Weekly NBA Rankings (12/28)

Missed the rankings last week. Apologies to the people, so there will be no previous week’s rankings This will be the last ranking of 2009, so we will see how the 30 NBA teams will fare in 2010. Let’s go into the rankings.

Note: The records in parentheses were from 12/28/09

1. Los Angeles Lakers (24-5)- Despite losing to the Cavaliers on Christmas, if these two teams played a seven game series, the Lakers would eliminate the Cavs. Unless Cleveland can win against LA at home, the Lakers would be not be #1.

2. Boston Celtics (23-6)- The Celtics would’ve been #1 if Baron Davis had not sunk them with a buzzer beater. This is the second year in a row that the C’s went into the Staples Center and lost to the Clippers.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-8)- The Cavaliers are playing great ball. Four straight wins, including a big Christmas Day win over the Lakers, but still not enough to overtake Boston as the best in the East.

4. Orlando Magic (22-8)- Stan Van Gundy wants to do away with the Christmas games? Why? If the Magic had won on Christmas Day, would he be saying this? Maybe Orlando needs to give up Dwight Howard so they won’t have anymore games on Christmas Day.

5. Atlanta Hawks (21-8)- It is good to see the Hawks finally have some kind of consistency. The up and down season can make any fan sick, but they are hanging strong with the Magic and are establishing themselves among the elite in the NBA.

6. Dallas Mavericks (22-9)- The Mavericks are solid, and tough… Dirk Nowitzki taking parts of Carl Landry’s teeth in his elbow? And still shooting the free throw? Crazy indeed. With Dampier back and Drew Gooden solidly backing him up and great guard play, it’s hard to go against them when healthy.

7. Denver Nuggets (20-11)- The Nuggets are still maintaining their lead, despite the injury to Chauncey Billups and his groin. This is also a reflection of the leadership of Carmelo Anthony and the maturity he has displayed over the past year and some change. Great to see.

8. Portland Trail Blazers (20-12)- When Greg Oden went down, it looked as if the air left this team, and the Blazers were head towards disaster. They have rallied around that and are playing good basketball. They are a very good team w/o Oden. Just a great team with him.

9. Phoenix Suns (19-12)- If the Suns can cure their road woes (8-10), they would be back among the top of the West. Luckily a home game against the Lakers can give this team some kind of momentum to get them rising again.

10. San Antonio Spurs (17-11)- The Spurs are hovering, but this is what they usually do at the start of the season. As it progresses, they will elevate their game, especially when the Rodeo Road Trip comes around.

11. Houston Rockets (18-13)- For a team that has had a huge distraction off-the-court with the impasse of star Tracy McGrady, the Rockets are still playing well. It is a shame to see the relationship between T-Mac and the team deteriorate, but honestly, what has he done since being in Houston?

12. Miami Heat (16-12)- Amazing how well Michael Beasley has been in the couple of months. This was a kid who was almost left for Bustville after his breakdown and the pressure of being a top pick. He has really matured and came along, and is the go-to-guy when Dwyane Wade is on the bench. More importantly, he’s responding to the role very well.

13. Utah Jazz (17-13)- For some reason, the Jazz can be a very better team than what their record is showing. It’s the intensity (or lack thereof) in the road games. There’s no crowd like the one in Salt Lake City, but they need to learn to turn negative energy into positive.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-14)- One thing that can be said about the Thunder: they are consistent at being in the middle of the league. They are moving in the right direction, and it would be good to see them in the playoffs. Have you seen the crowd in Oklahoma City. They really can get the moniker of Loud City. Won’t be a Seattle crowd, but a good crowd nonetheless.

15. Toronto Raptors (15-17)- The Raptors are improving. Slowly. This is Bosh’s team, but when is Hedo Turkoglu going to have a bigger impact. He’s doing enough, but after his postseason in Orlando, he can be doing so much more.

16. New Orleans Hornets (13-15)- It seems like the Hornets are doing everything they can just to avoid the cellar. With the way the team below them are playing, they just might be destined to be there.

17. Memphis Grizzlies (13-16)- What has got into the Grizzlies? They saw the Thunder, and figured “we’re a young team, and we are just as good”, and with the play as of late, they just might be better. Allen who?

18. Sacramento Kings (13-16)- To come back from 35 points down ON the road against the Bulls (or any team) is a very remarkable feat. These are not the same Sacramento Kings we have seen for the past three years. Get this team a new arena in Sacto, quick!

19. Los Angeles Clippers (13-17)- You have to admire how the Clippers have done without Blake Griffin. They look like a better team when he is 100%, but we won’t know how that goes for another few weeks. He has been cleared for tougher workouts, so it’s a step in the right direction. They are 13-13 since that 0-4 start.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (12-16)- Where are the Bucks? And where is Brandon Jennings? Has the season caught up with them both? This team was as high as #8, but the slump has really caused them to drop in standings.

21. Chicago Bulls (11-17)- The Bulls are on the verge of firing Vinny del Negro, but they can’t decide on who will replace him, which is the reason why he is still coaching the team. Do the Bulls have a tradition of firing head coaches over the holidays?

22. Charlotte Bobcats (11-17) Say what you want about the Bobcats, but this is a team that could really be 5th or 6th in the East. The problem you ask? 1-13 on the road is not going to get you 5th or 6th in the East or a higher position in the rankings.

23. New York Knicks (11-19)- What has gotten into the New York Knicks? They are winning all of the sudden and Mike D’Antoni has finally found a rotation that works. One thing he needs to do however (or Donnie Walsh, rather) is get to get Nate Robinson out of New York. His career as a Knick is over, and he’s not getting out of that doghouse soon.

24. Detroit Pistons (11-19)- The Pistons were streaking, but now they are slumping. Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince (along with Ben Gordon) are back, so once they get back into the game flow, hopefully this team will get back to their winning ways.

25. Washington Wizards (10-18)- It has been said over and over and over again. It is time to dismantle the Big Three in Washington. Arenas, Butler, and Jamison are not meshing like they used to, and even with a good coach like Flip Saunders, this team should be a lot better than what their record is showing. Something has to give in the Nation’s Capital.

26. Indiana Pacers (9-20)- We knew the loss of Danny Granger would hurt, but the Pacers are freefalling fast. It’s a good thing for them that the rest of the division is freefalling right along with them (except for Cleveland)

27. Golden State Warriors (8-21)- Still no leadership on this team. Say what you want about Stephen Jackson, but it is pretty apparent that he was not the problem. The whole organization is. Monta Ellis is not ready to be a leader, and where is Stephen Curry. He would be a lot more useful in say….New York?

28. Philadelphia 76ers (7-22)- One of the biggest disappointments in the league, there’s no reason why a team with AI, AI2, and Elton Brand should be this bad. But in reality, AI may just actually be an old shell of himself, AI2 is exciting to watch, but he needs to have better shot selection, and Brand needs to get back to dominating form.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-24)- There is one bright thing to say about the Timberwolves: They are distancing themselves from the worst team in the NBA, and just might move out of their residence at the 29 spot if the Sixers continue to struggle.

30. New Jersey Nets (2-28) If you want a blueprint on how to dismantle a team in six years, just ask Bruce Ratner. From Two-time Eastern Conference Champion to two wins in 30 games. This team was better off when the Yankees were owning them.

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