View Full Version : ESPN Power Rankings
12-13-2004, 02:12 PM
NOTE: Rank (previous rank) Team Record
1 (4) SuperSonics 17-4
Here's another way to break it down: Sonics are indeed 0-2 against Boston . . . but also 2-0 against San Antonio. You can guess which of those two records resonates most with the committee.
2 (3) Suns 17-3
Things are going so well in the desert that Phoenix has seen two triple-doubles from Kobe . . . and won both times. Kobe's career record in triple-double games? 10-2.
3 (1) Spurs 17-5
Far, far worse than surrendering T-Mac's 13 points in 35 seconds was falling behind, 60-41, at halftime to Seattle. It was the biggest halftime home deficit in Duncan's career.
4 (2) Timberwolves 13-7
Obviously Wolves had no idea how much hate e-mail flooded in from the Pacific Northwest after last week's rankings. Surely they'd have lived up to billing had they known.
5 (5) Kings 14-6
Friday's collapse in Minnesota brought back some bad playoff memories, but the fact remains that Kings are 5-1 on the road after their 0-4 road start.
6 (9) Heat 15-7
Opportunity is there, with Indiana in tatters and Detroit looking indifferent, for Heat to secure homecourt advantage throughout the East playoffs. Let's see if they capitalize.
7 (7) Mavericks 14-8
It's only a bad rumor. Mavs didn't really petition the league to play all their games on the road. Not after slipping to 7-5 at home; not even after winning three straight roadies by 10-plus.
8 (6) Pistons 10-10
Being the only team this month to shackle the NBA's top scorer (Nowitzki) obviously didn't cure Detroit of its post-championship blahs. Pistons aren't close to playing Larry's 'right way.'
9 (10) Magic 13-7
Is the rookie rebounding machine starting to slowing down? Howard has been held below 10 boards four times in December already, and that only happened twice in all of November.
10 (8) Cavaliers 12-8
The real reason Gund wants to sell? Sources say it's because Cavs were the first team since Air Jordan's retirement in 1998 to let Chicago score at least 26 points in all four quarters.
11 (11) Nuggets 12-8
With four games left on a brutal trip, Nuggets are off to a decent 2-1 start. Of greater promise: 'Melo is starting to look like last year's edition and Denver is 8-2 against the East.
12 (14) Wizards 12-6
Normally we'd have lots to say about the latest Kwame crisis. But it doesn't seem appropriate with Wiz and their Golden State Alumni Association winning so regularly.
13 (13) Lakers 12-8
It's the new triangle in L.A., and you're advised against calling it a love triangle: Kobe-Mailman-Shaq. The next week likely belongs to Kobe and Karl until we switch to Kobe vs. Shaq mode.
14 (12) Clippers 11-8
Maybe routing Sonics by 30 on opening night gave Clips the confidence to start like this. Two losses to Lakers have been the only downer. OK. . . and Livingston's injury.
15 (21) Grizzlies 9-13
The progress is mathematically tangible. Memphis had lost five straight games before Fratello's arrival and is 4-2 since.
16 (16) Trail Blazers 10-9
This trend will have to change if they hope to make the playoffs in the mighty West: Blazers are 2-6 on the road since winning road opener at Golden State.
17 (22) Rockets 9-12
The flip side to all the T-Mac hubbub: 10 times already, in 19 games, McGrady has scored less than 20 points, which happened only 13 times in 67 games last season.
18 (19) Knicks 10-10
As Isiah requested, Lenny made it through the first 20 games at .500. If they can keep it up amid the usual trade-talk pressures, the Atlantic is there to be won.
19 (20) Nets 7-13
It won't be easy, true, to find a taker for Kidd's huge contract. But you're going to keep hearing about a possible deal if Nets cave during this tough stretch (13 of 18 on the road).
20 (18) Celtics 8-11
Even in a division that threatens to offer zero winning teams, winning the Atlantic won't be easy for Celts. Especially with no games left against Seattle.
