Weekly NBA Rankings (11/30)

Major shuffling in the NBA rankings this week. We have a new #1 team, which has been here before. One team went from the near bottom of the rankings to the middle of the pack with four straight. One NBA elite team made it to the top 10. Who was it? Check out the rankings.

1. Phoenix Suns (14-3) (previous ranking: 3)- The Suns reclaimed the top spot after a 3-0 week. The Run N’ Gun Suns mixed with a little bit of defensive tenacity has this team going places, and they have returned to the elite of the NBA.

2. Los Angeles Lakers (13-3) (previous ranking: 4) Another 3-0 week for the Lake Show, and this team is starting to peak, especially with Gasol back, and he has not missed a beat since returning back to the starting lineup. Makes them even more dangerous.

3. Orlando Magic (14-4) (previous ranking: 1) A bad loss at home to Miami resulted in the fall from the top spot for Orlando. Had they won, they might still be there. This team is healthy for the most part (exception of Jameer Nelson) and is very deep. Expect them to stay among the top teams.

4. Boston Celtics (13-4) (previous ranking: 6) Boston won all their games this week, rising them up a couple of spot. They also found a way to win on Fridays, where three of their four losses have occured this season.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers (12-5) (previous ranking: 7)- Cavaliers 5-1 without Shaq… 7-4 with Shaq. LeBron said that he sometimes slows the game down… Wonder if this will bring dissension among the team. Makes you wonder is Shaq really a factor?

6. Dallas Mavericks (12-5) (previous ranking: 5) Despite falling, Dallas is still playing good basketball. Drew Gooden has done very well in the starting center position for Erick Dampier. Dampier is already trade bait w/ an expiring contract, so Gooden will be seeing significant time in the lineup for the week.

7. Denver Nuggets (12-5) (previous ranking: 9) The Nuggets are in the top 10 by virtue of leading the Northwest Division. Losing to the Timberwolves, who have lost 15 in a row coming into Sunday’s game was not a good look for this team at all. They need to stay focused, especially if they want another run at Western Conference championship.

8. Atlanta Hawks (12-5) (previous ranking: 2) Big tumble down the ranking for the Atlanta Hawks, simply due to the teams above them rising. One tip for them: ditch the red jerseys. They are not that great at all.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (12-7) (previous ranking: 10) Another 2-2 week has Portland fans wondering if this is the team that can actually compete and beat the Lakers for the West. Right now this team is underachieving and highly disappointing. At least Greg Oden is playing well for them in the process.

10. San Antonio Spurs (9-6) (previous ranking: 16) The Spurs are starting to catch the winning wave, and put themselves back among the NBA elite where they belong. It was only a matter of time and after five straight wins right now have put them in the top 10. They will become a problem in the West.

11. Utah Jazz (9-7) (previous ranking: 13) Another team that is steady rising and getting their groove back, the Jazz have found good rhythm, and Carlos Boozer is playing like he either wants a big contract with a new team, or playing like he wants to make his last season in Utah a good one. Either way he wants a big contract. The Jazz do need to find ways to win away from EnergySolutions Arena.

12. Miami Heat (9-7) (previous ranking: 11) The Heat got off to a strong start, but have struggled as of late. With the Bobcats (yes, the Bobcats surging), this team can not afford to slip. Every win counts towards trying to keep D-Wade in South Beach.

13. Houston Rockets (9-8) (previous ranking: 12) The Rockets just dropped one spot, thanks to a victory over the Thunder. Houston needs to get T-Mac evaluated and ready to go, but when he returns, how will he be utilized?

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (9-8) (previous ranking: 14) The Thunder are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. They are young, they are quick to the ball, and when they play in the Ford Center, they are energized. It would be good to see this team in the playoffs in April.

15. Milwaukee Bucks (8-7) (previous ranking: 8] Milwaukee was a top 10 team, but with Jennings struggling, it’s clear that this team struggles. The rookie will have his days, and his teammates have to step up when he has the off days. Michael Redd needs to get adjusted with that knee again. They should be okay.

16. Sacramento Kings (8-8) (previous ranking: 19) 3-1 this week for Sacramento has put them back at .500. Tyreke Evans is back in the lineup, and Beno Udrih has been playing well. When Kevin Martin comes back, how good will the Kings REALLY be in the West over the course of the next 66 games?

