Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
The Bobcats are still the Bobcats. They’re in Charlotte. Bobcattin’ around, doing Bobcat things. You get the impression that if you let them in your house, the would hiss at your kids, scratch up your furniture, piss all over your carpet, and eventually, bite the crap out of your neck. Which is roughly what Bobcat fans feel is being done to them on a nightly basis. On the other hand, they won three games this month, meaning they won 75% as many games this month as they have all season. Progress!
29. Washington Wizards 12-39 Last 10: 3-7 Last Month: 29
I like the way that Washington has decided to play this season out, making sure they are bad enough to get a good draft pick, having the sense to jettison a couple of players that were hurting way more than helping, and picking up a solid center (even his contract is somewhat of an albatross). Once the pick materializes into what will likely be some type of decent player, the Wizards will have a nice little core going and can figure out where they need to go from there. Not too shabby really.
28. New Orleans Hornets 13-38 Last 10: 3-7 Last Month: 28
Well, we knew this would be hard, but honestly, for a team that has lost the best point guard in the league, it hasn’t been nearly as brutal as it could have been. You can do worse at the point than Jarrett Jack. The discovery of Gustavo Ayon has been a plus. They should also get a good pick out of this. If by some miracle they can convince Eric Gordon to stay, then things could look up next year. But sadly, I don’t think that Gordon will stay. So……come on, ping pong balls!
27. New Jersey Nets 18-35 Last 10: 4-6 Last Month: 24
Well…..that whole Dwight and Deron thing didn’t quite go as planned, huh? In a scramble move, the Nets dealt their number one to Portland, only getting it back if it lands in the top three. Which is possible. But many a team has been screwed over by the lottery, and if Deron does decide to bolt at season’s end, then they will sure wish they had a shiny new rookie to sell to season ticket holders. New Jersey played a dangerous game, and it looks like they have all but lost. Though the Wallace-Deron-Lopez trifecta could be worse.
26. Toronto Raptors 17-35 Last 10: 3-7 Last Month: 27
Andrea Bargnani is back, but he seems to have left his defense in rehab. Hard to diagnose if this is part of him trying to get his feet back under him before expending effort on that end, or if the time off has left him unfocused. The Raps need to figure it out though, as his near All-Star form before the injuries piled up has been one of few consistent right spots for the NBA’s lone team from the Great White North.
Can I say one thing real quick? DEMARCUS COUSINS IS A MAN!…….ok…..thanks for letting me do that. The center many have called a head case is starting to look like if he can stay out of foul trouble, he may actually find a way to live up to his ridiculous potential. If young rookie Isaiah Thomas can continue to develop, and Tyreke Evans can figure out this two-guard thing, then we are talking about a team that could be giving anyone a run for their money as quick as next season. And they are still plenty bad enough to get a good pick this year.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s power rankings…
24. Detroit Pistons 18-33 Last 10: 3-7 Last Month: 25
Rodney Stuckey would like bloggers everywhere to know that he actually doesn’t suck nearly as hard as a lot of us have been saying he does, thank you very much. He has been on a bit of a scoring tear recently Breaking twenty nearly every game and thirty many night, and often doing so efficiently. Shame he went out with a hamstring injury on Wednesday. Which honesty should help get this tam back to losing games like they should be doing.
23.Cleveland Cavaliers 17-32 Last 10: 1-9 Last Month: 19
Well, the Kyrie Irving playoff train was a fun ride while it lasted, but cheer up Cavs fans! You found a player that looks to be the next Tony Parker, and you get a decent pick too! If the Cavs find a way to put a team around Kyrie, this team could become very interesting. It may be the best thing that ever happened to Irving that he missed the playoffs this year and avoided a confidence crushing sweep at the hands of Miami or Chicago. Though the boos in a Miami-Cleveland playoff series at the Q would have been something to hear.
22. Portland Trailblazers 24-28 Last 10: 4-6 Last Month: 14
LaMarcus Aldridge’s consistency is truly a marvel. He always scores almost dead on his 20-8 averages, and almost always shoots around 50%. This will happen like clockwork, every night. But in the long run the seemingly front office sanctioned tank-a-palooza will be a good idea if the Blazers can drop enough games to actually improve their draft position. How funny is it that Raymond Felton picks the middle of a tank run to suddenly find his shot? Even when he’s winning, he’s losing.
21. Golden State Warriors 20-30 Last 10: 2-8 Last Month: 22
I’ll be honest. The Warrior’s fans booing their owner was childish, but considering how big of an idiot the guy was being, and the undelivered promises he’s brought so far, they can hardly be blames. It also kind of endeared this fan base to me, appealing to my never-quite-dead, “screw authority” teenagery side. So I’m on board. Also, if Curry and Bogut can actually put their troubled injury histories behind them, the core at work here is definitely not bad. Not bad at all.
