Thanks for checking in on Dig In Denver’s first edition of our weekly NBA Power Rankings!
Before we get to the rankings, we need to go over how we came to our decision. I teamed up with fellow contributor Corban Ford-Watson for the column and we each gave our own opinion on where each team should fall in the rankings.
The method: Corban and I sent each other our rankings 1-30. I assigned 30 points to the team that was ranked first, 29 points to the team ranked 2nd in each list, and so on – finishing with the team ranked last in each list receiving 1 point. I then added the two totals from each list together to get a final number. I finished by ranking the teams based on the total number of points from both lists. Without further ado – here are Dig In Denver’s first NBA power rankings.
**Team records include all games through Thursday, January 12**
1. Golden State Warriors
Derek K: They aren’t gunning for the NBA wins record, but the Warriors are still a force to be reckoned with. Don’t be surprised if they make a deal to get better before the deadline.
2. San Antonio Spurs
Corban: The Spurs have continued their regular season excellence, sitting 3rd in offensive efficiency, and using a well balanced offensive attack anchored by Kawhi Leonard.
3. (Tie) Cleveland Cavaliers
Derek K: The J.R. Smith injury hurt, but Kyle Korver’s addition to the team will help them space the floor. The win/loss total won’t be where you might expect at the end of the year, but if LeBron and Co. are healthy in the playoffs, they could still be the team to beat.
3. (Tie) Houston Rockets
Derek K: Count me in for the Harden for MVP movement. He’s averaging 28.6 points and 11.8 assists a game. If I’m the Warriors or Spurs, I don’t want to see the beard in the playoffs.
5. Toronto Raptors
Derek K: The Lowry + DeRozan tandem gives the Raptors one of the best backcourts in the league. Can they get enough help down low to challenge the Cavaliers?
6. (Tie) Boston Celtics
Corban: The Celtics are coming off a very chippy win over Washington and Isaiah Thomas is the reason why. He is VERY deserving of an All-Star bid this year.
8. Milwaukee Bucks
Corban: The Bucks lost the Greek Freak for a bit due to illness, but they have played better than their record as of late, and should continue to make some noise once Khris Middleton returns.
9. Utah Jazz
Derek K: This team defensively grinds out games and Gordon Hayward is really, really good.
11. Memphis Grizzlies
Derek K: I’ll be the first to admit – before the season started I completely discounted the Grizzlies. They have far outperformed most experts’ expectations and are surprisingly fun to watch.
12. Atlanta Hawks
Corban: The Hawks are a weird bunch. They jettison Kyle Korver and look like a fire sale waiting to happen, yet are on a 7 game winning streak. Who can understand the Hawks?
14. (Tie) Washington Wizards
Corban: The Wizards look to hover around .500 with that decent starting 5 but horrific bench.
14. (Tie) Indiana Pacers
Corban: The Pacers are currently dealing with a poor frontcourt rotation off the bench as well as a totally devastating loss to Denver across the pond, where the only pacer who bothered to make the trip was Jeff Teague.
16. Chicago Bulls
Corban: The Bulls are reeling. With Jimmy Butler still returning from illness coupled with Rajon Rondo being a mess and almost no shooting from the outside, could coach Hoiberg and GarPax be on the hot seat?
17. Detroit Pistons
Derek K: The Pistons are an enigma. They started slow, started getting hot, and then finished the 2016 going 1-8 in their last 9 games.
18. New Orleans Pelicans
Corban: The Pelicans seemed to be building momentum until Anthony Davis got injured in NY. It’ll be interesting to see how the next week plays out.
19. Portland Trail Blazers
Derek K: I previously mentioned the Raptors had one of the best backcourts in the league, but Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have something special going on in Portland. Look for Portland to get hot if they can ever figure out how to play defense.
20. Sacramento Kings
Corban: Don’t look now, but the Kings are in the race for 8th! Go Boogie go!!
21. Denver Nuggets
Derek K: The Nuggets have one of the deepest rosters in the league. When will they find a rotation that works consistently, and will they make moves or stand pat before the deadline? Bonus question: Should the Nuggets play all their games in London?
22. Minnesota Timberwolves
Corban: The Wolves are coming off a feel good win over Houston. Could that be the win that Thibs and the Timberpups use to turn the corner?
23. New York Knicks
Derek K: Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks have been struggling mightily as of late (2-8 in their last 10). With Derrick Rose going haywire, will the Knicks continue their downward spiral?
24. (Tie) Los Angeles Lakers
Corban: The Lakers just had themselves a 40 point embarrassment in San Antonio.
24. (Tie) Orlando Magic
Corban: The Magic are hopelessly trying to make a mismatched roster work, to no avail.
26. Phoenix Suns
Corban: At this point the Suns are just waiting until the trade deadline to give away some veterans and truly embrace the tanking process. Also, Devin Booker can put the ball in the hole.
27. Miami Heat
Derek K: The Heat should have a fire sale at the deadline. Look for Goran Dragic to be the first to go.
28. Philadelphia 76ers
Corban: The 76ers have more wins than all of last season and are already looking at the playoffs? Trust the process!!
29. Dallas Mavericks
Derek K: The Mavericks have been nothing but a disappointment. They weren’t expected to compete much in the west, but I don’t think many saw this record coming. We want (and deserve) more healthy Dirk!
30. Brooklyn Nets
Corban: The Nets are terrible – but not totally unwatchable. Also, this might be the year that Brook Lopez is traded for a first round pick in what should be a deep draft.
Questions/Comments? Be sure to follow us and let us know on Twitter @digindenver / @kainzd / @corbantheman