Monday, March 19, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 12

Not necessarily in the same order every week, the top three teams in our NBA Consensus Power Rankings have stayed in the top three every week of the season so far.

Based on odds to win the NBA Championship (via, the Miami Heat (6/5 odds) are the prohibitive favorites to win it all. The other two teams in the top three -- the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls -- have 7/2 odds.

In addition to those three division leaders, the other three divisions leaders have the following odds to win the NBA Championship: Lakers (7/1), Spurs (15/1) and 76ers (25/1).

The two teams with odds of 25/1 or better to win it all that don't currently lead their division are the Clippers (13/1) and the Mavs (20/1).

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

- Biggest jump from last week: Phoenix Suns (+2.25)
- Biggest drop from last week: Portland Trail Blazers (-2.25)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics (5)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Which current division leader is LEAST likely to win their division?

John (follow on Twitter): Philadelphia 76ers

The current division leader that is least likely to win their division would have to be the Philadelphia 76ers. They have cooled off since a hot start to the season, and have the Boston Celtics breathing down their necks. Behind Rajon Rondo, the Celtics have pulled within 1.5 games of the division lead, and seem poised to move up to the four spot in the playoffs, rather than the seven seed as things stand now. The Knicks also seem to be playing well again under interim coach Mike Woodson, with three very convincing wins in a row since Mike D'Antoni's surprising resignation this past week. The Knicks are currently four games back. Philadelphia will have to pick it up down the stretch if they want to fend off either or both of the Celtics and Knicks and claim the division championship.

Sean (follow on Twitter): San Antonio Spurs

Philly is the obvious choice with Boston only 1-1/2 back, and New York 4 back, but I really like this 76ers team. I am going to go with San Antonio even though they are up four games right now. I think Dallas or Memphis can make a run and take the Southwest.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): San Antonio Spurs

Ruling out the top three teams, the easy answer, I suppose, would be to list the Sixers here. And the easy response, I suppose, would be to say that I'm a "homer" for not listing the Sixers here. While the Sixers may have lost five of their past eight games, two of their wins during that span have come against the Celtics and Knicks, two teams that I believe don't have the ability to overtake the 76ers down the stretch. While the Pacific division is tight, Kobe and the Lakers now how to close so I don't expect them to give up their lead.

The Spurs have strong veteran presence, great coaching and they know how to win. That said, the two teams behind them in the Southwest have legitimate shots of surpassing them. After all, the Mavs are the defending NBA champions and the Grizzlies made it to the Western Conference Finals last year. Either one of these teams is certainly capable of making a final-month run to win the division.

Dan (follow on Twitter): Philadelphia 76ers

This year we still have a few different divisions that are hotly contested in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southwest, but the team that will not end up winning will be the 76ers. The Celtics have too much veteran savvy, are only 1.5 games back and the difference between having the No. 3 seed and the No. 7 seed will be enormous. Down the stretch, the 76ers will fold as they have not been in this position at all, and the Celtics are the team that will need the No. 3 seed.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 12, click here.

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