Kings Blog

Jason Jones, Sacramento Kings beat writer

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 Blog

Jason 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 Twitter: @mr_jasonjones

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