21 (15) Pacers 10-10
It's official. After seven straight post-brawl defeats, you can pretty safely say they're missing Jermaine, SJax and Ronnie, as Larry Legend likes to call him.
22 (23) 76ers 8-12
Can't agree with O'Brien's issues with Dalembert, but credit the new coach for reaching Iverson. AI first spoke out on O'Brien's behalf, then scored 40 points for him on a winning Sunday.
23 (17) Jazz 9-12
How much will Jazz miss AK-47 for the next month? Well, let's see: Utah is 1-6 without him and allowing just under 107 ppg over the past eight games.
24 (27) Bulls 4-14
Still haven't won two games in a row, but why quibble? Routing Cleveland and holding off Minny might have made this Chicago's best week in years.
25 (26) Bucks 6-12
Good thing Bucks finally won a road game. They were halfway to matching the club record for the worst road start to a season; 1976-77's Bucks lost their first 16 away games.
26 (29) Hawks 4-16
Hawks have yet to score 100 points in regulation this season. Not that said failure stopped their new coach from picking up a ring and then humbling the defending champs.
27 (25) Raptors 7-16
Won't go too deep into what VC's injury does to his trade prospects. Because: Isiah wants Vinsanity healthy or not, and we don't like to go more than a week without mentioning Pape.
28 (28) Warriors 6-14
It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? The first rumblings of player discontent with the rookie coach from the college ranks are starting to make the national rounds.
29 (24) Bobcats 4-14
Bobcats still have a healthy lead on New Orleans and still have a .500 record at home (4-4). Things could be much, much worse.
30 (30) Hornets 1-18
Just checking, but wasn't Charlotte supposed to be the worst team of all-time? Hornets' losing streak is 10 now after an eight-gamer to start, and they're 0-4 in those gold unis.
12-13-2004, 02:23 PM
Phoenix is the best team in the league and would crush Seattle in a head to head matchup. Though in honesty its hard not to expect the other shoe to drop for both teams. Its just difficult to imagine how they both went from cellar dwellars to so damn good in one off-season. Nash made a much bigger splash than I expected. Apparently I wont be getting a job for the Suns evaluating talent any time soon.
Thanks for posting JM.
12-13-2004, 02:54 PM
If you won't neither will I as I, for all my Pro-Suns babble, am easily, the hardest fan on the Suns that I've ever seen.
I have no prollem with small-ball in little spurts...and while it seems to be working great, History is history fer a reason, and Small-ball has a very poor one.
First off. When players play out of position, yer begging for an injury. Maybe not a quote/unquote injury, but definately a fatigue-related one. Marion at 6-7, 220 is too small to take the beating of an 82 game season and still have the early season energy left for the playoffs.
Second. The Suns negate their great defensive FG% by allowing the most offensive rebounds of any team in the League (16+)...this is in large part to Marion and even Stoudemire being overmatched by the opposing PF/C's and the other guards playing defense on the perimeter...
Third. The none-developement of the bench. Hunter, fer all his defensive production, is only averaging 12 minutes a game...Voskuhl has been hurt/ill...Lampe=no PT...Outlaw maybe five minutes a game...Vroman=no PT...Zarko was IR fodder, still no PT...
Are you seeing the pattern?
Casey over 20 minutes...Barbosa close to 12 minutes when healthy...
The two guards play more than the six bigs on our bench...that's not good come playoffs.
I don't want to sound ungrateful...I'm not. I'm very pleased that the Suns are winning. But it's fool's gold. They take too many threes and don't get to the line enough. They allow too many offensive rebounds while not attacking their own boards enough. They play great up-and-down offense, but need to develope a deadly half-court offense to dominate teams come playoff time...
And lets face it, fer an organization that's 0-for-36 at winning a title, yet is the fifth-winningest franchise int he NBA...the playoffs are really all that matters.
