Kings Blog

Jason Jones: Ranking the NBA teams

▪ 1
. Golden State Warriors (23-5, last week 1):

Christmas week was tough on the Warriors, with losses to the Lakers and the Clippers.

▪ 2
. Portland Trail Blazers (24-7, LW 3):

Wesley Matthews is on pace to match his 16.4 points per game last season, which was a career high.

▪ 3. Houston Rockets (21-7, LW 4):

Rockets add Josh Smith as they try to win the West.

▪ 4. Washington Wizards: (20-8, LW 6):

After the first round of voting, John Wall is on course to be a starter in the All-Star Game.

▪ 5 . Toronto Raptors (22-7, LW 7):

Kyle Lowry’s scoring (20 ppg) and assists (7.7 apg) are at career-high levels for the second consecutive season.

▪ 6. Memphis Grizzlies (21-8, LW 2):

A four-game losing streak includes and overtime loss to the Rockets on Friday night.

▪ 7. Atlanta Hawks (21-8, LW 8):

Having Al Horford healthy this season makes a big difference.

▪ 8 . Dallas Mavericks (21-10, LW 5):

The first major in-season upgrade is by the Mavs, who traded for point guard Rajon Rondo.

▪ 9 . Chicago Bulls (20-9, LW 10):

Health is improving, aiding their five-game winning streak.

▪ 10 . Los Angeles Clippers (20-10 LW 9):

Had struggled, but found enough to beat the Warriors, who have become a chief rival.

▪ 11. Cleveland Cavaliers (18-11, LW 13):

Losing Anderson Varejao for the season (torn Achilles’) leaves a major hole to fill if the Cavs want to contend for a title.

▪ 12. Phoenix Suns (17-14, LW 16):

5-0 since moving second-year center Alex Len into the starting lineup.

▪ 13. San Antonio Spurs (18-13, LW 11):

Could the last two postseason runs have the Spurs a little tired?

▪ 14. New Orleans Pelicans (15-14, LW 14):

Pelicans are learning even as they improve; cracking the Top 8 in the West is not easy.

▪ 15 . Oklahoma City Thunder (15-16, LW 12):

While Kevin Durant recovers from a sprained ankle, Russell Westbrook has continued to dominate.

▪ 16 . Milwaukee Bucks (15-15, LW 15):

Milwaukee won 15 games all of last season.

▪ 17 . Miami Heat (14-16, LW 19):

Still waiting on Chris Bosh (calf) to return to the lineup with hopes of rising up the standings in the East.

▪ 18. Brooklyn Nets (13-15, LW 21):

Three-game winning streak moves the Nets into eighth in the East.

▪ 19. Denver Nuggets (13-17 LW 17):

Guard Ty Lawson is having a good season, but the West is loaded with great point guards.

▪ 20 . Kings (12-17, LW 18):

Losers of seven of their past eight as defense has become a problem lately.

▪ 21. Boston Celtics (10-17, LW 20):

Will Jeff Green still be a Celtic by the end of the season, or will he be dealt to a contender?

▪ 22. Orlando Magic (11-21, LW 22):

Scoring is a struggle, even with some talented young players.

▪ 23. Charlotte Hornets (10-20, LW 26):

Finally showing signs that last season was not a fluke?

▪ 24. Utah Jazz (9-20, LW 24):

Will Rudy Gobert’s play cause the Jazz to consider not re-signing Enes Kanter?

▪ 25. Los Angeles Lakers (9-21, LW 23):

Kobe Bryant has rested the past three games and the Lakers have dropped two in a row since upsetting the Warriors.

▪ 26. Indiana Pacers (10-20, LW 25):

George Hill is back, but the Pacers still have no way of replacing Paul George’s production.

▪ 27. Detroit Pistons (6-23, LW 27):

With Josh Smith gone the Pistons might be able to entice Greg Monroe not to leave as a free agent in the offseason.

▪ 28. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-23 LW 28):

If Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic had been healthy most of the season, the Wolves would not be this bad.

▪ 29. New York Knicks (5-26, LW 29):

Could first-year coach Derek Fisher have picked a tougher way to start his post-playing career?

▪ 30. Philadelphia 76ers (4-24, LW 30):

Philly doubled its win total for the season with back-to-back wins before a lopsided loss at Portland.