Hit List / Dec 16, 2008 / 4:58 pm

NBA Hit List Power Ranking, 12.16

Josh HowardJosh Howard (photo. Monte Isom)

Our weekly NBA power ranking, from worst to first…

30. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-23) — Signs of life? Kevin Durant and Co. had a big lead in an eventual loss to Memphis at home, then went out on the road and gave the Mavs and Spurs all they could handle. Sure, they don’t count moral victories in the pros, but it’s better than getting their heads bashed in repeatedly.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-20) — In losing 10 straight, the Wolves have failed to crack 90 on the scoreboard five times. But hey, it’s not like they had a chance to get O.J. Mayo in the draft, right?

28. Charlotte Bobcats (7-18) — At the moment, the Jason Richardson trade wins the Chris Wallace/Pau Gasol Award for 2008-09. Especially if the ‘Cats flip Boris Diaw into Eddy Curry.

27. Washington Wizards (4-18) — What happened to JaVale McGee? He was building momentum as a rookie to watch, but since then has been M.I.A. Either JaVale hit the wall on Thanksgiving, or Ed Tapscott has a little Larry Brown in his game.

26. Golden State Warriors (7-18) — Tim Duncan kills them on the block? You eat that. Yao Ming? Same. Andrew Bogut? OK, fine. But Marcin Gortat?

25. Sacramento Kings (7-18) — In retrospect, they had to fire Reggie Theus when they did. After all, if you’re gonna fire a coach mid-season, make sure his replacement gets a relatively easy test for his debut, and in Sacramento’s case, they had a home game against the Wolves on Monday to initiate interim boss Kenny Natt. After that, the rest of the month includes a four-game road trip going through Portland, Houston, New Orleans and San Antonio, then home games against the Raptors, Celtics and Clippers.

24. Los Angeles Clippers (6-17) — Finally starting to show a little of that potential everyone saw in the preseason, albeit thanks to mid-season pickup Zach Randolph. In back-to-back wins over the Blazers and Rockets, Z-Bo put up 30-10 stat lines.

23. Indiana Pacers (8-16) — Have you heard one word about Jamaal Tinsley since training camp? But no doubt he’s every bit as bitter as Stephon Marbury. Donnie Walsh should be taking notes from his former franchise on how to handle these type of sticky situations.

Shawn MarionShawn Marion, Dime #29

22. Miami Heat (12-12) — A three-game losing streak (including L’s to the Grizzlies and Bucks) inevitably coincides with renewed Shawn Marion trade rumors. Common sense predicted the Heat would see before the February deadline if they could make a legit title run with Marion and a healthy D-Wade, but since it’s not looking that way (despite D-Wade’s best efforts), Marion becomes trade bait while his contract is still attractive.

21. Memphis Grizzlies (9-15) –Over their current four-game win streak, O.J. Mayo has made a strong play for this being his team. He’s not shy about chewing out Rudy Gay if Rudy’s not getting the job done, and he took over the Miami gave over the weekend by dropping 28 on Dwyane Wade.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (11-15) — Don’t sleep on Charlie Villanueva making a Sixth Man of the Year run. He’s scored 20-plus points in three of his last four games, bumping his averages to 13.7 ppg and 7.2 rpg.

19. Toronto Raptors (10-14)Vince strikes again. How long will it take before T-Dot fans can forgive VC long enough to allow the franchise to do the right thing and retire his jersey?

18. Chicago Bulls (11-12) — After Vinny Del Negro destroyed Tyrus Thomas in the papers, Tyrus responded with a 16-point, 2-block, 3-steal effort in a win over New Jersey.

17. Philadelphia 76ers (10-14) — Interim coach Tony DiLeo’s first job? Finding a way to mix Elton Brand’s game with the rest of Philly’s athletes. His second job? Getting Thaddeus Young back on track.

16. New York Knicks (11-13) — Do we have to start talking about Al Harrington as an All-Star? The numbers are there, as he’s averaging 21.3 points and 7.1 boards, and in his last four games has been pouring in 31 a game on 51 percent shooting.

15. New Jersey Nets (12-11) — The cure for a three-game losing streak? Take a trip to Toronto. Up next for N.J. is a home stretch against the Jazz, Mavs, Heat and Rockets, all presenting diverse challenges for Lawrence Frank’s defense.

14. Portland Trail Blazers (15-10) — Had they not come in three straight losses (including two at home where they were once invincible), Brandon Roy’s run of 30, 33 and 38 points would be getting more attention.

