Kings Blog

Jason Jones ranks the NBA: The strong get stronger

With records through Friday:

1. Spurs (52-15, last week 1)

LaMarcus Aldridge’s return to the lineup keeps San Antonio a top contender to win the West.

2. Warriors (54-14, LW 2)

Stephen Curry is still elite, but not playing at last season’s MVP level.

3. Rockets (47-22, LW 3)

Clinched a playoff berth and appears destined to be the No. 3 seed in the West.

4. Cavaliers (45-22, LW 5)

Kevin Love and J.R. Smith are back from injuries in time to get ready for the playoffs.

5. Celtics (44-25, LW 7)

Three straight wins to remain second to Cleveland in the East.

6. Wizards (42-26, LW 4)

Scott Brooks praises his players, but he still could garner Coach of the Year votes.

7. Jazz (43-26, LW 6)

Utah didn’t make the playoffs last year but could finish in the top four in the West.

8. Thunder (39-29, LW 11)

Four straight wins gives OKC a chance to catch Utah if the Jazz stumble.

9. Raptors (40-29, LW 8)

Seems many are dismissing Toronto as a threat in the East.

10. Grizzlies (39-30, LW 12)

Three-game winning streak means Memphis can still avoid the seventh spot in the West.

11. Clippers (40-29, LW 9)

Clippers are struggling lately with three consecutive losses.

12. Hawks (37-31, LW 10)

Coach Mike Budenholzer continues to be one of the best in the NBA.

13. Bucks (34-34, LW 13)

Milwaukee has won eight of its last 10 and could rise to sixth in the East.

14. Nuggets (33-35, LW 14)

Denver is finding its stride with four straight wins.

15. Heat (34-35, LW 15)

The Heat have cracked the top eight in the East after a horrendous start to the season.

16. Trail Blazers (30-37, LW 17)

Jusuf Nurkic has been a good addition, but Portland might not make the playoffs.

17. Pacers (35-33, LW 20)

Enough veterans to make the playoffs but not make a deep run.

18. Pistons (33-36, LW 16)

A three-game slide has dropped Detroit to ninth in the East.

19. Mavericks (29-39, LW 18)

Nerlens Noel is averaging 10.1 points and 7.5 rebounds in eight games with Dallas.

20. Timberwolves (28-40, LW 19)

Minnesota’s postseason dreams are fading down the stretch.

21. Bulls (32-37, LW 21)

Losers of eight of 10 – and Dwyane Wade (elbow) is out for the regular season.

22. Pelicans (28-41, LW 24)

New Orleans is struggling to figure out how to play with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis together.

23. Hornets (29-39, LW 22)

Charlotte was expected to be a lot better, but injuries have not helped.

24. Knicks (27-42, LW 23)

It’s another losing season for Carmelo Anthony, which he doesn’t need late in his career.

25. 76ers (25-43, LW 26)

The Sixers have improved their win total by 15 games from last season.

26. Kings (27-41, LW 29)

Ended an eight-game skid with back-to-back wins.

27. Magic (25-45, LW 25)

Elfrid Payton has made strides lately even as the team has struggled.

28. Suns (22-47, LW 27)

Add Eric Bledsoe to the list of good players held out to improve his team’s chances of losing.

29. Lakers (20-49, LW 28)

The first team in the West mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

30. Nets (13-55, LW 30)

Struggling squad still had enough to beat the Knicks.

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