NBA Weekly Ranking

Daniel Romero-Salas

Daniel Romero-Salas

Daniel Romero-Salas is a lifelong NBA fan with an inclination to statistical analysis of the game. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, and strives to bring a refreshing take on one of the most popular leagues in the world.

Chicago Bulls
Last week: 3-1
Record: 15-3
This team is so deep that even with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson out with injuries last week they went 3-1 and have yet to lose a home game. Coach Tom Thibodeau has installed a defense that is ranked 1st in points allowed per game, 1st in rebounds and 2nd in blocks. The scary part is that the offense which looked stagnant last year against the Heat in the playoffs is much improved. The Bulls have scored the most field goals of all teams and are 6th best in 3-point field goal percentage, something they looked to address in order to give Derrick Rose more space to operate on the floor.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Last week: 2-1
Record: 13-3
The average age of the starting lineup of the Oklahoma City Thunder is 24.4 years old. Their main contributor of the bench is 22-year-old James Harden. This core has already been to the Western Conference Finals. They are extremely talented and are getting better day by day. The rest of the NBA beware.

Orlando Magic
Last week: 3-1
Record: 11-4
Will the Magic trade Dwight Howard? They probably should not if they keep playing like this. They have surrounded Howard with lights out shooters and make teams pay for double teaming him. The Magic have made the 2nd most threes this season and have the 2nd highest three-point field goal percentage.

Indiana Pacers
Last week: 2-1
Record: 11-4
This balanced bunch has 7 players averaging double digits in points with their leading scorer, Danny Granger, only averaging 16.1 per game. The Pacers are winning with a stingy defense ranked 4th in points allowed per game and every one of them is a threat to score on the other end.

Denver Nuggets
Last week: 4-1
Record: 12-5
JR Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin were all key contributors for the Nuggets last year. They are all currently playing in China. The Nuggets meanwhile have not skipped a beat without them. They have blitzed teams with their league leading 105.5 points per game and are first in the NBA in Free Throws Attempted, Free Throws Made, Assists and Steals. George Karl has molded an entertaining team to watch.

Atlanta Hawks
Last week: 3-1
Record: 12-5
Al Horford tore his pectoral muscle and will be out for 3-4 months. The Hawks took the loss of one of their best big men and responded by winning 5 of their next 6 games. Can they keep this up? It will be up to Josh Smith and Joe Johnson to make up for the lost production.

Miami Heat
Last week: 3-1
Record: 11-5
After leading his team to 3 wins and 1 loss this week without the injured Dwyane Wade, Lebron averaged 30 points, 7 assists, 8.75 rebounds, 2.25 steals and 1.5 blocks. The Heat have the best field goal percentage in the league and score the 2nd most points per game. Last season’s finalists look hungry for a title.

Philadelphia 76ers
Last week: 2-2
Record: 11-5
The 76ers are a young team that surprisingly plays like a veteran one. Philadelphia leads the league in point differential at +11.4 points. When the 76ers win, they win by an average of 20 points. When they lose, it has been by an average of 7.6 points.

Utah Jazz
Last week: 3-1
Record: 10-5
The Utah Jazz have a team built for success in the lockout shortened season. The bench is deep and, in order to avoid injuries, minutes are spread out (only 2 players average more than 30 minutes a game). Coach Tyrone Corbin has the luxury of being able to matchup with big frontcourts or go small without suffering for it.

Los Angeles Clippers
Last week: 3-2
Record: 9-5
Lob City is leading the Pacific Division ahead of the Lakers for the first time in a long time. Blake Griffin is building upon the success of last year while new additions Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler provide excitement on the offensive end. The Clippers currently have the 7th highest points per game in the league.

Memphis Grizzlies
Last week: 4-0
Record: 9-6
The Grizzlies are currently on a 6-game winning streak without their playoff leader from last year Zach Randolph. Marc Gasol has taken on the burden of Randolph’s absence to post career numbers in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

San Antonio Spurs
Last week: 2-3
Record: 10-7
The Spurs finally lost a home game this past week to the Kings but they have been scorching from the outside. The Spurs have made the 2nd most field goals this season along with the 3rd most 3-point field goals. Their 98.9 points per game is the 5th best in the NBA all without Manu Ginobili who is out with a broken hand.

Dallas Mavericks
Last week: 2-2
Record: 10-7
The defending champions have started the season without 3 important contributors in Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea and Caron Butler. Mark Cuban was confident that the team could handle the changes and have become a stronger defensive team. The Mavericks are holding opponents to 88.4 points per game, the third lowest amount in the league.

Houston Rockets
Last week: 4-0
Record: 9-7
The Rockets are an intriguing team because of their offensive efficiency; they lead the league in free throw percentage and are the 6th best offensive rebounding team. However, their defense is below average and they rely on outscoring opponents rather than getting stops.

