Sport NBA Power Rankings: Nets jump up to top as numerous top teams stumble
NBA Rookie Rankings: Anthony Edwards continues impressive scoring, Malachi Flynn proves himself with Raptors
We're reaching the final month of the season and rookies are continuing to developNow moving on to this week's rookie rankings. These rankings will reflect a rookie's performance on a week-to-week basis only, not the collective season, so these aren't Rookie of the Year standings. With that straightened out, here is a look at the top rookies this week.
Nobody seems to want the top spot in our NBA Power Rankings — put a team there, they seem to lose 3-of-4. It’s a curse. With players out due to injuries and rest, everyone at the top keeps stumbling and losing games, but the Nets move up with a couple of big wins in the past week.
1. Nets (42-20, Last Week No. 7). Steve Nash has a legitimate Coach of the Year case: His team is 42-20 and in first place in the East, with a +4.5 net rating and the best offense in the NBA. All that despite injuries forcing constant lineup adjustments and Nash having to reach deep into his bench (, , and have played just seven games together). Nash’s calm and cool style is exactly what the Nets needed in a coach’s demeanor. Durant stepped back on the court after his thigh contusion and dropped 33 on a good Suns team, looking like he never missed a step. His versatility makes the Nets’ offense unstoppable.
NHL Power Rankings: Bruins making post-deadline push, Lightning continue to slide
The Bruins are looking like a different team on the other side of the trade deadlineFor a while, it was the Lightning and everyone else. But, as we've highlighted over the past couple weeks, the Colorado Avalanche have emerged as the best team in the NHL. That much is borderline inarguable given the way that they've played over the last month. They remain in the top spot of our Power Rankings this week despite a lack of activity on the schedule in recent days.
2. Suns (43-18 LW 4). Phoenix went an impressive 3-2 on a tough East Coast road trip and now sits just one game back of stumbling Utah for the best record in the West (and the NBA). Not that coming home means the schedule gets easier, next up for the Suns are the Clippers (Wednesday) and then the Jazz on Friday. Ifand company are going to earn the top seed in the West — and put some fear in other West teams heading into the playoffs — they need to take at least one, if not both, of those games.
3. Clippers (43-20, LW 2). With(sore right foot), (fractured left hand), and (back) all out of the lineup, one could expect the Clippers to stumble a little. One would be wrong. Los Angeles is 6-2 over the past couple of weeks with a +7 net rating and a top-10 offense and defense despite the injuries. and Terrance Mann have earned minutes even when Beverley returns and the lineups tighten up for the postseason, and it will be tough to take out of the starting lineup even when Ibaka returns (the Clippers are keeping around for the postseason, too).
Expedition hauls tons of plastic out of remote Hawaii atolls
HONOLULU (AP) — A crew returned from the northernmost islands in the Hawaiian archipelago this week with a boatload of marine plastic and abandoned fishing nets that threaten to entangle endangered Hawaiian monk seals and other animals on the uninhabited beaches stretching more than 1,300 miles north of Honolulu. The cleanup effort in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument lasted three weeks and the crew picked up more than 47 tons (43 metric tons) of "ghost nets" and other marine plastics such as buoys, crates, bottle caps and cigarette lighters from the shores of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.The monument, the largest protected marine reserve in the U.S.
4. Jazz (44-17, LW 3). The Jazz are three-point bombers — they take more threes a game than any team in NBA history (43.5) and hit 38.8% of them (fourth highest team percentage in the league this season). But the Jazz offense is more than that. John Schuhmann at NBA.com noted in a Tweet the Jazz still win 60.9% of games when shooting below league average from three (worse than 36.7%); Utah is 14-9 in those games, best in the NBA. Utah fans are freaking out a little after two ugly losses to the Timberwolves, but a couple of losses in the dog days of the season and without are no cause for panic. It happens.
Was randomly curious about this, but didn't use it in Power Rankings – Team's record when it shoots the league average or better from 3 vs. when it doesn't.
The Warriors have the biggest differential.
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann)
Suns vs. Nets odds, line, spread: 2021 NBA picks, April 25 predictions from model on 96-60 roll
SportsLine's Projection Model simulated Nets vs. Suns 10,000 timesApr 9, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA referee Brent Barnaky (36) makes a call in the second quarter of a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
5. Nuggets (40-21 LW 5). Withand out — and now joining them in street clothes — a lot more has fallen on and , and so far they have been up to the task. Both play well off . There was some head-scratching among fans when the Nuggets signed Campazzo, but it has proven to be both a good and necessary pickup in a season where every team has battled injuries. The Nuggets are 6-1 since the Murray injury.
