Heisler’s Wednesday Power rankings

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The Bulls and Thunder continued to show this 66-game, 123-day exercise is no season for old men, sprinting even farther ahead of their respective packs on young legs.

Meanwhile, the Lakers aged a decade in a week, going on the road after their 10-5 start, getting waxed in Miami and Orlando, then coming home and losing by 10 to Indiana.

Of course, we knew the Lakers were old, or too old to miss it, last season.

On the other hand, there are teams that would kill for the Lakers’ problems.

Take the Celtics, please, as GM Danny Ainge keeps pleading.

Without Rajon Rondo, its only young player of note, Boston sagged to 5-9 as Ainge reminisced about the days when he, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale were 30-somethings and Red Auerbach told them all the great offers he turned down for them.

Unfortunately, as Ainge noted, teams no longer make great offers for old players, or at least not for his old players.

At 36, Ray Allen’s still blazing away, shooting 50 percent overall and 56 prcent on threes, but Paul Pierce, 34, was hurt in what passed for training camp and at 35, the oft-injured Kevin Garnett is half of what he was when he arrived at 31.

Young legs may not mean as much in the playoffs, the season for old players’ revenge, right up to last spring when the venerable Mavericks upended the young Heat.

Indeed, everyone’s veterans should be in shape by spring!

In the meantime, the Lakers, Celtics and Mavericks had better turn it up, or they may be talking about the good old days while watching the playoffs on TV.