17. Los Angeles Clippers (8-10) (previous ranking: 22) Another 3-1 week for the Los Angeles Clippers. Since starting 0-3, this team has played above .500 basketball and the relationship between PG Baron Davis and coach Mike Dunleavy has improved tremendously. This team really has the potential to be a dark horse in the West, and when Griffin comes back, it’ll be interesting to see what impact he will have.

18. Charlotte Bobcats (7-9) (previous ranking: 25) Jalen Rose of ESPN said that the Bobcats were the fifth best team in the East. A bit of a stretch, but this team is playing some good basketball. Stephen Jackson is adjusting very well, and the defense has been on point all season. They finally have an offense to compliment it. Big wins at home over Cleveland jumps them up seven spots.

19. Indiana Pacers (6-8) (previous ranking: 17) Another not-so-great week for the Pacers and they drop two spots. This team can not rely on Danny Granger for everything. They need another scorer to compliment him. Once they get that, they could be a lot better. They have plenty of forwards, but no solid shooting guard.

20. Chicago Bulls (6-8) (previous ranking: 15) Chicago has lost four of its last five, and Derrick Rose has stated that he will not cut his hair until his game has improved, and it is presumed that if his game is improved, the team will improve. It looks like at this rate, his hair will be growing out for a while.

21. New Orleans Hornets (7-10) (previous ranking: 20) The Hornets are playing well without Chris Paul and with interim head coach Jeff Bower. Darren Collison is playing very well in CP3’s absence. Whether or not this team is good and bad really does not matter too much at the moment, since the Saints are undefeated at 10-0.

22. Toronto Raptors (7-11) (previous ranking: 18) The underachieving Raptors continue to fall, this time going 1-3 and with six losses in the past eight games, maybe Jay Triano is next in line of coaches to be fired. Bryan Colangelo can not be pleased with this team’s performance lately.

23. Detroit Pistons (6-11) (previous ranking: 23) We knew the Pistons were rebuilding, but this wasn’t Joe Dumars had in mind. Keep in mind though, Rip Hamilton, Tayshawn Prince, and now Ben Gordon have been sidelined with injuries, keeping them out the lineup and what could be a better team than what the record shows. But for now they stay at the same spot at 23.

24. Memphis Grizzlies (6-11) (previous ranking: 26) Another solid week for the Grizzlies as they learn to get better playing together. Lionel Hollins has been a great voice for this young team, which obviously was not a good look for Allen Iverson. Clearly this team has moved on. They could be a good box office draw in the future without the answer.

25. Golden State Warriors (5-10) (previous ranking: 24) The Warriors felt like they would be better off in team chemistry without Stephen Jackson. That chemistry really has not translated on the court. They don’t have Andris Biedrins or Ronny Turiaf, so the rebounding strength is gone.

26. Washington Wizards (5-10) (previous ranking: 27) The Wizards went 2-1 for the week, which is good considering that they had three wins in the previous four. The Big Three for this team are starting to come together. However, if the Bobcats continue to surge, they may just continue to be in the cellar in the Southeast Division.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (5-12) (previous ranking: 21) The Sixers are slipping and slipping fast. They had a meeting with Allen Iverson on a return to Philadelphia, but nothing as of yet. The Sixers do need a point guard, and A.I. needs a team. He can definitely be an asset, and it also means that the Sixers could improve in the standings. If it wasn’t for the Knicks & Nets, this team would be the worst.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (2-15) (previous ranking: 29) The Wolves snapped their 15-game losing streak by beating the Nuggets. Not only did they go 1-3 this week, but they did it by beating a team they weren’t supposed to. That effort they displayed has been the effort Kurt Rambis has been searching for all season long since their opening night win over the Nets.

29. New York Knicks (3-14) (previous ranking: 28) The Knicks did not pick up a win this week. Going 0-4 results in a drop in the ranking despite their better record than the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves ended up going 1-3 for the week, justifying that they should move up. 2010 is almost here and the Isiah mess is almost eradicated for this franchise

30. New Jersey Nets (0-17) (previous ranking: 30) The record says it all. At least Lawrence Frank does not have to suffer through the misery. The good news is that the Nets are getting healthy again, and maybe when they are at 100%, they can start winning. Any way you look at it, 0-17 is atrocious.

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