NBA POWER RANKINGS

NBA Power Rankings: Week 7

Jimmy Spencer

WEEK#    
Posted December 18, 2013 03:33 PM EST

Portland has already proven enough, right? Certainly, posting the league’s best record through the first third of the season is plenty to be proud of.

There's also that skeptical side, though, the one that reveals Portland is great against bad teams (a perfect 15-0) but not as great against teams with a record of .500 and above (7-4). The true test for the Trail Blazers may come in this six-game stretch to finish out 2013, which includes games against the Clippers, Heat and Thunder.

For now though, the Trail Blazers are atop the rankings even as Oklahoma City takes another step within reach thanks to their superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook paired with an improved bench. And out East, with only two teams that matter, this week’s clash between the Pacers and Heat should have weight in next week’s rankings.

Follow the NBA season through the lens of Jimmy Spencer on Twitter at @JimmySpencerNBA.


 

+4

Phoenix Suns

-6

Memphis Grizzlies

FOX SPORTS NBA POWER RANKINGS

RK Team RECORD CHANGE HIGH/LOW COMMENTS
1

22-4 1 1/14
Damian Lillard is the most clutch player in the league — well, right now at least. He's hit two consecutive game-winners, and he leads the league in clutch scoring (a nifty stat based on points scored in the final five minutes of a game that’s within fiveExpand Description
Damian Lillard is the most clutch player in the league — well, right now at least. He's hit two consecutive game-winners, and he leads the league in clutch scoring (a nifty stat based on points scored in the final five minutes of a game that’s within five points). He’s also the best at mean mugging.Collapse Description
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2

20-4 1 1/6
Seven straight wins and a victory in Denver has the Thunder close to the top spot. The Thunder are a better team this season because of their bench. Instead of relying on a primary bench scorer, like with James Harden or Kevin Martin in years past, this OExpand Description
Seven straight wins and a victory in Denver has the Thunder close to the top spot. The Thunder are a better team this season because of their bench. Instead of relying on a primary bench scorer, like with James Harden or Kevin Martin in years past, this Oklahoma City team has a collection of talent led by Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb. OKC’s bench averages four more points this season compared to last. Collapse Description
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3

20-4 2 1/14
Defenses might be adjusting to Paul George's offense a bit. Either that or he's just hit a bit of a cold stretch, averaging 14.6 points on 27 percent shooting in his last three games. It may be just the right time to finally get offensive threat Danny GraExpand Description
Defenses might be adjusting to Paul George's offense a bit. Either that or he's just hit a bit of a cold stretch, averaging 14.6 points on 27 percent shooting in his last three games. It may be just the right time to finally get offensive threat Danny Granger back, and that could happen Friday.Collapse Description
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4

19-5 1 1/7
Manu Ginobili. Turnovers. NBA Finals. Ugh. Well, applaud Ginobili for not rolling over and credit the Spurs for giving him another shot. The bench star is shooting 55.4 percent and averaging 12.6 points and 5.1 assists in December.
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5

18-6 1 1/6
It’s weird when something “human” happens to LeBron James, like a twisted ankle. The injury will be short-lived, but it could take James out of Wednesday’s lineup vs. Indy. This could, however, be a nice opportunity for Dwyane Wade to prove he’s still a CExpand Description
It’s weird when something “human” happens to LeBron James, like a twisted ankle. The injury will be short-lived, but it could take James out of Wednesday’s lineup vs. Indy. This could, however, be a nice opportunity for Dwyane Wade to prove he’s still a Class-A superstar on his own.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
6

17-9 2 2/9
Players don’t turn valuable just because they’re inserted into the starting lineup. Example: Willie Green started in seven games in place of the injured J.J. Redick, and he shot just 31 percent for 7.4 points and 0.7 assists per game. Now, Doc Rivers turnExpand Description
Players don’t turn valuable just because they’re inserted into the starting lineup. Example: Willie Green started in seven games in place of the injured J.J. Redick, and he shot just 31 percent for 7.4 points and 0.7 assists per game. Now, Doc Rivers turns to Jamal Crawford as a starter, which doesn’t fit well with Crawford’s strength as a spurt scorer.Collapse Description
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7

