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.
Rankings are based on the win-loss tally of teams. Tiebreakers will be decided by head to head records of tied teams. If teams have yet to play each other, the team with the better conference record will be placed ahead of the other. Numbers in parenthesis indicate the team’s standing in last week’s rankings.
Last week: 4-1 (2)
Luol Deng returned on Saturday giving the Bulls a huge boost to their wing depth. Richard Hamilton has been battling a groin problem and will be out indefinitely. In his return Deng played 41 minutes in a 13 point Bulls win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Last week: 2-2 (1)
The Thunder will always have an efficient offense thanks to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The player who will really help them lock down on defense is forward Serge Ibaka. When Ibaka rejects less than 2 blocks a game the Thunder have lost every single time.
Last week: 3-1 (3)
The Heat as a team are shooting a ridiculous 48.7% from the field. Coach Erik Spoelstra introduced a new offense at the beginning of the season called “pace and space” focusing on fast break buckets. It’s clear that the changes are working quite well.
Last week: 3-1 (5)
The 76ers are an incredibly balanced team; the offense takes care of the ball with the least turnovers in the league. The defense is absolutely suffocating allowing only 86.5 points per game which is the lowest in the NBA.
Last week: 3-1 (7)
Danny Granger is starting to heat up after a slow start to the season. He is averaging 23 points per game this last week after scoring 17.2 per game before.
Last week: 1-2 (4)
The Hawks have committed the least fouls of all teams in the league. By keeping teams off the free throw line, Atlanta can play tough defense without worrying about giving up easy points at the foul line.
Los Angeles Clippers
Last week: 3-1 (8)
The Clippers just signed Kenyon Martin as a free agent following his stint in the Chinese Basketball Association. The signing adds another veteran big man who can play both center and power forward. Both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will welcome Martin as they lead the Clippers in minutes played per game.
San Antonio Spurs
Last week: 4-0 (15)
On Saturday, Tony Parker distributed 9 assists to become San Antonio’s all-time leader in assists. It was only fitting that his record breaking assist was to Tim Duncan for a jump shot.
Last week: 1-3 (6)
Danilo Gallinari is having a huge year for the Nuggets. Whenever he scores 20 or more points, the Nuggets are 9-1. The team is going to need him to get out of their current slump; they’ve won only 1 out of their last 5 games.
Last week: 3-1 (11)
Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting is a bellwether for the Orlando Magic’s success. Howard is making 12.3 free throws in wins but only 5.6 free throws in their losses.
Last week: 2-2 (10)
The Jazz have an imposing front line, they are second in the league in field goal percentage at the rim shooting 68.5% there. Aggressive inside play also results in a lot of fouls on the other team. The Jazz are capitalizing by shooting the 7th most free throws of all teams.
Last week: 2-2 (13)
Gerald Wallace is shooting 59.9% at home but only 33.7% on the road. He one of the main reasons the Trailblazers have only lost 1 game at home.
Los Angeles Lakers
Last week: 2-1 (14)
In 9 of their 10 losses, Kobe Bryant has shot the ball more than 20 times. Mike Brown needs to find other sources of scoring to try and balance their offensive options.
Last week: 4-0 (17)
Last week the Celtics tightened up their defense but what has gone unnoticed so far is how well they are shooting threes. The Celtics average 42.7% from downtown and are the only team to shoot over 40% from there.
Last week: 1-3 (9)
The good news for the Mavericks is that Dirk Nowitzki finally came out of his shell with his first 30 point game of the season followed by a 24 point effort the next game. The bad news is that the Mavericks have dropped 3 of their last games.
Last week: 1-3 (12)
The Rockets have been known to be a high scoring team that struggles to get stops defensively. However, they only allow opponents to shoot 30.3% from three point land making them the third lowest team in the NBA.
Last week: 2-3 (15)
Rudy Gay scored a career low 1 point in the Grizzlies’ loss to the Spurs but has rebounded with 4 straight games of 20 points or more. The Grizzlies will need him to continue scoring because the team average of 93.7 points per game is below league average.
Last week: 3-1 (17)
Ricky Rubio is currently 4th in the NBA in assists per game at 8.9 while also 3rd in steals per game with 2.3. With Rubio at the helm, the Timberwolves are on pace to win 50% of their games since 2005.
Last week: 2-2 (18)
Without Andrew Bogut, Drew Gooden has quietly been putting up good numbers. He’s averaging 16.3 points in games that Bogut has not played at all. His season average is just in line with Bogut’s so far this season.
Last week: 1-2 (19)
It’s easy to forget that Kyrie Irving is only 19 years old. He leads all rookies in scoring at 18.1 per game and has scored in double digits in every game except two. Irving looks to be in a race with Ricky Rubio for Rookie of the Year.
Last week: 2-2 (20)
Phoenix Suns management has conceded that they will trade Steve Nash if he requests them to do so. Nash, for his part, refuses to give up on the franchise and will not ask to be traded. The Suns will just look to play out this season and allow Nash to leave as a free agent next year.
New York Knicks
Last week: 2-2 (21)
Amare Stoudemire is averaging less than 20 points per game for the first time since 2003. This year his 18.2 points per game average is his second lowest average since he was a rookie. This was not the type of production the Knicks were looking for when they gave him a $100 million contract.
Golden State Warriors
Last week: 2-1 (24)
Even with David Lee leading the Warriors with 9.9 rebounds a game (13th best), the Warriors are the worst rebounding team in the league. After Lee, the 3rd best active rebounder on the team is the 6 foot 3 inch Stephen Curry.
Last week: 2-1 (25)
The Kings are now the team that allows the most points per game at 101.6. Teams that play against the Kings average 47% from the field. The team is young and athletic, they should be much better than this.
New Jersey Nets
Last week: 1-3 (23)
The Nets may not have the best defense but they are making up for it by leading the league in 3 pointers made and are 4th in offensive rebounds. Those extra opportunities on the offensive glass have helped create more 3 point chances.
Last week: 1-3 (22)
Demar Derozan has really struggled this year regressing in every statistical category except turnovers. Derozan is now the number one option with Andrea Bargnani injured but is having a tough time carrying the load for the team.
Last week: 2-3 (29)
Brandon Knight received a rude awakening to the NBA when his nose was broken after taking an elbow to the face against the Hornets. The rookie has been one of few bright spots in the team averaging 12.3 points and 3.4 assists per game.
Last week: 0-4 (29)
The Wizards lost all of their games this week by an average of 14.75 points. With the exception of Andray Blatche, (who was booed during player introductions in Washington) the team is largely healthy so injuries are not really to blame for the continuing woes.
New Orleans Hornets
Last week: 0-4 (28)
The Hornets are dead last in the Western Conference and have lost the last 5 games. Chris Kaman was held out of games in order to gauge trade interest but has been reinstated to the team in hopes that he can help them get some wins.
Last week: 0-3 (30)
Without a win in their last 11 games the Bobcats continue to occupy the bottom of the rankings. Now starting 2 rookies in the lineup, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, the team is looking to give them experience at the expense of wins.- Rappler.com