Between March Madness and the NFL Free Agency Frenzy, this is one of the most exciting weeks in sports. With about a month left in the NBA season, here is a ranking of all 30 teams.
1.Houston Rockets 53-14
*Houston’s 17 game winning streak was snapped by Toronto last Friday.
*Even in the loss, James Harden continued to dominate with 40 points on 15-22 shooting.
*The Rockets’ offense revolves around Harden and Chris Paul: Paul has a usage rate of 24.4% per 100 possessions while Harden has a 36.0% usage rate, the highest in the NBA.
2.Toronto Raptors 49-17
*Toronto has been unstoppable, going on an eight game winning streak, their longest of the season.
*Toronto has controlled the game on both ends of the court, averaging 112.0 ppg while allowing just 102.2 ppg this month.
3.Golden State Warriors 51-16
*Golden State couldn’t catch the Rockets at the top of the West and are now two games behind them after back-to-back losses last week.
*Kevin Durant has caught fire, averaging 38.7 ppg and 9.6 rpg in his last three games.
4.Portland Trail Blazers 41-26
*Portland has played at an elite level since the All Star break and are now on a ten game winning streak.
*The big question for Portland heading into the playoffs is the play of their big men. Jusuf Nurkic has shown flashes of being an elite defender but his limited range and offensive ability hold him back from being a true superstar.
5.Boston Celtics 46-21
Injuries are starting to build up for the Celtics as Daniel Theis is out for the year with a torn meniscus and Marcus Smart is out indefinitely with a thumb injury.
*The Celtics were an underwhelming 6-5 when Smart missed 11 games right before the All Star break.
*Luckily for Boston, they are 7 games above the three seed so there is not a lot of room for the Celtics to fall in the East.
6.Utah Jazz 37-30
*The Jazz’ dominance continued as they finally got into playoff position, currently as the eighth seed.
*Ben Simmons has been incredible for the 76ers, but Donovan Mitchell should be Rookie of the Year and here’s why: the offense in Philly revolves around Joel Embiid while Utah’s offense revolves around Mitchell. Mitchell leads all rookies with 19.8 ppg and a usage rate of 28.7%. If he gets hurt, the Jazz likely aren’t making the playoffs.
7.Indiana Pacers 39-28
*The Pacers held on despite almost blowing a five point lead with ten seconds (what a flop by Marcus Morris) against Boston on Sunday.
*Domantas Sabonis has had a very good stretch of games, averaging 15.5 ppg and 8.3 rpg this month.
8.Philadelphia 76ers 36-29
*The 76ers went 2-1 last week with wins over Brooklyn and Charlotte.
*After shooting better than 40% on 3’s during the first two months of the season, Robert Covington went into a slump, shooting 29% from 3 in February. Covington is starting to regain his three point shot, shooting 39% from deep in his last four games.
9.Oklahoma City Thunder 40-29
*Once again, the Thunder barely held on to win a game that should have been an easy win on Monday night, beating the Kings by 5.
*The Thunder have barely held on for some wins against non-playoff teams since the All-Star break, beating the Kings by 3, Orlando by 7, and Dallas by 1 point.
10.New Orleans Pelicans 38-28
*Despite losing to Utah, Anthony Davis had another monster game with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocks; Davis’ first career triple-double.
*The Pelicans have revolved around Davis since the injury to Boogie Cousins as his usage rate has increased from 28.9% to 33.0% after the All Star break.
11.Washington Wizards 38-29
*Washington lost big to Miami, one night after beating the Pelicans by 19. The Wizards have been decent at best on the second night of back-to-backs, going 5-6 in those games.
*The Wizards will have another back-to-back with Minnesota on Tuesday and Boston on Wednesday.
12.Denver Nuggets 37-30
*Nikola Jokic has had a nice stretch of games since the All-Star break, increasing his shooting percentage from 49% to 57%; he’s averaging 17.2 ppg on the season.
*The Nuggets are currently the nine-seed but tied with the Jazz and Spurs in record so the margin for error is slim for Denver.
13.Cleveland Cavaliers 38-28
*While Lebron this year is averaging the most points per game since he was a member of the Heat, his turnover rate is at a career high of 16.3%.
*The Cavs have now lost 5 of their last 8 and are down to the fourth seed in the East as they head into the final stretch of the regular-season.
