Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NBA Power Rankings

We are about a quarter of the way through the season. For most teams, we have seen enough to determine how good they are. For others, well, your guess is as good as mine. Undaunted, I forge through and rank them from last to first.

30. Sacramento Kings (4-15)
Being a huge NBA fan, and an addicted fantasy league manager, I decided to buy the NBA League Pass this year. To save money, I opted for the Choice package, where you pick 7 teams to follow throughout the year. Believe me when I say that I was actually excited to pick the Kings. My thinking; a budding young superstar in Tyreke Evans and an exciting young core featuring DeMarcus “Big Cuz” Cousins (I’m a huge UK fan) would equate to a season of fun with these Kings. Lesson learned. I could have bought a Lady GaGa album on ITunes and it would have been a wiser use of my money.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-16)
Don’t worry Minnesota fans, Ricky Rubio should be coming any day! AYE AYE AYE AYE (that’s me acting like a Spaniard)!!! Despite this record, Michael Beasley seems very calm and relaxed…I think we all know why.
28. Los Angeles Clippers (5-17)
I know! I can’t believe the Clippers are near the bottom either!
In all seriousness, I kind of like the core of this team. They have an awful lot of good, young talent. Eric Bledsoe looks good at the point, Eric Gordon is showing much more versatility in his offensive game, Al-Farouq Aminu is a much better shooter than anticipated and, in case you weren’t aware, Blake Griffin is incredible. The problem; they are really, really young and they have no idea how to play defense (101.5 ppg against).
Also, after this year is over, can we all just agree to stop giving Vinny Del Negro jobs?
BTW, in case you haven’t seen this, check it out. Look what he does to Mozgov!
27. Detroit Pistons (7-15)
Figuring out the best of these previous 4 teams is like figuring out whether Ben Affleck or Keanu Reeves is a better actor. Does it really matter? They all suck!
Quick thought on the Pistons; does Joe Dumars have any clue what he is doing? Has there ever been a more overrated GM in history? I think you and I both know the answer to those two questions.
26. Washington Wizards (6-14)
This is a difficult team to figure out because they play well at home (6-3) but are completely wretched on the road (0-11). The obvious answer is that they are young, but they have been much more competitive than I anticipated. Beyond my huge man-crush on John Wall (and really, who doesn’t have one?) they do have some nice young players. Javale McGee has looked like a dominant rebounder/defender at times, but struggles with consistency and fouls. I suppose as long as Gilbert Arenas doesn’t shoot Wall, this situation isn’t nearly as bad as originally thought.
One last thought; if Colin Cowherd is reading this…YOU’RE AN IDIOT! HOW ARE YOU ON THE RADIO?! This clown gets on his show and, after one game, claims that he knows for a fact that John Wall is not a leader, is not a winner, and is not a true point guard. Are you serious Cowturd?
25. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-14)
Prince and I talked a bit about this in our first podcast. It’s a really rough situation in Cleveland and I feel terrible for the fans. As for the players, what the heck are you doing joking with Lebron? How can you not give him a few hard “message” fouls? I would have wanted to cut half the roster if I were Byron Scott.
24. Toronto Raptors (8-13)
Perhaps they belong a bit higher up on the list, but it’s really hard for me to buy into them, despite going 6-4 in their last 10.I’m really not sold on Bargnani as a franchise guy and the rest of their roster is pretty unimpressive. How do you win games when your key frontcourt pieces are Linas Kleiza and Peja? I’m open to moving them up, but I just have to see more.
 23. New Jersey Nets (6-16)
I had this letter strangely sent to me the other day and I think it was actually meant for someone else.
                Dear Brook Lopez,
                                                             All of your fantasy owners
 Hmm, interesting.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (7-14)
For anyone in the Columbus area who is following this blog, I really do sympathize with you on the Evan Turner thing. Yes, I know it’s only been 21 games. Yes, I know that I said I don’t like to jump to early conclusions. I’m just saying it looks pretty rough so far. I like him a lot and I thought he would be great so here’s hoping he turns it around. Unfortunately for him, it appears that the 76ers have 12 of the same player and their genius of a GM can’t bear to part with a single one of them. Don’t worry, there’s no pressing need to break up a 7-14 roster that’s in a horrible cap situation with very few good young bigs. None at all. This will work out just fine.
