Monday, January 30, 2012

NBA Power Rankings, Week 5

Not only is there a new No. 1 team, but there is also a new No. 30 team in our NBA Consensus Power Rankings.

The Oklahoma City Thunder moved up to No. 1 this week from No. 2 last week. The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat keep the top three unchanged in terms of teams at the top.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Bobcats have been absolutely horrible. How horrible?

They got a triple-double out of rookie Kemba Walker this weekend and still lost to the Wizards, who were the 30th-ranked team in rankings last week.

Here are some more stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Indiana Pacers (+4.00)
- Biggest drop from last week: Orlando Magic (-6.25)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Pacers, Mavericks Clippers (6)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Will the New York Knicks make the playoffs?

John (follow on Twitter): While I no longer have any confidence that the Knicks will win the division, I do still believe they will make the playoffs. About a week ago, it was looking as though the Celtics would be a sub-500 team and that they may miss the playoffs. Right now, they've won four in a row and leveled their record at 9-9. It is still plenty early, but with the talent that they have, I expect them to make the playoffs. The Knicks have been awful of late, just 1-9 in their last 10 games. However, like the Celtics, I expect the Knicks to figure a few things out and make the playoffs. Right now, the Knicks are in tenth in the East, but are in the mix with Milwaukee, Cleveland, New Jersey, and Toronto for the last seed. Each of those teams are within 2.5 games of one another, and it is far too early to pronounce the Knicks dead. They have been disappointing, for sure, but there is still too much talent on that team to not make the playoffs in the East, where the bottom of the conference is less than impressive to put it kindly. I think the Knicks and Celtics will be the 7/8 seeds come playoff time.

Sean (follow on Twitter): The Knicks will make the playoffs this year, just because the Eastern Conference is filled with garbage teams. I think D'Antoni should be fired, and will be soon and then the new regime will straighten this team out and they will finish with the 7th or 8th seed this year. Melo/Amare combo is not working. I think they will need to split the duo to compete with the big boys in the East.

Dan (follow on Twitter): The Knicks will make the playoffs this year, as per usual the East is a weak field from teams 5-8. The Knicks have not been playing well as of late, but they just have too much talent to be on a prolonged losing streak. Right now the Knicks would be in a dogfight for the 8th and final spot, but I know that Boston and New York will make the playoffs over these reamaining teams, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Cleveland, and Toronto.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): While I do think the Knicks will ultimately make the playoffs, I think they sneak in with a .500 (to slightly sub-.500) record. Not only are the Knicks off to a horrible start, but their only win against a team with a winning record was at home against a Spencer Hawes-less 76ers team. Five of their other six wins this year have come against teams ranked 25-30 in our Power Rankings: Sacramento, Washington, Detroit and Charlotte twice. Baron Davis can't return too soon for these woeful Knicks.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 5, click here.

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Related: Our End-of-season NFL Consensus Power Rankings

Sunday, January 29, 2012

NBA Notes, 1/29/12

Here are some notes, stats and observations from Saturday's games:

- Pistons center Greg Monroe had his third straight double-double although he shot only six of 19 from the field.

- Not only did Kemba Walker have the third triple-double in Bobcats history, Boris Diaw, one of the other two, had his third double-double of the season: 21 points and 10 rebounds.

- Charlotte's Byron Mullens had a season-high 23 points off the bench.

- In his past three games combined, Wizards center JaVale McGee had only 17 points. He led the Wizards in scoring (22 points) Saturday night and also had 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.

- Houston's Jordan Hill had his second straight double-double off the bench. In tonight's win over the Knicks, Hill had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

- After scoring 21 points last night, Chase Budinger led the Rockets in scoring off the bench tonight with 19 points.

- Kyle Lowry had a rough game: three points, three rebounds and four assists.

- Coming off a seven-3's performance, New York's Bill Walker was only one of seven from three-point range.

- For the second straight game, Milwaukee's Drew Gooden has scored 23 points and he has had one three-pointer in each of the past four games.

- On a night with a couple of triple-doubles, Kobe Bryant was just shy of his own: 27 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

- Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock scored double-digits for the second straight game with 13 points off the bench.

- Like his brother Pau, Grizzlies center Marc Gasol had a double-double last night: 18 points and 13 rebounds. He added four blocked shots.

- Teammate Mike Conley added a double-double of his own: 15 points and 10 assists, which ended a four-game drought of double-doubles. Conley is averaging 12.9 points and 7.5 assists on the season.

