Hello and welcome to SB Nation Arizona's look at Week 10 of the NBA Power Rankings. There haven't been any huge fluctuations in pole positioning, however - the league's best and worst have pretty much been defined and will remain static barring significant injuries. Oh wait, there was a significant injury. Zoinks!
The rampaging Dallas Mavericks just lost forward Caron Butler for the season following surgery for a ruptured right patellar tendon. Butler's not exactly a star player or anything these days, but he was a solid starter for the Mavs, averaging 15 points and 4.1 rebounds on the season. In his absence, the team is going to have to depend a lot more on aging Shawn Marion unless owner Mark Cuban does more of his crazy wheeling and dealing before the trade deadline, which he'll probably do.
Though the Mavs aren't struggling yet, a fellow Western Conference powerhouse team, the Los Angeles Lakers, is, having lost four of their last seven games. All four of those defeats were to potential playoff teams, but still. This probably doesn't mean much, though, because the Lakers suffer these tiny little swoons every year and end up in the Finals anyway. The Western road to the Larry O'Brien Trophy goes through L.A. regardless.
The most exciting part about knowing which teams are good and which teams are bad is that the NBA Trade Deadline is coming up on February 24! We'll get to cling to Twitter in exhaustive anticipation while the dregs of the league trade to the cream of the league in a furious power struggle for playoff positioning.
In local news, the Phoenix Suns are swiftly falling out of the playoff picture following their big trade. They've now lost nine of their last 12 games, including a late-game collapse against the terrible Sacramento Kings. Of course, the team's struggles have kicked the Steve Nash trade rumor mill back into action. Reportedly, the team really is considering it now. After years of wondering if Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire were going to be shipped off in February, Phoenicians now get to focus on Nash's new home.
The team is squarely in the bottom half of most power rankings and it's hard to see them breaking out of lottery territory any year soon. Kind of a depressing time to be a fan of sports in Arizona, as SB Nation Arizona's own Scott Howard laid out. Dennis Tarwood tried to talk us back from the ledge, but it was still depressing.
Enough moping. On to the rankings:
SBNation.com | NBA Power Rankings: Spurs On Record Pace; Knicks Fall To Bottom Feeder
The Spurs are working hard to fight off the surging Heat. Meanwhile, the New York Knicks land in the bottom half.
NBA.com | Quality wins put Spurs back on top
Right now, seven teams are holding opponents under a point per possession. And if efficiency continues to trend down, that number may increase. This week's No. 1 is actually the worst defense of that group of seven, but the Spurs are No. 1 offensively, coming off three big wins.
ESPN.com | NBA Basketball Power Rankings
Settling on a No. 1 doesn't get much easier than it was on the first Monday of 2011. The San Antonio Spurs -- just the fifth team in the past 25 seasons to start 29-4 or better, and sporting a four-game cushion already on their nearest pursuers in the West -- vaulted into the top spot of ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings after sandwiching impressive home victories over the Lakers and Oklahoma City around a road win in Dallas over the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavericks.
SI.com | Spurs ranked No. 1, Miami Heat take No. 2 in NBA Power Rankings
There shouldn't be too much debate about who the best team in basketball is right now. The Spurs own the NBA's best record (29-4) and spent the past week beating three of their more formidable Western Conference rivals. They are healthy, energized, experienced and harmonious.
ProBasketballTalk.com | NBA Power Rankings: Who said the Spurs were over the hill?
Our weekly NBA Power Rankings, where that Spurs/Celtics game Wednesday is looking like the game of the week.
DimeMag.com | Dime NBA Power Ranking: 2011 New Year’s Resolution Edition
Ranking the NBA from worst to first, along with 2011 New Year’s resolutions ...