Hit List / Dec 29, 2009 / 8:01 am

NBA Hit List power ranking, 12.29

LeBron James, Dime #47

LeBron James, Dime #47

Ranking the NBA from worst to first…

30. New Jersey Nets (2-29)
Last week:
Lost to Minnesota; lost to Houston; lost to Oklahoma City.
Back in the lineup after missing almost two whole months, Yi Jianlian averaged 22.7 points and 7.0 rebounds last week, including a career-high 29 points against OKC. Not that Yi’s return has translated into any W’s, but it’s something.

29. Indiana Pacers (9-20)
Last week:
Lost at Boston; lost to Atlanta; lost at Miami.
Six losses in a row have raised questions about Jim O’Brien’s job security, although Larry Bird says O’Brien isn’t going anywhere. From top to bottom, does any division in the League have worse coaches than the Central? Mike Brown ain’t exactly Lenny Wilkens, and he’s at the top of a group that consists of Scott Skiles, Vinny Del Negro, O’Brien and John Kuester. In a related story, four of the Central’s five teams are playing sub-.500 basketball.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-24)
Last week:
Lost to Atlanta; won at New Jersey; beat Washington.
Just as they’re trying to put a little momentum together, the Wolves get San Antonio, Utah and Orlando on the schedule this week.

27. Washington Wizards (10-19)
Last week:
Beat Philadelphia; won at Milwaukee; lost at Minnesota; lost at Memphis.
Wasn’t Randy Foye supposed to make a big impact here? So far he’s averaging a quiet 7.3 points while bouncing between starting and coming off the bench.

Allen Iverson

26. Philadelphia 76ers (8-22)
Last week:
Lost at Washington; lost at Utah; won at Portland.
Allen Iverson is back, and he teamed with Lou Williams to help Philly upset the Blazers on Monday. Maybe this will work out after all.

25. Chicago Bulls (11-17)
Last week:
Lost at New York; beat New Orleans.
It’s basically any day now for Vinny Del Negro. So who should be the Bulls’ next coach? Avery Johnson is a popular pick, but he’s notorious for micro-managing his point guards. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for Derrick Rose? Would Mark Jackson be a name worth considering?

24. Detroit Pistons (11-19)
Last week:
Lost at Charlotte; lost to Toronto; lost at Toronto.
The losing streak is at seven, but the Pistons finally have Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon back in the lineup, and this week they host the Knicks and Bulls.

23. Golden State Warriors (9-21)
Last week:
Lost at Memphis; lost at New Orleans; beat Phoenix; beat Boston.
Monta Ellis has scored 35.0 ppg over the last three, including wins over the Suns and Celtics, while sitting down for just three minutes total during that stretch.

22. New York Knicks (11-19)
Last week:
Beat Chicago; lost to Miami; lost to San Antonio.
Is David Lee a product of the system, or a soon-to-be victim of the system? Despite putting up 18.4 points and 10.8 boards a night, Lee doesn’t seem to be getting any All-Star talk.

21. Charlotte Bobcats (12-17)
Last week:
Beat Detroit; lost at Oklahoma City; beat Milwaukee.
If Stephen Jackson can improve his 28% three-point shooting, the ‘Cats can improve the League’s third-worst scoring offense.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (12-17)
Last week:
Lost to Washington; lost to San Antonio; lost at Charlotte.
Michael Redd appeared to be headed back to his old form when he dropped 32 points (15-15 FT) on the Wizards, but then was held to six points against the Spurs and was benched for the entire second half against the Bobcats. It’s clear this isn’t Redd’s team anymore, so where does he fit into the picture?

19. Toronto Raptors (15-17)
Last week:
Won at Detroit; beat Detroit.
You want evidence that the East is top-heavy? The Raptors are two games under .500, and they’re holding the sixth seed in the conference. Has any conference ever had three sub-.500 squads cracking its playoff bracket?

Baron Davis

Baron Davis

18. L.A. Clippers (13-17)
Last week:
Lost at Houston; lost at Phoenix; beat Boston.
The Clips upset the Celtics at Staples Center last year too, and it led to nothing substantial. Let’s see if they do something with the momentum this time.

17. New Orleans Hornets (13-15)
Last week:
Beat Golden State; lost at Chicago.
We’re headed for a scenario where one of the indisputable 10 best players in the NBA (Chris Paul) plays for a team that finishes last-place in its division. The Hornets are looking up at Memphis, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas in the Southwest.

