NBA Power Rankings: What You Missed Before The Super Bowl

CAPTION: Jan 31, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) waits for the call in the second half of the game against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Staples Center. Lakers won 106-73. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Are you one of those fans we heard so much about during the lockout, someone who doesn't even pay attention to the NBA until after the Super Bowl? Well, hey!, the Super Bowl is over. Luckily, we're here to catch you up on what's happened so far this season.

A familiar refrain during the darkest days of the NBA lockout was that no one in the country cared about this league until after the Super Bowl anyway, so who cares if games are missed?

Given that ratings are at record highs and attendance has been up in the early part of the season, we know this is be largely untrue ... just as we knew it to be largely untrue when it was being yelled from the rooftops.

But there's no question that some casual fans may be owing more attention to the NBA simply due to a lack of other sporting options. College basketball is in full swing, and tennis, golf and NASCAR are picking up, and hockey's prepping for the stretch run. But as the nation's No. 3 sport, this is now considered the NBA's time to take over (until we all succumb to March Madness, at least).

So in the event you haven't been paying attention until now, here's what you've missed this season in the form of our weekly SBNation.com NBA Power Rankings. Enjoy, and welcome back to the NBA.

Rank Team Record Last Week SB Nation Blog
1. Chicago Bulls 20-6 W: WAS, NY, MIL; L: PHI Blog-A-Bull
The Bulls have somehow been better than they were last year. Derrick Rose too has improved. This was not supposed to be possible! However, if there's a dark cloud on the horizon, it's that Chicago has already lost to Miami, the team that killed the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
2. Miami Heat 18-6 W: NO, PHI, TOR; L: MIL Peninsula Is Mightier
At times, the Miami of this year looks like it is from a completely different planet than the one which hosted the Heat last season. Other times, this team looks exactly the same: massively talented, overwhelmingly predictable. But Dwyane Wade has been injured a good chunk of the campaign, so we should see if things come together in a revolutionary style over the next couple of months.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder 18-5 W: DAL, MEM; L: LAC, SA Welcome To Loud City
The Thunder have been pretty incredible, and look like the clear favorite in the West, just as everyone predicted. Kevin Durant should finish top-three in MVP voting, James Harden's name might already be etched in the Sixth Man Trophy and Russell Westbrook is on his way to another All-NBA bid.
4. L.A. Clippers 14-7 W: OKC, UTA, WAS; L: DEN Clips Nation
Lob City got off to a slow start and, to be honest, aside from that one obliteration of Kendrick Perkins, the highlights haven't been jumping out of the TV. But ... Chris Paul has somehow overcome the team's Vinny Del Negro-ness in a few close games and looks like a legit title contender. Mo Williams lives!
5. Philadelphia 76ers 17-7 W: ORL, CHI, ATL; L: MIA Liberty Ballers
A few statistical Power Rankings have Philly on top, and for good reason: the Sixers have been excellent, with the league's top defense and a dope, balanced offense despite missing Spencer Hawes, who started the season brilliantly for Doug Collins' squad. Philadelphia has been the biggest surprise of this season to date, and it's more fun to watch them than it has been since A.I.'s heyday.
6. Denver Nuggets 15-9 W: LAC; L: MEM, LAL, POR Denver Stiffs
Speaking of fun ... the Nuggets often run a two-PG lineup, get up and down the court quickly (thanks to perhaps the league's fastest player in Ty Lawson) and score with amazing efficiency. Denver's even fun to watch in a blowout. That's a high hurdle to clear.
7. San Antonio Spurs 16-9 W: MEM, HOU, NO, OKC Pounding The Rock