14.Los Angeles Clippers 36-29
*The Clippers have actually improved in terms of winning percentage since the Blake Griffin trade. 25-24 when Griffin was traded, the Clippers have gone 11-4 since then to remain in playoff contention.
*The Clippers will be tested this week with matchups against Houston, OKC, and Portland.
15.Minnesota Timberwolves 39-29
*The Timberwolves got back in the win column after a three game losing streak, beating Golden State on Sunday.
*The Timberwolves signed Derrick Rose as he will reunite with coach Tom Thibodeau. Rose was unimpressive in his first game with the team as he had 2 points and 2 turnovers, resulting in a -17 plus minus while playing just 7 minutes.
16.San Antonio Spurs 37-30
*Kawhi Leonard remains out of the lineup as the Spurs have slid all the way into the tenth seed in the Western Conference.
*The Spurs have a difficult schedule going out as 12 of their remaining 15 games are against teams in position to make the playoffs.
*It would be the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Spurs did not make the playoffs.
17.Los Angeles Lakers 30-36
*The Lakers have continued to remain relevant as they have won 7 of their last ten games.
*Julius Randle had a career high 36 points against Cleveland on 14-18 shooting. Randle is shooting 57%, which is eighth best in the NBA.
18.Miami Heat 36-32
*Miami had big wins against Washington and Philly before losing to Portland last week. *While they’re not a lock to make the playoffs, the Heat are five games above the ninth seed Detroit Pistons so it would take a major collapse for the Heat to miss the playoffs.
19.Milwaukee Bucks 36-31
*The Bucks broke out of their slump to beat the Knicks and Grizzlies last week.
*Their defense often tells the story as the Bucks hold teams to just 99.7 ppg in wins but allow 111.7 ppg in losses.
20.Charlotte Hornets 29-38
*The Hornets held off the Phoenix Suns to snap their five game skid last Saturday.
*Nicolas Batum came close to a triple-double as he had 29 points, 12 boards, and 7 assists in the win. Batum has had a good March as he is averaging a season-high 14.4 ppg.
21.Detroit Pistons 30-36
*Detroit has continued to struggle as they are 7-10 since acquiring Blake Griffin.
*The Pistons have been committing too many turnovers as they have commited 15.0 per game in March which is a season-high for them for a single month this season.
22.Chicago Bulls 23-43
*The Bulls got a pair of wins in week 21, beating the Grizzlies and Hawks.
*The Bulls have struggled to overcome defects as they are 1-32 when trailing by ten or more heading into the fourth quarter.
23.Dallas Mavericks 21-46
*Dallas’ season went from bad to worse as Wesley Matthews was ruled out for the season with a broken leg. Wesley led the team in steals per game and was third in scoring.
24.Sacramento Kings 21-47
*Sacramento struggled again last week with losses to OKC and Denver.
*Zach Randolph has improved his three point shooting at age 36. Having already shot a career-high in attempts, Randolph is 34% from beyond the arc this season.
25.Brooklyn Nets 21-46
*The Nets were 1-2 last with losses to GSW and Philly.
*Jahlil Okafor received playing time for the first time in nearly a month as he had 4 points in 6 minutes.
*That trade with Philly back in December did not benefit either team as both Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas do not play important roles for Brooklyn and Trevor Booker was waived by Philly.
26.New York Knicks 24-43
*The Knicks continued to struggle as they have lost 15 of their last 16 games.
*They have been terrible from three as they are shooting just 29% from deep during their losing stretch.
27.Atlanta Hawks 20-47
*The Hawks have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, snapping their ten year streak of making them.
*The only team who had a longer streak was San Antonio as they have made 20 straight playoffs.
28.Orlando Magic 20-47
*Jonathan Isaac is finally healthy for the struggling Magic. With Isaac on the court, the Magic are 10-11.
*The Magic can look forward to the draft as they have already been eliminated from the playoffs.
29.Phoenix Suns 19-49
*The Suns have been terrible, losing 20 of their last 22 games.
*Their schedule won’t get easier as they have to play Cleveland, Golden State, and Utah next week. Not a bad thing from a tanking perspective.
30.Memphis Grizzlies 18-49
*The Grizzlies have been terrible as they are on an 18 game losing streak. The longest losing streak in NBA history is the 76ers’ 28 game losing streak from 2014-16, and the Grizzlies could break that record this season.