16. Memphis Grizzlies (14-16)
Last week:
Beat Golden State; lost at Dallas; beat Washington.
At the two-month checkpoint, #2 overall draft pick Hasheem Thabeet is still looking for his first double-figure scoring game, has had five appearances where he didn’t get a rebound, and is averaging 2.9 points, 3.3 boards and 1.1 blocks in 10 minutes a night. Did we mention he was the #2 overall pick in the draft?

15. Sacramento Kings (14-16)
Last week:
Lost to Cleveland; lost to L.A. Lakers; beat Denver.
An overtime loss to the Cavs, a double-OT loss to the Lakers, and a win over the Nuggets while Tyreke Evans was out injured. You couldn’t really ask for a better 1-2 week.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (16-14)
Last week:
Lost at L.A. Lakers; won at Phoenix; beat Charlotte; won at New Jersey.
Conversations about the Thunder begin and end with Kevin Durant, but Russell Westbrook has been kind of a beast lately; averaging 18.6 points, 5.6 boards and 8.6 dimes in his last five games.

13. Miami Heat (16-12)
Last week:
Beat Utah; won at New York; beat Indiana.
Defense has been the key in this three-game win streak, as Miami held the Jazz, Knicks and Pacers to 79 points per game.

12. San Antonio Spurs (17-11)
Last week:
Lost to Portland; won at Milwaukee; won at New York.
How is such a battle-tested roster just 2-10 against teams with above-.500 records?

11. Utah Jazz (17-13)
Last week:
Lost at Miami; beat Philadelphia.
Three crucial Northwest Division games this week with Minnesota and OKC on the road, then Denver at home. The Wolves game is one of those where you need to take care of business if you want to avoid a situation late in the season when you’re one game out of a playoff seed and looking back at all the games you let get away.

Tracy McGrady

10. Houston Rockets (18-13)
Last week:
Beat L.A. Clippers; lost at Orlando; won at New Jersey; lost at Cleveland.
Unless another team has $23 million in expiring contracts they’d want to give up for T-Mac, the Rockets would be best served just keeping Mac around and giving him some more playing time. Nobody said you have to gear the offense around him again.

9. Denver Nuggets (20-12)
Last week:
Beat Atlanta; lost at Portland; lost at Dallas; lost at Sacramento.
Chauncey Billups returned for a few minutes in the Christmas Day loss to the Blazers, but was benched for the second half and then held out of losses to the Mavs and Kings.

8. Orlando Magic (22-8)
Last week:
Beat Houston; lost to Boston.
NBA TV’s Rick Kamla recently said something like, “Vince Carter needs to take fewer shots so Dwight Howard can get more shots. It’s that simple.” Uhh, no it’s not. Vince isn’t taking anything away from Dwight — defenses are figuring out how to guard Dwight. If Dwight gives them a reason not to foul him all the time, he’ll find himself getting more looks.

7. Phoenix Suns (20-12)
Last week:
Lost to Oklahoma City; beat L.A. Clippers; lost at Golden State; beat L.A. Lakers.
During Monday’s win over the Lakers, one of the Suns’ announcers said something like, “If Louis Amundson played 48 minutes, he’d grab 15 rebounds.” True. And if Louis Amundson played 48 minutes, his team would win 15 games.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (20-13)
Last week:
Won at Dallas; won at San Antonio; beat Denver; lost to Philadelphia.
Knocking off the Mavs, Spurs and Nuggets in the same week would be tough with a full roster, and should be impossible with a banged-up crew with no center and Brandon Roy missing one of those games with a sore shoulder.

5. Atlanta Hawks (21-8)
Last week:
Won at Minnesota; lost at Denver; won at Indiana.
Al Horford bolstered his All-Star resume, averaging 19.6 points and 13.6 boards in three games last week.

4. Boston Celtics (23-7)
Last week:
Beat Indiana; won at Orlando; lost at L.A. Clippers; lost at Golden State.
It’s hard to say Paul Pierce’s absence was the key ingredient in back-to-back losses to the Clips and Warriors. It was more a case of bad defense against two talented point guards (Baron Davis and Monta Ellis) and maybe the C’s overlooking their opponents.

3. Dallas Mavericks (22-9)
Last week:
Lost to Portland; beat Memphis; won at Denver.
This Thursday, Dec. 31, in Houston. Dirk Nowitzki vs. Carl Landry’s teeth: The Rematch. How will Landry’s fake chompers hold up?

