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NBA Power Rankings Week 11: Have The Miami Heat Supplanted The Spurs Up Top?

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2011

NBA Power Rankings Week 11: Have The Miami Heat Supplanted The Spurs Up Top?

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Remember that 9-8 start by the Miami Heat?  That certainly seems like ancient history at this point.  Miami has won 21 of its last 22 games, including 13 straight on the road.

    This team certainly has its chemistry figured out on both ends of the floor, but have they risen to the top of the NBA?

    The San Antonio Spurs still have the league's best record at 31-6, but lost back to back games in Boston and New York this past week.

    Other teams that still look like legitimate title contenders include the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks (if they can find someone to replace the injured Caron Butler).

    How does every team in the league stack up right now?  Let's found out in this week's edition of the official Bleacher Report NBA Power Rankings.

     

    The Bleacher Report NBA Power Rankings are done by averaging individual featured columnists' tallies. This week's contributors were Allen Kim (NBA), John Friel (Heat), Brian Chappatta (Bulls), Andrew Bailey (NBA/Mavericks), and Bryan Toporek (NBA Team Leader).

30: Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Record: 8-29

    Last Week: 0-3

    I think we all expected the Cavaliers to be bad without Lebron James, but who thought they would be this bad? Things may only get worse from here.  We learned this past week that Anderson Varejao will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn tendon in his leg.

29: Sacramento Kings

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    Record: 8-26

    Last Week: 1-2

    On the bright side, young stars Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are starting to play better.  However, this team is clearly still a couple years or players away from being really competitive.

28: Washington Wizards

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    Record: 9-26

    Last Week: 1-2

    John Wall has been solid, but injuries and inconsistency are certainly issues for the rookie.  Rashard Lewis appears to be fitting in fairly well, but he's not a long-term answer for Washington.

27: Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Record: 9-29

    Last Week: 0-4

    Minnesota has a couple of very talented individual players in Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.  The rest of the team is underwhelming at best.

26: New Jersey Nets

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    Record: 10-27

    Last Week: 1-2

    The Nets could be a radically different team a week from now.  Multiple reports have the Nets very close to acquiring Carmelo Anthony for at least the remainder of this season. 

    The Nets would also take on Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton as a part of the deal, while they'd lose Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and Anthony Morrow.

    Could they make the playoffs following that huge overhaul?  The fact that they're playing in the East leads me to believe it's possible (considering the current seven seed in the East is six games below .500).

25: Detroit Pistons

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    Record: 12-24

    Last Week: 1-2

    The Pistons have been in need of an overhaul for a while.  This year, it looks like they may finally be going for it.  They're reportedly involved in a three-team trade with the Nets and Nuggets that would ship Richard Hamilton out of town.

    If that deal goes through, I wouldn't be surprised if they looked to move more of their big contracts.

24: Toronto Raptors

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    Record: 13-24

    Last Week: 2-2

    While they haven't fallen as far as the post-Lebron Cavs, the post-Bosh Raptors are not playing well.

    Andrea Bargnani is developing into a star, and DeMar DeRozan has been playing extremely well lately, but this team is still not coming together for many quality wins.

23: Charlotte Bobcats

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    Record: 13-21

    Last Week: 2-1

    Not many people expected the loss of Raymond Felton to be as detrimental as it has been to the Bobcats.  That, in addition to the players growing weary of Larry Brown, has led to a bad start for Charlotte.

    Now, there are trade rumors surrounding their two highest-profile players, Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson.  If this unit stays together, they could still compete for the eighth seed in the East (not sure why anyone would want that this year).

22: Los Angeles Clippers

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    Record: 12-24

    Last Week: 2-0

    The Clippers have won seven of their last ten games, and Blake Griffin has put up 23 straight double-doubles.  Griffin and Eric Gordon could have the Clippers competing for a playoff spot as early as next season.

21: Milwaukee Bucks

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    Record: 14-21

    Last Week: 1-3

    The Bucks have arguably been this season's biggest underachievers.  There is a silver lining though, Andrew Bogut's playing well, Brandon Jennings should be back in a few weeks, and Chris-Douglas Roberts has scored 54 points in his last two games.

    If they can get everyone playing well at the same time, they could be pretty scary.

    They're still a virtual lock for the playoffs in the East.

20: Golden State Warriors

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    Record: 15-22

    Last Week: 2-2

    The Warriors offense is about as explosive as ever, and their defense is slightly improved.  If they continue to get better on the defensive end, they could have an outside shot at contending for the eighth seed in the West.

19: Philadelphia 76ers

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    Record: 15-22

    Last Week: 2-2

    Most people felt certain Andre Iguodala would be gone by this February's trade deadline to make room for Evan Turner.  Obviously, that looks a lot less likely now.

    Considering the fact that he was the second overall pick in 2010, Turner's probably been this season's most disappointing rookie.  However, he did have 19 points in a loss to Detroit on Saturday, and many still believe he can develop into a good NBA player.

18: Indiana Pacers

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    Record: 14-20

    Last Week: 0-2

    The two biggest pieces of news out of Indiana this past week: Danny Granger's no longer off the market, and Jim O'Brien has finally given Hansbrough a shot at starting at power forward. 

