2016-17 NBA Power Rankings: Warriors Reign, Heat Rise In Week 17

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 17 of NBA Power Rankings, the Golden State Warriors remain the undisputed No. 1, while the Miami Heat are back in playoff contention.

With less than a week left before the All-Star break and less than two weeks before the 2017 trade deadline, the NBA community is bracing for hectic couple of days that could see multiple teams jostling for playoff positioning.

Though the end result of this season — Cavaliers vs. Warriors Part 3 — seems as inevitable as ever, there are a couple of teams in each conference that hope to say otherwise once April and May roll around.

The San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets don’t compare to the Golden State Warriors’ reign in the West, and the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics are probably still a trade away from challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East, but that hasn’t stopped this season from being incredibly interesting.

Kevin Durant‘s return to Oklahoma City was the main story this week, but the Miami Heat have improbably risen from Eastern cellar-dweller to possible playoff contender. The question is, what other storylines are worth covering as we likely head toward a predictable Finals rematch?

Here’s a look at our Week 17 2016-17 NBA Power Rankings.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 10, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) goes up to block a shot by Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson (8) during the second half at Barclays Center. Maimi won 108-99. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

30

Brooklyn Nets

9-45

Last week: 0-3
Last rank: 30th

The Brooklyn Nets have lost 12 straight games, giving them the longest losing streak in the NBA so far this season. What’s worse is only one victory separates this 12-game skid from linking up with their prior 11-game skid, making them 1-23 over their last 24 contests.

But hey, at least Brook Lopez got a little revenge by avoiding getting dunked on for like the 17th time this season.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; A dejected Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) sits on the bench watching play against the Houston Rockets in the second half at Toyota Center. Houston Rockets won 133 to 102 .Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

29

Phoenix Suns

17-38

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 29th

Dragan Bender‘s ankle surgery will keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks, paving the way for Alan Williams to crack the rotation. Unfortunately, even his 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in an 18-point win over Chicago — the team’s first home win since Jan. 3 — can’t hide the fact that it’s all bad news here.

The Phoenix Suns may be without their No. 4 overall selection for the rest of the season, Devin Booker spouted off for the first time about Troy Daniels, Tyson Chandler is now dealing with a rolled ankle and the team gave up 133 points in regulation against Houston.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 9, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka (7) and Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) gets in a argument as Orlando Magic guard C.J. Watson (32) and Orlando Magic center Stephen Zimmerman (33) hold them back during the second half at Amway Center. Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Orlando Magic 112-111. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

28

Orlando Magic

20-36

Last week: 0-3
Last rank: 28th

Mired in a 2-8 skid and sitting above only the Nets in the Eastern Conference standings, there isn’t much to look forward to for the Orlando Magic these days. They’re 6.5 games out of a playoff spot and it looks like general manager Rob Hennigan will be shown the door after yet another failed season.

At this point, the only source of excitement comes from speculating what kind of return a Serge Ibaka trade will bring.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Louis Williams (23) drives against New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez (14) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

27

Los Angeles Lakers

19-37

Last week: 1-1
Last rank: 26th

For those Los Angeles Lakers fans on standings watch, the NBA’s former most prestigious franchise has the third-worst record in the league. If that result held, the Lakers would keep their top three-protected first round pick in this year’s draft, barring any craziness from the NBA Draft Lottery.

In the meantime though, you have to wonder if the Lakers will explore trades to move Lou Williams or Nick Young approaching the trade deadline, since they’ve been this team’s most consistent performers in a season full of growing pains.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) falls in front of Knicks executive chairman James Dolan during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

26

New York Knicks

23-33

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 24th

What a freaking week for the New York Knicks, who have officially overtaken the Sacramento Kings for the title of NBA’s most dysfunctional franchise. From Phil Jackson publicly bashing Carmelo Anthony to Charles Oakley being arrested and ejected from Madison Square Garden to owner James Dolan making an ass of himself by implying Oakley had a problem and then firing his head of security, this organization is a joke.

The problem here is not Melo. The problem is not the Knicks fans chanting “Charles Oakley!” at MSG during Knicks AND Rangers games. The problem remains Dolan and Jackson, and not even a home win over the mighty Spurs could end this week on a positive note.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 12, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) talks to guard Ricky Rubio (9) in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Target Center. The Timberwolves beat the Bulls 117-89. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

25

Minnesota Timberwolves

21-34

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 27th

Zach LaVine‘s season-ending injury obviously still sucks, but at least Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins have been filling the void. Oh, and Lance Stephenson on his 10-day contract!