- Jared Dudley had a season-high 20 points last night. He added six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two three-pointers.

- Sacramento's Tyreke Evans had a season-high 31 points. So did teammate Jason Thompson, who scored 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

- Meanwhile, Jimmer Fredette has scored in double-digits for the fourth straight game and he has made 14 three-pointers during that span.

- Utah's Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 21 points last night. It was only the seventh game this season that Hayward has been in double-digits. C. J. Miles scored a season-high 20 points off the bench.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kemba Walker has triple-double in loss

Earlier tonight, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala had a triple-double, the third of the NBA season.

Now Charlotte rookie Kemba Walker has had the fourth.

In tonight's loss to the Wizards, Walker finished with 20 points (on 8-of-18 shooting), 10 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the first time this season that Walker had double-digit rebounds or double-digit assists.

Walker becomes the third Bobcats player to ever record a triple-double. The other two were Stephen Jackson (11/20/2010) and Boris Diaw (01/17/2011).

Andre Iguodala had a triple-double vs. Pistons

With their 14th win in their first 20 games, the Sixers got a big performance from Andre Iguodala against the Pistons tonight.

Iguodala only took seven shots, but he finished with a very efficient triple-double: 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Boston's Rajon Rondo and Houston's Kyle Lowry had triple-doubles earlier this month. Iguodala's triple-double was the third by any player this season.

In his career, Iguodala had seven triple-doubles entering this season including three of them last year.

On the season, Iggy is averaging 13.0 points, 6.2 points and 4.7 assists per game.

NBA Notes, 1/28/12

Here are some notes and stats from the NBA games last night:

- The Bobcats lost to the Sixers last night for their seventh straight loss, the league's longest current losing streak, and now Charlotte has the NBA's worst record: 3-17.

- Nets PF Kris Humphries had his second straight double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Cavs. Humphries is averaging 13.4 PPG and 10.8 RPG this season.

- Anthony Morrow scored in double-digits for his fourth straight game with 22 points last night. It was his fourth game this season with 20-plus points, but the first since January 11th.

- Bouncing back from a 1-for-7 night, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving scored 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting last night. The league's No. 1 pick is leading the team in scoring (17.6 PPG).

- Atlanta's Josh Smith was two assists shy of a triple-double last night: 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. He added three blocks as well.

- Detroit rookie Brandon Knight, who has now played 40-plus minutes in back-to-back games, had a solid line: 20 points, eight assists, five rebounds and no turnovers. He also made four three-pointers.

- Greg Monroe had his second straight 20-10 night with 22 points and 11 rebounds last night. He added four assists and two steals.

- Jason Maxiell had season highs off the bench in points (19) and rebounds (eight).

- Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio had his third double-double in the past four games with 18 points and 10 assists last night. That said, he no steals for the first time since January 8th, which ends a 10-game streak with two-plus steals.

- Kevin Love had another double-double (18 points, 16 rebounds), but it was only the third time this season that he did not make a three. He took only one three-point attempt; he had three-plus attempts in all other games this season.

- The Orlando Magic scored only 67 points last night in their 26-point loss to the Hornets. Aside from Dwight Howard (28 points), no other Orlando player scored in double digits.

- Houston's Jordan Hill, the eighth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, had a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in 18 minutes off the bench. It was his third double-double of the season.

- Milwaukee's Drew Gooden had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists last night. He had 24 points on January 3rd, but it was a season high in rebounds and assists.

- Brandon Jennings scored 25 points. It was his sixth straight game with 20-plus points, but he had only three assists, which is his low during that six-game span.

- Chicago's Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds last night. It was only his sixth double-double of the season.

- New York's Bill Walker scored 21 points, all via his seven three-pointers, off the bench last night.

- In the six games Dwyane Wade missed from Jan. 17th to 25th, Miami's Chris Bosh scored 23-plus points in five of six games and he had three 30-point games. With D-Wade back last night, Bosh had only 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting.

- Mavs guard Rodrigue Beaubois had season highs last night in points (22), rebounds (six), assists (seven) and blocked shots (four).

- After missing a couple of games, Denver's Rudy Fernandez returned to score a season-high 23 points off the bench and he knocked down a season-high five three-pointers. He also had three steals.

- The Suns scored only 71 points last night and Grant Hill led the team in scoring (12 points).

- Marcus Camby had 20 rebounds and no points last night. In his past three games, Camby has seven points and 58 rebounds.