    In his first two starts, Hansbrough put up 33 points and 17 rebounds.  It's difficult to understand how Josh McRoberts was ever in front of him on the depth chart.

17: Phoenix Suns

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    Record: 15-20

    Last Week: 1-2

    The Suns are fading fast... very fast.  They're 4-11 in their last 15 games, and their only win last week came against the lowly Cavaliers.

    Steve Nash is playing as well as ever, but in the last seven months he's lost his two best teammates in Amare Stoudemire and Jason Richardson.  Now, there's no longer any guarantee Nash won't be the next to get dealt.

16: Houston Rockets

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    Record: 16-21

    Last Week: 0-4

    After going 11-4 in December, the Rockets have started January off with five straight losses.  They have some talented individual players, but the team is clearly incomplete. 

    If they can find a way to acquire a decent center without losing any of their core players, they could be serious contenders for the eighth seed out west.

15: Denver Nuggets

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    Record: 20-16

    Last Week: 1-3

    Not the Nugget you were expecting to see?  Well, he may be one of the only ones left if all these rumored trades go down (and obviously Andersen is not untouchable either).

14: Memphis Grizzlies

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    Record: 17-20

    Last Week: 2-1

    This is another team with a lot of young, individual talent.  Just as they did last year, I expect them to be competing right down to the wire for the eighth seed.

13: Portland Trailblazers

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    Record: 20-18

    Last Week: 2-2

    If this team could ever just manage to stay healthy, they could be extremely good.  Due to the emergence of Wes Matthews, the loss of Brandon Roy hurts a bit less this year.

12: New Orleans Hornets

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    Record: 22-16

    Last Week: 2-2

    After their hot 11-1 start, the Hornets have certainly come back down to Earth.  Right now, they have the sixth seed out west, but if they continue to play the way they have the last couple months, they'll miss the playoffs again.

11: New York Knicks

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    Record: 21-15

    Last Week: 2-1

    This Knicks resurgence is for real, and they might not even need Carmelo Anthony (at least according to Amare Stoudemire). 

    Mike D'Antoni finally has a solid point guard in New York in Raymond Felton.  He and Stoudemire have been one of the best combinations in the NBA so far.

10: Atlanta Hawks

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    Record: 25-14

    Last Week: 3-0

    The Hawks have won their first four games in January, and they're on pace for another 50-win regular season.  Joe Johnson has been playing better lately, and the team seems to be adapting to new coach Larry Drew's system.

9: Utah Jazz

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    Record: 25-13

    Last Week: 2-2

    Gordon Hayward looked like he was finally ready to make his presence known a couple weeks ago with three double-digit scoring games.  This past week however, Jerry Sloan has once again taken him out of the rotation.

    The rookie could still be a factor at some point this year, but for now, it's the same old song and dance with Deron Williams running Sloan's offense and executing lots of pick-and-rolls.  It looks like they'll ride this formula to yet another 50-win season.

8: Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Record: 25-13

    Last Week: 2-1

    Durant and Westbrook have been fantastic this season.  They've clearly been one of the top combos in the league all year long.

7: Chicago Bulls

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    Record: 24-12

    Last Week: 2-2

    Once the Bulls can get Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer on the court together for an extended period of time, they could become very real contenders.

    If they can add a solid shooting guard around the deadline, teams like the Heat, Magic and Celtics would have real reason for concern.

6: Dallas Mavericks

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    Record: 26-10

    Last Week: 1-2

    The Mavericks' struggles without Dirk Nowitzki continued this past week.  It's been painfully obvious these last couple weeks, that they need one more piece (especially after Caron Butler went down).

    Whether that one more piece is Rodrigue Beaubois, or someone they'll add at the trading deadline, remains to be seen.

5: Los Angeles Lakers

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    Record: 27-11

    Last Week: 4-0

    The Lakers have been playing better lately, but there's still plenty of cause for concern.  Key reserve Matt Barnes just went down with an injury, and not many people would argue that the Lakers have looked as strong as other contenders such as the Heat and Celtics.

4: Orlando Magic

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    Record: 25-12

    Last Week: 4-0

    After losing their first two games after making two big midseason trades, the Magic have rattled off nine straight wins.

    Howard's playing extremely well, Turkoglu looks like he never left Orlando, and this team may have more depth than anyone else in the league right now.

3: Boston Celtics

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    Record: 28-8

    Last Week: 3-1

    Boston is managing fairly well without Kevin Garnett in the middle of their lineup.  They should be getting Garnett and Kendrick Perkins back soon, and will then be contending for the title of the East's best again.

2: San Antonio Spurs

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    Record: 31-6

    Last Week: 2-2

    A lot of people had written off the Spurs prior to the season (that includes yours truly). 

    By adapting the game plan to the talents of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson; Gregg Popovich has pried San Antonio's window of opportunity open at least one more time.

    Still no way to know if all their veteran legs will hold up through a playoff run, but right now, San Antonio is eliminating doubters every day.

1: Miami Heat

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    Record: 30-9

    Last Week: 4-0

    As I mentioned in the introduction, the Miami Heat have won 21 of their last 22 games.  Their defense is possibly the best in the league.  On offense, the big three are learning more and more how to adapt their games to each other.

    At this point, it's hard to imagine anyone taking Miami down in a seven-game series.

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