The Bee’s Jason Jones ranks the NBA
02/22/2014 5:27 PM
02/23/2014 10:33 AM
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-13, last week 1): Once Russell Westbrook regains his form, he and Kevin Durant will form the most potent duo in the NBA.
2. Indiana Pacers (42-13, LW 2): Adding Evan Turner at the trade deadline might solidify Indiana as the favorite to win the East.
3. Miami Heat (39-14, LW 3): The Heat will be waiting to see if a veteran who receives a buyout will be available for its postseason run.
4. Houston Rockets (37-18, LW 5): The Rockets are playing their best basketball of late.
5. San Antonio Spurs (40-16, LW 6): Patty Mills has filled in to add scoring in place of injured All-Star guard Tony Parker.
6. Los Angeles Clippers (37-20, LW 4): The Clippers are the only top-eight team in the West below .500 on the road (14-15).
7. Portland Trail Blazers (37-18, LW 7): The league’s top-scoring squad at 107.8 points per game has
multiple options on offense.
8. Phoenix Suns (33-21, LW 8): Gerald Green has gone from simply a dunker to a key player for the Suns.
9. Dallas Mavericks (34-23, LW 9): Playing their best ball of the season, the Mavericks didn’t make any trades to bolster their playoff chances.
10. Golden State Warriors (34-22, LW 10): Acquiring Steve Blake was the kind of move the Warriors needed to help their bench.
11. Memphis Grizzlies (31-24, LW 11): Memphis has been one of the best teams in the NBA over the past couple months.
12. Toronto Raptors (30-25, LW 12): The coaching of Dwane Casey is to be commended, especially since the Rudy Gay trade.
13. Chicago Bulls (29-25, LW 13): Joakim Noah is playing like one of the best centers in basketball, even leading the Bulls in assists.
14. Brooklyn Nets (25-28, LW 15): Former King Marcus Thornton should have plenty of chances
to prove he’s still a capable scorer with the Nets.
15. Washington Wizards (27-28, LW 16): The Wizards made a deal for Andre Miller to fill their void at backup point guard and prep for the postseason.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (27-28, LW 18): The Kevin Love trade rumors figure to pick up again in the offseason, before he can become a free agent in 2015.
17. Denver Nuggets (25-29, LW 17): The Nuggets acquired Aaron Brooks to help at point guard, where they’ve been hurt by injuries.
18. Charlotte Bobcats (27-30, LW 20): Winners of three in a row, the Bobcats picked up Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour at the trade deadline to bolster their bench.
19. Atlanta Hawks (26-29, LW 14): The Hawks
lost eight in a row after hanging tough without
Al Horford for most of the season.
20. New Orleans Pelicans (23-32, LW 19): Tyreke Evans, the Pelicans’ big offseason pickup, is playing just 24.7 minutes per game.
21. Detroit Pistons (23-33, LW 21): There is still time for the Pistons to salvage the season by making the playoffs.
22. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-34, LW 22): Cleveland picked up Spencer Hawes from Philadelphia, which was dumping talent at the trade deadline.
23. New York Knicks (21-35, LW 24): There were many rumored deals, but nothing happened for the hapless Knicks.
24. Utah Jazz (19-36, LW 23): Guard Alec Burks has emerged as a capable bench scorer.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (19-36, LW 27): Kobe Bryant will sit at least another three weeks, but
Pau Gasol is back from an injury.
26. Boston Celtics (19-38, LW 25): The Celtics continue to carefully monitor Rajon Rondo’s return from last season’s ACL injury.
27. Kings (19-36, LW 26): Ray McCallum will have a chance to show he can compete with increased playing time.
28. Orlando Magic (17-40, LW 28): The buyout of Glen Davis frees more time to develop young players like Tobias Harris.
29. Philadelphia 76ers (15-41, LW 29): Philadelphia has lost 10 straight and has an NBA-worst minus-10.5 point differential.
30. Milwaukee Bucks (10-45, LW 30): O.J. Mayo made highlight shows – for tying his shoe while the Bucks were on defense.
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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