Tag: harden

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

We’re back after a week off for the All-Star break and officially ready for the “second half” of the season to ramp up. Often in fantasy, you hear of players coming up huge in the sprint to the post-season, especially younger players finding their rhythm with the big boys. Free agent acquisitions become that much more important and could be the difference between an early fantasy play-offs exit and a potential title. With that in mind, let’s dive into this week’s Four-Cast with Raj, Dray, and Steve P.!

1) FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
2) FANTASY SLEEPER PICKUP OF THE WEEK*
*LESS THAN 20% OWNED IN 12 TEAM LEAGUES ON ESPN
3) TOP SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
4) TOP DROP CANDIDATES OF THE WEEK

1) Fantasy Line of the Week

Raj’s Pick:
Trae Young
49Pts, 8 Reb, 16 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 17/33 Fg, 9/11 Fts, 6 3PM
03/02/2019 vs CHI

ICE TRAE THE GANG! Wow! The rookie sensation in Atlanta is out to prove to the world that he is every bit as good as rookie counter-part Luka Doncic. Ice Trae became the first rookie ever to record 45 points and 15 assists in the same game. Amazing!

Photo: CBS Sports

Dray’s Pick:
James Harden
58Pts, 7 Reb, 10 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk, 16/32 Fg, 18/18 Fts, 8 3PM

02/28/2019 vs MIA

Yuck. What’s there left to say about this guy? The threes are deep, the upside is undeniable, the FTs don’t miss, and he’s getting you defensive stats (without diving into the long discussion of his defense). Is he the runaway back to back MVP? We’ll have to see how the Rockets finish but he’s my front runner.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Mitchell Robinson
17Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Stl, 6 Blk, 67% FG, 83% FT
02/26/2019 vs ORL
Myles Turner loses his reign as Blocks King as soon as Mitchell Robinson plays 30mpg consistently.

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Raj’s Pick:
Tyus Jones, Minnesota Timberwolves
1.4% Owned
8.5 Pts, 7.8 Ast, 2.3 Reb, 2.3 Stl, 0.5 3PM in the last 7 days

With the health of point guards Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague always in question, Jones provides a safe net for any owner looking for additional assists down the stretch,

Dray’s Pick:
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets
19.6% Owned
16.5 Pts, 9.0 Reb, 1.8 Ast, 1.0 Stl, 1.0 Blk over the last 7 days


This guy has been floating around the FA cut-off of your league all season probably. He’s been plugged in on Sundays (if you’re a daily lock league), and maybe even stuck on someone’s roster for a week or two. Ghost Face Zeller is no slouch, and has been putting up the numbers recently to prove it. If you need a solid center with a great schedule and all the opportunity they can get, go get this guy and feel good about bolstering your roster.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
1.0% Owned
15 Pts, 3.3 Ast, 3.0 Reb, 1.0 Stl, 2.0 3PM in the last 7 days


This is a deep sleeper but could pay dividends very quickly. In his last 4 games he has seen his minutes increase, and with that his stats have improven across the board, culminating in the very tasty 24 pts, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 threes line. Keep an eye on how he does in the next couple games and be prepared to snag him if he keeps producing. He reminds me a little of Tyler Ulis in Phoenix from a couple years ago, who exploded in the last few weeks of the fantasy season to be a major asset. With the Mavs season all-but-officially done, they will look to develop their young guys for a strong season next year.

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Raj’s Pick:
Bobby Portis, Washington Wizards
Bobby came out firing on all cylinders at the beginning of his tenure with the Wizards and has since cooled off. If there is an owner that would be willing to pay top dollar for him, now is the time to sell! The Wizards are going nowhere – fast.

Dray’s Pick:
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Zach just put up 47 in the 4OT game vs. Atlanta the other night, and man oh man is that a good time to sell high. The Bulls should be fully embracing the tank soon, and with an injury prone stud like LaVine, you can bet there’s going to be games off down the stretch.

Photos: NBA.com

Steve P.’s Pick:
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
This dude is the hottest player on earth right now. Over the last two weeks he is the NUMBER 3 PLAYER IN 8 CAT. Crazy how much he has improved. That said, this may be the perfect opportunity to sell high if you can somehow convince an owner to give up a perennial top 15 player for him. Think a Damian Lillard or a Kyrie. Trae is super fun but he has to come down to earth a little. He is currently shooting 47% on 23 FGA/game, where for the season he is at 41%. That seems unsustainable..

