Ball Don't Lie - NBA


The BDL NBA Power Rankings combine two parts Dewar's 12 with one part flippant observation to create the most unbalanced ranking possible, and to offer the least accurate look at the state of the NBA on a weekly basis. If you disagree with your team's spot, feel free to go crazy in the comments or spit venom via email.

1. Los Angeles Lakers — They've slipped a bit, and are only beating teams by an average of 13.7 points per game, but, yeah ... the Lakers should be ranked higher. [Kelly Dwyer]

2. Boston Celtics — The Celtics are 16-2, which duplicates their start after 18 games from a year ago. They are on pace to win 74 games and possibly make Rondo's dream come true. [JE]

3. Cleveland Cavaliers — I'm enjoying the way that everyone seemed to jump on the "LeBron's the best in the game train" by mid-November, as if he did something in the first two weeks of the season that changed things completely. It couldn't have been that everyone was completely wrong last year, could it? EVERYTHING IS NONSENSE AND I QUIT. [KD]

4. Portland Trail Blazers — I don't quit. Greg Oden (8.1 points and 7.7 boards with two combined blocks/steals, just 1.8 turns in 21 minutes, and an assist?) is worth sticking around for. 18.4 PER, too, and Portland’s climbed to 18th defensively after starting the season in the low 20s. [KD]

5. Denver Nuggets — Good news: The Nuggets are a stellar 11-3 AC (after Chauncey). Bad news: Carmelo left Sunday's game with an aggravated sore right elbow. Weird news: Some cop shot himself in the thigh after giving his daughter a lesson in — wait for it, Plaxico — gun safety.

6. Houston Rockets — Rox Medical Watch 2008: McGrady (sore left knee), Battier (sore left foot), Brent Barry (strained right calf), Stevie Francis (knee surgery), Ron-Ron (tympanic membrane).

7. Orlando Magic — The Magic don't really look like world-beaters, but there they are. 13-4, 6-1 on the road, winning games. That sounded downright Marc Steinsian, so I'm going to have to go weird with the next one. [KD]

8. Utah Jazz — The Jazz remind me of Jean-Paul Sartre trying to collect his Nobel Prize money while publicly denouncing the Prize committee at every given opportunity. That crusty old Bolshevik shoulda seen Paul Millsap. [KD]

9. Phoenix Suns — Nash wants to run, Amar'e feels underutilized, Shaq can't stop Twittering, this may or may not be Louis Amundson ... and still the Suns soar cloudless, hot, and decently high at 11-7. [JE]

10. New Orleans Hornets — Last week Bill Simmons spent nearly 1,000 words talking about the Hornets. He didn’t really mention the team much, but he did talk about Miley Cyrus quite a bit, the American Music Awards for a while, "Varsity Blues" again, then talked about "reps" for some reason. And now for something completely different:

The Hornets are a good-to-very good team that is very top-heavy and relies on its superstar more than any team in the Western Conference. When the superstar is merely ordinary, the team struggles. Luckily for the Hornets, who are a very thin team, the superstar is the best player in his conference and usually plays like it. [KD]


11. Detroit Pistons — Have you seen Pistons sideline reporter Eli Zaret lately? He looks like a human Clementine. It's incredible. I can't decide if I want to peel him or stuff him in a Christmas stocking. [JE]

12. Atlanta HawksFrom the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Bibby said before Saturday’s game that news of a potential deal never made it to his ears. 'What the hell is Yahoo Sports?' he said before breaking into his comedy routine about the media. 'That’s news to me Sekou. I never heard anything like that ... you and the rest of the damn media always making stuff up.'" And people wonder why I detest Mike Bibby. [JE]

13. San Antonio Spurs — 9-7, but gaining defensively, and adding Manu Ginobili back to a Spurs team that soon will have five guys (TD, Parker, Mason Jr., George Hill) who can create their own shot. Tres importante. [KD]

14. New Jersey Nets — I'm still trying to figure out who Ryan Anderson reminds me of. Because I'm a sportswriter, I have to come up with someone vaguely like him, and then view him through that prism until he's well past his prime, because I don't want to learn anything new about sports. I've given too much away. [KD]