Though Anthony Davis won the battle of the former Kentucky bigs this week, the Minnesota Timberwolves got nice wins over the Raptors (thanks to a Tyus Jones game-winner) and Bulls (helping Tom Thibodeau beat his former team yet again). There could be worse ways to respond to such a depressing injury.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 7, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) reacts after being injured during the first half of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

24

Charlotte Hornets

24-30

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 22nd

It’s hard to say just what the hell has happened to the Charlotte Hornets over the last few weeks, but the simple win-loss column is eye-opening. Since starting the season 19-14, Steve Clifford’s squad has now lost 15 of its last 20 games.

One potential problem? Through five February games, first-time All-Star Kemba Walker is averaging just 13.2 points per game on 28.4 percent shooting from the field and 23.3 percent from three-point range.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 12, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) shoots the ball against Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

23

New Orleans Pelicans

21-34

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 23rd

Anthony Davis battled two of the other elite Kentucky bigs this week, with mixed results.

Though the Brow’s 42 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Minnesota outclassed Karl-Anthony Towns’ 36 points and eight boards, DeMarcus Cousins had the upper hand in Sacramento’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, putting up 28 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to AD’s 32 and 10 stat line — all the while, dropping the Pellies to 3.5 games back of Denver for the West’s final playoff spot.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 9, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric (9) celibates with guard Nik Stauskas (11) and forward Robert Covington (33) after he made a shot in the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Orlando Magic 112-111. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

22

Philadelphia 76ers

20-34

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 25th

Pretty solid week for the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers. They competed in a loss to the Spurs, got a game-winning shot from T.J. McConnell to down the Magic and even snapped Miami’s 13-game win streak. Dario Saric is playing well off the bench in particular.

However, our attention turns to what’s about to happen with Jahlil Okafor, who is quite clearly on his way out via trade. The question is, where will he be dealt?

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 10, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dribbles the ball as Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) defends during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

21

Milwaukee Bucks

23-30

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 20th

The Milwaukee Bucks are falling further out of playoff contention with Jabari Parker‘s second ACL tear ending his season, but if there’s one positive from such devastating news, it’s how Giannis Antetokounmpo has risen to the occasion.

With Khris Middleton still shaking the rust off, the Greek Freak posted a 22 and eight stat line against Miami, dropped a career-high 41 against the Lakers and finished the week with a 20-10-8 performance in a win over Indiana…which just so happened to feature the closest thing to a real life Space Jam dunk we’ll ever see.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 9, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) reacts after fouling Boston Celtics in the second half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

20

Portland Trail Blazers

23-31

Last week: 1-1
Last rank: 19th

Bigger highlight of the week: C.J. McCollum‘s game-winner against the Mavericks, or the Portland Trail Blazers somehow squeezing Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first round pick out of Mason Plumlee?

Though the Blazers will miss Plumlee’s passing and even his rim protection, Rip City passed this deal with flying colors. Now the question is whether it will help them make up the one-game gap separating them from the eighth playoff spot in the West.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 12, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) passes the ball against New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Sacramento Kings defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

19

Sacramento Kings

23-32

Last week: 3-0
Last rank: 21st

Perhaps we were wrong to count the Sacramento Kings out of the playoff hunt just yet, with this past week pulling them within 1.5 games of a playoff spot.

Though DeMarcus Cousins’ 16th technical foul of the season suspended him for a matchup against the Celtics, the Kings pulled out a double-digit win before proceeding to turn a 22-point deficit against Atlanta into a one-point victory and then outlasting the Pelicans for their third straight win. Oh, and Willie Cauley-Stein submitted a serious Dunk of the Year candidate:

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 9, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) reacts during the second half against the Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

18

Dallas Mavericks

22-32

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 18th

Despite a disastrous 2-13 start to the season, the Dallas Mavericks are somehow only two games out of a playoff spot in the West. They’ve won eight of their last 11 games, Yogi Mania is still in full force and now Deron Williams is back.

The catalyst behind the turnaround, however, has been getting a healthy Dirk Nowitzki back. Harrison Barnes‘ career year is the big story, but Dirk’s two clutch shots this week — one against Portland that was topped by McCollum’s game-winner, one being a late jumper to force overtime in a win over Utah — were prime examples of his importance to this team even at age 38.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 10, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) with guard Jerian Grant (2) during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns won 115-97. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

17

Chicago Bulls

26-29

Last week: 0-3
Last rank: 12th

A 31-point loss to the Warriors in a game without Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade? That wasn’t the end of the world for the Chicago Bulls.

What WAS alarming, however, was losing to the lowly Suns by 18 with Butler and Wade back on the court, followed by a 27-point walloping at the hands of their old head coach, Tom Thibodeau. Even in a game without Butler, Wade and Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls should’ve been a heck of a lot more competitive against a Timberwolves side still reeling from Zach LaVine’s season-ending injury.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 8, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) looks on during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Timberwolves won 112-109. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

16

Toronto Raptors

32-23

Last week: 0-2
Last rank: 13th

The Toronto Raptors are on a 4-10 skid, they’ve fallen to fourth in the conference standings and they’re only 0.5 games away from dropping to fifth. After squandering a 16-point fourth quarter lead Sunday against Detroit, Kyle Lowry is right: Something needs to change.

