We’re basically a quarter of the way into the season, and though it is too small of a sample size to reach any final conclusions, we can still identify some trends that have revealed themselves this year.
You still can’t convince me that the Eastern Conference is better than the Western Conference, but I’d be a fool not to admit that the East is better this year, and the West is worse than they were last season.
I do think that things will right themselves as the season goes along, and certain teams will come back down to Earth. This is however a perfect time to do an NBA Power rankings based on what I have seen so far.
We’ll probably revisit this during the All-Star break to see what changes have occurred. From everything I have seen, any team not the Warriors or Spurs need to be tweaking something if they want to be taken seriously as championship contenders.
So in honor of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs chart, I bring you Bmick’s first NBA power rankings of the season. If you just want this week’s slate of Good Ass Games, just scroll down to the bottom.
Bottom Tier, i.e. Teams in Survival Mode:
Organizations that are in a period of dysfunction. Decisions made for the franchise are based on fear of losing paychecks and job titles. These are the teams with no long term plan other than draft players, sell tickets, and create cap room for in hopes of signing a big name free agent.
76ers, Kings, Wizards, Nuggets, Pelicans, Rockets, Nets and the LOL Lakers
You have to feel for these teams’ fanbases (well not the Lakers because lets be honest 80% of their fanbase don’t really know anything about basketball–they just like the scene and wearing the merchandise).
Sixers fans have been sold a pipe dream for decades, and it still looks like the front office has no idea of what they are doing. They just keep drafting (or signing) big men and trading away draft picks. Their latest franchise face was on TMZ last month and has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
The only player close to being called a veteran is journeyman point guard Kendall (Kbutter5) Marshall. No one wants to play in Philadelphia, one of the most notoriously racist
sports cities outside of Boston, people just end up there because its still the NBA , and they need a paycheck. Personally, I’d probably rather go to Europe than play in that city, for that organization. The fact that Iverson spent the bulk of his prime in the NBA there is enough for him to get my Hall of Fame vote. #respect
Sacramento definitely has the talent to make it into the playoffs, but shit is too hot right now. Even the most professionaly of players can’t deal with the madness (word on the street is that Caron Butler is about to get traded to a team where he can get some minutes). I don’t doubt that everyone’s heart is in the right place in Sactown, but the problem is that there is very little organization within the front office, and it is affecting their product. The best teams have well defined roles and job security, and the hiring and firing of head coaches signaled just how dyfunctional things really are. Under the right leadership, they could make a playoff run this year……..but you know what they say about if’s.
Fuckboys Rockets on paper are .500 and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. But when a coach is fired not even 10 games into the season, and you have a certain moody big man who may or may not want to get traded, I think its safe to say this team has some f%&*ing problems (and not the good kind that afflict A$AP Rocky).
The Nuggets have sucked ever since they sacked George Karl, but Denver fans are too stoned to notice. Also, at this point can we stop pretending the nuggets they are mining are “gold”? Just own it Denver.
Don’t be surprised when Mikhail Prokhorov sells the Nets and punishes himself by getting married.
Wizards went from a half second away from making some serious noise in the playoffs to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Something is wrong in New Orleans. Other than Anthony Davis, they are worse than they were last year. Last season’s slip into the playoffs may have actually been “Fool’s Gold.”They didn’t make any major upgrades during the off-season and their roster looks pretty weak. I would hate to see Lil Brow Wow’s prime wasted playing with NBA D-leaguers and scrubs. Get that guy some help. It is one thing to lose, but usually a coach talking to the media about “lack of effort” is only a precursor for his house going up for sale. Some strange things a brewing in the “Big Easy.”
The LOL Lakers aren’t so funny anymore. In fact, it is sad to think they are heading to yet another lottery AND they just got pasted last night by 40 points by the Thunder. The thing is though, they have to be pathetically bad in order to keep their top 3 protected pick. Otherwise Philadelphia gets their lottery pick for the upcoming draft. Somehow lucking into drafting Ben Simmons and Luke Walton as next year’s head coach could be a true reversal of fortunes.
The Love/Belonging Tier: Playoff teams figuring out their identity, but heading in the right direction.
