Heisler’s Wednesday Power Rankings

Let’s see, what happened before Jeremy Lin?

It’s hard to remember that far back. I think there was a lockout, after which New Orleans traded Chris Paul to the Clippers, who then began eclipsing the Lakers with some highlight dunk that Blake Griffin fired in over the heads of the Thunder.

Meanwhile, in the East, the Bulls got off to a great start, before Derrick Rose started getting back spasms.

Then came Jeremy….

No, this isn’t another one of those stories gushing about him, or doing eyerolls at the mania surrounding him.

In our continuing effort to put Lin in perspective….

No, we still can’t put him into any perspective until he’s off this roll, which is now 10 games in which he averaged 24.6 points and shot 49.7%, and, for a guy who wasn’t supposed to have any range, made 12 of his last 30 3-point tries.

Of course, if this isn’t a roll, then Lin is really as good as everyone in New York thinks he is.

Barring that, even if they turn up their noses when some smaller burg (and they’re all smaller) goes nuts, New Yorkers just get a little excited sometimes.

With the Knicks winning eight of those 10, the story has become inescapable, to the point Lin had to plead with the press back in Taiwan to let his family there breathe.

If the hype is over the top, the story is authentic and ongoing, with the Knicks at Miami Thursday in what may replace the 1979 Michigan State-Indiana State NCAA Finals as the highest-rated basketball game.

Actually, it won’t but ABC got a 60% ratings boost for Sunday’s Knicks win over the Mavericks and Mayor Michael Bloomberg presided over a shotgun marriage Madison Square Garden and Time Warner to get the games back on cable in New York.

What could go wrong now?