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Raj’s Pick:
Javale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers
Mr Shaqtin a Fool himself is once again in the dog house. After it looked like he had the starting center spot locked in for the rest of the season, McGee has failed to reach the 20 minute mark the last 4 games with the Lakers going small. Feel free to cut him loose.

Johal’s Pick:
Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks
Vonleh had a nice run for the Knicks but the porzingus trade has stunted his production with deandre jordan in the fold. Rookie Mitchell Robinson also encroaches on his minutes so feel free to cut toes with the journeyman forward

Dray’s Pick:
Dario Saric, Minnesota Timberwolves
Dario has not panned out to be what we were all hoping after a hot start in the NBA for the European. When he was traded to Minni, I genuinely believed he would turn it around. If you’ve been patient enough to hold out for that 5-6 games he looked great, I feel bad for you because he’s back to where he’s been all season. It’s time to part ways with the Homie and get some hot new thing off the wire.

That’s all we have this week gentlemen. Sound off in comments with questions or opinions!

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

Hello ball fans and welcome to the February 2nd – 9th Four-Cast! Today you have Steve P., Steve G., and Dray bringing you your four picks to help tune in your fantasy games.

1) FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
2) FANTASY SLEEPER PICKUP OF THE WEEK*
*LESS THAN 20% OWNED IN 12 TEAM LEAGUES ON ESPN
3) TOP SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
4) TOP DROP CANDIDATES OF THE WEEK

1) Fantasy Line of the Week

Steve G.’s Pick:
James Harden
43 Pts, 12 Reb, 5 Ast, 6 Stl, 4 Blk 12/22 Fg, 15/15 Ft, 4 threes
02/02/2019 vs. Utah

It doesn’t come as a surprise when Harden eclipses 30, 40 or even 50 points these days, but when you do that and add in 1st team all defensive numbers that’s just ridiculous! If you consider 3 pointers made as a stat category, Harden was 1 block and 1 three shy of a 6 x 5 line on this night. Make sure you tune in next week for another segment of the “James Harden Fantasy Line of the Week”.

Dray’s Pick:
Joel Embiid
37 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk, 14/15 FT, 10/20 Fg, 3 threes

02/05/2019 vs TOR

He’s a mouthpiece and backs it up with games like this. The effort may have come in a lost but I’ll be damned if getting 14/15 FT and 3 3PM with the typical high rebound and block output from a big man doesn’t make you smile.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Myles Turner
17 Pts, 4 Stl, 6 Blk, 3 threes, 7/8Fg

02/07/2019 vs LAC

Harden had another potential line of the year, but for sake of intrigue I feel it’s important to mention Myles Turner’s 10 stock line with 3’s and amazing %’s to boot. Stellar work boy.

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Steve G.’s Pick:
Tyler Johnson, Phoenix Suns
8% Owned

Once again, the NBA trade deadline has caused a state of chaos in the fantasy basketball world. With super teams being created all over the league, many player’s fantasy value spontaneously plummet or skyrocket due to these deals. One good thing about the NBA trade deadline is that it usually creates diamonds in the rough which can be found in the fallout of these deals. Tyler Johnson is a prime example of this. With Phoenix having very few reliable backcourt players other than Devin Booker, Johnson should be able to carve out a larger role than he had in Miami which will allow him to hold value in competitive 12 team leagues for the rest of the season.

Dray’s Pick:
Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks 
4.2% Owned

More trade deadline chaos here, although I would like to make a note that Robinson was coming on beforehand. Robinson is averaging 2.5 Blks over the last 7 days, and now with Deandre Jordan to learn from I think we’ll see the other facets of his game explode. The Knicks are obviously the bottom of the barrel and have a lot of motivation to develop their young guys, so go get this guy while you can.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LA Clippers)
18.9% Owned


The world is about to be Gorgeous-Alexander’s playground. The Clippers clearly showed their intention to groom their young core with the deadline moves they made, and SGA has a pretty clear path to 28+ minutes per night. When he plays 28 minutes per night – which has happened 22 times – he averages 14-4-4 with 1.5 steals, 0.7 blocks and 0.7 threes. That smells like top 75 value the rest of the way to me.