The Spurs lost Manu Ginobili early, but have excelled lately thanks to continued production from rapidly aging Tim Duncan, regular brilliance from Tony Parker and a good bit of participation from an intriguing bench crew led by former UNC Tar Hell Danny Green. Because of Ginobili's absence, the Spurs don't look as powerful as they did during last season. But they'll be around in May.
8. Atlanta Hawks 16-8 W: TOR; L: MEM, PHI Peachtree Hoops
Atlanta has largely survived the loss of Al Horford -- he could return for the playoffs -- but looks to be a solid step below the East's top three teams. Josh Smith is having a brilliant defensive season, but has reverted to his old ways on offense (too many jumpers). Joe Johnson is quietly earning out that massive contract, and Ivan Johnson is an absolute cult hero.
9. Portland Trail Blazers 14-10 W: CHA, DEN; L: UTA, SAC Blazer's Edge
The past week was a perfect view into the Blazers' season to date: they are good enough to beat Charlotte and Denver in Portland by a combined 64 points, and just bad enough on the road to lose to both the Jazz and the Kings. LaMarcus Aldridge is a sure-bet All-Star, though, and the No. 4 seed in the West is within range. That'd get the Blazers a real opportunity to make it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
10. Orlando Magic 15-9 W: WAS, CLE, IND; L: PHI Orlando Pinstriped Post
The Dwight Howard saga continues, but fear not: it's been much, much quieter than the Carmelo Anthony ordeal was last season. You can actually get away with not thinking about it on most days ... for now. The trade deadline is March 15.
11. L.A. Lakers 14-10 W: CHA, DEN; L: UTA Silver Screen And Roll
Kobe Bryant is playing as well as he has since 2008, Andrew Bynum is the best center in the West and ... the supporting cast beyond Pau Gasol is so bad that the Lakers look as bad as they have in the Pau era. Metta World Peace and Derek Fisher are locked in a nightly struggle for saddest looking basketball player alive.
12. Indiana Pacers 16-7 W: NJ, MIN, DAL; L: ORL Indy Cornrows
Indiana has shot up the standings this season despite free agent acquisition David West playing pretty non-noteworthy ball, Danny Granger getting off to a tough shooting start and no one taking the point guard reins by force. (Darren Collison has them.) Roy Hibbert's been excellent, and could be in the All-Star Game. Paul George has been a revelation.
13. Dallas Mavericks 14-11 W: PHX; L: OKC, IND, CLE Mavs Moneyball
Dirk Nowitzki has looked like a shadow of the version we saw rampage through the playoffs last spring, and Dallas has slipped considerably as a result. But the front office is planning big things for the 2012 offseason, and the glow of the championship trophy is strong. So who cares, right?
14. Utah Jazz 13-9 W: POR, LAL; L: LAC, GSW SLC Dunk
If the Sixers are the biggest surprise of the season, the Jazz are a strong No. 2. Left for dead after a historic collapse in the back half of last season, Utah has stormed into the playoff chase thanks to reliable, powerful work from Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Whether the Jazz will look to unload veteran salary to open up time for the team's youth is now a complete mystery.
15. Boston Celtics 13-10 W: CLE, TOR, NY CelticsBlog
Boston looked like a house of horrors early this season, but then Paul Pierce returned to the lineup and the sun rose again. Then things got frightful again, but Rajon Rondo returned to the lineup and the sun rose again. Health is the key to Boston's playoff run.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves 12-12 W: HOU x 2, NJ; L: IND Canis Hoopus
While you were busy not paying attention to the NBA, Ricky Rubio arrived from Spain smelling like puppy breath and cinnamon, Kevin Love turned heel and Rick Adelman has gotten this otherwise atrocious roster to .500. Miracles are happening right before our eyes!
17. Houston Rockets 13-11 W: PHX; L: MIN x 2, SA The Dream Shake
Kyle Lowry was a monster to start the season, and Kevin Martin's scoring has come around. Samuel Dalembert proved to be a nice addition in the middle. But beyond that, all four of the 2009 lottery picks Houston has taken a flyer on over the past year have continued to bust.