14-9 4 7/29
The Eric Bledsoe-Goran Dragic pairing has quickly become a top-three backcourt in the West. The pair of guards have nearly identical lines (19 points, six assists) on similar shooting percentages. The Suns aren’t a fluke so long as these two are both playExpand Description
The Eric Bledsoe-Goran Dragic pairing has quickly become a top-three backcourt in the West. The pair of guards have nearly identical lines (19 points, six assists) on similar shooting percentages. The Suns aren’t a fluke so long as these two are both playing the way they have been. Collapse Description
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8

16-9 2 2/9
The Rockets are playing the same game as fantasy owners: how do you convince someone that Omer Asik's offense is good enough to trade for? Rumors would have you believe he’s going to 29 different teams, but there’s still no clear taker yet.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
9

14-12 - 3/12
Even just one monster defender can change the makeup of an entire team. The Warriors were stumbling defensively and taking on water with the absence of Andre Iguodala. He returned Tuesday night, and the Warriors held New Orleans to 37.5 percent shooting iExpand Description
Even just one monster defender can change the makeup of an entire team. The Warriors were stumbling defensively and taking on water with the absence of Andre Iguodala. He returned Tuesday night, and the Warriors held New Orleans to 37.5 percent shooting in the win.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
10

14-10 - 7/20
The Mavericks are rested after playing just twice this past week. They split results against Monta Ellis' former teams, a loss at Golden State and a win in Milwaukee. The Mavs sat Dirk Nowitzki and still rolled early against the Bucks, allowing them to fuExpand Description
The Mavericks are rested after playing just twice this past week. They split results against Monta Ellis' former teams, a loss at Golden State and a win in Milwaukee. The Mavs sat Dirk Nowitzki and still rolled early against the Bucks, allowing them to further rest their guys. With rest and an upcoming pair of home games vs. Memphis and Toronto, the Mavs could start the season 16-10. Collapse Description
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11

14-10 4 7/28
The Nuggets have already lost more games at home (7-4) than all of last season (38-3). They lost two at the Pepsi Center this past week, to the Thunder and Jazz. To compete in the West, Denver will need to figure it out on their home floor.
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12

13-12 2 9/22
You’ve heard of the “cheerleader effect,” right? It’s an extremely scientific term that states a group of women or men may look good in a pack, but they aren’t as pretty when you look at them as individuals. Anyway, pull the Hawks out of the East — and, yExpand Description
You’ve heard of the “cheerleader effect,” right? It’s an extremely scientific term that states a group of women or men may look good in a pack, but they aren’t as pretty when you look at them as individuals. Anyway, pull the Hawks out of the East — and, yeah.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
13

12-14 3 13/28
Rodney Stuckey's expiring contract puts Detroit in an interesting place. He's having a career year in terms of scoring (15.2 points) and shooting efficiency (46%), and he's in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year. But with Detroit actually vying forExpand Description
Rodney Stuckey's expiring contract puts Detroit in an interesting place. He's having a career year in terms of scoring (15.2 points) and shooting efficiency (46%), and he's in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year. But with Detroit actually vying for a top-four spot in the East, why trade him? Collapse Description
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14

12-13 1 13/28
Kobe Bryant is an active legend, so there’s respect as he teeters between greatness and mediocrity from night to night. But the Lakers still haven’t earned respect this season as a real player in the West. After losing Kobe’s first three games back, Los AExpand Description
Kobe Bryant is an active legend, so there’s respect as he teeters between greatness and mediocrity from night to night. But the Lakers still haven’t earned respect this season as a real player in the West. After losing Kobe’s first three games back, Los Angeles has won two of three. Then again, beating the spiraling Bobcats and Grizzlies is nothing too special.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
15

12-13 - 7/19
Kevin Love has been incredible this season, but it only begs the question: how much longer will this superstar continue to put up with losing in Minnesota? Time to rev up those Lakers rumors.
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16

11-12 1 12/24
The Pelicans haven’t played many games as a complete team. First they were waiting for Ryan Anderson. Then Anthony Davis went down followed by Tyreke Evans’ ankle sprain. The injuries are keeping them from gaining any momentum, and they still haven’t beatExpand Description
The Pelicans haven’t played many games as a complete team. First they were waiting for Ryan Anderson. Then Anthony Davis went down followed by Tyreke Evans’ ankle sprain. The injuries are keeping them from gaining any momentum, and they still haven’t beaten a team with a winning record.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
17

12-14 4 16/29
Who gets more credit: Brad Stevens for his success, or Danny Ainge for plucking him out of Butler and giving him a shot during the Celtics' rebuilding/playoff season?
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18