21. Houston Rockets (8-13)
It’s tough to make anything of this team without Yao and Aaron Brooks. Of course, they haven’t had Yao in what seems like 37 years now…
20. Charlotte Bobcats (8-13)
I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched this team play a single time this year and I’m pretty sure that I won’t. I guess I’m just waiting in suspense to see who Michael Jordan will waste his next lottery pick on.
19. Golden State Warriors (8-13)
Believe me when I say that I will be looking for any excuse to move this team up. I love this team, and I love how they play. Steph Curry and Monta Ellis are one of the most exciting guard tandems in the league right now, but it’s tough for me to give too much love when you go 1-9 in your last 10 and give up 106.8 ppg. Maybe David Lee will turn into a werewolf after Wilson Chandler’s bite and he can lead them as the real life Teen Wolf (credit to Bill Simmons for that reference).
18. Memphis Grizzlies (8-14)
I’m slightly perplexed at their record. At the beginning of the year, Rudy Gay looked like he had taken that next step and Mike Conley looked like he grabbed the reins of the team. Now, it’s back to mediocrity for the both of them and for the team as a whole. Of course, what does Conley care after receiving that 24 year $679 million contract?          
17. Phoenix Suns (11-10)
I think my buddy Lucas summed it up best when he texted this to me during the first week of the season, “Robin Lopez is not Amare Stoudemire.” Truer words have never been spoken Lucas.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (7-13)
So much for Fear the Dear, right? It probably strikes you as odd that I have them ahead of Phoenix. To be honest, it strikes me the same way. The Bucks, however, are holding opponents to just 92.9 ppg and I doubt they finish the season scoring at the 90.9 ppg clip they are currently at. Of course, this might give us yet another opportunity to test the John Salmons new team theory.
15. Portland Trail Blazers (10-11)
Quick! What do Greg Oden and Brett Favre have in common? Oh…you’ve heard that one? Ok.
In all seriousness, I wanted to rank this team higher because they are very talented, but there are just too many questions surrounding Brandon Roy’s knee and the organization as a whole. I like them and I hope they can put it back together, but I wouldn’t be optimistic if I were a Portland fan.
14. Atlanta Hawks (15-8)
I know what their record is. I know they won a playoff series last year. I know they have a lot of talent. This team won’t have Joe Johnson for over a month and I can promise you that this won’t end well. Unless, of course, you believe in Marvin Williams.
13. New York Knicks (13-9)
This has been quite a turnaround. Winners of 9 of their last 10, the Knicks are finally making good on all the hype from last summer’s acquisitions. The ironic thing is that, not long ago, it looked like the team might just pack it in and wait for a Carmelo Anthony trade. I’m not sure what happened, perhaps Mike D’Antoni decided he didn’t want to lose his job, but they are playing inspired. I’m still not sure what to make of them considering they give up 106.1 ppg and have been doing their damage against a pretty soft schedule. They are, however, 9-4 on the road which lends credence to this run. I need to see more.
12. Indiana Pacers (10-9)
Apparently Larry Bird’s strategy of selecting the best white player available every year is working!
I’m actually very intrigued by this team and I’m surprised they don’t have a better record. They have one of the few legit centers in the league in Roy Hibbert, and Danny Granger is playing the best ball of his career. Sadly, Darren Collison’s plane never arrived after being dealt to Indiana and he is rumored to be stranded on the Lost Island.
11. Denver Nuggets (13-7)
Major point deductions for your best player publicly stating he wants out. This could go any number of ways for the Nuggets. They probably should deal ‘Melo since they aren’t true contenders and they need to get something for him before he leaves. On the other hand, they do have some interesting pieces that could be used to add a major player. Being mean-spirited, I think it would be hilarious if they traded ‘Melo to the Clippers to pair with fat Baron Davis or to Minnesota to die a slow, cold death in the frozen tundra.
10. New Orleans Hornets (13-7)
They started off like a house on fire and I was shocked that they were playing as well as they were. Now, they’ve lost 6 of their last 10 and I can’t believe they are playing this bad. This analysis courtesy of me, a true NBA expert.
Really quick, the NBA just took ownership of the Hornets. There are a lot of rumors about the Hornets staying in New Orleans under new ownership, moving to a new city (Seattle), or contracting altogether. Personally, I think there are too many teams and not enough talent so I’m a fan of contraction. Will it happen? Not a chance.
 9. Miami Heat (14-8)
We talked about them on the podcast (if you haven’t listened to it, please do so) so I won’t delve into it again. I just need to see them beat a few good teams before I can accept them as a contender. Also, Lebron James is indeed the devil.