So maybe they slide a bit due to injuries to Angelface Rubio and Big Pek, but, in other news, BOW DOWN TO KEVIN LOVE LEST HE REBOUND YOUR FIRST BORN AND THEN SHOOT IT THROUGH A BASKETBALL HOOP FROM DISTANCE! Seriously, dude is averaging a 26-13, has a PER of over 25, and recently gave Kevin freaking Durant all he could handle in a shootout. And he’s only 23. If the Wolves don’t find a way into the playoffs next year, I’ll film a re-enactment of that super creepy “Love in the Shower” commercial.
19. Phoenix Suns 25-26 Last 10: 6-4 Last Month: 23
Steve Nash, your veteran savvy continues to amaze me. You play well enough to get everyone thinking “that Steve Nash is amazing! Dragging Marcin Gortat and nobody back to the playoffs!” Then once he gets the exposure, he drops a bit so, you know, he doesn’t have to waste his body killing himself in the playoffs with his worst team ever. And just to keep it interesting, throw in a comment about how you’d be open to signing with Miami. Oh you did that? Ok. I wonder why no one thinks it’s unfair for Steve Nash to discuss future plans, when anyone else gets grilled for it. Strange.
18. Denver Nuggets 28-24 Last 10: 5-5 Last Month: 15
So I guess all poor Javale McGee needed was a change of scenery. Who knew? To be fair, a lot of this should be credited to the fact that he is no longer around idiots like Blatche and Nick Young, and the fact that he actually has a coach willing to find ways to maximize his abilities. With the way thing are going out West, we even have Denver and Utah slugging it out for the eighth seed. We may get PLAYOFF JaVale! Tell me you won’t DVR that!
17. Milwaukee Bucks 24-27 Last 10: 24-27 Last Month: 20
I’ll tell you the thing that we all overlooked when we talked about how the Jennings-Ellis backcourt could never work: The fact that if both of those guys are hitting shots, this team is just about impossible to stop. Milwaukee is basically the only feasible playoff team that isn’t already in the top eight in the East. And with the Knicks and the Sixers, number eight and seven, it’s hard to say anything for certain.
A team that I fully expect to slide out of the playoffs any day now, forget what I wrote about Denver and Utah. If they were to make it in, it would be a good chance for Goran Dragic to showcase his skills, but I just feel like Kyle Lowry needs to be around for this team to keep firing on all cylinders. At the same time, they should be commended for their complete and utter refusal to tank. Exactly how you want your team to handle itself. Very classy.
15. Utah Jazz 27-25 Last 10: 7-3 Last Month: 21
Hey Devin Harris! Good to see you again buddy! Thought you planned on sleep-walking through the whole season! And the burst of good play starts just in time to help Ty Corbin make a playoff push in his first full season as head coach. If Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson can continue to play well, Utah may even actually ruffle some feathers. Shades of the Grizzlies last year with this team.
14. Boston Celtics 29-22 Last 10: 7-3 Last Month: 17
And of course Boston seems to be getting themselves together for one last “We Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair” type of run. Ray Allen’s injury has given birth to a new and improved Avery Bradley that doesn’t turn over the ball at superhuman speeds. Mickael Pietrus will hopefully return from concussion soon. And once Ray Ray comes back, you suddenly have a team ready to give someone a dog-fight in the first round, and probably the second.
13. Atlanta Hawks 31-22 Last 10: 7-3 Last Month: 16
And I continue to remain down on the Hawks for reasons that make no discernible sense. Maybe I watched too many episodes of the Real Housewives of Georgia. In any case, I feel like a lot rides on if Al Horford can return, and what kind of shape he’s in if he can. They will be needing time from him this postseason, and if the Hawks wind up drawing the Celtics, Knicks, or Magic in the first round, meaningful minutes from Horford could be the difference in victory or defeat.
12. Indiana Pacers 30-20 Last 10: 6-4 Last Month: 12
The Pacers seem on paper like they should be a lot better than they are. Then you remember that Danny Granger sadly just isn’t the star we all thought he was. His field goal percentage, rebounds, assist, PER, you name it are all down from last year. When you couple that with Indiana’s crunch time woes, you have a team that I feel would be looked at a lot different if they played in the West. Still a lot of talent here though, and it they get hot the can contend with anyone, as evidenced by their recent trouncing of the Heat.
11. Philadelphia 76ers 28-23 Last 10: 4-6 Last Month 11
Whew! I don’t know about you guys, but I was scared of this team there for a minute. So much early success, so hard to explain. Then you realize the roster was nearly entirely the same from last year, and combined with a relatively light schedule to start, and you had an upstart contender. Now, they do have a strangling defense, so they may get lucky in the first round, depending on the seeding, but still. The regression to the mean is almost comforting here, like everything I know about basketball isn’t a lie.
