NBA Power Rankings: Who's Hot, Who's Not as the NBA Season Comes to an End

Branden FitzPatrick@divingmelvinCorrespondent IApril 17, 2012

NBA Power Rankings: Who's Hot, Who's Not as the NBA Season Comes to an End

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    As the NBA season comes to an end, it's time to recognize who is hot and who is not. 

    One Eastern Conference team has almost put the dot on the exclamation mark for their historically bad season. A struggling Western Conference fanbase doesn't know if their team will be in town two seasons from now. Two playoff contenders are quietly positioning themselves for a playoff run, as another desperately fights to hold onto their playoff spot.

    Teams playing hot will go into the postseason with a head full of steam. The others will try not to end the regular season on a sour note. 

Who's Not: Houston Rockets

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    The Houston Rockets not only picked the worst time of the season to have a four game losing streak—they picked the worst teams to lose to as well.

    In the Rockets recent four game skid, they've lost to the Utah Jazz, the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets twice. They are battling for a playoff spot with all three teams. The Rockets' losing streak has allowed the once dead Suns and the scrappy Jazz back into the playoff mix.

    Three of the Rockets' final five games are against teams with a losing record. The Suns and the Jazz have a tougher stretch of games in the final week of the season. If the Rockets are unable to hold onto their playoff spot, it'll be a disappointing ending to an exciting season.    

Who's Not: Sacramento Kings

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    No NBA team had as bad of a weekend as the Sacramento Kings. 

    Co-owner Gavin Maloof was in tears following the announcement of the Kings' new arena deal in early March.

    A month later, the Maloof brothers took issue with some of the terms in the deal, particularly the pre-development costs, which amounted to $3.25 million. Now, after refusing to go through with the tentative deal for a new arena in Sacramento, the Maloof family has done its very best to kill basketball in California's capital.

    As owners of the team, the Maloofs have every right to reject the deal. As much as the city of Sacramento and the fans want to believe that the team is theirs, it's not. The Maloofs, whether they have money or not, are the owners of the Kings.

    As strictly a business deal, it would make sense for the Maloofs to move the Kings to Anaheim. It's not rocket science—teams in larger markets make more money. It was foolish to believe that David Stern would remove the Maloofs as owners. As writer Ray Ratto wrote in his brilliant column about the Maloofs, as long as the Maloofs are owners of the Kings, they are one-thirtieth of Stern's supervisors. Stern will never force the Maloofs to sell.      

    Once again, the future of the Kings in Sacramento is uncertain. Kings fans don't deserve to be treated like this by the Maloofs. They have been a great fanbase for a franchise that gives them little reason to cheer. 

Who's Not: Charlotte Bobcats

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    In case you haven't already heard, the Bobcats are going to finish the season as one of the worst NBA teams of all time. 

    After losing to the New Orleans Hornets Monday night, the Bobcats extended their losing streak to 17 games in a row. Their winning percentage is a whopping 0.117. As Grantland's Bill Simmons wrote in his recent NBA column, the Bobcats have a chance at finishing with the NBA's worst winning percentage ever. The second worst team in the NBA, the Washington Wizards, have twice as many wins.

    As the recent Power Rankings on said, "This team stinks."

    The only positive thing about this Bobcats' season is they have the best chance at getting this year's No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. They only way for a bad team to get better is to get lucky in the draft.

Who's Hot: Indiana Pacers

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    The Indiana Pacers are quietly the hottest team in the Eastern Conference. They have won nine of their last 10 games. Even though the recent hot streak has something to do with a relatively weak schedule, the Pacers still have impressive victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New York Knicks.

    The Pacers are getting hot at the right time. According to, the Pacers have the seventh-best offense since the All-Star break. Danny Granger has been playing his best basketball of the season in the Pacers recent surge. He's averaging 22.8 points per game, while shooting over 50 percent from the field in the month of April.  

    The Pacers look locked into the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. With a three-game lead over the Boston Celtics, all the Pacers have to do is finish the season strong with four of their last five games at home. 

Who's Hot: Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Los Angeles Lakers are 8-2 in their last 10 games. They have impressive victories over the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks in their last three games. 

    Oh yeah, all three games the Lakers played without Kobe Bryant

    Andrew Bynum is having a break-out season. Because of the way Dwight Howard has thrown his franchise under the bus this season, Bynum should be the pick for this season's First Team All-NBA Center. 

    The Lakers' role players have also stepped up and answered a lot of questions about their depth. With the way Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and Ramon Sessions have been playing, the Lakers will be a very tough out in the playoffs. The Lakers now have a quality bench to go along with their two seven footers and Hall of Fame shooting guard. 

    The Los Angeles Clippers are playing good basketball themselves, and they still can't catch the Lakers in the standings. Watch out for the Lakers this postseason. They have the playoff experience and size to beat any team in a seven-game series.