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Hit List, Latest News / Jan 5, 2010 / 10:00 am

NBA Hit List power ranking, 1.5

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

Ranking the NBA from worst to first…

30. New Jersey Nets (3-30)
Last week:
Beat New York, lost to Cleveland.
After closing out December by experiencing the thrill of victory for the third time, the Nets have a handful of winnable games coming up this month, including the Wizards, Pacers, Sixers, Bucks and Clippers at home.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-28)
Last week:
Lost at San Antonio; lost to Utah; lost to Orlando; lost at Indiana.
The League’s third-worst three-point shooting team (and 4th-worst in triples made) needs a shooter or two. Anybody know what Chuck Person and Anthony Peeler are up to?

28. Indiana Pacers (10-23)
Last week:
Lost at Chicago; lost to Memphis; beat Minnesota; lost at New York.
Thanks to Peyton Manning and Co., at least nobody in Indiana is paying attention to what’s happened to their basketball team.

27. Washington Wizards (10-21)
Last week:
Lost to Oklahoma City; lost to San Antonio.
Is it bad if we’re kind of curious to see how many “Pick One” signs will be in the crowd the next time the Wizards go on the road?

26. Detroit Pistons (11-21)
Last week:
Lost to New York; lost to Chicago.
The losing streak is at nine, and threatens to hit double digits as the Pistons travel to Dallas and San Antonio this week. The return of Rip, Tayshaun and Gordon didn’t have as much impact as expected.

25. Golden State Warriors (9-23)
Last week:
Lost at L.A. Lakers; lost at Portland.
Corey Maggette has scored 20-plus points in nine of G-State’s last 10 games. Unfortunately the team has only won two of those 10 games.

24. Philadelphia 76ers (10-23)
Last week:
Won at Sacramento; lost at L.A. Clippers; won at Denver.
Right up there with high-stakes card games that don’t lead to gun play, teams giving a half-assed, sluggish effort on the last night of a long road trip is an NBA staple. The Sixers deserve extra credit for going into Denver on Sunday (another hazardous road city due to the altitude) and winning the finale of a five-game West Coast swing.

23. Milwaukee Bucks (13-18)
Last week:
Lost at Orlando; beat Oklahoma City.
Don’t look now, but the rookie wall might be creeping up on Brandon Jennings. His field-goal and three-point shooting percentages and his scoring dropped significantly from November to December. Either it’s The Wall, or the rest of the League is getting a better handle on how to defend Jennings.

22. New York Knicks (14-20)
Last week:
Won at Detroit; lost at New Jersey; won at Atlanta; beat Indiana.
Watching Nate Robinson pour in 41 against the Hawks, a question came up: Why was Mike D’Antoni keeping him glued to the bench in the first place?

Tyreke Evans (photo. Nicky Woo)

21. Sacramento Kings (14-19)
Last week:
Lost to Philadelphia; lost at L.A. Lakers; lost to Dallas.
Between Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi and Jason Thompson, it’s safe to say the Kings have killed the Draft over the last two years. That should be an interesting part of the upcoming Geoff Petrie biopic, in which Jeff Goldblum plays the lead role, Steve Carell plays Tim Donaghy, and Fab Five Freddy plays Kenny Thomas.

20. Charlotte Bobcats (14-18)
Last week:
Lost at Toronto; won at Miami; won at Cleveland.
Stephen Jackson cracked 30 points in back-to-back games against the Raptors and Heat, then had 22 and some crucial free throws in the upset win over the Cavs.

19. Chicago Bulls (14-18)
Last week:
Beat Indiana; won at Detroit; beat Orlando; lost to Oklahoma City.
A four-game win streak probably saved Vinny Del Negro’s job, at least until the next losing streak or blown 30-point lead.

18. Los Angeles Clippers (15-18)
Last week:
Lost at Portland; beat Philadelphia; beat Portland.
Chris Kaman is apparently getting into the All-Star campaign business. Kaman has the numbers (20.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg), but you could easily argue that Marcus Camby (8.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 2.2 bpg) is more important to the Clips.

17. Toronto Raptors (17-18)
Last week:
Beat Charlotte; lost at Boston; beat San Antonio.
Chris Bosh recently became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, passing Vince Carter for the top spot. You’ll never guess who ranks 3-4-5: Mo Peterson, Doug Christie, and Antonio Davis. Not exactly Kareem-Elgin-Magic, is it?

