21/02/2024

As we near closer to the end of the season, where does your club sit in power rankings?(Images: Adelaide 36ers Media; @PerthWildcats

With four weeks remaining in the season, the race for the play-in continues to heat up, with all teams still mathematically having a chance to make the postseason.

These Power Rankings are based on current form and short-term expectations. They aren’t a prediction of where teams will finish the season on the ladder, but rather an expectation on how they will perform in their upcoming games with consideration given to injuries and form.

In case you missed it, here are how my rankings looked last week.

With that in mind, here are this week’s power rankings ahead of Round 17.

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1. Perth Wildcats

Record: 15-7, Previous Ranking: 1st

The Perth Wildcats continued their recent dominance, defeating the in-form Brisbane Bullets and the Sydney Kings.

Perth now finds itself only one game behind Melbourne for the top spot and is ready to take it should Melbourne let it slip.

Tai Webster has performed superbly on both ends of the floor in his last few outings with his playmaking and defensive impact, and he is now beginning to make teams pay offensively.

Games this week: Vs Illawarra

2. Melbourne United

Record: 16-6, Previous Ranking: 2nd

Without Jo Lual-Acuil and Shea Ili for the second consecutive week, Melbourne were comprehensively beaten by a Tasmanian team that needed to respond.

United have comfortably been the best team in the league all season long and still sits on top of the ladder, so there’s no need for panic as long as their availability issues don’t linger.

Melbourne has lost three of its last five games, but with Lual-Acuil and Ili returning this week, expect it to return to winning ways with trips to Brisbane and Sydney to face the Bullets and Kings.

Games this week: @ Brisbane, @ Sydney

3. Tasmania JackJumpers

Record: 12-11, Previous Ranking: 5th

Tasmania bounced back after it needed a response after a poor run of form, taking advantage of a Melbourne United side that was missing Shea Ili and Jo Lual-Acuil.

Jordon Crawford made the most out of the encounter to return to some form with Ili missing, finishing with a team-high 25 points.

Scott Roth would have been happy with how his team responded and will hope the JackJumpers can build some momentum with a few tough games ahead, first starting with a trip to New Zealand to face the Breakers.

Games this week: @ New Zealand

4. Brisbane Bullets

Record: 12-12, Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Bullets’ trip to Perth to face the Wildcats was a test to see if they could be potential challengers to the title but failed miserably, although they responded against the Taipans to finish the round in fourth spot.

Justin Schueller has done an amazing job in his first year as a head coach and will hope it can finish with some postseason action. First, he’ll need to ensure his side continues to win with several teams behind ready to take their spot.

Games this week: Vs Melbourne

5. Adelaide 36ers

Record: 9-14, Previous Ranking: 9th

Adelaide is one of the form teams in the competition, winning four of its last five games and has given itself a flicker of hope.

No one could have predicted this from the Sixers, considering how they looked at the start of the season, but since Scott Ninnis took over, they have started to turn things around.

Isaac Humphries has been phenomenal in his last 10 games, averaging 20.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game, while Trey Kell has been great on the perimeter.

Adelaide has a favourable run home, but nothing is guaranteed, so it will need to keep winning if it wants a spot in the top six.

Games this week: Vs Cairns

6. Sydney Kings

Record: 11-12, Previous Ranking: 7th

Despite going down to Perth, Sydney would have been happy with its performance, but it does find itself in a precious position regarding the ladder, slipping to fifth.

The Kings backed up their performance, being more active defensively and showing more effort, but that wasn’t enough against the Wildcats.

Sydney has an opportunity to boost its percentage against an injury-riddled South East Melbourne side before hosting Melbourne United a few days later.

Games this week: @ South East Melbourne, vs Melbourne

7. New Zealand Breakers

Record: 9-12, Previous Ranking: 6th

The Breakers snapped their three-game skid, doing what they needed to do against the Phoneix to stay in contention for a top-six position.

The smashing of South East Melbourne provided New Zealand with an opportunity to gain some valuable percentage – which will be crucial when looking at how tight the ladder is.

The Breakers can’t afford any more losses if they want to make the post-season, and it doesn’t get easier with the JackJumpers next on their schedule.

Games this week: Vs Tasmania, @ Illawarra

8. Illawarra Hawks

Record: 9-12, Previous Ranking: 4th

Illawarra has now lost its last three games and put a significant dent in its play-in aspirations.

The Hawks were their own worst enemy against the Taipans, missing 12 free throws and allowing the Snakes to grab 18 offensive rebounds. While against the Sixers, they looked like the Hawks of old.

Justin Robinson looked to have overcome his poor run of form, but the point guard had a weekend to forget, finishing scoreless from the field in both games, continuing his inconsistent season.

The Hawks still have a mathematical chance to make the play-in, but they will need to find a way to turn things around with a difficult schedule on the horizon.

Games this week: @ Perth, vs New Zealand

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9. Cairns Taipans

Record: 11-13, Previous Ranking: 8th

The Taipans have never been able to string together consistent performances this season and it has cost them a potential spot in the top six.

Cairns took the points against fellow play-in contender Illawarra, thanks to a Lat Mayen game-winner before it coughed up an opportunity to sit fourth against Brisbane.

The Snakes have one of the hardest run homes, beginning with a trip to Adelaide to face a Sixers outfit that is one of the form teams.

Games this week: @ Adelaide

10. South East Melbourne Phoenix

Record: 9-14, Previous Ranking: 10th

The season continues to go from bad to worse for the Phoenix after the news that they will be without Alan Williams for the remainder of the season after the big man had knee surgery.

South East Melbourne has lost eight of its last nine games and has been non-competitive in all but one. The Phoenix’s average losing margin during this poor run of form has been over 25 points.

Injuries continue to pile up as Gary Browne (groin) and Matt Kenyon (hip flexor) will miss their clashes against the Kings and the Wildcats.

Head coach Mike Kelly said he struggled to find positives after his side’s recent defeat against the Breakers and with injuries continuing to mount, it’s going to be a struggle for the Phoenix for the rest of the season.

The Phoenix’s next opportunity to break their losing run will come on Thursday night against the Sydney Kings before hosting the Wildcats on Saturday night.

Games this week: Vs Sydney, vs Perth

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