Here are the NBA power rankings as we head into week 16.
1. Golden State Warriors - Just when you thought the were showing some chinks in the armor, they’ve lost three games since Christmas Eve and now add DeMarcus Cousins to the mix. It’s still the Warriors and everybody else.
2. Milwaukee Bucks - The Milwaukee Bucks have lost just three games since Christmas and a lot of their recent wins haven’t been close. If the Bucks can add one more peice before the trade deadline, they become an interesting squad down the stretch.
3. Toronto Raptors - The Toronto Raptors are 30-6 SU this season when Kyle Lowry plays. As long as the Raptors are healthy, they’re probably the team to beat in the East.
4. Houston Rockets - The Houston Rockets have been able to tread water with James Harden proving he’s from another planet. Once CP3 and Clint Capela get their feet under them, the Rockets remain the biggest threat to the Warriors.
5. Denver Nuggets - The Denver Nuggets have had some odd results recently, but their depth is insane and Nikola Jokic has to be top-five in the MVP race right now. The Nuggets don’t get enough love.
6. Boston Celtics - The Boston Celtics are quietly starting to put things together and had their chances to beat the Warriors on prime-time Saturday. They’re not playing well enough to warrant the top spot currently, but the Celtics are still my pick to come out of the East when it’s all said and done.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder - Paul George is playing his best basketball since his freak injury and has turned OKC into a legit threat out West. The Thunder need to add another shooter if they’re going to make a real run at this thing.
8. Philadelphia 76ers - The Philadelphia 76ers have won nine of their last 13 games, their best stretch of the season. Assuming Jimmy Butler and others are healthy, I want to see how this squad does against the Warriors on Thursday. Statement game for the young team.
9. Utah Jazz - The Utah Jazz are finally looking like the team we expected to see from the beginning of the season and Donovan Mitchell has found his game again. When playing at this level, the Jazz are still the team nobody in the West wants to play.
10. Indiana Pacers - I’ll give the Indiana Pacers credit for what they’ve accomplished up to this point, but losing Victor Oladipo for the year all but seals their season. It’s a shame, as the Pacers were becoming a sleeping giant in the East.
11. San Antonio Spurs - There’s still a ways to go, but I remember the San Antonio Spurs being plus money before the season to make the playoffs. Start counting your money.
12. Portland Trail Blazers - If the Portland Trail Blazers could play with the same energy on the road as they do at home, the outlook would look a lot more positive. Right now, the Trail Blazers are a cute team with limited depth and a low ceiling.
13. Los Angeles Clippers - The Los Angeles Clippers ran into a bit of a rough patch, but they’re getting healthy and have won four of their last five games. The Clippers have won 21 of their last 28 games when Lou Williams has played.
14. Brooklyn Nets - The Brooklyn Nets continue to be the surprise of the league, and they’re doing this without Caris LeVert and now Spencer Dinwiddie. Is D'Angelo Russell most improved player of the year?
15. Los Angeles Lakers - The Los Angeles Lakers have seven of their next eight games against playoff hopeful teams. If LeBron James doesn’t return soon, this season could be a wrap before the all-star break.
16. Sacramento Kings - The Sacramento Kings are ahead of the curve in terms of where they should be and have some nice building blocks in Buddy Hield, De'Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson. The Kings have a brighter future than a lot of teams below them in these rankings. Wut.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves - The Minnesota Timberwolves are the most frustrating team in the league, as one day Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns look engaged and are screaming on their opponents, the next day they look like they just walked out of bed. The Timberwolves annoy me.
18. Miami Heat - The Miami Heat have a roster issue, as there’s too much depth (role players) and not enough minutes to go around. The emergence of Justise Winslow gives the Heat a much brighter future, but some of these guys need to be moved at the deadline.
19. Dallas Mavericks - The Dallas Mavericks are one of the more fun teams to watch in the league and would be playoff caliber if they could put together even a few wins on the road. Something. Either way, the Mavs are a team on the rise.
20. New Orleans Pelicans - Unless they make a splash at the deadline, the New Orleans Pelicans are going nowhere fast and Anthony Davis’ value has never been as high given his contract situation. The Pelicans can salvage things if they weren’t being stubborn.
21. Charlotte Hornets - The Charlotte Hornets have played 12 of their last 17 games on the road. While that’s brutal to say the least, the Hornets are the same Hornets they’ve been the last several years. Just blah. Move Kemba Walker while you still can, MJ.
22. Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal may be the most unappreciated player in the league give what he’s done with the Washington Wizards without John Wall. The Wizards should not be a couple of games outside of the last playoff spot.
23. Detroit Pistons - Blake Griffin has been on an absolute tear these last couple of weeks and it would be nice to see him playing in meaningful games again. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen with the Detroit Pistons.
24. Orlando Magic - The Orlando Magic have won just four games since New Years Eve and have been held under 100 points in their last two contests, which is tough in today’s NBA. It seems like it’s the same Magic season year after year.
25. Memphis Grizzlies - It’s nice to see at least one struggling franchise willing to shake things up, and it’s even better Mike Conley and Marc Gasol could be getting a new chance at life.
26. Atlanta Hawks - The Atlanta Hawks have shown more promise than their record indicates, while John Collins and Trae Young are starting to form into a respectable 1-2 punch. If the Hawks play their card right, they could be a playoff team in a year or two.
27. Phoenix Suns - The Phoenix Suns get waxed most nights, but their top-five leading scorers are all 25 years old or younger. It may be painful to be a Suns fan now, but trust the process and things could eventually pay off.
28. New York Knicks - The New York Knicks have had chances to win a lot of games these last couple of weeks but then remember they’re supposed to be tanking, and they find these bizarre ways to lose. Get a top-three pick and the health of Kristaps Porzingis, and the Knicks are cooking with gas.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers - The Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot of success tanking in the years LeBron James isn’t around. Just their luck, this is the draft they could end up with a guy who is built a lot like LeBron.
30. Chicago Bulls - The Chicago Bulls just lost at home to the Cavs as seven-point favorites. The good news is seeing Zion Williamson in Chicago over Cleveland has a lot better feel to it.