Heisler’s Wednesday Power Rankings

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Shortly after its debut, Sheridan Hoops’ Power Rankings (Wednesday Edition) gave the top spot to Oklahoma City. The Thunder then lost their next two games, after which we here at SHWE vowed never to put them at No. 1 again.

What we meant was we wouldn’t put them No. 1 until the end of the season or we ran out of teams to put there, whichever came first.

Right now, it’s not even close, if you approach it as we—actually, it’s just me—do.

This isn’t just moving teams around in a desperate attempt to attract attention, or, at least not entirely.

My rankings are a compromise between what a team has done, what it has done lately and what I expect it to do.

If the Bulls lose the next five, I won’t drop them to No. 20 but I might drop them to No. 3 or 4, or 12, depending on abstruse mathematical metrics and my mood, even if we know Derrick Rose’s return will right their world.

Of course, my rankings make perfect sense to me, but I understand there are people with more invested emotionally who think I’m out of my gourd, like, say, Bulls fans this week.

In that case, I suggest you read someone else’s rankings, do your own, or, best of all, forget the whole thing.

Like who needs rankings? We already have standings to show who’s best in each conference. Pretty soon there will be a postseason tournament to decide who’s best.

People like them because NBA fans have a whole season to kill before the real deal, and the items are short, and hopefully, occasionally interesting, and/or entertaining.

To my surprise, after doing them for years at the Los Angeles Times, and complaining about it every inch of the way, I missed it so badly after leaving the paper, I asked Chris, our founder, if I could do a version like his here, so I could still have something to complain about.

So, if you think they’re hard on you, get in line….

In any case, as I said, it’s not close right now—with “right now” the operative words—with the Bulls finally becoming what we thought they’d be without him all along, and the Heat in their own doldrums.

Meanwhile, the Thunder was winning six of seven, beating the Clippers by 23, the Heat by 16, the Lakers by nine—in Staples after leading by 19—and the Bulls by 14 after leading by 30.

Of course, things will look a lot closer if the Heat gets up for the rematch tonight in Miami.

In that case, find some other power rankings (Thursday edition) or come back next week to see what kind of excuse or mythical boycott I come up with.