16. Miami Heat (17-15)
Last week:
Lost at New Orleans; lost at San Antonio; lost to Charlotte; beat Atlanta.
Michael Beasley is finding his groove as Miami’s #2 scorer, averaging 17.8 points in his last five games, but his defensive lapses are still keeping him on the bench in crunch time.

15. Memphis Grizzlies (16-16)
Last week:
Won at Indiana; won at Phoenix.
Looks like the Rockets have a serious contender for the most unexpected overachieving success story of the season.

14. Utah Jazz (18-16)
Last week:
Won at Minnesota; lost at Oklahoma City; lost to Denver; lost to New Orleans.
Kyle Korver is very slowly working his way back, getting a few minutes here and there and starting to trust his knee again. We heard during the Jazz/Hornets game that Korver has been working with Jeff Hornacek in the meantime. That’s like Batista working with Scott Steiner on how to increase his bench press.

13. New Orleans Hornets (16-16)
Last week:
Lost at Houston; beat Miami; beat Houston; won at Utah.
Nearly getting traded to Minnesota apparently lit a fire under Devin Brown. He made some clutch shots against Houston the night of the near-trade, then went on a three-game run averaging 19.3 points, including 30 against the Jazz.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (19-15)
Last week:
Won at Washington; beat Utah; lost at Milwaukee; beat Chicago.
His numbers aren’t going to get anybody’s attention, but Eric Maynor has already proven to be a great pickup for OKC. His ball-hawking defense and decision making will help them win some extra games.

'Melo covers Dime #53

11. Denver Nuggets (21-13)
Last week:
Won at Utah; lost to Philadelphia.
Already struggling to keep their heads above water while ‘Melo (knee) and Billups (groin) deal with their injuries, now Birdman will be out for up to a week with a bad ankle.

10. San Antonio Spurs (20-12)
Last week:
Beat Minnesota; beat Miami; won at Washington; lost at Toronto.
Usually you can forgive an underachieving Spurs start because you know they’ll get it together and deliver down the stretch into the postseason. But this group is pinning a lot on Richard Jefferson, and he doesn’t necessarily have that crunch-time rep.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (22-14)
Last week:
Beat L.A. Clippers; beat Golden State; lost at L.A. Clippers.
Did you know Andre Miller has the third-most career assists among active players? Only Jason Kidd and Steve Nash outrank him. Miller handed out 16 dimes against the Clippers on Monday.

8. Houston Rockets (20-14)
Last week:
Beat New Orleans; beat Dallas; lost at New Orleans.
Tough schedule this week with road games against the Lakers and Suns, and you can’t just pencil in the Knicks as a guaranteed “W” anymore.

7. Atlanta Hawks (21-12)
Last week:
Lost to Cleveland; lost at Cleveland; lost to New York; lost at Miami.
Six losses in their last eight games — with the wins coming against the lowly Pacers and Wolves — and suddenly the Hawks don’t look so hot as a darkhorse contender in the East.

6. Orlando Magic (24-9)
Last week:
Beat Milwaukee; won at Minnesota; lost at Chicago.
All this talk about Dwight Howard not getting enough touches, but what’s up with Marcin Gortat’s buckets? The Polish Hammer can’t get a play drawn up for him?

5. Dallas Mavericks (23-11)
Last week:
Lost at Houston; won at Sacramento; lost at L.A. Lakers.
It wasn’t so long ago that Pistons-Spurs-Jazz-Lakers would be considered a murderously cruel stretch of schedule. It’s still tough nowadays, but not that bad. We could see the Mavs going 3-1.

4. Boston Celtics (24-8)
Last week:
Lost at Phoenix; beat Toronto.
With KG, Pierce and Rondo out of the lineup, Rasheed Wallace decided to have a throwback night against Toronto. On his way to 16 points, ‘Sheed was breaking out spin moves and baseline dunks he hasn’t used in years.

Amar'e Stoudemire, Dime #14

3. Phoenix Suns (21-13)
Last week:
Beat Boston; lost to Memphis.
Coming off blowout wins over the Lakers and Celtics, of course you follow it up by getting smoked by the Grizzlies in your own gym. Simply a letdown, or just another reminder that these Suns will never be a serious title threat?

2. Los Angeles Lakers (27-6)
Last week:
Beat Golden State; beat Sacramento; beat Dallas.
Kobe closed out the calendar year 2009 with a season-high 44 points against G-State, then opened 2010 with a buzzer-beating game-winner against Sacramento. Apparently his resolution is to cop another MVP to go with a fifth ‘chip.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (27-9)
Last week:
Won at Atlanta; beat Atlanta; won at New Jersey; lost to Charlotte.
Yeah, they lost to the Bobcats, but let’s not forget that L snapped a seven-game overall win streak and an 11-game home win streak. Not to mention recent convincing wins over the Lakers and Suns, and last week’s playoff-atmosphere W’s over Atlanta.

