout campaign last year. His usage rate is higher than ever since he started to receive meaningful minutes and is shooting at the least efficient rate of his career, which was reasonably common knowledge. Last year Lance contributed 7.4 win shares to the Pacers, 4.8 of which were defensive win shares (good for sixth in the league). This year? He’s contributing -0.6 wins to the Hornets. Clearly well worth those nine million dollars. LANCE NO!

24:sac Sacramento Kings (26-46) Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 25

DeMarcus Cousins put up 39 points and 20 rebounds against the Pelicans. The rest of the team combined for 49 points, and the Kings lost 102-88. #freeboogie

H/T: www.uproxx.com
H/T: www.uproxx.com

25:den Denver Nuggets (28-46)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 24

It’s hard to win games (even with the noticeable improvement since firing Brian Shaw and his molasses offense) when you defend like this:

26:orl Orlando Magic (22-52)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 26

I hate that I love this team. We’ve been promised a return to prominence with the influx of young talent but a combination of questionable signings (The Magic are STILL paying Gilbert Arenas) and terrible coaching (Jacque Vaughn was objectively bad) has really held this team back. But still, Elfrid Payton’s talent is just so tantalizing it’s hard to move on.

27:phi Philadelphia 76ers (18-56)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 27

The Sixers are favored twice this week (against the Lakers and the Knicks). This is the worst tank job ever.

28:min Minnesota Timberwolves (16-57)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 28

What did Andrew Wiggins do this week?

29:lal Los Angeles Lakers (19-53)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1      Last Week: 29

The biggest success for the Lakers this season happened before the season even started when they traded for Jordan Clarkson on draft night.

H/T: latinopost.com
H/T: latinopost.com

30:nyk New York Knicks (14-60)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 30

This week we have a guest star on “What the Shved?”:

 

Featured Image: www.fansided.com

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