RANK TEAM THE RUNDOWN LAST
1 THUNDER
(40-13)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
So much for the road to the West title going through L.A.: Thunder goes through, crunches Lakers in Staples, then goes home and walks on Bulls.
2
2 SPURS
(37-14)
LAST WEEK: 3-0
Pop, runaway winner of Too Cool for School competition with Phil Jackson gone, puts down “DNP-OLD” for Duncan. sitting him out for a game as they win 14 of 15.
3
3 BULLS
(42-13)
LAST WEEK: 2-2  
So much for their dream season: After rout in OKC and home loss to Rockets, fans’ rejoicing in all that rest Rose is getting turns to “quiet concern” about groin that’s sidelined him since March 12.
1
4 HEAT
(38-14)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Pundits go predictably apebleep after 19-point loss in Boston on national TV. On bright side, press doesn’t apprehend anyone crying in dressing room as in last spring’s national TV loss to Bulls, after which Heat went to NBA Finals.
5
5 LAKERS
(34-20)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Kobe, recently hailed as “Masked Mamba,” is written off as old with shooting nosediving to 39% in March, capped by 3-for-21 vs. Hornets, finds fountain of youth, going for 40 on 18-for-28 vs. Warriors.
7
6 PACERS
(32-21)
LAST WEEK: 3-2 
That helps: Granger, who shot 35% before All-Star break, is at 45% since. That doesn’t: Hibbert drops from 51% to 46%, Psycho-T from 47% to 39%.
6
7 MAGIC
(32-22)
LAST WEEK: 0-4
Good times are over (again): Co-captains Dwight, Jameer sit at end of bench in fourth quarter of blowout in New York, which turns out to be only first of four-game losing streak.
4
8 CELTICS
(30-22)
LAST WEEK: 3-0
This is like the horror flicks where mummy comes alive and terrorizes everyone: Celtics win five in row, taking lead in Atlantic as Pierce, KG turn calendar back to, oh, say, 2009, averaging 24, 18.
13
9 CLIPPERS
(32-21)
LAST WEEK: 4-0 
Apparently Vinny located that locker room ESPN said he lost: Clips go 6-0, including 19-point rout of Mavs in Dallas as cold-shooting Foye warms up with 20-17-28 in last three.
10
10 GRIZZLIES
(30-22)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Went 1-4 with Randolph back before beating Lakers in Staples, starting 5-1 run in the other direction, including win in OKC, even if the former Zach Attack averaged only 8.8 off bench.
11
11 HAWKS
(31-23)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
Josh Smith, one of NBA’s most gifted and, uh, confused players, is on the run of his career, averaging 23-10 since All-Star break.
8
12 MAVERICKS
(30-24)
LAST WEEK: 1-2
Over the Hill Gang, which went 27-14 after 0-4 start, loses four of seven with defense which allowed 91 a game through All-Star break, No. 4 in league, allowing 97.9 since.
9
13 NUGGETS
(29-24)
LAST WEEK: 2-21 
Welcome to the NBA: Nuggets go 3-1 on road, beating Bulls (without Rose) and Magic (without Dwight) with JaVale playing 20 minutes a game in transition to accountability on team trying to contend.
14
14 ROCKETS
(29-25)
LAST WEEK: 2-1
Team looking for big man all season found one in Camby; Dragic averages 17, shoots 53% as they go 7-5 without Lowry and Kevin Martin, beating Lakers, winning in OKC and Chicago.
15
15 SIXERS
(29-24)
LAST WEEK: 1-2 
Running on empty: Iggy, averaging 12.3, his low since his second season, rests sore knee for two games, averaging 12 since his return. Elton at career lows 29 minutes, 11 points a game.
12
16 JAZZ
(28-26)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Looking like Jazz vs. Rockets for No. 8 in West, with Jazz playing seven of 12 at home, vs. five of 12 for Rockets, with season series 1-1 and rubber game in Houston on April 11.
16
17 SUNS
(27-26)
LAST WEEK: 2-1 
Gortat averaging 17, No. 4 in shooting, No. 8 in rebounds, No. 16 in blocks. Looks like Magic should have figured out a way to give him more than the 13.2 minutes he averaged for them.
18
18 KNICKS
(27-27)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Now to test notion, or delusion, they’re better with Baron starting: They’re 4-2 since Lin left for the season but next four are at Orlando, vs. Chicago, at Chicago, at Milwaukee.
17
19 WOLVES
(25-30)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Stat geeks and fantasy players aside, numbers are just numbers: Love’s at 29-13 since break, shooting 46% but team that was 18-12 in Rubio’s starts, while he shot 33%, now 7-18 in the others, 4-10 since he got hurt.
19
20 BUCKS
(25-28)
LAST WEEK: 2-1
Now or never: They’re just 5-4 with Monta, who’s averaging 14, shooting 39% with them, but their next five are at home, with last vs. Knicks, whom they lead in season series, 2-1.
20
21 BLAZERS
(25-29)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Pres. Larry Miller, former Nike exec who’s outlasted two GMs going on three, announces search to replace interim guy Chad Buchanan! Hopefully, reported fave Steve Kerr knows better than to jump into this snake pit.
21
22 PISTONS
(20-33)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Promising as Knight is, just think if team that needs big man got fans’ dream of “next Ben Wallace,” last spring. Unfortunately, Sacramento, trading down for Jimmer, took Biyombo for Charlotte at No. 7, one pick before Pistons.
25
23 CAVALIERS
(17-34)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
When going gets tough, tough get going except in NBA where the downtrodden dream of Anthony Davis: Cavs were 13-18 at All-Star break, 4-16 since with one win in last 12.
22
24 WARRIORS
(20-32)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
With 11 losses in last 13, I assume the only reason they haven’t shut down Curry is he’s pleading for a shot to make it back from latest ankle injury–even if he’s two weeks away with only three left.
23
25 KINGS
(19-35)
LAST WEEK: 2-3 
Now to educate their promising young players in their obligation when other team has ball: Denver’s No. 1 in scoring at 103.5, except for Kings’ opponents at 104—and heating up, at 107 since the break.
24
26 NETS
(19-36)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
If it’s not his farewell address, it sounds like an early draft: DWill tells Yahoo’s Marc Spears, “I didn’t ask to be here. I got traded.”
27
27 RAPTORS
(19-35)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Just went 2-0 despite torrid race with Kings for fourth-worst record–unavoidably, with Wiz, Bobcats there. Happily, if fate doesn’t drop AD in their lap, they’re awaiting arrival of last spring’s No. 5 pick, 6-11 Jonas Valanciunas.
26
28 HORNETS
(13-40)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
No. 8 defense, allowing 94, still keeps them in games, even if they lose three-quarters of them, with No. 29 offense scoring 89. What might be possible next season with Eric Gordon: 25 wins? 30?
28
29 WIZARDS
(12-41)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Why veteran teams win: Rookie Singleton, making $1.5 mill, wasn’t considered one of their knuckleheads until tweeting he spent $10K on lottery tix, noting it was that “or blow it in the club.”
29
30 BOBCATS
(7-44)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Even with Kemba shooting 37%, ESPN’s David Thorpe says he’d go in lottery if they re-drafted today—but lists MarShon Brooks, Nicola Vucevic, Kenneth Faried, Chandler Parsons, whom Bobcats passed on, as better picks at No. 9.
30
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