Let’s begin out journey with two teams, the 35-28 Washington Wizards and the 35-28 Oklahoma City Thunder. On November 23rd, the Westbrook-less, Durant-less, and seemingly hopeless Thunder fell to 3-12 after a hard fought loss to the mighty Golden St Warriors. Around that same time, Washington was sporting a nifty 9-3 record after convincing wins over the Bucks and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. A month later, things weren’t much different, even though OKC had a nice 9-1 run to get themselves to 13-14, while the Wiz sat at an immaculate 19-6.
Since then, the tables have turned. Washington has dealt with it’s own injury bug, missing Bradley Beal for a a stretch and limping along with a 15-21 record (including a brutal 5-14 tumble over a 19 game period) since their December 19th win over Miami. In that same time frame, even with Durant battling a myriad of injuries all year, the Thunder have ripped off a very decent 22-14 stretch, culminating in a 9-3 February and 12 wins in their last 16 games.
Wizards and Thunder. Two teams not only competing for the affections of Kevin Wayne Durant in the 2016 off-season, but now sporting identical overall records. However, it’s clear to see that over the last 2+ months, the Thunder have been the superior team, at least in terms of wins and losses.
That brings us to my 2015 Power Rankings. Nothing too scientific about it: I simply snipped off the 1st 2 months of the season and focused on how teams have performed since the calendar rolled over to 2015, then factored in how they’ve done in their last 10 games. What better way to rank these squads (yup, we all love lists) than to look at the more recent performances? Screw you, November games, let’s take a look how the league is shaking out right NOW.
(Key to rankings- Team name then Team Overall Record (2015 Record) Last 10 Games, Ten word wrap-up)
1. Hawks 49-13 (26-5) 7-3
Total team effort. Four all stars. Korver equals Ashton Jesus.
2. Warriors 49-12 (24-7) 7-3
Shooters gonna shoot. Curry second for MVP. Draymond brings shackles.
3. Houston 41-18 (21-11) 7-3
MVP Beard carries them. Pace & Space madness. Dwight is uncertain.
4. Cavaliers 40-25 (22-11) 7-3
Kyrie’s been amazing. Love has underwhelmed. LeBron still killin’ ’em.
5. Blazers 41-20 (15-13) 7-3
Lillard inconsistent. LaMarcus is their rock. Matthews hurt, that sucks.
6. Grizzlies 43-17 (21-10) 5-5
Gasol is NBA’s best center. You won’t out-tough them.
7. Spurs 37-23 (19-9) 6-4
Things were rocky. Pop still the best. Here comes Parker.
8. Thunder 35-28 (19-11) 7-3
Westbrook supernova. Can Durant get healthy? Augustin is the X-factor.
9. Clippers 40-21 (18-12) 6-4
Paul is underrated. DeAndre swallows rebounds. Doc screwed up the roster.
10. Mavericks 41-24 (18-14) 5-5
Why bring in Rondo? Monta is deadly. Parsons is vital.
11. Pacers 28-34 (16-13) 8-2
The defense is the answer. George Hill is the catalyst.
12. Bulls 39-25 (17-15) 5-5
No Rose, no Butler, still solid. Disciplined. Noah’s a force.
13. Pelicans 35-29 (18-13) 7-3
Brow is monstrous. Tyreke at point is the revelation.
14. Hornets 28-33 (18-10) 6-4
Mo Williams is The Savior. Jefferson needs to dominate again.
15. Jazz 26-36 (15-15) 6-4
Holy crap, Gobert is a Titan. Team on the rise.
16. Bucks 33-29 (16-13) 4-6
Tailspin since Trade Deadline. Chemistry’s a fickle thing.
17. Heat 26-33 (14-15) 6-4
Whiteside: 2nd coming. Dragic must dominate for shot at 8th.
18. Celtics 26-36 (14-18) 5-5
Isaiah has been amazing. Coach Stevens almost too damn good.
19. Suns 31-30 (13-14) 3-7
No continuity. The defense stinks. Bledsoe so good, so inconsistent.
20. Pistons 23-39 (15-16) 3-7
Reggie, take better shots. Wheels coming off the playoff push.
21. Toronto 38-25 (14-17) 2-8
DeRozan working back. Lowry looks off. Have to find defense.
22. Wizards 35-29 (13-17) 2-8
Remember John Wall, MVP candidate? Me neither. Stop long twos.
23. Nets 25-36 (10-20) 4-6
Roster in shambles. Coach Hollins dislikes his team, Send help.
24. Wolves 14-47 (9-22) 3-7
Rubio solves a lot. Wiggins an animal. KG is home.
25. Magic 21-43 (8-21) 5-5
Vaughn was the biggest problem. Oladipo will be a star.
26. Kings 21-40 (8-21) 3-7
Coach Karl steadying influence. Boogie 2nd best center In NBA.
27. Nuggets – 22-41 (9-22) 2-8
Brian Shaw was out of touch. This season is lost.
28. 76ers 14-49 (10-23) 2-8
Play hard. Noels has promise. Tanking continues, Brett Brown good.
29. Lakers 16-46 (6-24) 3-7
Jordan Clarkson looks like a gem. Scott is atrocious.
30. Knicks 12-49 (7-20) 2-8
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Agree with the rankings? Who did I miss on? Let me know below in the comments, or on Twitter,