Every Thursday, we’ll reveal the week’s BDL Power Rankings, while highlighting the NBA’s movers and shakers. This is version 2.0. As always, the order is indisputable, although you can present your arguments in the comment section. Watch the video above to discover where your team ranks. Below are this week’s most volatile teams.
8. Boston Celtics (last week: 12th)
In our Four Corners roundtable last week, I selfishly wanted to see a healthy Celtics starting lineup for anything longer than a three-game stretch, because they could be good. Real good. Maybe even good enough to put up some sort of fight against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sure enough, they’re 3-0 since Isaiah Thomas returned from a groin injury, which brings their record to a worthy 10-3 with all five starters available.
12. Milwaukee Bucks (last week: 16th)
Oddly, the Bucks had a pair of home-and-home back-to-backs over the past week. They swept the Chicago Bulls and should’ve split with the Cavs, but the most promising development for Milwaukee is the emergence of Jabari Parker as a legit Robin to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Batman. The former No. 2 pick averaged 24.3 points (on 56.9 percent shooting), 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in those four games.
17. Washington Wizards (last week: 20th)
After the Wiz dropped to 6-12 early this month, they looked like a team in disarray, inept on both offense and defense. Now? They’re only inept on defense. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, and their 111.1 points per 100 possessions ranks them sixth in that span. Washington desperately needed contributors beyond John Wall and Bradley Beal, and Most Improved Player candidate Otto Porter has filled that void.
11. Memphis Grizzlies (last week: 8th)
Despite a win over the lowly Detroit Pistons (we’ll get to them) and the return of Mike Conley, it was a rough week in Memphis. The Grizz were on shaky ground, since their perfect record in close games was bound to regress and their top-ranked defense masked an offense that ranked second from the bottom. After toppling the LeBron James-less Cavs last week, Memphis lost three straight close ones at home.
18. Detroit Pistons (last week: 13th)
Coach Stan Van Gundy called them “pathetic” following a series of blowout losses, the team held a players-only meeting, and then they all responded with a 31-point loss to the Bulls that elicited another outburst from Van Gundy: “Team meeting my a–.” Not good. They’re lost since the return of Reggie Jackson, and there’s no end in sight to this downward spiral, not with the Cavs and Golden State Warriors up next.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (last week: 17th)
The Blazers now own the worst defensive rating in the league, thanks to a three-game stretch in which they allowed a combined 393 points — 55 of which came from Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins’ opposite Meyers Leonard. Their offense, still ranked in the league’s top 10, used to be able to offset some of those defensive woes, but no longer. If they can’t resolve that issue, they’re in real danger of missing the playoffs a year after reaching the conference semifinals.
Previously, on BDL Power Rankings:
BDL Power Rankings v1.0, where the Utah Jazz are reaching a crescendo
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