Blakely's NBA Six Pack Power Rankings: Mar. 6
Blakely's NBA Six Pack Power Rankings
BOSTON — With the final quarter of the regular season left to be played, all teams - good, bad and those in between - are looking to fortify their roster for this final home stretch.
Playoff teams are looking to add more depth while keeping their core guys healthy. Teams out of the playoff hunt are seeking to continue developing their young talent and possibly expand that search, if possible.
As far apart as both sides might seem, they tend to find a common ground this time of year when it comes to adding players via 10-day contracts.
It certainly has been the case with a number of teams near the bottom of the NBA such as the Boston Celtics.
Boston (20-41), which has the fourth-worst record in the NBA this season, has signed three different players (Chris Johnson, Vander Blue and Chris Babb) to 10-day deals. Of the three, Johnson is the only one to parlay that into a contract that will keep him around for the remainder of the season.
Babb is less than a week into his 10-day contract which he signed on Feb. 28.
"This is the goal for all of us, to be in the NBA," Babb told CSNNE.com.
Boston by no means is unique in targeting players to fill roster spots with 10-day deals.
The Sacramento Kings, a team likely to be in the lottery just like the Celtics, recently signed former first round pick Royce White to a 10-day contract and immediately assigned him to their Development league affiliate in Reno, Nev.
Oklahoma City is among those with a legit shot at dethroning Miami this season as NBA champs, and they recently signed four-year veteran Reggie Williams to a 10-day contract.
And Brooklyn, a likely playoff-bound club, signed former Celtic Jason Collins to a pair of 10-day deals and recently added Jorge Gutierrez who was also signed as a 10-day player.
Those players will all get their chances to impress, although their impact on their respective teams is expected to be minimal, if at all.
And with that, here's this week's power rankings.
THE FLAT PACK
Current Ranking (last week)
30. (30) Philadelphia — NBA commissioner Adam Silver is cool with the "rebuilding" efforts by the Sixers. So are the last 15 teams that have played - and beaten - Philly.
29. (29) Milwaukee — Prepare to see a run of Development League players called up by the Bucks. Up now? D-League stud Tony Mitchell.
28. (27) Orlando — Classy move by the Magic putting together video tribute in Dwight Howard's return.
27. (23) Denver — Snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over Dallas.
26. (26) Boston — Opponents have scored at least 100 points in the Celtics' last eight games. #wheresdadefense
25. (28) Los Angeles Lakers — Good to see ex-Celtic MarShon Brooks making the most of his time in La-La Land.
BACK OF THE PACK
24. (24) New York — This nightmare of a season can't end soon enough with the Knicks dropping 13 of their last 16 games.
23. (20) Utah — The Jazz are back to being the Jazz now, dropping four straight - all on the road.
22. (22) New Orleans — Ranked 11th in the NBA in rebounds (44.1) prior to January. Since then, they have been the league's sixth-worst rebounding team (40.2).
21.(25) Sacramento — Looking to knock off Toronto on Friday for a third straight win which would equal their longest winning streak of the season.
20. (21) Detroit — Andre Drummond is giving Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins a run for his money as the NBA's best big man on a bad team this season.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
19. (18) Cleveland — With four of next five on the road, Cavs will have a better gauge for how much improvement they have made lately.
18. (19) Atlanta — Losing 12 of last 13 has taken Hawks from battling for home court in the playoffs to fighting just to get into the postseason.
17. (16) Minnesota — Talk about tough losses. Timberwolves are 3-13 this season in games decided by five points or less.
16. (15) Charlotte — Cold move by the Bobcats in waiving Ben Gordon on March 2, a day too late for him to be eligible to play in the postseason with another team.
15. (13) Phoenix — Suns have hit their first rough patch of the season, having lost five of their last six games.
14. (17) Brooklyn — Kevin Garnett has missed three straight with back spasms. But KG being KG, he'll show up when it really counts: the playoffs.
13. (9) Dallas — Rebounding has been a major issue during three-game skid with opponents winning the battle of the boards by more than seven per game.
12. (11) Memphis — Fighting to get into the postseason, four of next five games against teams currently in the playoffs.
11. (14) Washington — Averaging 16.9 points per game, Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's most improved players this season.
RUNNING WITH THE PACK
10. (12) Golden State — Golden State is a good defensive team. Now that's a sentence I never thought I would see, let alone write.
9. (10) Chicago — Getting this Bulls team a potential No. 3 seed in the playoffs may be Tom Thibodeau's best coaching job to date.
8. (8) Toronto — DeMar DeRozan has been even better since being named to his first All-Star team, increasing his scoring from 22.4 points to 26.1 since the break.
7. (7) Portland — The one kink in their roster is their bench which averages a league-low 24.4 points per game.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
6. (5) San Antonio — Has quietly strung together wins in seven of last eight, but face a huge task tonight in hosting the Miami Heat.
5. (6) Oklahoma City — Do not be shocked if the Thunder team you see now looks significantly different at the start of next season.
4. (4) L.A. Clippers — You have to love the way Doc Rivers toughened up this team into one that, if healthy - and that's a big if - could play their way into the NBA Finals.
3. (1) Indiana — Two straight losses, things won't get easier with road games against a talented Houston team and a hungry Dallas squad.
2. (2) Miami — LeBron James drops a career-high 61 points, reminding us all that he's still the baddest man in the NBA, with or without another league MVP trophy.
1. (3) Houston — Dwight Howard is looking a lot like the old, dominant Dwight Howard which has the Rockets soaring towards a potential third NBA title.