Tag: Toronto

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheetYour personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast! For the week of March 2nd to 8th (Saturday-Friday), we have yours truly, Rajan Sharma joined once again by Jordan Taylor, and the dynamic duo of the Power brothers giving you your fantasy basketball insights as you head towards fantasy playoffs.

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

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
Damian Lillard
51 Pts, 5 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Blk, 1 Stl, 3 3PM, 15/28 Fg, 18/20 Ft
03/07/2019 vs OKC

Dame time was all around on Thursday against a hot OKC Thunder team. Unfortunately, it was a losing effort. Everyone is starting to look at the playoff picture and this is something we could see a lot more of in the next few months. Buckle up, because that was a blast to watch.

Jordan’s Pick:
Karl Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
41Pts, 14 Reb,2 Stl, 3 3PM, 15/27 Fg, 8/10 fts
03/05/2019 vs OKC

As I write this KAT is putting up an almost duplicate line Saturday night against the Wizards tonight, if there was ever any doubt of KAT making the all star game, then this week should have eliminated all the haters. While there is 0.01% chance of Minny making the playoffs, at least we can take solace in the Timberwolves All-Star not letting up on the gas pedal anytime soon.

Raj’s Pick:
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
39Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 3PM, 14/26 Fg, 9/13 Fts
03/06/2019 vs PHI

Only 1 player has scored more points since the all star break than Zach LaVine as he appears to finally be coming in to his own as the focal point of the Bulls offence. LaVine dropped 39 on the Sixers including the game winning bucket, look for LaVine to continue scoring at a high rate for the rest of the season.

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs
20.4% Owned
14.3 Pts, 6.0 Reb, 6.7 Ast, 3.3 Blk, 1.3 Stl, 1.0 3PM over the last 7 days

Derrick White has turned around the Spurs after the worst Rodeo road trip (always takes place after All-Star) in team history. Since then, Derrick has crushed with those averages above and beaten OKC, Denver, and Detroit. Go get this boy if he’s available. Won’t be for long.

Jordan’s Pick:
Tyler Johnson, Phoenix Suns
8.4% Owned
13.7 Pts, 5 Reb, 5.7 Ast, 1.3 Stl, 0.7 Blk, 1.3 3PM over the last 7 days


While he is currently trending down on ESPN, I wouldn’t sleep for long on Tyler Johnson, he has strung 3 solid consecutive games together averaging over 30 minutes per game, with such a lack of guard depth, he is in for a nice run to closeout the season. Solid point guards are hard to find this late in the game.

Raj’s Pick:
Delon Wright, Memphis Grizzlies
2.5% Owned
17.7 Pts, 4 Ast, 5.7 Reb, 1.3 Stl, 0.7 Blk, 0.7 3PM in the last 7 days


Delon Wright has been splitting minutes at the 1 and 2 when playing along side Mike Conley and it is paying dividends for the Grizzlies. This is a contract year for Delon so look for him to finish out strong the rest of the season and cash in them cheques!

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
LeBron James, LA Lakers
If you’re reading this with LeBron on your roster, it’s probably too late. Minutes restriction, no play-off hopes, and team animosity are all spelling disaster for LeBron owners. Ownership knows they have 3 more years of LeBron and have no interest in endangering their future. He will find pine for the remainder of the year. Dump him if you can.

Jordan’s Pick:
Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
News broke out early this week that Jrue will be facing a minutes restriction for the upcoming games until the end of the season, now after averaging just over 30 minutes a game he has been diagnosed with an abdominal strain, see if you can get 2nd or 3rd round value for this guy before they upgrade him to out for the season, you have 7 to 10 days, go!

Raj’s Pick:
DeAndre Jordan, New York Knicks
With the Knicks firmly out of the playoff picture with no incentive to win and a young Mitchell Robinson waiting in the wings, now is the time to capitalize on trading the double-double machine DeAndre Jordan.

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
Reggie Bullock, LA Lakers
Reggie in Detroit was gaining momentum and was a top pick-up before the trade deadline. After his move to LA, it looked like he might have some juice left in the tank as a 3-point specialist with LeBron; however, the only tank that is happening now is the team. With LeBron resting and the priority shifting to showcasing the young talent, Bullock is out of the rotation and can be let go.

Johal’s Pick:
Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets
Harris has not been able to stay healthy all season and unfortunately never got into the groove in Denver, Malik Beasley, Monte Morris, IT, and Jamal Murray are on a timeshare where no-one can excel consistently, great if you are a Denver fan, bad if you are a Fantasy owner.

Raj’s Pick:
Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors
Gasol being traded to the Raptor was the worst possible outcome for fantasy owners. Nick Nurse runs a “fluid” rotation at center and Gasol hasn’t quite found his fit with this team. He’s averaging a putrid 8.3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block a game over the last week of play.

