Kamenetzky Bros. Power Rankings: Yes, the Trail Blazers are for Real

The Pacers padded their league-best record with three victories notched by an average of 22 points. Oh, and Paul George did this against the Clippers.1
It’s one thing to beat San Antonio and Dallas on the road. It’s another, far more impressive thing to win those games back-to-back, and handily at that.5
3THUNDER(31-10)Kevin Durant set a career high of 54 points in Friday’s win vs. Golden State. That’s just the latest feat to keep OKC humming in Russell Westbrook’s absence, plus make his increasingly strong case for MVP.3
I’m done questing how the Spurs manage to stay near the top despite age, “Popoviched” lineups, and the West’s treacherousness. Until definitely proven otherwise, they’re perma-legit.2
Is the team’s 5-2 clip without Chris Paul a testament to Doc Rivers’ coaching, Blake Griffin picking up the slack and then some, or a deep roster steeped with playmakers? Yes.7
A recent malaise likely means nothing in terms of three-peat potential, but nonetheless cost them a top-5 spot in these exceptionally important Power Rankings. On the plus side, Greg Oden returns!4
The Dubs remain a consensus dark horse championship contender, but this excellent breakdown from Grantland’s Zach Lowe illustrates how it’s not such a far-fetched notion.6
Chandler Parsons is back, and Patrick Beverley is on the verge of returning, allowing Jeremy Lin to resume sixth man duties. A backcourt rotation of James Harden, Beverly and Lin could help offset the absences of folks like Omer Asik and Cisco Garcia.8
9GRIZZLIES(20-19)Above .500 for the first time since Dec. 3, the Griz are undefeated since Marc Gasol began suiting up last Wednesday. Even with Tony Allen unavailable, Memphis has become instantly more difficult to score against.15
It’s tempting to peg success in the face of a slim +1.4 differential and 102.6 ppg allowed as little more than a mirage waiting to be exposed. Until that time, however, give it up for smoke and mirrors.11
Losses in Utah and at home vs. Cleveland, along with Andre Miller’s unsettled status, aren’t enough to take the shine off a huge road win over the Dubs. Ty Lawson is averaging 19 points, 11 assists and two steals in January.12
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry flourishing since Gay trade has been well-documented, but reserve Patrick Patterson, netted in the swap, is under-the-radar catalyst. Over the last five games, he’s averaged 12.4 ppg on 53.2 percent shooting, plus 6.4 boards.10
The Wizards are apparently Kryptonite, but the Bulls are otherwise chugging along in their quest to survive a Rose-less, Deng-less world. If that takes 60 minutes from Jimmy Butler, so be it.16
Sunday’s win over Denver was the first against a .500 team since Eric Bledsoe went down with a knee injury. You gotta wonder how much longer they can remain a Cinderella story.9
Been a nice week for the Wiz, with two victories over the Bulls and one over the James Gang. Also a nice week for John Wall, who’s never notched less than 19 points or six assists during that stretch.18
The Nets owned the Hawks in England, and if this month is any evidence, they’re slowly becoming more legitimate stateside against the rest of the league, too.17
Based on their lone game of the week, should the Hawks and Nets ever meet in a playoff series set in London, Atlanta is toast.13
Nobody can figure out why a terrific +4.7 differential has translated into an 0-11 clip in games decided by four or less, much less a sub .500 record. Until somebody does, every Kevin Love frown will be analyzed to death.14
The Cavs are 5-2 since trading for Luol Deng, including Friday’s huge win in Denver. With Kyrie Irving healthy again, the first playoff appearance since LeBron’s exit remains attainable.25
Just as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist gets healthy, Kemba Walker is out 10-14 days with an ankle injury. The pressure is on Al Jefferson to keep these guys in the playoff mix.21
The January surge may have lost its juice. But on the plus side, J.R. Smith remains a pain in the ass.20
A gander at Josh Smith’s splits in wins vs. losses provides an idea of how much the Pistons’ fortunes hinge on his performance. That’s scary.22
They responded to a collective, controversial failure to have Nick Young’s back during a scuffle with Phoenix with two straight wins. Doesn’t make them a good team, but at least they are a unified bad team.29
Rudy Gay’s putting up some of the best, most efficient shooting stats of his career since being jettisoned to Sacto. Unfortunately, it hasn’t translated into much momentum for his new squad.24
Rajon Rondo is back, which means Boston’s getting its first look at the next franchise face or opposing GMs are getting their first look at a shopped player. Stay tuned.27
Between Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward, the Jazz features a core whose time could very well come. It just won’t happen in this calendar year.23
It’s getting oogly without Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson. Winless in their last eight games, the Hornets Pellies broke 100 points just once in that stretch.19
If in fact Nerlens Noel does suit up this season, half of this roster could (and should) be turned over by then for more draft picks, prospects … and losses.26
Sunday’s 93-91 victory over Boston snapped a 10-game skid and was their first without Nik Vucevic. This ain’t the Magic Kingdom for hoops.28
Save the growth (on the court and literally) of The Greek Freak, I challenge anyone to name anything about the Bucks worth watching. Seriously. Anything.30

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

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


  1. Xavier says

    The Bucks have awesome potential; I dream about a game in which the Bucks play Sanders +Henson+ GreekFreak AT THE SAME TIME….. Imagine the defensive potential with that lineup….

  2. Thomas says

    Small correction: Portland didn’t beat the HEAT. That was the game LBJ sat out and Chris Bosh went ape: 37pts, 10rebs on 15/26 fgs (3/3 3pm). And oh he just hit a 3 with .5 left on the clock to win the game.


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