18. Memphis Grizzlies 12-12 W: DEN, ATL; L: SA, OKC, BOS Straight Outta Vancouver
Memphis hoped to ride the wave of momentum for last year's thrilling postseason run into a safer position this season. But injuries to Darrell Arthur and Zach Randolph have left the Grizzlies' frontcourt anemic behind Marc Gasol -- Marreese Speights and Dante Cunningham are the depth chart -- and the bench play isn't quite there. Z-Bo should be back soon.
19. Milwaukee Bucks 10-13 W: DET, MIA; L: DET, CHI BrewHoop
Andrew Bogut is injured, unfortunately. Brandon Jennings is playing quite exceptionally right now. Stephen Jackson is not getting along with Scott Skiles. Stunners, all! The team is right in the mix for a playoff spot, thanks largely to the defense of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, whose return has gotten the Bucks back on track on that end.
20. New York Knicks 9-15 W: DET, NJ; L: CHI, BOS Posting And Toasting
A breakout performance from D-League call-up Jeremy Lin might have saved Mike D'Antoni's job over the weekend. And that is all you need to know about the 2011-12 New York Knicks.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers 9-13 W: DAL; L: BOS, ORL Fear The Sword
Kyrie Irving has been amazing, Anderson Varejao is every fan's trade machine subject (non-Dwight edition) and the Cavaliers' future is looking much, much brighter than it did a year ago. Thanks for the No. 1 pick, Clippers!
22. Phoenix Suns 9-14 W: NO, CHA; L: DAL, HOU Bright Side Of The Sun
The Suns have basically no shot at the playoffs, so the Steve Nash trade conversation will only heat up as the weeks wear on. Marcin Gortat, however, is a real keeper, and Michael Redd lives!
23. Sacramento Kings 8-15 W: POR, GSW; L: GSW Sactown Royalty
Paul Westphal tried to publicly show up perhaps his best player. Guess how that worked out? Since Keith Smart took over, DeMarcus Cousins has been a machine, and Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton have come around. This team could be on a four-game winning streak heading into its only national TV appearance on Thursday.
24. New Jersey Nets 8-17 W: DET; L: IND, MIN, NY NetsDaily
The Nets have been pretty awful, outside of a mini-resurgence by Deron Williams the last couple weeks, continued excellence on the boards for Kris Humphries and a surprising rookie start for now-injured scorer MarShon Brooks. Brook Lopez will be back in a few more weeks, but the bigger prize Nets fans are waiting for is Dwight Howard.
25. Golden State Warriors 8-13 W: SAC, UTA; L: SAC Golden State Of Mind
The Warriors have changed in one area under Mark Jackson: they are not nearly as fun to watch. Golden State's offense still cooks, but at a much slower pace. The defense is still horrid. Stephen Curry is still a walking injury concern. Nothing ever changes in this world.
26. Toronto Raptors 8-17 W: WAS; L: ATL, BOS, MIA Raptors HQ
I take that back! Dwane Casey has turned the Raptors into a defensive-minded bunch, anchored by (when healthy) a completely changed Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson. The problem: Bargnani hasn't been healthy, and the team's offense (good in the past) has gone completely off the rails.
27. Detroit Pistons 6-20 W: MIL, NO; L: MIL, NY, NJ Detroit Bad Boys
Greg Monroe looks like a sure thing, but Brandon Knight isn't there yet despite a nice trial by fire this season. Detroit desperately needs a few more high draft picks that pay out.
28. New Orleans Hornets 4-20 L: MIA, PHX, SA, DET At The Hive
Eric Gordon has played two games this season, and the Hornets this season are somehow worse than the Clippers were last year. An impressive feat for a team that made the playoffs last season!
29. Washington Wizards 4-20 L: CHI, ORL, TOR, LAC Bullets Forever
[This team is terrible.]
30. Charlotte Bobcats 3-21 L: LAL, POR, PHX Rufus On Fire
This team has lost 11 straight ... and that actually doesn't sound as bad as things actually are for Charlotte. The 'Cats will almost assuredly get to 15 straight losses by next week, and then go on the road for three games. Charlotte's rivaling the 2011 Cavs.
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.