Heisler’s Wednesday Power Rankings

We have a little shakeup at the top of the rankings, or say good-bye to the Thunder (now No. 3), Bulls (5) and Heat (6).

And our newest leader, and The New Team No One Wants to Meet in the Playoffs is….

The Spurs?

OK, there’s a stipulation. This is only if Gregg Popovich brings his whole team, since he doesn’t always.

While the other good teams have been taking it between the eyeballs, the Spurs coach saw his team win 11 in a row, taking over first place in the West.

Or as the one and only Pop must have thought when the press told him about the latest deveopoments in the West race:
“What race?”

In a new wrinkle in his years-long practice of resting his stars, Popovich left Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker home as everyone else flew to Salt Lake City and lost to the Jazz.

Meanwhile, the Thunder, which has no plans to rest Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, since they might not get to 50 wins without them, won in Milwaukee to take back first place in the West “race.”

Unfortunately, before that, the Thunder, once more overcome at being No. 1 in the Sheridan Hoops Power Rankings (Wednesday edition), lost three in a row and there went their billing as hot-hot-hot.

The Bulls still have the best record but with Derrick Rose returning and leaving… yet again… they’re now focused on smaller, more realizable goals, like seeing if he can play two games in a row.

The Lakers lost Kobe Bryant for two games and counting. Even if they surprised everyone by winning one, the only people they scare now are their fans.

Miami just lost home-and-home to the Celtics.

Yes, as I said all along, don’t write off the Celtics!

Or the Grizzlies!

Or (tune in next week).

