The Jump Ball February Power Rankings

With the trade deadline looming there are plenty of sellers out there but may not be enough buyers out there. This deadline could either see a ton of movement or come and go with a whimper.

1.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.32 AM  Golden State Warriors The Warriors are one of the best shooting teams in the league but there is a huge a drop-off after Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they made a move before the trade deadline.
2. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.37 AMHouston Rockets The Rockets boast the highest Net Rating since the last Power Rankings at 7.4 with 12 wins, including dismantling the free falling Cavs on national TV. It seems pretty clear that James Harden is the MVP after the 60-point triple-double
3. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.27 AM   Toronto Raptors The Raptors set 2 games behind the Celtics for the top seed in the East heading into their showdown on Tuesday night. Their young bench unit has continued to play well and really gives them a great punch and it’s a travesty that none of those guys are on the World Team for Friday night.
4. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.42 AM    Boston Celtics The Celtics are so strong defensively (97.1 defensive rating in the past month) it almost doesn’t matter that their offense tends to suffer some serious droughts in games. And for everyone that thinks Al Horford shouldn’t be an All-Star go watch the Portland game from Sunday and shut it.
5. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.23 AM Minnesota Timberwolves After starting the month a five game win streak, it’s sort of been up and down for them with some bad losses to Orlando and Atlanta. They certainly look playoff bound and just a half game behind the Spurs for the third season which would be a huge success for Thibs and Company
6. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.45 AM Oklahoma City Thunder Andre Roberson’s injury has decimated the Thunder’s defense in the five games he has missed their defensive rating is 108.2 a near five point drop from their season average. It is safe to assume they have their eyes on making a trade for an Avery Bradley or Courtney Lee to shore that up before Thursday.
7. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.21 AM         San Antonio Spurs He should win it every year, but Greg Popovich should be the Coach of the Year for the work he’s done with these Spurs. Without their best player for all but nine games he has the Spurs sitting in pretty good position to get home court in the first round of the playoffs.
8. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.09 AM Cleveland Cavaliers Nothing about the Cavs is fun right now, it seems like everyone hates everyone, from players, coaches and management it just isn’t a pleasant environment, losers of 8 straight national TV games and getting embarrassed on Saturday by the Rockets. It would be shocking if they don’t make a move or two by the deadline. They need to right the ship quickly.
9. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.38 AM Washington Wizards It’s announced John Wall will be out two months and the Wizards win five straight without him with a 12.9 Net Rating. The Ewing Theory can be in play here, the Wizards are 10-6 without Wall this year.
10. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.43 AM   Indiana Pacers Victor Oladipo has been amazing this season but his three point shooting took a nose-dive in January, making only 30% of them, it hasn’t hurt the Pacers in the win columns as they come away with 11 wins since the last Power Rankings.
11. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.09 AM Portland Trail Blazers The Blazers are just a game and a half up on the Clippers for the final playoff spot and could make a move come trade deadline. They followed up a tough 1 point loss in Boston by not showing up for their game against Detroit the following night.
12. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.16 AM Milwaukee Bucks Well, a lot happened for the Bucks in January starting with firing their coach and going 6-1 since the change. The naysayers will point out that it’s due to their cupcake schedule and ignore their 99.0 defensive rating.
13. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.29 AM     New Orleans Pelicans The DeMarcus Cousins injury is just devastating; he was having one of his best seasons and on the verge of tasting the playoffs for the first time, just devastating. The Pelicans rebounded pretty quickly by trading Omer Asik for Nikola Mirtotic, it would’ve been a great trade if Cousins was still healthy.
14. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.57 AM Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid finally played in his first back-to-back games but are losers in four of their last five. They need to be careful, Detroit is right behind them and ready to capitalize should the Sixers continue to slide.
15. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.11 AM   Miami Heat With the loss on Monday, the Heat are now tied in the loss the column with the Sixers and Pacers. They started the month as the hottest team but have ended up as losers in seven out of their last ten games with five tough games coming up.
16. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.20 AM Denver Nuggets The Nuggets are riding high, shall we say a mile high after finishing the month with wins against Golden State and Oklahoma City. The trio of Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray has been great. Both Harris and Murray are both shooting above 40% from three the past month and just a game behind Oklahoma City to land in the 5th seed.
17. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.52 AM        Los Angeles Clippers The Clippers could end up being the busiest team come Thursday’s trade deadline, after the Blake trade, Jordan, Lou Williams, Avery Bradley and maybe Tobais can all be had if the right deal comes along or they can stand pat and have a good shot at making the playoffs.
18. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.26 AM Detroit Pistons 20 points, 9 boards, 6 assists and fours wins is a great way for Blake Griffin to introduce himself to the Pistons faithful, all eight of them. The Pistons are putting a ton of pressure on the Sixers, Pacers, and Heat, they are sitting just a loss behind all of these teams for a spot in the playoffs.
19. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.34 AM       Utah Jazz Don’t look now but the Jazz are quietly making a run at the playoffs, stand just three games out of the 8th seed in the West with a fairly easy schedule coming up. They still have a ways to go but if the Clippers decide to blow it up, they could be next inline to put pressure on the other teams.
20. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.56 AM Charlotte Hornets A weird month for the Hornets, first Kemba Walker is on the block, and then he’s not quite on the block unless a team wants to take one of their many bad contracts. Even though they three games out of the playoffs, it would be wise to flip Walker for a few assets especially if they can get off a bad contract.
21. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.58 AM         Los Angeles Lakers With wins over San Antonio, Boston, and on the road in Oklahoma City, this was a great month for the Lakers. Winners of six of their last eight with Lonzo Ball wearing street clothes. They may not be as big sellers now with the report that they are looking more at the free agency class in 2019 and not 2018.
22. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.35 AM      New York Knicks This last month was going to be a challenging one for the Knicks, with 14 of their 17 games on the road, they only won four of those road contests and a ton of questions about Kristaps Porzingis’ stamina have begun to emerge. They could be sellers come Thursday with Courtney Lee possibly moving.
23. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.01 AM Chicago Bulls The front office got what it wanted when they traded Mirtotic for Asik and a protected 2018 first round pick. Winning is not their top priority right now, which is a good thing considering they are on a seven-game losing streak but the continued growth of the young kids is important and going nicely.
24. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.48 AM Brooklyn Nets Much to the chagrin of Cavs fans the Nets have been better than they had hoped and on the verge of winning their 20th game, something that took 80 games last season. Progress has been there all year and the Nets could become sellers and sell high on Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris to keep replenishing their draft asset cupboard.
25. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.03 AM Memphis Grizzlies All the Grizzlies are asking for are a 1st round pick for Tyreke Evans, they have shut him down until/if they find a trade partner for him. He’s shooting nearly 40% from 3 and averaging 19.5 points a night, maybe the Wizards who seem to always be willing to give up a 1st round pick to shore up their bench.
26. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.34 AM Atlanta Hawks The Hawks are another team that could be sellers on Thursday with Kent Bazemore and Marco Bellinelli all avaliable to help any team looking for some punch.
27. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.14 AM   Dallas Mavericks The only really fun thing to watch in Dallas is the highlights from Dennis Smith Jr who should wow in the dunk contest. Just thinking out loud, but would the Mavs entertain a trade for Harrison Barnes, maybe to the Cavs for the Brooklyn pick, Iman Shumpret, and Channing Frye, could be interesting for both teams.
28. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.51 AM Orlando Magic As the Magic race to the bottom, they could be real sellers by the traded deadline, guys like Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja, Nikola Vucevic, and maybe even Aaron Gordon could be had for the right price. Hezonja looks like a great change of scenery candidate, he’s averaging 16.5 points, shooting 52.3% from the field, and 60.9% from three over the last four games, there is talent there, it would be a great time to buy in now.
29. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.14 AM Sacramento Kings The Kings looked into moving George Hill but it seems like the Cavs balked at the 1-yardline. I think the better play for them would be to trade him next season when he’ll be in the 2nd year of the 20 million dollar deal but the third year is not fully guaranteed, it basically makes it an expiring contract.
30. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.02 AM Phoenix Suns The Suns are just bad, only three wins in 15 attempts, a -10 net rating in the past month. Besides the occasional Devin Booker offensive explosion, there just isn’t much to watch the Suns these days.

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