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Steve G.’s Pick:
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

Josh Jackson has shown flashes of fantasy stud potential in the past, and this time is no different. Just a fleeting moment of brilliance before Devin Booker and T.J. Warren come back from injury and nose dive his usage and minutes. See if you can swing a deal that nets you a steady top 50 player while Jackson is briefly playing like one.

Dray’s Pick:
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Well, he was here last week and he’s here again. Now that we know he’s not moving, the Pelicans will be playing him the league-assigned minimum of 25 minutes, not including the inevitable injury times. Dump this asset while he still holds value, unlike the Pelicans.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls

In 8-cat he is the 12th best player over the last week, averaging 30pts and 12 rpg with 3+ threes. He’s really, really, really good, but this level of production is not sustainable over the long run. Add in OPJ, and a weak 3-3-3 playoff schedule, and he makes for a perfect sell high if you can flip him for a consistent Top 35 player.

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Steve G.’s Pick:
Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers

The moment Oladipo went down with his knee injury most normal people gasped and began tweeting prayers and well wishes to him. Fantasy basketball fanatics on the other hand, immediately rushed to the waiver wire to grab Tyreke Evans. Since moving into the starting lineup Evans has managed to get injured once, average 6.6 ppg and lose a large majority of his minutes to Corey Joseph. If those aren’t good enough reasons to drop him, I will add one more; the Pacers are the front runners to sign Wesley Matthews.

Dray’s Pick:
Reggie Bullock, LA Lakers

Bullock was looking good this year on a Piston’s team in need of someone at the wing spot, but now that he’s been shipped off to LA he’ll be buried in the depth charts. To be fair he won’t play his first game till tomorrow (Sunday, February 10th), but I don’t like the way it’s looking with Ingram, KCP, LeBron, and Hart. Drop him if he doesn’t perform.

Steve P.’s Pick:
Marvin Bagley, Sacramento Kings

It looked like he was lined up for a strong end to the season, armed with ample playing time and a 4-4-4 playoff schedule. Then the Kings’ Kangzed and disrupted their beautiful chemistry by trading for Harry Barnes? He looks to take significant minutes away from Bagley so the dream of the rookie carrying squads in the playoffs is shattered. Buh. Bye. Bagley.


That’s all we have for this week fantasy fans! Tune in for our power rankings coming up Monday.

NBA Power Rankings – Week 15

Week 15 has been a weird week for me. The teams listed in the top five have yet to change for the third week in a row, but the order has changed a bit based on the few games I’ve watched this week.

I also want to preface this article with this. [spoiler] The Pacers are in fifth out of pure respect this week [/spoiler]. I highly doubt they’ll be around next week, as teams below them right now seem to be surging, but with what happened to Victor Oladipo this week in their game against the Raptors, I felt like it was well deserved. With all that being said, lets dive into the happenings of week 15.

1. Golden State Warriors (35-14)

Week 15 Record:  2-1
Offensive Rating: 115.6 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.0 (15th)
Net Rating: +6.5 (2nd)

Technically the Bucks should be here on winning percentage alone (regardless of the Warriors having only one more loss). Strength of schedule compared the Warriors (vs. Lakers, Wizards and Celtics) and Bucks (vs. Mavericks, Hornets, Thunder) are almost carbon copies of each other.

HOWEVER, I put the Warriors in number one based on their game against the Celtics. I’m putting this bluntly, but that doesn’t mean that the Thunder are chumps. Quite the opposite really. Anyways, the Warriors were able to stave off defeat by 4 points, and holding Kyrie to a meager 32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. It really seemed like the Warriors were able to lock down in crunch time, and manage to score 115 on one of the leagues better defensive teams.

Enough of the positive crap now. I loathe the Warriors. The fact that Boogie is back and averaging a cool 13.3ppg and 7.7 rpg for them, is enough to enrage me beyond words. With that being said, kudos Golden State. You’re first overall this week, and you bought your fourth ring. Can we fast forward to the 2019-20 season yet?

2. Milwaukee Bucks (35-13)

Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.1 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 103.7 (1st)
Net Rating: +9.4 (1st)

If the Warriors are 1A in week 15, the Bucks are 1B. As stated previously, the game that it came down to that separated these two were the Warriors vs Celtics and Bucks vs Thunder. The Warriors won, and the Bucks lost.