RANKTEAMTHE RUNDOWNLAST
1SPURS
(40-15)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
Of course, this assumes Pop doesn’t rest Timmy, Tony and Manu the rest of the week.
2
2CELTICS
(33-24)
LAST WEEK: 3-2
No, I don’t believe they’re vaguely the second-best team but they’re the second-hottest. As Doc said all along (the last five years), everyone’s 0-0 when playoffs start.
8
3THUNDER
(42-15)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Face it, who’s really surprised when they lose three of four? The surprise was seeing them go 39-12 before that.
1
4GRIZZLIES
(33-23)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Here’s to Coach Lionel Hollins, GM Chris Wallace: What was once a collection of scorers holds opponents to 91 a game and 41% from field in 8-2 run, beating LAL, LAC, OKC, Miami and Dallas..
10
5BULLS
(44-14)
LAST WEEK: 2-1  
Yeah, I know they’re better than this, in theory. What have they done for anyone lately?
3
6HEAT
(40-16)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
They’ve done even less than the Bulls and they had at least one superstar in all of them.
4
7LAKERS
(36-22)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
May not even wind up as team to beat in Los Angeles, much less the West. If Kobe’s not back soon, how about going on road for entire West draw?
5
8PACERS
(35-22)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
Not that this is a turnaround season, but a 7-2 finish would give them their most wins in six seasons, all of which had 82 games.
6
9CLIPPERS
(34-23)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Clips learn how Nick Young got that knucklehead rap: Shooting 36% for them and putting it up every time he touches it.
9
10HAWKS
(34-23)
LAST WEEK: 3-0 
Good as it gets, for them: Three-game win streak makes them 26-19 without Horford. Six of last nine at home. Big Al holding out hope of rejoining them in playoffs.
11
11MAGIC
(34-24)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
GM Otis Smith is as dead a duck as Coach Stan Van Gundy. Only question is whether Dwight stays—for a season—to break in the new guys.
7
12ROCKETS
(32-25)
LAST WEEK: 3-0
As everyone said before the season, they’ll go as far as Goran takes them: Rockets win eight of 11 with Dragic averaging 20.
14
13MAVERICKS
(32-26)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Last thing they wanted to do was to pay LO off and watch him trot back to L.A., sign with the local teams and watch him go back to being Lamar Odom against them.
12
14NUGGETS
(31-26)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Rookie Kenneth Faried, monster athlete with supposedly no skills, goes for 27-17 in win over Warriors, averaging 11-9 in 25 minutes this month. In rebounds per minutes, he’s No. 10 in NBA.
13
15KNICKS
(29-28)
LAST WEEK: 2-1
Even at 11-4, Woodson’s no cinch to be rehired with John Calipari eyeing a return to the NBA, repped by CAA, which also reps ‘Melo and half the Knick front office.
18
16SUNS
(30-27)
LAST WEEK: 3-1 
In good news they go 5-1. In bad news, upcoming free agent Nash, who has always insisted he wanted to stay, says he’ll take the call if Miami phones.
17
17JAZZ
(30-28)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
A .500 season would still be an accomplishment: That’s good because playoffs are slipping away.
16
18BUCKS
(28-29)
LAST WEEK: 3-1
Still going: 4-1 run keeps them on Knicks’ tail with teams meeting in Milwaukee tonight, and Bucks leading season series, 2-1.
20
19SIXERS
(30-27)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Wheels have come off. 76ers lose 10 of 14 as Iggy wonders aloud why Lou Williams can’t defend better. Of course, Lou must wonder why Iggy can’t hit the ocean from a boat.
15
20WOLVES
(25-33)
LAST WEEK: 0-3 
Six-game losing streak makes them 18-13 in games Rubio started, 4-13 since he was lost.
19
21BLAZERS
(27-31)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Owner Paul Allen says there’s “no joy in losing money.” Unfortunately for Trail Blazer fans, he denies reports he’s once more seeking to sell the team.
21
22PISTONS
(21-36)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Gordon and Villanueva, who got $80 million between them three years ago, still have $25 mill and $16.5 coming, respectively. Unfortunately Pistons can only amnesty one.
22
23CAVALIERS
(19-36)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Varejao, who broke wrist Feb. 10, close to returning. Cavs were 10-15 when he left but now, why rush him back and ruin a good lottery position?
23
24WARRIORS
(22-34)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
Charles Jenkins goes back to being Charles Jenkins: Rookie point from Hofstra averages 14 in seven-game breakout, then 5.3 over his last three.
24
25NETS
(21-38)
LAST WEEK: 2-2
Prokhorov jokes about “crushing” Mark Cuban in kickboxing if Mavs sign DWill away. Unfortunately for Nets, it won’t come down to the better kickboxer.
26
26KINGS
(19-39)
LAST WEEK: 0-4 
Remember Jimmer Fever? Keith Smart found a cure, limiting him to 14 minutes a game in February and March, but the rookie’s averaging 11 points in 24 minutes this month.
25
27RAPTORS
(20-38)
LAST WEEK: 1-3 
Insiders once thought Mike D’Antoni would wind up working for Bryan Colangelo, his boss in Phoenix. Of course, that was before Raptors became developmental team.
27
28HORNETS
(15-42)
LAST WEEK: 2-2 
When did you guys sense this wasn’t your season? When CP3 left? When Stern rejected Laker deal? Gordon returns—as Jarrett Jack leaves for season with stress fracture.
28
29WIZARDS
(14-44)
LAST WEEK: 2-3 
Well, it’s a little better: Just won two in a row, including one in Orlando, making them 5-14 since dumping two of their knuckleads at trade deadline, when they were 9-32.
29
30BOBCATS
(7-49)
LAST WEEK: 0-5 
Only three (other?) NBA teams have ever posted single-figure win totals: 9-73 76ers in 1972-73; 8-42 Vancouver Grizzlies and 9-41 Clippers in lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
30
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Comments

  1. says

    Calipari isn’t on the radar, as of yet. So why bring that up? As far as I’m concerned, Power Rankings are about the teams recent progress, so why is off-season issues relevant?I agree that handling an uprising Bucks team on the road & splitting a home-and-home with the leagues best team is worthy of a jump of 3 spots in the rankings. But if we’re 12-4 in the last 16 games, how the hell were we ever #18? Denver and Orlando aren’t better (or hotter) than New York at the moment.

  2. Sharif says

    How are the Knicks 15th? I know their overall record is not great at 30-28; however, they have went 12-4 since Woodson took over, with all the injuries to Lin, Amare, Davis, Jeffries, etc.. Calipari is not on the radar – and even if he was, it would make sense to talk about the great games they have been playing recently and their excellent defense…

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