13. Utah Jazz (15-11) — As Paul Millsap continues to shine, averaging 16.7 points and 11.2 boards as a starter, C.J. Miles is going the opposite direction. In his last four games, C.J. has been good for just 6.5 points a night.

12. Detroit Pistons (13-9) — For the last three games, Rodney Stuckey has been getting those 30-plus minutes he was promised in the preseason, and as the starting point guard has responded with 14.6 points, 9.6 assists and 2.0 steals a night.

Joe JohnsonJoe Johnson (photo. Zach Wolfe)

11. Atlanta Hawks (15-9) — Snapped Cleveland’s 11-game win streak behind Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby showing why they could be one of the most clutch backcourt tandems in the League.

10. Houston Rockets (15-9) — They got Tracy McGrady back earlier than expected, just in time for Ron Artest to start missing games. When the day comes that T-Mac, Artest, Battier and Yao are all on the court at the same time, that’s the day this team becomes really dangerous.

9. Dallas Mavericks (13-10) — Lost to the Nuggets after having to battle to knock off the Thunder and Bobcats at home. On a positive note, Josh Howard came back for the Denver game.

8. Phoenix Suns (15-10) — In two games, Jason Richardson has averaged 18.5 points and hit 45 percent of his threes. Meanwhile, the team has won four of its last five and Shaq is a legitimate force. Maybe Steve Kerr is better at this GM thing than he’s getting credit for.

7. Denver Nuggets (17-7) — Was Carmelo Anthony’s 33-point third quarter the single most impressive individual performance we’ve seen this season? Off top, the only thing that comes close is Tony Parker’s 55-point, 10-dime game, but that was in double-OT.

6. New Orleans Hornets (13-7) — No one’s talking about David West, but he’s creeping into that team picture of guys who are almost a lock for 20 and 10 every night. Over his last five games, West is putting up 22.2 points and 9.8 boards.

5. Orlando Magic (19-6) — Yeah, they lost to the Suns the other day, but it was on the road, by one point, and Orlando didn’t have Dwight Howard for most of the second half when they’ve literally never been without him. We’re more impressed that they’ve rebounded to win two straight without Dwight (knee), plugging Marcin Gortat into the center spot. We’ll see where the Magic stand after the Spurs and Lakers come calling this week.

Tim DuncanTim Duncan (photo. adidas)

4. San Antonio Spurs (15-8) — Tim Duncan (21.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg) is past his “freshness” window to ever win another MVP, but who has been more important to his team? TD held together a roster of senior citizens and D-League guys while Parker and Ginobili were out, and now that they’re back, the Spurs are rolling, having won six straight while Duncan puts up those same digits.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (20-4) — The win streak was snapped at 11 in Atlanta, but the Cavs shouldn’t slow down any time soon. With Minnesota and Oklahoma City on the schedule this week, what kind of holy hell could LeBron unleash? The last time he faced the Thunder, LeBron sat out the entire second half and the Cavs toyed with a 40-piecing.

2. Los Angeles Lakers (20-3) — The wins haven’t been coming as easily, but they’re still landing in the “W” column. While we haven’t heard a peep out of Lamar Odom in a while, Andrew Bynum has made a little noise about fourth-quarter playing time. Other than that, not much to complain about here.

1. Boston Celtics (23-2) — Fifteen straight wins and counting. Just like the Cavs, though, their toughest test could come in Atlanta on Wednesday, where they went 0-3 in the playoffs last year. If the C’s clear that hurdle, however, it looks like clear sailing until the NBA Finals rematch on Christmas Day.

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  • WhenFishGetFried

    T.Dot fans will never forgive VC. The Raptors shouldn’t even retire VC’s jersey

  • Jason

    the raptors keep breaking my heart.

  • TD

    Would you trade Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw, and Raja bell for Shaq and JRich… I’m going to have to agree that Kerr might know what’s he’s doing out there in the desert

  • http://tomtoronto.ca Tom Toronto

    Retire Vince’s jersey? You’re kidding right? I assume you only included that to rile up the already angry and vocal Raps fans, but I’ll bite.

    Set aside the fact the city of Toronto hates him with a seething passion, so much so that how many years later “FUVC” t-shirts are still a hot item.

    Set aside the fact that VC hasn’t done shit for any team, other than put up nice stat lines and make some decent highlight reels.