There you have it! Tune in again next week for your weekly Fantasy Basketball Fix!

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast! For the week of February 9th to 15th (Saturday-Friday), we have yours truly, Rajan Sharma joined once again by Jordan Taylor, and Adam Johal giving your fantasy basketball insights ahead of the NBA All Star Game in Charlotte this week!

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

Johal’s Pick:
Russell Westbrook
44Pts, 14 Reb, 11 Ast, 2 Blk, 18/30 Fg
02/14/2019 vs NOP

Although it wasn’t enough to beat the Dumpster Fire Pelicans, Russ stuffed the stat sheet on Valentines Day – he even managed to be an efficient scorer!

Jordan’s Pick:
Paul George
47Pts, 12 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl, 8 3PM, 14/23 Fg

and Russell Westbrook 
21Pts, 14 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk, 1 3PM
02/11/2019 vs POR

Am I allowed to give it to a dynamic duo? PG13 is on another tear. Only 10 other teammates have recorded this feat. Not to mention how efficient one would have to be to get 10 assists with west boss on the court.

Raj’s Pick:
Giannis Antetokounmpo
33Pts, 19 Reb, 11 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk, 12/22 Fg, 9/10 Fts
02/13/2019 vs IND

In a battle between two of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, it was The Greek Freak who led the way for the Bucks to secure their league leading 43rd win of the season (tied with Toronto) and once again show why they are the team to beat out East, even with newly acquired Nikola Mirotic still waiting in the wings…. this isnt even their final form!

Picture Source: http://www.nba.com/article/2018/01/24/russell-westbrook-says-its-outrageous-paul-george-not-all-star

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Dion Waiters, Miami Heat
4.8% Owned
18.3 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 4.3 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 4 3PM over the last 7 days

Waiters has averaged 18 points, 4 3PM, and 4.3 Assists over the last week. Waiters should be able to maintain his value while Goran Dragic works his way back into the lineup after the all-star break..

Jordan’s Pick:
Dion Waiters, Miami Heat
4.8% Owned
18.3 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 4.3 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 4 3PM over the last 7 days


Get on the boat to dion waiters island. After publicly stating f*** patience, waiters was inserted into the starting lineup and made it rain. Through this week he’s averaging almost double his season averages.

Raj’s Pick:
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets
8.8% Owned
15.5 Pts, 2 Ast, 8.0 Reb, 1.0 Stl, 0.5 Blk in the last 7 days


After a slow start being hampered by injuries, Cody Zeller has quietly taken back the starting Center spot in Charlotte. If you are in need of boards and efficient scoring, snag this boy up ASAP!

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Johal’s Pick:
Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas has been off to a hot start in Memphis, but I don’t expect him to continue a 18 and 9 pace. The Grizz have a history of putting guys in and out of the rotation, and may look to allocate more minutes to JJJ and Ivan Rabb during the back half of the season.

Jordan’s Pick:
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Last man standing? Check
Your team traded for a younger point guard? Check
Not going to male the playoffs? Check.
Get some return for this guy now before the Grizz slash his minutes like a early 2000 horror film.

Raj’s Pick:
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Well, this season hasn’t quite gone as planned for the young stud out of Kentucky. After proclaiming that he was done with not making the playoffs, the Suns sit at last place in the entire league (yes, worse than the Knicks) and Booker can’t seem to stay healthy. Best to deal Booker and his Hammies away before the injury bug strikes again.

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets
His numbers have been up and down lately, and with Gary Harris and Isiah Thomas set to join the Nuggets guard rotation, it may be time to cut ties with Morris.

Johal’s Pick:
Noah Vonleh
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

Raj’s Pick:
Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers
There was hope that Tyreke the freak would be able to fill Oladipo’s shoes after his injury, but the former Rookie of the Year winner has been utterly disappointing. If you want to take a flier on a high up-side guy, dont feel guilty dropping tyreke

NBA Power Rankings – Week 14

Week 14 has proven to be a bit boring. The richer get richer, the medium get medium-ier, and the poor are still outside the top 5. The top 5 have stayed the same, but they’ve all decided to play musical chairs this week.

The one thing I’ll preface week 14 with before I start is that I think the best team in the league is actually first, finally.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

Week 13 Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 113.5 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: 103.8 (1st)
Net Rating: + 9.7 (1st)

Milwaukee is back in the top slot, but somehow I’m somewhat unimpressed with Giannis’ line (21.3ppg, 11.3 rpg, 6.0apg, 2.0spg). You’re right, it’s still a monster line but, it just doesn’t seem like he went full freak this week.

