Kamenetzky Bros. Power Rankings: Trying to Make Sense of Nuggets

Currently four points better per 100 possessions than OKC, NBA’s second best in that category. Imagine what they’ll look like if the O develops into a solidly Top 10 group.1
2THUNDER(27-7)In the 12 games before Westbrook’s injury, OKC cracked 100 points 11 times. In the six games since, only three times. Won’t impact the bottom line that much, though, given the strength of the D.2
Not exactly blowing teams out of the water, but still piling up wins with efficiency. Even with a quiet game Sunday (8 points), Chris Bosh has killed it over his last five (20.2/7.2, 56 percent from the floor).4
Top five in offensive and defensive efficiency without putting the pedal to the floor. Losing Tiago Splitter to a shoulder injury should hurt, but given Pop/Buford’s ability to turn popcorn vendors into viable rotation players, probably won’t.5
Lost 3 of 5, but the three losses were by a combined five points (including a one-point loss to Miami) and the two victories include one over OKC. Tiny cracks appearing in their ultra-elite status, but not their totally-legit-not-going-anywhere status.3
Slowly working their way up the defensive efficiency ladder. If the Rockets can crack the top 10 — and with Dwight rounding into form, it should happen — they’ll pile up wins in a hurry.7
Lost 7 of 12 without Andre Iguodala, and have gone 10-1 (including nine straight wins) since he returned to the lineup. Just goes to show impact isn’t always about scoring (only one 10+ point game in that span).9
With CP3 out for over a month, a top-4 seed in the West is very unlikely. If Saturday’s loss to San Antonio is any indication, the big question is how far they slide down the playoff ladder.6
Get their first mini-bump in the road with a minor injury to Eric Bledsoe, but have built up enough cushion in the West to weather it. Helps to have that Dragic fellow around.8
The Wolves have a better point differential, efficiency differential, and expected W/L record. The Mavs, however, have more actual victories, at least for the time being, though Sunday’s loss to the Knicks isn’t a good omen.10
We can stop pretending trading Rudy Gay is something teams do when they don’t want to get better, right? .500 record provides a near-stranglehold in the craptacular Atlantic.14
Efforting hard in Al Horford’s absence, but they’ve lost 3 of 5. Won’t fall out of the playoff race — nearly impossible in the East — but probably won’t host a first round matchup anymore, either.12
Via SportVU, only three players (CP3, Curry, Wall) create more points off assists than Ricky Rubio. The difference: Each of those guys generates another 10 points (or more) for themselves, too.11
Nothing like the Lakers to cure what ails ‘ya. Need to figure out how to regain their traditional home court advantage to make a push (8-8 at Pepsi Center).15
Hanging on the fringes of the West playoff race. The results of this week’s home-and-home with the Mavericks could determine whether they stay there.13
Oh-for-3 in 2014 after winning 5 of 6 got them back to .500. Now they go on the road for three straight before coming home to face Houston.17
17GRIZZLIES(15-18)After taking two of three on the road, Memphis comes home for six of seven. Unfortunately, the first four are San Antonio, Phoenix, Atlanta, and OKC… and the Grizzlies are 7-11 at FedEx.16
They play too hard to fade away, but can’t score enough to make any headway. Some well-targeted tank giveaways by other teams could bolster a team that isn’t as infrastructurally poor as the record suggests.22
Kendall Marshall has gone bonkers in two starts at the point (32 assists, total), but LA’s Lottery Express is too far down the tracks to rescue. Which, of course, works out better for them, anyway.18
Per the SportVU data, only one duo (Lillard/Batum) have traveled more miles on the floor than Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson (170.1). Significant? No, but finding interesting things to say about the Bobcats every week is no easy task.20
Lost two of three on the road against sub-.500 teams, the final two (Orlando and Washington) by a combined 41 points. Still can’t make the individual talent into a cohesive team.19
Followed up a shocking win at OKC with a home victory against the Cavs. Is two straight enough to call a “streak?” Yes, for a team that had only won consecutive games one other time this season.29
Reality has arrived, as the C’s lose seven of 10. Still 10th in defensive efficiency, and if Brad Stevens can keep them there as losses continue to mount, it’ll say a lot about his tactician qualifications.21
They’ve lost eight of the 12 games in which Rudy Gay has played. This while he’s shooting almost 50 percent from the floor. Just wait until he regresses to traditional norms.23
Basically .500 since a 1-14 start. Plenty of promise in their young frontline players, but the defense is bad enough that they won’t play themselves too far out of high lottery odds.24
Sunday’s win in Dallas was a nice one, but still a long way to go. At least we’ll always have “glazed donut face” to remember the season by.28
Don’t look now, but the Sixers have won four straight, all on the road. Fans thought they got all of it out of their system at the start of the year? Wrong.27
Is Kyrie Irving a ball-hogging offense-stopper? Maybe yes, maybe no, but either way he beats the alternative. In three games without him, the Cavs have averaged 82.3 points.25
Looking for someone to add to the list of underappreciated players? Try Nikola Vucevic. 13.4/11.1, with a PER of 18.5. He’s missed all or most of seven games because of injury, and the Magic are 0-7.26
Opponents are only shooting 41.7 percent on 7.6 FGA per game against John Henson at the rim. Which means they’re shooting about eleven million percent in every other scenario, right?30

OTHER RANKINGS: MVP | Rookies | Most Improved | Sixth Man

Brian Kamenetsky is a frequent contributor to SheridanHoops.com. Follow him and his brother, Andy, on Twitter.



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