10-14 6 5/22
It obviously proves how valuable Marc Gasol is as a player, but it also proves how vulnerable this Memphis roster is. Granted, Quincy Pondexter is out for the season and Mike Conley, Mike Miller and Tayshaun Prince are all questionable.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
19

10-13 1 13/26
Bradley Beal dramatically transforms Washington’s offense. He missed nine games with a stress injury in his right fibula before returning for 21 points in Monday’s win vs. New York. He immediately, once again, proved he’s the perfect scorer alongside JohnExpand Description
Bradley Beal dramatically transforms Washington’s offense. He missed nine games with a stress injury in his right fibula before returning for 21 points in Monday’s win vs. New York. He immediately, once again, proved he’s the perfect scorer alongside John Wall.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
20

9-15 - 16/27
Is it too soon to put Mike Brown on the hot seat? Well, of course it is. So who takes the fall? It might be general manager Chris Grant who shoulders the blame if recent draft picks (not named Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson) don't pan out.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
21

9-15 4 6/26
You know when you haven't worked out in like five months, and then you hit the gym three days in a row and feel great? Of course in reality, you're now just slightly less out-of-shape. Well, that's the Nets right now.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
22

9-14 - 5/24
You can’t always predict health, but the oft-injured Bulls are getting somewhat easy to target. It’s not just Derrick Rose. Only four Bulls — Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson and Tony Snell — have played in all eight Bulls games this month.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
23

11-14 4 14/27
Playing .400 ball isn’t going to get the Bobcats into the postseason, even in this year’s East. Charlotte, who will take the city's former name of Hornets again next season, will unveil their new logo this week. The way this season is starting to trend baExpand Description
Playing .400 ball isn’t going to get the Bobcats into the postseason, even in this year’s East. Charlotte, who will take the city's former name of Hornets again next season, will unveil their new logo this week. The way this season is starting to trend backward, it may be the great finale of the Bobcats. Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
24

7-16 1 18/29
That DeMarcus Cousins max deal is looking better and better. The Kings haven't had a lot of reasons to celebrate, but Cousins is becoming more dominant. He tallied a monster line of 30 points on 13 shots, 17 rebounds, six assists and three steals in TuesdExpand Description
That DeMarcus Cousins max deal is looking better and better. The Kings haven't had a lot of reasons to celebrate, but Cousins is becoming more dominant. He tallied a monster line of 30 points on 13 shots, 17 rebounds, six assists and three steals in Tuesday's loss to the Bobcats.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
25

8-17 1 20/29
After losing six in a row, the Magic took two of four since last week’s rankings, including a close loss at Oklahoma City. They begin a six-game homestand on Wednesday and four of those opponents have losing records. The Magic could swing upward for a bitExpand Description
After losing six in a row, the Magic took two of four since last week’s rankings, including a close loss at Oklahoma City. They begin a six-game homestand on Wednesday and four of those opponents have losing records. The Magic could swing upward for a bit here.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
26

9-13 1 9/27
Don't think for a second that Toronto is a potential sleeper. Yes, they are currently holding tight to the No. 8 seed in the lowly East, but the Raptors have yet to beat a single team with a record of .500 or better (0-10).
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
27

7-17 1 11/28
Watching Mike Woodson continue to coach the Knicks is like following a Kardashian marriage. You know it’s going to end, but when? That timeout debacle against the Wizards on Monday was the equivalent of Lamar Odom’s rap video.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
28

7-19 4 14/30
The 76ers have lost seven in a row since Michael Carter-Williams went down with a scary knee infection. MCW should be back soon though, a return that may hinder Philly’s shot at a top lottery pick in the 2014 draft. News of further potential tanking disruExpand Description
The 76ers have lost seven in a row since Michael Carter-Williams went down with a scary knee infection. MCW should be back soon though, a return that may hinder Philly’s shot at a top lottery pick in the 2014 draft. News of further potential tanking disruption comes from Nerlens Noel, who recently said he may play some games late this season.Collapse Description
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
29

6-21 1 23/30
You know you’re watching a Jazz game when you hear the phrase “bright future” every other possession.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets
30

5-19 1 24/30
No one has said, "Hey, I'm sure glad I drafted Ersan Ilyasova on my fantasy team this year.” Hampered by an early-season injury, the 6-foot-10 shooter is down to 8.1 points per game on 39 percent shooting and 24.2 percent from three-point range.
Team: Home | Stats | Fantasy | Schedule | Gear | Tickets

 

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