Skyhook NBA Power Rankings: Week 4

November 23, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) after being called for a foul during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hawks win 101-91. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

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 3

Week 4 – November 26th, 2012

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com1. Memphis Grizzlies | 9-2 | Last week: 1

The Grizz ever so slightly edge the Spurs to keep the top spot this week. Though they only had 2 games last week, they beat the Lakers impressively and lost to a hot Nuggets team. Now they have the likes of the Cavs, Raptors and Pistons (a combined 9-32) coming to town.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com2. San Antonio Spurs | 11-3 | Last week: 2

Even with injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson, Spurs still look like a completely well-oiled machine. Tim Duncan just won the Western Conference Player of the Week and while it’s well deserved, he should have split it with his teammate Tony Parker, who’s been just as ridiculous.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com3. Miami Heat | 10-3 | Last week: 5

The Heat make their current 4-game win streak look like a cake walk. Home games against the Spurs and Nets this week will provide a test. They lead the league in scoring (104.8), but is something up with D-Wade (18.1 pts on near-career low 15.1 FGA’s per game)?

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com4. New York Knicks | 9-3 | Last week: 3

The losses to the Mavs and Rockets were ugly, giving up 114 and 131 points respectively. Even giving up 100 to the Pistons was questionable. The Knicks “dream season” won’t continue with that kind of D, especially after they just got done gushing about Melo’s new found defensive presence.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com5. Oklahoma City Thunder | 10-4 | Last week: 6

Big wins over the Clippers and Sixers last week get the Thunder to a very quiet 10-4. I don’t think enough has been made about Serge Ibaka’s consistent scoring improvement. He’s coming in at 15.1 points per game, way up from his 2011-12 average of 9.1 and career average of 8.9.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com6. Los Angeles Clippers | 8-5 | Last week: 4

After a nice win in San Antonio, the Clips blew up with road losses to the Thunder, Nets and Hawks. As the team gets healthier, the questions are starting to get more serious about where all the minutes are going to go. Can Vinny D figure out a reliable rotation? Time will tell.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com7. Brooklyn Nets | 8-4 | Last week: 8

In the wake of their showdown with the Knicks, it looks like the Nets are about about this defense thing, now leading the league in Points Against. They are playing well, but the Deron Williams (.399%) and Joe Johnson (.402%) shooting struggles still concern me.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com8. Denver Nuggets | 8-6 | Last week: 11

The absolute streakiest team in the league. The Nugs season looks like this: 3 L’s, 4 W’s, 3 L’s and now 4 W’s again. They get a bump up with a 4-0 week, all against West foes. Though he’s only averaging 18.9 minutes per game, JaVale McGee has a surprising PER of 23.5.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com9. Atlanta Hawks | 8-4 | Last week: 18

What a week for Hot-lanta Hawks! A 4-0 week and 5 straight wins overall give them the biggest rise of the week, from #18 up to #9. What’s not to love about Jeff Teague running the show right now? 13.8 points, 7.3 assists, 1.5 steals with very nice percentages (48 FG%, 42 3PT%, 91 FT%).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com10. Los Angeles Lakers | 7-7 | Last week: 10

I’m fine with them dropping one in Memphis, but the Kings loss was completely unacceptable. Antawn Jamison is showing some signs of life under D’Antoni, exactly the kind of punch that the Lake Show needs. Looks like Nash is still a couple of weeks away from returning.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com11. Boston Celtics | 8-6 | Last week: 9

This is an extremely hard team to figure out. One night, they look like East contenders, the next night they look Lottery bound. The Celtics/Nets divisional battle should be real nice on Wednesday. With the Nets D, can they keep Rondo in check and stop his assist streak?

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com12. Milwaukee Bucks | 6-5 | Last week: 7

After I give the mad props in last weeks’ Rankings, the Bucks go put up a stinking 0-3 week. Maybe Skiles will give John Henson more run after his 17 point, 18 rebound outburst against the Heat? In the same minutes, how is Udrih (1.0) averaging more blocks than Dalembert (0.2)?

