Ron Glover’s NBA Power Rankings (Dec. 24 – Dec. 31): The Clippers hold the top spot, but the Heat is on
The NBA’s top scoring tandem have remained focused on a return to the NBA Finals.
I decided to hold off on posting NBA Power Rankings until the NFL season began to wind down.
The play Los Angeles Clippers has been the story of the season so far. A 17-game winning streak by this former laughingstock is impressive as any we’ve seen in recent memory.
In New York, the revival of the Knickerbockers has given everyone in Gotham hope for a spring date in the NBA Finals.
Jamal Crawford is a huge key to the Clippers success.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (25-6) – Only the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers and the 1995-96 San Antonio Spurs went an entire month undefeated before the Clippers made their mark.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-6) – Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are carrying a Thunder team who may be in the hunt for some scoring in the middle as the trade deadline approaches.
3. San Antonio Spurs (25-8) – I’m not moved one way or the other by the Spurs start. We’ll see how much they have left in May.
4. New York Knicks (21-10) – The Knicks are slowly coming back to earth. The return of Amar’e Stoudemire adds depth and headaches for the opposition.
5. Miami Heat (21-9) – The two blowout losses to the Knicks and a loss to the Wizards may give off the vibe of the Heat being bored.
That’s S-T-E-P-H on your All-Star ballot.
6. Golden State Warriors (21-10) – Mark Jackson’s bunch has scoring, rebounding and defense. Steph Curry and David Lee may receive nods for the Western Conference All-Stars.
7. Memphis Grizzlies – (19-9) – Memphis played .500 ball in December (7-7) after entering the month 12-2.
8. Atlanta Hawks (19-10) – The Hawks don’t have a player in the NBA’s top 30 in scoring. They are 4-1 with Lou Williams in a starting role.
9. Indiana Pacers (18-13) – The injury to Danny Granger has opened the door for star Paul George. David West has resurrected his career with the Pacers.
Joakim Noah has been playing some grown man ball.
10. Chicago Bulls (16-13) – This edition of the Chicago Bulls is proof of a team who comes with a defensive presence has a better than good chance of being effective every night.
11. Houston Rockets (17-14) – Chandler Parsons has become a vital third scorer in the Rockets high-octane offense.
12. Denver Nuggets (17-15) – The Nuggets have only played eleven home games this season. After a shaky start it looks like they’re ready to start making some noise in the West.
13. Milwaukee Bucks (16-13) – The Bucks would be foolish to break up the tandem of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-13) – Nickola Pekovic has allowed Kevin Love to give us the full monty of his game
15. Los Angeles Lakers (15-15) – The Lakers are off to their worst start in a decade. I don’t see much changing with this squad.
16. Brooklyn Nets (16-15) – A less than promising start for a team with loads of star power. Deron Williams will catch the wrath of the NY fans and press if this doesn’t turn around.
The uncovering of Damian Lillard reminds me of when the Blazers drafted Brandon Roy.
17. Portland Trailblazers (15-14) – Damian Lillard is just what the Blazers needed. Now about the issue in the middle…
18. Boston Celtics (14-16) – I was hoping the Celtics depth would give them more support than what we’ve seen.
19. Utah Jazz (15-17) – I didn’t want to believe Tyrone Corbin was the right man for this job. The Jazz are holding their own in a tough division and should make the playoffs again.
J-Rue The Damaja may be the NBA’s most improved player.
20. Philadelphia 76ers (14-17) – I really don’t want to get into the “what ifs” with this team. The six-game skid in December may leave a mark.
21. Dallas Mavericks (12-19) – Am I the only one waiting for the Mavericks to catch fire?
22. Orlando Magic (12-19) – Believe it or not, the early winners of the Dwight Howard trade are the Orlando Magic
23. Sacramento Kings (11-19) – Depending on the time Tyreke Evans is due to miss, the Kings should improve. I don’t see the franchise giving up on DeMarcus Cousins yet.
24. Toronto Raptors (11-20) – The Raptors were wise to keep Jose Calderon. I don’t know If I’ll be able to say the same for Andrea Bargnani in the upcoming weeks.
25. Phoenix Suns (11-21) – The Suns are 5th worst in the NBA in points allowed.
26. Detroit Pistons (11-22) – Good building blocks in Motown, they just need more bodies.
27. Charlotte Bobcats (8-23) – The Bobcats were playing well before the bottom fell out.
28. New Orleans Hornets (7-23) – Anthony Davis is beginning to put up the defensive numbers we expected.
In his second season Kyrie Irving has left defenders crying Uncle Drew.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-25) – I was banking on the Cavs making some noise in the Central Division this season.
30. Washington Wizards (4-24) – The return of John Wall isn’t the cure-all, but it may count for a few more wins.