I'm happy with the season the Suns are having. Happy, not content. Nor will I be 'til the appropriate banners are hanging from the AWA rafters and I've wasted hundreds of dollors on Championship souveniers and such...
12-13-2004, 04:49 PM
NOTE: RANKINGS (PREVIOUS) TEAM (RECORD)
1 (4) Seattle SuperSonics (17-4)
They won at San Antonio and Dallas back-to-back last week. With victories this season over the Spurs (twice), Mavs, Kings and T'wolves, they get the nod over Phoenix for now.
2 (3) Phoenix Suns (17-3)
They have a better record than the Sonics, but fewer quality wins. Still, Amare Stoudemire might give them an edge in the long term. He'll be out to show it Friday when they meet up in Coffee Town.
3 (1) San Antonio Spurs (17-5)
They were cruising along until running into the red-hot Sonics and then the red-hot (for 35 seconds anyway) Tracy McGrady on successive nights last week. Clearly, their offense still needs some work.
4 (2) Minnesota Timberwolves (13-7)
They'e shooting the 3 more this season, and making them. At week's end they had three in the top 15 in 3-point accuracy: Fred Hoiberg (1st, .568), Eddie Griffin (8th, .453) and Latrell Sprewell (14th, .426).
5 (5) Sacramento Kings (14-6)
The good news is they were 13-2 at week's end since starting the season 1-4. The bad news is that both of their losses were to the T'wolves, the latest coming last Friday night at Minnesota.
6 (6) Dallas Mavericks (14-8)
Michael Finley is back in the lineup, and their next five games are against the Bulls, Warriors, Knicks and Hawks (twice). Sounds like a good "buy" for Mark Cuban's sports hedge fund.
7 (12) Miami Heat (15-7)
Not to beat a dead horse, but they continue to beat up on, well, dead horses. At week's end they were 12-1 against sub-.500 teams, but just 3-6 against teams .500 or better.
8 (7) Cleveland Cavaliers (12-8)
One reason for their success: better 3-point shooting. At week's end they ranked 15th in the NBA in 3-point accuracy (34.0 percent), compared to an NBA-worst 31.4 a year ago.
9 (9) Denver Nuggets (12-8)
Kenyon Martin is averaging just 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds, but he's still making an impact. He had eight double-doubles in his past 13 games through Sunday, helping them go 10-3 in that span.
10 (8) Detroit Pistons (10-10)
They scored just 72 points in Friday's home loss to the Hawks, then 68 in a loss at Memphis on Saturday. Throw in an earlier defeat to the Bobcats, and it adds up to a rocky start for the defending champs.
11 (10) Washington Wizards (12-6)
Their 12-6 start through Sunday was the team's best since 1974-75. But with a back-to-back this week against the Heat, followed by a five-game Western road trip, we'll find out soon if they're really this good.
12 (14) Los Angeles Lakers (12-8)
The Kobe Bryant-Karl Malone soap opera in Tinseltown has overshadowed the fact that they'd won nine of 13. Now Kobe gets a shot at rival Ray Allen in Tuesday's visit to Seattle.
13 (15) Los Angeles Clippers (11-8)
They might be the best team in L.A. this season, but they have yet to prove it. Without Elton Brand (suspension) they fell to the Lakers by two on Saturday, the fifth straight loss to their crosstown rivals.
14 (11) Orlando Magic (13-7)
In the midst of a six-game Western road trip, they're just trying to survive. But Pat Garrity has returned to add depth, and they remain the NBA's top rebounding team (3.30 differential).
15 (13) Portland Trail Blazers (10-9)
With calls for Sebastian Telfair growing louder, slumping Damon Stoudamire is feeling the heat. Mighty Mouse needs to come up big as they head out on their own six-game road trip this week.