That should mean sweet fuck all at this point really, but I think it’s common sense right now that the Warriors are really…really getting into the swing of things. The only thing that the Bucks can say that they are better at when compared to the Warriors, is they are defensively arms and legs above the competition right now. With that being said, the difference in offensive rating between the Bucks and Warriors is a cool 2.5 points right now, and they’re doing this with about 1/5 of the star power that the Warriors have.

Is it fair to anoint Giannis as the East heir apparent yet? After being named Eastern Conference All-Star Team Captain this week, he capped a three game week off on Sunday averaging a quiet 32.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 4.5 apg with 1.5 spg and 1.5 bpg. ALL OF THIS ON ONE HALF OF A THREE POINT MADE PER GAME. He really is a freak in the most positive of ways.

nba power ranking- weeks 12

3. Toronto Raptors (37-15)

Week 15 Record: 2-2
Offensive Rating: 112.4 (7th)
Defensive Rating:  107.5 (9th)
Net Rating: +4.9 (6th)

I’ve made it quite clear that I am a Raptors fanboi before. Please take the following as a personal cry for help from Raptors Nation to Raptors Front Office brass.

To Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse:

Start playing Kawhi more. Stop with this rest shit, and get him in the game. We should be fisting teams right now, but instead I find myself more and more worried about how well Malachi Richardson is going to match up against other teams star small forwards. I DO NOT WANT TO BE DOING THIS ANYMORE. Get your shit together, for the love of god, please.

Also, please be active at the trade deadline. You’ve made it quite clear that this is the all-in year. Push your chips into the middle of the table and show the rest of the upper echelon teams that your nuts are hanging down around your knees. If I don’t find out that one of Bradley Beal, Mike Conley, or Marc Gasol are not a Raptor post deadline, I might cry. I might cry blood. Don’t make me cry blood.

Sincerely,

Concerned Raptors Fans Everywhere

4. Denver Nuggets (33-15)

Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.6 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 107.7 (10th)
Net Rating: +5.8 (4th)

As a teenager, I found myself enthralled with the game of basketball. I would literally watch anything of any professional playing anywhere to learn more about the game. I found myself absolutely amazed with the story of Arvydas Sabonis, while he played for the Trailblazers from 1994-2002. His skill set was unreal, but what I found the most amazing skill set he maintained was his ability to pass in and out of the post.

I feel the exact same way about Nikola Jokic. His passing ability, his soft hands around the rim, and his ability to absolutely dominate on the block. Here’s a video of his game on Saturday night.

Due to a 1 game suspension he earned in week 15, Jokic only played in 2 of the Nuggets 3 games.

Against Utah:
28 points, 21 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

Against Philadelphia:
32 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 2 3PM

Jokic is going to be the reason that the Nuggets go deep into the Western Conference playoffs this year. Mark my words (out of 10).

5. Indiana Pacers (32-18)

Week 15 Record: 1-1
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (15th)
Defensive Rating: 104.2 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.5 (5th)

I’m still 50/50 on the whether or not the Pacers will be here next week. Part of me believes that if they can grind out a win against the Raptors after VO blew out his quad, then they can do it. The other part of me looks at the wing depth, or lack thereof on this team and thinks that the Pacers are about to plummet.

Regardless of all of this, I was quite sad to find out about the severity of Oladipo’s leg injury this week. The East was better off with him leading the Pacers.

JUST MISSED OUT:

Philadelphia 76ers (32-18)

Did the Sixers get better when they found out that Jimmy Butler has to see a wrist specialist? I imagine they could’ve got something a lot more productive in a trade otherwise. That’s a shame.

With that being said, they went 2-1 in week 15, and are breathing down the neckline of the Pacers blue collared shirt.

Also, in other news: Ben Simmons shot a 3 this week. Never again.

PANIC BUTTON:

New Orleans Pelicans (22-28)

If I’m Dell Demps, I’m writing my resignation letter in English and Creole French right now. I’ll refer to the once great David Stern’s thoughts on Demps:

“[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that…. And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”

Yea, he’s gonna lose AD. The Pelicans are slumping, and they’re leaning on Jahlil Okafor for offense right now. It’s time to pull the plug and clean house. Davis is a Laker, Celtic, or Not-Pelican come this summer. This season is a wash.

MAKING GAINS:

Houston Rockets (29-20)


Did I say Rockets? I meant Hardens. The Houston Hardens are posting the following line in the last 7 days:

44.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.0 bpg on 4.3 3PM. Somhow I think those three point numbers are a bit too low.

