Now well into January, fans can finally gauge which teams are for real and which teams aren’t. Here is a ranking of all 30 teams for week 13 of the NBA.
1.Golden State Warriors 33-8
*The Warriors are on a five-game win-streak and have won 8 of their last 10 matchups.
*To this point, the Warriors lead the NBA in points per game, averaging 116.0 points.
*Kevin Durant has missed the past three games but GSW has continued to win without him.
2.Boston Celtics 33-10
*The Celtics had a strong week highlighted by wins over Cleveland and Minnesota. Their only game this week will be in London where they’ll face the 76ers.
*Jayson Tatum is having a great rookie season as he leads all rookies in 3p%, shooting .462 from deep.
3.Cleveland Cavaliers 26-14
*Cleveland had a rough week, getting blown out by Minnesota and barely beating the Orlando Magic.
*They have defensive problems and rank 24th in points allowed per game.
*Isaiah Thomas is back and apparently a dirty player – he was ejected for clothes lining Andrew Wiggins’ neck. Good thing for Wiggins is that IT isn’t tall enough to reach his head.
4.Toronto Raptors 28-10
*Toronto had a good week with a bitter taste at the end as Kyle Lowry had to be carried off the court with a back injury.
*If Lowry has to miss time, a lot a responsibility will be put on young backups Delon Wright and Fred Van Vleet.
5.San Antonio Spurs 28-14
*The Spurs have a talented roster but many injury questions.
*Rudy Gay is out at least two weeks with a heel injury and Kawhi Leonard is out indefinitely with a left shoulder tear.
6.Houston Rockets 28-11
*The injury to James Harden is obviously a killer. They’re just 3-7 in their last ten and their offense is stagnant without Harden.
*The Rockets hope to get Harden back before their Jan. 20 matchup against GSW.
7.Minnesota Timberwolves 26-16
*The Timberwolves had their best game of the season, blowing out Cleveland Monday night.
*Minnesota can’t wait to get Jeff Teague back from injury. Tyus Jones is an adequate replacement but not as effective as Teague.
8.Oklahoma City Thunder 22-18
*The OKC big three has finally learned to play as a team after early season struggles.
*Westbrook,Carmelo, and PG13 average 63.4 point per game while the rest of the team averages under 50 points per game.
9.Washington Wizards 23-17
*While Bradley Beal and John Wall get all the attention, Otto Porter Jr. is another important contributor to the team, scoring 14.2 ppg.
Since John Wall returned from injury in December, the Wizards are 9-4.
10.Milwaukee Bucks 21-18
*The Greek Freak has had an MVP-caliber season but Thon Maker has not lived up to high expectations, only managing 4.6 ppg with his shooting percentages dropping from his rookie year.
11.Miami Heat 22-17
*Miami has been solid of late, riding a four game win streak, and jumping into the five seed in the east.
*The Heat have a very balanced attack; eight players average over 10.0 ppg.
12.Portland Trail Blazers 21-18
*The Trail Blazers held on for a one-point win over San Antonio on Sunday night. Damian Lillard has missed 6 of the Blazers last 8 due to injuries but they’ve stayed strong, going 4-2 without him.
13.Denver Nuggets 21-19
*Denver had a solid week, going 2-2 to position themselves as the seven seed in the west.
*Gary Harris has had his best season yet; he had a career high 36 points last Wednesday in a win over Phoenix.
14.Philadelphia 76ers 19-19
*Philly bounced back from its slump as they ride a four-game win streak.
*To make it as straightforward as possible: they are a good team with Joel Embiid and a bad one without him. Philly is 2-7 when Embiid does not play.
*The Sixers are looking to continue their win streak and also get Markelle Fultz back in action soon.
15.Detroit Pistons 21-18
*The Pistons were blown out by the Sixers last Friday, losing by 36.
*Both the 76ers and Pistons are teams who are looking for one of the last spots in the playoffs, so it doesn’t help Detroit that they are 0-3 against Philly this season.
