Hit List / Dec 22, 2008 / 2:19 pm

NBA Hit List Power Ranking, 12.22

Brandon RoyWho’s been hotter than B-Roy?

Our weekly NBA power ranking, from worst to first…

30. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-22) — The biggest hindrance to Al Jefferson’s All-Star application? His team. While Al is putting in work to the tune of 22.2 points, 10.3 boards and 2.0 blocks (including Saturday’s 34-13 hot plate for All-Star lock Yao Ming), the Wolves are just awful.

29. Washington Wizards (4-21) — What did Caron Butler do to deserve Mike James and DeShawn Stevenson as his starting backcourt?

28. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-25) — They still have the League’s worst record, but OKC deserves some credit for vastly improving over the last couple weeks. The highlight of this recent showing of a pulse was Friday’s win over the Raptors.

27. Golden State Warriors (8-20) — Was Jamal Crawford’s 50-point outing more or less impressive than the fact that GS held an opponent under 105 points?

26. Sacramento Kings (7-21) — Kevin Martin is on pace to play in 26 games this year. Given his salary, that’s a nice $356,166 per game. Bill Clinton doesn’t even make that much for a 40-minute public appearance.

25. Memphis Grizzlies (9-17) — Back to earth after last week’s four-game win streak, dropping one to New Orleans and then getting cracked by the Bobcats. ‘Cause why should Marc Iavaroni ever be comfortable?

24. Charlotte Bobcats (9-19) — Boris Diaw has flourished since the trade, averaging 16.8 points and 7.8 boards while hitting 52 percent from the field. Raja Bell, meanwhile, is walking around like he wants to punch somebody in the throat.

23. Los Angeles Clippers (8-19) — Saturday’s loss to the Bucks was arguably the worst overall performance by any team in the League this season. The Clips shot 34 percent, lost by 34, and normally-dependable Zach Randolph had four points. If it wasn’t for Steve Novak getting hot in the fourth quarter, L.A. might not have cracked 80.

22. Toronto Raptors (10-17) — The Jay Triano Experience isn’t going well. He’s 2-8 and the Raps are on a five-game skid. We can’t confirm or deny the rumor that Triano made phone calls to Dick Vitale and Jerry Tarkanian over the weekend for advice.

Nate RobinsonNate Robinson

21. New York Knicks (11-16) — A couple years ago, there was a legit debate in the Dime office over whether Nate Robinson would even be in the NBA in 2009. Now he’s arguably the best player on his team. Nate (16.2 ppg) needs another nickname for his min-Microwave game. How about “The Toaster Oven”?

20. Indiana Pacers (10-17) — Picked up an improbable, gutsy win at Philly on Saturday while missing three starters; Danny Granger, Troy Murphy and Marquis Daniels. And remember, Mike Dunleavy Jr. still hasn’t seen the court this season.

19. Milwaukee Bucks (13-16) — In case you forgot Richard Jefferson was still in the League, he closes out the month with some high-profile matchups: Utah, Detroit, at San Antonio, at Houston. After that he can go back to basketball anonymity.

18. Philadelphia 76ers (12-15) — Interim coach Tony DiLeo has made Lou Williams his go-to guy on the second unit, and Lou responded with a career-high 26 points against the Wizards and a 17-point effort against the Pacers that included a go-ahead steal and dunk in the final seconds.

17. New Jersey Nets (13-13) — Serious question: Is Brook Lopez flat-out better than Greg Oden? The Good Twin is outplaying G.O. right now, most recently dropping 22 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks against Miami.

16. Chicago Bulls (13-14) — Upcoming four-game road trip has them at Detroit, Miami, Atlanta and New Jersey. In other words, Ben Gordon and Larry Hughes and whoever else plays two-guard will have their hands full with Iverson, D-Wade, Joe Johnson and Vince.

15. Detroit Pistons (14-11) — They’re 4-5 this month, but three of those wins have come against the Pacers (at home), Wizards and Bobcats. After the Thanksgiving practice incident and Sunday’s public calling-out, you might need to keep an eye on the Michael Curry/Allen Iverson dynamic.

14. Dallas Mavericks (15-11) — In four games since returning from injury, Josh Howard is putting up 14 points, ONE rebound and ONE assist per game. The Mavs are 2-2. Honestly, they were playing better without him. Given that and any lingering offseason stuff, don’t be too surprised if we see a J-Ho trade (or at least some trade rumors) before the deadline.

13. Miami Heat (14-12) — The difference between Michael Beasley and R.O.Y. front-runners Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo? Consistency. Beasly can drop 20 points one night, then go for six the next night.

12. Utah Jazz (17-12) — Paul Millsap has been a machine, and Memo’s last two games have seen him go for 24 points and 12 boards per. All this has almost covered up the fact that Carlos Boozer has been out for a month and doesn’t seem to be getting much better.

Carmelo AnthonyCarmelo Anthony (photo. Mannion)

11. Denver Nuggets (17-10) — Losers of three straight, but they still seem like a lock to get two All-Stars with ‘Melo (fan vote) and Chauncey (coach’s pick).

