NBA Power Rankings: 1/3/11

Ladies and gentlemen, another week of NBA action is upon us, which means more power rankings! And now that the new year is here, it’s time for some teams to make their move if they want to be contenders come May, and it’s time for others to start rebuilding their roster and prepare for the future.

Let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings, and see which teams are in good shape…..and which teams are already searching for that Top 5 draft pick that will change the culture of their franchise.

1. San Antonio Spurs (29-4) – No one will move the Spurs from the top spot for a while, but games this week at MSG and at Boston should be challenging, and five of their next six are on the road.

2. Boston Celtics (25-7) – The injury to Kevin Garnett is concerning, but with Rajon Rondo back at the point, they are still the best team in the East.

3. Miami Heat (26-9) – The Heat are who we thought they were and are starting to play like it, winning 17 of their last 18.

4. Dallas Mavericks (25-8) – There’s no doubt that Mark Cuban is gonna be looking to make a deal soon, now that Caron Butler could be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

5. Orlando Magic (21-12) – The trades looking pretty good right now as Orlando has won five straight, with two of those five wins coming against the Spurs and Celtics.

6. Los Angeles Lakers (23-11) – It would be dumb to go ahead and write off this team. But, they’ve lost their last three at home by 19, 16, and 19…..and that’s a concern.

7. Utah Jazz (23-11) – The Jazz still aren’t getting a lot of attention, but the Jazz are quietly taking care of business, with Deron Williams playing like an MVP right now.

8. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-12) – OKC still has some work to do on the defensive end (allowing 101.2 PPG) before we start declaring them a possible title contender.

9. Chicago Bulls (22-10) – And on the other side of the spectrum, the Bulls are just fantastic on defense right now even without Joakim Noah at center.

10. New Orleans Hornets (20-14) – The Hornets were sliding for a little while, however, they’ve won four of six and are second in the league in points allowed.

11. Atlanta Hawks (22-14) – I’m still not sold on the Hawks, as that same old knock on them seems to continue to rear its’ ugly head every now and then: shot selection.

12. Denver Nuggets (19-13) – There’s pretty much a few guarantees when you watch the Nuggets play (unless they are playing someone like the Kings). They will score at least 100…..and will probably give up at least 100.

13. New York Knicks (19-14) – The Knicks continue to lead the league in scoring, but are also 28th in the league in points allowed, and that’s not good considering they have the Spurs and Lakers this week.

14. Portland Trail Blazers (18-16) – There’s a lot of inconsistency with this team, and until they decide for sure what they are going to do with Brandon Roy, it’ll probably stay that way.

15. Memphis Grizzlies (15-19) – Add the Grizzlies to the list of teams that have blown out the Lakers at home this season, and they could be prime to make a few moves before the trade deadline.

16. Houston Rockets (16-17) – Rick Adelman’s squad has won 7 of 10 and seem to have found their groove on offense.

17. Phoenix Suns (14-18) -Phoenix is in the same boat they’ve always been in defensively, and until they can get defensive stops in crunch time, they won’t be winning on a regular basis.

18. Golden State Warriors (13-20) – The Warriors looked good for a half against the Heat on Saturday, but their defense didn’t exactly help them out when they went cold from the field in the second half.

19. Milwaukee Bucks (13-18) – Even though they will struggle to score without Brandon Jennings, the Bucks should still make a run at one of the lower seeds in the East.

20. Indiana Pacers (14-18) – The Pacers have struggled quite a bit, going 3-7 in their last ten, but they could make a statement with a home win over the Spurs on Friday.

21. Philadelphia 76ers (13-20) -This team hasn’t had any bad losses as of late, and should have a good shot at 2-2 this week.

22. Los Angeles Clippers (10-24) – Despite only having ten wins, the Clippers are on the up and up, winning five of their last eight games.

23. Detroit Pistons (11-22) – I wrote about my frustration with the Pistons. That pretty much sums up their season to this point.

24. Charlotte Bobcats (11-20) – Paul Silas got two straight wins when he took over, and might get another chance with Minnesota and Washington on the upcoming schedule.

25. Toronto Raptors (11-22) – Without Andrea Bargnani, this team just isn’t gonna be very pretty on the offensive end of the floor.

26. New Jersey Nets (9-25) – This team has lost five straight, and I’m man enough to admit that I thought they’d make the playoffs before the season started.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-25) – Despite being in the 27th spot, the T’Wolves have played some decent basketball recently (winning three of four), though tonight’s matchup with Boston could send them back to reality.

28. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-26) – Probably not the stat you are looking for if you’re a Cleveland fan: the Cavs went 1-14 in December.

29. Washington Wizards (8-24) – The Wizards are still winless on the road (0-16), but the good news is that their next three road games are all winnable (at Philly, at Charlotte, and at Minnesota).

30. Sacramento Kings (7-24) – Not a more disappointing team this season in my opinion. But hey, they’ve won two of three, so that’s something to be positive about.

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Hardwood Paroxysm