1. Lakers (9-4, last ranking: #4)-
The Lakers took advantage of slip-ups by the 76ers and the Nets, the Lakers slide into the top spot this week. Coleman Nee’s squad increased their winning streak to a modest three games; however, the more important stat was the win over the 76ers. Prior to their game win the Lakers, the 76ers were the only undefeated team in the league and the owner of the top spot in the power rankings for several weeks. Now that a chink in the 76ers’ armor has been revealed, the Lakers and their star-studded roster have taken advantage of the opportunity. And if Mike Rando, Steve Phelan, or Chris Nee have anything to say about it they will not give up the top spot any time soon. Their next two games this weekend are against the Sonics (4-9) and the Rockets (5-8).
2. 76ers (12-1, last ranking: #1)-
After their loss to the Lakers last weekend, the 76ers have now lost their number one ranking for the first time since Week 3. After losing the game, the level of frustration was clear among Sixers players who clearly knew they could play to a higher level than they did last Saturday. The reason the 76ers’ slide down the rankings is simple: Dave Driscoll. Driscoll, the Sixers’ star player and a notably intense athlete, will not stand idle and let his team continue to worsen. Keep an eye on them this weekend to see if they can rebound from their first loss of the season. They play the Celtics (8-5) and the Wizards (8-5).
3. Nets (11-2, last ranking: #2)-
The Nets also slipped up last weekend with their second loss of the season to an unimpressive Nuggets squad. Ever since the off-the-court injury to their star player Jimmy Smith Jr., the Nets have been consistently losing momentum. Without a healthy Smith in the lineup, the offensive capabilities of the Nets are severely limited. Prior to the injury, Smith accounted for most of the outside scoring for the Nets. Now they have to focus their game on points in the paint, putting extra stress on rookie big-man Nate Porack. Let’s see if the Nets can rebound with a strong weekend when they go up against the Wizards (8-5) and the Mavericks (4-9).
4. Celtics (8-5, last ranking: #5)-
After starting their season of slowly, the Celtics have come roaring back winning seven of their last eight games, including last weekend’s victories over the Knicks and the Wizards. Head coach Peter Drogan and assistant coach Pete Culhane have really motivated this team to succeed and it has really shown so far. Frontman and team leader Robbie Alessandro has taken the league by storm in the past few weeks, which is why they are now a team to be reckoned with and sitting at the four spot. Hopefully they can continue their league-wide dominance this weekend when they play the 76ers (12-1) and the Spurs (4-9).
5. Wizards (8-5, last ranking: #3)-
Probably the biggest disappointment last weekend was the Wizards, who dropped two games for the first time all season, losing to the Nuggets and the Celtics. The losses came in large part due to the absence of star players Drew Stanton and Zack Rogers from both games, both of whom account for the majority of their buckets. This has historically been on of the strongest squads all year, and two losses without their best players is not too dreadful; however, this is a bad time in the season to lose two games with the competition being so intense. Hopefully a return of their star players can save them from self-destruction this weekend when they play the 76ers (12-1) and the Nets (11-2).
6. Magic (5-8, last ranking: #8)-
The Magic snapped their five-loss skid last weekend when they defeated the Sonics on Sunday. This team has had its fair share of struggles this season, mostly due to the constant absence of one or more key players each game. Most recently, the Magic have been playing without star player Aidan Lancaster for the past few games, and it has really hurt them. That being said, the record of the Magic does not illustrate the true talent of the Magic. Look fir them for them to prove it when they play the Rockets (5-8) and the Nuggets (4-9) this weekend.
7. Nuggets (4-9, last ranking: #11)-
The Nuggets power back into the mix this week after their two wins last weekend over the Nets and the Wizards, two of the most feared teams in the League. Similar to the 76ers, the Nuggets are not a team headlined with superstars. Instead they are superstars by committee, sharing the ball and distributing the scoring effectively. That being said, this style of play has not really worked for them: they lost six straight games prior to last weekend. Their victories over the Nets and the Wizards do speak volumes for both the resiliency and heart of this team. It will be tested again this weekend when they play the Mavericks (4-9) and the Magic (5-8).
8. Spurs (4-9, last ranking: #10)-
The Spurs split games last weekend, with a win over the Magic and a loss to the Lakers. This team has some serious problems with consistency; however, they have some talent on this roster and can be a force to be reckoned with. Key player Mike Cabral leads is the center of this team, and the team goes as he goes. In order for the Spurs to do well, Cabral has to show up to start and then the Spurs have to focus on getting him the ball early and often. Let’s see if they will do this when they play the Knicks (4-9) and the Celtics (8-5) this weekend.
9. Mavericks (4-9, last ranking: #12)-
The Mavericks have turned it around now, they were able to string together some wins in the past few weeks. They now appear to be a stronger team, especially with star player Matt Cotter at the helm. They also have some size in the forms of Steve Thulin and Aidan Moore, giving them an advantage in rebounding. Their physical style of play has really been working, and they are now one of the hottest teams in the league. Look for them to make some more noise this weekend, as well.
10. Rockets (5-8, last ranking: #6)-
The Rockets have fallen to inconsistency again. losing their momentum after a few big wins a couple weeks ago. Frontman Brendan Donovan needs some help from his teammates in order for the Rockets to succeed. Maybe they can pick up some steam this weekend when they play the Magic (5-8).
11. Knicks (4-9, last ranking: #7)-
The Knicks have returned to the form of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, dropping both their games last weekend. Similar to the Rockets, the Knicks’ frontman Tom Demarais needs some help so his team can do well heading into the playoffs.
12. Sonics (4-9, last ranking: #9)-
Falling out of favor even more, the Sonics are this season’s biggest disapointment. Vocal head coach Carl Plaut has struggled again this year to put together wins despite the presence of stars like Bill Rockwood and Chris Collins.