2. Los Angeles Lakers (24-6)
Last week:
Beat Oklahoma City; lost to Cleveland; won at Sacramento; lost at Phoenix.
Ron Artest (concussion) proves it’s not safe to try and recreate Coming to America scenes at home.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-8)
Last week:
Won at Sacramento; won at L.A. Lakers; beat Houston.
Four straight blowouts over some of the best teams in the West; 10 wins in a row at home; and they dominated the marquee game of the season so far, on the road in L.A. on Christmas Day.

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  • Posterboy15

    The whole Vince takin shots from Dwight Howard is so true…Howard averages about 10 Free throws a night and leading the league in attempts for a reason thats where most of his points comce from, we all know if he developed a more fluent motion post skill he would be more dominant..Vince Carter is the most overall talented skilled player on that team, and has always been one of the best in the league…Its actully Vice Versa that Vince is takin the more shots

    Cleveland is looking pretty tough out there…about time Mo Williams stepped his game up..Only if Shaq could play like he did with the Suns last year, they could be more considered beastly..I still think Cleveland and Orlando will go ahead to ahead in the ECF..with Vince Carter hitting a game winner in Game 7, headed to LA….lol But we’ll see

    Boston To Me there great devensively and they play hard, and have depth…I just dont like them, there like the Eastern Conference Spurs r sumthin, which is crazy cuz Ive been a fan of the Big 3 for years…I just think with the Cleveland and Orlando having better go to players (LBJ and VC) that they will be able pull out hard fought games in a series..lookin at the regular season games against those 2 players Boston does not have an answer against them and they need to somewhere down the line…

    The Lakers, well they still have the Black Mamba Still, enuff said…Im Out Like 09′

  • http://Diiimebitch Chris Ballz

    Koooooobeee. Wat a beast

    Australia rulz

    wen does pat mills com bak????

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @DIME

    uuuuuhhhh, why would Mark f^king Jackson being a name worth considering? We already hired a coach without any coaching experience… and it’s not working out so well. That’s like getting “The clap” from a chick, and 2months later running back up in her RAW… well unlike Ole Dirty, The Bulls fans don’t like it RaW. Let Mark coach the Brooklyn Nets. let him try out for that team.

  • LakeShow84

    LMAO..

    DIME couldnt wait to get the Cavs up # 1..

    Comedy..

  • LakeShow84

    LMAO..

    DIME couldnt wait to get the Cavs up # 1..

    Comedy..

  • http://www.kingsfans.com Willis

    nitpicking, but Cavs didnt blow out the Kings

  • control

    Damn, Toronto at 19th? They’ve only had the WORSE schedule in the league, and picked up like 12 new guys. As a fan, I ain’t happy with 2 games under .500, but I also know that it could have been A LOT worse. They’ve been really coming together as a team lately though, they SHOULD be ranked higher than 19. I’m all for hating and all (obviously), but that is pretty harsh.

    Hey, wasn’t Rondo suppose to be a “defensive specialist” point guard? God knows he ain’t a “free throw specialist” or a “shoot farther than 3ft from rim specialist” but kid been getting lit up lately. He must be tipping back that egg nog a little hard eh?

    Disclaimer:

    I’m a Toronto fan. Oh, and a Rondo hater!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @LakeShow84 — I know you don’t think L.A. should be ranked higher than Cleveland when they just beat you on your home court decisively and you just lost to Phoenix, who the Cavs routed.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @Austin….

    yes, yes he (lakeshow) does. If you ask him, he’ll tell you that the lakers are the most unstoppable force this side of Clark Kent.

  • LakeShow84

    @ AB

    Nah but i just think it shouldve stayed the same.. Not to say we DESERVE the top spot but look who Cavs beat besides us.. Sac (in OT) and Houston?? come on now.. 2-4 other teams have better or tied records and since they come into our house and win some meaningless game in DECEMBER (ON CHRISTMAS NO LESS) they the top team??

    That ONE win over us put them over us AND Boston?? come on now my man.. its good tho.. Power rankings dont mean jack i just thought it was funny..

    And BTW the Suns have been good this year.. you say it like we got whooped by some suckas lol..

  • LakeShow84

    @ ChiTown

    And who really is unstoppable??

    The Bulls?? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

    Dont hate my friend.. Go try to find Thomas’s potential.. i think he left it at his barbers spot lol

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @Ron Artest

    “YOUR RENTS DO MUTHAF^KA!!! AND DON’T TRY TO PULL THAT FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS $H!T EITHER!”

    lmao@DIME’s -Coming to America- reference.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @LakeShow — I’m saying it like the Suns are a recent common opponent; Cavs beat them by double-digits, L.A. lost by double-digits. And you know no Lakers fan on this Earth would call the Christmas Day game meaningless if the Lakers had won.

