NBA Power Rankings, Post All-Star Break

The NBA All-Star Break is about to end, and here are your power rankings as of this moment (note: not an NBA expert, so my opinions are more surface-level than most):

  1. Golden State Warriors (48-4)- As of right now, Golden State is on pace to break the record for the most wins by any team in NBA regular season history, which would break the record of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. With the MVP play of Stephen Curry, an outstanding supporting cast including All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, and a deep bench, this team has shown its ability to beat the NBA’s elite, and thus are favorably positioned for a historic second half.
  2. San Antonio Spurs (45-8)- While the Warriors may be the best team, if they lose focus at all, San Antonio is quite close behind. They are on pace for the best scoring differential in NBA history, outscoring opponents by 13.3 points per game, and have an All-Star frontcourt of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, mainstays Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, and deep bench that looks poised to challenge the Warriors for best in the West for the rest of the season
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-14)- Possibly the second-hottest team besides the Warriors heading into the All-Star break, the Thunder, led by outstanding play by excellent frontcourt-backcourt duo Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, are rolling teams offensively in a way that only the Warriors can challenge. They also gave the Warriors the biggest scare in their recent win streak, and although they lost, a rematch in OKC is one to watch for the second half
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-14)- With the coaching switch from David Blatt to Tyronn Lue, the Cavs have definitely played better and remain the class of the East. What remains to be seen is what happens to Kevin Love or Timofey Mozgov at the trade deadline, and how the Cavs can hold off the challenging Raptors. But, with LeBron James on the team, anything is possible.
  5. Toronto Raptors (35-17)- The biggest challengers in the East to the Cavaliers, the Raptors have the East’s best backcourt with All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan, and now that the Toronto All-Star game has passed, the Raptors must stay relevant by continuing to chip away at the Cavalier’s lead. Their true test, however, will not be passed unless they contend deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs.
  6. Boston Celtics (32-23)- The Celtics had been one of basketball’s hottest teams going into the break, and can possibly rise in these rankings if they improve significantly after the trade deadline.
  7. Los Angeles Clippers (35-18)- Clearly the fourth-best team in the West, the Clippers are waiting for the return of Blake Griffin from injury and suspension. However, with the strong performance of the team without him, there is a possibility he may be changing teams at the trade deadline.
  8. Memphis Grizzlies (31-22)- They were playing well prior to the break, but the loss of Marc Gasol could lead to a clear tumble down the rankings
  9. Atlanta Hawks (31-24)- It remains to be seen whether they trade Al Horford or Jeff Teague, but the Hawks remain strong contenders in the East for the time being.
  10. Portland Trail Blazers (27-27)- The strong play of Damian Lillard has led to a leap into strong for the Blazers into playoff contention as long as their hot streak continues
  11. Miami Heat (29-24)- The injury to Chris Bosh may be devastating, but Miami’s decisions at the trade deadline could aid their issues
  12. Utah Jazz (26-26)- Like the Trail Blazers, recent strong play by their stars such as Gordon Hayward have brought the Jazz into contention in the West with a hot streak
  13. Dallas Mavericks (29-26)- A cold spell has hurt the Mavs, but with a return to health for Dirk and trade deadline activity possible, they are still contenders
  14. Indiana Pacers (28-25)- The recent cold stretch hasn’t put the Pacers out of contention in the East, but Paul George and his teammates need to refocus and play better
  15. Charlotte Hornets (27-26)- A hot stretch brought the Hornets back over .500 and into contention, but it remains to be seen how they will replace Michael Kidd-Gilchrist once again
  16. Detroit Pistons (27-27)- A three game losing streak prior to the All Star break dropped their record to .500, but due to many injuries to key players of East playoff contenders, the Pistons are very much still in contention
  17. Houston Rockets (27-28)- While James Harden continues to be one of the game’s best offensive players, the lack of team defense and cohesiveness has led to a fall for the Rockets, and their trade deadline seems to be focused on how to get a good return for Dwight Howard before he bolts into free agency
  18. Washington Wizards (23-28)- In spite of the pre-All Star Break cold streak, their schedule, easiest in the NBA post-break, combined with injuries throughout may allow for Washington to sneak into playoff contention if John Wall can gain the necessary help and get the team on a hot streak
  19. Chicago Bulls (27-25)- This team has gone from playoff contender to disaster due to the injury to their All-Star shooting guard and best player Jimmy Butler sidelining him for about 4 weeks. The Bulls are not built to survive injuries as large as this, and thus will continue to slide out of playoff contention without Butler
  20. Orlando Magic (23-29)- A strong start led to promise for the Magic, but a massive cold streak has led to them slipping out of contention. But, if they can play like they were early on, the Magic have a chance
  21. New York Knicks (23-32)- They may have just fired their head coach, but with All-Star Carmelo Anthony and dominant rookie Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks certainly have the ability to play spoiler in the East
  22. Denver Nuggets (22-32)- Unlike other teams in the bottom tier, the Nuggets have been playing better and thus are in the top half of the bottom 10
  23. New Orleans Pelicans (20-33)- In spite of the presence of All-Star forward Anthony Davis, injuries and poor play have led to a lost season for the Pelicans. Trade deadline deals may be necessary to rebuild the team around Davis
  24. Minnesota Timberwolves (17-37)- The dominant play of rookie Karl-Anthony Towns, the unbelievable dunking skills of Zach LaVine, and potential for Andrew Wiggins give the T-Wolves a bright future, but for now, maximizing the value of Ricky Rubio at the trade deadline could lead to contention sooner than later for a developing team in need of even more young talent
  25. Milwaukee Bucks (22-32)- The one positive for the Bucks this season: they somehow were the first team to beat the Warriors. Otherwise, not much else to say
  26. Sacramento Kings (22-31)- The team’s strong offense, led by All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, has been undermined by horrific defense. Decisions at the trade deadline will be crucial for this team’s future
  27. Brooklyn Nets (14-40)- The team is in all-out sell mode as they try to recover from a horrendous season
  28. Los Angeles Lakers (11-44)- Kobe’s farewell tour continues, as his final All-Star weekend has ended. The team, however, should sell other veterans and remain in contention for a high lottery pick as they remain at the bottom of the West
  29. Philadelphia 76ers (8-45)- The process continues, and the trade deadline will bring much intrigue
  30. Phoenix Suns (14-40)- They will sell off Markieff Morris, and they will continue to lose

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