Heisler’s NBA Power Rankings After Week 12

1THUNDER(33-9)One of their few weaknesses is Westbrook’s cold spells but they’re over: After shooting 41% in November and 39% in December, he’s at 46% this month.2
In good news, they go 3-0 without CP3, winning at Memphis, Houston and Minny. In bad news, CP3 hurts bruised knee in second game back, is lost again.1
Not that it’s hard to find reasons to rest them: Manu, 35, out for a week or two with hamstring pull. Pop leaves Tim in SA for game in Atlanta, which Spurs win anyway.3
In the good news, they could win the East going .500 the rest of the way. In the bad news, they’ve gone .500 last four weeks.5
Given 4-7 start and fact no one talks about them, and Granger’s out, and Hibbert’s averaging single figures and barely shooting 40%, and Hill’s no elite point guard, winning 22 of 31 is pretty good.6
Zach says trade talk “definitely” a factor in 6-7 slide. New owners assure Gay, Z-Bo they’re safe, dumping what little depth they have go get under tax threshold, including Ellington, who made 21% of their paltry 4.7 threes per game.4
Big debate among Nugz fans: Which player on their ensemble team deserves to be an All-Star: Lawson? Gallo? Iggy? I’ve got it! How about none of them?7
Suggesting how wild Western playoffs will be, Monday’s victory gives Warriors, the Clippers of Northern California, the season series over the Clippers of Southern California, 3-1.9
They’ve won eight of 11 but can they last another month without Rose? Deng, No. 1 in minutes at 39.8 a game, pulls hamstring.10
Nets beat a lot of small fries in PJ’s 9-1 start but bagged the elephant this week, beating Knicks at MSG to tie season series, 2-2.11
Kremlin Blues: Owner Dolan, who has player interviews recorded, has Melo recorded on floor. Melo, shooting 42% this month, reveals he was on stringent diet. They’ve lost nine of 16 since 18-5 start.8
Insiders say Hawks would definitely trade JSmoove for D12, becoming the team that can offer Dwight the extra season. Worst-case scenario: Dwight splits L.A., leaving them two max slots.14
If you wonder who could beat out Lakers for last playoff slot, Jazz could: Plus-5 road win/home loss ratio to Lakers’ minus-5 – and already won season series.16
Ilyasova, last season’s find who got big extension, then disappeared in November & December under Skiles, is found again by Boylan. Back starting, he gets 54-30 in last two.17
People say it’ll take 47 wins to make playoffs in West, but No. 8 Rox are on a 42-win pace. Obliged to go on road for seven of eight after their 21-14 start, they drop seven before beating ‘Cats.13
Oops: 6-0 run is followed by 0-4 slide, losing to teams with 49-102 record. Doc goes off after blowout in Detroit, saying he hasn’t done his job, vowing to ship out players who don’t do theirs.12
If you wonder who Lakers could beat out for last playoff slot, Blazers are more like a target of opportunity, having gone 0-6 since coming home 20-15 after 3-1 East Coast trip.15
Otherwise, he might have scored 152: After Durant goes for 52 on the Mavs, Dirk says, “I thought we still did a decent job on him.”20
Derrick Williams, No 2 pick in 2011 who Wolves discovered can only play power forward, getting his chance with Love out but scores just 10-11-17 in three starts.19
I used to put them this low for fun of it, assuming they had to make their move to No. 10-12 sooner or later. Now I’m putting them here because that’s where they belong.18
They’re alive! Hornets have won seven of nine. Unfortunately, with Gordon out and Davis in and out, they started 7-25.24
Drummond-beat: Nondescript Pistons, who aren’t too big or small, don’t score or give up a lot, shoot OK not great, need the raw 6-10 rookie who’s making a move, averaging 10-10 as they go 9-4 after 7-21 start.25
They’re alive, too! Wiz, who had lost 13 of 14, are 5-2 since Wall’s return with wins in Denver and Portland and Beal scoring 17 a game, giving long-suffering fans a glimpse of backcourt of future.28
Is there someone else they could put on the injured list now? Raptors went 10-3 with Bargnani, Valanciunas and Lowry going out, but are 1-6 since.22
Remember November, when they went 10-6? It’s even hard for the 76ers, who haven’t won two in a row since.21
Proving owners can’t screw up, Maloofs ride Kings into the ground, screw city that turns itself inside out to keep them, get $525 million (?!) franchise valuation for selling 65% of team to Seattle group.26
Magic was 12-14 when it lost Glen Davis, averaging 16-8, and maturing to the point he should at least go from “Big Baby” to “Big Infant.” Unfortunately, he’s been back for five and they lost four.23
Gentry who had Suns in 2010 West Finals, is fired, or resigns but, in any case, gets to leave. Unfortunately, everyone else there has to stay.27
Nice knowing you: Varejao, averaging career-best 14-14, now out for season with blood clots. With Cavs disinclined to keep him, probably has played last game for them.29
For those who aren’t fantasy players and haven’t heard of Bismack Biyombo, second-year starting power forward’s two-point, nine-rebound, seven-block line in loss to Rox wasn’t that unusual.30

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  1. jerry25 says

    Josh Smith is one of the dumbest players in the NBA. As a Nets fan, I would no longer want him on my team.

    However, Kevin Love is a no-brainer for the D’Antoni system (for Dwight Howard), if that was possible.
    Of course Howard would never re-sign with Wolves, hence Dwight would have to go to a team where he Would sign.

    Although Nets would never trade Lopez for Kevin Love, they might be willing to it, if it brought back Howard from LAL. The only reason this isn’t being discussed more, is that Love won’t be back until after the trade deadline.

    However, if Lakers fall to 10 under 500, they can kiss the playoffs goodbye and welcome Kevin Love. Wolves would want to make that trade yesterday, because they are also falling out the playoff picture without Love.

  2. SW says

    “Nets beat a lot of small fries in PJ’s 9-1 start but bagged the elephant this week, beating Knicks in MSG to take season series, 3-1.”

    You may want to check your facts. Five of those ten games were against teams over .500, and the Nets went 4-1 in those games. They beat OKC, Indy, Atlanta, and the Knicks. Also, the season series with the Knicks ended 2-2. You’re welcome.

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