NBA Power Rankings: Magic 8-Ball Edition (December 26, 2012)

We’re looking into the Magic 8-Ball for this week’s NBA Power Rankings. Now that the season is one-third of the way complete, we’re going to ask a question and let the 8-Ball decide their fate.

We update our power rankings every Wednesday, so continue checking back for the latest version.

Previous week ranking is in parentheses. 8-Ball response in italics.

1. (2) Los Angeles Clippers (22-6) – Are the Clippers the best team in the league or just the hottest? Signs point to yes.

2. (1) Oklahoma City Thunder (21-6) – Will Russell Westbrook eclipse Kevin Durant as the best player on the Thunder? Don’t count on it.

3. (7) Miami Heat (19-6) – Will LeBron James win the MVP and lead the Heat to a second consecutive title? As I see it, yes.

4. (5) San Antonio Spurs (21-8) – Is coach Popovich a genius for resting Tim Duncan? Ask again later.

5. (4) Memphis Grizzlies (18-7) – Will frontcourt depth be their undoing? Most likely.

6. (3) New York Knicks (20-8) – Will Carmelo Anthony ever get the better of the Miami Heat and LeBron James? My sources say no.

7. (6) Golden State Warriors (18-10) – Can a team that gives up 100.2 points per game win the NBA title? Very doubtful.

8. (8) Atlanta Hawks (16-9) – Can the Hawks succeed with Josh Smith and Al Horford shooting under 60% from the free-throw line? Outlook not so good.

9. (9) Denver Nuggets (15-14) – Will the Nuggets ever play as well on the road as they do at home? Don’t count on it.

10. (10) Chicago Bulls (15-12) – Does a healthy Derrick Rose make the Bulls the best team in the East? Reply hazy, try again.

11. (13) Minnesota Timberwolves (13-12) – Can this team move up to the No. 4 seed in the West? Cannot predict now.

12. (15) Indiana Pacers (16-12) – Is this team better defensively without Danny Granger on the court? Very doubtful.

13. (16) Houston Rockets (15-12) – Has Jeremy Lin finally regained his mojo and will it result in a playoff spot? Better not tell you now.

14. (11) Milwaukee Bucks (14-12) – Can Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis both end up re-signing?  Don’t count on it.

15. (14) Utah Jazz (15-14) – Will Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors be leading this team in 2013-14? Yes – definitely.

16. (20) Los Angeles Lakers (14-14) – Does a healthy Laker team scare the crap out of the rest of the league? It is decidedly so.

17. (17) Boston Celtics (14-13) – Should they just blow it up and build around Rajon Rondo? Concentrate and ask again.

18. (12) Brooklyn Nets (14-13) – Is Deron Williams focus causing the Nets to struggle or is it a simple chemistry issue? Ask again later.

19. (18) Philadelphia 76ers (13-15) – Do they even care if Andrew Bynum comes back at this point? Signs point to yes.

20. (19) Orlando Magic (12-15) – At some point, the hocus pocus has to run out of steam and the Magic will come back to Earth, right? Most likely.

21. (22) Portland Trail Blazers (13-13)Damian Lillard is starting to look like Tyreke Evans in his rookie year. Is that a good thing? My reply is no.

22. (24) Toronto Raptors (9-19) – Should they be worried that Jonas Valanciunas and the defense have been a huge disappointment? You may rely on it.

23. (21) Dallas Mavericks (12-16) – Will the return of Dirk Nowitzki be enough to get this team back into the playoff race? Outlook good.

24. (23) Phoenix Suns (11-17) – Can the Suns improve enough to make the playoffs with the current roster? My reply is no.

25. (25) Sacramento Kings (9-18) – Does DeMarcus Cousins‘ one-game “indefinite” suspension make the Kings more of a joke? It is decidedly so.

26. (26) Detroit Pistons (9-21) – Will Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond lead the Pistons to the playoffs in 2013-14? Signs point to yes.

27. (28) Cleveland Cavaliers (6-23) – Will Anderson Varejao still be a member of the Cavs in February? Very doubtful.

28. (27) Charlotte Bobcats (7-20) – Could any single player on this team be considered a potential All-Star? My sources say no.

29. (29) New Orleans Hornets (5-22) – Will Eric Gordon turn this team back into a threat in the West? As I see it, yes.

30. (30) Washington Wizards (3-22) – Can John Wall single-handedly bring the Wizards back to respectability? Yes.

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HoopsHabit’s Regular Column Schedule:

Monday – NBA Awards Watch
Wednesday – NBA Power Rankings
Friday – NBA Stat Central
Sunday – Your NBA Fix Podcast

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