Monday, January 30, 2012

NBA Power Rankings, Week 5

Not only is there a new No. 1 team, but there is also a new No. 30 team in our NBA Consensus Power Rankings.

The Oklahoma City Thunder moved up to No. 1 this week from No. 2 last week. The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat keep the top three unchanged in terms of teams at the top.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Bobcats have been absolutely horrible. How horrible?

They got a triple-double out of rookie Kemba Walker this weekend and still lost to the Wizards, who were the 30th-ranked team in rankings last week.

Here are some more stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Indiana Pacers (+4.00)
- Biggest drop from last week: Orlando Magic (-6.25)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Pacers, Mavericks Clippers (6)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Will the New York Knicks make the playoffs?

John (follow on Twitter): While I no longer have any confidence that the Knicks will win the division, I do still believe they will make the playoffs. About a week ago, it was looking as though the Celtics would be a sub-500 team and that they may miss the playoffs. Right now, they've won four in a row and leveled their record at 9-9. It is still plenty early, but with the talent that they have, I expect them to make the playoffs. The Knicks have been awful of late, just 1-9 in their last 10 games. However, like the Celtics, I expect the Knicks to figure a few things out and make the playoffs. Right now, the Knicks are in tenth in the East, but are in the mix with Milwaukee, Cleveland, New Jersey, and Toronto for the last seed. Each of those teams are within 2.5 games of one another, and it is far too early to pronounce the Knicks dead. They have been disappointing, for sure, but there is still too much talent on that team to not make the playoffs in the East, where the bottom of the conference is less than impressive to put it kindly. I think the Knicks and Celtics will be the 7/8 seeds come playoff time.

Sean (follow on Twitter): The Knicks will make the playoffs this year, just because the Eastern Conference is filled with garbage teams. I think D'Antoni should be fired, and will be soon and then the new regime will straighten this team out and they will finish with the 7th or 8th seed this year. Melo/Amare combo is not working. I think they will need to split the duo to compete with the big boys in the East.

Dan (follow on Twitter): The Knicks will make the playoffs this year, as per usual the East is a weak field from teams 5-8. The Knicks have not been playing well as of late, but they just have too much talent to be on a prolonged losing streak. Right now the Knicks would be in a dogfight for the 8th and final spot, but I know that Boston and New York will make the playoffs over these reamaining teams, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Cleveland, and Toronto.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): While I do think the Knicks will ultimately make the playoffs, I think they sneak in with a .500 (to slightly sub-.500) record. Not only are the Knicks off to a horrible start, but their only win against a team with a winning record was at home against a Spencer Hawes-less 76ers team. Five of their other six wins this year have come against teams ranked 25-30 in our Power Rankings: Sacramento, Washington, Detroit and Charlotte twice. Baron Davis can't return too soon for these woeful Knicks.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 5, click here.

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Related: Our End-of-season NFL Consensus Power Rankings

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