NBA Power Rankings: Pacers Regain Top Spot

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Few things feel better than making a long-awaited return. As Basketball Insiders brings you its first Weekly Power Rankings, we understand that quite well. But it is Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics who is the catalyst behind that declaration. Though it was far from an auspicious 2013-14 season debut, Rondo returned to the lineup for the Celtics on Friday night, almost a full year after tearing the ACL in his right knee back on January 27, 2013.

And therein lies one of the major story lines of the New Year: Returns.

Down in Memphis, Marc Gasol is helping the Grizzlies reaffirm their status as one of the conference’s tougher teams. After missing 23 games, Gasol returned to the lineup for the Grizzlies on Tuesday and helped his team take down the Oklahoma City Thunder—who have been playing tough, even with Russell Westbrook.

But the biggest return of them all? That distinction goes to New York’s other team—the Brooklyn Nets.

Entering play on Monday, before battling their crosstown rival New York Knicks, the Nets entered 2014 as arguably the NBA’s hottest team, earning tough wins over the Thunder, Golden State Warriors and Miami HEAT, to name a few. The most impressive aspect of their rise has been their doing it sans Deron Williams.

And last but not least, as far as returns go, the Indiana Pacers—still the most impressive team of the bunch—regain their top spot as the team with the power.

As we chug along to the NBA All-Star break and continue to keep eyes and ears open for players potentially on the move, the almighty return is the resounding theme this week.

As Basketball Insiders brings you its first Weekly NBA Power Rankings, the return is here. With Rondo and Gasol, we agree wholeheartedly.

Indeed, it feels good.

Have a question or comment on Moke’s Weekly Power Rankings? Feel free to ask him a question in his Weekly NBA Chat, held each Friday afternoon.