NBA Power Rankings: The Los Angeles Lakers Are Free-Falling, Fast

Vincent MoraContributor IFebruary 4, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: The Los Angeles Lakers Are Free-Falling, Fast

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    As we reach the All-Star break in the NBA, there have been a lot of shifts on power throughout the year.

    The Heat are starting to look like the team that we were expecting to see, the Celtics are also looking very strong.

    The Lakers on the other hand are a very difficult team to read. They are not asserting their power. The Lakers roster should be more competitive, they are not winning the tough games. Are they just going through the motions because it's the regular season or are the Lakers simply not that good?

    The bottom of the league are just flat-out embarrassing, the Cavs are probably not even the best basketball team in Ohio. I am pretty sure Ohio State could take them. 

30. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-41)

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    This is a simple decision. The Cavs have lost 22 games in a row and have an opportunity to break a record for consecutive losses. There is no doubt that the Cavs were built to support Lebron, and now that Lebron took his talents to Miami, they better start hoping for another top overall pick, hey maybe even Jared Sullinger from Ohio State. 

29. Toronto Raptors (13-37)

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Raptors have lost 13 games in a row that has been overshadowed by the Cavs extreme futility. The Raptors are just horrendous as well, but what can we expect from the Raptors? There is a reason Chris Bosh left the team.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (11-37)

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Michael Beasley has revived his career this year and Kevin Love made the All-Star team. So why is this team so bad? For some reason they can't keep it together for an extended period of time.

    The Timberwolves will battle a team for a whole half, then will not finish the job. They have taken the Celtics and Lakers down to the wire, but the can't close the deal.

27. Sacramento Kings (12-34)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Tyreke Evans showed us a lot of promise last year, and while I did not expect the Kings to be very good this year, I did expect them to be a bit better.

    They have shown flashes of being a very good team, but at the same time, they have the consistency problem.

    DeMarcus Cousins is starting to play better now, there is only one way to go, up.

26. Washington Wizards (13-35)

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The Wizards are playing for the future, they have an excellent future with John Wall, but let's get serious. They are lucky to even have 13 victories at the moment.

    Maybe another lottery pick can get them headed in the right direction.

25. New Jersey Nets (15-35)

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    They must now move on without Carmelo, but how good is this team? I don't think they would have made the playoffs even with Melo.

    Brook Lopez is their star, but he takes a lot of games off. How is it possible to get over 20 points in a game, yet only get 5 rebounds, and that is being generous.

    You are over 7 feet tall, get to those rebounds! 

24. Detroit Pistons (17-32)

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    One would think that a team with T-Mac and Rip Hamilton would be better. Add in Tayshaun Prince and Ben Gordon and you expect very competitive team, but that is not happening.

    There are games when Rip Hamilton doesn't even see the floor. It is time to give Rip a trade, he deserves it after all he has given to the Pistons. 

23. Milwaukee Bucks (19-28)

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    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    It is difficult to believe that this was a playoff team last year, now they are struggling.

    It does not help when one of your better players in Brandon Jennings is injured, but this team still has Andrew Bogut, but he has missed time as well.

    This team has to talent to make a run at a playoff spot, we will see if they are up to the challenge.

22. Indiana Pacers (19-27)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    You know that things are going bad when Larry Bird might be out of a job. Yes, the media portrayed it as a Larry Bird decision, but we cannot deny the fact that the Pacers have not been very good under Bird.

    Danny Granger is very good and can help lead that team, but someone else has to step up. Maybe a Tyler Hansbrough? 

    They are currently sitting two games out of the 8th seed in the east and I am not sure they will get any closer. 

21. Golden State Warriors (21-27)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Yes, their record looks bad, but they are sitting 5 games out of the 8th seed in the West. This team does have the talent to take that 8th seed, but with having so many more teams to jump it seems very unlikely they will be able to get the job done.

    Stephen Curry is doing an excellent job this year and David Lee is also doing an excellent job staying consistent by almost averaging a double-double. This is a team to look out for in the next coming weeks, they just might surprise some people. 

20. Charlotte Bobcats (21-27)

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Hey everyone, the Bobcats are sitting in the 8th spot in the West. This is a surprise to say the least. Michael Jordan's team is actually good and Kwame Brown is on the roster.

    Jordan and Brown will always share a special bond, and Kwame Brown is actually playing a bit decent now.

    Make no doubt about it, Stephen Jackson is a winner and the leader of this team. The Bobcats will make the playoffs. 

19. LA Clippers (19-29)

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Los Angeles area got a friendly reminder this year, that they have another professional basketball team. This team has the opportunity to be competitive with Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin.

    Not a lot of people give the Clippers credit, but people better start paying attention. This team is beginning to learn how to play together. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games. 

18. Houston Rockets (23-28)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    We really can't blame Rick Adelman for the Rockets' season. When you have someone by the name of Kevin Martin and Luis Scola leading your team in points you might just have a pass.

    I am not saying they are not great players, but are they go-to guys? Rick Adelman is doing the most with the talent he has at the moment. 

17. Philadephia 76ers (22-26)

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Doug Collins is very similar to Rick Adelman, he is doing a very good job with the talent he has/

    Elton Brand is doing an excellent job scoring for the team, but I would like to see them unleash Evan Turner. He has only started 12 games for them, he has the talent to put them over the top. 

    The 76ers are currently sitting in the 7th spot in the East, but they will have to keep up their consistency if they want to be in the final 8.

16. Phoenix Suns (23-24)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Steve Nash was right when he said that the Suns were not a playoff team this past off season, but they stand only three games back of the 8th seed.

    The Suns have a good corp of players, When you have Vince Carter, Grant Hill and Channing Frye you expect more from the team.