When you look past the legendary 1-man show that James Harden is putting up recently, the Rockets went 3-1 in week 15 and are leap frogging up the West standings right now. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Paul’s return will change the pace, or if Harden continues to out-alpha every man on a basketball floor within 100 feet of him in week 16.



Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast

Your personal Fantasy Basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the first weekly segment of the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast. This will be a weekly post that we will provide every Saturday to help you dominate your fantasy league as we approach the trade deadline and fantasy play-offs.

By this point, you probably have your core players locked in, so we are here to help you make the under-the-radar moves that will push you to the top of your own fantasy basketball leagues! With our rotating panel of expert fantasy Basket Brawlers, we’ll outline recommended moves that we think will make the difference.

From here until the end of the season we will break down the following categories in 140 characters or less:

1) Fantasy line of the week
2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week (less than 20% owned in 12 team leagues)
3) Top sell high candidates
4) Top drop candidates of the week

Joining me on the expert panel of fantasy basketball analysts this week is none other than Adam Johal and Jordan Taylor who have both won fantasy leagues in the past and know what it takes to win! So…lets get to it!

1) Fantasy line of the week

Adam Johal’s pick 
James Harden 
56 Pts, 10 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 16/34 Fg, 21/23 ft, 5 threes
01/16/2019 vs MEM

Harden is lighting the league on fire and Wednesday night showcased him at the height of his powers. 

Jordan Taylor’s pick
Steph Curry
41 Pts, 5 Ast, 3 Reb, 11/22 Fg, 10/10 Ft, 9 threes
01/16/2019 vs NOP

This game didn’t need any other mentions as it was already the highest offensively paced game this week, but Steph Curry still managed to shine above the rest. He hit 9 threes on the way to GSW’s win and kept his ridiculous streak of 8+ 3pm for the past three games. He cooled down Friday night and returned to mortal numbers, but we are in the presence of the greatest shooter of all time – so enjoy it.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
Kyrie Irving 
38 Pts, 7 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Blk, 14/21 Fg, 6/9 ft, 4 threes
01/18/2019 vs MEM

Uncle Drew now has 29 assists over his last 2 games, including a career high 18 assists vs the East leading Raptors (and #1 on our weekly power rankings: http://basketbrawlers.ca/nba-power-rankings/ ) on Wednesday night…maybe he should call out his teammates more often?

2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week

Adam Johal’s pick
Richaun Holmes, Phoenix Suns
15% owned
13.5 pts/6.0 reb/0.5blks in the last 7 days

Holmes has had some great 9-cat stats, including great assist and steal potential for a center.

Jordan Taylor’s pick
Kenneth Faried, Free Agent
0.8% owned

The manimal has been waived by the Brooklyn Nets and intends to sign with the Houston Rockets where he will soak up all the missed shots from Harden with Clint Capella out recovering from surgery on his hand. Take the flier and benefit from a boost in rebounds.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
DeMarre Carroll, Brooklyn Nets
16.5% owned
14.0 pts/7.7 reb/1.7 threes per game in the last 7 days

With injuries to many of their key wings, the Nets have called upon Carroll to play all the minutes he can handle. He can be relied on in the short term to provide a boost in scoring, rebounding, and triples.

3) Top Sell High Candidates

Adam Johal’s pick
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Beal has been on a torrid pace lately, but now is the time to maximize his trade value.

Jordan Taylor’s pick 
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

With Boogie back in the fold you can expect Green’s already dismal shot attempts and numbers to continue on a downward trend. Draymond has the intangibles for the Warriors that just won’t transfer over to the fantasy stat sheet. Having Boogie last night confirmed you will get the same Draymond with Cousins in the lineup, but how long will it last? See if you can get a high round point guard for your troubles

Rajan Sharma’s pick
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

With the Grizzlies having cooled off since their blistering start and free agency looming ahead for their star big man, look for Memphis to be sellers this trade deadline and shift in to more of a youth movement going forward.

4) Top Drop Candidates

Adam Johal’s pick
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

Jackson seemed to be heating up start the new year but has fallen off a cliff his last two outings with Booker back in the lineup. Feel free to give him the snip if you’re eying someone on the wire.

