NBA Power Rankings: Pacers keeping pace

NBA Power Rankings: Pacers keeping pace
January 9, 2014, 11:45 am
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We still have more than a month before the NBA trading deadline, but we've already started to see some big names (Luol Deng, Andrew Bynum) and some lesser-knowns (Courtney Lee, Jerryd Bayless) change zip codes in recent days.

More moves are on the horizon with teams such as the Boston Celtics doing their part to get their financial house in order, while teams such as the Cavs are trying to assemble the right talent in order to make a playoff push this season.

And then you have teams like Indiana that seem to have all the elements in place now for a title run, while other championship hopefuls such as San Antonio and Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers appear to be searching for maybe one or two more pieces to solidify their chances at bringing home the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

There's still a lot of season left to be played before our attention will fully shift towards the playoffs. In the meantime, here's the latest installment of NBA Power Rankings.

BACK OF THE PACK

Current Ranking (last week)

30. (30) Milwaukee - Solidifying themselves as the league's worst team, the Bucks have been losers in 11 of their last 13 games.

29. (22) Orlando — Tobias Harris is back, but it hasn't helped much as his shooting (38 percent) and scoring (11.2 points per game) are both off compared to the blistering pace he was on at the close of last season .

28. (29) Utah - The New Year has been good to the Jazz and Gordon Hayward. They've won two of three and he's averaging 27 points in 2014.

27. (25) Philadelphia — Win three, lose 8 of 10. Win four, get blown out in back-to-back games. Make up your mind if you're tankin', please!

26. (28) New York — If only J.R. Smith paid as much attention to tightening up his game, as he does to the shoelaces of other players.

25. (26) Sacramento — Opponents have scored at least 100 points on the Kings in each of the last 10 games. #losingbasketballrightthere

24. (20) Boston — Keeping the player's spirits up, not winning games, is rookie coach Brad Stevens' biggest challenge right now.

23. (24) Los Angeles Lakers — The California Department of Transportation could take a cue from Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni's defense. #everylaneisopen

22. (19) Detroit — Has lost six straight, four by 17 or more points.

21. (23) Cleveland — Unloading Andrew Bynum and acquiring Luol Deng was enough to move the Cavs up a notch in the rankings.

20. (27) Brooklyn — Have now won four in a row, with the biggest change being Paul Pierce sliding over to play power forward.

MIDDLE OF THE PACK

19. (18) Chicago — If the Bulls get the No. 1 pick, will Derrick Rose be the latest All-Star who comes back from an injury and has to play second fiddle a la Danny Granger in Indy?

18. (15) Charlotte — The only team in the East currently in the playoffs if the season ended now that's more than one game below .500 at home (they are 8-11).

17. (16) Minnesota — Talk about catching no breaks. The Timberwolves are 1-10 in games decided by five points or less. And the lone win came in their season opener vs Orlando.

16. (13) Memphis — The epitome of an up-and-down team, having alternated wins and losses every game since Dec. 23.

15. (17) New Orleans — Ryan Anderson (herniated disk) being out indefinitely is a huge blow to a Pelicans team that for a change, has - make that had - most of their key guys healthy.

14. (22) Denver — Are thumping teams of late, with three straight wins by an average of 18.7 points per game.

13. (14) Washington — The Wizards are just one of four teams in the East that has a non-losing record on the road. Washington is currently 9-9.

12. (11) Atlanta — Tough four-game stretch coming up against playoff contenders like Houston, Memphis and Brooklyn, not to mention two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.

11. (10) Dallas — Dirk Nowitzki leads a balanced attack that includes six double-digit scorers.

RUNNING WITH THE PACK

10. (12) Toronto — Somebody had to try and distance themselves from this train wreck better known as the Atlantic Division. Toronto is looking the part now.

9. (9) Phoenix — Former Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough has done an amazing job transforming this franchise in such a short period of time.

8. (7) Houston — Chandler Parson has had a strong but stealth-like season. He's average 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game - all career highs.

7. (8) Golden State — Winning 10 of 11 is impressive. The fact that seven of those wins came on the road speaks to how mentally tougher the Warriors are now in comparison to past years.

6. (6) Los Angeles Clippers — Playing with a backcourt that's made up of non-starters, Doc Rivers has the Clippers on the rise.

5. (5) Portland — Nicolas Batum coming off his first career triple-double in win over Orlando, with 14 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

HEAD OF THE PACK

4. (3) Oklahoma City — Reggie Jackson isn't Russell Westbrook, but man can he get buckets!

3. (4) Miami — The Heat are reportedly giving some thought to bringing in Andrew Bynum. #badideaoftheday

2. (2) San Antonio — Kawhi Leonard has been good, but hasn't dominated foes the way many expected after strong playoff run last June. That said, he's still a pretty awesome player.

1. (1) Indiana — Even with a 10-point loss at Atlanta, the Pacers are still the team that everyone's chasing this season.