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…
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30. Orlando Magic â€“ 15-41
Last week; 30, -
The Magic’s return for J.J. Redick may not have included a first-round pick, but Tobias Harris may prove to be as good as one. His potential along with the expiring contract of Beno Udrih are decent value for Redick, who was sure to leave in the summer.
29. Charlotte Bobcats â€“ 13-43
Last week; 28, -1
My favorite trade at the deadline was Hakim Warrick for Josh McRoberts. There has never been a more equal, more meaningless trade in the history of professional sports. That’s a fact.
28. Sacramento Kings â€“ 19-38
Last week; 27, -1
In last week’s rankings I sympathized with the Sacramento fanbase and said, “Maybe at some point Thomas Robinson could play more than 16 minutes per game?” Well, instead of taking my advice the Kings traded Robinson to the Rockets for Patrick Patterson and some expiring contracts. Pray for Sacramento fans everywhere.
27. Phoenix Suns â€“ 18-39
Last week; 29, +2
The Suns moved up two spots in the rankings this week solely because of that glare that Lindsay Hunter gave Michael Beasley after he shot an air ball. Perfect.
26. New Orleans Hornets â€“ 20-37
Last week; 26, -
After a nice little run since the return of Eric Gordon, the Hornets had a tough 1-3 week. Improved play from Austin Rivers would certainly help, but it’s become questionable if he’ll ever be able to play above the level he’s at now.
25. Washington Wizards â€“ 17-37
Last week; 24, -1
With the Wizards finally at full health, the next few months will be our first chance to see if this John Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene core will be playoff caliber or just worthy of the lottery.
24. Minnesota Timberwolves â€“ 20-33
Last week; 25, +1
Staying healthy for a week would be an accomplishment for these Wolves who haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since January. But hey, as long as Ricky Rubio is still smiling, so am I.
23. Detroit Pistons â€“ 22-36
Last week; 23, -
This team became a whole lot less fun to watch once Andre Drummond hit the injury list. In addition to the team’s embarrassing showing in back-to-back games against the Pacers and it’s clear that it has been a tough couple of weeks for Detroit fans.
22. Cleveland Cavaliers â€“ 18-38
Last week; 21, -1
Oh man. The league will need to watch out once Kyrie Irving gets some talent around him. He continues to impress each week and it seems clear that he will continue to improve for years to come. I’m excited. But the current Cavaliers? Yuck.
21. Philadelphia 76ers â€“ 22-32
Last week; 22, +1
Andrew Bynum‘s hair reached new levels this week, and in my rankings, that’s good enough for a one-spot rise. Do not judge my criteria!