Hit List, Latest News, NBA / Jan 9, 2012 / 3:00 pm

Dime NBA Power Rankings, Vol. II: How Good Is Philadelphia?

Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala (photo. Kelly Turso)

Ranking the NBA from worst to first …

30. Washington (0-8)
Last Week: 30, —
As we wrote in Smack, no one’s feeling sorry for the Wizards right now. You can’t have multiple players ready to stage a mutiny (Lewis, Blatche), guys who don’t always play hard (McGee) and other cats who smile during blowout losses. John Wall was supposed to make the jump this year. Who would’ve ever thought this team would be going backwards?

29. New Orleans (2-6)
LW: 20, -9
No Eric Gordon means the Hornets are relying on a bunch of role players for big buckets. Six straight losses for the Bees, and it’s only going to get worse. If I was a betting man, by the end of this month, I’d bet they’ll be something like 4-17 or 5-16. The schedule looks THAT bad.

28. New Jersey (2-7)
LW: 29, +1
If you get blown out by 16 on the road in Cleveland, there’s a good chance you’re not very good. They’ve won one game since opening night. One! And that was against a Raptor team that isn’t much better. It’s so bad in New Jersey then even Deron Williams – the guy I called the best point guard in the world for so long – has become inflicted with the bad Net disease (17 and seven… weak at least for him). This all feels like payback for Kris Humphries turning into a celebrity, and the NBA’s biggest ass.

27. Detroit (2-6)
LW: 23, -4
For at least the first week or so, the Pistons seemed to toss out their garbage and issues. Yes, they were always going to blow, but for a team that has an abundance of inefficient offensive players (second worst offense in the league with an efficiency of 92.1) who can’t play defense either, we knew that going in. But even as Detroit is taking more beatings now than Bodie from The Wire, Greg Monroe has upped his PER to a ridiculous 23.92. Also, Ben Gordon finally woke up enough to average close to 16 a night (Can I take some of the credit for this? No? Okay.).

26. Milwaukee (2-6)
LW: 16, -10
I can already see some of you longtime Dime readers out there snickering and rubbing your hands together. Can we still find a way to defend Brandon Jennings? Take away his phenomenal 31-point game against Sacramento last week, and Young Money has shot under 43 percent in every game in 2012. They went on a five-game road trip this past week, and proceeded to lose every one of them. Will this be the second straight year this team goes loco on us and doesn’t come close to expectations?

25. Golden State (2-6)
LW: 13, -12
Well, at least Mark Jackson has them losing competitively. Five straight losses, yes, but only one was a blowout. Jackson’s real test comes now. Can he find a way to help Stephen Curry stay healthy? Can he get something – ANYTHING – out of his wing players not named Brandon Rush? Can he convince Andris Biedrins to like basketball again? The one shining light? Monta Ellis. He’s still getting his points (24 a night), but now he’s averaging over eight assists a game.

24. Charlotte (2-6)
LW: 28, +4
Leaning heavily on people like D.J. Augustin, Boris Diaws (he doubled in size over the summer) and Bad Porn nearly guarantees you’ll have the worst defense in the league. If it wasn’t for those Knicks, we’d be looking at seven consecutive losses for MJ‘s crew. Still, we recommend watching them because there’s something fishy going on down there with DBMD: D.J. White (10 and six) and recently-acquired Byron Mullens (11.4 points a night). They are miraculously somehow pretty good.

23. Toronto (3-5)
LW: 26, +3
Yes, they’re coming off an embarrassing loss to the Nets, and a 35-point destruction in Philly. But things could be worse in Toronto. Andrea Bargnani still won’t rebound. But at least he’s dropping nearly 23 a night. DeMar DeRozan hasn’t made The Leap, but at least he can actually make a shot now (He’s shooting 56 percent from the arc. WTF?!). And they’re No. 20 in defensive efficiency (101.3), which is at least better than last. Our Canadian friends just need to see the glass half full.

22. Sacramento (3-6)
LW: 19, -3
Not even the largest Kings haters (if they even exist) could’ve predicted we’d be two weeks into the season, and DeMarcus Cousins would’ve already helped oust Paul Westphal. As Shaq said on TNT, if you can’t play for Westphal, who CAN you play for? The guy is (was) only the most laid-back coach in the game. We’ve made fun of him for years because he literally just rolls the ball out and lets everyone play. With the Playground Kings, that should’ve worked. Instead, he got axed because 1) Cousins hated him and because 2) the Kings’ young players weren’t improving.