8. Chicago Bulls (11-8)
We will find out a lot more about this team over the coming weeks as they integrate Boozer into the offense. The one thing about Boozer’s return that isn’t getting enough attention is that Taj Gibson actually played pretty well in his place. On the defensive end especially, Gibson and Noah were a very effective frontcourt so it remains to be seen how much of an upgrade Boozer is. I love Rose and I’m excited to see what this team, at full strength, can do. Sadly, it seems a foregone conclusion, given Boozer’s injury history, that old Carlos will end up getting tangled in Noah’s nasty hair resulting in death by strangulation. A sad end indeed.
7. Oklahoma City (14-8)
Besides the Celtics, this is my absolute favorite team to watch. Westbrook has stepped up his game big time this year, but I sometimes wonder if his increased scoring isn’t detrimental to the team as a whole. At times, it has definitely seemed like Westbrook was looking to do too much and he was inadvertently freezing Durant out of the offense for periods of time. Having too many offensive options is a good problem to have however. A bad problem; having Nick Collison and Nenad Krstic as your key frontcourt players…
6. Orlando Magic (15-6)
They hold opponents to a league low 90.8 ppg and they have the best center in the league. Yet, I don’t think this team has any chance to win the title because I refuse to believe in any team whose crunch time offense goes through Vince Carter. Put it this way, if we created a team of the least clutch players in the league, Vince would definitely be the captain.
Rumor is that they have been exploring a lot of trade options, specifically for Chris Paul. Given New Orleans current situation, there is no way they are dealing him so it’s time for Orlando to move on. While I may be the only one to think this, I would be all in on a Gilbert Arenas trade. They would be taking on a terrible contract, but that doesn’t matter to a team who has to pay Rashard Lewis over $20 million a year for the next 4 years.
5. Utah Jazz (16-6)
First of all, what in the heck is going on with Deron Williams’ hair? Seriously, what is on his head? While their record certainly suggests they are an elite team, I still have my reservations. They’ve needed a bunch of big comebacks to get that record and you just can’t consistently fall behind in games and expect to be successful. However, I suppose you can’t overlook a team that just finds ways to win. Kind of like the Jets before Monday night…
4. Dallas Mavericks (17-4)
I really thought this would be the year they started to decline. I didn’t like any of the offseason moves they made and it does seem like their roster is built for the regular season…of 2003. However, Dirk is having another MVP type season and Jason Kidd refuses to die. They’ve won 10 straight, and I think they get Roddy Beaubois back soon, so don’t expect Dallas to go away.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (15-6)
Quick! What do Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger have in common? Oh…you’ve heard that one too? Ok. Fine.
Record wise, this team should be ranked lower. However, we all know what’s going on here. The Lakers are going to take it easy all year and then get serious come playoff time. You know it, I know, everyone else knows it. Being a Laker hater, I hope Ron Artest finds it in his heart to do one more crazy thing before hanging it up for his desired NFL career. Alas, I think it’s more likely that Lamar Odom overdoses on Gummy Worms and goes into diabetic shock.
2. San Antonio Spurs (17-3)
Every year, like clockwork, all the NBA “experts” get together and collectively predict that the Spurs window has closed and that “this will be the year when the Spurs decline.” And every year, like clockwork, the Spurs rally around their aging core and continue to play championship level basketball. Do I think they can keep up this pace all year? No, not really. Do I think they will have some injuries to key players resulting in a few rough patches? Yes, that seems to be reasonable. Am I going to write them off as too old to win another championship? Not on your life!
Side note: Tony, Tony, Tony! What were you doing? EVA LONGORIA! Seriously?
1. Boston Celtics (16-4)
Yeah, I’m a homer! So what? Of course, I’ve watched nearly every Celtic game this year and my fandom precludes me from being un-biased. However, every time the Celtics play a top level team, they rise to the occasion and assert their dominance. The additions of Shaq and some others are nice, but are vastly overplayed. The big difference with this team is that KG finally looks like the old KG and Paul Pierce looks like the old Paul Pierce. They are bigger than any other team, they are deeper than any other team, and they are more versatile than any other team. My guess is that we will be seeing another Celtics vs. Lakers Finals and that sounds great to me! Of course, I sure hope it ends better this time…


  1. Hey Jon, remember back in college when you used to worship the ground that Colin Cowherd walked on? hahahah.