The Bucks are back in first place in the East this week, after beating some mediocre teams in Miami, Memphis, and Orlando. They won all games with a margin greater then 10 points. Overall, they’re the best team in the entire league this week defensively, which is a huge feat in my opinion (notably beating defensive titans OKC, Indiana and Boston), and now own a monstrous +9.7 NET rating. They’re not beating teams, they’re demoralizing teams by shutting them down, and outscoring the crap out of them.

If Mike Budenholzer doesn’t win Coach of the Year this year, I’ll personally be in awe. He’s turned this team around quicker than any casual fan would dare to admit. The even more scary part to this week 14 realization is that the Bucks are actually set up for a while with depth. I won’t officially hand them the keys to the East this week, but other teams have seriously need to think about how they approach the Bucks in the future (including the playoffs).

nba power ranking- weeks 12

2. Toronto Raptors

Week 13 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 112.0 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 107.0 (9th)
Net Rating: +5.1 (6th)

This has been a pretty ho-hum week for the Raptors. The Celtics made them look like a beatable team on Wednesday , allowing Kyrie Irving to go off with 27 points, 18 assists, 5 rebounds and a casual 1 steal and block.

Kawhi looks like he’s taking an early spring break right now, having only played 1 of week 14’s games, and that game being the loss to the Celtics. In the remaining two games the Raptors had to rely on bench depth to come up beat Phoenix by 2 points. Perhaps without the massive 21 point third quarter from Danny Green against the Grizzlies, that game might’ve been a bit closer as well.

If there was any team in the top 5 that didn’t deserve the first spot, it’s definitely Toronto. I really hope the rumours of the Raptors front office looking to trade for an ELITE level shooting guard are actually true, because it might be the kick they need to keep Milwaukee down for the rest of the season.

3. Golden State Warriors

Week 13 Record: 3-0
Offensive Rating: 115.4 (1st)
Defensive Rating:  109.0 (15th)
Net Rating: +6.3 (2nd)

Last week, I cried a little on the inside when I realized that Demarcus Cousins was making his return. Then he did this in his first game back:

Now we’ve got fanbois running around making infinity guantlet jokes about the Warriors. I’m really having a hard time with seeing how the Warriors don’t cruise through the Western conference playoffs this year without breaking a sweat. They might be third right now, but they don’t care. They’re playing the long con for ring 4 in 5 years.

4. Denver Nuggets

Week 13 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.1 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 107.9 (T10th)
Net Rating: +5.2 (5th)

Lets give Denver a get out of jail free card this week. I’m still in awe that they played 5 games in 7 days in week 13. This might be evident from the 31 point drudging they received from Golden State this week.

They got to finish up the week against Chicago and Cleveland, so hopefully they got some time to recharge with 2 seemingly easy games. Lets see what they come back with in week 15.

Oh yea. Nikola Jokic averaged more assists than rebounds this week, notching another triple double against Cleveland. Jamal Murray is looking more and more like a complete scorer this season (averaging a cool 24 ppg this week), given his cool start to the season. I also forgot to mention that they’re looking to get Isaiah Thomas back in the first week of February too.

Just pretend like you didn’t see anything that I just typed in what is supposed to be an “off-week” for the Nuggets.

5. Indiana Pacers

Week 13 Record: 3-1
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 104.0 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.7 (4th)

How are they winning games?

No seriously. A few weeks ago I mentioned that most reporters are casually forgetting this team, and most of the players on it this season. But now I’m starting to really wonder how they’re doing it.

The Pacers are quietly the third best team in the East after week 14. In a 4 game week, they went a cool 3-1, abusing the Suns by 35 points, shutting down the Mavericks by 12 and closing out Sunday with a 25 point win over the Hornets. The one game they lost, the script was flipped by losing to Philadelphia by 24.

THE TREND: All 3 of their wins came by locking their opponents down to under 100 points {“Phoenix”: 97, “Dallas”: 91, “Charlotte”: 95} (yes I just realised that the list I gave you is a JSON object, leave me alone, this is my second job). Opponents FG% during those games respectively were 42.1%, 42.0%, and 40.2%. Per basketball-reference.com, the league average for FG% is 46.0%.

And without a “lockdown” defender DPOY candidate on this team, one can only assume that they’re defending as a team. If Indiana is in the top 5 next week, I’ll try and deep dive a bit more into their defensive stats as a team.

JUST MISSED OUT:

Oklahoma City Thunder (28-18)

This team smash’s steaks, all the bloody time mate.

