Kamenetzky Bros. Power Rankings: Putting Jason Collins into Context

RANKTEAMTHE RUNDOWNLAST
1HEAT
(40-14)
On a six-game roadie, the Heat took down the Clippers, Suns, Warriors, Mavs, and Thunder. Those are the ones that matter, not what they do during visits to Utah.5
2THUNDER(43-14)Re-acclimating to R.Westbrook will take a little time, but don’t get too smart: They’re not better without him, not during the playoffs when smart coaches get whole series to game plan for K.Durant.2
3PACERS
(42-13)
The Pacers have to get better offensively, and swapping Danny Granger for Evan Turner will help, at least some. He’s a decent Lance Stephenson insurance policy, as well.1
4SPURS
(40-16)
Patty Mills and Cory Joseph have been fine filling in for Tony Parker, but with all the injuries a top seed seems like a long shot, and teams are coming fact in the rear view mirror.4
5ROCKETS
(38-18)
2014 continues treating the Rockets well. They’re a top 5 group offensively, and are getting very close to top 10 designation on the other side. The trend lines are very positive.7
6CLIPPERS
(38-20)
Sunday’s big win over OKC notwithstanding, unless they can clean up their defensive inconsistencies, moving up in the West will be tricky.6
7BLAZERS
(38-18)
Their total lack of an elite, or even average level defense is finally catching up, putting home court for the first round in jeopardy. If it doesn’t improve, a one-and-done postseason is likely.3
8WARRIORS
(34-22)
Backup point guards aren’t supposed to matter that much, but snagging Steve Blake fills the massive void left by Jarrett Jack, and changes the complexion of the whole team.9
9SUNS
(33-22)
No team scores a higher percentage of points on the break (18%), or generates a lower percentage of points off assists. But whatever the formula, it works, including Sunday vs. Houston.10
10MAVERICKS
(34-23)
Forget dropping out. At a season high 11 games over .500, Dallas is threatening to rise on the playoff ladder despite a defense lingering in the bottom third.11
11GRIZZLIES(31-24)No team shoots fewer 3-pointers than Memphis, only five convert them at a lower percentage. The lack of perimeter game makes them easier to defend, but the return of Tony Allen will make them that much harder to score against.8
12BULLS
(29-26)
Joakim Noah follows a strong January with 12.7/11.2/6.6 in February. Meanwhile, Taj Gibson has evolved into the NBA’s most unlikely No. 1 scoring option, albeit in a terrible O.15
13RAPTORS
(31-25)
Still maintaining a healthy lead on Brooklyn in the Atlantic, in part because they win on the road (15-14). More advantages: Only one game left vs. the Nets, and the 2nd easiest remaining sked among E.C. teams.12
14WOLVES
(27-29)
For most of the season, stats indicated they were a playoff team. Now, there’s a huge stat – 6.5 games back of the 8th seed – saying they won’t make it, even if the Wolves get hot.14
15WIZARDS
(28-28)
Andre Miller will help, not only in securing a playoff spot but keeping the Wizards well away from the guaranteed one-and-done 7th/8th seeds.17
16BOBCATS
(27-30)
Quietly among the most competent teams in the East of late, winning 8 of 11. One key: Al Jefferson is beasting. Another: No team turns it over less than the Bobcats.19
17NETS
(26-28)
Still have a solid chance of rising high enough to avoid Miami and Indiana in the first round, allowing Mikhail Prokhorov to make back about .28% of the money he’s invested in this roster.18
18NUGGETS
(25-30)
Losing 7 of 8 has put a playoff berth officially to bed. Now it’s about figuring out what they have going forward. A little more PT for Evan Fournier?16
19HAWKS
(26-29)
Sliding in the standings, but not because they’re selfish. No team in the NBA scores more points off assists than Atlanta.13
20PELICANS
(23-32)
Went all-in on the roster before many thought they were ready, and get worst case scenario: Injuries robbing them of the chance to see if it could work.20
21CAVALIERS
(22-35)
Basketball Prospectus says they have a 2.3% chance of making the playoffs, but at least Anthony Bennett is showing signs of life. It’s all relative.25
22PISTONS
(23-33)
If any team will crack the top eight in the East, it’ll be these guys, but their hopes took a big blow losing back-to-back games against the Bobcats last week.23
23KNICKS
(21-35)
Losing eight of 10 leaves them 5.5 games out of the 8th seed. They have the league’s 4th easiest schedule going forward, but are likely too crappy to take advantage.22
24JAZZ
(19-36)
Just when it looked like the wheels were coming back off the wagon, Utah knocks off Miami at home. Marvin Williams averaging 22.3 ppg over his last three.21
25MAGIC
(17-41)
Not that they’re brilliant with him, but Orlando’s prime directive should be keeping Nicola Vucevic healthy. 2-16 in 18 games without him. Flashing encouraging signs of late.29
26KINGS
(20-36)
Trading Marcus Thornton saves a little cash that can be put toward keeping Isaiah Thomas, removes an inefficient player from the rotation, and gives more PT to develop Ben McLemore.24
27LAKERS
(19-37)
With Kobe possibly missing the rest of the year, the season becomes about developing Kent Bazemore and Kendall Marshall. Exactly what season ticket holders expected!27
28CELTICS
(19-38)
Losing a lot of games, but Brad Stevens is developing a solid culture. Jared Sullinger averaging 15.3/10.9 in eight February games.28
29BUCKS
(10-45)
Out of the basement! Not necessarily for anything they’ve done, but at this point can beggars be choosers?30
30SIXERS
(15-41)
They’ve won three times since January 6, and have lost 10 straight by an average margin of 7,927 points. But if you need a second round pick this year or next, give Sam Hinkie a call.26

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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