RANKTEAMTHE RUNDOWNLAST
1HEAT
(26-7)
LAST WEEK: 3-0 
On 18-3 run with victories in Philadelphia, Indiana and Atlanta. With back-to-back-to-backs back, became first team since the 1970-71 Suns to go win three road games in three three nights. Winners of seven straight, all by at least 12 points.
1
2THUNDER
(25-7)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Not only do they have the best road record in the West (12-6), with 18 of their first 30 on road, they have played more of them than any team in the West.
2
3BULLS
(26-8)
LAST WEEK: 3-1  
A Rose is a rose, is a rose, once more: Now up to 10 missed games of the 35 they’ve played, but reigning MVP returned with 23 in romp over Hawks.
3
4SPURS
(23-10)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
They were 1-8 on the road before winning seven in a row in this season’s version of their Rodeo Trip, and 11 in a row overall, even with Manu pulling his abdomenal oblique and going out again. White flag 40-point loss at Portland was first 40-point loss of Duncan Era.
4
5MAGIC
(21-12)
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 50% of his free throws (182 makes, 181 misses).
7
6CLIPPERS
(21-12)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Losses to Spurs in Staples, Warriors in Oakland show Clips aren’t there yet. In worse news, new kids on block, who could have used J.R. Smith with Foye shooting 36% as a starter, lose him to newer kids on block, Linsanity Knicks.
6
7MAVERICKS
(21-12)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
How are they ahead of Lakers with Dirk at Millennium-low numbers? Mavs’ bench is No. 2, averaging 44 points. Lakers are No. 30 at 21, three points behind the No. 29 team.
8
8PACERS
(20-12)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Hibbert’s All-Star selection proves: 1) Project centers aren’t doomed to fail, if you have the right project center; and 2) There is only one All-Star center in the East.
10
9SIXERS
(20-13)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Good at taking care of business against small fries, which is good because they’ve played enough good teams to lose seven of their last 11.
5
10LAKERS
(19-13)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
Bleep hits fan with World Peace dumping on Mike Brown (“a stats guy [whose] background is video coordinator or whatever”) and Kobe, who doesn’t seem to know there’s any other way to do this, ordering front office to fish or cut bait with Pau trade.
9
11GRIZZLIES
(19-15)
LAST WEEK: 4-1 
With Zach two weeks away, Marreese Speights, sleeping giant donated by the 76ers, awakens long enough to average 12-9 as Grizzlies go 7-2.
13
12ROCKETS
(19-14)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
Stat-freak GM Morey once argued they were better when Battier guarded Kobe than when Kobe wasn’t in game, but he’s the one who got Lee, Patterson, Budinger, Dragic for bench that’s No. 7 in scoring.
15
13HAWKS
(19-13)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
What else is new? Seven losses in last 10. Ownership still in flux. Coach laments “Sometimes we come to play and sometimes we don’t.”
14
14NUGGETS
(18-15)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Finally, someone coming instead of going: With Gallo out, Nene in and out, Wilson Chandler’s on his way back with his team in China saying it will let him out.
12
15BLAZERS
(18-16)
LAST WEEK: 3-2 
Arch-disappointment Ray Felton, shooting 37% puts it on… Nate McMillan? “I know I’m struggling,” says Felton, “but it’s hard to perform the way you know how when you know they don’t have confidence in you.” He now comes off the bench behind Jamal Crawford.
16
16KNICKS
(16-17)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Melo, who blew up last season’s chemistry, returns to blow up this season’s new magic, if only for a night as Knicks, who had won eight of nine, rising Linsanity craze, lose to Nets in his return.
17
17CELTICS
(16-17)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
No, they’re not lying in the weeds, as in days of yore. On 1-6 swoon, including upsets at hands of Pistons, Raptors, it’s more like someone bumped Celtics off and dumped them there.
11
18WOLVES
(16-17)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Team that just needs a big man finds a bigger man, anyway, even if he might not win a jump ball from Kevin Love: 6-11, 290-pound Nikola Pekovic, 31st pick in 2008 draft, averaging 16-10, shooting 59% as a starter.
19
19JAZZ
(16-17)
LAST WEEK: 2-3 
Still a long night’s work at their place but after opening with 15 of 21 at home, they’re not done making up for it, with seven of next nine on the road.
18
20CAVALIERS
(13-17)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Charles Barkley, on taking Kyrie over Linsanity for his Rising Stars team: “[Lin] has only been playing for a week… Kyrie Irving is terrific and he’s going to hand it to him and if Ricky Rubio wants some, he can come get some too.”
22
21SUNS
(14-19)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Showing it wasn’t safe to tell the world how much he disliked the Suns, after all, Suns upset Kobe’s Lakers in Phoenix. Coincidentally or not, Kobe then goes off on Lakers management.
21
22WARRIORS
(12-17)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Gritty little team gets even littler with its only real center, Andris Biedrins going out, leaving Coach Mark Jackson to joke about signing Vitaly Potapenko, the 6-10 coach of their D-League team who retired in 2007.
20
23BUCKS
(13-19)
LAST WEEK: 1-3
Hits keep happening: With Bogut out, Jennings hinting he wants out, Stephen Jackson unloads on Skiles (“We don’t have no relationship…and I don’t expect to have one. Too much stuff has happened.”)
23
24PISTONS
(11-23)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Up from ignominy: After starting 4-20, they’ve won seven of 10 with finally-in-shape Rodney Stuckey averaging 18, shooting 48% this month, alongside Brandon Knight with Ben Gordon in natural role, coming off bench.
27
25NETS
(10-24)
LAST WEEK: 2-3
With Brook Lopez almost ready to go, there was no way they were going to let him take his first tentative steps in Tuesday’s game at Orlando with everything riding on getting the Magic to take him in a deal for Dwight Howard.
28
26HORNETS
(7-25)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
New high point for them, if not for Jazz, Bucks and Linsanity Knicks: With Eric Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Carl Landry out, Hornets win three in a row for first time this season as Kaman averages 19-10 in what everyone knows is a showcase.
29
27KINGS
(10-22)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Jimmermania will have to wait: Rookie who burned up preseason averaging 8.0, shooting 37% and playing less and less, rather than more and more.
24
28WIZARDS
(7-25)
LAST WEEK: 0-3 
Been down so long, it looked like up to them: At 4-20, they won three of five before giving up 102-114-104 and losing by 18-14-16 vs. Clippers, Utah and Phoenix.
25
29RAPTORS
(9-23)
LAST WEEK: 0-2 
Underrated MVP candidate: They’re 6-7 with Bargnani, 3-16 without him. Unfortunately, they’ll be without him for another week or so.
26
30BOBCATS
(4-27)
LAST WEEK: 1-2
Happy days are here again. OK, happy day: Losers of 16 in a row and 22 of 23 get their second win in six weeks as starters Augustin, Maggette return for big upset in Toronto.
30
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Comments

  1. Jimbo says

    The Magic: a team good enough to justify keeping around Dwight Howard, but probably not good enough to convince him to stay, or to win a championship right now (barring a catastrophic injury or two to the Heat/Bulls).

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