Kings Blog

January 4, 2014

The Bee’s Jason Jones: Ranking the NBA

With injuries piling up, the goal for contenders is to be healthy in April for the playoffs.

Kings Blog

Jason Jones, Sacramento Kings beat writer

By Jason Jones |

(All stats and records through Friday)

With injuries piling up, the goal for contenders is to be healthy in April for the playoffs.

• 1. Indiana Pacers (25-6, last week 3): Indiana has the best point differential in the NBA at plus 8.9.

• 2. Miami Heat (24-8, LW 4): Portland saw last week that Chris Bosh can still be more than a sidekick to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

• 3. Portland Trail Blazers (26-7, LW 2): Rookie sharpshooter C.J. McCollum could make his debut Tuesday in Sacramento.

• 4. Oklahoma City Thunder (25-7, LW 1): Oklahoma City blew leads against Portland and Brooklyn without injured star Russell Westbrook.

• 5. San Antonio Spurs (25-8, LW 5): The Spurs have had struggles against upper-echelon teams and lost at home to woeful New York.

• 6. Los Angeles Clippers (23-12, LW 7): Chris Paul is out three to five weeks with a separated shoulder; Golden State is on the Clippers’ heels.

• 7. Golden State Warriors (22-13, LW 9): Andre Iguodala’s second buzzer-beater of the season sent Warriors’ winning streak to eight.

• 8. Houston Rockets (22-13, LW 6): Poor defense will keep the Rockets from contending.

• 9. Phoenix Suns (19-12, LW 8): Jeff Hornacek was December Western Conference Coach of the Month; could be Coach of the Year.

• 10. Dallas Mavericks (19-14, LW 10): Rick Carlisle is a contender for Coach of the Year.

• 11. Atlanta Hawks (18-15, LW 11): Hawks still trying to hang onto a top-four spot in the East with Al Horford out.

• 12. Toronto Raptors (16-15, LW 19): Winners of five in a row and playing better since dealing Rudy Gay to Sacramento.

• 13. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-16, LW 12): Ricky Rubio directs one of the NBA’s highest-scoring teams.

• 14. New Orleans Pelicans (15-16, LW 15): Tyreke Evans has found his niche.

• 15. Washington Wizards (14-16, LW 16): Inconsistency keeps the Wizards from rising.

• 16. Denver Nuggets (15-17, LW 13): Mired in Brian Shaw-Andre Miller drama lately.

• 17. Memphis Grizzlies (14-18, LW 20): Dominant play from Zach Randolph is Memphis’ best chance to win with Marc Gasol still out.

• 18. Los Angeles Lakers (14-19, LW 18): Kendall Marshall goes from the D-League to starting at point guard for injury-plagued Lakers.

• 19. Detroit Pistons (14-19, LW 17): Pistons are on a three-game losing streak but still a playoff team in the East.

• 20. Chicago Bulls (13-18, LW 22): Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are left to carry the Bulls.

• 21. Charlotte Bobcats: (14-20, LW 14): Entered weekend with a five-game losing streak.

• 22. Boston Celtics (13-20, LW 21): Dropped eight of 11 after a stretch of improvement.

• 23. Cleveland Cavaliers (11-21, LW 23): Cavs pulled off a comeback and overtime win over Orlando with Kyrie Irving out with a knee injury.

• 24. Brooklyn Nets: (11-21, LW 24): Their comeback win at Oklahoma City might be the highlight of a disappointing season.

• 25. Philadelphia 76ers (11-21, LW 29): Found footing during a three-game winning streak.

• 26. Kings (10-21, LW 25): DeMarcus Cousins leads all centers at 23.1 points per game.

• 27. Utah Jazz (11-25, LW 26): Trey Burke has been a positive as Utah is 5-5 in its last 10.

• 28. New York Knicks (10-22, LW 27): Big win in San Antonio won’t save season.

• 29. Orlando Magic (10-22, LW 28): Team plans to push for Arron Afflalo to make the All-Star team.

• 30. Milwaukee Bucks (7-25, LW 30): In Bucks’ last win, Brandon Knight scored a career-high 37 points.

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