NBA teams face 2 battles: their opponents and their injuries. It takes Iron Men and depth to survive the grind of 82 games. This week’s Fanalyst Rankings analyzes the games missed by the starters for the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
There are two sides to every NBA Power Ranking: the Fanalytical and the Fanatical. As a Miami HEAT blogger living on the east coast, MHI plays the fanalyst for the Eastern Conference. As a Denver Nuggets fan living west of the Mississippi River, Mrs. NBA plays the fan and provides the slander. The roles are reversed for the Western Conference.
1. Miami HEAT (55-14, prev. rank: 1)
MHI: HEAT starters have only missed 11 games this season but Dwyane Wade is currently out with a sore right knee. The HEAT will need Chris Bosh and Ray Allen to step up to keep their winning streak alive if Wade’s out this week @Magic, @Bulls, @Hornets and @Spurs. Expect the HEAT to win their 30th game in a row.
Mrs. NBA: Yada Yada Yada "Miami Heat wins 27th straight game" Yada Yada Yada
2. Indiana Pacers (43-27, prev. rank: 2)
MHI: Pacers starters have missed 75 games this season as Danny Granger struggled with knee problems and David West is bothered by a lower back sprain. Lance Stephenson’s replaced Granger’s production and Tyler Hansbrough’s racked up double-doubles replacing West, but the Pacers will struggle for a 2-2 split this week against the Hawks, @Rockets, @Mavs (back-to-back) and @Suns.
Mrs. NBA: Pacers still blow and will never prosper as long as LeBron is a member of the Miami Heat.
3. New York Knicks (42-26, prev. rank: 7)
MHI: Knicks starters have missed 73 games this season as Iman Shumpert recovered from a torn ACL, Carmelo Anthony dealt with knee problems, Raymond Felton broke a finger, the list is endless. If Tyson Chandler doesn’t come back from his back injury, the Knicks will go 1-3 this week with @Celtics, Grizzlies (back-to-back), Bobcats and Celtics on the schedule. They can split those games if Chandler plays.
Mrs. NBA: AARP Knicks, FTW!
4. Brooklyn Nets (41-29, prev. rank: 3)
MHI: Nets starters have missed 26 games this season, which is low considering the physical problems that Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have struggled with this season. The Nets starting backcourt will struggle for a 1-2 week on the road against the Blazers, Nuggets and Jazz (back-to-back).
Mrs. NBA: Holla at me when the Nets win a playoff series this postseason.
5. Atlanta Hawks (39-31, prev. rank: 4)
MHI: Hawks starters have missed 31 games this season and Devin Harris left Sunday’s game with a foot injury. With Lou Williams already out for the season with a torn ACL, the Hawks may need Deshawn Stevenson to fill-in to go 2-2 this week @Pacers, @Raptors, @Celtics and vs. Magic (back-to-back).
Mrs. NBA: Are there any Hawks fans that even read this ranking? More importantly, do they even care?
6. Chicago Bulls (38-31, prev. rank: 5)
MHI: Bulls starters have missed 107 games with Derrick Rose missing the entire season recovering from a torn ACL and Richard Hamilton missing a third of it with a bad back. No Rose means a 1-2 week for the Bulls with HEAT, @Mavs and Pistons (back-to-back) on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: Chicago just doesn't matter this season *thug shrug*
7. Boston Celtics (36-33, prev. rank: 5)
MHI: Celtics starters have missed 67 games with Avery Bradley missing the beginning of the season recovering from shoulder surgery and Rajon Rondo tearing his ACL shortly after Bradley returned. UPDATED: Celtics
Mrs. NBA: Jason Terry slays me...they can't beat Memphis, but Terry believes they can beat the Heat in a 7-game series? #BitchassnessNeverProspers
8. Milwaukee Bucks (34-35, prev. rank: 8)
MHI: Bucks starters have missed 37 games but their backcourt has made every start - that’s a gift and a curse. If Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis can make their shots this week, then the Bucks should go 2-1 with @Sixers, Lakers (back-to-back) and Thunder on the schedule.
Mrs. NBA: It's gonna be great when the Bucks are swept in round one.