    Even besides these and many more, Vince didn’t do a damn thing for Toronto, other than one trip to the conference semi-finals. Retired jerseys are for hall of famers and champions. VC shouldn’t even get his number hung in Jersey, unless he somehow cares long enough to win a ring. Really, not one person to ever wear a Raps uni should have their number in the rafters, not yet anyway. And from the looks of this year’s squad, the only hardware we’ll be bringing home is the 3pt shootout trophy on all star weekend (thanks Kapono!)

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Vince made the Raptors relevant. If you had to compile a coffee-table book on the history of the franchise and had to put one player’s picture on the cover, who would it be? Vince.

  • Mark

    Haha. FUVC. Nice.

    I wouldn’t retire VC, but he’s the most important guy in their franchise, and unless CB wins a ‘chip, I’m not going to budge anytime soon. Totally with Austin here: “Vince made the Raptors relevant.”

    I could’ve seen a Grizzlies-situation happen above the border to TDot had it not been for VC.

  • doc

    I wouldnt retire Vince jersey either.He had some nice dunks there but thats it.The list on point though.

  • baraks

    @Tom Toronto

    where could I get those FUVC shirts? I hope they ship overseas, I would love to get my hands on one of them

  • jayslay


    right now if you putting together a book with the raps its chris bosh
    Vince quit on them and now kills them whenever they play up there…but i will say this,,,,toronto needs to get over it…its been how many years let it go…all they do is fuel this guy and he loves it…they need to get over it

  • Rafa23

    @ tom toronto
    carter put up some decent highlight reels?
    i understand u dont like him(should let it go by now…)
    but those highlights were AWESOME.credit were credit is due.

  • E$

    I like them Celtics, but they won’t do 22 n’ a row

  • TO

    VC’s jersey retired at the AirCanada Centre??? for real???
    No way. Only if he got some hardware – MVP, Chip, etc.
    Ill agree he was the face of the franchise.
    I dislike the fact he quit on the team.
    He did bring a huge profile to the Raptors.
    No one would’ve cared about this team if it wasnt for him – excluding Toronto residents.
    Im from here – Tdot needs to get over it tho.
    Respect his game from back then. In RECENT years no one could top his Dunk contest NO ONE. Everyone ws ouuta there seats waitin for what was next.

  • http://www.geocities.com/dagomardeg Dagomar

    Okay, first of all: Toronto made the Raptors relevant. This is a market of 5 million people within the city itself, another 5 in the surrounding area, and 23 million more in the surrounding country. In short, this franchise, anchored to the hugely profitable Maple Leafs, was not going to be hurting for money or going across the border with its tail between its legs. If VC wouldn’t have been in Toronto the Raptors would have had another star. In fact, T-mac left because he didn’t want to be outshone by Vince.

    As for retiring Vince’s jersey . . . wow. This guy quit on his team. You don’t give players like that respect, no matter how good they were.

  • BDK23

    Im just gonna completely disregard anything that these guys have said thats negative to vince. Are you morons forgetting who gave Toronto their first legit chance at sucess?,who put toronto on the map???not to mention got all those raptor jerseys in those hiphop videos???VINCE VINCE AND MORE VINCE. Forget about a championship…this guy was the reason that all those condo’s fill out the downtown landscape of condo’s.


  • BDK23


  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Sorry, no one cared about the Raptors before Vince, and no one cared about them after Vince until they became a playoff team. (And even then, wasn’t their first playoff series mostly aired on NBA TV and/or in ESPN/TNT’s “JV” time slot?) You can’t seriously say the Raps would have been as popular with Antawn Jamison.

  • Celts Fan

    that’s fine, I’m just hoping for 2 in a row.

    (and btw, we ain’t winning 70 either. Saw some assclown from SI wrote an article titled something like The Celtics could Easily Win 70. that dude should be canned on the spot…)

    and Vince is hated on for forcing his way out of town by not trying hard. When you openly admit it, the hate won’t ever stop and it doesn’t deserve to. He did this to himself. Don’t get over it Toronto, keep on booing, dude deserves it (I just hope if Bosh bounces in free agency but still keeps busting his ass til then, he gets the respect due when he comes back to play…)

    Vince chose to re-up there, then bitched and moaned til he got his way out – classic case of a guy claiming and wanting to be paid like a franchise player but not actually wanting the responsibility that comes with that. The man’s the greatest dunker ever (sorry GOAT, you #2) but all of that didn’t amount to much winning so why get over it? If he’d brought TDot a ‘chip at some point, sure, get over it after booing once, but he didn’t get you shit but a TON of YouTube clips. Fuck him, boo forever.

