NBA Power Rankings Week 23: Nobody Wants To Face The Sixers
Coming into the season, everybody knew the Philadelphia 76ers had expertise. Joel Embiid, admittedly in a small pattern, flashed obscene upside a season in the past, Ben Simmons was the No. 1 decide within the NBA Draft for a motive and Robert Covington displayed all of the indicators to be a top-flight NBA position participant that each crew wants. With that stated, there have been loads of skeptics with regard to what Philly may do for this season, merely on account of uncertainty with each Embiid and Simmons from a well being standpoint and the truth that younger groups usually wrestle within the league.
Quick ahead to late March and the Sixers are genuinely terrifying. At 43-30, the crew has exceeded any rational expectations and, in the intervening time, Philadelphia owns the league’s fifth-best web score (+four.1) from a season-long perspective. In actual fact, it could possibly be argued that Philly is at the moment working because the second-best crew within the East (trailing solely the Raptors), particularly in mild of an lively seven-game successful streak.
The jury is out, after all, on the subject of how it will translate to the postseason and the identical questions exist surrounding a crew with little collective playoff expertise. The presence of a steadying pressure (and a deadeye shooter) in J.J. Redick actually helps however the crew’s premium items, Embiid and Simmons, might be pressured to stay as much as the appreciable hype below the (very) vibrant lights of April and Could. Past that, there is the unknown of No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, who returned to motion on Monday evening and impressed in restricted time. He actually provides a distinct dimension to the proceedings if every little thing goes in keeping with plan along with his comeback.
Regardless, it must be stated that nobody desires to take care of the Philadelphia 76ers proper now, not less than if they’re pondering rationally. The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James and, thus, are scary within the playoffs, whereas the aforementioned Raptors have clearly been the East’s greatest crew this season. In the identical breath, Philly is the crew most geared up to tug an upset from a expertise perspective and Brett Brown’s crew seems to be peaking on the good time.
The place do the Sixers rank on this week’s version of Dime Power Rankings? Let’s discover the house.
1. Houston Rockets (60-14, Final week — 1st)
An lively nine-game successful streak ensures that the Rockets proceed to carry down the highest spot. In actual fact, Golden State’s continued harm points just about clinch Houston’s spot right here till the playoffs start.
2. Toronto Raptors (54-20, Final week — third)
A house loss to the Clippers someway… permits Toronto to rise within the rankings? Nicely, it has much more to do with the state of the Warriors than something. Nonetheless, the Raptors have been the very best crew within the East by a large margin they usually’ve earned this perch with continued excellence.
three. Golden State Warriors (54-19, Final week — 2nd)
Reports on the health of Stephen Curry aren’t exactly encouraging and, given the present working skill of the roster, this rating is just too lofty. The Warriors do need to land someplace, although, and everybody understands simply how harmful Steve Kerr’s crew is with even a couple of of their top-tier gamers wholesome and accessible.
four. Philadelphia 76ers (43-30, Final week — 11th)
Philly despatched a message with dominant current wins over the Nuggets and Wolves. That message in all probability contains one thing alongside the strains of “you need no a part of us.”
5. Boston Celtics (51-23, Final week — seventh)
The Celtics won’t be at full strength for a while however the season-long resume is spectacular and Boston has received 4 straight. It’s straightforward to neglect that Brad Stevens and firm have wildly overachieved this season when taking every little thing, headlined by accidents, under consideration.
6. Portland Path Blazers (45-28, Final week — 4th)
Portland lastly misplaced a sport… after which they misplaced one other. A bounce-back street win over the Thunder saved the Blazers from falling extra considerably, although, and this stays a harmful and enjoyable basketball crew.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (44-29, Final week — eighth)
Three of the wins got here in opposition to the Nets, Suns and Bulls however, alas, the Cavs are rolling to the tune of a five-game successful streak. It could not appear to be a lot at this juncture, however each little bit helps as LeBron’s crew makes an attempt to spherical into type on the proper time.
eight. Utah Jazz (42-32, Final week — fifth)
I nonetheless do not know how the Jazz misplaced to the Hawks at dwelling however, since then, Utah took care of enterprise in Oakland and didn’t embarrass itself in a close-fought street loss to San Antonio. Offensive ceiling issues are reliable however the Jazz are rock strong.
9. Indiana Pacers (43-31, Final week — ninth)
The Pacers are simply hovering in the identical space and, in consequence, they’re being ignored in a whole lot of methods. That may be a mistake. They’re good at basketball.
10. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder (44-31, Final week — sixth)
We’re in all probability underrating the Thunder based mostly on the quick previous, with two losses within the final three video games. Huge image? Oklahoma Metropolis feels fairly harmful. They don’t really feel fairly as harmful as all of us thought they’d be in October however there is no such thing as a inherent disgrace in that.
11. San Antonio Spurs (43-31, Final week — 10th)
The Spurs have risen from the lifeless to the tune of a six-game successful streak. Whereas that got here to an finish with a loss to Milwaukee, reviews of San Antonio’s demise have been apparently exaggerated. Gregg Popovich stays good at this complete teaching factor.
