Heisler’s Power Rankings After Week 16

Pop, who likes to pitch a fit sometime down the stretch to wake everyone up, can’t find pretext. Nor did he expect to rest guys throughout the season and find himself leading West by four games.1
Winning streak up to nine. Not that anyone’s paying much attention to race in East, but Heat is now five games up on Knicks, who were within half-game on Feb. 5.2
With 6 1/2-game lead, closing in on first Pacific Division title that will give them a banner to put up on Staples Center wall – if they have nerve – alongside Lakers’ 16 championship banners.3
4THUNDER(39-15)Has any team with their record gotten so much flak? Of course, you have to expect that when you trade a guy who just went for 46-8-6 against you and give up 122 to his Rockets in your season-high third loss in a row.4
After Zach Attack says once more, “We hate that the trade happened,” they win five in a row, including first game vs. Rudy, who misses 10 of 15 shots as Griz holds Raps to 82 in Toronto.6
Battle for Second Best in East is no contest as Pacers bomb Knicks, 125-91, cutting six-game deficit in mid-December to half-game, with Granger due back soon.5
Ladies and gentleman, Ty Lawson, at last: After averaging 13-14-18 ppg in November, December and January, he is at 22.5 this month with 8.8 assists, shooting 54 percent.8
What are the chances two New York City teams can finish fourth and fifth in East and meet in first round? Nets already are at No. 4. Knicks are No. 2 with a down arrow.9
After sitting No. 1 or No. 2 all season, now half-game out of No. 3 after splitting last 28. With improbable Felton-Kidd-Brewer three-guard lineup, they were as eager for Shumpert to return as Amare. But Iman is averaging 5.2 ppg, shooting 32 percent in 14 starts.7
If nothing else, trade deadline shows which players people regard as the real comers. With Warriors, it’s Klay Thompson, averaging 18 ppg, making 2.5 threes, shooting 39 percent from the arc.11
No, he’s still not back. While D-Rose’s brother Reggie rants about deals not made, Bulls managed season-low 67 points and season-high 27 turnovers – in same game, a telling home loss to Heat.12
Uneventiuful passing of trade deadline is good news to Jazz fans – at least for the moment – as team opts to hang onto Jefferson and Millsap, who will be among top stars of this free agent class.13
GM Morey, who bagged Harden, Lin, Asik last summer, goes big – at least in numbers – dealng Patterson and two subs to Sacramento (Seattle?) for highly regarded but little-used No. 5 pick Thomas Robinson.15
Larry Drew, holdover coach on expiring deal — like most of his team — gets a reprieve when new GM Danny Ferry doesn’t move J-Smoove and break up what’s left of their team.10
Second half of season was hard enough in Three Amigos’ runs to 2008-2010 Finals. Now they’re down to Two Amigos, 0-2 on West Coast trip, pinning hopes on un-Celtic-like gunner Jordan Crawford. And, showing how high maintenance Rondo is, still shopping him.14
Sold soul to Devil over All-Star break? Jennings goes 25-44 from the floor, scoring 31-34 as Bucks decide not to trade him. Instead, they land Redick to become even more like Warriors of East.16
Everything depends on pick-and-roll Dwight couldn’t run with the incomparable Nash before clicking against Celtics. Now to see if that’s a turning point, at last, or if there’ll be one.17
Shopping Hickson, at career best 14-10, shows they know they have a long way to go. Landing Eric Maynor, highly regarded before knee surgery dropped him behind Reggie Jackson in Thunder rotation, for nothing more than $2.2 million exception, helps NBA’s worst bench.18
Let’s see, there was Dwight, and D-Will and … Brandon Jennings becomes the latest big name they go for, who is then pulled off the market.19
Been down so long this looks, er, looked like up: Raptors were up to 6-2 with Gay and eyeing Bucks, who are still five games ahead for last playoff slot, when Grizzlies come to town and shut him/them down.20
At last, a timetable for Drew! He says he will practice next week, which should get him back in 2-3 weeks, and out of there as free agent about 12 weeks after that.21
The new math, or gag me with a spoon: Showing what you can do with computers, Monroe is second Pistons center to reached coveted 19-7-7-3 mark in points, rebounds, assists, blocks. The first was Bob Lanier – who did it 11 times.22
Lots of teams (see below) going with youth. Young Cavs actually showing something with Waiters, who was under 40 percent through Feb. 1, shooting 52 percent since, and Thompson averaging 14-9 and 1.5 blocks this month.23
After missing 12 of 13 shots and scoring three points in two games, AD averages 16, shoots 48 percent in next three. If those are modest number for No. 1 overall pick, it’s been that kind of rookie season.24
Averaging 16-8, shooting 46 percent in his last six games, Derrick Williams is on first roll of his NBA career. If that’s no eye-opener for No. 2 pick in 2011, it’s been that kind of career to date.25
USA Today’s Sam Amick, former Kings beat writer, notes that cash they got in Robinson trade – $1 million — is always more important to Maloofs than players (Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich) exchanged for underutilized rookie.26
Great quotes on rebuilding: Owner Sarver says, “We’re not going to do it in three days just to make the media happy. If there was a quicker way to do it, we would. But we’re going to do it.”27
Beal shows why everyone loved him going into draft, scoring 28-10-25, going 7-14 on threes. Unfortunately, Wall, other half of Backcourt of Future, shoots 34 percent in last three games and has four threes this season and last.28
With bid to host All-Star Game, how many Bobcats in team’s nine seasons ever made it? Surprise, answer is not zero! Gerald Wallace in 2010. Of course, he was moved for journeymen, draft picks following season.30
Best center in Howard-Bynum trade? Nikola Vucevic, who hasn’t hurt himself bowling or ticked off all his teammates while averaging 12-12, shooting better from floor (52 percent) than Dwight is at line.29

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