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NBA Power Rankings, Week 5: Denver Nuggets Remain Seventh In West, Spurs And Lakers Are Numbers One And Two

The Good: The Denver Nuggets should move up in the SB Nation NBA Power Rankings after they complete what is possibly their easiest stretch run of the season when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies at home this week.

The Bad: According to the NBA Power Rankings, the Nuggets, who are currently ranked seventh in the West, are teetering on securing one of the eight playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The Ugly: As it stands now, the Nuggets, as the seventh seed, would have to face the second ranked Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, with LA having the home-court advantage.

Luckily for Nuggets fans, the season is barely over the one-quarter mark, so there is plenty of time to move on up the rankings and grab a better seed, and possibly a home-court series or two.

Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups have been doing their part to help Denver slide up the scale, but in order to move the Nuggets need role players like J.R. Smith, Arron Afflalo and Nene to continue playing as well as they have recently. Without those players, and guys like Shelden Williams and Gary Forbes, stepping up, the Nuggets will struggle to make the playoffs, and if they get there will struggle to win a series if they face the kind of competition projected from the rankings.

The top eight teams in the Western Conference, according to the rankings, are:

1.     San Antonio Spurs

2.     Los Angeles Lakers

3.     Dallas Mavericks

4.     Utah Jazz

5.     New Orleans Hornets

6.     Oklahoma City Thunder

7.     Nuggets

8.     Portland Trail Blazers

In the East the interesting ranking is that of the team everyone thought would hold onto the top spot all season, the Miami Heat. When LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join Dwyane Wade in Miami most analysts believed they would be the clear cut number one seed, and some went as far as to say that they might break the Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins in a season. Well, in today's ranking, SB Nation lists the Heat as the fifth best team in a stacked Eastern Conference. The eight teams ranked to make the playoffs in the East are:

1.     Boston Celtics

2.     Orlando Magic

3.     Chicago Bulls

4.     Atlanta Hawks

5.     Miami Heat

6.     Indiana Pacers

7.     New York Knicks

8.     Cleveland Cavaliers