12. New Orleans Pelicans (43-31, Final week — 13th)
New Orleans took full benefit of a tender, four-game homestand and received all 4 contests. That spurt ended with a street loss in Houston however the Pelicans, just like the Spurs, are doing what they wanted to do.
13. Milwaukee Bucks (39-34, Final week — 18th)
It’s superb how a lot cache a win over the Spurs brings, particularly proper after San Antonio goes on a run. Milwaukee made the leap over a bunch of groups with questions… however they nonetheless made it.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (42-33, Final week — 14th)
Shedding to the Grizzlies is inexplicable, even with the uncertainty with the Wolves proper now. Minnesota has a 1.5-game lead on the Nuggets for the No. eight spot within the West however, immediately, that isn’t feeling terribly secure.
15. Los Angeles Clippers (39-34, Final week — 16th)
If not for an unsightly run earlier than that, the Clippers successful on the street in Toronto may need completed extra for his or her general inventory. That could be a extremely spectacular victory at time for a crew scrapping to get into the postseason.
16. Denver Nuggets (40-34, Final week — 17th)
Denver bumped into the brick wall that’s Philadelphia on Monday night however, previous to that, back-to-back wins have been garnered to stem the tide. It stays tough to gauge what the Nuggets will do on a nightly foundation, although, and that’s troubling in late March.
17. Miami Warmth (39-35, Final week — 15tb)
Miami is (nonetheless) what we thought they have been. They’re feisty however they’re 18th in web score (+zero.2 factors per 100 possessions) and wholly unspectacular.
18. Washington Wizards (40-33, Final week — 12th)
A nasty time for a three-game shedding streak. It’s inexplicable for this Wizards crew, in the midst of a playoff push, to lose at dwelling to the Knicks and that could be a punishable offense.
19. Charlotte Hornets (34-41, Final week — 21st)
Very similar to the Pistons (coming quickly), the Hornets are padding their report in the intervening time in opposition to dangerous competitors. It’s robust to disregard an lively four-game successful streak, although, and we received’t do it on this house.
20. Detroit Pistons (34-40, Final week — 19th)
Don’t look now however Detroit’s received 4 of 5 video games. All 4 victories have come in opposition to groups within the backside ten, reducing the ceiling a bit, however that form of run continues to be encouraging.
21. Los Angeles Lakers (32-41, Final week — 20th)
Solely a win over the lowly Grizzlies saved the Lakers from a prolonged shedding streak. For a protracted whereas, Los Angeles was enjoying like a playoff crew. Proper now, they’re working extra like a crew with a 32-41 report.
22. New York Knicks (27-48, Final week — 23rd)
Permitting 137 factors to the Hornets isn’t nice however the Knicks did precede that by successful within the nation’s capital. It’s robust to reconcile that mixture but it surely occurred.
23. Sacramento Kings (24-50, Final week — 27th)
The Kings misplaced three video games they have been imagined to lose this week. On the brilliant aspect, they beat the Hawks in a sport that they have been, properly, imagined to win.
24. Chicago Bulls (24-49, Final week — 25th)
This is perhaps excessive for Chicago proper now, particularly on the heels of 5 straight losses. They have been non-competitive in a street sport in opposition to Detroit and, on a nightly foundation, it’s a spectacle to behold.
25. Orlando Magic (22-51, Final week — 26th)
Orlando did the naked minimal this week and that included a victory over the hapless Suns. It’s robust to really reward that win, particularly at dwelling, however we will’t punish it both.
26. Brooklyn Nets (23-51, Final week — 22nd)
There isn’t any disgrace in shedding three straight video games by single-digits and the Nets have completed simply that. Brooklyn is extra pleasurable to observe than many of the groups within the backside tier (maybe as a result of they’re attempting to win?) however the outcomes simply aren’t there on the entire.
27. Memphis Grizzlies (20-54, Final week — 28th)
Memphis simply received in Minnesota. That claims extra in regards to the Wolves struggling than anything however, someway, the Grizzlies have two wins over playoff contenders within the current previous which is just about inexplicable.
28. Dallas Mavericks (22-51, Final week — 24th)
The Mavs have dropped 5 straight and that overcomes the peripheral benefit that the crew has over most of the tanking bunch. Dallas is simply plain dangerous and, whereas that’s an edge over a few of the dregs, it’s irritating nonetheless.
29. Atlanta Hawks (21-53, Final week — 29th)
A street journey to the West Coast nearly appears unfair for the Hawks in the intervening time and the crew’s final two video games got here in opposition to the Warriors and Rockets. Subsequent on the agenda? A street tilt in opposition to a Wolves crew that badly wants a win. Better of luck.
30. Phoenix Suns (19-56, Final week — 30th)
The Suns have misplaced 12 video games in a row. It’s nearly unimaginable to separate from the remainder of the tanking pack however Phoenix is making each effort to do precisely that proper now and have moved into the highest spot within the lottery because of Memphis’ sudden penchant for beating playoff groups.