by Andrew Fossett (@heyfossett)
This is a power ranking for the NNFBA (National Non-Finalist Basketball Association), updated weekly with all facts necessary to determine the hierarchy of a 28-team league that doesn’t include the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors.
The NNFBA held its first all-star game in New Orleans last night. The NNFBA East narrowly defeated NNFBA West by a score of 137-136 on a game winning dunk by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The event was a hit success, featuring a 3-on-3 lineups to start the game.
That’s right. When you subtract the point totals from all Warriors and Cavaliers, the East wins by one point. A more accurate result could be produced from eliminating scores assisted by those players, but that’s a lot of work.
The biggest news from yesterday was that Vlade Divac lied. The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans where he will join forces with Anthony Davis at least temporarily. It’s not a bad expirement for the Pelicans. Cousins has one more year on his contract, so there's enough time to see how Davis and Cousins work together. They'll be forming their own trio with point guard Jrue Holiday. A short sprint for the eighth seed in the west will allow the Pelicans test their updated roster in a series against the Warriors. The first round draft pick received by the Kings (along with Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, an Tyreke Evans) is top-three protected, which means New Orleans could keep it they get extremely lucky in the lottery or tank to improve their chances. Not that they would do such a thing.
In any case, the home stretch of the regular season just got more interesting. There’s bound to be a lot of news before Thursday’s trade deadline. If any move matches this one’s importance, let’s hope it doesn’t come from Cleveland so that the Eastern Conference playoffs can be slightly more than a formality.
Kevin Durant threw an alley-oop to Russell Westbrook and it made everyone happy. Still, it would have been hilarious if Westbrook had jumped in the air only to leave his arms hanging by his sides as the ball floated slowly past his angry face.
Monday, February 20th:
San Antonio Spurs (2-0) | 1-0 vs CLE | 1-0 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = -16
Memphis Grizzlies (3-2) | 1-1 vs CLE | 2-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = -1.2
Atlanta Hawks (1-1) | 1-0 vs CLE | 0-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 0.5
Milwaukee Bucks (1-3) | 1-2 vs CLE | 0-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 0.75
Chicago Bulls (2-1) | 2-0 vs CLE | 0-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 4.3 | Rajon Rondo’s tumultuous relationship with Fred Hoiberg was just the beginning. Right now, Hoiberg can’t decide who he wants to start at point guard for the Bulls. All he knows is that it can’t be Rondo. Health issues with Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler are the main contributors to the Bulls’ instability. Chicago simply doesn’t have enough to win games without one of those two on the floor. There’s no guarantee that this team will make the playoffs and things seem to be getting worse as the season progresses. Butler has been added to the list of star players who might get traded.
New Orleans Pelicans (1-4) | 1-1 vs CLE | 0-3 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 6
Denver Nuggets (1-3) | 0-1 vs CLE | 1-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 6.5
Houston Rockets (1-2) | 0-1 vs CLE | 1-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 6.7
Utah Jazz (1-3) | 1-1 vs CLE | 0-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 7.25
Sacramento Kings (2-3) | 1-1 vs CLE | 1-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 7.8
Detroit Pistons (1-3) | 1-1 vs CLE | 0-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 8.5
Portland Trail Blazers (1-5) | 1-1 vs CLE | 0-4 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 11.7
Miami Heat (1-2) | 0-1 vs CLE | 1-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 13
Oklahoma City Thunder (1-4) | 1-1 vs CLE| 0-3 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 14
Los Angeles Clippers (1-3) | 1-0 vs CLE | 0-3 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 14.2 | As has been mentioned before in these rankings, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have been taking turns being injured on a yearly basis. One specific problem these health issues cause is multiple changes in LA’s style of play before the postseason. Things got really ugly last year when Paul and Griffin both got injured in the playoffs and the Clippers got bounced by an upstart Portland team in the first round. LA should be foremost among the challengers of Golden State, but they can’t get there in this condition. They can only hope that when Paul returns in March, the time left in the year will be enough to close a significant gap.
Los Angeles Lakers (1-3) | 0-1 vs CLE | 1-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 14.5
Dallas Mavericks (1-3) | 1-1 vs CLE | 0-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 15.2
Indiana Pacers (1-4) | 1-2 vs CLE | 0-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 17.4
Philadelphia 76ers (0-2) | 0-2 vs CLE | AVG Margin of Defeat = 2.5
Toronto Raptors (0-5) | 0-3 vs CLE | 0-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 5.4
Washington Wizards (0-2) | 0-2 vs CLE | AVG Margin of Defeat = 8
Boston Celtics (0-3) | 0-2 vs CLE | 0-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 9.3
Charlotte Hornets (0-5) | 0-3 vs CLE | 0-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 11
Orlando Magic (0-2) | 0-1 vs CLE | 0-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 13
Brooklyn Nets (0-4) | 0-3 vs CLE | 0-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 13 | The primary function of this team is to serve as the New York affiliate for the Boston Celtics. Boston gets to swap picks with Brooklyn in the next draft, so the dismal state of the Nets is thrilling for fans of the Celtics. Just about every player on the Nets who isn’t Brook Lopez can get between 15 and 25 minutes of playing time per game. The team is simply trying to find out which free agent signings and recent draft picks are going to be a part of its distant future. The Nets have thoroughly unseated Philadelphia as the NBA’s laughingstock while in the process of locking down the number one overall pick for Boston as securely as possible. They’ve lost 14 in a row in a successful attempt to avoid winning 10 games before the All-Star break. If they get their way, Lopez won’t even be around for their game against the Warriors.
Phoenix Suns (0-5) | 0-2 vs CLE | 0-3 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 13.4
Minnesota Timberwolves (0-4) | 0-2 vs CLE | 0-2 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 14.2
New York Knicks (0-4) | 0-3 vs CLE | 0-1 vs GS | AVG Margin of Defeat = 20.2 | It’s pretty clear that all the offseason activity was for nothing. Derrick Rose has had exciting moments but he hasn’t been a good fit. No lead is safe for a team with this kind of horrible defense, of which Rose plays a particularly vulnerable part. If he and Carmelo Anthony aren’t scoring in bunches, usually the Knicks lose. Now, both players have been subject to trade rumors. The Knicks roster could look different before the All-Star break ends. If not, it should be entertaining to see this team play the Cavaliers on Thursday.
It could be said that eight misses makes me a poor picker. However, I think nine hits makes me a genius. In basketball, shooting over 50% is commendable. I deserve to be commended. Trades could mess up these picks, especially since all teams involved in this weeks match-ups are mentioned in rumors.
Cleveland Cavaliers versus:
@ Minnesota Timberwolves | Margin of Defeat = 5 (W)
Indiana Pacers | Margin of Defeat = 7 (W)
Golden State Warriors:
@ Denver Nuggets | Margin of Defeat = 10 (W)
Sacramento Kings | Margin of Defeat = 12 (L)
Overall Record: 9-8
New York Knicks | Margin of Defeat = 8
Chicago Bulls | Margin of Defeat = 6
Golden State Warriors versus:
Los Angeles Clippers | Margin of Defeat = 10
Brooklyn Nets | Margin of Defeat = 19