Portland Trailblazers
Last week: 2-2
Record: 9-7
After the retirement of Brandon Roy due to knee problems, Lamarcus Aldridge has taken control of this team punctuating it with a 33-point 23-rebound game. Aldridge is averaging 23.3 points per game and looks to lead this dark horse team deep into the playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers
Last week: 1-3
Record: 10-8
Having lost the last 3 games the Lakers are struggling with their new offensive identity. Having run the Triangle offense for the last 7 years, Mike Brown has put the ball in Kobe Bryant’s hands while everyone stays out of the way. Kobe has been spectacular but his teammates fail to provide spacing and the Lakers are dead last in 3-point percentage in the league.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Last week: 3-1
Record: 7-9
Kevin Love recently hit a game winner against the Clippers to give the Timberwolves its first win in a game decided by 5 or less points. Ricky Rubio, the flamboyant Spanish rookie has been putting on a show with his highlight reel passes and is 4th in the league in steals. Rubio is in the running to win the Rookie of the Year award, possibly becoming the 3rd member of the 2009 draft class to win it (the previous 2 being Tyreke Evans and Blake Griffin).

Boston Celtics
Last week: 2-2
Record:  6-9
Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are both sidelined with sprains, leaving Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to carry the load for now. So far this year the Celtics have looked old and are the league’s worst offensive rebounding team and have scored the least amount of points of all teams so far this season.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Last week: 1-3
Record: 6-9
Kyrie Irving has been the saving grace for this team; the 19 year old leads all rookies in scoring and also leads his team in assists with 4.9 a game. This is a young team looking for an identity and Irving is the perfect player to rebuild around after the departure of Lebron James.

Milwaukee Bucks
Last week: 2-2
Record: 6-9
Teams coached by Scott Skiles usually are good defensively but their big men have struggled so far this year. The Bucks are 29th in defensive rebounding and blocks. This is a deep, veteran team so it is surprising that they might struggle to make it to the playoffs unless some changes are made.

Phoenix Suns
Last week: 2-2
Record: 6-9
With Steve Nash around the Suns’ offense will always be humming, the worrying thing is their defense. The Suns are the 27th in the league in rebounding, 25th in fouls given and 24th in steals. The team has many questions to answer once Nash becomes a free agent next year.

New York Knicks
Last week: 0-4
Record: 6-10
The Knicks are one of the worst 10 teams in the league (record-wise) but boast a formidable star duo in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Against the Nuggets on Saturday, home fans booed their own team! What is going on? Without a good point guard the team is 27th in field goal percentage and 23rd in 3-point percentage. Coach Mike D’Antoni does not have the right personnel to run his favored offense. As a result they look to Carmelo too much to create opportunities.

Sacramento Kings
Last week: 2-2
Record: 6-11
The Kings have NBA’s worst point differential being -11.2 meaning that when they have barely won by very few points while their losses have been blowouts. Jimmer Fredette was a high draft pick with a lot of hype coming in this season but he has been disappointing only averaging 7.6 points a game.

Golden State Warriors
Last week: 2-2
Record:  5-10
The Warriors have never had problems scoring with Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and David Lee providing much of the firepower but their defense is one of the worst. The team gives up the most free throws in the league and with Kwame Brown out for the next 3 months the team has lost arguably its best post defender. Coach Mark Jackson started out the year preaching defense but so far his team is not playing the way he wants them to.

New Jersey Nets
Last week: 2-3
Record: 5-12
Marshon Brooks is the 2nd-leading scorer among rookies with 15.4 points per game. An accomplished scorer in college who was drafted towards the end of the first round, Brooks has been a pleasant surprise for a team that unfortunately lost their starting center, Brook Lopez, to a debilitating stress fracture in his foot.

Detroit Pistons
Last week: 1-4
Record: 4-13
Brandon Knight, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey are great scorers but none of them are true point guards. As a result, the Pistons lead the league in turnovers. On the bright side, the defense is among league average and they are the 8th best offensive rebounding team allowing for more shooting opportunities to balance the poor team offense.

Toronto Raptors
Last week: 0-4
Record: 4-13
With the longest active losing streak in the NBA, the Raptors have currently lost 8 in a row. Andrea Bargnani, their leading scorer has been out with a strained calf for almost 2 weeks and the worst offense in the NBA is praying to have him back as soon as possible.

New Orleans Hornets
Last week: 0-4
Record: 3-13
Eric Gordon’s injury has really hurt the Hornets’ offense, a team that was already in the bottom 5 in scoring lost their only 20 point per game scorer. Jarrett Jack has had to pick up the extra scoring load but is only averaging 16 points per game while the team is mired in a 7-game losing streak.

Charlotte Bobcats
Last week: 0-4
Record: 3-14
With the team struggling out of the gate early, Paul Silas decided to insert the rookie Kemba Walker into the lineup to inject some energy into the team. The Bobcats now start one of the league’s youngest groups with an average age of 23.2. The franchise is looking ahead to the future by giving them experience at the risk of losing games in the present.

Washington Wizards
Last week: 1-3
Record 2-14
This team with the fewest wins of the year occupies the number 30 spot as the Wizards struggle scoring points (27th in the league). They have an exciting point guard in John Wall but the team is 29th in the league in assists. Without ball movement and a better offense the Wizards look like they are headed back to the lottery. – Rappler.com