Heisler’s Wednesday Power Rankings

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Showing the Thunder is truly on its way, they just rose to to No. 1 in the prestigious SheridanHoops power rankings (Wednesday edition) for the first time!

Of course, we’ve only been doing our rankings for a few weeks, but it’s still a good sign.

It’s also in keeping with today’s “No season for young men” theme, in which we note the impact of jamming 66 games into 123 days on older players, as in “I just ran down here, now I’m supposed to run back to the other end again?”

Actually, I felt like I owed the Thunder one for sneering every week while putting them among the top three.

OK, so Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden average 62 of their 97 points, with the closest teammate, Serge Ibaka, at 6.8, down from last season’s 9.8.

And Harden is very left-handed so teams are going to sit on that….

Oh, they already try?

And Westbrook can’t shoot….

Oh, he’s at 48 percent this month after stumbling out of the gate in December?

The Thunder is also one of the young teams that D’s it up, holding opponents to 43 percent shooting, No. 8 in the league, like the Heat (7), Bulls (5), Pacers (3) and 76ers (1).

Whether young legs will mean as much in the postseason, which has always belonged to the teams that have been there and done that, remains to be seen.

Of course, ask Westbrook, who has gotten an earful about his attitude since last spring, if he doesn’t feel older than 23.

RANK TEAM THE RUNDOWN LAST
1 THUNDER
(12-2)
LAST WEEK: 3-0 
Hey, somebody has to be No. 1.
3
2 BULLS
(13-3)
LAST WEEK: 4-1  
Rose, who missed three of 248 games in three seasons, has already missed three more. If they’re making sure he’s OK at the end, that’s good. If he has nagging injuries, it’s not.
1
3 SIXERS
(10-3)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Collins better get Coach of the Year one of these years: 48-31 since Nov. 26, 2010–with six rotation players from 27-55 team he took over plus Hawes, Turner.
4
4 SPURS
(9-4)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
If you, like I, didn’t notice: While Big Three got older, supporting cast (Blair, Leonard, Splitter, Neal, Green) got younger, more athletic, deeper and better.
8
5 LAKERS
(10-5)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
In good news, this is pre-2007 Kobe before injuries started piling up. Better news: holding opponents to 41%, No. 3 in NBA. Best news: After 17 games in first 26 days, remaining 49 are spread out over 97.
6
6 MAGIC
(10-3)
LAST WEEK: 4-0 
To quote the great Jerry Reynolds: “Sometimes Hedo and sometimes He Don’t.” Turkoglu, who could be on your team at Y if you would have taken his $11 mill salary off their hands, at career-best 49%, 48% on threes.
7
7 HEAT
(9-4)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
Looking like we’ll see a Game 7 in Chicago this spring after West Coast Trip From Hell: Three games, four nights, no wins, Dwyane Wade goes down.
2
8 PACERS
(9-3)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
If they can do this with whoever’s in Danny Granger’s body, averaging 15, shooting 34 percent, imagine what they can do with the actual Danny Granger.
11
9 JAZZ
(9-4)
LAST WEEK:  3-1 
Wow. Favors still just Favors, Kanter still just a rookie, Devin Harris still just Devin Harris (8.3 points, 5.8 assists, shooting 36 percent) but Jefferson, Millsap rule inside.
13
10 CLIPPERS
(7-4)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
A funny thing happened on way to Lob City: Guys leaked out, opponents outrebounded them by 10 a game in first four. Clips are plus-two since with wins over Heat and (drumroll) Lakers!
15
11 HAWKS
(10-4)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Adroit scheduling brings home wins over Bobcats, T-Wolves and Raptors. But if their ceiling was 50 wins and second round with Al Horford, what’s it down to without him?
9
12 NUGGETS
(8-5)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
Not that Nene is one of the veterans who didn’t come back in tip-top shape, but he just posted his first double-double in their 11th game.
10
13 MAVERICKS
(8-6)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
Give-me-your-old-your-tired title defense (cont.): On the bright side, just won four in a row as Kidd, who’s 15-43 outside the arc and 2-7 inside it, hits first two 2-pointers of season.
14
14 BLAZERS
(8-5)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
After seven of 10 at home, 1-2 on six-game, eight-day trip going from San Antonio, Houston, Nawlins to Atlanta, Toronto and Detroit.