RANK TEAM THE RUNDOWN LAST
1 BULLS
(16-3)
LAST WEEK: 3-0  
We shall learn more about race in the East when they play the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon.
2
2 THUNDER
(14-3)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
I hope you like No. 2 because this is where you’re staying: After debuting at No. 1 in prestigious Sheridanhoops Power Rankings (Wednesday edition), they mail one in Washington, losing to Wizards.
1
3 SIXERS
(12-5)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
You’ll never guess the only team with a higher point differential than Bulls’ 10.8 a game. Want another hint aside from my mentioning it here? Yes, it’s Doug Collins’ undergunned-looking 76ers at 11.5!
3
4 MAGIC
(12-5)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Dwight, feuding once more with his caped predecessor who now has an open mike at TNT, doesn’t want to follow Shaq’s career path to Lakers. Unfortunately, D12 has yet to tell Magic he wants to be anti-Diesel badly enough to stay.
6
5 HEAT
(12-5)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
What a difference a year makes. If they had been tied for No. 5 in the East a month into the 2010-11 season, ESPN would have had helicopters emblazoned with “Heat Index” doing flyovers on Erik Spoelstra’s back yard.
7
6 PACERS
(11-5)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Real enough to beat Lakers by 10 in Staples, holding them to 86. Oh, everyone does that now? Hibbert gets 18 with broken nose, although World Peace says he was not really hurt, claiming that’s just how his nose looks.
8
7 CLIPPERS
(9-5)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
Pacific Division leaders (!), plus-2 rebounds a game over last 10, up from minus-10 in first four, go 3-2 without Chris Paul… but in the big story on Sheridanhoops Wednesday, courtesy of TMZ, CP3 is buying Avril Lavigne’s $8.5 million mansion.
10
8 SPURS
(11-7)
LAST WEEK: 2-3 
We will bury you: Lakers won five titles to their three since 1999… but Spurs could outlast their arch-foes with six rotation players under 30 to the Lakers’ two.
4
9 NUGGETS
(12-5)
LAST WEEK: 4-0 
Thanks, James Dolan: Gallinari, one of four players Nuggets got for Anthony, gets 37 as Nuggets win 2OT game in Madison Square Garden. Melo goes 10-30 from the floor amid boos.
12
10 HAWKS
(13-5)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
How underachieving highlight show lost Al Horford and went 5-1: A) Fluke. B) Leopards can change their spots, after all. C) Schedule, with only one of the wins vs. winning team, Portland.
11
11 BLAZERS
(11-7)
LAST WEEK: 3-2 
Franchise haunted by players it passed on — Jordan, Durant — but doesn’t miss them all. Remember when Chicago took Tyrus Thomas over LaMarcus Aldridge, now averaging 23, 9.2 rebounds?
14
12 GRIZZLIES
(10-7)
LAST WEEK: 4-1 
I better get off Rudy Gay’s case. Since shooting 23-65 in first four games, he’s averaging 22, shooting 51 percent and they just won seven in a row.
16
13 JAZZ
(11-5)
LAST WEEK:  2-1 
So how are you doing this again? Starting point Harris shooting 37% and you can have him for a phone call. Meanwhile their starting two, Hayward, whom they love, blazing away at 39.8 percent.
9
14 LAKERS
(10-8)
LAST WEEK: 0-3 
What, us panic? After losses to Heat, Magic and Pacers, Kobe petitions Brown through press to bring back triangle—as they should since their statuary can’t run anything else. It might even make Kobe give up the #@$%#@! ball occasionally.
5
15 ROCKETS
(10-7)
LAST WEEK: 3-0
Dalembert, a prince, once flew all night to get from Sac to Philly for veteran scribe Phil Jasner’s funeral—but who knew he could play? Late, late bloomer averages 13-12 as they go 7-0.
17
16 MAVERICKS
(11-7)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
Get the idea they won’t go back-to-back? Give-me-your-old-your-tired title defense sags to the max as Dirk leaves for four games–“to work on his conditioning?” No, really, that’s what Mavericks said.
13
17 CELTICS
(7-9)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
They actually started breaking up their old nucleus last season when they traded Kendrick Perkins, going from scary to Nenad Krstic at center. It’s true, it’s just that if the Celtics were rebuilding, they didn’t realize it.
19
18 WOLVES
(7-10)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Exciting as Rubio is, he’s question-mark shooter who had like five shot attempts a game in Europe, but made 46 percent in his first 12 NBA games. After going 12-52 in last five, teams will now fall back into lane and wait, a la Rondo.
18
19 KNICKS
(7-10)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
Lucky him: Mike D’Antoni, supposedly coaching for his job Tuesday, gets to stay at least one more game as they win in Charlotte. In more good news, Knicks take 2-1 lead in season series, in case they tie Bobcats for last playoff spot.
20
20 CAVALIERS
(6-10)
LAST WEEK: 0-3 
May not be all the way back yet: After their heady 6-7 start, Bulls beat them by 39 in Cleveland, after which Cavaliers lose by 27 in Atlanta and, in moral victory, by seven in Miami.
15
21 SUNS
(6-11)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
If it wasn’t for bad luck, Suns wouldn’t have any luck at all: Impressive rookie Markieff Morris, promoted to first team, gets flu, lasts 5:37 in debut as an NBA starter.
21
22 WARRIORS
(5-11)
LAST WEEK: 0-3 
Now if our franchise smurf would stop rolling his ankle: Steph Curry returns after missing eight games, if less than triumphantly, scoring 12 and18 as Pacers beat them, 94-91 and Grizzlies, in next, win, 91-90.
22
23 BUCKS
(6-10)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Six years and six teams after Shaun Livingston’s horrific knee injury, Scott Skiles starts him alongside Brandon Jennings, trying an all-point backcourt.
23
24 RAPTORS
(5-13)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
They were 4-7 when Bargnani, who was off to his best start at 22 points, 49 percent shooting—and career-best 6.6 rebounds!–missed six games with with calf injury, all losses.
24
25 KINGS
(6-12)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
On the bright side, as it turned out, moving to Anaheim would have been like going to the dark side of the moon, unless they just wanted somewhere they could hide out while doing a little more rebuilding.
25
26 NETS
(5-13)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
DWill, who already looked miserable, says he doesn’t like Newark arena “one bit.” Indeed, he’s shooting better on road—38 percent to 35 percent. By the time people stop laughing at this one, the Nets’ only shot at keeping him may be moving to Anaheim instead of Brooklyn.
28
27 PISTONS
(4-14)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Showing he’s a true fan, someone on Yahoo Contributor Network asks if Pistons should tank to get a better pick. You mean they’re not already doing it? And how would we tell the difference?
26
28 HORNETS
(3-14)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
By spring, fans can bid: Team loses 14 of 15. Gordon, out with bad knee, tells Yahoo he’s hoping for extension from management—David Stern—who must choose between maxing out guy coming off injury or letting prize they got for CP3 go into contract year, devaluing franchise even more.
27
29 BOBCATS
(3-15)
LAST WEEK: 0-3
With no starter over 25 and only four players that old on active roster, MJ’s best bet may be taking them down to D-League so they can win an occasional game while getting experience.
29
30 WIZARDS
(2-15)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
What Flip Saunders said when they fired him: “What kept you?” Personally, I thought owner Ted Leonsis was upset at Flip so he made him keep trying to coach Knuckleheads R Us.
30
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Comments

  1. As the former Laker beat writer for the LA Times, one would think that he wouldn’t keep repeating the fiction (lie?) that the Lakers lost by 10 to Indiana. He wrote it twice. The Laker’s lost 98-96. That’s two points, Mark.

  2. Here’s my rankings:

    1. Knicks

    Everyone else a distant 2nd…

  3. the mecca says:

    Still so impressed by Utah and Denver after getting rid of their malcontents. And this is coming from a Knicks fan. Think they miss Deron and Carmelo out there? No chance.

    I wonder if Avery Johnson still has the record for highest winning percentage by a head coach? haha

  4. As much as Jazz fans would like Hayward to be the starting two (he plays much better there), he is actually the starting 3. Raja Bell is the starting two.

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