Skyhook NBA Power Rankings: Week 3

Nov 17, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Memphis Grizzlies small forward Rudy Gay (22) drives on Charlotte Bobcats small forward Jeffery Taylor (44) during the second half at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Curtis Wilson-US PRESSWIRE

We have a NEW number one team in the Memphis Grizzlies and really, who can argue that there’s a hotter team right now? The Bucks make the biggest jump of the week, up 9 spots with their hot 6-2 start. And how about those Bobcats, sitting at .500 this late in the season. On the dark side, the Nuggets had another winless week and the Pacers have earned the dubious distinction of Most Disappointing Team so far.

Welcome to The Skyook’s NBA Power Rankings, where any given week, things can change faster than a James Harden trade.

Previous weeks: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2

Week 4 – November 19th, 2012

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com1. Memphis Grizzlies | 8-1 | Last week: 4

Certainly the hottest team in the league right now with their 8 straight victories (including impressive wins over the Heat, Thunder, Knicks and Bucks). And, if you want to get real technical, we could use the following equation: Grizzlies > Knicks > Spurs.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com2. San Antonio Spurs | 8-2 | Last week: 1

No disrespect Spurs fans, you’ve had your impressive wins as well, including a 26-point destroying of the Nuggets on Saturday, but the Grizzlies are just a slightly hotter. It will be interesting to see how the Spurs handle a Monday night battle with the Clippers followed by a 6-game road trip.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com3. New York Knicks | 7-1 | Last week: 6

After an impressive comeback win in San Antonio, I’m now ready to move fowward and declare that the Knicks are indeed “for real.” The shooting has cooled off but when you hold opponents to 90 points per game (leading the league), you don’t always have to be lighting it up.

Los Angeles Clippers 4. Los Angeles Clippers | 7-2 | Last week: 5

The Clips are another hot team thriving on both ends of the floor (2nd in points, 7th in points against). Jamal Crawford continues his 6th man onslaught while DeAndre Jordan’s improvement continues to draw raves (including a “best center in the West” comment from Shaq).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com5. Miami Heat | 8-3 | Last week: 2

I’m not Heat-bashing, but their 3 losses have come at the hands of 3 of our top 4 teams, so this is the right place them. Spoelstra said this weekend that Bosh was the Heat’s most “important” player. Considering his scoring efficiency (.552 FG%), he might be on to something.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com6. Oklahoma City Thunder | 8-3 | Last week: 3

Losing at home the Grizzlies hurt, but trust me, things in OKC are just fine. It seems almost unfathomable that last night’s triple double (25 pts, 13 rebs, 10 asts) was the first of Kevin Durant’s career. Fact: Daniel Orton has played 2 minutes this season and has a 63.0 PER.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com7. Milwaukee Bucks | 6-2 | Last week: 16

It might be time to get the “Fear the Deer” campaign in full swing again. A 3-0 week by the Bucks in which their average margin of victory was 9 points per game, is enough to shoot them 9 spots up in the rankings. Jennings continues his push for the ASG and leads the league in steals (3.25).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com8. Brooklyn Nets | 6-2 | Last week: 13

Brooklyn is hard to read considering most of their 5-game winning streak came against the Cavs, the Kings and the Magic twice. They get the rest of the Pacific division this week. People ragged on Brook Lopez, but how many centers are giving 17.8 pts and 2.75 blks per game right now?

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com9. Boston Celtics | 6-5 | Last week: 9

As he chases Magic’s record, Rondo’s double digit assist streak has now reached 34 games, which is ridiculous. On the down side, Pierce’s age is really begin to show, as he’s shooting a near-career low of .409%. With the Spurs and Thunder coming to town this week, the C’s will be tested.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com10. Los Angeles Lakers | 5-5 | Last week: 7

Just like that, the Lakers are back to .500. And now that D’Antoni is ready to debut, make no mistake, fans will be expecting Showtime 2.0 when Nash comes back. Kobe, Dwight and Pau are playing at an unbelivable level and MWP has quietly had a underrated season.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com11. Denver Nuggets | 4-6 | Last week: 8

Perhaps the streaky Nugs should be slightly lower than this with a 4-6 record (last in the Northwest), but this team is still too dangerous, even if they don’t have a true identity. That being said, playing 7 of their first 10 on the road (and 10 of their next 13) wasn’t and won’t be very easy.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com12. Dallas Mavericks | 6-5 | Last week: 12

After a mediocre 2-2 week, the Mavs are still hanging tough as they await Dirk’s return. O.J. Mayo continues to lead this team and his shooting an absolutely ridiclous 59% (36-61) from behind the arc. The Mavs host the Warriors, Knicks and Lakers this week.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com13. Philadelphia 76ers | 6-4 | Last week: 10

Obviously this team is surrounded by negative buzz with Andrew Bynum’s now-January anticipated return date amid “Bowling-gate.” I’m affraid this team is destined to be a bottom tier playoff team without him in the lineup. But hey, at least they still have Spencer Hawes haircut.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com14. Chicago Bulls | 5-5 | Last week: 11

The Bulls came back to earth after facing some tougher competition (losses to C’s, Clips, Blazers) last week. They have a home and home with the Bucks for Central Division supremacy. Joakim Noah (14.8 pts, 10.0 rebs, 4.0 asts, 2.0 blks) should be a starting forward in the ASG.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com15. Utah Jazz | 5-6 | Last week: 17