15. Dallas Mavericks Jason Terry had 24 points Saturday against the Kings, giving him 82 over the last three games and pushing his season average to just over 20-per. The Jet's career-high average is 19.7 back in '00-01, his second season in the league with the Hawks and Alan Henderson. Print that out, put it in your wallet. [JE]

16. Toronto Raptors — A stuck elevator might not be able to slow down Chris Bosh, but the bright lights of Los Angeles — and a few 7-footers — apparently can. [JE]

17. New York Knicks — This is why we have pace-adjusted stats. This is why we have pace-adjusted stats. This is why we have pace-adjusted stats. Duhon! This is why we have pace-adjusted stats. This is why we have pace-adjusted stats. This is why we have pace-adjusted stats. [KD]

18. Chicago Bulls — The defense is slowly improving, and nobody's gotten a DUI. Last year, Tyrus Thomas had an eFG% of 35.2 on his jump shots, and this year it's down to 25.4 percent. Fantastic. [KD]

19. Philadelphia 76ers — The 7-10 Sixers are having a hard time scoring the basketball, can't stop people when it counts and are still allergic to leather (15.7 turnovers per game, second worst in the league). That odor you smell is Maurice Cheeks' pantaloons slowly catching fire. [JE]

20. Miami Heat — D-Wade entered Saturday's game against the Clips tied for 11th in the NBA in blocks at 1.69 per game. According to Half-Blog Half-Amazing, he had/has more blocks than Okafor, Dalembert, Biedrins, Brand, TD, Sheed, Yao, Amare and Chris Quinn. [JE]


21. Milwaukee BucksMichael Redd won't be coming back soon. Scott Skiles has nothing to do with it. That's Redd's call. Michael wants to sit. Skiles would love him back. Skiles can't wait until Michael gets back. Redd is a big part of Skiles' plan. Of course Skiles knows that the Bucks are better with Redd on the court. Skiles really wants him back, but it's Michael's call, and Michael's going to play it safe. And Michael's allowed to do that. Anyone for a game of solitaire? [KD]

22. Indiana Pacers — The Pacers are 0-9 this season when they give up at least 100 points. That's a significant problem considering the Pacers have given up 100 points nine different times this season. [JE]

23. Charlotte BobcatsSean May has a 4.0 PER, and we're all going to die alone. [KD]

24. Sacramento Kings — Kings coach Reggie Theus, on his team's losses to Utah and Dallas: "It's a long season, and we need to give it some time. This was a tough two games for us. We have to go and regroup tomorrow to see what we did wrong and just keep moving forward." Translation: "Please don't fire me, please don't fire me, please don't fire me, oh, that's a beautiful jacket, Joe, please don't fire me ..."

25. Golden State Warriors — Yeah, Monta Ellis is going to help this. Another thin hybrid guard who has shoot-first instincts and can’t play defense. This will only get better. [KD]

26. Minnesota TimberwolvesBritt Robson speaks the truth: "If you want the glass to be half-full on this unfolding Timberwolves season, you can note that the team has split its last six games, including wins over Eastern contenders Philly and Detroit, after enduring an 8-game losing streak. Of course that pattern — a stronger finish after a terrible start — is one reason why folks were more optimistic about the team's chances this season in the first place. In that sense, the Wolves first month of the season is a microcosm of their entire 2007-08 campaign." [JE]

27. Memphis Grizzlies — Just about the only reason to watch the Grizzlies right now is rookie guard O.J. Mayo. His 21.9 points per game is the highest scoring average for a rookie since A.I. was breakin' ankles back in the mid 90's. [JE]

28. Los Angeles Clippers — If they had given the Nuggets two unprotected first-rounders for Marcus Camby, they would have somehow trumped Isiah's Knicks. Bra-vo. [KD]

29. Washington Wizards — Kind of wishing they had old Nixon to kick around. At least the Wizards could get a win out of it. Possibly. Depends on how well Blatche plays. [KD]

30. Oklahoma City Thunder — I can't stop watching this Russell Westbrook dunk. [JE]

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