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Monday, 15 April 2013 13:52

NBA Power Rankings: Week 24, Regular Season Finale

Written by 

In the final week of the NBA Regular Season, the NBA Power Rankings have come to an end before the playoffs. Just as the season started, the defending champs, the Miami Heat, are in the No. 1 spot. I think we will see a Heat-Thunder rematch, but there are plenty of teams capable of unseating OKC in the Western Conference. As for those in the Eastern Conference; maybe next year.

Rank

Team

Record

Reasoning

1 Miami Heat 64-16 They've already wrapped up the #1 overall seed and are the favorites heading into the playoffs. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder 59-21 Kevin Durant is poised to be just the 6th member of the 50-40-90 club and his Thunder are in the driver seat for the top-spot out West. 3 San Antonio Spurs 58-22 All that matters is health as the Spurs prove once again to never count them out. One of the three favorites to win the title. 4 New York Knicks 53-27 The streak may be over, but so is the race for the 2-seed in the East after downing Indiana in MSG. How far will the NBA's scoring champ - Carmelo Anthony, 28.7 PPG - take the Knicks? 5 Denver Nuggets 55-25 Without Danilo Gallinari, I'm not sure how this team fares in the playoffs, but George Karl might win Coach of the Year for what he's done with a superstar-less team. 6 L.A. Clippers 54-26 First division title is in the books, and with a top-3 clutch player, Chris Paul, anything is possible come playoff time. 7 Memphis Grizzlies 54-26 They play defense and can grind out wins...well they have to grind out games, but still, thats what the playoffs are about. 8 Indiana Pacers 49-31 This team should be proud of what they did in the regular season and Frank Vogel has done a terrific job without their leading scorer from last year. One of my top-3 COY candidates. 9 Brooklyn Nets 47-33 Deron Williams is reminding us why he was part of the best-point-guard-in-the-world conversation a couple years ago. Playing his best basketball at the perfect time for New York's other team. 10 Houston Rockets 45-35 Daryl Morrey will most likely be G.M. of the year with the best off-season move (bringing in James Harden) and swinging some sweet deals mid-season. 11 Golden State Warriors 45-35 I don't want to jinx anything, but Golden State probably didn't see Stephen Curry AND David Lee making it through the entire season relatveily unscathed. 12 L.A. Lakers 44-37 For what they've done to get to this point (including beating a San Antonio team gunning for the West's top spot without Kobe Bryant thanks to his torn achilles). However, even with a healthy Kobe, I think they'd get swept by OKC or the Spurs. 13 Utah Jazz 42-38 The yearly Western Conference team that should be in the playoffs instead of that miserable 8-seed in the East (I see you Milwaukee). 14 Atlanta Hawks 44-36 Still didn't get home-court advantage for a playoff series after the Joe Johnson trade and it seems like they are still stuck in the "good-enough-to-make-the-playoffs" but also "not-good-enough-to-advance" area. 15 Chicago Bulls 43-37 The streak killers! First the Heat and now the Knicks. Will Derrick Rose return? I don't see it happening and for his long-term health I hope he doesn't come back, but man-oh-many would that be fun. If he and Noah are on the court, this team has the best chance of beating the Heat in the Eastern Conference. 16 Boston Celtics 41-39 How much will past postseason moxy carry this team? Boston is all set for a potential classic playoff series with the Knicks, but they're a bit out of sync right now. 17 Dallas Mavericks 40-40 Too little, too late, but at least Dirk and the gang can shave those ugly beards. 18 Milwaukee Bucks 37-43 Larry Sanders is in the mix for Most Improved. That's probably the best thing that will happen to this team once the regular season ends. If they don't lose every game by double-digits to Miami, I will be impressed. 19 Philadelphia 76ers 33-47 Doug Collins has had enough. Dr. J doesn't want the team to sign Andrew Bynum. Yeah, that sums up the season nicely. 20 Toronto Raptors 32-48 DeMar DeRozan earned his keep but he's not a #1. Second-banana? Possibly, but Toronto still lacks that leading man. 21 Washington Wizards 29-51 What if...AKA John Wall. Can't wait to see him healthy for a full season with an improved jumper (what else will he work on?). 22 Minnesota Timberwolves 30-50 See above...Can't wait to see Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio for a full season together. 23 Detroit Pistons 28-52 The front court is set between All-Star caliber Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond (who just scored a career high 29 points). Plenty of needs elsewhere but it's not a bad place to start. 24 Sacramento Kings 28-52 Should the city really want this team anymore? 25 New Orleans Hornets 27-54 Final shout-out to my fellow Terp, Greivis Vasquez, who should win Most Improved Player of the Year after leading the NBA in total assists (704 through Sunday) and being right behind CP3 and Rondo for APG. 26 Phoenix Suns 24-56 To be honest, I'm not sure any starter on this team played well enough to deserve their role next season aside from Marcin Gortat. 27 Cleveland Cavaliers 24-56 First time in a while that fans can say "at least it's baseball season!" 28 Portland Trail Blazers 33-47 Not quite ending on a high-not as Portland has dropped 10 straight games, the NBA's longest current losing streak. 29 Orlando Magic 20-60 If there was another franchise-altering center coming out, I'd put my money on Orlando winning the lottery. But there isn't. 30 Charlotte Bobcats 19-61 At this rate (.238) they'll more than double their winning percentage from last season (.106)!

 

Daniel Baker

Daniel Baker is a Celtics beat writer for CLNS Radio and hosts the Celtics Beat on Sundays from 6-7pm. He’s also part of the CLNS Radio Post-Game crew. Daniel produces Counter Attack on SiriusXMFC, the first 24/7 radio network dedicated to soccer in America. He’s also the producer for Edge of Sports. He's been working at SiriusXM in Washington D.C. since 2009.

Daniel is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. At UMD, he called games for five different varsity sports for WMUC Sports and his favorite memory was calling the 2012 Men's Lacrosse Final Four for the Terps.

Visit his website for all his other work: danielrbaker.wordpress.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @Daniel_Baker9