February 8, 2015 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s Top 8 Midseason NBA Power Rankings
The Bulls are the best team in the East (when healthy), but with a solid starting 5 and a good bench they are a problem for any team in the East without consistency. Coach Thibodeau is one of the best in the league and makes sure his team plays solid defense and is ready to play any given night. Matching up offensive PF Pau Gasol with one of the best defensive centers in Joakim Noah has been one of the best tandems this year; however their health is the key as both have missed games. Not to mention, Jimmy Butler is having a great season leading this team from the shooting guard position. PG Derrick Rose has been inconsistent, but scoring well as of late; they just need him to stay healthy.
The Raptors are another team that has had some injuries this season, but they are proving why spending money to keep their team together was a great idea. PG Kyle Lowry continues to impress with consistent play and big games as one of the better PGs in the league. SG Demar Derozan was having a great season before getting injured, but he has returned and the team will continue to get better. Bringing in SG Lou Williams has been a great move as he and backup PG Greivis Vasquez have formed a great guard duo off the bench. The Raptors may have the best guard tandem in the league when healthy. PFs Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson complement each other well and both can be x-factors at times. SF Terrance Ross and C Jonas Valanciunas have shown flashes of their potential at time, but their continued growth will be the key to this season.
The Wizards are another team with a solid starting 5 and a good bench led by one of the best PGs in the game in John Wall who continues to grow into his leadership position on this team. SG Bradley Beal has worked his way through injury and should continue to grow next to Wall to make this team better. SF Paul Pierce has provided good veteran leadership and has proven that he can still play. C Marcin Gortat continues to earn his new contract and show his value to the young Wizards. SF Otto Porter has shown some flashes and should take away some of Pierce’s minutes eventually. PF/C Kris Humphries has provided solid depth behind Gortat and Nene proving to be a solid addition. This team should continue to gel and the younger pieces should continue to grow, but staying healthy and hungry late in the season will be the key.
The Hawks continue to win through good coaching and team basketball as they also have a solid starting 5 and a solid bench, but they have no real star player; maybe C Al Horford. Horford has returned from injury and has been a solid inside presence providing solid play inside the paint on both sides of the ball showing that he is still talented big man. PF Paul Milsap continues to impress showing his solid inside/outside game and solid all-around play as he fills up the stat sheet. PG Jeff Teague continues to lead the way with a nice scoring touch and solid passing with a good speed and quickness as one of the most underrated PGs in the league. SG Kyle Kover is having a career year, so far, and he has been able to prove that he has improved on his offensive game by not relying on the 3 so much; making him even more efficient. SF DeMarre Carroll has shown improvement on the offensive end this season and continues to provide solid perimeter defense. Bringing in SG/SF Thabo Sefolosha provided them with another solid perimeter defender. The Hawks are a solid team, but they will be ultimately judges by how they fair against the teams that are lead by “Stars”.
The Cavs have turned out to be a harder experiment in the chemistry department despite adding star SF LeBron James and star PF Kevin Love. However, they do have a 1st year coach in David Blatt who has no NBA experience, but they will right the ship because the talent is there. James continues to be himself, but has scored less this season as he noticed being more of a facilitator will help his teammates. Love has not really found his place on offense, but after the recent trades his role should become clearer. PG Kyrie Irving continues to improve showing a great scoring touch and seems to be the main player to gel with LeBron which was the key to his signing. PF/C Tristan Thompson has shown great improvement at the center position providing solid rebounding and defense doing the dirty work. C Timofey Mozgov has provided a solid inside presence since joining them after the injury to C Anderson Varajeo. Bringing in SG J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert should help this team as Smith can provide offense on nights that it is lacking and Shumpert can provide the perimeter defense that this team needs. Their contributions will be the key to this team finding consistency and playing winning basketball.
Coach Jason Kidd has this team playing at a high level getting the most out of the PGs on the roster and making good roster adjustments to give his team the best chance to win. PG Brandon Knight continues to lead this team to wins scoring, passing, and rebounding as you can really see that Coach Kidd has taken under the wing. SG O.J. Mayo has shown a great ability to contribute whether starting or coming off the bench and has been a key contributor to this team. The loss of #2 pick SF/PF Jabari Parker was a big blow as he was a double-double machine who seemed headed for the Rookie of the Year Award as he would surely continue get even better. SF/PF Giannis Antetokounmpo “The Greek Freak” has been another player who has been solid starting or off the bench and has really improved his passing and rebounding to go along with his athletic dunks. Parker and the Greek Freak were just beginning to play off each other before Parker had gotten injured, but they should be a solid forward tandem next year. PF/C John Henson continues to improve as a solid defender and rebounder who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work and playing well off the ball. PG Kendall Marshall has been a good addition providing solid passing and ball movement off the bench playing next to Mayo or combo guard Jerryd Bayless. The young Bucks just need to continue to grow and continue playing as a team which should lead them to the playoffs. The return of C Larry Sanders could really help this team as he was having a good season before injury.
The Heat haven’t been the most consistent team in the league, but they have fared well without LeBron James. PF Chris Bosh has stepped up for his franchise player pay and has taken a strong leadership role with the team while playing even better as the 1st or 2nd option. SG Dwayne Wade continues to be in and out the lineup, but continues to play with his usual aggressive nature when he is on the floor, but they will definitely need him to stay healthy as the go to guy on the team. Free agent pickup SF Luol Deng has been a nice surprise as LeBron’s replacement, but he still needs to give them a little more and that should come as the season continues. The point guard play has been a good combination of Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers with both bringing the best out of each other for the starting spot; it has been reclaimed by Mario Chalmers. C Hassan Whiteside has been a great find and a double-double machine for the team; he could help this team continue to grow if he keeps it up. The Heat enough to be competitive and a championship winning coach so they will definitely make the playoffs, but how well they can do once they make it is the question. The even bigger question is if D-Wade will be healthy when they make it.
The Nets don’t have as good of a roster as they do on paper, but Coach Lionel Hollins has been able to get the best out of this team despite the injuries. PG Jarrett Jack has been a pleasant surprise this season taking over the starting job while being a good leader on the floor. SG Joe Johnson has bounced between the SG and SF spot, but continues to put up good scoring numbers and he is the go to scorer in the clutch. PF Kevin Garnett continues to be a tough defender and brings energy to the team while putting up good numbers. C Mason Plumlee has been a nice surprise with his continued growth and he has kept his spot in the lineup while Brook Lopez was out. Lopez continues to bring good scoring off the bench to show why he is one of the best offensive big men in the league; when healthy. SG/SF Bojan Bogdanovic has been a great find, but he needs to show more consistency; he is good offensively with good size. PG Deron Williams continues to be a shell of himself on the court, but his numbers are not bad off the bench. If he can get back to being D-Will this team could be a problem.