10. Portland Trail Blazers (17-10) — Does Brandon Roy have any competition for Western Conference Player of the Month in December? His late-month run includes 36.4 points, 5.6 boards and 5.0 assists a night over his last five games, capped by the 52-point torching of the Suns.

9. Atlanta Hawks (17-10) — Mike Bibby can’t beat anyone off the dribble anymore, but leave him open and he’ll kill you from deep. He’s helped the Hawks win five of their last six games, including wins over the Cavs and Pistons and a close loss to Boston.

8. San Antonio Spurs (16-10) — Is any offseason acquisition happier with their new situation than Roger Mason? He got out of D.C. right before disaster struck, and lands with a title contender where he’s getting to contribute: 12.9 points a night, and his 47 percent shooting clip beyond the arc ranks fourth in the League.

7. Houston Rockets (18-9) — Bringing Ron Artest off the bench has been working. In the three games since he’s been playing the Ginobili role, Ron-Ron is hitting 50 percent of his shots from the field and 44 percent from three while putting up 16 points a night.

6. Phoenix Suns (16-11) — Steve Nash looked like his old MVP self in the fourth quarter of Suns/Nuggets over the weekend, sticking the game-winner and the dagger back-to-back while getting the better of nemesis Chauncey Billups.

5. New Orleans Hornets (16-7) — Lost in all the Celtics/Lakers Christmas Day pre-hype is a huge matchup between the Hornets and Lakers on Tuesday. Chris Paul is back in the MVP picture, leading N.O. to a 7-1 record this month.

Lamar OdomLamar Odom (photo. Tim Tadder)

4. Los Angeles Lakers (21-5) — The losses were close, but L.A. still went 0-for-Florida over the weekend. They could have turned that around if Lamar Odom had showed up. He shot 2-for-13 in that span, averaging 3.5 points and 5.5 fouls per. And judging by his body language, he doesn’t seem to care that much. This is going down as one of the worst contract seasons from a player with All-Star talent in recent memory.

3. Orlando Magic (21-6) — On “NBA Gametime” the other day, one of the studio heads introduced Jameer Nelson by saying he’s never played this well in his life. “I did in college,” Nelson corrected him. Jameer has been putting up P.O.Y. numbers, dropping 23.2 points and 5.6 assists over his last five games, which includes wins over the Jazz, Spurs and Lakers.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (23-4) — LeBron wants his scoring title back. He’s scored 30-plus in each of his last four games, but as long as he’s able to rest easy for a fourth quarter here and there and D-Wade is killing himself just to keep the Heat competitive, ‘Bron might not get that top spot.

1. Boston Celtics (26-2) — It’s been the role players who have made this version of the C’s arguably better than last year’s version. Case in point, Kendrick Perkins. Although he’s been acting like an ass (NBA leader in techs) and can’t hit a free throw, Perk is doing his job, putting up 9.0 points, 8.4 boards and 1.8 blocks per game, and has been the C’s top rebounder in seven of their 10 games this month.

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  • http://GEE2.com GEE…Talk that ish playboi!

    Houston up!

    No disagreements! Season is still way early! Lot of trades and injuries and highlights still to take place!

  • P

    Bad Porn and Toaster Oven…..Both Nicknames nobody would ever want

  • P

    Except Detroit struggling and the Sixers playing like shit…everything is fallin into place…forgot the Raptors they need to turn it around too…

  • jnuh

    Kendrick Perkins is the most annoying player in the NBA. I hate tough guys with zero skill or basketball IQ that are only “tough” because they’ve got three HOF players and a future all-star doing the real work for them. That dude needs to shut his ugly yap.

  • http://www.hotmail.com Mamba

    Big week for my Lake Show, the Sunshine State O-fer was not pretty,

    I commented earlier about LO so I will let that rest, great point though about how he is dogging it thus far in a contract year,

    Re-focus play well against the Griz tonight, bring it down in the Big Easy, and then get ready to HAVE to play your best game of the year in order to beat the Celtics, it can all be done – but this team needs to do some serious looking in the mirror – its never to early in the year to do some soul searching,

    If they come out flat again this week then Laker Nation can turn up on the volume on the grumbling and trade talk,

    For now the focus has to be on basketball – I feel there has been more attention paid to Kobe’s new shoes (ill by the way), LO getting bombed up in Mansion and sulking, Farmer having a confrontational meeting with Phil,

    I mean damn I know they are in the same city but this team right now looks more like a bad episode of “The Hills” than it does a championship contender!

    Even Magic smacked them up and called the C’s better – its wake up time boys,

  • DJ Go Go Gomez

    Glad to see Bibby playing well in the ATL. It was painfull watching him shoot 35% his last few years here in Sac.