5
15 CAVALIERS
(6-7)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
On the bright side, went 6-6 with nine of first 12 on the road, and 15 of next 20 at home. For perspective, just gave up 105 and dropped the first one at home to Warriors.
18
16 GRIZZLIES
(6-6)
LAST WEEK: 3-0 
Three-game winning streaks pulls them back to .500 … even if it was only at home over Knicks, Hornets and Bulls without Rose, with six of their next seven on the road.
21
17 ROCKETS
(7-7)
LAST WEEK: 4-1
Why did they want Pau at 31 with three years and $57 mill on his deal? They were going to sign Nene and move back into the hunt.
22
18 WOLVES
(5-8)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
Future’s bright with new big three in Love, Rubio and, uh, where’s Michael Beasley? In a walking boot, after sprained foot took him from last season’s 19 a game to 13, 39% from floor in first seven games.
20
19 CELTICS
(4-8)
LAST WEEK: 1-4 
Of course, if they’re going to be a tough out in the playoffs as someone (oh yeah, me) said, they would have to make the playoffs, first.
12
20 KNICKS
(6-7)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
Executive of Year candidate: Anyone dealing with James Dolan. Aside from losing cap flexibility, max slot and Chris Paul in Melo trade, they’re 20-21 with him with offense slowed to No. 15 at 93.9 a game.
16
21 SUNS
(4-9)
LAST WEEK: 0-4
Wheels came off long ago; this is just what’s left of the old racers screeching down the road. Just lost five in a row with eight of next 12 on the road.
17
22 WARRIORS
(5-8)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Who do you like for most unimproved player of the year? Dorrell Wright, No. 3 in Most Improved balloting last season when he averaged 18, down to 8.4, shooting 35%.
25
23 BUCKS
(4-8)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
Challenge is finding something to say about Bucks other than Bogut’s comings and going. OK, I give up. Back from Australia for wins over Spurs, Pistons. Hits head, misses loss to Mavericks.
24
24 RAPTORS
(4-10)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Our defense is better, OK, has anyone seen our offense (cont.): Bargnani out, just lost five in a row after 4-5 start, averaging 75 points.
19
25 KINGS
(4-10)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Reformed DeMarcus Cousins got 54 rebounds in four games, even if he grabbed only 17 in next three. Only got in one argument, and that was just with a cameraman.
26
26 PISTONS
(3-11)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Greg Monroe, at 7-6 before the last All-Star Game, is at 17-9 before this one. With Brandon Knight at 14 points, 46 percent, 44 percent on threes as starter, it’s a real youth movement.
27
27 HORNETS
(3-10)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Just lost 10 of 11 after 2-0 start. If David Stern wants to maintain the value of the franchise until he sells it, he’s better start refereeing the games.
23
28 NETS
(3-11)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
If only Prokhorov, enmeshed in Russian politics, was here to keep lockout going: Unfortunately, season started, Dwight saw them and began working on Plans B, C and D.
29
29 BOBCATS
(2-8)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
Whatever MJ paid Larry Brown, it wasn’t enough. Two seasons of competing—and first playoff appearance!-concealed fact they were taking a four-year-old expansion team and melting it down. Now, it’s melted.
28
30 WIZARDS
(1-12)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Knuckleheads Ball: Nick Young applauds McGee’s lob to himself to dunk in fourth quarter, trailing by six (“Good for him, being that brave to even think of that”) after Flip yanked JaVale out of game.
28
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Comments

  1. Anthony P says:

    The knicks a top 5 team when BD comes back? On what planet? Why do people think BD is 25 when he is in his thirties and injury prone? The knicks have shown nothing to indicate they are a top 15 team, let alone top 5.

  2. Christ I totally disagree with the Knicks at 20. At 6-7 with their talent I put them top 5 when Baron Davis starting at PG.

    • Right Baron Davis is going to save the Knicks? They will improve but come on dude this isn’t Baron Davis 5 years ago this is Baron Davis who is getting old and can’t stop getting hurt. Knicks need a new coach that teaches Defense. Believe me as a Mavs fan we couldn’t win until Rick told the team to play some defense.

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