No big, flowery introductions to our Power Rankings this week.
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.
30. Golden State (Steady)
(10-38) Last week: 0-2
Golden State made a trade this week sending D'Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves Willie Cauley-Stein to the Mavericks, as their Dwight Powell replacement. An earth shattering transaction, I'm sure you'll agree.
Despite all talk coming from the Warriors camp reiterating their desire to hold onto Russell, don't be shocked if the 23 year old Ohio State product gets moved. Minnesota are practically begging the Warriors to make a trade, so whilst it's not an out and out certainty, don't be shocked if D'Lo is gone by the trade deadline.
29. Atlanta Hawks (Steady)
(12-36 Record) Last week: 1-2
Putting aside my reservations about Trae Young being an All Star starter, you have to salute the young man. He's the Hawks first starter in the loge showcase since Dikembe Mutombo back in 1998. Young also put up perhaps the best Kobe Bryant tribute over the weekend, pouring in 45 points and 14 assists, shooting 6 of 11 from deep. And he did it wearing the #8 to start the ball game.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers (Steady)
(13-35) Last week: 1-3
We're on the home stretch of the 'Will Kevin Love be traded?' drama. Given that the championship winning veteran has been rather less than discreet about his wish to leave the Cavs, it's likely one of the fringe contenders or middling teams wanting to make a playoff push take the plunge.
On court, the Cavaliers broke their 7 game losing streak with victory in Detroit. The Cavs ball movement has improved; their defense has somehow regressed. Through the losing streak, Cleveland averaged 2.9 blocks per game. As a team. Their defense at the rim is league worst by a wide margin, and overall their defense only bests the Wizards, who may not actually be trying to play defense.
27. New York Knicks (Steady)
(13-36) Last week: 1-3
It's like we've stepped out of a time machine and it's 1973.
26. Washington Wizards (Steady)
(15-31) Last week: 1-2
The Wizards defense, as you most likely know, is a mess.
This week, they game up 150+ points in back to back games! To Atlanta and the Bucks who were resting Giannis! Sadly, this is the 4th time the sorry Wizards 'defense' has surrendered 150+ this season. They've held teams under 100 points on three occasions!
This team would have surrendered 100 points to Mike Fratello's old Cavs teams.