The Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings – 5th Edition

First things first: I Poppa, freaks all the honeys. Dummies. Playboy bunnies. Those wanting money… Wait, give me one more chance.

For starters (can’t go the first things first route, unless of course, you want more Biggie lyrics) I’d be doing a huge disservice to you, and the process, if I didn’t lead the Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings by discussing the Fighting Hinkies. Sure, Bryan Colangelo deserves some credit, but not much – Sam Hinkie initiated the process, Colangelo just filled in the gaps (more on that here… kind of).

Moving on. Like most of the world, I haven’t payed much, if any, attention to the 76ers (or any team from Philadelphia for that matter). However, the last time there was this level of justifiable excitement surrounding the ‘6ers, the only semblance of a process was The Question, and The Answer – Allen Iverson.

Fast forward a decade, and there’s not only a process, but an answer to the question of why there’s so much buzz surrounding this 76ers squad – A 7-footer by the name of Joel Embiid.

Rightfully so.

The last time we saw the aforementioned Embiid, he put up 18 points, to go with 10 boards, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. Not a bad night in the office. Except for the part where the 18 points ended his streak of consecutive 20+ point games at 10 – one game short of the 76ers franchise record. Bet you’ll never guess who held the 76ers record for the most consecutive 20+ point games by a rookie?

Yep, you guessed it! You was right. Allen Iverson scored 20+ in 11 straight games in 1996. Not bad company, rook.

So, not only is Embiid already on a Hall of Fame pace (if you want to make that extremely flawed argument), but there’s also this cat named Ben Simmons who’s yet to see the floor, as well as, a gang of far less relevant items. Suffice it to say, it’s sunny in Philadelphia.

Anyway, there’s a point to this (and it’s not to salivate over the surprisingly not abysmal 76ers), so second things second…

The Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings – 5th Edition

*Note: The Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings factors in against the spread records. Records, ATS records, and Strength of Schedule courtesy of*

1. San Antonio Spurs (Last Rank: 1)

Record: 35-9 (2nd)

Record ATS: 26-17-1 (T-1st)

SOS: 4th

Raindrop. Drop top. Another edition of the Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings with the Spurs on the top top.

2. Houston Rockets (Last Rank: 2)

Record: 34-14 (3rd)

Record ATS: 29-19 (3rd)

SOS: 1st

After losing 2 straight for the 1st time this season, the Rockets have alternated wins and losses over the past week, and have gone 3-5 over their last 8 games (both straight up, and against the spread).

While a case could be made to drop them from the #2 spot, both Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon have missed time, and they’ve played the toughest schedule in the league. Then, there’s that part about no one else really deserving to move ahead of them.

3. Toronto Raptors (Last Rank: 3)

Record: 28-16 (6th)

Record ATS: 26-17-1 (T-1st)

SOS: 12th

The Raptors continue to be a .500 team since the calendar turned to 2017 (6-6), and they’ve lost 3 straight games to average (at best) teams: Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Phoenix. Thing is, like Houston, no team has played well enough to warrant dropping them, and they’re still tied with the Spurs for the NBA’s best record against the spread.

4. Boston Celtics (Last Rank: 4)

Record: 26-17 (8th)

Record ATS: 23-18-2 (7th)

SOS: 14th

On the surface, the two straight Ls to New York, and Portland are slightly eyebrow raising. But, nah. It happens. The Celts are 10-5 over the last month, and are still battling injuries. Oh, and no team has played well enough to warrant dropping them… This is starting to get depressing.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last Rank: 6)

Record: 26-19 (T-9th)

Record ATS: 24-20-1 (8th)

SOS: 5th

Like Houston, Toronto, and Boston the Thunder being this high just doesn’t feel right. OKC has gone 2-3 over their last 5, including blowout losses to the Clippers and Warriors, and are 37 Westbrook off-nights away from being a lottery team. But, yet again, who else is gonna go here?

6. Memphis Grizzlies (Last Rank: 5)

Record: 26-20 (11th)

Record ATS: 23-23 (T-16th)

SOS: 9th

I’m a fan of their alternate jerseys, designed to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m not a fan of their recent play. But, stop me if you haven’t heard this yet, there’s no one else to justify putting ahead of them.

7. Washington Wizards (Last Rank: 13)

Record: 24-20 (12th)

Record ATS: 25-19 (5th)

SOS: 28th

The Wizards have won 5 of 6, and covered the spread in all 6. They may just be the hottest team in the league right now, and are finally playing up to the level many expected coming into the season… They’ve also faced next to zero contenders.

In a completely unrelated, yet highly factual tangent, John Wall should be the starting PG for the Eastern Conference all-stars.

