Carter's NBA Power Rankings: November 20
Let's get right down to it...here's how I see the NBA's teams, best to worst.
1. Boston Celtics (9-3)
Even though they don’t have 10 wins just yet, I still believe that the Celtics are the best team in the NBA, without a doubt. Their defense is working very well, all players are doing their jobs, Doc Rivers is a genius, and they’ve beaten opponents by league-best average 10.5 points per game.
3. Portland Trail Blazers (8-4)
Despite them having four losses already, I think the Trail Blazers are playing the best basketball out of any team in the Western Conference. If this team continues to play defense like the way they’ve been playing, a 55-win season could be coming their way.
4. Denver Nuggets (8-3)
At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team ended up with 60 wins.
5. Dallas Mavericks (9-3)
As expected, many “experts” are still saying that the Spurs are still going to take the Southwest Division this year. Don’t look now, but the Mavericks are playing like a potential Western Conference-Finalists team once again. This could be THEIR year to take the Southwest.
6. Orlando Magic (9-3)
Even though Jameer Nelson is going to be out for a while, I still think the Magic still have the right talent to run the table in the East over the next couple of months,
7. Milwaukee Bucks (6-3)
2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year: Brandon Jennings…yes, you read that right.
8. Los Angeles Lakers (9-3)
The road to a repeat could be tougher than first imagined for the Lakers. The Blazers, Nuggets, and Mavericks would agree with this.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-4)
Their still my favorite to win the NBA Championship, but just like the Lakers, the Cavs’ road to the Finals looks to be a tough one with teams like Boston, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Orlando all playing better than them at this point.
10. Phoenix Suns (10-3)
Offense remains the key for the Suns and it’s continues to lead them to wins. They average a league-best 109.8 points per game and have racked up ten wins already.
11. Houston Rockets (7-5)
I still don’t think this team can win a playoff series with guys like Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry as their top three scorers.
12. Miami Heat (7-4)
Miami could jump into the top ten soon if their defense keeps playing well. Their opponents have only made 42 percent of their field goals (3rd-best in the league.)
13. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-6)
I’m been very surprised with the way this team has been playing. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are doing a very good job at being the team leaders for the Thunder. Don't be surprised if this team ends up squeezing into the playoffs this season.
14. Indiana Pacers (5-4)
Like Miami, The Pacers could be in my top ten if the defense holds up over their next few games.
15. Utah Jazz (6-6)
The Jazz are known for being a protecting their home court very well. This is great news for Jazz fans as the team opens a six-game home stand Saturday night against the Pistons. I will be disappointed if they have only eight wins or fewer by December 5th.
16. San Antonio Spurs (4-6)
I’m not fully sold on this next statement but I‘m getting pretty close: the San Antonio Spurs’ Championship days are over.
17. Detroit Pistons (5-7)
I’ll be impressed if the Pistons have a +.500 record by mid-December. They have opponents like the Suns, Cavaliers, Hawks, and Nuggets coming up over the next three weeks.
18. Sacramento Kings (5-5)
Fact: Tyreke Evans is the best rookie NBA player in the Western Conference.
19. Toronto Raptors (5-7)
The Raptors already have losses to the Magic, Mavericks, Spurs, Nuggets, Suns, and Jazz. FACT: the Raptors can’t keep up with the top dogs of the NBA.
20. Washington Wizards (3-7)
The Wizards will be no better than 12-18 by New Year’s Day. I promise.
21. Chicago Bulls (6-5)
With upcoming road games against the Nuggets, Blazers, Jazz, and Bucks, I’ll be surprised if the Bulls win another game in November.
22. Golden State Warriors (3-8)
I would have this team a lot higher, but until they learn how to play a little bit of defense, I think the upper-20’s is the perfect place for them. They give up a league-worst 113.3 points per game.
23. Philadelphia 76ers (5-6)
With seven of their next nine upcoming games being on the road, the schedule looks to be pretty tough. The way I see it, the Sixers are only looking at about four winnable games (vs. Grizzlies, at Wizards, at Thunder, at Bobcats). So I’m looking at a future at-best .500 record by December 7th.
24. Los Angeles Clippers (4-9)
If any Clippers fans are thinking that a Blake Griffin return will automatically give the Clippers a 40-win season, they are sadly mistaken.
25. New Orleans Hornets (5-8)
With Byron Scott getting the pink slip and Chris Paul on the shelf, playoff hopes could be already in jeopardy in the “Big Easy.”
26. Charlotte Bobcats (3-8)
This team could have at least six or seven wins by now if they had an offense.
27. Memphis Grizzlies (3-8)
Let’s face it: Allen Iverson left Memphis because he realized that this team is going nowhere...fast! Oh, wait, their already there.
29. New Jersey Nets (0-12)
Tomorrow’s game against the Knicks will answer this question: Who’s worse, the Knicks or Nets?
30. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-11)
The Timberwolves have been outscored by a combined league-worst 13.8 points per game. Sad…isn’t it?
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