10. New York Knicks 26-26 Last 10: 8-2 Last Month: 7
Now don’t get me wrong here. I don’t like the fact that D’Antoni left and suddenly this is a legitimate basketball team that seems to give a crap whenever they get out on the floor. But I don’t like that the show Dance Moms exists either, and that doesn’t seem to make it less true. The fact remains that when this team is clicking, they are still pretty hard to beat, but they should be trying real hard to stave off the Bucks, and to somehow get up to the sixth seed, or else it could be really short postseason for the Knickerbockers.
9. Los Angeles Clippers 30-21 Last 10: 6-4 Last Month: 4
Hey guys? Did you hear Vinny Del Negro may be on the hot seat? Did that come as a bit of a surprise to any of you? Oh it did? Have you checked to see of you may be stupid? I don’t mean to be rude, but, you know, maybe you should. VDN has been dead coach walking from day one, and probably only lasted this long due to the lock out and the fact that it would have been difficult to get a coach and a new system installed in no time with little practice during the season. There will be a new coach next year, if this team knows what it’s doing. Then again, this is the Clips we’re talking about…
8. Orlando Magic 32-30 Last 10: 5-5 Last Month: 10
Yay everybody! Dwight decided to stay!……For at least a few more months. The Magic are still to be feared though, as Dwight Howard is still the only real game changer in the league at the center position, and there is always that chance that Orlando could get hot and start shooting the lights out from three. And if that happens, we’ve already seen what can happen. Few teams lack the personnel to handle Dwight and all the shooters. The Lakers frontcourt is the exception, not the rule.
7.Memphis Grizzlies 27-22 Last 10: 4-6 Last Month: 8
If I had to pick one team to swoop out of no where ala Dallas last season and steal a title, it would be the Memphis Grizzlies, if only to see the Tony Allen Twittercaust that would follow. You only think he uses a lot of exclamation points now. The scary thing is, with Z-Bo rounding himself back into shape, the idea of the Grizz pulling a miracle run may be larger than you think. The frontcourt is still the force of destruction it was last year, and now they have Gay back.
6. Dallas Mavericks 30-23 Last 10: 7-3 Last Month: 6
And if I could pick one team other than the Big Three to get to the Finals and lose, it would be Dallas, if only because I want to see if Lebron could summon up that eff you gear and avenge the world’s most ridiculous Finals no-show. Dallas is playing great ball. The things they are getting out of Brandan Wright is amazing. But as always, this team is going to need to get more out of Lamar Odom and Jason Kidd to be taken seriously.
Hey guys. Ramon Sessions can play. He has rejuvenated the Lakers offense, as Mark wrote a while back, and has the Lakers looking almost like legitimate contenders again. Kobe is getting some more rest, whether he likes that or not, and their still-devastating frontcourt is getting even more touches. I would not want to play a pissed-off Kobe Bryant this May. His jaw is likely to reach hitherto unheard of levels of jutoutability (not a word).
4. San Antonio Spurs 35-14 Last 10: 9-1 Last Month: 5
Does it scare the living bejeezus out of anyone else that CBS currently has the Spurs listed with no injuries? None? Not a one? If that continues, expect to see the Spurs make a lot of noise in the playoffs. If they keep this up, then screw it, I’m just going to call them the San Antonio Voorhees. Because much like Jason, every time we call them dead, they just keep chugging along, finding new ways to keep cutting you apart with a machete. Can we cast Tim Duncan in a horror movie? After he kills someone, he could make the bulging eye face. It’d be great.
3. Miami Heat 37-13 Last 10: 6-4 Last Month: 1
I swear to God, if you had to pick one movie to represent the Heat (and, in many ways, Lebron James’ entire career to this point) it would have to be that old Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day. After the All Star break, the Heat are swooning a bit. Just like last season. Everybody is once again talking about how the team is potentially too flawed to win a title. Just like last season. And just like last season, we are ignoring that this team knows they have very little to prove in the regular season. The Heat could score 200 in their next game, and people won’t shut up till they win that ring.
2. Chicago Bulls 42-11 Last 10: 8-2 Last Month: 3
Remember how the Bulls’ Achilles heel last year was that the offense was too Rose-centric. Well I read in an ESPN piece recently that the Bulls are 12-5 this year without Derrick Rose. That does not bode well for the rest of the league. Not one bit. The offense is moving a lot better this year, less random Rose isolations going on, which makes them nearly impossible to stop when you factor in the fact that this defense is on you like Jordan on a card game all night long. I don’t envy their opponents come playoff time.
Ok. I give up. I love this team. So much fun to watch play. So much talent. And after they trounced my Heat, I have to give respect. Kevin Durant is getting more of his baskets unassisted, while tallying more assists than he ever has in his career. Russell is figuring out how to determine when to pass the ball and when to take over himself. The supporting cast is top notch from top to bottom, even Derek Fisher is finding his role as the backup point. I love this team so much I’m feeling the need to make a bad AC/DC joke. Instead I’m going to end this column.
If you guess Jordan Akin was going to say he’s been Thunderstruck, you’d be right. You can tell him he has no shame on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at email@example.com