16 (16) New York Knicks (10-10)
They beat the Nuggets on Sunday to get back to .500, where boss Isiah Thomas said he wanted them to be after 20 games. Even better for coach Lenny Wilkens, Allan Houston is back in the lineup.
17 (17) Memphis Grizzlies (9-13)
They beat the Pistons on Saturday to improve to 4-2 under Mike Fratello. Pau Gasol has benefited from more playing time, and as a team they've been more active defensively.
18 (18) Houston Rockets (9-12)
T-Mac's 13-point scoring burst in the final 35 seconds to beat the Spurs last week was the best comeback in Houston since last summer's Astros. But overall they still look more like the Texans.
19 (19) Boston Celtics (8-11)
They handed the Sonics their first home loss of the season last Saturday, as Gary Payton racked up 21 points in his return to the Emerald City. It was their second triumph over Seattle this season.
20 (20) Indiana Pacers (10-10)
Seven straight losses through Sunday, but the worst might be over. Reggie Miller and Anthony Johnson are getting back in the flow, and the remaining December schedule is kinder.
21 (25) New Jersey Nets (7-13)
For the first time in his NBA career, Jason Kidd had zero assists in Saturday's win over the Hawks. Still, Kidd has looked pretty good (9.3 points and 3.3 assists per game in limited minutes) while leading them to a 3-1 record.
22 (21) Utah Jazz (9-12)
Jarron Collins (knee sprain) has joined Andrei Kirilenko (knee) on the injured list as they continue to struggle. Sunday's loss in Portland was their 11th in their last 14 games.
23 (22) Philadelphia 76ers (8-12)
Allen Iverson racked up a season-high 40 points and 10 assists in Sunday's win over the Bucks. More important, center Marc Jackson hasn't griped yet about coming off the bench behind Sam Dalembert.
24 (24) Milwaukee Bucks (6-12)
They signed veteran Kendall Gill to fill in for the injured Keith Van Horn (right foot tendinitis). But they continue to get pounded inside, and they have struggled to close out games of late.
25 (23) Toronto Raptors (7-16)
Well, it was only a matter of time ... Vince Carter (strained left Achilles) is on the injured list, and at week's end they had lost seven straight and 15 of 18 overall.
26 (26) Golden State Warriors (6-14)
They beat the Bobcats on Sunday for their third win in five games. But Derek Fisher (sprained knee) is injured, and the next four are on the road at San Antonio, New Orleans, Houston and San Antonio.
27 (29) Chicago Bulls (4-14)
Ben Gordon pumped in a career-high 31 points Saturday as they upset the T'wolves. With Gordon and fellow rookie Luol Deng getting more comfortable, and Tyson Chandler hoovering the boards, they are showing signs of life.
28 (28) Atlanta Hawks (4-16)
Last Friday's win at Detroit had to feel good for new coach Mike Woodson, the former Pistons assistant. Even better, rookie Josh Smith made his first career NBA start a good one with 12 points and four blocks in 25 minutes.
29 (27) Charlotte Bobcats (4-14)
They lost at Golden State on Sunday to fall to 0-9 on the road, the NBA's lone winless team away from home. They should get a big boost from the home crowd when the Hornets visit on Tuesday.
30 (30) New Orleans Hornets (1-18)
Something tells us owner George Shinn won't be making the trip to Charlotte. We would say coach Byron Scott needs to win one for his owner, but with 10 straight losses he just needs to win one, period.
12-14-2004, 08:38 PM
Too Complex to post, see Link...
12-14-2004, 09:12 PM
How 'bout dem Wizards eh?
12-16-2004, 02:37 PM
Shaq can still summon superpowers
By Tony Mejia
The first official sighting of Superman in Miami came Monday night.
With injured star Dwyane Wade contemplating a return despite hobbling around with an injured ankle, Shaquille O'Neal finally stripped off the Clark Kent suit.
"I told him, 'Flash, take the game off. I'll go out and do the work,'" Shaq said. "He said, 'If I'm going to take it easy, you have to get 40 or 50.' I told him, 'I've got your back.'"
