Heisler’s Wednesday Power Rankings

It seems like only yesterday when we were wondering if there would be a season. Now it’s almost half over.

Doesn’t time fly?

Actually, it can’t fly fast enough.

If the truth be known, NBA seasons are largely rehearsals for the real deal in spring.

With this one starting so abruptly and so late and proceeding so sloppily, we’re not talking about one of the more memorable regular seasons, assuming there is such a thing.

OK, there is, if it’s one with Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points and averaging 50, the Lakers winning 33 in a row, the Bulls going 72-10, or LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade in Miami and the press turning their debut into a living hell.

What has happened this season, other than Blake Griffin’s amazing dunk?

He did that last season but the villagers were out brandishing torches and pitchforks at the Heat, so who noticed?
Not that a lot of people I know minded seeing the NBA start on Christmas, doing away with almost two months of the endless regular season.

“Why not start March 1?” one guy said. “Six months to eliminate the Kings is a bit much.”

Of course, with the NBA insisting on 66 games–to make it more legitimate, as Commissioner David Stern said, and/or get more of their money back–it would have been better to start Thanksgiving, instead of cramming everything into 123 days.

As to what we’ve learned, other than reminding us the owners, who pushed the lockout before going home to negotiate new TV deals worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, are a massive pain in the tochas.

Nothing of permanence, as usual.

It’s no surprise that young, cohesive teams that defend (Heat, Bulls, Thunder, 76ers) have a huge advantage over older ones in transition (Lakers, Celtics.)

It’s a big surprise that the the Spurs are no longer ancient. Now they’re an old-young hybrid, which remains cohesive and defends with aging Tim Duncan, still-spry Manu Ginobili, in-his-prime Tony Parker and their young role players.

Oh, and we’ve learned the Clippers aren’t the Clippers any more.

The post-season has always been a time unto itself, and may be again.

As Kurt Rambis put it, “The exhibition season has nothing to do with the regular season.”

So, as the days fly by, all I can say is, can’t you fly any faster?

