Weekly NBA Rankings (12/7)

New week of the NBA Rankings, and the top four teams of a year ago are back at the top of the NBA. There is a new number one, and it was a matter of time before the new #1 team got to this position. Although the Nets got their first win, there was thought to putting the Bobcats there just for kicks, but decided against it. With that said, here are the new NBA rankings.

1. Los Angeles Lakers (16-3) (previous ranking: 2) Nine straight wins. Gasol and Bynum are playing well, and of course the shot by Kobe Bryant Friday night to sink the Miami Heat. Not quite at 20-1 like Reggie Miller stated, but 18-3 is pretty good prospect.

2. Boston Celtics (16-4) (previous ranking: 4) The Celtics are right behind the Lakers, winning seven in a row. Rajon Rondo is playing very well and worth the contract, but would he really be playing this well with the talent surrounding him? Either way, Boston’s in good shape right now and are going to be dangerous as long as they’re healthy.

3. Orlando Magic (16-4) (previous ranking: 3) The Magic have won five in a row and are playing some great basketball. Boston has been slightly hotter than them, resulting in them leapfrogging the Magic into the #2 spot. The good thing about this is that Dwight Howard does not have to be the work horse like last year, since this team is so deep.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (15-5) (previous ranking: 5) The Cavaliers are really learning to play with Shaq. Four straight wins for Cleveland has them right where they should be: among the NBA elite. No need to push the panic button after the 0-2 start, as the Cavs have won 15 of 17 since then.

5. Denver Nuggets (15-5) (previous ranking:7) The Nuggets got their focus back after the Timberwolves loss by going 3-0 in the past week. Good job for this team to get back on track after that embarrassment. Chauncey Billups, however, needs to be more assertive with the ball. The good week has them back in the top five where they should be.

6. Phoenix Suns (15-6) (previous ranking: 1) What happened to the Suns? They were at the top spot a week ago, but a 1-3 week has them tumbling out the top five. Let’s see how they respond after having as many losses this week as they had all season.

7. Atlanta Hawks (14-6) (previous ranking: 8] Atlanta got some of its mojo back after a 2-1 week. They still need to really prove themselves and show that they are serious about contending for a championship. Losing to the Knicks at home is plain unacceptable.

8. Dallas Mavericks (14-7) (previous ranking: 6) The Mavericks went 2-2 in the week. A bad loss to Memphis though was the worst of the week for them. This is another team that needs to be serious about contending for a ring. They have the slumping Suns on Tuesday, so they should take advantage. Luckily the Southwest Division right now is extra mediocre.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (13-8) (previous ranking: 9) The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the biggest disappointments this season. Brandon Roy is being a diva, Andre Miller is not working out as the panned out, and Greg Oden is out for the season with a terrible knee injury. The team many thought would contend with the Lakers are not living up to par.

10. Utah Jazz (11-8) (previous ranking: 11) The Utah Jazz struggled at the start of the season, but they are riding the play of Carlos Boozer. Again, he could be playing hard since it’s a contract year, but he’s also playing for the team, and the wins are coming along with it.

11. Houston Rockets (11-9) (previous ranking: 13) 2-1 week for the Rockets. Trevor Ariza has done a good job being the defensive stopper. The team is shopping Tracy McGrady, since it’s apparent that they don’t want him back and are delaying his return to the team, but nobody will want to take that hefty salary for the season.

12. Miami Heat (11-9) (previous ranking: 12) The Heat went all out with five games, going 2-2, but they blew the Lakers game and the game-winning three pointer from Kobe Bryant on Friday night. They bounced back with a good win at Sacramento on Sunday. Since the Rockets had a better week, they jump over Miami

13. San Antonio Spurs (9-8) (previous ranking: 10) Short week and no wins for San Antonio has them back in the middle of the pack. Still not losing faith in them, and still waiting to see how good this team can be. Richard Jefferson still has not adjusted to the offense, and it is showing.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (10-9) (previous ranking: 14) For the third straight week, the Thunder reside at the #14 spot. Is this team going to peak at 14, or can they string together some wins to make themselves even more of a problem in the West.

15. Sacramento Kings (9-10) (previous ranking: 16) Despite the 9-10 record, and a 1-2 week, the rest of the NBA has not been that great either, and it’s still a good story to see the Kings doing average ball after a few years of horrible basketball.

