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Carter's NBA Power Rankings: January 26: Lakers Remain No. 1, Spurs Fall

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Carter's NBA Power Rankings: January 26: Lakers Remain No. 1, Spurs Fall
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Despite their recent loss to the Cavaliers, I still think that the Lakers have the strongest team in the league. All the pieces are in place to build a smooth road towards another World Championship.

Kobe Bryant might not be my favorite to win the MVP Award at season’s end, but yet again, he’s leading his team well and giving them chances to win games. Add Pau Gasol,  the young Andrew Bynum, with the pesky—but good—Ron Artest and you’ve got yourself a pretty good first few guys.

Could the Lakers repeat as NBA Champions?

There’s still a long way to go, but at this point, I’d have my money on them.

Here’s how I see the NBA teams, strongest to weakest.

1. Los Angeles Lakers (33-11)
Last Week: 1
Offense Rank: 6
Defense Rank: 8
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Key Players: Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (35-11)
Last Week: 2
Offense Rank: 13
Defense Rank: 4
Last 10 Games: 8-2
Key Players: LeBron James, Mo Williams, Shaquille O’Neal

3. Boston Celtics (29-13)
Last Week: 3
Offense Rank: 16
Defense Rank: 2
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo

4. Atlanta Hawks (29-14)
Last Week: 5 (+1)
Offense Rank: 7
Defense Rank: 11
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Key Players: Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Josh Smith

5. Denver Nuggets (30-14)
Last Week: 6 (+1)
Offense Rank: 2
Defense Rank: 20
Last 10 Games: 9-1
Key Players: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Nene Hilario

6. Orlando Magic (29-16)
Last Week: 7 (+1)
Offense Rank: 10
Defense Rank: 7
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Key Players: Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis

7. San Antonio Spurs (25-18)
Last Week: 4 (-3)
Offense Rank: 11
Defense Rank: 6
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson

8. Utah Jazz (26-18)
Last Week: 8
Offense Rank: 8
Defense Rank: 13
Last 10 Games: 8-2
Key Players: Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur

9. Portland Trail Blazers (27-19)

Last Week: 9
Offense Rank: 23
Defense Rank: 3
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Key Players: Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller

10. Dallas Mavericks (29-15)
Last Week: 11 (+1)
Offense Rank: 15
Defense Rank: 12
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Key Players: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion

11. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-20)
Last Week: 10 (-1)
Offense Rank: 21
Defense Rank: 5
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Key Players: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green

12. Phoenix Suns (26-20)
Last Week: 12
Offense Rank: 1
Defense Rank: 29
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Key Players: Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash, Jason Richardson

13. Charlotte Bobcats (21-22)
Last Week: 13
Offense Rank: 28
Defense Rank: 1
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Key Players: Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Raymond Felton

14. Miami Heat (23-21)
Last Week: 16 (+2)
Offense Rank: 24
Defense Rank: 9
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Key Players: Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal

15. Memphis Grizzlies (24-19)

Last Week: 15
Offense Rank: 4
Defense Rank: 24
Last 10 Games: 7-3
Key Players: Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo

16. Houston Rockets (24-20)
Last Week: 14 (-2)
Offense Rank: 12
Defense Rank: 18
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry, Trevor Ariza

17. Milwaukee Bucks (18-24)
Last Week: 19 (+2)
Offense Rank: 19
Defense Rank: 16
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, Luke Ridnour

18. Toronto Raptors (23-22)

Last Week: 17 (+1)
Offense Rank: 5
Defense Rank: 26
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Key Players: Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu

19. New Orleans Hornets (24-20)
Last Week: 20 (+1)
Offense Rank: 18
Defense Rank: 17
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Key Players: David West, Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor

20. Los Angeles Clippers (20-24)

Last Week: 21 (+1)
Offense Rank: 26
Defense Rank: 15
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: Chris Kaman, Baron Davis, Eric Gordon

21. New York Knicks (17-26)
Last Week: 18 (-3)
Offense Rank: 14
Defense Rank: 23
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: David Lee, Al Harrington, Wilson Chandler

22. Chicago Bulls (21-22)
Last Week: 24 (+2)
Offense Rank: 27
Defense Rank: 14
Last 10 Games: 7-3
Key Players: Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, John Salmons

23. Philadelphia 76ers (15-29)

Last Week: 23
Offense Rank: 22
Defense Rank: 19
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Key Players: Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand

24. Golden State Warriors (13-29)
Last Week: 26 (+2)
Offense Rank: 3
Defense Rank: 30
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: Monta Ellis, Corey Maggette, Stephen Curry

25. Sacramento Kings (15-28)
Last Week: 22 (-3)
Offense Rank: 9
Defense Rank: 27
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Key Players: Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson, Beno Udrih

26. Washington Wizards (14-29)
Last Week: 25 (-1)
Offense Rank: 20
Defense Rank: 21
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Key Players: Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Randy Foye

27. Indiana Pacers (16-29)
Last Week: 27
Offense Rank: 17
Defense Rank: 25
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Key Players: Danny Granger, Dahntay Jones, Roy Hibbert

28. Detroit Pistons (15-28)

Last Week: 28
Offense Rank: 29
Defense Rank: 10
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Key Players: Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-36)
Last Week: 29
Offense Rank: 25
Defense Rank: 28
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Key Players: Al Jefferson, Jonny Flynn, Corey Brewer

30. New Jersey Nets (3-40)
Last Week: 30
Offense Rank: 30
Defense Rank:22
Last 10 Games: 0-10
Key Players: Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Chris Douglas-Roberts


Carter’s NBA Award Races


NBA Most Valuable Player Award Race

1. LeBron James (Cavaliers)
2. Kevin Durant (Thunder)
3. Kobe Bryant (Lakers)
4. Dwyane Wade (Heat)
5. Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets)
6. Monta Ellis (Warriors)
7. Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
8. Chris Bosh (Raptors)
9. Brandon Roy (Blazers)
10. Amare Stoudemire (Suns)


NBA Defensive Player of the Year Race

1. Dwight Howard (Magic)
2. Joakim Noah (Bulls)
3. Marcus Camby (Clippers)
4. Chris Bosh (Raptors)
5. Zach Randolph (Grizzlies)

Rookie of the Year Race

1. Tyreke Evans (Kings)
2. Brandon Jennings (Bucks)
3. Jonny Flynn (Timberwolves)
4. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
5. Omri Casspi (Kings)

Coach of the Year Race

1. Mike Brown (Cavaliers)
2. Phil Jackson (Lakers)
3. Doc Rivers (Celtics)
4. George Karl (Nuggets)
5. Mike Woodson (Hawks)

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