RANKTEAMTHE RUNDOWNLAST
1HEAT
(23-7)
LAST WEEK: 4-1 
You mean, all we have to do is play? Compared to last season when “crisis” followed “crisis,” whether Bron was going back to Cleveland, Erik Spoelstra was dangling or they cried after a loss, this is a walk in the park.
1
2THUNDER
(22-6)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
You expect Kevin Durant to keep getting better, but 27 points a game plus 8.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks, shooting 50.5%–3% higher than his career best—is way better.
2
3BULLS
(24-7)
LAST WEEK: 3-1  
Up there in the guttiest-team competition, too, 7-2 without Rose. Unfortunately, guttiest team race exists only in SheridanHoops Power Rankings (Wednesday edition). In East race, after leading Miami by 3 1/2 games three weeks ago, they’re now neck-and-neck.
3
4SPURS
(20-9)
LAST WEEK: 3-0 
They’re either back, or everyone else in West except OKC is falling faster: Just went 8-0, and now have Manu back alongside his little buddy, Tony Parker, who averaged 13 points and shot 42% December, but is at 24 and 48% this month.
5
5SIXERS
(20-9)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
New co-owner Adam Aron announces he has bought the Hershey Park Arena floor, on which Wilt scored his 100 points. Entire Sixer team now averages only 95.9…. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the floor that did it.
4
6CLIPPERS
(17-9)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
In good news, they’re 5-2 in last seven on road with win in Philadelphia without Chauncey. In bad news, Blake’s gag at free throw line in loss at Dallas prompts Mavs to foul him at the end as if he’s Shaq.
7
7MAGIC
(18-11)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Still win a lot for team with their issues. In latest, Dwight says he wants ball in crunch time (“Just get on my back. That’s why they call me Superman”). Of course, it would help if Supe made more than 56% of his free throws.
10
8MAVERICKS
(18-11)
LAST WEEK: 4-0
Make that no season for old men, except these: Now 17-7 since 1-4 start with Vince Carter becoming a solid player, averaging 12-3-3, shooting 46% in 23 minutes a game as starter.
13
9LAKERS
(17-12)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Gee, what could be wrong with their offense? Point guards overmatched outside triangle. Kobe-Pau-Drew averaging 63 points, 50 shot attempts vs. 55-41 last season. Teammates at 30 points, 29 attempts, down from last season’s 46-41.
12
10PACERS
(17-11)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Oops: Just lost four in a row with one-time boxscore-stuffing fantasy league monster Danny Granger averaging 20 points, 4.5 assists, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.1 blocks, shooting 38% this month.
6
11CELTICS
(15-12)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
So why do teams go out and guard Rondo again? With Kobe Bryant playing off him, Lakers are 4-0 in Boston and 5-2 overall against the Celtics the last four seasons, holding them to 90 a game.
9
12NUGGETS
(17-12)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
With Gallo out until March with ankle injury, Nene in and out of lineup after off-season surgery on his heel, Nuggets lose six of nine.
8
13GRIZZLIES
(15-14)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Timetable for Zach Attack’s return moved from mid-March to All-Star break. However it works with him and Rudy Gay, they have already figured out they’re not winning any titles this way.
18
14HAWKS
(18-11)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Had to happen: 2-5 since winning nine of their first 11 without Al Horford, with four games left on combination East Coast-West Coast swing in Phoenix, Portland, Chicago and New York.
11
15ROCKETS
(16-13)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Insiders keep waiting for Pau Gasol-to-Rockets to reappear as two-team deal, sending Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic to Lakers, who could use a point guard, a shooter and someone to replace Lamar Odom, who they gave away.
15
16BLAZERS
(15-14)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
How do they miss thee, Brandon Roy, let them count the ways: Without their closer, Trail Blazers are 0-6 in games decided by three points or fewer.
14
17KNICKS
(14-15)
LAST WEEK: 4-0
From waiver wire to latest in line of great Knick guards from Guerin to Frazier to Monroe in eight days: Twice-axed Lin averages 27 as they go 6-0 with Amare and Melo each missing four of them.
20
18JAZZ
(14-14)
LAST WEEK:  1-3 
Seeking realistic level, going 5-9 after 9-4 start, without enough outside shooting (No. 27 in three-pointers, No. 28 in three-point accuracy at 29%) to complement Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap.
17
19WOLVES
(13-16)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Goodbye, heady heights over .500. After being 13-12, Timberwolves lose four in a row as Rubio shoots 33% in them.
16
20WARRIORS
(11-14)
LAST WEEK: 3-0 
Imagine what he’d be with two good ankles: Steph Curry averages 18 points, eight assists as Warriors win six of nine.
23
21SUNS
(12-17)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
Channing Frye, now the difference between semi-respectability and falling into the bottomless pit, averaged 6.8 and shot 34.5% through Feb. 1 as they went 7-13. This month he’s at 13.1, shooting 45% and they’re 5-4.
19
22CAVALIERS
(10-16)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
May be March before they ever get their first team on the floor again. With Kyrie Irving out for a week after suffering concussion, Anderson Varejao follows him to the bench for a month with a broken wrist.
21
23BUCKS
(12-16)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
How do you like the season, so far? With Bogut’s career in the trash can, Brandon Jennings insinuates he’ll look to leave when his contract is up in 2014.
22
24KINGS
(10-18)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
Fun while it lasted: Cast of Lord of the Flies won four of five after starting 4-10 under Keith Smart but now comes a six-game, eight-days East Coast swing.
25
25WIZARDS
(7-22)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
If no-nonsense Randy Wittman goes down, he’ll go down his way: Moving up worker bees like Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely, he’s 5-7 with knuckleheads who were 2-15 when he took over.
28
26RAPTORS
(9-21)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
DeMar DeRozan, who made a major leap to 17 points, shooting 47% in his second season, jumps back, averaging 15 and shooting 39% in this one.
26
27PISTONS
(8-22)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
May have gone into their home run trot a little early: After winning four games in a row, Wizards beat them by 21 in Auburn Hills.
27
28NETS
(8-21)
LAST WEEK: 0-3
Fun while it lasted: Disappearing back into the hinterlands from whence they came, Nets, who had pulled within 1/2 game of Knicks, lose six in a row as Jeremy Lin recaptures Gotham for Knicks.
24
29HORNETS
(5-23)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
With Eric Gordon undergoing knee surgery, insiders say he’s likeliest to wind up home in Indiana, where he has really wanted to be all along.
29
30BOBCATS
(3-25)
LAST WEEK: 0-3
Why MJ was such a labor hardliner (cont.) Are they fielding a team for all four quarters? Have now lost 15 in a row, by an average of 16 points, scoring 73-68-89-84-64-86-89 in last eight.
30
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Comments

  1. Gary says

    You do realize that the jeremy lin story had already been going on for 6 games at the time you wrote this article, with the sole purpose of discrediting the nba regular season and claiming nothing big ever happens…yea i will never read another article by you again, and sorry chris sheridan since im a big fan of your but i wont be back on this website for a while either

    • carl says

      Yeah, this site just keeps getting worse. Like they keep spitting out stats and they never move a team up or down more than a spot and if they do its not a good reason. It’s so stupid. The Knicks are so hot right now and they should easily be top-7. On the other note I am a Pacers fan and they move down only a few? they are 2-5 in the last seven like come on, they are horrible right now. Not a top-10 team in the league.

      • says

        Also, how about the Lakers at #9??? Why do power rankings if you’re basing it purely on their record, and dont’ consider facts say like: the Knicks dominating LA for 48 minutes with only one player worth a damn: Lin.

        • carl says

          I still can’t get past the fact that the Knicks are 17????? I hope everyone knows the Knicks would make playoffs if they started tmrw…. so that automatically puts them at 16 haha.

          • Jimbo says

            Yeah, but everyone makes the playoffs in the NBA. They’re moving up, isn’t that good? Not sure why people get so angry over power-rankings anyway. It’s just someone’s opinion. You’re allowed to have a different one you know…

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