Celtics move up seven slots to #12 in current NBA Power Rankings

The Smart-Effect is paying dividends in Boston. The Celtics moved up in the NBA Power Rankings from #19 to #12, in large part because of Brad Stevens' move of putting Marcus Smart into the starting-5.

The Raptors recaptured the #1 slot with an 8-game winning streak. The Nuggets are in second place after going on a 5-game winning streak. Philadelphia has gone 8-of-9, and with the addition of Jimmy Butler, they have moved up three spots to #6.

The Warriors moved down two slots to #8, and the Lakers with the addition on Tyson Chandler moved up one notch to #9. The Celtics' 3-game win streak, Gordon Hayward's breakout game versus Minnesota and the insertion of Smart into the starting lineup has made a large difference in the Celtics offense, as evidenced by the team moving up seven slots in the standings.

In a recent Twitter poll, I asked for participants to vote for the Celtic who best-exemplified the NEXUS for the team - the one who connects with teammates, facilitates communication and just makes the team work properly. Smart was the overwhelming choice. I agree with that evaluation, but things can always change. Al Horford was that guy last season, and may be again later in the season. Hayward is finding his way and could step into that role. And no one could rule out Kyrie Irving. He could be on his way to an MVP season. I would love to see the Celtics in single-digit territory in the Rankings soon.

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Photo via Christopher Evans/Boston Herald