16.New Orleans Pelicans 20-19
*The Pelicans have been a consistently decent team all season. Their record has been .500 on 12 different occasions already.
*Anthony Davis suffered an ankle injury and the Pelicans need him in the lineup for success.
17.Indiana Pacers 21-19
*Indiana went 2-1 last week with a win and loss against the Bucks.
*They have two important upcoming games as they try to maintain the eight seed, playing the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavs this week.
*With all the attention Victor Oladipo gets, Darren Collison has been a good option to this point; he averages 5.5 assists and 12.5 ppg.
18.New York Knicks 19-21
*Lance Thomas and Jarrett Jack aren’t reliable starters. The Knicks should look to add a more effective option to bolster their roster at the trade deadline. Nicolas Batum of the Hornets is a possibility
19.Los Angeles Clippers 18-21
*It’s been one injury after another all season for the LA Clippers. Blake Griffin suffered a concussion Saturday and remains in the concussion protocol.
*Without Griffin, the Clippers barely beat the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.
20.Utah Jazz 16-24
*The Jazz have struggled mightily without Rudy Gobert; the Jazz are 2-11 since he suffered a knee injury on Dec.15 against the Celtics.
*Hopefully, Gobert returns in the next few weeks. Utah has created a big hole to climb out of; they are four and a half games out of the eight seed.
21.Chicago Bulls 14-27
*The Bulls have actually improved a lot with the return of Nikola Mirotic; they are 11-6 when he plays.
*Chicago will get another asset back as Zach Lavine makes his return from ACL surgery.
22.Charlotte Hornets 15-23
*Charlotte won both of its two games last week, beating Sacramento and the LA Lakers.
*Coming into the season with expectations of a playoff appearance, the Hornets have massively disappointed and are 5 games out of the playoff picture.
23.Dallas Mavericks 13-28
*Dallas couldn’t get a win and lost all three of their games last week.
*Dennis Smith has given Dallas some hope, averaging 13.8 ppg, ranking 6th among rookies.
24.Brooklyn Nets 15-25
*Spencer Dinwiddie was the hero last Wednesday, hitting the go-ahead shot with 10 seconds remaining to beat the Timberwolves. Dinwiddie has been very solid for the Nets this season as he averages 13.5 ppg, a career high.
25.Sacramento Kings 13-26
*Willie Cauley-Stein recorded 7 steals in Saturday’s win over the Denver Nuggets. This was the most steals in a game by a starting center since David Robinson in 2000.
*In January thus far, Cauley-Stein has averaged 15.7 ppg.
26.Phoenix Suns 16-26
*Phoenix’s defense has been the worst all season, ranking last in points allowed per game.
*Dragan Bender scored a career-high 20 points to beat the Thunder last Sunday. The 2016 4th overall pick has not lived up to the hype, though, as he averages just 5.7 ppg.
27.Memphis Grizzlies 12-27
*Memphis has been disappointing all season. Through 39 games last season, Memphis was 21-16.
*Likely not a playoff contender this year, Memphis should look to sell on Mike Conley and possibly Marc Gasol at the trade deadline.
28.Atlanta Hawks 10-30
*The Hawks’ lackluster season continued as they’re riding a four game losing streak.
*Taurean Prince has been a bright spot; he averages 13.0 ppg after averaging just 5.9 ppg in his rookie campaign.
29.Los Angeles Lakers 12-27
*Lonzo Ball’s worth didn’t fully show until they lost his production for six games. They did not win any of those games.
*With Lonzo back, the Lakers are looking to get out of the hole and reach Lavar’s guarantee of a playoff appearance in 2018.
30.Orlando Magic 12-28
*After an 8-4 start, the Magic are 4-24 since November 10.
*Aaron Gordon has been the one bright spot as he averages a career high 19.2 ppg.
*6th overall pick, Jonathan Isaac, hasn’t been healthy all season and the Magic miss his production.