Heisler’s NBA Power Rankings After Week 11

Not that this is when it counts, but: They’re not just good now but great, on a 22-3 run with back-to-back wins in Memphis and Houston with Chris Paul out. They are 4-1 vs. West top four (2-0 vs. SA, 0-1 vs. OKC, 2-0 vs. Griz), with four of those five on road.1
2THUNDER(30-8)I don’t care how good they are, Harden deal was Looney Tunes: Using more mumbo-jumbo I learned from ESPN, I have determined that without the deal, Thunder would have won 41 of its 38 games.2
When is No. 3 not good enough? With Pop disinclined to burn out Timmy, Tony and Manu with stretch drive, No. 3 finish in West would drop them into No. bracket with No. 2 Clippers, whom they’d have to beat on road in second round to get to OKC on road.3
Are Griz players, whose every accomplishment was hailed for two seasons, upset by reports that someone making a lot of money must go? One-sided loss to Clips without Gay hardly qualifies as good sign.6
What’s Plan B, because Plan A ain’t working: Spoelstra (and Riley) still insist on playing small, which worked in short term of playoffs last spring but has just seen them get outrebounded by 5.3 a game in 4-8 slide.4
Why don’t they go small with Hibbert averaging 9.4 ppg and shooting 40 percent? On the other hand, they’ve just won 14 of 18 their way, with No. 1 defense allowing 89 a game overall and 85 this month.8
Whether this is good news or bad news, Nugz have won nine of 11 without exactly maxing out. Leading scorer Gallinari at 16.5 ppg, and he and Lawson shooting 41 percent.9
Just 6-8 since 18-5 start, still seeking real level, as is Melo: In bad week for MVP candidacy, he has feelings hurt by KG in MSG loss to Celtics, gets himself suspended for loss in Indy, returns to shoot 8-23 in MSG loss to Bulls.7
Heat check: Warriors aren’t or likely to be soon. Just lost three of four after 22-10 start, with next six games vs. Heat, at SA, at NO, vs. Clippers, vs. OKC, at Chicago.5
Team says Rose is a week from rejoining practice, suggesting his rehab is ahead of schedule, even if the ever-cautious Bulls may keep him out until the All-Star break.10
P.J.’s now 10-1 but Phil bursts their bubble, telling Chris Sheridan he doesn’t intend to coach anyone. What Phil was too polite to add was, “least of all, the Nets,” who aren’t as promising as Prokhorov thinks.13
Winning streak up to six as rookie find Sullinger, who’s “not actually fat” but “round,” according to Doc Rivers, trims off enough of his curves to average 11-9 off bench in last four.14
If you’re wondering who Jeremy Lin really is, so are they: Shot 37 percent in November, 49 percent in December, back down to 39 percent this month.11
Code blue: Hawks score 20 in first half of 97-58 loss in Chicago in 1-6 slide following 20-10 start. Coach Drew notes, “Mentally we’ve flattened. I’ve got to find a way to resuscitate this team.” OK, how about pounding on their chests?12
Hickson was traded by Cavs and cut by Kings, twice given up on in last two years. Currently averaging career-best 12-11, making him one of 13 posting a double-double.15
Enjoy it while you’ve got it: Jazz goes 4-1 as Jefferson, another of their upcoming free agents – with Millsap, Mo Williams, Foye, Carroll and Tinsley – averages 21-10.17
You’ve got to love still-humble assistant coaches who’ve just taken over. Says Jim Boylan, 3-2 since replacing Skiles, to press at courtside during a game: “What a way to make a living.”18
Dwight returns as Lakes mop up Cavs and Bucks in key tests that show there’s still someone they can mop up. Now 8-5 vs. East but 9-16 vs. West which is, unfortunately, the conference they’re in.19
Season could have gone better: After bringing in capable Euro vets who held fort, Love is out again until March – or next November – after ripping management and tipping world off to his issues as a teammate. Rubio’s averaging 3.8 ppg, shooting 22 percent.16
Enemies R Us: There’s no shortage of people enjoying Cubes’ woes, but with player-friendly rep, willingness to lose tens of millions and announcing “The Bank of Cuban is open” in response to Dirk’s plea, I’m guessing they’ll be back.21
Apparently, they expired while waiting for Andrew: Losers of 17 of 23 since 10-6 start, they’re still waiting hopefully on Bynum, who says “maybe after the All-Star break” but whose timetable remains non-existent.20
Top point guard among 2013 free agents will be: Kyle Lowry or Jose Calderon? Raptors are still shopping Jose, even if they are 10-6 since he took over for Kyle.24
Key player with Afflalo in three-way deal for Dwight turning out to be Vucevic, averaging 11-11 after 76ers, who took him at No. 16 in 2011, played him three minutes total in playoffs.25
It will be interesting to see what No. 1 stud Davis does with his feet under him after All-Star break because, with injuries and all, he’s been on the quiet side, averaging 13-8.27
Too bad Ben Wallace won’t be in London for game vs. Knicks, for all those gag shots in front of real Big Ben. I’m guessing Pistons are there because someone in NBA office missed the fact he’s no longer with them.22
Owners of fans’ nightmares: Once fun guys, Maloofs blew family fortune, quashed local campaign to keep them – after Stern confirmed money was there – and now trying to to sell to Seattle group for $525 million without letting local bidders know team was for sale.23
Once an agent, always an agent: President Lon Babby says team’s more talented and athletic than last season. What Suns are is oldest, least athletic 25-57 team with no clue it’s time to rebuild, rather than setting up someone (Gentry) to take the fall.26
Wall’s first two games consist of 41 minutes off bench, scoring 26 with 10 assists as Wiz wins both to run streak to season-high three – and get club to magical threshold of .200 winning percentage.29
Varejao, who was averaging career-best 14-14 when he was lost for a game or two with a supposed bruised knee Dec. 18, now hopes to be back March 1 as it turns out to be torn muscle requiring surgery.28
Rebuilt too much: Hornets set NBA attendance marks in 20,000-seat Hive in Charlotte, left when they couldn’t get downtown arena. Expansion Bobcats (named after owner Bob Johnson) got arena but – surprise! – not the enthusiasm, prompting fire sale to MJ, who won’t commit personal fortune in Expansion III.30