    Of course, guys like Carter and Hill are past their prime, but they have shown flashes of their former themselves. I say the Suns squeak into the playoffs. 

15. New York Knicks (25-24)

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The way the media covered the Knicks beating the Miami Heat was outrageous. You saw articles all over ESPN and other media outlets.

    I couldn't believe it, Chris Bosh wasn't even playing!

    The Knicks are getting better and better, but they are exactly what their record states, nothing more, nothing less.

14. Portland Trail Blazers (26-23)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Nobody wants to play this team in the playoffs, playing this team at Portland is extremely difficult to do, just ask the Lakers.

    The Trial Blazers are a very good team, but they are very beatable on the road where they are 9-18. If they want to become a legitimate threat they must learn how to win on the road. 

13. Memphis Grizzlies (26-24)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The Grizzlies have to be the most surprising team in the last month. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games, even without OJ Mayo. Mike Conley is doing an excellent job in distributing the ball, this team has excellent chemistry. 

    Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph are also doing a great job playing their roles.

    This team is not a legitimate threat, but they are very fun to watch. 

12. Utah Jazz (29-21)

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    This team is always a great regular season team, but will they finally be able to deliver in the playoffs? 

    That is a no, the West has other teams that will easily take the Jazz, but the Jazz fans are content with just getting there, no? 

11. Denver Nuggets (29-20)

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Now, that the Melo drama is done and over with, the Nuggets can now focus on basketball, unfortunately this team is very much like the Jazz.

    They have a lot of pieces that will give you a lot of regular season wins, but I don't see them advancing in the playoffs. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups have done a great job with this team especially with the distractions, but the better team will always win. 

10. Atlanta Hawks (31-18)

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Now, we get into the top 10 and this is where things get very interesting. 

    We start with the Hawks, this is a very good basketball team that can shock the NBA world this coming April.

    They have four outstanding players that can play with the best and that is not even including Mike Bibby.

    The quartet of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and Jamal Crawford can play with anyone in the East. Keep an eye on this team

9. Orlando Magic (32-19)

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    The Orlando Magic's window of opportunity for a championship has been shut. The Heat are the better team. Lebron James dropped 51 on them last night, yes the Magic came back on them, but we saw how the Heat basically dominated the whole game.

    The Magic do have the opportunity to beat a lot of good teams, but the Heat and Celtics will stand in their way. 

8. New Orleans Hornets (32-19)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Chris Paul is one of the elite point-guards and shows it on a nightly basis. He has his Hornets among the top tier of teams in the NBA. They have played excellent basketball in the past month, including a 7-3 record in their last 10 games.

    But are they built to beat the Spurs/Mavs/Lakers? It is going to be a nice series whenever the Hornets face off against any of these teams. 

7. Oklahoma City Thunder (31-17)

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    This is my sleeper pick. Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA right now, I have no doubt about that. When I say sleeper, I mean that this team will go far in the playoffs. They almost knocked off the eventual champions last year and this year they are more experience and just better in general.

    Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook make this team go, they are climbing up these power rankings very fast. 

6. Dallas Mavericks (33-15)

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Mark Cuban came out and publicly said that he will rent a player (Carmelo Anthony) if he has the opportunity. But do they need him?

    Yes, the Mavs have already shown us that they can be a great regular season team and Carmelo Anthony would give them a better chance of knocking off some of the Western Conference elite teams.

    Having said that, the Mavs are 7-3 in their last 10 games, so maybe they don't need Melo.

5. LA Lakers (34-16)

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Wow, how the mighty have fallen. As I saw the Lakers lose a hear-breaker to San Antonio last night, I began to think that maybe, just maybe, the Lakers are done. They are obviously not the dominant team in the West, meaning no number one seed, meaning they have road games to win in the playoffs.

    A lot is being made about Kobe Bryant maybe losing a step, and I am starting to believe it. I know for a fact that he is not the same player he use to be, but know I am beginning to think that he is not able to lead a team to victories anymore.

    Is Kobe finished at 5 rings? Or will Gasol, Bynum, Artest step up in relief effort? We will have to wait and see, but what we do know is that the Lakers are no longer head and shoulders above the Western Conference. 

4. Chicago Bulls (34-14)

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Derick Rose is stepping up in a big way for the Bulls, leading them to a 9-1 record in their last 10 games, cracking the Top Five.

    Carlos Boozer is also making a big impact on the court, the Heat and Celtics might get all the attention, but do not sleep on the Bulls. 

3. Miami Heat (36-14)

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    The Miami Heat are starting to play great as a unit, this is very scary for the rest of the NBA. They absolutely dismantled the Magic for three quarters before letting their guard down in the 4th, but they dominated the game.

    Lebron James is getting more and more comfortable each game, and it helps a lot when you have a fellow All-Star in Wade to rely on.

    They still have a lot of work to do though and they know it. The Celtics are a better team at the moment and would beat the Heat in a playoff series today, fortunately for the Heat they still have about 30 more games to get comfortable. 

2. Boston Celtics (37-11)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The Celtics are the team to beat in the East and everyone knows it. It seems like they don't lose any big games and most of their losses can easily be linked to underestimating the opponent. With losses to Cleveland, Detroit, and Washington this has to be the case.

    The Celtics have excellent chemistry due and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.The rest of the Eastern Conference better prepare very well or it just might be the Celtics in the Finals once again. 

1. San Antonio Spurs (41-8)

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Spurs' run is very impressive, though we should not be surprised. Should we expect less from a Popovich team? 

    The Spurs are going to claim the number one seed in the West and claim home-court throughout the playoffs. 

    I still say the Lakers are the team to beat, but the Spurs have already taken care the Lakers, twice. 

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