This is the sixth in a series of power rankings for the 2014-15 NBA season.
The previous edition can be seen here.
The latest edition is below:
1. Golden State Warriors (50-12): The Warriors keep winning, and look to have the West's top seed all but locked up. The franchise-high mark of 59 wins is well in reach also.
2. Atlanta Hawks (50-13): Atlanta is 30-4 at home this season, and with the East's top seed likely locked up, the Hawks have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs to play for.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (45-18): Memphis doesn't generate the same kind of hype that some of the other title contenders do, but they probably should. The Grizz are 6-4 over their last 10, and need to continue to win with Houston and Portland breathing down their neck for the second seed out West.
4. Houston Rockets (43-20): The approaching return of Dwight Howard, coupled with the impressive and improving play of Terrence Jones makes the Rockets a scary squad heading into the playoffs.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (40-25): The Cavaliers are ascending in the East just as all the other top teams other than the Hawks are descending. They have won seven out of their past 10, and are finally in the East's second spot for the first time all season. LeBron and his new cast seem primed for the playoff push.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (41-20): The season-ending injury to Wesley Matthews was a crushing blow to the Blazers, who had one of the most cohesive starting units in the NBA. Although recent addition Aaron Afflalo can fill in at the starting shooting guard spot, the Blazers again look a little thin.
7. San Antonio Spurs (39-23): Don't look now, but the Spurs have begun playing better basketball with the playoffs approaching, as many expected them to. San Antonio is always dangerous, seeding aside. Most importantly, it looks like Tony Parker is starting to return to full form after a rough season.
8. Los Angeles Clippers (41-23): The Clippers are staying afloat in the wild West without All-Star Blake Griffin, but the question remains: are they deep enough to make some real noise and provide Chris Paul with his first deep playoff push?
9. Dallas Mavericks (41-24): The Mavericks are only 5-5 over their last 10, and only 22-16 since acquiring Rajon Rondo from Boston. They are however 18-12 when Rondo actually plays, and he still provides them with a defensive presence at the point guard position in a tough Western Conference.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder (35-28): Russell Westbrook has been doing everything humanly possible to keep the Thunder afloat in the absence of Kevin Durant, including posting five triple-doubles in six games (!!!). His play has not only kept the Thunder firmly in the playoff picture, but it has also thrust him squarely in the center of the MVP conversation.
11. Chicago Bulls (39-26): The Bulls have dropped three straight, and have huge holes on the offensive end with Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose sidelined. With either of those guys back in the lineup however, the Bulls pose the biggest threat to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
12. Toronto Raptors (38-25): Toronto's team continues to sink. They had the best record in the Eastern Conference on New Year's Eve, but have gone an anemic 14-17 since. Ouch.
13. Washington Wizards (36-28): Like the Raptors, the Wizards are having a tough go at it in 2015. Washington was tied with Atlanta for the East's second spot back on New Year's Eve, now they are sitting in the fifth spot while the Hawks have taken over the Conference. A 'beat-up' John Wall doesn't help their cause.
14. New Orleans Pelicans (35-29): The Thunder may have grabbed the grip on the West's eighth seed, but New Orleans isn't giving up. They have gone an impressive 8-2 over their last 10 games, and look to make the regular season's home stretch especially interesting.
15. Milwaukee Bucks (33-30): After a surprising start to the season, the Bucks are still adjusting to the deadline day trade that shipped guard Brandon Knight out of town and netted the team reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams from Philly. They are only 3-7 over their last 10.
16. Indiana Pacers (28-34): Indiana has been playing some of the league's best basketball as of late, going 8-2 over their past 10. The pending Paul George return makes them that much more dangerous for the playoff push. They could wind up being a low seed that the top teams don't want to face.
17. Phoenix Suns (33-32): The Suns have to be one of the biggest proponents of a new playoff system for the NBA, as it looks like they will miss the playoffs despite having 40+ wins for the second straight season.
18. Charlotte Hornets (28-34): Before getting spanked by the Wizards on Monday, the Hornets had broken off five straight wins, keeping themselves firmly in the playoff picture. The Mo Williams addition has paid off big-time, especially in the absence of Kemba Walker. Williams was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for his efforts last week.
19. Miami Heat (28-35): Would be strange not to see the Heat in the playoffs after four consecutive Finals appearances, but the acquisition of Goran Dragic and the emergence of Hasaan Whiteside are major positives moving forward.
20. Boston Celtics (26-36): The Celtics missed out on JaVale McGee (potentially a blessing in disguise), but they still have an outside shot of playoff positioning. If not, landing in the lottery again wouldn't be the worst thing for the franchise.
21. Utah Jazz (26-36): Utah is 7-3 over their last 10 games, and Rudy Gobert continues to produce in the starting spot. Even though they will (again) miss out on the playoffs, the Jazz are trending in the right direction.
22. Brooklyn Nets (25-36): Brooklyn has lost three in a row, and doesn't look like a team positioned to make a playoff push. The worst part? The Hawks have the right to swap first round picks with Brooklyn if they do wind up landing in the lottery.
23. Detroit Pistons (23-39): After a brief surge, the Pistons have sunk again, losing six in a row, and dropping out of the playoff picture in the East. The team's first year under Stan Van Gundy was certainly an up-and-down one.
24. Denver Nuggets (23-41): Brian Shaw didn't last too long in Denver, as the team went 2-19 over his last 21 games. Interim head coach Melvin Hunt is doing his best to demonstrate that he could potentially be a long-term solution.
25. Sacramento Kings (21-41): Will George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins mesh in Sac-city? The Kings have dropped four in a row, and face some questions heading into the offseason.
26. Orlando Magic (19-42): Point guard Elfrid Payton's development continues, but Orlando has some decisions to make this offseason, as they want to climb back into the East's playoff picture next season.
27. Los Angeles Lakers (16-42): Kobe Bryant denied a recent report saying that he was set to retire after next season, so as of now there is no end in sight to Kobe's tenure in Lakerland. With some luck in the lottery and in free agency, maybe the team could climb back into fringe contention next season.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-46): Andrew Wiggins continues to develop into the star-in-the-making that many expected him to be. The leadership of recently reacquired Kevin Garnett may help in the development process as well.
29. Philadelphia 76ers (13-47): The 76ers beat the East's best in the Hawks last Friday as Brett Brown continues to fit new faces into his rotation. Glenn Robinson III will be the next test subject for Brown, as game outcomes continue to be secondary to development.
30. New York Knicks (12-46): The offseason can't come soon enough for the Knicks.
Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter @therealmikekb