Ranking the NBA from worst to first…
30. Los Angeles Clippers (1-10)
Last week — Lost at New Orleans, lost at San Antonio, lost to Detroit, lost to New Jersey
And you think Unstoppable is predictable? Tell me you haven’t seen this movie before.
29. Philadelphia 76ers (2-8)
Last week — Lost at Oklahoma City, lost at Dallas, lost at San Antonio
Jrue Holiday must feel like he’s still being rookie hazed. While the Sixers went 0-3 in its Big 12 road trip, Holiday averaged 4.3 turnovers per game and got lit up by Russell Westbrook (31 pts, 12 asts), Jason Kidd/J.J. Barea (29 pts, 10 asts) and Tony Parker (24 pts, 7 asts). On a positive note, Holiday did put up 14.6 points and 9.6 assists a night.
28. Toronto Raptors (2-8)
Last week — Lost to Charlotte, won at Orlando, lost at Miami
Granted, Andrea Bargnani’s primary job responsibilities are to shoot and score (20.5 ppg), but it’s OK to pass every now and then (1.1 apg). He’s already had three games this year where he’s played 30-plus minutes and finished with zero assists.
27. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-9)
Last week — Lost at L.A. Lakers, won at Sacramento, beat New York, lost at Atlanta, lost at Charlotte
Shareef Abdur-Rahim is working for the wrong team in Sacramento. Kevin Love and Mike Beasley are honoring the memory of Shareef as a “big stats, bad team” juggernaut
26. New York Knicks (3-7)
Last week — Lost at Milwaukee, lost to Golden State, lost at Minnesota, lost to Houston
They can score, but they can’t stop anybody on the other team from scoring.
25. Sacramento Kings (3-6)
Last week — Lost to Minnesota, lost at Phoenix, lost to Detroit
So much for early-season optimism. After a 3-1 start, Tyreke Evans and Co. have dropped five in a row.
24. Houston Rockets (3-6)
Last week — Lost at Washington, won at Indiana, won at New York
With all their injuries, it seems odd that Rick Adelman could afford to send 2010 Lottery pick Patrick Patterson down to the D-League, but one area where Houston is solid is at power forward. Luis Scola does not know pain.
23. Washington Wizards (2-6)
Last week — Beat Houston, lost to Charlotte, lost at Chicago
JaVale McGee became the new Tyrus Thomas before Tyrus Thomas got a chance to become the old Tyrus Thomas. Even though he plays less than 24 minutes a night, McGee is good for one or two jaw-dropping highlights.
22. Detroit Pistons (4-7)
Last week — Lost at Portland, won at L.A. Clippers, won at Sacramento, lost at Golden State
If the Pistons were better, Ben Gordon would be the front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year. He’s shooting an amazing 55 percent from the floor, 45 percent from three, and 90 percent from the line this season.
21. New Jersey Nets (4-6)
Last week — Lost to Cleveland, Won at Cleveland, lost to Orlando, won at L.A. Clippers
They beat the bad teams and lose to the good teams. Not much more to say.
20. Charlotte Bobcats (4-7)
Last week — Won at Toronto, won at Washington, lost to Utah, beat Minnesota
I can’t explain it. Between Gerald Wallace’s energy and highlight-ability, and Stephen Jackson’s emotion and unpredictability, the Bobcats should be way more interesting than they are. And yet, they’ve got to be the least-watched team on NBA League Pass.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-5)
Last week — Won at New Jersey, lost to New Jersey, lost to Indiana
Daniel Gibson was in the National Honor Society in high school, played in the Elite Eight in college, was blessed with a jump shot from God’s textbook, now has a green light to shoot it whenever he wants in the NBA (13.8 ppg), and he’s married to Keyshia Cole, who has his baby. I hate him.
18. Memphis Grizzlies (4-7)
Last week — Lost to Dallas, lost to Boston, lost at Orlando
Failed their first big test of the season, going 0-3 against the Mavs, Celtics and Magic. Even when the Grizzlies took Boston to overtime, it seemed like the C’s were just toying with them until hitting the Truck Stick in the extra frame.
17. Indiana Pacers (4-4)
Last week — Beat Denver, lost to Houston, won at Cleveland
Everybody was getting buckets during Indy’s historic 20-for-21 third quarter performance against the Nuggets. Vern Fleming even snuck in the game and hit a floater.
16. Golden State Warriors (7-4)
Last week — Won at New York, lost at Chicago, lost at Milwaukee, beat Detroit
In the visitor’s locker room at MSG, I got a glimpse of the comedy team that is Andris Biedrins and Vlad Radmanovic. I’m 100 percent sure if they had a TV show together it’d be better than “The T.Ocho Show.”
