Power Rankings for the Week of January 18th

Power Rankings for the Week of January 18th

DISCLAIMER: This is one day late. I had a much more elaborate, but in hindsight completely impractical idea for this. I have kept the records as of Sunday night to maintain uniformity. I apologize, and will try to do better – this is not my best but I’ve committed to doing this weekly and will honor my commitment. Thank you, as always.

One of my favorite things about sports is pondering the what-if’s or other hypotheticals in sports because often little things can end up having ramifications for years to come involving many teams at the same time.

When David Stern vetoed the Lakers trade for Chris Paul the immediate and possibly long-term future of many franchises were affected. The Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans (then Hornets), Houston Rockets, Clippers, Suns (the Steve Nash deal doesn’t happen if CP is a Laker), 76ers (have the Lakers pick sent to Phoenix), and Milwaukee Bucks (traded Brandon Knight to acquire Lakers Nash pick) were and still are affected by that deal.

Aside from the what-if’s, there’s plenty of questions that can be asked with no other intention than sparking a conversation. “What can the league do to improve ratings?” “Would Kobe and Shaq have worked as a duo even if they got along much longer than it did?”?” The questions with no real right answers are the best ones.

Similarly, as I ranked the 30 teams in the league, I asked one intriguing question for each team.

Snapshot:
1. Spurs (36-6) [LW:2]
2. Warriors (37-4) [LW:1]
3. Cavaliers (28-10) [LW:3]
4. Thunder (30-12) [LW:4]
5. Raptors (25-15) [LW:6]
6. Clippers (26-14) [LW:5]
7. Bulls (23-16) [LW:7]
8. Hawks (24-17) [LW:9]
9. Heat (23-18) [LW:8]
10. Pistons (22-18) [LW:12]
11. Pacers (22-19) [LW:10]
12. Grizzlies (23-19) [LW:13]
13. Celtics (22-19) [LW:14]
14. Rockets (22-20) [LW:17]
15. Mavericks (23-19) [LW:11]
16. Magic (20-19) [LW:16]
17. Wizards (19-20) [LW:18]
18. Jazz (18-22) [LW:22]
19. Knicks (20-22) [LW:15]
20. Bucks (18-25) [LW:20]
21. Hornets (18-22) [LW:19]
22. Kings (17-23) [LW:23]
23. Nuggets (16-25) [LW:26]
24. Trailblazers (18-25) [LW:24]
25. Timberwolves (13-29) [LW:21]
26. Pelicans (13-26) [LW:25]
27. Lakers (9-34) [LW:27]
28. Nets (11-30) [LW:29]
29. 76ers (5-37) [LW:30]
30. Suns (13-29) [LW:28]

Rankings:

1. Spurs (36-6) [LW:2]: Is this year’s Spurs team the most under-the-radar historically dominant team in the history of the league?
2. Warriors (37-4) [LW:1]: Is Draymond Green actually the most valuable player on this team?
3. Cavaliers (28-10) [LW:3]: If the Cavaliers don’t win this season, with Lebron in (subtle) decline, will that be The King’s last shot at being the best player on a title team?
4. Thunder (30-12) [LW:4]: Will the signing of Enes Kanter to a max contract go down in transaction history in the same folder as the weird desperate moves the Cavs made in the year prior to Lebron’s “Decision”?
5. Raptors (25-15) [LW:6]: Will Masai Ujiri have the discipline to not pay for DeMar DeRozan’s max contract?
6. Clippers (26-14) [LW:5]: Is it time to declare the CP/Blake/DJ Big 3 as “peaked”? If so, does Doc have it within him to make the deal himself, or will Ballmer need to step in?
7. Bulls (23-16) [LW:7]: If the Bulls are ready to part with Noah, is it time to do the same with Derrick Rose?
8. Hawks (24-17) [LW:9]: With Al Horford an unrestricted free agent, is it time to package a lot of the depth and make a move to try to make a run at Cleveland?
9. Heat (23-18) [LW:8]: What if the Heat didn’t trade for Dragic and traded for Brandon Knight instead?
10. Pistons (22-18) [LW:12]: What if Stan Van Gundy took that Warriors job?
11. Pacers (22-19) [LW:10]: What if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were on the same team?
12. Grizzlies (23-19) [LW:13]: What could Thibs do with Marc Gasol and the Grit n Grind squad?
13. Celtics (22-19) [LW:14]: How much is Brad Stevens worth in the open market? A first rounder and 8-10 mil a year?
14. Rockets (22-20) [LW:17]: If Morey didn’t believe in McHale (evidenced by the abrupt firing), why did they extend him in the first place? Who could they have gotten in the off season? Thibs?
15. Mavericks (23-19) [LW:11]: What if the Mavericks had just kept Jae Crowder instead of trading for Rondo?
16. Magic (20-19) [LW:16]: Is it time to sell high on Oladipo if the Magic don’t envision him and Payton working together?
17. Wizards (19-20) [LW:18]: How long does John Wall accept disappointing seasons?
18. Jazz (18-22) [LW:22]: What if you were actually interesting enough for me to think of something for you? This format was a mistake. Oh my god, what have I done. Bless for you for even getting to this point. I’ll get better, I promise.
19. Knicks (20-22) [LW:15]: What if Kerr had taken the job? Would the Knicks be bad enough to get Kristaps or would they be in no-man’s land and we view Kerr entirely differently?
20. Bucks (18-25) [LW:20]: What if the Bucks had just kept Brandon Knight?
21. Hornets (18-22) [LW:19]: What if the Hornets hadn’t lost last season with the weirdly toxic Lance Stephenson signing?
22. Kings (17-23) [LW:23]: What if the Kings traded Cousins last offseason for a package involving D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle who would then be coached by George Karl?
23. Nuggets (16-25) [LW:26]: What if Denver had beaten Golden State in 2013?
24. Trailblazers (18-25) [LW:24]: What if the Blazers had kept Batum?
25. Timberwolves (13-29) [LW:21]: What if the Cavaliers weren’t so desperate to trade for Kevin Love?
26. Pelicans (13-26) [LW:25]: Is Alvin Gentry one of the most disappointing coaching hires in recent memory?
27. Lakers (9-34) [LW:27]: What if the Lakers had a non brain-dead head coach and lost their pick last year?
28. Nets (11-30) [LW:29]: What if the Dwight Howard deal had worked out?
29. 76ers (5-37) [LW:30]: How soon before Jerry Colangelo and Mike D’Antoni officially take over this organization officially?
30. Suns (13-29) [LW:28]: What if the Suns had gotten LaMarcus Aldridge?

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