O'Neal went for 40 points, 12 boards and five blocks to lead a Heat rout of Washington, taking control of the Southeast Division and improving the best record in the Eastern Conference. That he posted those numbers with a supporting cast of Eddie Jones, Damon Jones and Rasual Butler may not mean much now, but you can go ahead and put this in the memory bank.
It's clear O'Neal is pacing himself with Wade in the lineup, deferring to his fellow superhero until he's truly needed. Not to say he's out there just going through the motions, but there's certain editorial control a player like O'Neal can have on a game. If he wants it in the post, you better believe Wade and Jones would be giving it up more often. With that comes a pounding O'Neal doesn't need to take, at least this early in the season.
Sure, he's in phenomenal shape, but he's a 32-year-old 7-footer whose body has taken a pounding for more than a decade. The Heat are smart to use him the way they have, limiting his minutes and opportunities for teams to employ the "Hack-a-Shaq" defense that has no doubt cut his career short by a few years already.
O'Neal played a December-high 38 minutes in the victory over the Wizards, and hasn't played 40 or more since November ended. He got his timing back, got accustomed to his new slimmed-down physique and is now on cruise control -- until "little brother" needed him, obviously.
The relationship between O'Neal and Wade is so much healthier than any Shaq has enjoyed with a tag-team partner throughout his long career. His body isn't what it was in Orlando, but it's certainly more fine-tuned than he had it in L.A., and it appears he and the Heat are determined to keep it that way.
Wade says he'll be back Wednesday for the return game in D.C., allowing O'Neal to hang up the cape until the next time the Man of Steel needs to reappear -- likely in that Christmas Day showdown with the Lakers.
Superman reduced to cameos, huh? In the East, that looks to be more than enough.
NOTE: Rank Current Team Previous
1 Phoenix Suns 2
The most fun team to watch runs on 93 Octane. We just wonder whether the gas will get too expensive for their legs as the season wears on.
2 San Antonio Spurs 1
Tony Parker typically doesn't heat up until after the new year, but has started early this season: He averaged 14 points and eight assists last week.
3 Seattle SuperSonics 3
The home loss to Boston was puzzling, but you can't deny winning in San Antonio and Dallas on consecutive nights is a sign of a team with staying power.
4 Miami Heat 8
The new beast of the East.
5 Minnesota Timberwolves 4
If Eddie Griffin continues to improve and fit in, the Wolves have enough firepower to reach unprecedented heights.
6 Sacramento Kings 5
After a slow start (moping?), Peja Stojakovic has rediscovered his shooting touch and passion for the game. Good thing they didn't deal him for Ron Artest, huh?
7 Dallas Mavericks 6
Michael Finley's return eases the load on Dirk Nowitzki and allows youngsters Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels to play within themselves.
8 Cleveland Cavaliers 10
LeBron James lost a great tag-team partner in Carlos Boozer this offseason, but if Drew Gooden continues to keep his head up, bang the boards and hustle, the loss won't be as glaring.
9 Detroit Pistons 7
The defending champs simply haven't found their legs yet. Losing your All-Star center to suspension and your coach for stretches (hip surgery) will do that.
10 Denver Nuggets 11
Winners of six of eight, the Nuggets have a chance to clean up on an East Coast swing, but got off to a bad start in New York on Sunday.
11 Los Angeles Lakers 12
Kobe Bryant is one of the few players in the league who can do whatever he wants on the court. There, said something nice about him.
12 Orlando Magic 9
With so much talent at his disposal, can't Johnny Davis diagram more at crunch time than just isolating for Steve Francis to throw up runners?
13 Washington Wizards 14
The improvement of Larry Hughes and Brendan Haywood has fans excited in D.C. If Kwame Brown ever joins them, the Wizards could be dangerous.