- Four Thunder players scored at least 19 points: Kevin Durant (37), Russell Westbrook (28), Serge Ibaka (20) and James Harden (19). No other player scored more than six points (Nick Collison).

- For a second time this season, Golden State's Dorrell Wright knocked down six three's. Wright is averaging only 10.3 points this season after averaging 16.4 PPG last year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

T'Wolves, Kevin Love agree to four-year extension

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Love have agreed to a four-year extension worth $61 million, but Love can opt out after the third year.

I wanted to be here,” he said, per Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I love Minnesota. I love the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. I love the fans. Everyone who has been around me the last four years know that. Obviously the cold weather is tough at some points, but the fans have been so great.

“I’m excited, very excited for the coaching staff, for my teammates, for myself, for my family, for the fans. I’m excited to be here for four years.”

Love currently ranks fourth in the NBA in scoring (24.9 points per game) and second in rebounding (13.9 per game).

With the exception of January 21st vs. the Jazz, Love has had a double-double in every game this season.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Marcin Gortat has 8th straight dobule-double

In the first eight games of the season, Phoenix center Marcin Gortat had only one double-double. Since then, The Polish Hammer has had eight straight double-doubles.

Last night's loss to the Mavs, Gortat had 19 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.

Since January 4th, Gortat has scored in double-digits in 11 straight games. During that span, Gortat is averaging 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game and he's shooting 61.1 percent from the field.

The Suns face the Raptors Tuesday night.

Monday, January 23, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 4

After Week 4, the top three teams in our Consensus NBA Power Rankings remain the same: (1) Chicago Bulls, (2) Oklahoma City Thunder and (3) Miami Heat.

In the Eastern Conference, the next five teams after the Bulls (15-3) all have 11 or 12 wins and four or five losses. In other words, they are all separated by only one-half game.

Of those six teams (Chicago plus the other five), they all rank in the top nine in scoring differential. Four of those teams are first through fourth in the NBA in scoring differential: (1) Philadelphia 76ers, +11.5, (2) Chicago Bulls, +10.8, (3) Miami Heat, +7.9 and (4) Atlanta Hawks, +7.1.

Here are some stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Denver Nuggets (+3.00)
- Biggest drop from last week: New York Knicks (-3.50)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Denver Nuggets (7)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: How many rings will LeBron James win in his career (Over/under: 2.5 titles)?

John (follow on Twitter): LeBron James is the most dominant and best all-around player in the NBA today. Michael Jordan was 28 years old when he won his first championship, and he went on to win six. Even if you're someone who doesn't want to put LeBron in the same stratosphere with Jordan, which is fine, LeBron is clearly a top three player in the league (at worst), and a member of a young, stacked Miami Heat team. In their first year together, the big three came within two games of winning their first title together, falling short against a Dallas Mavericks team that got hot at the right time. They look to be not only contenders, but favorites to win it all, each year for the foreseeable future. I know it's not easy to win an NBA championship, but I'd take over 2.5 and even 3.5 rings for King James in his career.

Sean (follow on Twitter): I'm going with the over on this one. Lebron is too talented not to win multiple championships. I believe Lebron will have three titles by the time he retires. The one thing that may work against him is that other teams may stack their teams like the Heat did. This answer could change as soon as we find out what the Dwight Howard situation is. The one spot nobody is talking about is Chicago. Chicago has the pieces to pull off the trade, Noah, Deng and future picks sounds a lot better to me than Andrew Bynum or Brook Lopez. If Chicago pulled off a deal like this, LeBron and the Heat would be in trouble.

Dan (follow on Twitter): LeBron James will hit the under on this one in his career and win two rings. I do forsee the Heat getting over at some point, and cashing in that championship, as right now the Heat have minimal competition in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls pose the only real threat to Miami's path to the finals so far, and I don't see the East developing too many more elite teams in the next year. The only question is can the Heat handle whichever team makes it out from the West, and if they can close the deal.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): While I believe the Heat have as good of a chance as any other team to win it all this year and in the foreseeable future, having the best players and/or team does not guarantee championships. If that were the case, we'd be getting ready to watch the Packers in Super Bowl XLVI. [FYI: The Packers are already the early favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2013 (via] Back to the NBA, I expect there to be fewer teams with a legitimate shot to win it all, but I expect to see a few more loaded teams at the top as the league's superstars plot to join forces on a couple of super teams. Long story short: LeBron will win two rings (but not more than that).

