Eastern Conference NBA Power Rankings
With just under a month left in the NBA regular season teams are giving it their all for the final stretch run and it reflects in this week’s power rankings. For some a strong finish can mean the difference between staying home or making the playoffs, while others are just looking to secure a more favorable matchup. Right now even the number one seed looks like it is up for grabs. So let’s take a look at where each team sits in the wide open Eastern Conference:
- Boston Celtics 44-25
It may seem hard to believe, but Boston is just two games behind the Cavs for the best record in the East. If Isaiah Thomas can keep playing like an MVP candidate, then Boston will have a legit shot up dethroning King James and the Cavs for the number one seed. This week Boston sits atop the power rankings.
Washington Wizards 42-26
Now you may be wondering where the Cavs are in the power rankings, but with the way that Washington has been playing, the Wizards come in as this week’s number two team. The Wizards have won seven of their last ten and hot on Boston’s heels for the number two seed. One of the players responsible for their strong surge is John Wall; he dished out 20 assists against the Bulls on Friday.
- Cleveland Cavaliers 45-22
The Cavs have had to weather the storm after losing Kevin Love and it has not been easy for the defending champs, who are just at .500 in their last 10 games. The good news is that Love is back in the lineup and Deron Williams is looking like a more than capable backup point guard.
- Toronto Raptors 40-29
The Raptors have bolstered their lineup with the addition of Serge Ibaka, but so far they are just trading water until Kyle Lowry can return. The good news is that Lowry has been cleared to participate in light dribbling, as he continues with his rehabilitation from wrist surgery.
- Milwaukee Bucks 34-34
They may only be .500 on the season but the Bucks are elevating their game at just the right time. Jason Kidd’s Squad has won 8 of their last 10 and appears to be picking up a full head of steam for the stretch run.
- Miami Heat 34-35
Much like the Bucks, Miami is also heating up at just the right time. The Heat seemed to have flipped a switch since January 17th and are not looking back. Fueling Miami’s run has been the long ball, the Heat have been shooting lights out from beyond the arc.
- Atlanta Hawks 37-31
The Hawks have dropped two straight, but are still firmly hanging on to the number five seed in the East. If the Hawks are going to climb in the standings, they will need some more great outings from Dennis Schroder. The point guard recently put up 31 points in a game, only to follow it up with 26 in his next.
- Indiana Pacers 35-33
There is not much room separating the 6 through 8th seeds, so Indiana will need to be on their “A” game if they are going to hang on to the 6th seed. With recent wins over the Heat and Hornets the Pacers look like they know just what to do to move up in the power rankings.
- Detroit Pistons 33-36
Despite dropping 3-straight the Pistons are still only a game out of the playoff picture. Detroit will likely look to Tobias Harris to keep them on track. The 6th Man of the Year candidate is averaging over 16 points a game.
- Charlotte Hornets 32-37
With a long shot of reaching the post season the Hornets have seemed to have lost their sting from last season. The team has dropped three straight despite Kemba Walker putting the team on his back.
- Chicago Bulls 32-37
Just a few days ago Chicago looked poised for a playoff run. But that was before the team lost future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade for the rest of the regular season. Now, the Bulls will likely be on the outside of the postseason looking in. In fact, management may decide to wave the white flag and play their younger players the rest of the way causing the Bulls to take a steep dip in this week’s power rankings.
- Philadelphia 76ers 25-43
There is not much to be excited about this season in Philly but hey, at least they are not dead last like the have been the past few seasons. The Sixers have even shown some life lately by nearly knocking off the Cavs.
13. Orlando Magic 25-45
In the middle of another disappointing season Magic fans do not have much to cheer for, that is except for Elfrid Payton. Payton has been one of the lone bright spots, recently posting back-to-back triple doubles along with elevating his game. Now, if only the rest of the team could start clicking.
14. New York Knicks 27-42
So much for the “Super Team” that Derrick Rose proclaimed this past summer. The Knicks are a broken team that has underachieved this season. Kristaps Porzingas has at least been living up to expectations and appears to be a building block for New York.
- Brooklyn Nets 13-55
As the first team in the NBA eliminated from the playoffs, it is kind of surprising that the Nets did not attempt to unload Brook Lopez at the trade deadline. Perhaps they view him as someone who can help lead the team’s young core going forward. For now, Brooklyn has cemented their place at the bottom of the power rankings.