SCIC NBA Power Rankings: Week 7

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

1) Oklahoma City Thunder [ 17-4 ]: The Thunder are averaging a league-leading 106.0 points a game on top of winning eight-straight. Through 20+ games, I don’t see how Kevin Durant isn’t the MVP of the league. (Last Week: #2)




2) San Antonio Spurs [ 17-4 ]: Three blowout victories by a combined 66 points have the Spurs sitting nice and pretty. They’ve won nine of their last ten, with that lone loss coming at the hands of the Miami Heat when Greg Popovich sat his starters. Just imagine if they had played. (Last Week: #5)




3) New York Knicks [ 15-5 ]: No Carmelo Anthony? No problem. That didn’t seem to matter when the Knicks hit 18 three-pointers and blew out the Miami Heat for the second time this season on Thursday. I’m still skeptical about their postseason chances, but they look damn good at the moment. (Last Week: #4)




4) Memphis Grizzlies [ 14-4 ]:  Even with the fourth-hardest schedule to start the season, the Grizzlies still  own one of the best records in the Western Conference. No team has scored over 100 points against Memphis since opening night. (Last Week: #3)





5) Miami Heat [ 13-5 ]: Losses to the Washington Wizards (wow) and New York Knicks this past week are a major step back, but it’s clear as day that this team has yet to “turn it on”, which is weird considering their record. Perhaps this is what the Heat needed to really flip the switch. (Last Week: #1)




6) Los Angeles Clippers [14-6 ]: Six wins in a row and the Clippers are back on top of the Pacific division. Chauncey Billups is now out indefinitely, but depth at the guard positions hasn’t been an issue all season.  (Last Week: #10)





7) Atlanta Hawks [ 12-5 ]: Overlooked? Underestimated? Perhaps. The Hawks strung together three victories in a row this past week, including come from behind wins over the Nuggets and Wizards and a win at the FedExForum against the Grizzlies. There free-throw attempts (19.5) must increase dramatically. (Last Week: #7)




8) Golden State Warriors [ 13-7 ]: The Warriors are clearly the biggest surprise of the season in the NBA, as they’re off to their best start since the 2005-06 season. Stephen Curry is having a tremendous start to his December, averaging 23.4 points on 50% shooting, as well as dishing out 8.4 assists a game. (Last Week: #8)



9) Chicago Bulls [ 11-8 ]: Chicago continues to be one of the best defensive squads in the league, giving up the second lowest scoring totals to their opposition per game (91.3). Joakim Noah and Luol Deng are still racking up heavy minutes, but the Bulls remain so strong on the defensive end because of that.  (Last Week: #12)




10) Brooklyn Nets [ 11-8 ]: The Nets have lost four in a row, although those of those came at the hands of the Heat and Thunder. Andray Blatche is averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in the starting-unit, but the Nets need Brook Lopez back and at full strength pronto. (Last Week: #6)






11) Utah Jazz [ 12-10 ]: Beating the Magic and Raptors earlier in the week were givens, but knocking off the Lakers on the road Sunday night was a major confidence boost. They should really consider adding some depth in the backcourt by moving one of their many frontcourt pieces. They could be just one move away from really making some noise. (Last Week: #16)




12) Phildelphia 76ers [ 11-9 ]: Shooing can only get you so far in this league. The Sixers only shot better than 42% once during the week. It took a game-winner by Evan Turner late in the fourth quarter and a Rondo slip to knock off the Celtics in overtime on Friday.  (Last Week: #9)




13) Milwaukee Bucks [ 10-9 ]: It looks like 5 years and $40 million dollars has made Ersan Ilyasova forgetful on how to play the game of basketball. His numbers have dropped from 17 points and 11.3 rebounds per 36 minutes last year to 11.7 and 7.4 in 2012/13.  (Last Week: #13)




14) Boston Celtics [ 11-9 ]: Paul Pierce is nearing the end of his storied career, but it looks like the Celtics need him now more than ever. Boston is averaging 106.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor and just 98.6 with him on the bench. Jeff Green has stepped up as of late, but the team needs more help in the frontcourt to help an aging Kevin Garnett(Last Week: #11)



15) Dallas Mavericks  [ 10-10 ]: O.J Mayo had his coming-out party for the Mavericks in the teams win over Houston on Saturday, scoring 40 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He also hit 6 of 9 from behind the arc.  (Last Week: #18)




