Jonas Nader

Power Rankings

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NBA Power Rankings: Week 18

Monday, February 20, 2017


In honor of the trade deadline on Feb. 23, I’m going to mix it up this week and take a look at what direction all 30 of these teams could go in this week. For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!

 

1.) Warriors (47-9) 

 

The Warriors are sitting pretty in the West with a four-game lead over the Spurs, and they are first in the NBA in offensive efficiency and second in defensive efficiency. Sure the Warriors could use another rim protector, but this looks like it’s going to be a quiet deadline in Golden State. If I’m their GM, I bring in Larry Sanders for a workout and see if he has some life left in his legs — several reports have indicated that he would play for the minimum. 

 

2.) Spurs (43-13)

 

The Spurs have 40+ wins at the All-Star break for the sixth time in the last 20 years, easily the best mark in the NBA. They should be getting a healthy Pau Gasol (hand) back after the break, and Kawhi Leonard made it clear that he’s expecting a quiet deadline. "I think we’re doing good right now," Leonard said. "It’s all about team chemistry. You’ve always got to figure out the best way for you and your team, but I think we’re doing a good job right now." The Spurs could use another versatile SF/PF behind Leonard because Kyle Anderson hasn’t taken that next step, so maybe they will consider going after a guy like Wilson Chandler. To be clear, a trade in San Antonio seems highly unlikely. 

 

3.) Cavaliers (39-16)

 

You would think that the defending champs are confident about their chances of repeating with the best player in the NBA, but they have easily been one of the busiest teams leading up to the deadline. They addressed their lack of perimeter shooting by bringing in Kyle Korver, but now they need to add some depth behind Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Names such as Deron Williams, Shelvin Mack, Jameer Nelson and Andrew Bogut have been floated around, but if the Cavs do make a move, expect Iman Shumpert to be the odd man out. Their immediate concern right now is the health of Kevin Love (knee surgery), but they should be able to stay afloat with Channing Frye and Derrick Williams stepping up until Love returns in hopefully about six weeks.

 

4.) Rockets (40-18)

 

The Rockets are one of the biggest surprises in the NBA with James Harden looking like the frontrunner for the MVP award and coach Mike D’Antoni installing an offense that is on pace to shatter all sorts of records regarding 3-pointers. The Rockets are usually one of the most aggressive teams at the deadline since Daryl Morey took over as their GM, but if they do make a move this time around it will likely be a minor one. They could always use another wing so they don’t have to give Corey Brewer any minutes, so dealing a second-round pick for a guy like Nick Young could be on the table. 

 

Update: ESPN’s Chris Haynes is reporting that the Rockets are interested in Denver’s Wilson Chandler.

 

5.) Celtics (37-20)

 

No team in the NBA has more tradable assets than the Celtics, but they are looking to preserve their cap space and will only make a blockbuster deal if they can get someone like Jimmy Butler. The Celtics are going to have Brooklyn’s first-round pick in 2017 and 2018, so at least one of those picks would have to be involved along with some of Boston’s young talent. If the Celtics fail to pry Butler away from Chicago, a lot of reports have indicated that they will turn their attention to Denver’s Danilo Gallinari

 

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6.) Wizards (34-21)

 

The Wizards are arguably the most improved team in the NBA since January and they are expected to be buyers at the deadline. While their starting five is basically set in stone, their bench needs an upgrade and that’s why they have been linked to Lou Williams of the Lakers. The Wizards are willing to give up a future first-round pick if it helps them improve this season, and based on how they fared against the Cavaliers earlier this month, that’s probably the right call. 

 

7.) Jazz (35-22)

 

The Jazz are loaded with depth at positions 1-4, but they could certainly use some help behind All-Star snub Rudy Gobert. The Jazz do have some cap space to work with, so they could be in the market for a backup center such as Andrew Bogut or Tyson Chandler. The health of Derrick Favors and finding someone to take Boris Diaw’s minutes are probably their biggest concerns right now.  

 

8.) Raptors (33-24)

 

The Raptors have cooled off significantly and are just 5-11 in their last 16 games. However, they are still armed with the fourth-best offense in the NBA and just acquired Serge Ibaka from Orlando in exchange for a first-round pick and Terrence Ross, so they are quickly closing the gap on Boston and Cleveland. The Raptors may not be done dealing yet and they could use an upgrade over DeMarre Carroll on the wings, so expect them to entertain the idea of adding a starting-caliber small forward to their roster. 

 

9.) Grizzlies (34-24)

 

Marc Gasol and Mike Conley have never looked better and the Grizzlies have the fourth-best defense in the NBA, but they have no financial flexibility right now because of the contracts they gave to Conley and Chandler Parsons. The Grizzlies have a shot to make it out of the first round of the postseason, but there’s no move on the table that will make them an instant contender. Expect a quiet deadline in Memphis.

 

10.) Clippers (35-21)

 

Blake Griffin AND Chris Paul can hit free agency this summer when they opt out of their player options, so the Clippers need to make a run in the playoffs to convince their core to stick together. Doc Rivers kept true to his word and upgraded his second unit over the offseason, but now he needs to bring in a small forward so they can stop pretending like Luc Mbah a Moute is getting the job done. With a Carmelo Anthony trade looking all but out of the question, the Clippers are expected to pursue Denver’s Wilson Chandler. Don’t be surprised if Danilo Gallinari is also on their short list. 

 

11.) Thunder (32-25)

 

The Thunder have slowed down a bit, but Russell Westbrook alone makes them a dangerous team come playoff time. The Thunder still have their eyes on a playoff push and are looking for an upgrade at small forward, so they turned their attention towards Wilson Chandler of the Nuggets — they were previously interested in Rudy Gay before his Achilles injury. Enes Kanter (arm) should be ready to roll for the postseason, so small forward is their only glaring weakness right now. 

 

12.) Hawks (32-24)

 

The Hawks looked like they were on the verge of a full-blown rebuild when they traded Kyle Korver to the defending champs, but they are now said to be buyers at the deadline and they have reportedly removed Paul Millsap from the trade block — Millsap can walk as a free agent this summer, so it’s a risky move by Atlanta to keep him. If the Hawks are determined to make a move, expect them to shop the expiring contracts of Thabo Sefolosha and Tiago Splitter.

 

13.) Pelicans (23-34)

 

The Pelicans ROBBED the Kings on Sunday night when they acquired DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick (via Philly). They now have a projected starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill, Anthony Davis and Boogie, and they are in the process of shopping Terrence Jones, Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik. Expect them to be in the market for some help on the wings this week. 

 

14.) Pistons (27-30)

 

Detroit’s season hasn’t gone to plan by any means, but they are still the No. 8 seed in the East and could go in either direction at the deadline. Reggie Jackson has lost a step this season since his knee injury, and he’s the most likely Piston to be moved. He’s been linked to the Pelicans, Wolves and Magic, but Orlando is probably the frontrunners right now after offering a package that includes D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green… R-Jax’s value has clearly never been lower. 

 

15.) Nuggets (25-31)

 

The Nuggets are holding onto the No. 8 seed despite being six games under .500, but now they have some pressure behind them with the Pelicans acquiring DeMarcus Cousins. Wilson Chandler hasn’t been happy with his role, Danilo Gallinari is available for the right price and Kenneth Faried is always on the trade block, so don’t be surprised if they package several players and draft picks in order to land another star to play next to Nikola Jokic. Anyone outside of Jokic, Jamal Murray and Juancho Hernangomez are not safe. 

 


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