With the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline approaching, now is probably the time to fire up the old Trade Machine and start brainstorming some trade ideas for a game-changing piece.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 10, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Denver Nuggets power forward Nikola Jokic (15) moves against New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn (9) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

15

Denver Nuggets

24-30

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 15th

Contrary to popular belief, the Denver Nuggets absolutely deserve praise for the Mason Plumlee trade, since they got the best player in the deal — one who can help them in their pursuit of a playoff spot. The timing couldn’t be better, since they’re only one game ahead of the team they just traded with in the standings.

Nikola Jokic‘s 40-point demolition at Madison Square Garden was the highlight of the week, but having Plumlee around as a backup rim protector and frontcourt facilitator only makes the NBA’s eighth-ranked defense that much more potent. Here’s hoping he and Jokic fare better tougher than the Joker and Jusuf Nurkic did.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 10, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) grabs a lose ball during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

14

Detroit Pistons

26-29

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 16th

Is it a coincidence that with Reggie Jackson‘s shot attempts down, the Detroit Pistons are starting to put winning weeks together?

So far in seven February games, Jackson has taken only 9.4 field goal attempts per game — way down from the 16.2 per game he took in January. With the Pistons going 5-2 during that seven-game stretch, is it too soon to start connecting the dots? Because after Detroit overcame a 16-point deficit with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tobias Harris taking most of the shots (and Jackson only taking five in 17 minutes), it doesn’t feel like it.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) brings the ball up court against the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Milwaukee defeats Indiana 116-100. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

13

Indiana Pacers

29-25

Last week: 0-3
Last rank: 9th

Well, so much for our theory that the Indiana Pacers had figured things out. Though losses to the East-leading Cavaliers and red-hot Wizards were expected, a double-digit loss to the shorthanded Bucks handed Indiana its third straight defeat.

The Pacers aren’t in any immediate danger as far as losing their standing at No. 6 in the East, but they also lost some ground on the Hawks and Raptors for the No. 5 and No. 4 spots. As the trade deadline approaches, it will be interesting to see what Larry Bird does to try and elevate his team’s ceiling.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; LA Clippers center Marreese Speights (5) reacts to a big dunk by forward Blake Griffin (32) in the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

12

Los Angeles Clippers

33-21

Last week: 2-0
Last rank: 17th

This past week was a favorably short stretch of schedule for the Los Angeles Clippers, who beat the Knicks amidst their PR s**t storm and emerged victorious over the imploding Hornets.

But the timing couldn’t have been better, since Utah’s recent troubles helped pull the Clippers within half a game of the fourth seed in the West. Blake Griffin is not leading this shorthanded Clippers team quite like Chris Paul does, but watching him rise up like he’s back in his rookie season is always a welcome sight.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) unsuccessfully attempts to keep the ball in bounds during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 117-109. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

11

Miami Heat

24-31

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 14th

The streak had to end at some point, but watching the Miami Heat win 13 straight games — the longest win streak in NBA history for a team under .500 — was a true joy. From Goran Dragic playing at All-NBA levels to Waiters Island being populated again to James Johnson becoming a legitimate bench force, the Heat have been incredibly fun to watch.

They remain two games out of a playoff spot, but they’re also only 4.5 games ahead of the Magic for the second-worst record in the East. With Miami reportedly interested in trading for Serge Ibaka, it seems like Pat Riley is hoping to ride this momentum back to the playoffs. And you know what? After that 13-game win streak, it’s hard to blame him.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 8, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer talks with forward Paul Millsap (4) and forward Kent Bazemore (24) and guard Dennis Schroder (17) and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) and center Dwight Howard (8) during a time out in the fourth quarter of their game game against the Denver Nuggets at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 117-106. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

10

Atlanta Hawks

31-22

Last week: 1-1
Last rank: 11th

Thanks to whatever’s going on up north, the Atlanta Hawks find themselves only 0.5 games out of home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, this does little to alleviate the struggle we’ve bemoaned for weeks now in regards to Paul Millsap‘s long-term future there.

