The struggling Cleveland Cavaliers were the most active team at the trade deadline this past week. Out went Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat), Isaiah Thomas (Los Angeles Lakers), Jae Crowder (Utah Jazz) and Derrick Rose (free agent), seemingly all the people they acquired this offseason. In came Rodney Hood, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson, three young energetic players and one wily veteran.
In other NBA trade deadline news, Elfrid Payton was traded to the Phoenix Suns for a second-round pick. Emmanuel Mudiay (New York Knicks), Doug McDermott (Dallas Mavericks) and Devin Harris (Denver Nuggets) were traded for each other in a three-team deal.
As always, we’ll look at the Power Six rankings, Game of the Week, Playoff Picture, Stat of the Week, Rookie Watch and MVP Update in this edition of NBA Weekly.
1. Golden State Warriors. Last week: 1st.
Still the best team, with the best record, in the league. The Houston Rockets (0.5 games behind) are getting close though.
2. Houston Rockets. Last week: 2nd.
Right behind the Warriors, on an eight-game winning streak and have the best point differential (+8.5) in the NBA.
3. Toronto Raptors. Last week: 4th.
At last! The Raptors have taken control of the Eastern Conference, have the second best point differential (+8.3) in the NBA and are on a five-game winning streak.
4. Boston Celtics. Last week: 3rd.
Lowest the Celtics have dropped since the first edition of NBA Weekly. Only 0.5 games behind the Raptors, so they could quickly reclaim their spot as the top dog in the East.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers. Last week: Unranked.
Make their way back into the Power Six after their drubbing of the Celtics on Sunday night. As much as they have been struggling, they’re 6-4 in their last 10 while the Timberwolves (who’s spot they took) are 4-6.
6. San Antonio Spurs. Last week: 5th.
Have been a mainstay on the Power Six albeit usually slotted in the fifth or sixth spot. Cleveland jumped them because they have LeBron James and the Spurs don’t have Kawhi Leonard. Still the common theme is they have the best coach in the NBA and, with that, a chance to beat anyone.
Dropped from rankings: Minnesota Timberwolves.
Game of the Week
The new-look Cavaliers travel to Energy Arena to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. on TNT. It’ll be another challenge for LeBron and his new squad as the Thunder currently hold the fifth seed in the loaded Western Conference. The Thunder have three stars while the Cavs only have one with Kevin Love sidelined. Cleveland is 13-15 on the road while Oklahoma City is 20-9 at home. It would be huge for the Cavs to improve their subpar road record as they try to right the ship and gain chemistry after the deadline deals.
- Toronto Raptors
- Boston Celtics (0.5 GB)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (6 GB)
- Washington Wizards (7.5 GB)
- Milwaukee Bucks (8 GB)
- Indiana Pacers (8 GB)
- Miami Heat (9.5 GB)
- Philadelphia 76ers (10 GB)
In the hunt: Detroit Pistons (12 GB), Charlotte Hornets (16.5 GB).
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets (0.5 GB)
- San Antonio Spurs (8.5 GB)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (9.5 GB)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (11.5 GB)
- Portland Trail Blazers (12.5 GB)
- Denver Nuggets (13 GB)
- New Orleans Pelicans (13.5 GB)
In the hunt: Los Angeles Clippers (14 GB), Utah Jazz (15 GB).
Stat of the Week: Scoring Leaders
- James Harden, HOU, 31.3
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL, 27.9
- Stephen Curry, GS, 26.9
- Anthony Davis, NO, 26.9
- LeBron James, CLE, 26.3
Rookie Watch: John Collins
The Atlanta Hawks selected the former Wake Forest Deamon Deacon with the 19th pick of the 2017 NBA draft. The 6-foot-10 power forward has played in 51 games this season, starting four. He’s averaging 22.2 minutes per game. He’s averaging 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 blocks and 0.6 steals per game on 58.5 percent shooting from the field. He’ll be playing on the United States team in the Rising Stars game in this weekend’s All-Star festivities.
- James Harden
- Stephen Curry
- LeBron James
- DeMar DeRozan
- Kyrie Irving
Up next: All-Star Weekend.