15. Milwaukee Bucks (5-5)
Last week — Beat New York, won at Atlanta, beat Golden State
Putting their three-game win streak on the line against a pissed-off Lakers team tonight at home. If Brandon Jennings goes at (and past) Derek Fisher right away and gets rolling offensively, the Bucks have a shot.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (6-5)
Last week — Beat Detroit, lost at Oklahoma City, lost at New Orleans
With the Grizzlies, Nuggets, Jazz and Hornets coming up on the schedule, it’s not a good time for Brandon Roy’s knee to start acting up.
13. Chicago Bulls (5-3)
Last week — Beat Golden State, beat Washington
Time for the annual Circus Road Trip. Tonight the Bulls are in Houston, then San Antonio, Dallas, L.A. (Lakers), Phoenix, Denver and Sacramento. Then they go home for Orlando, and hit the road again for Boston. Brutal.
12. Atlanta Hawks (7-4)
Last week — Lost to Milwaukee, lost to Utah, beat Minnesota
Contrary to your preseason picks, Al Horford isn’t giving up his All-Star spot that easily. He’s gone from a bare-minimum double-double type to a threat to dump 30 and 10 on your front line.
11. Denver Nuggets (5-5)
Last week — Lost at Indiana, beat L.A. Lakers, lost at Phoenix
Who said Carmelo Anthony doesn’t rebound? He pulled down 22 boards against the Suns. Then again, the Suns are basically playing a five-guard lineup.
10. Orlando Magic (7-3)
Last week — Lost to Utah, lost to Toronto, won at New Jersey, beat Memphis
They didn’t look good during the Vince Carter Reunion Tour, dropping a game at home to the Raptors and needing a Jameer Nelson game-winner to survive the Nets. Vince averaged 11.5 points on 38 percent shooting against his former clubs.
9. Phoenix Suns (6-4)
Last week — Beat Sacramento, won at L.A. Lakers, beat Denver
They’re painfully thin in the frontcourt, so why not give rookie Gani Lawal a look? He’ll go harder in the paint than Channing Frye.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-4)
Last week — Beat Philadelphia, beat Portland, lost to San Antonio, won at Utah
Everybody assumed Dwyane Wade would steal too many of LeBron’s MVP votes for LBJ to three-peat, but what about Russell Westbrook stealing some of Kevin Durant’s MVP votes? Russ has been no less impressive than his All-World teammate.
7. Miami Heat (6-4)
Last week — Lost to Utah, lost to Boston, beat Toronto
They have until Feb. 13 to figure out the Celtics before their next meeting. Will Erik Spoelstra still be the coach by then?
6. Boston Celtics (8-2)
Last week — Won at Miami, won at Memphis
Buried underneath the overwhelming Rajon Rondo hype is Kevin Garnett’s resurgence. He’s putting up 15.4 points and 10.4 boards and is going to earn his All-Star starting spot this time.
5. Dallas Mavericks (7-2)
Last week — Won at Memphis, beat Philadelphia, beat New Orleans
I knew it wouldn’t take long for Tyson Chandler (8.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg) to snatch Brendan Haywood’s starting spot. He’s only missed seven field goals and four free throws all season, whereas Haywood is 3-for-17 at the charity stripe.
4. Utah Jazz (7-4)
Last week — Won at Miami, won at Orlando, won at Atlanta, won at Charlotte, lost to Oklahoma City
College teams trying to survive March Madness don’t have weeks as exciting and stress-inducing as the Jazz. They swept a four-game East Coast road trip that included four second-half comebacks and a month’s worth of buzzer-beaters and down-to-the-wire finishes.
San Antonio Spurs (8-1)
Last week — Beat L.A. Clippers, beat Philadelphia, won at Oklahoma City
If Tony Parker (18.3 ppg, 7.7 apg, 2.2 spg) and Manu Ginobili (21.3 ppg, 4.3 apg, 1.7 spg) aren’t the best backcourt in the League, they’re close to the top. They’ve been so good, George “Golden Child” Hill has gone back to being just another guy on the bench.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (8-2)
Last week — Beat Minnesota, lost at Denver, lost to Phoenix
While Pau Gasol is getting early MVP talk, Kobe just quietly puts up his 25-5-5 a night. And it feels like he’s still getting warmed up.
1. New Orleans Hornets (8-1)
Last week — Beat L.A. Clippers, beat Portland, lost at Dallas
A close loss to the Mavs on the road is nothing to be ashamed of. Who’s the new guy with the funny-looking shot? That would be long-lost Peja Stojakovic, who came out of hibernation to hit three triples against the Blazers and four against the Mavs.