6. Bucks (38-23, LW 6). If Milwaukee is going to make a push for the No. 1 seed in the East, it will need to take both games from Brooklyn in a set that starts Sunday. Then again, the Bucks took two games from the 76ers in the past week, but surrounded that with losses to the Grizzlies, Suns, and Hawks — the Bucks can’t let up against other teams and get that top seed.has started to find a groove for the Bucks off the bench and it showed with a 23-point game against Philly — Milwaukee could use more of that.
7. 76ers (40-21 LW 1). The Sixers were losers of four in a row — including two to Milwaukee — before righting the ship against tanking Oklahoma City. Be careful reading too much into those four losses;missed all four games, two, and one — this is not peak 76ers. Watch this team and the big playoff question remains: When Joel Embiid gets doubled, can the rest of the 76ers make them pay? Embiid has been MVP-level this season, but the Sixers have been inconsistent when Embiid has been limited, and that will be opponents’ postseason focus.
Steve Kerr comments on viral video of Klay Thompson
Combining the injuries with the difficulties of the pandemic, and the return of the fans, was probably enough to put Thompson in a tough spot emotionally. Even though he hasn’t been playing, he has still been very involved with the Warriors.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily.
8. Knicks (34-28, LW 11). Over their last 10 games — the nine-game winning streak plus the loss to the Suns that ended it — the Knicks have the second-best offense in the NBA, with an offensive rating of 120.1 (using Cleaning the Glass’ numbers, which filter out garbage time). That’s a huge leap for an offense that has been just good enough much of the season.is the hub of that attack, but and have been creating and hitting big shots as things come together. New York sits as the four seed in the East, but a brutal six-game West Coast road swing starts on Sunday and includes Denver, Phoenix, and both Los Angeles teams. Holding on to the four seed through that will be a challenge.
9. Mavericks (34-27, LW 14). Dallas sweeping a two-game set against the Lakers and winning 4-of-5 overall has moved them within striking distance of Los Angeles — two games back as of this writing — for the five seed in the West. Dallas has one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league, adding to the hope they could climb another spot in the standings in the final 10 games.remains out with his ankle injury, but is racking up triple-doubles — and technical fouls. Doncic has 13 technicals on the season, just three short of triggering an automatic one-game suspension.
Anthony Davis sends warning to NBA ahead of playoffs
The Lakers are still the team to beat. It was impossible to judge them during a span in which Davis sat out 30 games, and now LeBron James is sidelined with an ankle injury. L.A. has a losing record since LeBron went down on March 20.Assuming they are healthy, the Lakers could be even better off this year than they were in last year’s playoffs. They have added Andre Drummond for front-court depth, which should take pressure off Davis.Davis admitted on Saturday that the Lakers are struggling with a specific issue, but that should work itself out if they get everyone back and healthy.
10. Lakers (36-25, LW 8). is back — he had 18 points, eight rebounds, and hit some key shots against the Magic — and the buzz is will join him soon. Los Angeles needs LeBron’s return as the hub of the offense because its elite defense has struggled of late — in the last six games, the Lakers have a defensive rating that is 24th in the league and 8.7 per 100 worse than their season average. Part of the struggle is teams have been shooting much better from three against the Lakers of late (something that can fluctuate randomly during the season). It’s likely a fluke, but the Lakers need their defense back, too.
11. Hawks (34-28 LW 10). Atlanta has gone 2-1 so far withsidelined due to an ankle sprain, but they will need to get by a while longer (most players with a Grade 2 sprain miss nearly three weeks and eight games). has helped carry the load with Young sidelined and has been red hot in April: 21.9 points, 4.5 rebonds and 4.3 assists a game, shooting 48.5% from three and with a 63.3 true shooting percentage.