PREVIOUS RANKINGS: Power | Most Improved | MVP | Rookies | Sixth Man | Euroleague


  1. stepxxxxz says

    so let me add. Bravo for calling out all the stat geeks that are turning this form of analysis into a cult almost. I notice its mostly people who havent played. Interestingly.

  2. stepxxxxz says

    God, stop with stats. Oh, with harden they win more? No, I doubt it, in fact. Watching OKC right now, I dont see them losing the west. The Clips are hardly great. They’ve been surprisingly tough and played hard…for this FIRST half of the season. Coaches like Pop and Karl always pace things. That said, OKC ishands down the power in the much tougher west. I think dallas is a bit too high, and probably the lakers, too. Beyond that though I think this is about right.

  3. Nick says

    The Grizzlies wanted to get Anthony Davis for Rudy Gay? So they would have Randolph, Gasol, and Davis? Or are you trying to be witty but instead just muddling facts? Make your Internet team rankings like the 30 other guys that do it but leave your stupid articles out of it. If Memphis is a trailer park then what is the basement of your mom’s house where you wrote this crappy blog?

  4. says

    Using Monday night’s attendance numbers against the Grizzlies is disingenuous. There was a major ice storm in Memphis Monday and Tuesday, which meant people stayed home for Monday night’s game and people headed to the game got caught in several hours of traffic.

    Friday night’s game against the Spurs was a couple hundred short of a sellout. Still not a sellout, but Monday, in particular, was not a good game to use for attendance numbers. Extenuating circumstances.

  5. blueshades says

    Hah, you would really take Curry over Marc Gasol? Okay. Even if you think Curry is better, I have no idea why or how you think it is such an easy choice.

    What do you mean by calling Memphis a trailer park? Seriously, I have no idea.

    Seems like you are just afraid to accept that something you are uncomfortable with (advanced statistical analysis) is beginning to have a big role in the NBA.

    • stepxxxxz says

      ASa is getting out of hand, however. Lionel Hollins was quite right this week when he spoke about that. Hoop isnt baseball. Stats can never tell you nearly enough in hoop. So maybe not uncomforable…just not accepting. But yeah…memphis is a lovely city for the record.

  6. Brett says

    Really? The Pacers at 6 despite losing to the Nets who have won 7 straight? How are the Nets not even in the top 10?

    Oh, and they are 9-1 under Carlesimo not 10-1. 5 seconds of fact checking could have helped.

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