Heisler’s NBA Power Rankings After Week 13

Team Ghost: Latest of Pop’s guys to sit out is… Pop? He’s home sick as winning streak reaches eight – with their coach out for three, Timmy out for three, Manu for five.3
2THUNDER(34-11)Kevin Martin says he’d take cut in $12.4 million salary to stay, which is why they traded Harden, whom they miss when Westbrook’s cold, as in their last five when he shoots 34.7% as they go 2-3.2
The way I hear it, Riles relaxed their dress code after acquiring Birdman to shore up their rebounding, so he only has to keep his Mohawk neatly trimmed.4
Reality check: After going 3-0 without CP3, lost next four. Injury now “bone bruise,” not just bruise, with no timetable for return. In other words, they’ll be as careful as Bulls are with Rose.1
Oops: Griz hoped getting below tax threshold would end trade talk, which Z-Bo says was “definitely” a problem. Unfortunately, talk about dealing Gay persists, as does their fade since 18-6 start.6
Curry get All-Star snub despite averaging 21-4-7, then goes out with another sprained ankle. Happily for them, they have Jarrett Jack, game’s best backup point, who has 26-12 in win at Cleveland. And Bogut’s back!8
SSRLC (Still Seeking Real Level Cont.): 9-10 since 18-5 start with Melo shooting 42% this month. On the other hand, Felton returns, and win at Boston shows they’re tougher than they were in recent Charmin Era.11
How high can Nugz go? They’re 17-6 since 11-12 start. I guess this is where we note teams above – and several below – have No. 1 options like KD, CP3, Tony, Steph, Z-Bo, Jefferson, Harden, Lillard, Kobe….7
DWill, a great shooter in Utah but barely at 40% as a Net, makes 28-49 over last four. If he goes back to being DWill, they’re the big team in town, not just the borough.10
Deng, No. 1 in the NBA in minutes, returns after missing five games with hamstring pull. The players whom Tibs hasn’t worn down yet win three times led by Noah, who’s No. 6 in minutes.9
He’s alive! Hibbert, averaging single figures and – in a feat thought impossible for 7-foot NBA starter – shooting 39%, bumps it up to 11, 48% this month!5
Remember the Highlight Factory? Now they’re the Smurf Factory with Devis Harris startig in three-guard lineup with Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, as Hawks win their first three without Lou Williams.12
Crowded race for Interim Coach of the Year: Jim Boylan’s now 8-3 to PJ Carlesimo’s 13-4, as Bucks average 104 under him after averaging 96 for Skiles.14
Curry, averaging 21-4-7 for Warriors who lead Rox by four games, got robbed. But it’s hard to call Harden, averaging 26-5-6 for team in playoff slot, “undeserving.”15
Still one of the league’s underrated personnel operations. Imagine if they could have kept DWill, Boozer, AK-47, Wes Matthews, Koufos to go with Jefferson, Millsap, Hayward?13
Note to Suns: This is how you rebuild: Highest-scoring starting unit at 81 a game to OKC’s 77 with Aldridge-Matthews-Hickson-Batum-Lillard at age 27-26-24-24-22.17
Who had Kobe playing point with Nash off the ball as their answer? If I did, I wouldn’t have written “Lakers RIP” last week. After losing 11 of 14, just went 3-0 as Kobe scores 49 points on 34 – with 39 assists.20
The Hard Truth: At 35, Pierce, averaging 19 but shooting 42%, a nine-year low, beaten out for All-Star Game by Deng after playing in five in a row—and no one even says it’s controversial.16
Last week’s starting centers: Kaman, who suffered a concussion, followed by Brand, followed by rookie Bernard James as Carlisle looks for something – anything – that will work while losing 16 of 24.18
Figuring out his role – and it’s not shooting threes despite starting 20-37 as a Clipper rookie – Al-Farouq Aminu, a force on boards for small forward, averaging 9-10 this month, shooting 51%.21
Rubio shooting 25.7% (twenty-five-point-seven percent). I’m guessing that’s right up, er, down there with any starting guard in shot clock era.19
Jrue, latter-day Mo Cheeks averaging 21 this month, shooting 48%, becomes All-Star. Sixers got him at No. 17 in 2009 after five PGs went before him, including Tyreke, Rubio, Flynn.25
Drummond is stat geeks’ fave with high efficiency ratings. But whatever he does to keep Frank yo-yoing him, he just did it again, averaging 13-9 over three, 5-6 in next three, then going for 18-18.22
Now 1-7 since end of improbable 10-3 run and trying to decide whom to move – Lowry, who has friendly contract with only $1 million guaranteed in 2013-14, or Calderon, before he leaves as free agent.24
It’s not easy to become an All-Star in your second season, while missing 11 of 43. But Kyrie deserved it, averaging 26-3-6 this month and looking like best young guy since KD.29
If this keeps up, he’ll be an MVP candidate: Wiz now 6-4 with Wall after going 5-28 – and losing 13 of their last 14 – before his debut in their 33rd game. OK, maybe their team MVP.23
You’ve heard of players whose scoring averages goes up every season? Tyreke’s has gone 20-18-17-15. Did you see this item about Phil Jackson?26
On the bright side: Redick gets 26-14-31 as starter and Davis back for last eight. Unfortunately, the team, once 12-13, has lost 17 of 19.27
Interim Lindsey Hunter isn’t playing the kids, either – what there are of them: Starters are still Scola (32), Gortat (28), Dudley (27), Tucker (27) and Dragic (26).28
One of your longer-running rebuilding programs: Kidd-Gilchrist, chosen at No. 2 over Lillard and Beal, averaged 11-6 through Jan. 1 but dropped to 7.5 and 41% this month.30

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