Knicks, Timberwolves, Jazz, Suns, Mavericks, Bucks, Blazers, Hornets, Magic, and Pistons
The Knicks have surprised many people this year, and count me among those who thought Phil Jackson was pulling a Dumars when he drafted Porzingis over Justice Winslow. They are not entirely awful, sitting at .500, we’ll see what happens over these next 25 games if they are one of the fall to Earth teams I talked about earlier.
Timberwolves are right where they need to be. The other rebuilding teams need to take note what is going on in the Land of a 1,000 Lakes. Play your young guys as much as you can so that you can evaluate them effectively,and sign a good core of veterans to mentor them. From the looks of things, Flip has succeeded in creating a family atmosphere in that organization.
Portland has some pieces to build around. They seem to be right where they are now, every 3-4 years. They can’t seem to get players to stay, or stay healthy, but they are usually just good enough to dangle some hope out there for Blazers fans. I personally feel like NBA is a better league when Blazers fans have something to get excited about.
The Utah Jazz are competitive, and currently in the 8th spot with an 11-14 record. I don’t expect that to last. Coach K disciple, Quinn Snyder has them scrapping, and no game in the Salt Lake mountains is a gimme win (They are like the Western Conference Pacers). I think they will continue to win at this rate, but I don’t think that 44 wins will be enough to get into the Western Conference playoffs.
I’m upset about my pick for the Eastern Conference Finalist pick. Milwaukee looks like shit some nights, and then other nights they turn into streakbusters. A friend of mine said before the season that they lack shooters, but that doesnt concern me, what bothers me is that they got their brains beat in by the LOL Lakers one night after a few key players thought it was wise to hit the strip club.
Maybe they need more veterans on the team. I Kidd’s old teammate “Tuff Juice” would be a good locker room addition, plus he’d get to return to his hometown. While they are at it, why don’t they see if they can get Ben McLemore too.
I must admit that I haven’t watched much of the Suns this year, partially out of laziness, but also because they have slowly regressed from the really fun NBA League Pass team everyone was talking about 2 years ago. Phoenix plays hard. They always compete, but their bench is really thin, and they have no legitimate game changers. Eric Bledsoe is a really good player, but I don’t know if he is the dude you build a franchise around. They have to get some pieces for Jeff Hornacek to work with.
I don’t need to go into how I predicted the Mavericks would make the playoffs do I? I’m sure I haven’t talked ad nauseum about the underated Dirk/Carlilse combo as a duo you can’t sleep on. It really is the perfect storm right now. Deron Williams was finally humbled enough by life to start listening to his coaches. Raymond Felton is fortunate that he is still in the league and not playing in the Rikers Island Recreational league. Zaza is well……..Zaza..
Their frontcourt depth is a little shaky, and you can never have enough ballhandlers in this league. But they’ll be a tough first round out, and that will be considered a successful season. #Respect.
Take one look at the Pistons depth chart and you’ll see that they are overachieving. Take one look at Stan Van Gundy, and you can tell the dude can prolly make a mean chicken salad out of chicken shit. I bet SVG can go into any pantry in America and find a way to salvage something for dinner. “Wow Stan!!! I’ve never had Spam chutney on a bed of green beans before. How do you do it???!!!!” Reggie Jackson for the All-Star Team. Retweet if you agree.
I slept on the #MisoHornets, I really did. They are like a lightweight Atlanta Hawks. Is it a coincidence that they let Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson go, picked up two quality locker room guys in Jeremy Lin and Nicholas Batum, and they got better? Frank Kaminksy ain’t half bad either. The Hornets don’t have a superstar, but they have a decent sqaud.
The Orlando Magic have surprised me at how fast they have developed. To give you an indication of how close they are to being in the next tier of playoff contenders, just imagine if Anthony Davis was in that starting lineup, with Channing Frye coming off the bench. “BEAST!!!”
Scott Skiles has a way of rubbing players the wrong way after a couple of seasons, but he is a great coach to have for a young team. In the dating world, he’d be what women refer to as a good starter D@#$, good for a couple of seasons, but after a while, the horseshit starts to become a grind. He is a great coach for a rebuilding team (remember the Baby Bulls?), but players on his previous teams just outgrew him. He’d probably be a great college coach.
TO BE CONTINUED……………..
Here’s this week’s slate of games:
Thursday (Christmas Eve)
Cavaliers-Warriors (Good Ass Game of the Week)
Part 2 (Buster of The Week Included) will be posted tomorrow morning.