16) Indiana Pacers [ 10-11 ]: I respect Roy Hibbert for coming out and saying that he wants to surpass Dwight Howard as the leagues best true center, but for now, it’s not even close. He’s still shooting under 40% from the field and averaging less than 10.0 points a game. (Last Week: #15)




17) Denver Nuggets [ 10-11 ]: The Nuggets defense is all over the place, that it’s hard to really buy into them at the moment. The team allows just 93.3 points when they win and 108.8 when the lose. They’ve scored at least 100 or more in eight straight games, but that defense has to step up. (Last Week: #19)




18) Minnesota Timberwolves [ 9-9 ]: Things are basically just wait and see at the moment with this Wolves team. They need Ricky Rubio back playing point guard as soon as possible. Minnesota is 4-5 with Kevin Love back in the lineup, but the dynamic of this offense much more effective with Rubio leading the charge.   (Last Week: #20)




19) Houston Rockets [ 9-10 ]: It was great seeing Kevin McHale return to the sidelines on Saturday, despite the team losing a hard-faught effort against the Mavericks. The team loves playing from behind, as evident in their lone victory of the week against the Lakers this past tuesday, trailing at the half by 13 points.  (Last Week: #17)




20) Los Angeles Lakers [ 9-12 ]: The return of Steve Nash won’t be the quick fix that solves all of the Lakers problems. Sure, it may help improve an offense that has been very stagnant as of late, but the last time I checked, Nash isn’t a defensive stopper. Los Angeles sits at 18th in the league for opponents scoring (98.1 a game). They also gave up 117 points to the Jazz at home last night(Last Week: #14)




21) Orlando Magic [ 8-12 ]: Dwight Howard‘s old team is playing better than his new team. My mind is blown. A 3-2 west coast road trip is not too shabby, but dropping a game against the Kings on Friday must leave a bad aftertaste.  (Last Week: #21)





22) Portland Trail Blazers [ 8-12 ]: Fatigue is beginning to set in on that starting-unit, and rightfully so. I’ve said it once and I’ve said it a thousand times. That bench is what’s holding Portland back from making any real strides. (Last Week: #23)





23) Sacramento Kings [ 7-12 ]: The Kings are currently riding a three-game winning streak, although those wins came against the Raptors, Trailblazers and Magic. Progress is a slow process I suppose. Two of those victories were without Tyreke Evans(Last Week: #28)





24) Charlotte Bobcats [ 7-12 ]: See, this is the Charlotte Bobcats I’ve come to know and love. The team has lost seven straight and eight of their last ten. Watching them win basketball games and hover above .500 was too good to be true. Their has been improvement, but Charlotte is exactly where they should be in the standings.  (Last Week: #22)




25) Detroit Pistons [ 7-15 ]: The Pistons are playing .500 basketball since starting the year 0-8. Greg Monroe has been putting together a very quiet yet efficient season, averaging 15.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals. On any other roster, he could have been a candidate for the all-star team. (Last Week: #24)




26) New Orleans Hornets [ 5-14 ]: The New Orleans Pelicans? It’s growing on me, I’m not going to lie. Some believe that the league won’t allow such a ridiculous name change, but why not right? Who wouldn’t want to see a Pelican mascot? I certainly do. Sign me up for a jersey. Besides, don’t the eyebrows of Anthony Davis already look like a bird? (Last Week: #26)




27) Phoenix Suns [ 7-15 ]: The Suns have lost seven in a row and now find themselves second from the bottom in the Western Conference. Games against the Grizzlies and Jazz this week won’t help matters. Michael Beasley has been sent to the bench after struggling with his shot to start the year. Marcin Gortat could be next.  (Last Week: #25)




28) Washington Wizards [ 2-15 ]: A win over the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat is something to be commended, especially when you look at the fact that the Wizards had just one win entering that game. In Washington’s two victories thus far, the bench has outscored the starting-unit on both occasions. Will that change when John Wall eventually returns from injury? (Last Week: #30)




29) Cleveland Cavaliers [ 4-17 ]: Things were looking grim without Kyrie Irving, but now rookie Dion Waiters is on the sidelines as well. Without those two, the Cavaliers are nearly unwatchable. Scratch that, they are. Although, Irving could be returning as early as this week. (Last Week: #29)





30) Toronto Raptors [ 4-17 ]: From Andrea Bargnani to GM Bryan Colangelo, it appears that the Raptors fan base wants the team to clean house big time. The most lopsided loss of the year against the Jazz (131-99) on Wednesday didn’t calm anyones nerves. Does anyone truly care anymore? (Last Week: #27)

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