After going 2-2 on their road trip last week (including a triple overtime win in Toronto), the Jazz come back home and have the Kings twice this week. Ty Corbin has already done some tinkering with the lineup, inserting Favors and Foye for Hayward and Williams.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com16. Minnesota Timberwolves | 5-4 | Last week: 14

The honeymoon may be over the Wolves as the injuries are now piling up. Budinger, Pekovic, Lee and now Brandon Roy out for a month (big surprise). On the bright side, Kirilenko keeps getting better every game and it looks like they’ve found a diamond in the rough with Alexey Shved.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com17. Golden State Warriors | 5-5 | Last week: 18

Given heavier minutes, rookie Harrison Barnes has really stepped up for the Warriors, averaging 16.3 pts and 7.7 rebounds last week. While not surprising, the Bogut news has been disappointing. Klay Thompson’s shooting percentage (.352%) needs to come up.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com18. Atlanta Hawks | 4-4 | Last week: 20

Unfortunately, Josh Smith is going to have to deal with the “Josh Smith for ___” rumors a while, especially the recent Pau Gasol rumors. The fact remains that Smith’s numbers (15.3 pts, 8.3 rebs, .413 FG%) just don’t equal a max contract, no matter where he might end up.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com19. Indiana Pacers | 4-7 | Last week: 15

Easily the pick for most disappointing team so far. The Pacers are two different teams on each end of the floor, ranking 2nd in rebounding and points against, while ranking 29th in points and assists. And right now it’s costing the Pacers $145,412 per Roy Hibbert point scored. Ugh.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com20. Portland Trail Blazers | 5-5 | Last week: 22

The Blazers bounced back with 3 straight wins to finish the week, but after the Suns on Wednesday, they embark on a 7-game road trip. Aldridge’s rebounds and FG% are down, but his assists (a very nice 3.6 per game) and blocks are up. This is slowing becoming Batum’s team.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com21. Houston Rockets | 4-6 | Last week: 19

The Rockets very quietly rank in the Top 10 in Points (10th), Rebounds (5th) and Assists (9th) and have six players averaging double figures in scoring. Really hope they figure out the Royce White drama, such a sad turn of events for what I’m sure would be such an exciting player.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com22. Charlotte Bobcats | 4-4 | Last week: 27

If this Bobcats keep this pace up, we’re going to start seeing votes pour in for both Mike Dunlap for Coach of the Year and Kemba Walker for Most Improved. The bench was dealt a blow today when it was announced that Tyrus Thomas is going to miss 2 months.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com23. Phoenix Suns | 4-7 | Last week: 23

Goran Dragic may be making the Rockets feel like they chose the wrong point guard (over Lin) as he’s up to 16.3 points, 7.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game. With a 6-game eastern road trip coming up, losing 3 games at home to the Nuggets, Bulls and Heat stung a little more than usual.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com24. New Orleans Hornets | 3-5 | Last week: 21

The two Hornets rookies are on opposite ends of the PER spectrum with Anthony Davis at 25.9 and Austin Rivers at 5.4. Sadly, they both play the same amount of minutes. Ryan Anderson is also throwing his hat into the 6th man ring by leading the team with 16.4 points per game.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com25. Orlando Magic | 3-6 | Last week: 26

The Magic Kingdom will begin a 5-game homestand, starting with the Pistons and Cavs. J.J. Redick coming into his own, averaging 15.8 points and 5.5 assists, with good percentages across the board. Quietly, Moe Harkless lurks in the background for some minutes.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com26. Toronto Raptors | 3-7 | Last week: 24

Make no mistake, Kyle Lowry is the difference maker on this team. However, with Lowry sidelined, DeMar DeRozan is playing the best ball of his young career with the key being his agressive attacking of the basket. No one was saying this in the summer, but thank god for Jose Calderon.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com27. Cleveland Cavaliers | 2-8 | Last week: 25

As if 2-8 wasn’t bad enough, the Cavs learned today that Kyrie Irving is going to miss ONE MONTH with his fractured finger. The Cavs could be headed for Wizards territory. Anderson Varejao (14.3 pts, 13.1 rebs and 3.3 asts) is as deserving as anyone for an All Star spot in the East.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com28. Sacramento Kings | 2-8 | Last week: 28

Just when you’d hoped Cousins was growing up, the strange Sean Elliott confrontation and consequent suspension happens. To make things worse, the Kings have lost 5 straight games and no end in sight. This team is shooting a miserable 29.8% from three and 41.8% overall.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com29. Detroit Pistons | 2-9 | Last week: 30

A big week for Motown gets the Pistons out of the Rankings basement. They picked up two wins, including a very convincing throttling of the Celtics. The Rodney Stuckey bench project may be exactly what he needs to get going and I think Kyle Singler is a good fit in the starting lineup.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com30. Washington Wizards | 0-8 | Last week: 29

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your honorary 2012-13 Charlotte Bobcats! I will be very surprised if the Wizards win 10 games all year with this team. I’m sure they weren’t expecting 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds from Jan Vesely in year two. Stay away John Wall and Nene, just stay away!