8. Golden State Warriors (Last Rank: 19)

Record: 38-7 (1st)

Record ATS: 21-23-1 (T-18th)

SOS: 8th

With only 7 losses on the season, the fact that they’ve gone 5-1 over their last 6, doesn’t come as a surprise. However, they were the previous owners of the 2nd worst record ATS, so the 5-1 clip against the spread is surprising to say the least.

Having played one of the tougher stretches of their season, the Dubs made it a point to establish their dominance, and mirking the Rockets, Cavs, and Thunder by an average of 24 points did just that.

9. Atlanta Hawks (Last Rank: 9)

Record: 26-19 (T-9th)

Record ATS: 23-22 (T-12th)

SOS: 26th

While the Hawks have won 11 of their last 14 games, only one of those victories came against a team with a winning record – San Antonio. They’ve played a weak schedule, and taken care of the teams they were supposed to. Congratulations.

10. Phoenix Suns (Last Rank: 14)

Record: 15-29 (T-26th)

Record ATS: 23-20-1 (9th)

SOS: 2nd

The Suns have covered the spread in 4 of 5 games, and won 3 of 5 straight up. Devin Booker has quietly put together 9 straight 20+ point games, and is tied with Kevin Love and Jabari Parker for 27th in scoring – 20.5 ppg. Kentucky has produced entirely too many ballers, and not enough National Championships… That’s a conversation for another time.

11. Charlotte Hornets (Last Rank: 12)

Record: 23-22 (13th)

Record ATS: 21-23-1 (T-18th)

SOS: 22nd

Over their last 6 games, the Hornets have covered the spread just twice. One of those covers came against a team with a winning record – Toronto (who just so happened to be playing their 3rd road game in 4 nights), and the other came against the slumping Trailblazers. Point being, Charlotte has about five impressive victories… On the season.

Honestly, 5 might just be a stretch. It’s like that Spades hand, that could be nice, but about half of the books depend solely on how the cards fall. We’ll call it three, and a few possibles. Sometimes that Queen of Clubs walks.

12. Utah Jazz (Last Rank: 8)

Record: 29-17 (7th)

Record ATS: 21-24-1 (22nd)

SOS: 17th

In the real world, the Jazz have won 6 of 7, are playing their best ball of the season, and have moved within a game of the Clippers for the 4th seed in the West. In the sportsbook world, they’re more like Clark Kent – only covering the spread in 3 of their last 7 games, and once in their last 5.

13. Denver Nuggets (Last Rank: 25)

Record: 18-25 (19th)

Record ATS: 22-21 (10th)

SOS: 11th

Whether your perspective is the real world, or the gambling world, the Nuggets have been hot… Kind of. While they’ve won 4 of their last 6 games, and covered the spread in 5, they’ve played 5 wack ass teams: Indiana, Orlando, LA Lakers, LA Clippers (without Chris Paul), and Minnesota. They deserve credit for taking care of business, but let’s not go overboard.

14. Los Angeles Clippers (Last Rank: 7)

Record: 30-16 (5th)

Record ATS: 23-23 (T-16th)

SOS: 20th

After winning 7 straight, the Clippers lost Chris Paul… Again. They’re 3-7 on the year without Paul in the lineup, and with him expected to miss another 5-7 weeks, this ranking is a reflection of his injury.

Sorry, but a combination of the coach’s kid, and Raymond Felton, isn’t getting it done in the West. Blake Griffin is back, though.

15. Philadelphia 76ers (Last Rank: 27)

Record: 15-27 (25th)

Record ATS: 24-18 (4th)

SOS: 30th

They’ve played the softest schedule in the league. Glad we got that out of the way… Now, on to the process!

The ‘6ers have won 7 of their last 10 games, and covered the spread in 8. They own the 4th best record in the league against the spread… Yes, 4th! More impressively, they’ve been a double-digit underdog in only 15 of their 42 games. Meaning they’re not (entirely) the product of over-inflated spreads, they compete.

16. Miami Heat (Last Rank: 23)

Record: 15-30 (28th)

Record ATS: 23-22 (T-12th)

SOS: 6th

The Heat have won 4 straight – including victories against Golden State, and Houston – and while they don’t have the go-to offensive guy to consistently get them buckets late in games (although, I’m sure Dion Waiters disagrees), they’re strong enough defensively to make sure they’re never really out of games either.

17. Sacramento Kings (Last Rank: 10)

Record: 17-27 (23rd)

Record ATS: 22-21-1 (11th)

SOS: 13th

The Kings are 6-8 without 2nd leading scorer, Rudy Gay, in the lineup. This would be the same Rudy Gay who tore his achilles last Wednesday, and will miss the remainder of the season. Thankfully, they still have a guy named DeMarcus Cousins. He’ll keep them somewhat relevant.

