Jason Jones’ NBA rankings
02/15/2014 6:24 PM
02/16/2014 1:58 PM
Records and statistics through Thursday’s games
• 1. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-12, last week 2): Things should get even better when Russell Westbrook returns.
• 2. Indiana Pacers (40-12, LW 1): Paul George gives the Slam Dunk Contest an infusion of star power.
• 3. Miami Heat (37-14, LW 3): Dwyane Wade’s health is the biggest issue with the defending NBA champion.
• 4. Los Angeles Clippers (37-18, LW 4): Chris Paul is back to solidify the Clippers as legitimate title contenders.
• 5. Houston Rockets (36-17, LW 7): Entered the break with a seven-game winning streak.
• 6 . San Antonio Spurs (38-15, LW 5): Reigning Western Conference champs have struggled against the league’s better teams.
• 7. Portland Trail Blazers (36-17, LW 6): After starting 22-4, Portland has been an average squad and has lost six of 10.
• 8. Phoenix Suns (30-21, LW 8): A surprising team that hasn’t slowed after a hot start.
• 9. Dallas Mavericks (32-22, LW 10): Playing well lately, including a win over Indiana.
• 10. Golden State Warriors (31-22, LW 9): Andrew Bogut has to be healthy for the Warriors to be threats in the West.
• 11. Memphis Grizzlies (29-23, LW 11): The Grizzlies could play spoilers and knock a team like Golden State out of the postseason.
• 12. Toronto Raptors (28-24, LW 12): Who would have predicted the Raptors would be No. 3 in the East at the break?
• 13. Chicago Bulls (27-25, LW 15): One of the grittiest teams in the league plays in the image of coach Tom Thibodeau.
• 14. Atlanta Hawks (25-26, LW 13): The Hawks haven’t fallen apart without Al Horford and probably will make the playoffs.
• 15. Brooklyn Nets (24-27, LW 17): Poised to make a run up the East standings.
• 16. Washington Wizards (25-27, LW 16): Talented team still hasn’t played consistently.
• 17. Denver Nuggets (24-27, LW 14): Injuries to point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson have been devastating.
• 18. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-28, LW 18): Kevin Martin is injured, but Minnesota still is an underachieving bunch.
• 19. New Orleans Pelicans (23-29, LW 19): Trade rumors follow Eric Gordon, but his scoring is down and he has a big contract.
• 20. Charlotte Bobcats (23-30, LW 20): Al Jefferson’s signing is a big reason the Bobcats could get into the playoffs.
• 21. Detroit Pistons (22-30, LW 22): Maurice Cheeks was fired as coach, but top executive Joe Dumars bears much of the responsibility.
• 22. Cleveland Cavaliers (20-33, LW 26): Cavs have a four-game winning streak since general manager Chris Grant was fired.
• 23. Utah Jazz (19-33, LW 27): Utah is on a three-game winning streak, including a win over Miami.
• 24. New York Knicks (20-32, LW 21): Forget asking what’s wrong with the Knicks – they’re just not good.
• 25. Boston Celtics (19-35, LW 23): Jeff Green might be Boston’s best player with Rajon Rondo still not back to form.
• 26. Kings (18-35, LW 25): Three players average 20 points, but the offense has struggled lately.
• 27. Los Angeles Lakers (18-35, LW 24): Staples Center used to be a fun place for the Lakers, but they’ve been bad at home, too.
• 28. Orlando Magic (16-38, LW 28): The Magic should keep Arron Afflalo if it wants a productive veteran for the future.
• 29. Philadelphia 76ers (15-39, LW 29): They’ve lost eight in a row, including back-to-back blowouts to the Clippers by 45 and the Warriors by 43.
• 30. Milwaukee Bucks (9-43, LW 30): Still the leaders for the first pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
About This BlogJason Jones, who joined The Sacramento Bee in 2002, has covered the Kings since 2008. Jones, a UC Berkeley graduate, also has covered high school sports, the Oakland Raiders and the Sacramento Monarchs for The Bee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @mr_jasonjones
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