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 4, click here.

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Related: Our End-of-season NFL Consensus Power Rankings

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mo Williams scores 25-plus in 3rd straight game

After missing three games with a foot injury, Clippers guard Mo Williams scored 25-plus points in three consecutive games.

In today's game against the Raptors, Williams came off the bench to score 26 points in just over 26 minutes.

Over his past three games, Williams has shot 29 for 45 from the field (64.4 percent), seven for 13 from three-point range (53.8 percent) and 11 for 11 from the line.

Provided Chris Paul is back on Wednesday, Williams will get a few less minutes. As well as he is playing, however, he shouldn't see a huge drop in playing time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings Through Week 3

While the same three teams are in the top three spots of our NBA Consensus Power Rankings, they are in reverse order from last week: (1) Chicago Bulls, (2) Oklahoma City Thunder and (3) Miami Heat.

With an ankle injury sidelining Dwyane Wade indefinitely, things may continue to get worse for the Heat before they get better. Miami has lost three straight games and their next three games are against teams in the top seven in our rankings: Spurs (9-4), Lakers (9-5) and Sixers (9-3).

"I've got to step it up a little more offensively and defensively," James said (via Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel), "revert back to some of the ways when I was back in Cleveland, when I knew for the most part I had to be the No. 1 option offensively."

On the other hand, the bottom four teams in our rankings have remained exactly the same: (27) Charlotte Bobcats, (28) New Jersey Nets, (29) Detroit Pistons and (30) Washington Wizards.

Here are some stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Houston Rockets (+4.50)
- Biggest drop from last week: Portland Trail Blazers (-7.00)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Dallas Mavericks (9)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Over the past four seasons, the Celtics have finished first in the Atlantic Division and finished with at least 50 wins and a .610 winning percentage in each season. During that four-year span, the Celtics have a combined record of 234-94 (.713 winning percentage). This year has not gone nearly as well so far as the Celtics have lost seven of their first 11 games.

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question: Will the Celtics finish above or below .500 this season?

John (follow on Twitter): The Celtics are off to a slow start, and I certainly found it amusing when Pacer fans started chanting "AARP" when they had the ball in a recent game in Indiana. The Celtics will get better, though. They don't look to be a real threat to win it this year, but they still have enough talent to be a playoff team. I won't put them much over .500, as they will likely only play hard enough to get into the playoffs. They are a team that will benefit more from resting than they would trying to move up a spot or two. Still, I have them finishing somewhere over the .500 mark, good enough for third in the division behind the Knicks and Sixers.

Sean (follow on Twitter): I believe Boston will finish above .500, but I am starting to think they will not finish as high as I thought they would originally. The Celtics are 4-7 this season, and the only four wins they have are versus the Wizards (twice), Nets and Pistons, who are the bottom three teams in my power rankings. The 4th-worst team in my rankings, the New Orleans Hornets, beat the Celtics this year. Jason Terry hit the nail right on the head during his halftime interview this week when he basically said Rondo is the only player playing with any energy. Later that game, Jeff Van Gundy was ripping the Celtics for the same thing. The Celtics have too much talent not to finish above .500 especially in the Eastern Conference where there are a lot of teams worse than them.

Dan (follow on Twitter): The Celtics will not finish this season above .500, as the compressed format goes against their age. The Celtics big three have all missed time this year, and they have no depth off of the bench to speak of. The Celtics starting rotation right now consists of (when healthy) Garnett, Allen, Pierce, Rondo, and Jermaine O'Neal, and they can only maybe go 7-8 deep with Bass, Wilcox, and Dooling. The Celtics are just too old to string back-to-back nights and three games in four nights trips into multiple wins. I do expect the Celtics to grab one of the final playoff spots, but they will need to add depth at the trade deadline.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): Through 11 games, all four of the Celtics wins have come against the bottom three teams in our Power Rankings. With the Thunder up next on their schedule (Monday), let's count that as a loss, which would drop the Celtics to 4-8. Their schedule in April is tough: only four of their 15 opponents have a losing record. In those four games against teams with a losing record, the Celtics are on the road in three of them. Let's say they go 6-9 in April (although you could argue that's optimistic). Assuming a loss to the Thunder on Monday and a 6-9 April record, that puts their record outside of January 17th to March 31st at 10-17. In other words, the Celtics need to win 24 of those 39 games to finish above .500. Long story short: Celtics will NOT finish above .500 this year.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going through Week 3, click here.