12. Celtics (32-30, LW 9). They won 7-of-8 including beating the Suns,looked healthy and finally in a groove, and Boston was starting to resemble the dangerous playoff team they have been on paper — and then Boston lost games to Charlotte and tanking Oklahoma City (which had lost 14 in a row before beating the Celtics). This team remains an enigma. Boston was without three starters ( , Kemba Walker, and ), but the loss shows how little Brad Stevens can trust his bench. More concerning is how often this team just comes out flat and uninspired (don’t throw that all at Brad Stevens, the players are professionals getting well paid, he shouldn’t need to use college rah-rah speeches to fire them up).
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 7, 2021
Players in the COVID protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Anaheim – TBA
13. Grizzlies (31-29 LW 12). Memphis took both games of a two-game set against Portland, leaving the Grizzlies just one game out of the seven seed in the West. After those wins,said the Grizzlies don’t get the respect they have earned this season. He’s not wrong. The Grizzlies are two games above .500, playing some of their best basketball of the season as they get healthy ( is finding his legs), and only two guys in their rotation are older than age 25. This is a young team on the rise and one that should be favorited to advance out of the play-in games to the playoffs proper.
14. Warriors (31-31, LW 16). Golden State may have been the hottest team in the NBA — at least until Dallas thrashed it on Tuesday night. Before the 30-point loss to the Mavs, the Warriors had gone 8-3 in their previous 11 with a top-five offense and defense during that stretch and a +9.9 net rating (second in the NBA, stats via Cleaning the Glass). Not that it mattered much. All those wins did not move the Warriors up the standings, they still sit as the 10 seed headed to the play-in games, but they have some security with the Pelicans 3.5 games back.
15. Spurs (31-29, LW 17). The Spurs have won 5-of-6 and most of the credit for that run goes to the team’s defense, which is top five in the league over that stretch.is rightfully going to get some Defensive Player of the Year consideration (he’s not going to win it, but he could end up on some ballots). It’s not going to be easy for San Antonio to hold on to the nine seed in the West over the final dozen games — it has the toughest remaining schedule in the league (including two each against Utah and Phoenix).
16. Heat (32-30 LW 15). Miami’s inconsistency this season can be tied to this: Whenis on the court, the Heat outscore opponents by 4.2 per 100 possessions, when he is sitting they get outscored by 5.9 — a 10.1 per 100 swing. To take it a step further, Miami is +3.5 when Butler and are both on the court, but -10.8 if both sit — the Heat role players have not stepped up this season like they did in the bubble. Miami has won 4-of-6 and needs to make a push to earn the six seed in the East (they are tied for it with Boston right now) and avoid the play-in games.
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 8, 2021
Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Calgary – TBA
17. Trail Blazers (33-28, LW 13). Portland had been one of the “luckier” teams in the league this season, outperforming their point differential and terrible defense thanks tobeing the league’s best clutch player. That has caught up with Portland of late; it had lost 7-of-8 before a win against the Pacers Tuesday stopped the bleeding. But things don’t get easier with the next five on the road, and this week Memphis, Brooklyn, and Boston are on the docket. Portland has slid back into the play-in games and has some tough roster-building questions to answer heading into the offseason.
18. Wizards (27-34 LW 20). Despite an overtime loss to the Spurs to snap an eight-game winning streak, the Wizards have been on a roll and look like a play-in team in the East. One key has been a thrown-together three guard lineup with, , and — whether that group works long-term or in a playoff series is up for debate, but it has worked now. The other thing that is working is at center, he’s played in a dozen games since coming over from Chicago at the trade deadline and has fit well with Westbrook — Washington is 10-2 with Gafford in the lineup.
19. Pacers (29-32, LW 19). With, , and all out injured, the breakout star keeping the Pacers in the play-in games is… ? Yes, Oshae Brissett. The Pacers picked up wins last week against a soft part of the schedule and Brissett had 23 points and 12 rebounds against the Thunder, then 11 and 11 against the Pistons, plus he’s playing good defense. Brissett is a ball of energy out there. With a three-game cushion over 11-seed Chicago, the Pacers seem destined for the play-in games.
20. Hornets (30-31, LW 18). James Borego decided to shake things up and go small, sittinglast week and putting in at center — and it worked with wins against Cleveland and enigmatic Boston. Combine that with nearing a return from his wrist injury, and showing he can hit threes and not just dunk, and Charlotte looks like a team that will hold on to its play-in spot and is a threat to advance to the playoffs proper out of those games.