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com13. Philadelphia 76ers | 8-6 | Last week: 13

Now Andrew Bynum is out “indefinitely,” whatever that means, to which the rowdy Philly fans have already lost their cool with Bynum. Jrue Holiday is earning every single penny of that contract, as evidenced in his most recent outing of 33 points and 13 assists in a win over the Suns.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com14. Chicago Bulls | 6-6 | Last week: 14

The Bulls were very out of sorts allowing a handful of 100 point games to only mediocre opponents. When Nate Robinson is leading your bench squad, that has to be concerning. Very weak second unit right now.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com15. Utah Jazz | 7-7 | Last week: 15

The Jazz splits trend continues. Now 5-0 at home, while 2-7 on the road. They have to get more of these away games to have a playoff shot in the West. A positive for this team however, is their balance. Favors is 0.1 point away from being the 7th guy averaging double figures.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com16. Golden State Warriors | 8-6 | Last week: 17

Really nice 3-1 week for the Warriors, knocking off the Mavs, Nets and Wolves. While Klay Thompson’s PER (9.6) is alarmingly low, his shooting percentage is slowly starting to get better. 23 (10-19), 16 (6-12) and 24 (8-17) in his last 3 games.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com17. Dallas Mavericks | 7-7 | Last week: 12

A .500 record at this point is acceptable, but Mavs will be tested heavily with 11 of their next 15 games on the road. It might be time to start giving Jae Crowder more than 19 minutes per game. One would have to consider O.J. Mayo an All-Star at this point right?

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com18. Charlotte Bobcats | 7-5 | Last week: 22

The Bobs are still floating on Cloud Nine after going 3-1 last week. Interesting to note that they are 2-0 in overtime games this year. Ramon Sessions is quietly  sticking his nose in the 6th Man competition. Very respectable averages in just under 30 minutes and plays in crunch time.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com19. Minnesota Timberwolves | 5-7 | Last week: 16

After going 0-3 last week, it’s so so great to see Kevin Love out there again. Arguably a Top 10 player in the league. It’s only 3 games, but the 24.3 points and 14.0 rebounds averages are beautiful. Now the wins need to come, but the team can’t blame him.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com20. Portland Trail Blazers | 6-7 | Last week: 20

While 6-7 isn’t the most impressive, the Blazers sure have a nice young core forming. Aldridge, Batum, Lillard and Matthews all averaging over 17 points per game. And their 5th starter, J.J. Hickson is no sloutch averaging a double double.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com21. Houston Rockets | 6-7 | Last week: 21

Thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin McHale and his family after an absolute tragedy. On the basketball side, I wonder how much fun Jeremy Lin had in the Rockets hanging 131 points on his former Knick teammates.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com22. Indiana Pacers | 6-8 | Last week: 19

No matter how disappointing Roy Hibbert has been, 11 blocked shots (and the Pacers first triple double since 2003) is uber impressive. We’ll see where the Pacers stand after going out on the West Coast to face most of the Pacific division this week.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com23. Phoenix Suns | 6-8 | Last week: 23

The fortunate Suns get to start their road trip off this week with the fantastic Cavs, Pistons, Raptors trio. The defense has been horrid, dead last in the league, allowing 103.3 points per game. Jermaine O’Neal is a bit of a feel-good story right about now.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com24. Orlando Magic | 5-8 | Last week: 25

With the Spurs, Nets and Lakers on the schedule next, the Magic might be in for a rough week ahead. Maybe I’m setting the bar too high, but shouldn’t Big Baby Davis be shooting better than .418% from the field? More Moe Harkless and more Andrew Nicholson!

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com25. New Orleans Hornets | 3-9 | Last week: 24

Mostly without Anthony Davis, the poor Hornets have dropped 7 straight games, allowing over 100 points in all of them. With Ryan Anderson’s shooting performance against the Suns (8 for 13 from behind the arc), he has taken over the team scoring lead at over 17 per game.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com26. Toronto Raptors | 3-11 | Last week: 26

Is there a team (save for the Wizards) that loses games as brutally as the Raps. The ref-blown game in Charlotte by 1 point, a last second layup the next and then a double OT loss to the tough Spurs at home. Bargnani’s inconsistency is getting very tiring.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com27. Sacramento Kings | 4-9 | Last week: 28

The Raps record may be worse, but on a neutral court, I’m taking them over this Kings team. Thomas Robinson is only getting 15 minutes a game and has not made the impact most thought he would. Too early to file him under the “bust” category, given his draft position?

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com28. Cleveland Cavaliers | 3-10 | Last week: 27

The Irving-less Cavs are pretty dreadful, but Andy Varejao continues to ball out of control and could end up with the rebounding title this season. When are the Cavs going to get anything from C.J. Miles? He’s having a horrible time so far in Cleveland, shooting 29% overall.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com29. Detroit Pistons | 3-11 | Last week: 29

At least Lawrence Frank has this team competing on a more regular basis after the horrible start. Is anyone else in the “How the heck has Tayshaun Prince stayed a Piston for this long?” camp? Maybe this will be the year he gets moved, for both their sakes.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com30. Washington Wizards | 0-11 | Last week: 30

Give the Wizards credit for their creativity, as they are finding new ways to lose all the time. This week included two overtime games, one of which featured a failed last second tip in from Martell Webster that was waived off at the buzzer. Welcome to Washington.