Week 14 record: 1-2
Paul George: 27.3ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, and a monster 3.7 STEALS PER GAME
Russell Westbrook: 26.0 ppg, 10.0 apg, 8.3 rpg, 2.3 spg
Steven Adams: 16.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.3 spg

Three players, three unreal defenders. OKC deserves more credit than what they’re getting right, despite a 1-2 week 14. Plus this monster game against Philadelphia.

LOSING GROUND:

Los Angeles Clippers

Once a western conference titan this season, the Clippers have slipped from 1st to 8th in the west. They caught lightning in a bottle for the first half of the season, but it looks like teams are catching on to the koolaid that Doc Rivers was selling his players.

With that being said, a 25-21 record is nothing to sneeze at, but with the Lakers, King sand Timberwolves breathing down their necks, it might be time for the Clippers to sip the sizzurp and start winning again…quickly.

MAKING GAINS:

Brooklyn Nets

In week 3, I wrote that the Nets were the 15th best team in the league. At the time I was definitely stretching it, but now I’m not looking so crazy.



The Nets are the 6th best team in the east right now with a 25-23 record, being lead by everyone’s favourite snitch:

D’Angelo is finally making the Lakers look a little dumb for trading him. This week alone, he lead the Nets to beat the Celtics (kay), Rockets (wait..), and Magic (that’s more like it).

The last seven days (including Monday January 21st), Russell is carrying this under-achieving team with 28.0 ppg, 7.0 apg, 3.3 rpg, and a Harden-esque 5.7 3PM. Lets keep an eye on these guys as the season grind to a close. I doubt they’ll crack the top 5, but I’ve been wrong before.

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)

Can the Raptors win the East…Kawhi not?

With everything finalized, Raptor fans are starting to feel the reality of the blockbuster trade featuring Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. The actual trade will exchange Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 pick between San Antonio and Toronto, but everyone is rightfully focused on Kawhi. At the onset of the 2017/2018 season, Kawhi was still one of the most quiet, least dramatic sports athletes of all time on a consistently drama-free franchise. If you had told a basketball fan back then where we are today, I don’t think anyone would of believed you. But alas, here we are. Now that the shock is starting to wear off, it’s time to start looking at the 2018/2019 season and who will seize the opportunity to win the East now that LeBron James has gone to the LA Lakers.

After an embarrassing sweep of the Raptors in the conference semi-finals by a mediocre Cleveland Cavaliers team, every Raptors fan knew that something had to change. Given that Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valančiūnas have (had) monster contracts through the 2019-2020 season, there wasn’t much flexibility for Masai.

Player2018-20192019-2020
Kyle Lowry$31,000,000$33,296,296
DeMar DeRozan$27,739,975$27,739,975
Serge Ibaka$21,666,667$23,271,604
Jonas Valančiūnas$16,539,326$17,617,977

Even though they opted to fire the Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey to mix things up, the Raptors were clearly not done. The Raptors are going all in on the 2018-2019 season with Kawhi having one year remaining on his contract. They are already hopeful they’ll re-sign him beyond that, but the allure of the West coast and LeBron James might be too much to pass up in his upcoming free agency. It seems all small market teams are looking at the Paul George signing as evidence that it can be worth it to secure a big fish for the last year of a contract. Playoff P was basically a done deal going to LA but changed his mind after playing with Russel Westbrook for a season. He’s now gone as far as buying a house in Toronto; however, you would think that Kawhi would need to see some success before he entertains the idea of staying in the North long term…which brings us to the question: who has the best shot of making it out of the East?

It’s impossible to disregard what the Boston Celtics did this year. Under the tutelage and system of Brad Stevens, a team of inexperienced children brimming with raw talent took the King to a game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. If you add two bonafide all-stars named Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the mix, it’s not hard to see them in the NBA finals next June. You can argue that Philadelphia is on the upswing and is a force to be reckoned with in much of the same way that Boston is, but personally I’ll give the edge to team with Stevens and two of the returning top-tier talents in the league.

So where does that leave Toronto? The players proved last year that they are willing to buy-in to a new system if it brings them success, but will new coach Nick Nurse be up to the challenge? Coaching positions are as volatile as they’ve ever been in the NBA these days and if the Raptors go out early in the 2019 playoffs and need to do something to prove to Kawhi they’re still moving forward, I for one wouldn’t feel that comfortable if I was the coach. The other aspect to this is his physical health. Without diving into the details of the Kawhi drama, the Raps need to know if the main reason he wasn’t playing was because of his injury or the deteriorated relationship between him and his team. Oddly enough, Toronto fans are probably hoping for the latter.

With all of this swirling around it looks like we’ll have yet another entertaining off-season. What’s most exciting is that the Basketbrawlers may witness the newest Raptor playing against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers in Vancouver during the annual pre-season match-up. Be sure to stay tuned for any other news that comes up between now and then as well.