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Related: Our End-of-season NFL Consensus Power Rankings

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chris Paul has a strained hamstring

Clippers point guard Chris Paul had 33 points, six assists and three steals in last night's eight-point win over the other team from Los Angeles last night.

That said, CP3 left last night's game with a strained hamstring.

"I don't know what happened; I thought it was a cramp," Paul said, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. "I've never had this before. I'll just have to wait to see tomorrow what exactly is going on."

Through nine games, Paul is averaging 18.0 points, 8.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game, which are all below his career averages. However, he is shooting 52.0 percent from the field and averaging 2.8 steals per game, which would be or tie a career high.

The Clippers are off today, but play three straight starting on Monday against the Nets, Jazz and Mavericks.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Carmelo Anthony ruled out for tonight's game vs. Thunder

As expected, the New York Knicks will be without small forward Carmelo Anthony tonight when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder, per Frank Isola of the NY Daily News.

Anthony, who has a sprained right ankle, ranks fourth in the NBA in scoring (25.5 points per game) and is averaging 6.2 rebounds and a team-high 4.3 assists per game as well.

Bill Walker will start for Anthony tonight and has averaged 5.5 points in 20:11 minutes per game this season.

There is a good chance that Melo will only miss tonight's game and return for Monday's matchup against the Orlando Magic.

Stephen Curry will miss both weekend games for Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have been without point guard Stephen Curry since he last played on January 4th.

Curry, who is dealing with a sprained ankle, will miss at least two more games.

Per Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, Curry will miss Saturday's game against Charlotte and Sunday's game against Detroit.

Curry is third on the team in scoring (15.2 points per game) and second in assists (5.6 per game).

Monday, January 9, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 3

The Miami Heat are still the unanimous No. 1 team in our NBA Power Rankings by all four of our rankers.

While the top three teams in our power rankings remain unchanged (Miami, Oklahoma City and Chicago), the Thunder and Bulls are no longer the unanimous No. 2 and No. 3 teams, respectively.

At the bottom of our rankings, the Wizards are still the league's worst team and it's unanimous. Washington remain the league's only team yet to win a game this season.

Although the Kings were the first team to fire their head coach this season, it may not be long for the Wizards fire coach Flip Saunders, especially in light of comments by Andray Blatche.

"Flip is definitely doing his job," Blatche said, per Ken Berger of CBS Sports. "I just don't feel like guys are listening and following behind what he says and what he wants us to do."

"Guys want to try to do it their own way, and it's not working," Blatche said. "The record shows that. I feel like everybody should go home and focus and think and take consideration for what Flip is saying, because it can't hurt. It damn sure ain't helping us our way."

Here are some stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Utah Jazz (+10.0)
- Biggest drop from last week: Golden State Warriors (-7.5)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Indiana Pacers (9)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question:

The Sixers have finished first in the Atlantic Division only once (2000-01) since they did in the 1989-90 season. Where will they finish in 2011-12?

Will the Sixers Win the Atlantic?
Where will the 76ers finish in the Atlantic Division this season?

4th or 5th

view results

John (follow on Twitter):
Early in the season, the Sixers are off to a good start. At 6-2, they're on top of the division and hold a two-game lead over the Celtics and Knicks. With New Jersey unable to land another big name to go along with Deron Williams in the offseason and Toronto not expected to be very good this year, it looks like a three-team race. The Celtics are aging and already injury-plagued, while the Knicks still don't play a shred of defense. The division appears to be wide open, and with a solid young team in Philadelphia, some are predicting them to win the East. While I do think they will make the playoffs, I expect the Knicks to buckle down a bit defensively and win the division. I think the Sixers will finish second.

Sean (follow on Twitter): I think they finish third in the Atlantic division behind the Knicks and Celtics. The Knicks aren't playing too well right now, but I think Tyson Chandler is the difference. We have already seen what the loss of Chandler has done to the Mavericks this year. Philly will end up with the No. 5 seed and I think will win their first-round playoff series versus the Celtics, and then fall short to the Heat in the Eastern Semis. The 76ers have one of the deepest teams in the league in my opinion, and that will come into play this season especially with so many games jam packed together.

