After a one week hiatus, I’m back with another Rowan’s Rankings. After knee surgery I have assumed the title of Canadian Brandon Roy and had a week of laying on the couch watching basketball to help cultivate my hot takes.
1. Golden State Warriors
last week 4
The Warriors have won three straight games after their overtime loss to the Grizzlies. While the competition hasn’t been fierce, given the Cavs struggles on their long road trip it was enough to put them back into the top spot.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
last week 1
It took a couple games for Kyle Korver to find his groove, but he broke out with 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting against the Sacramento Kings. Kyrie Irving had struggled coming back from his hamstring injury, but appeared to find his groove late against the Kings. The true test comes Monday night against the Warriors.
3. L.A. Clippers
last week 7
Remember when the Clippers were good? Well Chris Paul is back and the team has won six straight games. Despite terrible injury luck, the team is just three and a half games back of Houston for the third seed in the West.
4. Toronto Raptors
last week 5
The Raptors have struggled over their last ten games, going just .500 over that stretch. But their three game winning streak shows signs of turning that around. Their win over the Boston Celtics helped create some breathing room in the race for the second seed.
5. San Antonio Spurs
last week 3
Here I was, prepared to say nice things about the Spurs and yet they went and lost to the Phoenix Suns. This is the first time I’ve written the words “Phoenix Suns” in my power rankings because they are horrible. Uncharacteristic bad loss for the Popovich crew.
6. Houston Rockets
last week 2
Speaking of bad losses, the Rockets managed to lose to the Timberwolves this past week. Following up that loss with a loss to the surging Grizzlies. With games against the Bucks, Warriors and Grizzlies coming up this week, the Rockets are about to face a true test.
7. Utah Jazz
last week 9
The Jazz continue to impress when they can manage to stay healthy. A three game winning streak that started with a home win against the Cavs. When healthy, they look like the team everybody thought they would be.
8. Boston Celtics
last week 6
Over their last ten games, the Celtics have been victorious in every matchup that wasn’t against the Cavaliers or Raptors. Which is basically all you need to know of the Eastern Conference at the moment.
9. Memphis Grizzlies
last week 8
Memphis is a hard team to figure out. They have great wins over the Warriors, Jazz, and Rockets, yet bad losses to the Thunder and Bulls. Chalk it up to a tough schedule, but it would be nice to see them show more consistency against lesser teams.
10. Atlanta Hawks
last week 13
The Hawks are winners of 8 of their last 9 with the lone loss coming in heartbreaking fashion against the Celtics. Mike Dunleavy Jr. even showed some life in their win over the Bucks. This is the type of run that can prevent the team from blowing it up.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder
last week 11
As the schedule has finally become tougher for the Thunder, their play has begun to fall apart. Going .500 over their last ten games, recent wins against the Nuggets, Bulls, and Kings have helped inflate their record. They have upcoming games against the Clippers, Jazz, Warriors, Cavaliers, and Spurs, which will test what Westbrook is capable of.
12. Washington Wizards
last week 16
The Wizards have won four of their last five behind strong play from John Wall. The Wizards may not have a great bench, but their starters are finding a rhythm and should keep the team in the playoff picture the rest of the way.
13. Milwaukee Bucks
last week 12
Fun fact, Jabari Parker is averaging more assists per game in January than Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks are a fun young team and Jason Kidd is doing a great job experimenting with what they can do.
14. Indiana Pacers
last week 15
The Pacers had won five straight games before they travelled to London and got smacked by the Denver Nuggets. A few hiccups are to be expected as the team battles to find more consistency.
15. Chicago Bulls
last week 10
Last week in my absence John ranked the Bulls tenth after their win over the Raptors. The Bulls then lost three straight games. They’ve since rallied with wins against the Pelicans and Grizzlies, but I’m still not convinced this is a good team.
16. Charlotte Hornets
last week 14
The Hornets have lost four straight games and have fallen to .500 on the year. Their loss to the Sixers was particularly embarrassing. If they want to turn things around, they’ll need to play defense like they had early in the year.
17. Portland Trail Blazers
last week not ranked
The Blazers managed to take advantage of a disinterested Cavs team on the second night of a back to back, then promptly lost to the Orlando Magic to remind everybody that this still isn’t a good team.
18. Denver Nuggets
last week not ranked
The Nuggets demolished the Indiana Pacers in London ending a five game losing streak. The Nuggets should have lost most games over that streak, but it was good to see them get a quality win over the Pacers.
19. New Orleans Pelicans
last week 19
Buddy Hield is starting to show some promise as a player and Anthony Davis will continue giving the Pelicans a chance in any game.
20. Sacramento Kings
last week 17
If the Kings want to make playoffs with DeMarcus Cousins, this season may be their best shot. However the Kings host the Pacers and then take off on an eight game road trip. The coming weeks will likely make or break their season.