  • AdvancedMind

    @ LAKESHOW

    Since when do games become meaningless? Remove Kobe’s arabian eye goggles from your face, you got walked on your own court, just give them there just do and move on. Im sure the Lakers will be ranked number one a week or so from now. Plus you guys just lost to the Suns, just admit it the Cavs are playing better ball right now then the Lakers.

    The Bulls absolutely are not unstoppable, but as a born and raised Chicago native i stick with my team though thick and thin. Id actually be willing to guess that more then 50% of Laker fans arent even from L.A, can you say “FAIR WEATHER”. Where are you from??????

  • LakeShow84

    @ AB

    Now we playing they beat this team and you lost by this amount?? weak excuse.. We murdered the Suns all year and now its a shocker we lost?? maybe lol.. this is a DECEMBER game peoples.. The year the Heat won the title we beat them on Christmas in LA, did that mean ANYTHING?? lol NO IT DIDNT..

    @ AdvancedMind

    So what you saying ima fluke fan?? YEAH RIGHT.. Does it really matter when i was born in CA?? im from CA thats all you need to know.. Would i be any less a fan if i was from Chicago but my family WORSHIPPED the Lakers growing up so i followed the fam? No it wouldnt pal.. i BLEED PURPLE AND GOLD.. Raise your hand next time..

    @ AB

    And i think the main problem is everyone is waiting for us to crack thats why everyone is jumping on this.. And while winning on Christmas wouldve been great it dont mean shit until June or even May.. Lol we still got the best record in the West right? Also i posted on here right before the game that meant more to them than us just for the fact we already at the top and we have the problem of being ummmm lazy at times while they have a lot to prove seeing they have trouble with the elite teams.. shit a young hotshot team playing on Christmas?? yeah im sure the youngsters got they sleep the night before..

    lol dont get me wrong it was a good win but to put stock in it is foolish.. in all honesty i expected Boston to be up there at #1..

  • LakeShow84

    @ Advanced Mind

    This aint football.. You can drop games in Basketball and still win it all..

    Just so you know..

  • Dave

    Mark Jackson was a cancer when he was with the Jazz, and while that was just one season of his career I can’t imagine a player like that could ever possibly become a good coach who would have the respect of his players. Anyone who hires him, it will serve them right for being so damn stupid.

  • Jason

    I am looking forward to seeing Blake Griffin make his Clippers debut. The Clippers have a decent roster, it’s just too bad they can’t get it together…

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @LakeShow — Point is, nobody was in a hurry to put the Cavs #1; the way things played out since the last ranking (12/22), the Cavs have been playing better. That includes a decisive win at L.A., and all of their wins lately have been by double digits. With the Celtics having lost back-to-back to sub-500 teams and the Lakers having lost to the Cavs and Suns convincingly, I don’t see how you could call the Cavs ranking anything but legit. Nobody is a Laker-hater like that over here.

  • LakeShow84

    @ AB

    OK.. ill give it credence since its week to week and they played great last week..

    But i wouldnt go far and say no one is a Laker hater over there.. maybe not a hater but definetely not a supporter.. Do you guys have ONE Laker fan in the building??

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Completely correct on Lamar and number 10 situation.

    Amen, chuuch and Tabernacle!

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @LakeShow — Nobody on the editorial side is a lifelong Lakers fan or anything, but people are fans of Kobe, Gasol, etc. There’s at least two Boston fans but I don’t think they let that get in the way.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    On that note, during the Suns/Lakers game the Phoenix broadcast was showing Tweets from PHX fans. One of them said, “Ever notice how a lot of Lakers fans are also Yankees and Cowboys fans?”

  • QQ

    Could see this coming from a mile away: Cavs finally reaching number 1, and all the Dime writers orgasming in unison.

  • Urban

    @ Chicagorilla

    Just cause you’re not from LA doesn’t mean your a fairweather fan. Only rooting for your team when they’re winning makes you a fairweather fan. The reason there are sooooooo many Laker fan is cause they get the most publicity. They have the most nationaly televised games. And they have had one of the best players for about 10 years now (first shaq, and now Kobe). So a lot of people turn on the TV, see them, like their game and become fans. Hell, I’m from Oakland and didn’t even know who the Warroirs where till I was like twelve. But I for damn sure knew who magic and the lakers where. The same thing goes for Cleveland. Do you really think everyone wearing a Lebron Jersey is from Cleveland. I think not.

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