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Jason Jones, Sacramento Kings beat writer

Jason Jones: Ranking the NBA

04/12/2014 5:15 PM

04/12/2014 11:47 PM

By Jason Jones |

Records and statistics through Friday

• 1. San Antonio Spurs (62-18, Last week 1): Depth of Spurs should not be overrated after San Antonio clinched the NBA’s best record while resting its star players.

• 2. Oklahoma City Thunder (58-21, LW 2): Thabo Sefolosha, one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, returned to the lineup from injury.

• 3. Los Angeles Clippers (55-24, LW 3): Blake Griffin playing at an MVP level makes the Clippers legitimate championship contenders.

• 4. Miami Heat (54-25, LW 4): LeBron James has carried the Heat, but winning a title without Dwyane Wade healthy seems unlikely.

• 5. Portland Trail Blazers (52-28, LW 7): Chasing down Houston for a shot at home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

• 6. Houston Rockets (52-27, LW 5): Houston is in danger of not having home-court advantage with Dwight Howard bothered by an ankle injury.

• 7. Golden State Warriors (49-30, LW 6): If Harrison Barnes plays well, the Warriors are tough to beat and there is less pressure on the starting backcourt to score.

• 8. Phoenix Suns (47-32, LW 9): Could wind up as the most improved team to miss the playoffs in the tough Western Conference.

• 9. Indiana Pacers (54-26, LW 8): From trying to win the East to looking primed for an early exit well before that goal.

• 10. Chicago Bulls (47-32, LW 13): Bulls are on a seven-game winning streak and could finish third in the East.

• 11. Memphis Grizzlies (47-32, LW 10): Trying to hang with Dallas, Phoenix to claim one of the two final playoff spots in the West.

• 12. Dallas Mavericks (48-32, LW 11): Rick Carlisle is a Coach of the Year candidate.

• 13. Toronto Raptors (46-33, LW 12): Raptors have clinched the Atlantic Division after entering the season projected to be a lottery team.

• 14. Brooklyn Nets (43-36, LW 14): A team that wouldn’t shy away from a playoff matchup with Miami after sweeping the season series.

• 15. Washington Wizards (41-38, LW 15): John Wall leads the Wizards in scoring, assists and steals.

• 16. Charlotte Bobcats (40-39, LW 16): Winners of eight of their last 11games, they have a 20-win improvement over last season following Saturday’s victory.

• 17. Minnesota Timberwolves (40-39, LW 17): Perhaps no one was as surprised by Corey Brewer’s 51-point game as Brewer.

• 18. Atlanta Hawks (36-43, LW 20): The playoff spot management would prefer the Hawks not have – No. 8 in the East – is there to be had.

• 19. New York Knicks (34-45, LW 18): Bad start to the season might be too much to overcome in pursuit of a playoff berth.

• 20. Denver Nuggets (35-44, LW 19): Kenneth Faried showed off some of his offensive skills with his game winner during Denver’s comeback at Golden State.

• 21. New Orleans Pelicans (32-47, LW 21): Like Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis saw his season come to an early end because of injury.

• 22. Cleveland Cavaliers (32-48, LW 22): Speculation over Kyrie Irving’s future bothers him more and more.

• 23. Detroit Pistons (29-51, LW 23): Reports are general manager Joe Dumars will resign after he failed to get the Pistons back to the playoffs.

• 24. Kings (27-52, LW 24): The Kings have taken their lumps at times starting two rookies in the backcourt with Isaiah Thomas out.

• 25. Los Angeles Lakers (25-54, LW 25): The Lakers have the most losses in their Los Angeles history.

• 26. Utah Jazz (24-55, LW 26): Alec Burks has had a solid season as a sixth man.

• 27. Boston Celtics (24-55, LW 27): Injuries to key players have piled up late in the season.

• 28. Orlando Magic (23-56, LW 28): Showed poise late in two wins last week, a positive step for a young team.

• 29. Philadelphia 76ers (17-62, LW 29): Even after their 26-game losing streak, the 76ers do not have the worst record in the NBA.

• 30. Milwaukee Bucks (15-64, LW 30): Brandon Knight is averaging career highs in points (17.7) and assists (4.9).

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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