Sacramento Kings blog

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Ranking the NBA by The Bee’s Jason Jones

Published: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 - 11:18 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 - 11:57 pm

Records and statistics through Friday

Frank Vogel could be coaching a very familiar team at next month’s All-Star Game in New Orleans. Paul George already has been voted in as a starter, and Roy Hibbert, David West and Lance Stephenson could be voted in by NBA head coaches as reserves.

• 1. Indiana Pacers (34-8, Last week 1): Opponents try to keep Hibbert away from the rim, but he still anchors the NBA’s best defense.

• 2. Oklahoma City Thunder (34-10, LW 4): Winners of six in a row, the last without Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook against struggling Boston.

• 3. San Antonio Spurs (33-10, LW 3): Kawhi Leonard is out 3-4 weeks, but the Spurs will keep rolling.

• 4. Portland Trail Blazers (32-11, LW 2): LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t voted an All-Star Game starter by fans, so he took that out on Denver with a career-high 44 points.

• 5. Miami Heat (31-12, LW 5): Is the inconsistent defense a sign of mental fatigue or just a team that must find its health and rhythm?

• 6. Los Angeles Clippers (30-15, LW 6): Chris Paul hopes to return from injury by the All-Star break. His teammates have held the Pacific Division lead without him.

• 7. Houston Rockets (29-16, LW 8): Chandler Parsons can be overshadowed by James Harden and Dwight Howard.

• 8. Golden State Warriors (26-18, LW 7): Stephen Curry ranks second in the NBA in assists per game but leads the league in turnovers.

• 9. Phoenix Suns (24-18, LW 10): Miles Plumlee is one of the biggest surprises on a surprising team.

• 10. Dallas Mavericks (25-20, LW 9): Vince Carter is still capable of scoring outbursts off the bench.

• 11. Toronto Raptors (22-20, LW 11): The four players acquired from Sacramento have found ways to contribute to the Atlantic Division leaders.

• 12. Memphis Grizzlies (21-20, LW 12): The defense is even better as healthy players return.

• 13. Atlanta Hawks (22-20, LW 14): Paul Millsap has proven to be one of the better free-agent signings.

• 14. Washington Wizards (21-21, LW 15): When discussing emerging stars, don’t forget about guard Bradley Beal.

• 15. Chicago Bulls (21-21, LW 16): Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer are keeping the Bulls afloat amid injuries.

• 16. Brooklyn Nets: (19-22, LW 17): Winners of nine of their last 10 games, and Joe Johnson has found his game.

• 17. Minnesota Timberwolves (21-21, LW 18): Kevin Love earns a starting nod in the NBA All-Star Game, but can the T-wolves get to and stay above .500?

• 18. Denver Nuggets (20-21, LW 13): Danilo Gallinari is out for the season, seriously hurting Denver’s chances to make the playoffs.

• 19. Charlotte Bobcats: (19-26, LW 19): The Bobcats stay among the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

• 20. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-27, LW 21): Kyrie Irving puts up numbers, but the Cavs can’t win consistently.

• 21. New York Knicks (16-27, LW 22): Can Carmelo Anthony’s 62-point effort spark the Knicks?

• 22. Detroit Pistons (17-26, LW 20): Greg Monroe’s name is surfacing in trade rumors.

• 23. Kings (15-27, LW 23): Three players tied or set career highs in scoring in three of the last four games.

• 24. New Orleans Pelicans (17-25, LW 25): New Orleans’ record might keep coaches from voting Anthony Davis into the All-Star Game.

• 25. Los Angeles Lakers (16-28, LW 24): There was no good health news concerning Kobe Bryant or Xavier Henry, but Steve Nash might return soon.

• 26. Utah Jazz (14-29, LW 26): Gordon Hayward is averaging a career-high 17.3 points.

• 27. Philadelphia 76ers (14-29, LW 27): Michael Carter-Williams is a bright spot for the future.

• 28. Boston Celtics (15-30, LW 28): Rajon Rondo returned from his knee injury on Jan. 17 against the Lakers, but the Celtics lost for the 10th time in 11 games.

• 29. Orlando Magic (12-32, LW 29): Tobias Harris is a young player Orlando can build around.

• 30. Milwaukee Bucks (8-34, LW 30): The Bucks might be rebuilding, but did they expect to be this bad?

Read more articles by Jason Jones

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