18. Cleveland Cavaliers (Last Rank: 20)

Record: 30-13 (4th)

Record ATS: 18-23-2 (24th)

SOS: 16th

Kyrie Irving just dropped 49 points, will start at the point for the Eastern Conference all-stars, and is considered by some to be the best guard in the league. Yet, LeBron James claims they need fuckin’ playmakers?! While I have no clue where the hell he’s coming from with that assessment, fact is, the Cavs have lost 6 of their last 10 games.

19. New York Knicks (Last Rank: 16)

Record: 20-26 (18th)

Record ATS: 26-20 (6th)

SOS: 25th

The Knicks are 4-9, and 6-7 against the spread in 2017. They’ve also played a fairly weak schedule, and have guys pulling the high schooler who works at the mall card, “There’s a party tonight, and I really wanna go. You know what, bruh? I’ma just not go to work. Nah, I’m not calling! I’ll be aite, I’ll just tell them moms was sick when I go in tomorrow…”

Maybe that playmaker LeBron needs is on the Knicks roster?

20. Dallas Mavericks (Last Rank: 28)

Record: 15-29 (T-26th)

Record ATS: 22-22 (14th)

SOS: 7th

Dallas is finally healthy, and as a result, they’re starting to compete… It’s just too late to really matter. While odds are slim they find a way to make the playoffs, they’ve covered the spread in 5 of their last 6 games, so it appears the odds are high on them being a solid bet going forward.

21. New Orleans Pelicans (Last Rank: 24)

Record: 18-27 (21st)

Record ATS: 22-22-1 (15th)

SOS: 24th

The Brow continues to get dinged up. Seemingly, on a nightly basis. However, as long as he’s healthy (and Jrue Holiday continues to ball out), the Pelicans will keep on rising in the rankings.

22. Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Rank: 29)

Record: 16-28 (24th)

Record ATS: 20-24 (23rd)

SOS: 15th

Karl-Anthony Towns is beastin’, and the T-Wolves actually haven’t looked that horrible. They’ve covered the spread in 6 of 8, and won 5 of those games outright, but there’s still a long way to go.

23. Detroit Pistons (Last Rank: 21)

Record: 21-25 (17th)

Record ATS: 20-26 (25th)

SOS: 10th

KCP is back… That’s a positive.

24. Portland Trailblazers (Last Rank: 15)

Record: 19-27 (20th)

Record ATS: 19-27 (29th)

SOS: 3rd

“I don’t always lose games, but when I do, I tend to lose at least 3 in a row.”

265704283_1280x720-300x169 The Gambler's NBA Power Rankings - 5th Edition

25. Chicago Bulls (Last Rank: 17)

Record: 22-23 (15th)

Record ATS: 21-24 (21st)

SOS: 27th

Per ABC7 News Chicago, there have already been 37 murders in Chicago this year… The Bulls loss column houses about 3 of those.

26. Milwaukee Bucks (Last Rank: 18)

Record: 21-23 (16th)

Record ATS: 19-25 (26th)

SOS: 21st

They’ve gone 2-5 over their last 7; despite playing just 3 games against teams with a winning record (Atlanta, and Houston twice). They have entirely too much talent to be this bad.

27. Indiana Pacers (Last Rank: 11)

Record: 22-22 (14th)

Record ATS: 18-26 (30th)

SOS: 29th

I overreacted with the last ranking. My apologies – with justification of course. On one hand, the Pacers had won 5 straight, and looked to have figured it out. On the other, they didn’t play anyone over that stretch.

Well, they’ve now lost 3 straight to the Lakers, Jazz, and Knicks, have dropped to a dreadful 6-15 on the road, and I’ve returned to my senses. I still love this team, on paper, but they’re just not good (unless they’re at home).

28. Brooklyn Nets (Last Rank: 22)

Record: 9-35 (30th)

Record ATS: 20-22-2 (20th)

SOS: 19th

Last night, the Spurs beat the Nets 26… In Brooklyn. Oh, and they did it without Kawhi Leonard, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili.

29. Orlando Magic (Last Rank: 30)

Record: 18-28 (22nd)

Record ATS: 19-25-2 (27th)

SOS: 23rd

Aaron Gordon was robbed in last year’s dunk contest.

30. Los Angeles Lakers (Last Rank: 26)

Record: 16-32 (29th)

Record ATS: 20-27-1 (28th)

SOS: 18th

They just lost by 49, the largest margin of deficit in the Lakers 70-year existence, to the 15-29 Mavericks… On the 11th anniversary of Kobe’s 81 point game…

C2z6IFAWIAEdNsT.jpg-large-300x169 The Gambler's NBA Power Rankings - 5th Edition
Courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info

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