21. Houston (2-6)
LW: 15, -6
You know what doesn’t really make any sense? A team like the Rockets, who are only competitive because they play hard, are actually the second-worst defensive team in the league. Their offense isn’t the problem (it’s in the top 10). No one can D up. Why is Houston catching a break in these rankings? They might’ve had the most difficult schedule of any team to start the season: at Orlando, San Antonio, at Memphis, Atlanta, at the Lakers, at the Clippers and a home/away series with OKC. Woah.

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  • powersurge

    who is Bad Porn? lol

  • north

    Chicago moves up after being absolutely blown out like a JV team against your hated Hawks? Miami is #1, #2 belongs to Portland.

  • Ballin 305

    Corey ‘Bad Porn’ Maggette! My favorite nickname in the game right now. Lol

  • Sean Sweeney

    ^^^ You didn’t see on Friday when the Blazers got rolled on by 25 in Phoenix…

  • Hot Fiyah

    Bad Porn will forever go down as one of the best nicknames ever.

    http://dimemag.com/2008/12/corey-maggette-is-bad-porn/

  • jimmhumm

    Man the bucks are stuggling. I was ready to fear the deer.
    The hawks loss is passible. jj and j-smooth got one on miami too. at the end of the day you gotta bump the bulls. they still playing good.

  • Matt

    Celts were getting blown out by Miami, but only lost by 8 (playing without pierce). no excuses for indiana game though, that was just ugly.

    They will challenge in the east come the playoffs, but until then, the second game of back-to-backs is going to be rough…

  • Celts Fan

    @sean sweeney – I thought that already, but there’s still hope. Let’s start w/ the biggest issues. Most importantly, neither of our starting bigs (KG, JO) can rotate anymore and have NO CHANCE to get up on a 2nd jump to stop 2nd chance pts. They’ve both aged so much since their elite years (JO we all know, but KG’s summer pushed him from “older, but still a legit all star contender” to “wow, let’s hope we can get 20 quality mpg from him and an occasional have a flashback game” like his New Year’s Day throwback vs. Wash. Kills me to say it, cuz I’ve loved KG since he was 18, looooong before the C’s ever swung a deal for him, but he’s a solid starter now, nothing more most nights. While both can protect the rim and rebound, you/the ball must go right at them for it to matter. An athletic guy w/ a good handle can get around them. Oh ya, we also signed Chris Wilcox to be our backup 5, ho hum (could do worse, but he’s as average as it gets for a capable rotation guy, right?) I’ve been terrified of that, but the reasons I’m holding out hope we can round into shape as the year goes on is that we do still have the pieces around them to be an above average defensive team around them and we’ll rebound better… I hope. Also, Brandon Bass, while a turnstyle on-ball, gets a decent amount of rotating blocks

    Also, the fucking Stiemer has been a godsend. I get it, he’s a role player, if things go PERFECTLY for him, he becomes Birdman sans the drugs, but for an old team without any spry bigs, having a guy that can protect the rim consistently and play effective ball at the 5.

    So, the wings. Our starting 3 w/ Pierce out was SASHA PAVLOVIC. I get that he was a starter on the Cavs team that got force-fucked by the Spurs in the Finals in ’07 or ’08, but damn… Avery Bradley, a pick I LOVED last year, is a really good defender, but offensively he’s a goddamn mess, so despite the opportunities early on, it’s clear he’s just not ready yet. Beyond that, our wing depth incl. rookie E’Taun Moore (solid preseason, but not ready) and backup PG Keyon Dooling, who’s actually played well at either guard spot for us. With Mickael Pietrus coming back and playing tmw, we have a guy that can spread the floor, play good D, and play either wing spot. Been a huge fan of what he can do for a team for a while, I think he can save us from Avery Bradley/Sasha minutes, help our D, and more pts. than them.

    This season’s fucked. With the shorter, congested schedule, they haven’t practiced at full strength yet and Pierce just got back a week ago. Give it time. All you wanna do is make the playoffs this year healthy and rested. If we can do that, there’s no reason we can’t make a run, but no, we’re not in a contender by any means at this point. Crazier things have happened in sports than an ubertalented, but old team coming together and getting healthy at the right time and making a run to a ring, but anyone calling us a favorite is crazy. My prediction: 2nd rd. playoff loss.

    I’m realistic, but as I see this chapter closing, I gotta say, you follow sports and root for a team hoping against hope that a period like these last 5 yrs. We went from horrendous to a champion while keeping Pierce. We casually picked up some of my favorite non-Celtics in the league in doing so (always like Ray and KG a lot, but LOVED sheed’s antics on the Pistons, came down on the “dude, if you rat out your boy to the cops, you’re automatically the dickhead” side of the Kobe/Shaq feud, and liked JO’s Pacers when he decided he wanted to end Turtle’s life.) The run’s over after this year, I’m sure (Ray/KG are FAs,) but no fucking complaints. Best 5 years ever…