21. Raptors (26-36, LW 21). Finally almost healthy, withproviding great energy and glue at the center spot, Toronto has won 5-of-7. That’s the good news. The bad news is the Raptors are 1.5 games back of a hot Wizards team for the final play-in slot and Toronto has the hardest remaining schedule of any team in the East. It’s hard to imagine the Raptors making up that ground and getting into the play-in games. Then comes the offseason and some hard /roster building questions (not to mention the Masai Ujiri decision).
22. Pelicans (27-34, LW 23). For the Pelicans to make up 3.5 games on the Warriors with 10 to play, a lot of things have to go right — starting with sweeping the two-game set against Golden State that starts Monday. Before that, the Pelicans face the Nuggets, Thunder, and Timberwolves and need to keep getting some stops — the Pelicans defense has been better of late, top 10 in the league over the last seven games. But the team won just two of those. David Griffin has work to do this offseason: If New Orleans keeps and together, what kind of defense can they build around the duo that will be at least average (and let what should be an elite offense win games).
23. Bulls (26-34, LW 22). Chicago has been able to go 4-3 without due to league health and safety protocols, but that has left them a game back of a red-hot Wizards team for the final play-in spot, and the Bulls have a much tougher remaining schedule (including two against both the Nets and Bucks). and have had strong games of late for Chicago, but what Bulls fans need to watch is the development of — his progress into hopefully more than simply a nice starter is critical if Chicago is going to be more than a bottom-four of the playoff picture team in the future.
24. Kings (25-36, LW 24). Sacramento will once again finish with a below .500 record, the 15th consecutive year they have finished below even and out of the playoff mix (the last time the Kings finished above .500, Rick Adelman was the coach). That ties the NBA record for longest stretch missing the postseason (with the Donald Sterling Clippers). Sacramento will be without De’Aaron Fox for at least another week while he is in the league’s health and safety protocols, but a few more losses to help the Kings’ lottery odds is not the worst thing.
25. Timberwolves (19-44, LW 26). In the 13 games since D’Angelo Russell returned from knee surgery, the Timberwolves are 7-6 with the 11th best offense in the NBA (but a still dreadful second-to-last defense). Russell is scoring 20 points a game since his return and shooting 44.7% from three. Their record would be even better if they could play the Jazz every night. This is a lot more like what Minnesota expected heading into the season and something to build on going into next season.
26. Pistons (18-43 LW 25). It’s far, far too early to figure out what kind of playerwill develop into, but the rookie point guard is showing flashes since his return on April 3 from knee surgery. His shot has a long way to go, but Hayes has averaged six assists a game over his last four. is averaging 17 points a game with a league-average 56.3 true shooting percentage (and 39.3% from three) over that time. He may have been a smart roll of the dice by the Pistons front office.
27. Cavaliers (21-40, LW 27). Among the few bright spots for the Cavaliers this season has been the development ofin his second season — he is averaging 20.8 points and 7.5 assists a game in April with a 60.2 true shooting percentage. After a brutal rookie season, he has been solid to good this season — and he is just 21. Coach JB Bickerstaff said he wants Garland to take more charge of the offense and double the number of threes he takes, that seems like a good next step for the young guard and the Cavaliers.
28. Magic (18-43, LW 28). Let’s let coach Steve Clifford sum up the Magic of late, after last Thursday’s loss to the Pelicans: “We had guys out there worrying about numbers who actually on the stat sheet look okay and were terrible. Terrible. Not bad, terrible. This whole thing is about getting better and making progress, and not about a guy that made one exciting play and was awful the rest of the game.”
29. Rockets (15-47, LW 29). The basketball gods have not smiled on Houston this season, and the latest news isis done for the season with a hamstring strain. Wall started out the season fast and averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists a game overall, but as the grind of the season caught up with him, the quality of his play dropped. Wall joins fellow Rockets , , , , and as being out due to injuries.
30. Thunder (21-41, LW 30). Oklahoma City has some players that will be part of the future there: for sure, , maybe , and . Heading into the draft — where OKC currently has a 44.3% chance of landing in the top five — the Thunder need to take the most talented, highest ceiling player on the board and not worry about position. No “we don’t need a ball handler like because we have Shai” stuff, that’s how you end up passing on Luka because you have . Talent will fit together; the Thunder just need to stockpile it. Also, a nice win against Boston on Tuesday, that one shook Celtics fans.
originally appeared on
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 8, 2021 .
Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Calgary – TBA