Monday, November 24, 2014

2014-15 NBA Power Rankings: Week 5

Here are my Week 5 NBA Power Rankings:

1. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 12-2, Last Week: 1): Grizzlies center Marc Gasol now has eight games of 20-plus points this season. Gasol had just eight 20-point games (out of 59) last season. Since Gasol returned from injury on Jan. 14, 2014, the Grizzlies have an NBA-best record (45-15, .750).

Surprisingly, the Grizzlies have just the sixth-lowest odds to win the Western Conference based on odds from

2. Golden State Warriors (Record: 10-2, Last Week: 3): Marreese Speights has played only 158 minutes in 11 games, but he leads the NBA in points per 36 minutes (29.5) and in points per 100 possessions (39.5).

3. Houston Rockets (Record: 10-3, Last Week: 2): James Harden is shooting a career-low 39.1 percent from the field, but he is shooting a career-high 89.5 percent from the line and making a league-high 9.2 free throws per game.

4. Toronto Raptors (Record: 11-2, Last Week: 6): The Raptors currently lead the NBA in point differential (+12.2). They rank second in the league in scoring offense (106.9 per game) and sixth in scoring defense (94.7 per game).

5. San Antonio Spurs (Record: 9-4, Last Week: 5): Tony Parker is a career 32.1-percent shooter from three-point range, but he has made 63.6 percent of his attempts this season. His career-best percentage is 39.5 percent (2006-07).

6. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 10-3, Last Week: 9): Since starting the season 3-3, the Blazers have won seven consecutive games, the longest active winning streak in the NBA, and will face the winless Sixers on Monday night.

7. Washington Wizards (Record: 9-3, Last Week: 8): In his three games since returning from injury, Bradley Beal is averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 points and 1.3 steals per game in 30.7 minutes per game off the bench.

8. Chicago Bulls (Record: 8-5, Last Week: 7): Derrick Rose, who has missed the past four games due to a hamstring injury, may or may not play Monday night. If he's unable to play tonight, however, he is confident that he'll return for Tuesday's matchup against the Nuggets.

9. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 10-4, Last Week: 11): Brandan Wright had his first double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) on Saturday against the Rockets and has now scored in double digits in seven consecutive games. Wright has yet to shoot below .545 in any game this season and he leads the league with a .785 field goal percentage.

10. Phoenix Suns (Record: 9-5, Last Week: 16): Among players with no starts this season, Isaiah Thomas (15.4 PPG) and Gerald Green (14.2) rank second and fourth in the NBA in per-game scoring. In addition, Thomas is currently leading all Suns players in scoring.

11. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 7-5, Last Week: 10): Chris Paul continues to lead the NBA in assist/turnover ratio (6.33). If he continues to average 9.5-plus assists per game and 1.5 turnovers (or less) per game, CP3 will become the first player in league history to do so for a full season.

12. Sacramento Kings (Record: 8-5, Last Week: 13): The Kings lead the NBA in offensive rebound percentage (30.0) and rebound percentage (55.4).

13. Miami Heat (Record: 8-6, Last Week: 14): Over the past six games with Dwyane Wade sidelined, Mario Chalmers has averaged 20.0 points, 7.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

14. Cleveland Cavaliers (Record: 5-7, Last Week: 4): Four games last week. Four losses last week. With LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love & Co. are still adjusting to each other, the Cavs averaged just 89.5 points in those four losses.

15. New Orleans Pelicans (Record: 7-5, Last Week: 12): Anthony Davis is averaging 26.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 2.0 steals per game. The last player to average 26/11/3/2 is, well, nobody.

16. Atlanta Hawks (Record: 6-5, Last Week: 15): Fourteen different players have seen the court for the Hawks this season. All 14 of them are averaging double-digit minutes.

17. Milwaukee Bucks (Record: 7-7, Last Week: 17): The Bucks already have seven wins and compared to last season, it's more than a month earlier than they got their seventh win last year, which occurred on New Year's Eve against the Lakers. (And then they went 1-14 in January.)

18. Denver Nuggets (Record: 6-7, Last Week: 28): After a 1-6 start to the season, the Nuggets have won five of their past six games including the previous four games. Having another perfect week will be tough, however, as they face the Bulls on Tuesday and then have a home-and-home with the Suns this week.

19. Indiana Pacers (Record: 5-8, Last Week: 20): Although Roy Hibbert will miss Monday's game with an ankle injury, David West is close to returning and even Paul George has hopes (albeit unlikely ones) of returning this season.

20. Brooklyn Nets (Record: 5-8, Last Week: 18): Deron Williams currently ranks fifth in the league in minutes per game and Williams is one of three players with double-digit games of 15-plus points and five-plus assists this season. The other two are Stephen Curry and James Harden.

21. Utah Jazz (Record: 5-9, Last Week: 23): Only the Lakers (11) have allowed more 100-point games to their opponents than the Jazz (10) this season.

22. Orlando Magic (Record: 6-9, Last Week: 26): Nikola Vucevic currently leads the NBA in double-doubles with 11 of them in 15 games this season.

23. Boston Celtics (Record: 4-8, Last Week: 21): The Celtics rank last in the league in FTA Rate (.220), which measures how often a team gets to the free-throw line in relation to field-goal attempts.

24. Charlotte Hornets (Record: 4-10, Last Week: 19): Expectations were high for the Hornets entering the season, but they have now lost five games in a row and seven of their past eight games.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (Record: 3-12, Last Week: 22): Although Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will be back in the near future, Reggie Jackson is one of just two players in the league to currently average at least 20 points, seven assists and five boards per game. The other is Golden State's Stephen Curry.

26. New York Knicks (Record: 4-10, Last Week: 24): The Knicks currently lead the NBA in three-point shooting percentage (40.6 percent). The Knicks have eight players averaging at least one three-point shot per game and five of them are shooting at least 40 percent from behind the arc.

27. Detroit Pistons (Record: 3-10, Last Week: 25): After shooting 60.8 and 62.3 percent from the field in his first two seasons, respectively, Andre Drummond is shooting just 39.7 percent from the field this year although he's shooting a career-high 43.6 percent from the free-throw line.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (Record: 3-9, Last Week: 27): The T'Wolves have managed to keep their opponents from scoring 100-plus points in three games. They are tied with the Celtics and Lakers to rank last in the league in that category.

29. Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 3-11, Last Week: 29): Jordan Hill has an active streak of six consecutive games with 10-plus points and 10-plus rebounds, which is tied with Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins for the longest such streak this season.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (Record: 0-13, Last Week: 30): This tweet says it all:

Also, check out our Fantasy Basketball Rest-of-Season Rankings

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