Here’s my second installment of power rankings. A bit of movement, some sliding up, some spiraling down. At least we’re starting to recognise who these teams are going to be this season, and I gotta say, there’s some surprises out there.
With Malice’s Pawa-rannkingu
1. LA Lakers – at 10-1, Kobe Bryant is averaging fewer minutes than any but his first two seasons in the NBA. And now Shaq wants back in on it…
2. Boston – Beastly. Of course, what would you expect from a team with the world’s best player. Just ask Paul Pierce – he’ll tell you.
3. Cleveland – the Samsonites are doing a pretty good job of riding LeBron James coattails. And damn, can he carry a team or what? There’s a bit of a gap between 3 (Cleveland) and 4 (Houston) at the moment within the NBA.
4. Houston – really tight here. There’s not a helluva lot between Houston and Phoenix at the moment, but with Ming, McGrady & Artest this team can beat anyone on any given day. Problem is – health. This unit is just waiting to be the NBA’s answer to M.A.S.H.
5. Phoenix – pretty much the only reason I rank them behind Houston is because at times, they look really, really lost out there. Terry Porter’s a good fit for Shaq, and the Big Cactus is performing at levels he hasn’t seen since leaving LA. Problem is, the half court offense’s not such a good fit for Nash.
6. Detroit – at times they can look really, really good… but at times they look just average. Losses to Boston (twice now – once at home, once away) and Phoenix (in PHX) are understandable… but the Nets? Detroit have to sort out their entire “we-play-when-we-want-to” routine. Didn’t work last year, and won’t this year.
7. Orlando – The Magic live and die with Dwight Howard, and when he is absolutely in dire straits, they look average. Yao Ming virtually put a dress on Dwight, and had the rouge out for him as well. Still have a way to go before the Magic can be included on any “best-in-NBA” conversations.
8. Utah – Same ol’, same ol’. More Jerry Sloan’s legion of the undead. Boozer, and Williams out, and they still have the will to win. Need garlic and a cross to put this one down.
9. Atlanta – A string of recent losses, including a loss to Indiana and two to New Jersey are really worrying. The loss in Cleveland? Meh, so what – a lot of teams will get beaten by LeBron this season. Horford not looking good and the unit doesn’t look any where near as good as it did at the start of the season. Still hoping they’re Hawks, and not pigeons.
10. Denver – The middling 10 of the Power Rankings are tough at the moment… could go anywhere. But 10th spot’s for the Nuggets, who looked really good with the Billups trade. Until they hit a buzz-saw in LA. Thinking of running out the ol’ “Enver” nick-name for them again.
11. Portland – Still have a way to go to be one of the elite, but it was truly gratifying to discover that Greg Oden probably isn’t Sam Bowie.
12. Toronto – Several near misses have this good team sitting at a precarious .500. Already hamstrung with Jose Calderon not being 100%, look for this team to plummet further if Jermaine O’Neal’s injury equates a fair amount of games missed. Bargnani isn’t anyone’s version of a savior.
13. San Antonio – hard to place them above NOLA – who have a better record… just – but the Spurs are playing some decent ball again after a truly dismal start. Timmy. Enough said.
14. New Orleans – You know those Discovery channel documentaries when they pull up a statue from deep see covered in grime, they wipe away the grime and it’s actually made of gold? Well, the Hornets are kinda like that. In reverse. Wipe away the glittery stuff and they are looking average. The next two weeks will really tell us who this unit are this season.
15. Philadelphia – Definitely surprised at how mediocre this team has managed to look thus far this season. Sitting at .500, but so? They’re in one of the tougher divisions in the East, and wins have come over Pacers, Thunder and Clippers. So that’s not so hot… have to improve, and fast.
16. Dallas – sheesh… this might be too high for them, but after a horrific start to November, Dallas are looking good over the last week.
17. Milwaukee – up a bit from last rankings, and looking half-decent. Their losses have come at the hands of those that are clearly better, and the Bucks are winning the games they’re meant to win. That’s something that can’t be said for a lot of other teams around this mark. Look for this team to climb the rankings somewhat: Jefferson and Sessions are playing well, and Bogut’s becoming bit of a minor beast – averaging a double/double (11/11).
18. Miami – Dwayne Wade, the Amazing Teflon Boy, is back and playing some damn good basketball. That’s enough to see Miami climb somewhat, but I still find myself tentative on Wade, and thus Miami. I’m not convinced that he’s *not* fragile.
19. New Jersey Nets – Sheesh… Devin Harris is a start in the making, and they’re doing ok, but expect them to sink into the Atlantic post a tough road trip next week.
20. Chicago – 2 and a half weeks on the road is not going to treat this team kindly. Some nice work at times, but you can only fall back on the “baby Bulls” tag for so long before it becomes a mere apology for a poorly performed team.
21. New York – Big trades make for an interesting line-up. Still a lot of work to do… and NYK fans have a long 2 years to wait until all this pain and suffering (and with the roster they currently have, there will be pain and suffering!) maybe – MAYBE – pays off.
22. Golden State – Something’s just not working here. Nellie had better figure out what that is and then some. Some of their players are doing very well – Stephen Jackson, Andris Biendrins… but it’s just not equating ‘wins’.
The waxing of the LA Lakers coincides with the waning of Golden State.
23. Indiana – This team’s ability to blow double digit leads borders on the uncanny. Fold worse than a cheap suit.
24. Sacramento – Kevin Martin’s good. So’s John Salmons. The rest of this team are simply off-cuts, junk and throw-aways mixed with some over-the-hills.
26. LA Clippers – climb a lil’ purely on having signed Zach Randolph who should make a difference. Not a helluva lot, but they won’t be the Washington Generals any more.
27. Charlotte – Note to Bob: to win games, you have to score. Sell the team to Michael and be done with it.
28. Minnesota – Traded KG to get younger and better. A season on, what do we have? A year older, and no better. Still somewhere down near the bottom of the pile. Sure, some of these losses have been by narrow margins, but a loss is a loss.
29. Washington – Flip a coin, who’s worse? OKC or the Wiz…
30. Oklahoma City – Kevin Durant’s a nice player… but OKC Thunder? Ewwwww…