Dan (follow on Twitter): The 76ers have been a great story so far, as they have a great infusion of youth and inspired play by Andre Iguodala, and the dual point guards of Lou Williams and Jrue Holliday. The 76ers have been spreading the ball around, as they are fourth in the league in points per game; however, Lou Williams leads the team with 17.6 PPG. I don't think they will win the division though. I think they will finish second in the division to the Knicks, yet ahead of the Celtics, and put them in the No. 6 seed for the weak Eastern Conference playoffs.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): As a Sixers fan, I think it's fair to say that I'm partially biased. But the stats also speak a bit for themselves: Philadelphia ranks first in the NBA in scoring differential (+15.3). The only other team in the league to have a double-digit differential is Miami (+11.7). Philadelphia currently ranks first in the NBA in team defense (85.6 points per game allowed) and opposition field goal percentage (39.5 percent). In addition, they have good depth as eight players are averaging at least 23 minutes per game with their young and athletic nucleus. Although I'm used to suffering as a Sixers' fan, they will win the Atlantic this season and finish as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference after Miami and Chicago.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going into Week 3, click here.

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Related: Our End-of-season NFL Consensus Power Rankings

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ricky Rubio set career-high with 14 assists vs. Wizards

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio finished with a double-double and a career-high 14 assists in today's win over the winless Wizards.

Although he made only five of 14 shots, Rubio finished with 13 points, six rebounds and a block as well.

In eight games this season, Rubio has three double-doubles and has scored in double-digits in five of his past six games.

Rubio, who is available in 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues, is averaging 28 minutes, 9.9 points, 7.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Monday, January 2, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 2

One week into the regular season, it's time for the first edition of our NBA Consensus Power Rankings, which will have a similar format to our NFL version.

The same four of us (John Trifone, Dan Yanotchko, Sean Beazley and I) will rank all 30 NBA franchises from 1 to 30 to get to our consensus (average) ranking of the 30 NBA teams.

Since the NBA is a star-driven league, one of the most popular topics of conversation in the NBA offseason was what would happen with then-Hornets point guard Chris Paul and to Magic center Dwight Howard.

Initially CP3 was heading to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers, then Cavs owner Dan Gilbert got out his crayons to complain to the league and the league vetoed the deal. Ultimately, however, Paul ended up in L.A. But instead of landing with the Lakers, CP3 was traded to the Clippers.

With our power rankings, as you may know from our NFL version, we have one weekly roundtable topic and our first question involves the two L.A. franchises.

Which L.A. team will win more regular-season games this year: Lakers or Clippers?

John (follow John on Twitter): There has been an awful lot of hype surrounding the Clippers this season and the acquisition of Chris Paul. However, as of now, they are still the second best team in Los Angeles. The Lakers did lose Lamar Odom, and are certainly an aging group, but they still have a solid core of good players. I still think it's fairly likely that the Lakers will make a big move like getting Dwight Howard, but even if they don't, Andrew Bynum is an animal when healthy. And although the Lakers may not have enough to truly contend for a title, they still have enough to get farther than the Clippers, who still have to gel together and probably add a few more pieces themselves before they are a serious contender.

Sean (visit Sean's website): In my preseason selections, I have the Clippers not the Lakers representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, however, I do think the Lakers will end the regular season with more wins. I had the Lakers with the #2 seed and the Clippers with the #3 seed. I love CP3 and Blake Griffin, but they aren't Kobe Bryant. I think the difference in wins is going to be small, and its going to be those games where Kobe can close and CP3/Blake can't that make up those few games. It is also going to take the Clippers time to gel together as well. Come playoff time I think they are going to be scary if they are healthy.

Dan (follow Dan on Twitter): This year will be the year that the little brother finally fights back. The Clippers have landed the second best point guard in the league, and posess a much better core than the Lakers. The Lakers are aging with Kobe's injuries, and Andrew Bynum sure to go down soon, and Pau Gasol looking disinterested, and losing the 6th man in Lamar Odom. I forsee this finally being the year of the clippers, and will enjoy watching Blake Griffin play with Chris Paul.

Kevin (follow Kevin on Twitter): With no NFL franchise, Los Angeles has been an NBA (and Lakers) city. For a long time, the Clippers have long been the laughing stock of the league. Not only is the gap narrowing, but the future of the Clippers is as bright as that of the showtime Lakers. While I would agree with Sean that the Lakers will likely get more regular-season wins as the Clips learn to learn together, I think the Clippers are a more dangerous team in the playoffs and the team that non-L.A. teams don't want to face in May and June.

To see where the Lakers and Clippers (and other 28 teams) fall in our power rankings, click here.

Related: Our NFL Consensus Power Rankings