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  • QQ

    Are the Cavs REALLY better than LA this week? A non biased question to the Dime fam.

  • http://www.realgm.com Rare Air

    Lakers are a better team then the Cavs, but there is certainly still a lingering hangover from that Christmas Day beatdown.

  • calvin brodus

    rockets better than the nuggs? even with the nuggs hurting, that #11 ranking is pretty damn low. and how are the suns #3 with the same record as denver and comparable wins/losses from last week?

  • sweetv0mit

    DIME – can you guys take out this gray shade on the left side? thanks

  • Drapsfan

    How the fuck! are the Raptors ranked below New Orleans and Miami, 2 teams that have not won a game against them all season!? Shitmag rankings is more like it!

  • LakeShow84

    OK Austin get ur ass out here and explain this week..

    Lol like i said COMEDY.. u even got a Magic fan up there askin about this one lol

    You guys is smokin.. Shit they shouldnt have beat Atlanta had it not been for the officiating.. lol but its ok.. let them be #1 until the playoffs..

    So they can get busted again and everyone can act surprised..

  • QQ

    @ 6:

    I’m a basketball fan before I became a Magic fan. And me seeing the Cavs still in the number one spot crushes the basketball fan inside of me. It’s bullshit.

    PS: Don’t worry Lake. Everyone knows the Lakers are the best team right now. Even the haters and Magic fans whose team you son of a bitches beat last June. Everyone BUT narrow minded Bron nuthuggers.

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

    All screwed up.

    LA is 1
    Rockets to high
    Denver to low
    Dallas to high

    Oh and the question about Nate should have cane up before he dropped 41 cause we all know Nate should do well in D’Anthony’s system.

  • Soopa

    Spurs and Hawks basicly have the same record now. Wouldnt have expected that a month ago.

  • sh!tfaced

    Even a Celtics fan knows the Lakers are number 1 right now.

  • K Dizzle

    1) Cleveland loses to the Bobcats and get love and the 1 slot, but you guys shit on Phoeniz about losin to Memphis like they scrubs. A loss to the Bobcats is waaaaaay worse than losin to the surprise of the year Grizzlies.
    Lakers #1 this week. Point blank.

    2) Minnesota needs a shooter? Guess Ellington ain’t translatin. Shoulda thought about that before tradin Miller and Foye away for…..nothin

    3)There’s a reason Gortat wanted out and into Dallas. He’s gettin paid, but he don’t get to play or touches and his offensive game is far superior to Dwight’s. Dude gotta be pissed

    3)

  • dwight coward

    Amare looks like he smells something.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @LakeShow — OK, I’ll bite. The Cavs have won 7 of their last 8 games, and 11 of their last 12 at home. And they beat the Lakers in L.A. 10 days ago.

    Meanwhile, remember that before Kobe’s game-winner, L.A. was losing to the Kings (without Tyreke) at home and were down by 10 in the fourth quarter. They also had a tough time beating G-State.

    @QQ — Why do you assume ranking the Cavs #1 means somebody is a LeBron “nuthugger”? Maybe it’s all Mo Williams nut-hugging.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    I just beat the Lake Show with the Cavs 5 minutes ago in 2K10…easily, made the guy quit…not as flashy as the Kobettes, but efficient…

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    And it’s not about whose squad is superior overall, Lakers are way more talented than any other team in the L, but who’s playing the best ball right meow…how can you hate when the Bobcats aren’t that bad this year, and the Cavs have only lost 1 game in 12?

  • QQ

    @ AB:

    I know that it’s not Mo Williams by reading one article from your catalog. If I didn’ know this was a bball site, I will think it’s some kind of contest about saying the most flattering things to someone named Lebron James.

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

    “There’s a reason Gortat wanted out and into Dallas. He’s gettin paid, but he don’t get to play or touches and his offensive game is far superior to Dwight’s. Dude gotta be pissed”

    LMFAO @^^^

    more superior than Dwight! Gortat!?! He’s terrible. He is the next Jerome James!!! I can’t express to you through this post how f^kin stupid you must be to think that Gortat should be getting more tick because his offensive game is more superior. I honestly don’t think he would have started over Eric Dampier in Dallas. He would have been getting at most 25min a game when they found out that the Polish Hammer is actually a scrub.