Before we get to the rankings, we need to go over how we came to our decision. This week, I (@kainzd) am riding solo for the column – I’ll have fellow contributors back next week. Without further ado, here are Dig In Denver’s Week 15 NBA Power Rankings
**Team records include all games through Thursday, February 2nd**
1. Golden State Warriors (Last week: 1)
The Warriors retain the top spot this week. Did everyone notice what JaVale McGee did to keep things light for the team this past week? The Warriors are going to keep rolling.
2. San Antonio Spurs (Last week: 2)
The Spurs are 7-3 in their last 10, which most teams would take in a heartbeat.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (Last week: 4)
The Cavs are only 5-5 in their last 10, and LeBron is making national news for multiple reasons. I don’t see any reason to worry here, the Cavs will represent the East in the Finals.
4. Houston Rockets (Last week: 3)
The Rockets fell one spot in the rankings this week, and lost to former Rocket Dwight Howard in his return to the city.
5. Boston Celtics (Last week: 8)
Isaiah Thomas has had ridiculous numbers in January, and has propelled the C’s into a much stronger playoff position. Look for the C’s to potentially be active at the deadline with their plethora of picks. Only the Nuggets have fairly comparable assets to the Celtics.
6. Utah Jazz (Last week: 5)
The Jazz are averaging less than 100 points a game this season (99.4), and the next best team achieving that feat based on record is the Miami Heat (20-30). DEFENSE….DEFENSE….DEFENSE.
7. Washington Wizards (Last week: 12)
John Wall and the Wizards have been on a tear since the new year, and they are trying stir the pot with the Boston Celtics (they wore all black to their recent game as if they were attending a funeral).
8. Atlanta Hawks (Last week: 10)
The Hawks have been playing extremely well since dealing Kyle Korver, and are moving up the rankings again this week. I don’t know if they’ll be able to sustain their recent success, but they are a fun team to watch.
9. Memphis Grizzlies (Last week: 11)
The Grizzlies keep grinding out wins this season, most recently beating the Nuggets 119-99. Marc Gasol deserves all the praise he’s been getting.
10. Toronto Raptors (Last week: 6)
I previously mentioned that I’m not worried about the Cavs’ chances of representing the East in the FInals. Part of that reason is how inconsistent the Raptors have been since the start of the new year. What’s going on in Toronto?
11. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last week: 9)
The Thunder aren’t as deep as a lot of the upper-echelon teams in the West, but Russell Westbrook keeps them competitive. They aren’t equipped to handle injuries, like the recent one to Enes Kanter.
12. Indiana Pacers (Last week: 13)
What would the Nuggets have to mortgage to get PG13 in Denver? Can’t a man dream….
13. Los Angeles Clippers (Last week: 7)
I have the Clippers a little lower than most, but they haven’t done much lately. Blake Griffin is finally back and looks healthy, but will he stay that way until (and after) Chris Paul gets back?
14. Denver Nuggets (Last week: 15)
The Nuggets have lost their last 2 games, but don’t let the most recent skid deter fans from showing up to Pepsi Center. Nikola Jokic has been out, but will return tonight against the Bucks.
15. Charlotte Hornets (Last week: 14)
Kemba Walker is an All-Star! If Nicolas Batum can start hitting 3’s at a better clip (or any shot for that matter), the Hornets should see their record improve.
16. Chicago Bulls (Last week: 16)
The Bulls have rallied to a mediocre 6-4 in their last 10 games, but they are reportedly debating blowing it all up and shipping Jimmy Butler out of town.
17. Miami Heat (Last week: 26)
Miami’s record this season isn’t great, but they’re 9-1 in their last 10 games. Everyone assumed Goran Dragic was on his way out, but do the Heat stand pat or even become buyers at the deadline?
18. Detroit Pistons (Last week: 18)
The only constant in the Piston’s season this year has been inconsistency.
19. Philadelphia 76ers (Last week: 23)
Ok, I might be caught up in the #RAISETHECAT movement, but this 76ers team is fun to watch.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (Last week: 19)
The Trail Blazers remain in a tight battle with the Nuggets for the 8th seed in the West. If Portland (or Denver, for that matter) could play consistent defense they might be able to separate themselves.
21. Milwaukee Bucks (Last week: 17)
The Bucks are struggling (1-9 in their last 10) – hopefully that continues in Denver on Friday night.
22. New York Knicks (Last week: 20)
Carmelo is the obvious story, but the Knicks have a lot of other problems with this team. Is it time for Phil Jackson to go?
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (Last week: 24)
Andrew Wiggins has finally been playing better as of late. The team that many experts thought could be a playoff team in the West is starting to show signs of life.
24. Dallas Mavericks (Last week: 27)
7-3 in their last 10, the Mavericks are playing much better basketball. Seth Curry has been inserted into the starting lineup and the team seems to have responded.
25. New Orleans Pelicans (Last week: 21)
The Pelicans’ roster is in dire need of help at about every position. A team that once looked promising with Anthony Davis as a young superstar has become an aimless franchise.
26. Sacramento Kings (Last week: 22)
The Kings are 3-7 in their last 10 and Boogie has been getting more agitated lately. If the past repeats itself, this isn’t a good sign for either party.
27. Orlando Magic (Last week: 25)
Serge Ibaka is reportedly on the trade block for the Magic, after being acquired this summer. Do the Magic have a plan?
28. Phoenix Suns (Last week: 28)
The Suns have had one bright spot recently – Eric Bledsoe.
29. Los Angeles Lakers (Last week: 29)
The Lakers just beat the Jokic-less Nuggets, but are 2-8 in their last 10 games and struggling to find their identity.