It is with a heavy heart that we present this weeks Power Rankings. As most of you will by now know, former NBA Commissioner David Stern passed away at the age of 77 due to the complications arising from a brain haemorrhage suffered 3 weeks ago.
In ascending to the Commissioners role in 1984, Stern inherited a league that was not quite on it's knees as it was in the 1970's – when he first joined the NBA, incidentally - but was still relatively small time for a national sports league.
Stern's vision and guidance led the league through a period of expansion as far as new teams, and expansion into the global markets which in turn made the league the powerhouse that it is today.
The reason that I'm able to write about the NBA – and that you, Dear Reader, have so much NBA content to consume, is a direct result of the efforts of Mr. Stern. We should all be thankful that this man existed in our lives.
Vale David Joel Stern. 1942 – 2020.
Throughout the season, Inside Sport will be bringing you our NBA Power Rankings. These are not necessarily ranking based on records. This is a purely subjective assessment of how a team is progressing, projected and playing.
All records are as of Thursday night Australian time/Thursday morning American time.
30. Atlanta Hawks (Steady)
(7-27 Record) Last week: 1-2
Atlanta lost 10 straight matches before a thirst quenching win against the Magic. John Collins has returned. It hasn't helped. Trae Young has hurt himself again.
Despite a 4-2 start, the Hawks season is done and attention now turns to the draft. Who would be the best addition for them? James Wiseman to solidify the front court? Anthony Edwards to form a dynamic back court duo with Young? Considering their recent drafts – Hunter and Reddish struggling, choosing Young over Doncic (no disrespect to Trae) – the Hawks need to nail their next pick.
29. Golden State (Down 2)
(9-26) Last week: 1-2
The Warriors extended their win streak to 4 games before falling to the Mavs and Spurs, but in a season like this one, that streak might be looked upon fondly as a high water mark. Sadly.
Curry should return in the next 2-3 weeks. It will be very interesting to see how much cotton wool the team wrap him in. Be prepared for him sitting one leg of every single back to back. Get ready for minutes limited to the high 20's. Brace yourself for Curry to sit out against every other team at the foot of the standings.
28. Washington Wizards (Down 2)
(10-23) Last week: 1-3
The saving grace of the Washington Wizards season was watching their fast paced, flame throwing, incredibly fun offense. However losing Davis Bertans, Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura and – thankfully for just a single game – Bradley Beal, takes even that away from us. What we're left with is a defense that the Orlando freaking Magic were able to put up 122 points on. For perspective, that's only the 5th time Orlando have scored 120+ this season. Further perspective? It's the 3rd time they've done it to Washington.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (Down 2)
(10-23) Last week: 1-2
With the Jordan Clarkson trade, the first of Cleveland's expiring contracts has been moved. Now to see what the Cavs do with Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova. They also have the Kevin Love chip to cash.
The Cavs could look like an NBA Junior Varsity team come the passing of the trade deadline. That's not a bad thing, though. The Cavs are not going anywhere with the vets, so why not at least add some intrigue and excitement to the team through youth?
26. Detroit Pistons (Down 3)
(12-22) Last week: 1-2
Since that surprising win in Houston, Detroit have lost 7 of 8, with an LA road trip coming up.
Their defense has utterly cratered – they've been 3rd to last in points conceded per 100 possessions through that streak. They've dropped into the bottom 3rd of the league in defense as a result.
Blake Griffin looks to be calcifying before our very eyes. Whilst there was a grace period for the 30 year old as he came back from (yet another) injury, he's had enough time to get his sea legs back and.....he just doesn't look right. There was a hope that Griffin's adaptation of his game would allow him to age somewhat gracefully, but if this version of Blake is real then Detroit have an albatross of a contract on their hands.