The Times’ NBA rankings – 02/15/15

stephen-curry-gordon-hayward-20150214 (2)

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry drives around Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward during a game on Jan. 30. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Broderick Turner ranks the 30 NBA teams – February 14, 2015 @ 6:39pm

My comments

By BRODERICK TURNER

Last week’s ranking in parentheses, statistics are through Thursday’s games:

  1. GOLDEN STATE: Curry, Thompson are first two All-Star starters for Warriors since Barry, Thurmond in 1967. (3) – Still not convinced that they can win a ‘Larry O’Brien’ without a healthy Andrew Bogut, but damn, this is an exciting team especially with the “Splash Brothers.”
  2. ATLANTA: Hawks have record-tying four All-Stars: Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Al Horford, Paul Millsap. (1) – Sexiest “cheerleaders” in pro sports history; group meetings held at Magic City.
  3. MEMPHIS: Back to the Grind House, with the Grizzlies giving up 95.7 points a game, tops in the NBA. (2) – proverbial ‘Window of Opportunity’ is NOW with Marc Gasol’s free agency looming this summer.
  4. CHICAGO: Won four in a row after losing 10 of previous 15 to open 1&1/2 -game lead over Cavaliers in Central Division. (10) – Fair or not, it’s all on Derrick Rose and his legs.
  5. CLEVELAND: Went through the motions in loss to Bulls in last game before All-Star break. LeBron had eight turnovers. (4) – Paging Kevin Love!
  6. HOUSTON: James Harden for MVP? He leads NBA in scoring (27.4) and has scored more than 40 six times. (5) – And yet, Dwight Howard’s nagging injuries and seemingly lack of total commitment makes me think the Rockets are more title “pretenders” than contenders.
  7. TORONTO: Making history. At 36-17, it’s the Raptors’ best record at the All-Star break in team’s 20 years of existence. (7) – Best city in the NBA outside of Miami.
  8. SAN ANTONIO: Tim Duncan selected to 15th All-Star team, tied for third-most with Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett. (6) – As usual, just going about their business down by the Riverwalk.
  9. PORTLAND: Damian Lillard is the only player to score in double figures in all of his team’s games this season. (8) – If LaMarcus Aldridge’s thumb injury doesn’t get any worse, Blazers could be the sleeper in the West.
  10. CLIPPERS: Clippers go 2-1 after Blake Griffin’s elbow surgery, with DeAndre Jordan putting up 20-20 in wins. (11) – Lob City could become Sob City.
  11. DALLAS: Got to get healthy. Rajon Rondo (eye), Tyson Chandler (ankle), Monta Ellis (hip) all have injuries. (9) – In a word: no. In two words: hell no.
  12. WASHINGTON: All-Star break needed after losing six of eight. Bradley Beal out nursing leg, big toe injuries. (12) – Nope, not even a remote chance the Wizards can win the East.
  13. MILWAUKEE: Bucks are the first team in NBA history to double last season’s win total by the All-Star break. (13) – Yeah, but it’s still Milwaukee and no premier free agent will ever sign there.
  14. OKLAHOMA CITY: Making its playoff push with two stars healthy and is just behind the last spot in the West. (18) – One and a half seasons to convince Kevin Durant to stay in the OKC.
  15. PHOENIX: Lost seven of last 10 before the break, and can see Oklahoma City coming fast in rearview mirror. (15) – Uh…no.
  16. NEW ORLEANS: Must get Anthony Davis back for playoff push. He missed two games with sprained right shoulder. (16) – Davis, great as he’s becoming, simply can’t do it by himself.
  17. CHARLOTTE: Health issues. Kemba Walker (knee), Michael-Kidd Gilchrist (hamstring) out. Lost three straight. (14) – And now Michael Jordan must make a move before Thursday’s trade deadline.
  18. BOSTON: Flying under the radar, Celtics are only 1 & 1/2games out of playoff spot in East after winning four of five. (20) – Danny Ainge’s rebuilding project slowly but surely coming together.
  19. MIAMI: Dwyane Wade, out last seven games with hamstring injury, plans return in first game after All-Star break. (21) – Heat will make it interesting but it’s time for Don Pat Rileyeone to come out of retirement and bolster the roster.
  20. BROOKLYN: Won three straight, including impressive victories over Clippers, Raptors, but then lost last three. (17) – Barclays is a great new arena!
  21. DETROIT: Pistons have lost seven of last 11, but they’re still in playoff picture, two games out in the woeful East. (19) – “Woeful East” is redundant, like saying “Sarah Palin is an idiot.”
  22. INDIANA: Good news. Paul George, out with a broken right leg, eyes March 1 return from gruesome injury. (22) – Why?
  23. UTAH: Passing the ball a bit more couldn’t hurt. Jazz ranks 28th in assists, averaging only 20.3 a game. (26) – Ironic considering insurance agent Don Stockton’s twin brother is NBA’s all-time career assists leader.
  24. DENVER: Rumors have the Nuggets looking to move Arron Affalo, Wilson Chandler, Jameer Nelson. (24) – Jameer Nelson is still alive? Who knew.
  25. SACRAMENTO: George Karl takes over as coach after the All-Star break. His new team has lost eight of last 10. (25) – George Karl is the one former Tarheel that I root against.
  26. ORLANDO: Why not add him to the All-Star team? Nik Vucevic third in NBA in double-doubles with 32. (23) – Who?
  27. LAKERS: Set franchise record for most consecutive losses on road (11). Is worst record (19-53) next? (27) – Loyal (or crazy depending on one’s point of view) fans holding out hope that Kobe Bryant comes back healthy next season and leads team back to the Promised Land. In a possibly related action, hard liquor sales are up 200% in LA since December.
  28. MINNESOTA: Ricky Rubio making strides. Had 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists against Warriors. (28) – So what?
  29. PHILADELPHIA: Time to reflect during 10-day break. Hope to get Michael Carter-Williams (finger) back. (29) – Reflect on what? They’ve already got tanking down to an art.
  30. NEW YORK: With Knicks going nowhere, will Carmelo shut it down after All-Star break because of nagging knee? (30) – If Knicks can’t sign a major free agent this summer, how long will Phil Jackson stay in NYC? That, all apologies to Sir William Shakespeare, is THE question in Jim Dolan’s world.
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