2016-17 NBA Power Rankings: Playing Naughty Or Nice In Week 10
Dec 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland defeats Golden State 109-108. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
In Week 10 of NBA Power Rankings, we play “Naughty or Nice?” with every team in the league, including the surging Sacramento Kings.
As the calendar prepares the flip to 2017, we’ve gotten a pretty good look at where everyone stands in the NBA.
As always, there are pretty clear contenders like the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs. There are pseudo-contenders like the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers, dark horses like the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics, and decent but non-threatening playoff teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets.
Through the first two months of the 2016-17 NBA season, however, there’s been plenty to like and dislike about every team in the association.
In a special holiday edition of NBA Power Rankings, we’ll be taking a look at both the “naughty” and “nice” for each squad. Some will be skewed in one direction more than others, but with another week of NBA action under our belts, we’ll try to keep it as balanced as possible.
Here’s a look at our Week 10 2016-17 NBA Power Rankings.
Dec 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) drives to the basket in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 0-3Last rank: 29th
Nice: Joel Embiid looking like a lock for Rookie of the Year, Ersan Ilyasova‘s play off the bench and the dream that one day, the merciful trade will come to relieve Philly’s frontcourt of its current logjam.
Dec 23, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 119-99. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-3Last rank: 30th
Nice: Randy Foye game-winner, anyone?
Dec 21, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) and guard Devin Booker (1) react against the Houston Rockets at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-3Last rank: 26th
December 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) meets with Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) following the 111-102 victory at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers
Last week: 1-3Last rank: 25th
Naughty: Larry Nance Jr. will be sidelined for four weeks (hopefully giving him enough time to return healthy for the Slam Dunk Contest in mid-February) and the Lakers are now 5-17 since their promising 7-5 start.
Dec 23, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots against the San Antonio Spurs during the first quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Portland Trail Blazers
Last week: 0-4Last rank: 21st
Dec 23, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; LA Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute (12) defends against Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the first half of the NBA basketball game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2Last rank: 27th
Nice: The Dallas Mavericks have now won three of their last five games, they’re getting a career year out of Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry is playing well off the bench and Harry B’s game-winner over the shorthanded Clippers:
Dec 23, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) handles the ball during the first quarter of the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-2Last rank: 22nd
Naughty: A double-OT loss to the Magic, an eight-point loss to the Lakers, the team’s overall 10-21 record, and the fact that as much as it may make this team unbearable to watch, the Heat probably would be better off trading Dragic while his value is so high.
Dec 21, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine (8) forward Andrew Wiggins (22) and guard Ricky Rubio (9) react as the clock runs out against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. The Timberwolves defeated the Hawks 92-84. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-2Last rank: 28th
Nice: A 40-point performance from LaVine, a winning week, and wins in four of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ last six games.
Dec 25, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) shoots the ball past San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-3Last rank: 19th
Naughty: Double-digit loses to Washington, Charlotte and San Antonio, Rajon Rondo‘s fit with this team, Nikola Mirotic‘s inconsistency, Jimmy Butler scoring 20 or less in four of his last five games and the Chicago Bulls dropping to 7-12 since their promising 8-4 start.
Dec 21, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dunks against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Thunder defeated the Pelicans 121-110. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans
Last week: 3-1Last rank: 24th
Naughty: The Pellies’ upcoming five-game road trip, not to mention a road game against the defending champs before we even get there.
Dec 19, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) reacts after scoring during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets 117-107. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2Last rank: 17th
Naughty: Jusuf Nurkic‘s diminished role. You know, aside from the obvious fact that a 13-18 overall record somehow has this team close to a playoff spot.
Dec 19, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers react to forward Thaddeus Young (21) making the game winning shot in the 4th quarter against the Washington Wizards at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Washington 107-105. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-3Last rank: 15th
Dec 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Hawks won 109-108. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2Last rank: 18th
Naughty: Losing to the Timberwolves and Nuggets in the same week, the Atlanta Hawks still ranking in the bottom third in offensive rating and the team’s sub-.500 record — which is especially disappointing since a 9-2 start.
Dec 23, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka (7) reacts and celebrates against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 109-90. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-1Last rank: 20th
Naughty: The fact that a 15-18 record is good enough for a near-playoff spot, especially since a first round playoff exit is not worth all the youth this team has shed over the last few years.
Dec 23, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) celebrates after making a three point basket during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-3Last rank: 12th
Nice: Jon Leuer has been an underrated bright spot, and because of the current state of the East, the Pistons still have plenty of time to rebuild their chemistry now that Jackson is back.