14 New York Knicks 18
The Knicks have found .500 is good enough to lead the Atlantic. Isiah expects more, though, and a difficult five-game stretch may determine Lenny Wilkens' fate.
15 Portland Trail Blazers 15
Weren't the Blazers trying desperately to deal Shareef Abdur-Rahim all offseason? He's been their most consistent player to date.
16 Indiana Pacers 17
Fred Jones has been a lifesaver for the Pacers, who continue to remain afloat.
17 Boston Celtics 19
Gary Payton isn't what he used to be, but he no longer looks lost like he did last year. Kudos to the future Hall of Famer for putting his pride aside and delivering
18 Los Angeles Clippers 13
Can someone tell Chris Wilcox to be a little more discreet about how disappointed he is with his role in the offense? He's a shadow of the player who started the season with nightly double-doubles.
19 Houston Rockets 20
Has Tracy McGrady found his groove or is simply auditioning for Jeff Van Gundy to be able to monopolize the offense? Whichever it is, the Rockets are better with him happy.
20 Utah Jazz 16
The return of a healthy Carlos Arroyo may be what is needed to jump-start the slumping Jazz, currently the league's biggest underachiever.
21 Philadelphia 76ers 23
If Marc Jackson continues to excel and Samuel Dalembert makes an exodus out of Jim O'Brien's doghouse, the Sixers have a pair of solid centers in a conference lacking at that position.
22 Memphis Grizzlies 21
Jason Williams should get back from the injured list this week. It will be interesting to see how Mike Fratello uses him, and whether he can get his starting spot back from Earl Watson.
23 New Jersey Nets 22
The Nets are 3-1 since Jason Kidd's return and have begun to mesh in the aftermath of a brutal sapping of their talent pool.
24 Golden State Warriors 27
If nothing else, it's entertaining to see Mike Montgomery and his young team find their way in the league together. Don't be surprised when they emerge as a spoiler.
25 Milwaukee Bucks 26
Is there a blander team in the league? Yawn.
26 Chicago Bulls 28
The Bulls have shown significant signs of improvement in recent weeks, with youngsters Kirk Hinrich, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon beginning to blossom.
27 Toronto Raptors 24
Chris Bosh is only in his second season, but his talent level is overwhelming; it's been disappointing that he's not mentally ready to dominate.
28 Charlotte Bobcats 25
The scrappy Bobcats are screaming for a legitimate perimeter threat, and Kareem Rush may fit the bill.
29 Atlanta Hawks 29
Al Harrington has begun to realize the vast potential his bench role in Indiana suppressed. The Hawks ripped off the Pacers in acquiring him for Stephen Jackson.
30 New Orleans Hornets 30
The worst team in basketball plays in the Western Conference. If that's not a formula for 8-74, we don't know what is.
12-16-2004, 03:19 PM
Suns looked good again last night from the 2nd on. Johnson was unstoppable, Amare wasn't much of a factor and they still dominated... They get the ball up the court faster than anyone I've seen in a long time.
12-16-2004, 03:32 PM
Suns looked good again last night from the 2nd on. Johnson was unstoppable, Amare wasn't much of a factor and they still dominated... They get the ball up the court faster than anyone I've seen in a long time.
For me, they are the best secondary break team I've ever seen. Nash will puch the ball to the basket, if their nothin', he pull around and either finds Johnson or Q open for three or a trailing big for the layup...They aren't necessarily counted as fastbreak points, but were still scored in transition.
For me, Lampe's 3rd quarter production was the best part.
With Amare (4) and Hunter (5) in foul trouble, Lampe came in and in 10 minutes of play, notched seven points and two rebounds with a block...he would have had a few more points, but was fouled by okur twice going up for the rebound. He did a good job fighting for position and was agressive both on defense and on offense. His jumper looks great.
If he can play 10 minutes per game and give this kind of production each time, the bench just got so much better.
12-18-2004, 03:36 PM
Too complex, so here's the link.
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