On the one hand, the Hawks very well could re-sign the 32-year-old Millsap over the summer and keep a perennial playoff team together. On the other hand, this team isn’t getting by Cleveland, Washington or Boston in the East, so at what point does just making the playoffs get old? A rebuild starts with a Millsap trade, so it will be interesting to see how the next two weeks play out.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Andre Roberson (21) have to be separated and are both called for technical fouls during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

9

Oklahoma City Thunder

31-24

Last week: 1-1
Last rank: 10th

For all the signs, T-shirts and cupcake costumes meant to troll Kevin Durant, his homecoming did not go according to plan for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Russell Westbrook may have dropped a 47-11-8 stat line, the fans may have serenaded him all night with “cupcake” chants all night, and watching both Russ and Andre Roberson tangle with KD may have been fun, but at the end of the day, the Warriors had the last laugh with yet another double-digit victory over Durant’s former team.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 6, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) reacts during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the San Antonio Spurs 89-74. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

8

Memphis Grizzlies

33-23

Last week: 1-1
Last rank: 8th

The Clippers may be Utah’s most immediate threat for seizing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but we should mention that the Memphis Grizzlies are only 1.5 games out of the 4-seed in the West and have a favorable bit of schedule coming up.

Well, now that they got another double-digit loss to the Warriors out of the way, that is.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) shoots the ball after being fouled during the second half against the Boston Celtics at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Boston won 112-104. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

7

Utah Jazz

34-21

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 7th

The Utah Jazz had a prime chance to put some distance between themselves and the Clippers (No. 5) and Grizzlies (No. 6) this week, but squandering a 19-point lead in an overtime loss to the Mavericks pretty much zapped them of all momentum heading into a thorough home loss to the Celtics.

The Jazz are clinging to that No. 4 spot in the West for dear life, and with the Clippers in town Monday night, a victory may wind up being the difference between gaining a tighter grip on home-court advantage or letting it slip through their fingers before the All-Star break.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and teammates celebrate against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Toyota Center. Houston Rockets won 133 to 102 .Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

6

Houston Rockets

40-17

Last week: 3-0
Last rank: 6th

The Houston Rockets benefitted from a weak batch of opponents this week, but they didn’t play with their food either, routing the Magic, Hornets and Suns by 24, 12 and 31 points, respectively.

In doing so, they joined the Warriors and Spurs as the only teams to reach the 40-win mark so far this season, further strengthening James Harden‘s MVP case as much as Saturday’s 40-point performance (in only three quarters) did.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 10, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) and center Marcin Gortat (13) celebrate against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

5

Washington Wizards

32-21

Last week: 2-0
Last rank: 5th

The train keeps rolling for the Washington Wizards, whose only hiccup in the past 10 games was that narrow loss to Cleveland in a game that required a miracle turnaround three from LeBron James to force overtime.

The Wizards are still scorching hot despite needing overtime to outlast the Nets, and we hate to be THAT media outlet, but we have to ask: Is Washington peaking just a teeny bit too early? Or is this newfound rhythm sustainable for another couple of months?

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

4

Boston Celtics

35-19

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 4th

That double-digit loss to the Boogie-less Kings was a bit unexpected, but the Boston Celtics were able to bounce back with solid road wins over Portland and Utah. Now they only have one game in Dallas left to close out their current road trip.

Now that we’ve got logistics out of the way, we’ve got a question to ask: With Isaiah Thomas taking over the fourth quarter (as he’s done all season) in a win against Damian Lillard and the Blazers, is it safe to say he’s earned the right to do the watch-checking celebration that once belonged to Lillard Time?

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson (1) during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 125-109. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

3

Cleveland Cavaliers

37-16

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 3rd

Is Derrick Williams on a 10-day contract going to supply the playmaker LeBron James was asking for? Definitely not. But with Kevin Love currently dealing with knee soreness, perhaps this low-risk move could provide the Cleveland Cavaliers with some depth.

Getting outworked by the Thunder showed that this team has not rounded into championship form yet, but with a 2.5-game lead for the East’s No. 1 seed, they may be able to cruise until after the All-Star break anyway.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 10, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon (3) high fives forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

2

San Antonio Spurs

41-13

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 2nd

We’ve been saying this every week, but the San Antonio Spurs are getting results in the most ho-hum, under-the-radar way possible. Even with that head-scratching road loss to the Knicks on Sunday, the Spurs are on pace to win 62 games and have virtually no shot at losing the No. 2 seed in the West.

With Dewayne Dedmon filling in admirably for the injured Pau Gasol and Kawhi Leonard being the league’s most overlooked MVP candidate, we shouldn’t really be surprised the Spurs are as predictable/boring/efficient as ever.

NBA Power Rankings

Feb 11, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) fights for position with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

1

Golden State Warriors

46-8

Last week: 3-0
Last rank: 1st

From Klay Thompson dropping 28 on his 27th birthday to Draymond Green becoming the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double without points, it was an eventful week for the Golden State Warriors.

The headliner, however, was Kevin Durant’s successful return to OKC in which he overcame hostile boos, cupcake chants and scuffles with Westbrook and Roberson to drop 34 points in a 16-point win over his former team. Hopefully this was just the first step in the healing process for OKC fans, who will eventually need to one day honor the greatest player in their franchise’s history.

Where does your favorite NBA team land in Week 17 and where SHOULD they be? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

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