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) December 20, 2016
Dec 20, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Golden 1 Center. The Trail Blazers defeated the Kings 126-121. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 4-0Last rank: 23rd
Nice: We prefer the Nice DeMarcus Cousins, who scored a career-high 55 points in the game he was un-ejected from. The DeMarcus Cousins who dropped a 37-7-7-4-2 on the Wolves, a 30-7-5-3-2 on the Sixers and exchanged butt smacks with Joel Embiid — during a 4-0 week for the Sacramento Kings, who now own the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
If you're ever having a rough day, just watch this and you'll feel all better. pic.twitter.com/iZSIeDCO1g
— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) December 27, 2016
Dec 19, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter (3) reacts as Bradley Beal made a three pointer to take the lead but shot is ruled a two pointer late in the 4th quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Washington 107-105. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2Last rank: 14th
Naughty: The only problem is, every time the Wizards pick up a big, potentially momentum-building win, they follow it up with an inexplicable loss. Washington outscored 9-0 over the final two minutes in a loss to the Pacers, and no-showed a 27-point smackdown in the first matchup of the week with Milwaukee. Ian Mahinmi being sidelined for six weeks certainly doesn’t help matters either.
Dec 23, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) defends Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-3Last rank: 13th
Naughty: A 1-3 week dropped Milwaukee back below .500, and we still can’t help thinking about what this team might look like if only Khris Middleton were healthy.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 21, 2016
Dec 20, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek looks on during a break in action with New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks
Last week: 2-1Last rank: 16th
Naughty: Melo getting locked up by Avery Bradley on a pivotal late-game possession while failing to reach 30 points for the first time on Christmas Day, which featured a promising Knicks rally that fell apart down the stretch.
Dec 20, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum (5) reacts after a foul call in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Spectrum Center. The Hornets defeated the Lakers 117-113. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-1Last rank: 11th
Naughty: Losing to the lowly Nets on a Randy Foye game-winning three the day after Christmas probably stung a little bit (get it?).
December 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin (32) watche game action against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Clippers
Last week: 2-3Last rank: 7th
Nice: At least DeAndre Jordan had a nice dunk over Pau Gasol?
Dec 23, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) draws a foul from Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) in the fourth quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Utah Jazz 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 0-3Last rank: 6th
Naughty: The Utah Jazz have gone 10-10 without George Hill, 3-4 without Gordon Hayward and 8-7 without Derrick Favors. That’s a combined 42 missed games for three of Utah’s four best players through the first 43 games of the season. Forget the last 0-3 week; will this team ever stay healthy long enough to assert itself as a new Western power?
Dec 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) high fives guard Mike Conley (11) during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2Last rank: 10th
Naughty: That OT loss to Boston to start the week, which was capped off by a slaughter at the hands of the mediocre Magic. Some inconsistency was to be expected following Conley’s return to a team that was somehow thriving without him, but how much longer will it last?
Dec 23, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the basket past Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-1Last rank: 9th
Naughty: A five-point loss to OKC behind another Herculean effort from Russell Westbrook, plus the fact that the Boston Celtics would be competing with the Raptors for that No. 2 seed if not for so many early season injuries.
Dec 25, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after a play against theMinnesota Timberwolves during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder
Last week: 3-1Last rank: 8th
More Nice: Okay, so maybe there’s more to it than JUST Russell Westbrook. Enes Kanter scored 20 off the bench in his last two games, Domantas Sabonis had a 20-point game against Boston and Alex Abrines had a career-high 18 points in a win over New Orleans.
Dec 23, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) is congratulated by teammate guard DeMar DeRozan (10) after a basket in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Utah Jazz 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-0Last rank: 5th
Naughty: For all the Raptors’ success, this team is still fighting for second place in the East. Until Toronto fixes its power forward problem, that won’t change.
Dec 23, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Houston Rockets forward Montreal Harrell (5) talks to guard James Harden (13) during the first quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2Last rank: 3rd
Naughty: Having your 10-game win streak snapped by an in-state rival is never fun, as is not having Clint Capela for the next few weeks because of a broken fibula.
Dec 25, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) celebrates with teammate Jonathon Simmons (17, left) after a basket during the first half against the Chicago Bulls at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio Spurs
Last week: 3-1Last rank: 2nd
Naughty: A road loss to the Blake Griffin-less Clippers and…that’s pretty much it for now.
This was fun!
— NBA (@NBA) December 21, 2016
Dec 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) goes up for a dunk against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Golden State Warriors
Last week: 3-1Last rank: 1st
Naughty: The Dubs blew that 14-point lead in all-too-familiar fashion, with Kyrie Irving supplying the well-contested game-winner. Stephen Curry disappeared in that game, Draymond Green was a head case right from the start, Golden State’s seven-game win streak was snapped, and the Warriors still don’t look like a team that’s mentally over that 3-1 blown lead in the Finals after their first loss in which they led by double digits in the fourth quarter.
Dec 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (32) celebrates with guard Kyrie Irving (2) after dunking against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland defeats Golden State 109-108. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 4-1Last rank: 4th
Naughty: J.R. Smith missing 12-14 absolutely sucks, even if Cleveland will continue to coast through the East. Not being able to cap off a perfect 5-0 week is unfortunate, but not having LeBron is obviously the culprit there.
Where does your favorite NBA team land in Week 10 and where SHOULD they be? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!
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