  • Celts Fan

    the just hoping for 2 in a row was to E$. you guys are all over this shit tonight…

  • http://dimemag.com ur brother

    ay yo Durant come up north to Chi-town

  • nick

    vc does not deserve to have his jersey retired for the simple fact that he quit on the team,

  • .K.i.n.G.

    u guys just don’t get it, the raptors organization did absolutely NOTHING to make that team better for vince. The situation was so bad in toronto that vince didn’t even love playing basketball. That shit is depressing! Vince also didn’t quit on his team, and im tired of people saying he did! he didn’t play with 100% effort, fine thats horrible, but he is not the first franchise player to do it! Kobe Bryant put bynum on BLAST two summers ago, demanded trades, WHINED even (as vince haters would call him wince carter) but what did the lakers organization do? they first got the only coach that bryant would listen to in Phil, then they go and get Pau Gasol. Kobe Bryant is now happy, the lakers are championship contenders, the whining stops and we never hear about that summer again. Thats what the raps shood’ve done for vince. Vince played the season he got traded, whether y’all want to recognize it or not. the numbers he put are numbers no one could put up if they were as depressed as vince.

    Vince also did a lot for the city (man were his charity games unreal or what! U didnt even need all-star caliber players playing in the game cuz vince was just dirrty, but i digress)

    vince had a heart, the raptors organization just ripped it out of him. Man im from markham (10-20 minutes north of toronto) and i saw pain in vince. He will FOREVER be the greatest raptor of all-time.

    The only thing i can tell toronto is that not everything is what it seems.

    Vince definitely deserves to get his jersey retired, but if i were vince, i’d tell em not to. It just wouldn’t be right…(if only we got dr. j as our general manager)

  • http://www.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    “Chris Wallace/Pau Gasol Award for 2008-09″


  • Celts Fan

    @KING – Toronto isn’t LA. People aren’t going to flock there like they do for all the perks of LA (fuck models/actresses, the beach, 2nd biggest city in most of their home countries, Laker tradition.) Vince knew this, he decided to re-up anyway. That shit’s on him.

  • Ric Hardwood

    As good as Vince is, the fact that he admitted in an interview that he stopped trying while he was in T.Dot is too disrespectful to a franchise for them to retire his jersey. He was hella good tho’. But he has as much right to get his jersey retired in T.Dot as Antoine Walker does for the Celtics.

  • http://tomtoronto.ca Tom Toronto

    I know we’ve argued this point a thousand times, so I’ll try to be brief and we can all move on.

    Vince didn’t put Toronto on the map. Vince put Vince on the map. The Raptors have always had the support of the city, even when they didn’t even have a stadium and were playing in the Skydome. In fact, in 1995 we had an average attendance of 23,179, which is 4 or 5 thousand more than the ACC can even hold. Since 1995, we’ve never averaged less than 16,000 fans in a year, which is something the Celtics and Lakers can’t even say. The fan support has always been there.

    Now I’ll agree Vince did get us some U.S. national coverage, and he did get us a few playoff games. Mostly he gained a lot of press for himself, and the Raps won a few games along the way. There were good times, and there were shit times. Mostly, there were the shit times.

    To reply to Austin: Vince made the Raptors relevant to Americans, and people outside of Toronto. The Raps were always relevant here in the city.

    As for the FUVC shirts, I’m not sure where you can get them, look for them in the playoffs if we play the nets again.

    @Celts Fan – You summed it up perfectly. Vince will always be hated in Toronto. People keep saying let it go, and to me it’s a dead issue, except when he comes to town. We’ll boo him until he retires, guaranteed. I don’t think we would boo Bosh, he gives his all every night. We still applaud Mo Pete and Matt Bonner when they come to town, I hope Bosh would get the same love. More than that I hope he doesn’t sign elsewhere!

    So let’s just let it go, OK? Vince isn’t getting his jersey hung anywhere in Canada, and probably won’t anywhere else. Like I said before, retiring numbers are for legends, champions and hall of famers. In summary, FUVC, Toronto all day. Thanks for the fun Dime, getting Raps fans aggravated is way too easy!

  • AB_40

    somehow I see Kevin Durant pull a VC in a few years. They should just merge OKC and Minnesota and go back to seatle