Hit List, NBA / Feb 18, 2013 / 1:11 pm

NBA Power Rankings Vol. I: Move Over LeBron James

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio (photo. adidas)

The NBA regular season, at least for the teams that hold visions of championships, is just an 82-session practice for the playoffs. So rather than worry about who is the unofficial “best” or “worst” team in the League right now, let’s look at which team is most equipped for the truly important games.

In other words: Who is the last team you’d want to see in a seven-game series to decide it all? In this case, the last shall be first in the rankings. Rankings from worst to first…

30. Orlando Magic – 15-37
Glen Davis is out for the season, JJ Redick will probably be traded this week and they’re 3-23 in their last 26. Nikola Vucevic has been playing amazing, but this team is as gross as expected.

29. Phoenix Suns – 17-36
Oh, Lindsey Hunter isn’t the best coach ever? That’s surprising. The Suns have come back down to earth after the coaching change and they scored a gentleman’s 69 points last Sunday against Oklahoma City. They, too, will probably become worse after this Thursday’s trade deadline.

28. Charlotte Bobcats – 12-40
Happy birthday, Michael? After an encouraging start to the season, the Bobcats have turned back into the Bobcats. They’ve lost 35 of their last 40 games and there are few signs of improvement. But, hey, at least Byron Mullens is back!

27. Sacramento Kings – 19-35
The incredible Sacramento fan base deserves so much better than this. DeMarcus Cousins is still a dominate piece to build around. But that doesn’t matter much when the rest of the roster is so devoid of talent. Maybe at some point Thomas Robinson could play more than 16 minutes per game?

26. New Orleans Hornets – 19-34
Greivis Vasquez keeps playing great and is guaranteeing himself a large contract this summer. And with Eric Gordon back and slowly regaining his shot, the “Pelicans” could be on the verge of a nice little stretch post-all-star break.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves – 19-31
Remember when the Timberwolves were a Western Conference playoff sleeper? Yeah, well, injuries stink. But with Ricky Rubio finally back and beginning to get more minutes, they will still at least be a fun team to watch.

24. Washington Wizards – 15-36
Oh the power of John Wall. Since his return, the Wizards have won six games after winning only nine prior when he was injured. Bradley Beal is also playing at a much higher level with Wall. The play of these two, along with contributions from Emeka Okafor and Nene, has turned the Wizards into an impressively average team with upside.

23. Detroit Pistons – 21-33
More Andre Drummond, please. He’s had flashes of brilliance, and while still extremely raw, he looks like a future star for the Pistons. His potential along with the established success of Greg Monroe may soon provide Detroit with one of the few dominant frontcourts in the NBA. Let’s hope he can get back from his injured back fast.

22. Philadelphia 76ers – 22-29
The state of this Sixers team was perfectly represented Wednesday night in Milwaukee. First they blew a comfortable lead against the struggling Bucks and then, down three with four seconds remaining, they had Royal Ivey on the court. Yikes. What year is it? Ivey obviously turned the ball over to seal the win for the Bucks and force Sixers fans into a deeper state of depression.

21. Cleveland Cavaliers – 16-37
Kyrie Irving has become a star and it’s so much fun to watch. His all-star play along with the addition of Marreese Speights has made the Anderson Varejao-less Cavaliers somewhat respectable. A nice draft pick and the further development of Dion Waiters will position the Cavaliers as a playoff team next year.

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