Sunday, January 12, 2014

How Hot Are the Warriors? (Power Rankings, Week 11)

We have an all Walt "Clyde" Frazier intro today. This week, Blake Griffin was huffing and stuffing, J-Smoove was winning and grinning, Kyrie Irving was slicing and dicing, and the Lakers were stumbling and bumbling. One more Griffin highlight: Blake was spinning and winning.

In this week's power rankings, the Pacers retained their top spot, with Miami and San Antonio nipping at their heels. Meanwhile, the Lakers continued their free-fall, dropping all the way to the No. 28 spot.

Following the complete rankings, we'll take a deeper look at two teams battling for top-four position in the loaded Western Conference -- the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Here are my Week 11 Power Rankings:
30. Milwaukee Bucks (7-29)
29. Orlando Magic (10-27)
28. Los Angeles Lakers (14-23)
27. Boston Celtics (13-25)
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-23)
25. Philadelphia 76ers (12-25)
24. Utah Jazz (12-26)
23. Sacramento Kings (12-22)
22. Detroit Pistons (16-22)
21. New York Knicks (14-22)
20. Charlotte Bobcats (15-23)
19. Brooklyn Nets (15-22)
18. New Orleans Pelicans (15-21)
17. Chicago Bulls (17-18)
16. Memphis Grizzlies (16-19)
15. Washington Wizards (16-19)
14. Denver Nuggets (19-17)
13. Toronto Raptors (18-17)
12. Minnesota Timberwolves (18-18)
11. Atlanta Hawks (20-17)
10. Phoenix Suns (21-15)
9. Dallas Mavericks (22-16)
8. Los Angeles Clippers (26-13)
7. Houston Rockets (24-14)
6. Portland Trail Blazers (28-9)
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (28-9)
4. Golden State Warriors (25-14)
3. San Antonio Spurs (28-8)
2. Miami Heat (27-10)
1. Indiana Pacers (29-7)

Golden State Warriors

The Dubs have been on fire, even when you factor in their disappointing loss to the Brooklyn Methuselahs the other night. I wrote about Golden State in the Week 6 rankings, before Andre Iguodala returned from the hamstring injury that cost him a month. Here's what I said back then: "The team remains entertaining without him, but it won't be a Western Conference contender unless he can help shore up the defense."

Now, Iggy is back and the Warriors are fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency. While he was sidelined, the team went 5-7, just staying afloat in the loaded West. In games he starts, though, Golden State is 20-7 and it looks like one of the most balanced teams in the league.

Iguodala is averaging just over 10 points per game, the lowest mark since his rookie season. But he is the key to the Warriors' season, anchoring the defense and providing yet another shooter for the squad's potent offense. With him on the floor, Golden State is poised for a deep postseason run.

Los Angeles Clippers 

If you want to be picky, the "dunk" wasn't really a dunk. Still, did you see that DUNK???*

*Sorry that I linked to the same play twice in the same post, but you really can't watch that throw-down too many times. Just incredible.

Chris Paul will miss about six weeks with a shoulder injury, so the Clippers will probably drop to the sixth seed over the course of those approximately 20 games. Still, they're not going to completely collapse as long as Blake Griffin is on the court. Savage dunks aside, Griffin is having his best pro season. He's averaging a double-double, playing aggressive defense, passing well out of the post, and knocking down most of his free throws. He has been treated like a superstar since he entered the league, but now he's actually earning that label.

Jamal Crawford is once again the front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year, J.J. Redick dropped 19 points in his first game back from injury, and DeAndre Jordan is ripping down 13.4 rebounds per game. If the Clippers can play close to .500 basketball during CP3's absence -- just as the Warriors did without Iguodala -- they'll be in position for a late-season push toward grabbing a top-four seed.

No comments:

Post a Comment