Jordan Taylor’s pick
All Houston Rockets Not Named James Harden

With the beard going on his offensive tear this month, touches for the rest of the team are few and far between. Search the waiver wire somewhere else because the likes of PJ Tucker, Austin Rivers, and Gerald Green won’t get it done for you consistently to warrant keeping them.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers

Well, the JaVale McGee feel good story is now over. He has been bumped down to 3rd string after Ivica Zubac has rushed the scene and stolen the hearts of the Laker Faithful. Time to cut ties here unless you are desperate for shot blocking.

Thats all for this week! Hope you can take away some knowledge from the expert analysis above. Check back in next Saturday for more Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast from your favourite Basketball Know-It-Alls!

Week 13 Power Rankings

After a lengthy holiday break, our regular Power Ranking writer is back with his salty takes on the week that was. Don’t agree with our takes? Write us a comment and let him know what you really think.

Credit to http://www.sportingnews.com for the image

Link to the Power Rankings Below:

http://basketbrawlers.ca/nba-power-rankings/

Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

NBA Power Rankings – Week 12

BasketBrawlers NBA Power Rankings is officially back for the New Year! We will be working even harder to provide you with the content and unique insights that you need from the NBA world. With Adam Kroon, the usual editor of this segment tied up with other commitments, this weeks segment is brought to you by the Give N’Go Podcast’s own: Rajan Sharma

Much has changed in the NBA landscape since the turn of the new year. The Grizzlies, who had started out red hot at the beginning of the season are starting to show their age. The Rockets have been fuelled by the MVP Calibre Heroics of James Harden, and Spurs have quietly been surging behind an inspiring performance on the night of Kawhi’s return to San Antonio. With that said, lets get to it! W

1. DENVER NUGGETS (26-11)

Last Weeks Ranking: 3 (+2)
Last Weeks Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 111.9 (7th) 
Defensive Rating:  106.4 (9th)
Net Rating: +5.4 (5th)

The Nuggets took care of business against some teams fighting hard for a playoff spot with games against the Knicks, Kings, and Hornets respectively. The Nuggets continue their surprisingly successful campaign and have survived their injury plagued season so-far. With Paul Millsap and Gary Harris returning to action this week the Nuggets are finally starting to get healthy – which should be a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.

nba power ranking- weeks 12

2. TORONTO RAPTORS (30-12)

Last Weeks Ranking: 1 (-1)
Last Weeks Record: 4-1 
Offensive Rating: 112.2 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 107.3 (10th)
Net Rating: +4.9 (6th)

The Raptors have been busy this week! They started out with some hard fought victories against the Bulls and Jazz (a game in which Kawhi Leonard dropped a career high 45 points against the Utah Jazz defense) before they went in the San Antonio and got absolutely decimated by the Spurs, who were led by DeMar DeRozan’s revenge triple-double – the first of his career.

However, the Raptors managed to save face by defeating the other 2 teams fighting for the top spot in the east to end the week. The Raptors took a page out of Drizzy Drake’s playbook and beat the Bucks and the Pacers back-to-back. Going back-to-back! With Kyle Lowry returning to the lineup after being out for 6 days, we may actually see the Raptors two stars play in the same game for the first time early December this upcoming week!

San Antonio Spurs

3. SAN ANTONIO SPURS (23-17)

Last Weeks Ranking: Not Ranked (+13)
Last Weeks Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 112.2 (5th) 
Defensive Rating: 109.1 (16th)
Net Rating: +3.1 (8th)

Don’t look now, but the Spurs are once again flying under the radar in to the playoff picture! The Spurs have rattled off 4 straight victories over the Clippers, Celtics, Grizzlies, and capped off by a routing of the Toronto Raptors after DeMar DeRozan racked up the first triple-double of his career against his former team. The Spurs are finally starting to get healthy after their wing depth was decimated by injuries to start the season and the results are showing in the win column. The Spurs play the Thunder twice next week, giving them a real shot of moving in to the top 4 of the Western Conference. Let’s see if old reliable can keep the NBA’s longest winning streak rolling!

4. MILWAUKEE BUCKS (27-11)

Last Weeks Ranking: 4 (-)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 113.5 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 104.3 (3rd)
Net Rating: +9.2 (1st) 

The Bucks are the only team in the top 3 of both offensive and defensive efficiency in the entire league. They came up just short in a marquee match-up against the Raptors on Saturday night, but they have still been dominant thus far. The Bucks have won 8 of their last 10 games, and if Brook Lopez can continue his Harden impersonation – hitting step back 3’s with 16 on the shot clock on the regular – the Bucks will be a tough match-up for any team come playoff time. Despite the hot start, lets see how the Bucks close out this season, as they will now play 21 of the next 30 games on the road.

