I cannot tell you how happy I am that football season is over. The only thing that can upstage the NBA now is Kanye West’s apparently still-yet-to-be-named new album, which is set to release before All-Star weekend. One week later, we get the trade deadline. Yes, it’s all happening.
While it will be extremely cold in Toronto, everything else has shaped up pretty nicely for the league’s annual showcase, and SI will be on-site all week to bring you coverage (read: editor Matt Dollinger and I will be taking tons of selfies on the flight in.)
Kobe Bryant will be sent off in some fashion, Tyronn Lue will awkwardly coach the East, DeMarcus Cousins will probably get asked a lot of questions about George Karl, and Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard will probably fight over who gets to guard who in the actual game. Defense might actually be played (emphasis on might). Drake will coach a basketball team. Drake might take off his Sting costume at halftime. And, perhaps most frighteningly, The Players’ Tribune publisher and photographer Kevin Durant will be teammates with members of the Golden State Warriors all weekend.
Here are this week’s Power Rankings. See everyone on the other side.
1. Golden State Warriors
RECORD: 46-4 (2–0)
The Warriors have now beaten all 27 teams they’ve played, with only the Hawks and Magic left to conquer.
2. San Antonio Spurs
RECORD: 43-8 (4-0)
It’s tough to quantify Tim Duncan’s value to this team, and now Manu Ginobili has joined him on the shelf. Still, the Spurs now have a chance to tinker with their rotations and give their newcomers a chance to embrace more prominent roles.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
RECORD: 38-14 (2–1)
The Thunder impressively rallied from 20 down to draw even with the Warriors in the final minutes. Despite letting things slip from there, they have the ability to hang with Golden state. That said, to have a chance against them in a seven-game series, some type of move is in order. Are you really rolling with Dion Waiters in the fourth?
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
RECORD: 36-14 (2–2)
There’s no denying the Cavaliers are the most talented team in the East, and they’re 6–3 since the coaching change, with Kevin Love the most notable beneficiary. That said, a reversion to iso-ball in a frustrating loss to the Hornets served as a reminder that their bad habits still linger.
5. Toronto Raptors
RECORD: 34-16 (2–1)
January/February’s very own have lost just thrice since 2016 began, and will have the luxury of an All-Star break spent at home after five games on the road. They’ve been the East’s best team, but a home date with the Cavs on Feb. 26 looms large right now given the 22-point blowout loss in Cleveland a month ago.
6. Los Angeles Clippers
RECORD: 34-17 (2–1)
Blake Griffin trade rumors continue to swirl, Austin Rivers has a broken hand too, and the Clippers continue on their bizarre ride of a season. Semi-related: is it just me or is it awkward that DeAndre Jordan is the only guy on those “Meet the Hoopers” ads that has never actually been an All-Star?
7. Boston Celtics
RECORD: 31-22 (4–0)
The Celtics have now won nine of 10 and vaulted into the upper echelon of the East standings, which now sort of puts them in a weird conundrum with the trade deadline nearing. This team was built for transactional flexibility, but in midst of its best run of the season, how much will the front office want to change things up?
8. Memphis Grizzlies
RECORD: 30-21 (2–1)
It’s been a while since the Grizzlies beat an impressive team, but a 12–3 record in the past month has brought back some of their old swagger. One concerning fact? Memphis’s net rating and point differential remains that of a slightly sub-.500 squad despite their extended run of positive results.
9. Atlanta Hawks
RECORD: 30-23 (3–1)
A strange, mystifying and horrendous stat: after losing to the Magic on a Nikola Vucevic buzzer beater, the Hawks are somehow 0–10 since the start of last season when a game-winning shot is attempted in the final second.