16. Milwaukee Bucks (9-10) (previous ranking: 15) The Bucks have not played well lately. One win in the last seven games, and Brandon Jennings’ average has dipped in the last few weeks, and Michael Redd has not had much impact as the surgically repaired knee is still giving him trouble.

17. Los Angeles Clippers (9-11) (previous ranking: 17) If someone said the Clippers would be near .500 before Blake Griffin came back from injury, there would be a lot of naysayers. Since he is the best player from his class, it’s going to be expected of him to do big things. He should be back in a couple more weeks.

18. New Orleans Hornets (8-11) (previous ranking: 21) The Hornets weathered the storm of Byron Scott’s firing and Chris Paul’s injury and are appearing like things will be okay in the Big Easy. Seems like Bower’s getting through to this team when it appeared they were heading in the wrong direction.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (8-11) (previous ranking: 18) The Bobcats really deserve to be in the #30 spot after their loss to the New Jersey Nets, but they did bounce back the next night to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, and salvaged the week and won’t drop too much in the rankings. One win can save a team from a major fall from a not so bad one.

20. Toronto Raptors (9-13) (previous ranking: 22) The Raps are still mired in mediocrity, and it’s such a far cry from a team that looks like they could actually contend with the Boston Celtics on paper. Is it time to really talk about Jay Triano on the hot seat?

21. Memphis Grizzlies (8-12) (previous ranking: 24) How about the Grizzlies? This is a young team that is playing hard and it is paying major dividends. Marc Gasol has played very well since losing the weight, and he could be a major key in the Grizzlies success in the future. Who needs Allen Iverson? Oh yeah, the Sixers.

22. Detroit Pistons (8-12) (previous ranking: 23) The Pistons had their best week in a few weeks. It has been tough without Rip Hamilton and Tayshawn Prince. They weathered the storm with Ben Gordon’s ankle injury. It will be interesting to see if they will still be mediocre when Hamilton and Prince come back.

23. Chicago Bulls (7-11) (previous ranking: 20) The Bulls are slumping badly. In all honesty, they need to not worry about LeBron dancing all over the place and start winning some games. They were pretty high up to start the season, and now they are among the lower tier teams. Very disappointing so far.

24. Washington Wizards (7-12) (previous ranking: 26) The Wizards are improving slowly. Agent Zero needs to be more assertive like he used to be. Flip Saunders is getting a lot more out of his players, which is good, because this team is too good to be down in the Southeast Division cellar.

25. Indiana Pacers (6-12) (previous ranking: 19) The Pacers are sliding in the standings, and it’s going to get worse since Danny Granger came back to the second half of the Clipper game in a walking boot. MRI will reveal true damage on Tuesday. Jim O’Brien might be in the hot seat soon.

26. Golden State Warriors (6-13) (previous ranking: 25) 1-3 week for the Warriors, and seeing the Houston Rockets game last Thursday, this team turns the ball over too much. One thing taken from that game: does Monta Ellis REALLY want to be there? He has not played well in a long time, and he’s really not looking happy after Stephen Jackson left.

27.New York Knicks (6-15) (previous ranking: 29) How about the New York Knicks? Are they finally getting adjusted to the Run & Gun of Mike D’Antoni? This could be very appealing to a certain player who will wear the #6 in 2010. No names will be mentioned, though.

28. Philadelphia 76ers (5-15) (previous ranking: 27) Iverson is back home in Philadelphia, and it couldn’t be at a better time. The Sixers are bad, the fans aren’t coming. A.I. is a box-office attraction, and he will start. The results will have to be seen if he can turn this team around.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-17) (previous ranking: 28) Although the Wolves dropped back to their residence at the #29 spot, they did win their last game at home against Utah. They are going to get better. Still wonder if Ricky Rubio would have made some kind of difference. It shall remain a mystery.

30. New Jersey Nets (1-19) (previous ranking: 30) The Nets snapped their 18 game losing streak against the Bobcats, but it will still be a long road. When Yi comes back from injury, it should make a difference. The Nets have the potential to turn it around, with everyone coming back, but it remains to be seen.

  1. the Wiz need to win for Abe!

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