5. HOUSTON ROCKETS (22-16)

Last Weeks Ranking: Not Ranked (+11)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 112.9 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 111.6 (25th)
Net Rating: +1.3 (13th)

The re-emergence of MVP Harden has been an absolute treat to watch for NBA fans across the globe. James Harden is averaging over 40 points per game over the last 12 games, including an absolute thriller against the defending champion Golden State Warriors in which The Beard dropped another 44-point triple double and a game winning 3-pointer over Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

An interesting point to note though, is that this sudden improvement of play by the Rockets also lines up with Chris Paul being removed from the lineup. Could this just be a coincidence? Tune in to the Give N’Go Podcast’s episode 12 which discusses this in detail in last week’s pod: http://basketbrawlers.ca/give-n-go/

6. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (23-17)

Last Weeks Ranking: 13 (+7)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 111.6 (8th)
Defensive Rating: 110.4 (21st)
Net Rating: +1.2 (16th)

The Blazers sole loss last week was by 2 points in a thriller against the rival OKC thunder. Besides the one blemish, the Blazers were able to rattle off impressive wins against the Sixers, Kings, and the blazing hot Houston Rockets. All the off-season talk about whether or not Lillard and McCollum can co-exist as your 2 best players has quieted down now with the emergence of their bench, and their young Bosnian Center Jusuf Nurkic, who became the first player in NBA History to record a rare 5×5 game (at least 5 points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in the same game) while also recording at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. The 23-year old big man finished the game against the Kings with 24 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 5 blocks. Wow.

7. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (26-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 6 (-)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 113.6 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.3 (18th)
Net Rating: +4.3 (7th)

The Warriors were one blown call by the refs and a James Harden step-back 3 away from a perfect week. Despite all of their recent struggles, the Warriors still hold on to the 2-seed in the Western conference, and sit only 1 game back of the top spot. If you are a Warriors fan, I think you take this result all day given the struggles of the Warriors supporting cast this season. We are yet to see Boogie make his debut with the team, but it seems like they need another boost to get them back to their championship aspirations after going 8-5 over their last 13 games.

8. INDIANA PACERS (26-13)

Last Weeks Ranking: 11 (+4)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 108.7 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 102.9 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.8 (3rd)

The Pacers fell short on Sunday night against a Kawhi-less Raptors squad, but they still hang on to the number 3-seed in the Eastern Conference and the 2nd best defensive rating in the League. The Pacers will face off against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, which should be a nice test for a team looking to establish themselves amongst the elite in the NBA.

9. PHILADELPHIA 76ers (26-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 2 (-7)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (13th)
Defensive Rating: 107.6 (11th)
Net Rating: +2.1 (10th)

Despite all the drama that seems to surround the Sixers at every turn of the way – the latest being Jimmy Butler suddenly unhappy with his new role on the team – the Sixers continue to rattle off victories. The Sixers will have a pretty pedestrian week next week, as they have games against the Wizards (twice), Hawks, and the lowly Knicks. If they can sort out all their internal dramas, they could be next in line to join Toronto in the 30-win club by the time we roll out these Power Rankings next week.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (25-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 7 (-3)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 107.4 (21st)
Defensive Rating: 101.7 (1st)
Net Rating: +5.6 (4th)

Seems like the Thunder can never quite get it right…they followed up impressive wins over the Mavs, Lakers, and Blazers with an absolute DUD against the Washington Wizards. Scott Brooks got his revenge game against his former squad, and despite Russell Westbrook having another triple-double, he did his squad no favours with his 8 turnovers in the game and 9/23 shooting from the field. But alas, that is the fate of the OKC Thunder until they realize that maybe running more of the offence through PG-13 instead of Westbrook may be the solution to their problems. The dynamic duo of Westbrook and Paul George are currently sitting at a usage rate of 31.3 and 29.6 respectively.

Well there you have it! Let me know what you think about the power rankings in the comments below, or on twitter page (link is below):

https://twitter.com/_BasketBrawlers

Who didn’t quite make the cut…

11. Boston Celtics (23-15)

12. Los Angles Clippers (23-16)

13. Utah Jazz (20-20)

14. Brooklyn Nets (20-21)

15. Los Angles Lakers (21-20)