  • bdk23

    Warriors are not the biggest mess in the leage…RAPTORS definatly… At one point they were 4th on the hit list power rankings…new coach,injury riddled oneal,bosh’s downgraded performance, calderon not playing d if his life was on the line and no real clue of what to do….raps may lose bosh in 2010 im calling it now…

  • Kobeef

    Head-to-Head Brook Lopez is better than Oden right now. Nobody saw this coming but the “Sam Bowie Part 2″ comments are moving from funny to scary for Blazers fans.

    Did anyone mention that in addition to OJ Mayo, the Timberwolves could have grabbed Lopez instead of Kevin Love? Maybe McHale was so naturally talented that he has literally no idea what skills are required to make an NBA-level basketball player….maybe…

  • Kobeef


    Raps may WANT to lose Bosh before 2010. Calling it now.

    Seriously, if I was BC and could get Dirk for Bosh I would kiss feet to make it happen. BC has no cards to play to turn this team around.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    Who would have thought that at any point this season the top three teams would all be from the eastern conference?

  • isotope

    Its kinda funny that the knicks have lost all but one of their games since Nate has been playing major minutes.

  • dmitry of jersey

    I was at the nets/heat game and it was amazing to see how effective brook was even though he is not highlighted in the offense. when the nets went to him, which wasn’t often, he always made the right decision. he is legit.. it’s probably too early to say that he will be better than oden, but definitely he’s got the potential to be a force for a long time.

  • E$

    Rockets coming for that #2 spot this week!

  • BEdger

    Kobeef…maybe you should stick to talking about your favorite team because Blazer fans aren’t at all “scared” of these stupid Bowie comments. Lopez might be better today, but Oden is coming off of MAJOR SURGERY, why doesn’t anyone factor that in? The only time it gets brought up is when he is called injury prone. Look at Amare when he first came back from the same operation, he had no lift or explosiveness, but look at him now. Why wouldn’t Oden get his athleticism back too?

    Call me in 2 years, if Oden is still having trouble then by all means, you can call him a bust. I just have a feeling nobody will be making that call

  • dmitry of jersey

    really? blazer fans aren’t worried that Oden has been perpetually coming off injuries since ohio state? if you guys aren’t worried about that then you gotta share some of that west coast bud.

    once you get off that high maybe you will see the reality: you passed on Kevin Durant to take a guy who may or may not become as good as young Dikembe Mutombo.

  • BEdger

    yes…really….we aren’t worried. I would bet if KP was called by Sam Presti TODAY and offered KD for Oden, KP would simply say “no thanks” and hang up. Oden already has an enormous effect on the game without any offense in his game and while still being a step slow defensively.

    To all of you who think the Blazers made a huge mistake in that draft, tell me where do you think KD would fit on the Blazers? Roy is our lead dog and scoring machine, would KD make a good 2nd banana? Would he be happy getting the 3rd most shots behind Roy and LMA? Would he be the defensive stopper the Blazers are looking for at the 3 spot? NO NO NO

    Oden brings defense and rebounding, the 2 things this Blazer team has been desperate for. He is what the Blazers needed and Blazer fans are happy to have him here

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I think Durant could find a spot on the Blazers. Travis Outlaw isn’t THAT nice.

  • ldawg23

    The T-wolves could be sitting on B-Roy and OJ Hold-the Mayo right now, WHILE Al Jeff maned the middle IF McHale hadnt made trades. Just drafted….Go ahead Wolves fans cry…I’ll wait…..

  • dmitry of jersey

    @BEdger: I’m not convinced. your opinion is what it is and we can’t know who is right until a year or two from now, but i just don’t see it. durant as the first and only option in Seattle/OKC has been pretty nice.. imagine him on an actual basketball team like the blazers. and the imagine the blazers trading outlaw + one of their young guys for a veteran big guy (i’d say rasheed wallace but him and blazers probably won’t do round2) and you have a championship contender this season.

    i hope oden works out honestly bc he’s good for basketball, but i just can’t help but think that passing on durant will haunt you guys for a long time.

  • Celts Fan

    any Blazers fan not a little concerned about Oden isn’t paying attention (and the Blazers are my favorite team in the league other than the Celtics. Love watching them play, love Roy, really like Oden’s potential, but dude’s just injury prone. Some big guys just are. Hopefully it’s just coincidental, but who knows.

    having said all that, you STILL have to take Oden. KD’s nice, but guys like him come around every year. He’s another 3 that can rack up buckets. Dude’s nice and could be elite, but you can always find a big time scorer. When you get a chance at a game-changing center, you take it and hope he can stay healthy.

    #AB – I kinda see what he’s saying. AT some point you need a perimeter defender and there are plenty of scorers on that team. No one’s saying Outlaw’s anywhere close to as good as Durant (he’s obviously not) but he may be a better fit for this team. MAY…

  • Celts Fan

    btw, I was just looking at ESPN.com’s Daily Dime (pushing Rondo as an All-Star!) and 40% of people (20K voted, so 5000 people) said they thought the Celtics would have a better record than the 72 win Bulls. People are fuckin dumb…

  • shake&bake

    I think Nate should be called the Easy-Bake Oven.