- The Season's Over -

Week 5 NBA Blogger Power Rankings – The Lake Show Tops, The Thunder Rots

December 1, 2008

The catalyst behind the Lakers' early-season dominance of the NBA

Kobe Bryant Photo Credit: Icon SMI

There’s been very little movement at the top; the rest of the league is another story.

Every week a group of NBA writers, including the dons here at ETB, take some time to take a look around the NBA and rank its teams 1-30, best to worst, winners to losers, champs to chumps, so that you can get an easy-to-dissiminate update on the current state of the league. As you’ll see below, last year’s NBA Finals participants are off to a combined record of 30-3 and remain the top two teams in the league; the league’s worst two, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, are a combined 5-29.

These rankings are an aggregate of each writer’s individual ranks; comments are included to further shed light into the mind of our voters. Make sure you check out the list of links at the very bottom for more NBA thoughts from this week’s participants, and to contrast and compare with the Week 4 ranks, head on over to Bright Side of the Sun; 3 Shades of Blue are next week’s hosts.

Without further ado, it’s Week 5 of the NBA Blogger Power Rankings.

1. Los Angeles Lakers (14-1)

- 3 Shades of Blue: “I’m bored with their brilliance already.”
- Bright Side of the Sun: “Only the injury bug will stop this team. Is it bad to hope for injury?”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “Odom off the bench. Is that even fair?”

2. Boston Celtics (16-2)

- Celtics Blog: “Closing out a brutal month for the champs that included six back-to-back slates with a 16-2 record should strike fear in the rest of the league.”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “Better than last year? Sure looks like it.”
- LakersNation: “Dominating? No. Winning? Yes.”

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (14-3)

- Queen City Hoops: “LeBron may be messing with Cleveland about leaving – but it has caused management to put together a competitive team around him. Won’t a title be worth the anxiety?”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “Is it too early to talk about James 2016 because 2010 is being talked about more than the economy these days.”
- Lakers Nation: “Mo Williams doesn’t get enough credit for making Big Z relevant again.”
- Bright Side of the Sun: “I still don’t believe this team is that good.”

4. Orlando Magic (13-4)

- 3 Shades of Blue: “Injuries have plagued the Magic recently, but they manage to keep rolling along. Monday night’s game against Boston is must-see TV.”
- Celtics Blog: “We’ll see how good the Magic are when they play the Celtics this week.”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “9-1 in their last ten with Anthony Johnson starting.”
- Empty the Bench: “The loss of starting shooting guard Mikael Pietrus for 3 – 5 weeks could hurt them for awhile–God knows when you try out J.J. Redick in the starting lineup that SG depth is still a problem for this team.”

5. Portland Trail Blazers (12-6)

- A Stern Warning: “Yep, it’s been said a whole bunch of times, this team has had the toughest schedule out there — and they’re still winning games.”
- Bright Side of the Sun: “Young guns are playing well but still missing some pieces. Will they trade potential for wins?”
- Queen City Hoops: “My numbers are getting messed up by their blowouts. But who is really surprised to see them start to turn it on?”

6. Houston Rockets (11-7)

- With Malice: “The Rockets started the season with a lot of hype, and quickly dismissed it with some less-than-expected performances as just that: hype. But of recent times are actually doing very well – this time without the noise of expectation.”
- Empty the Bench: “And now we may get to see if this latest version of the Rockets is better without Tracy McGrady in the lineup for an extended period of time. He’ll visit Dr. James Andrews this week for a look at that fragile knee of his.”
- 3 Shades of Blue: “They served notice as to why they lead the Southwest Division by trouncing the suddenly resurgent Spurs on Saturday night.”
- Lakers Nation: “Aaron Brooks has been a revelation for this team; he’s cooled off over the last few games though.”

7. Denver Nuggets (12-6)

- Lakers Nation: “Carmelo Anthony has only had one good shooting game this season and is only shooting 40% on the season – that will change.”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “Adding Chauncey Billups makes this team legit, much like the Bibby trade last season for the Hawks.”
- With Malice: “Billups is the injection of maturity and leadership that Iverson never was. Denver just have to hope that this influence continues off the court for their young, somewhat errant star Carmelo Anthony.”

8. Utah Jazz (11-7)

- 3 Shades of Blue: “Despite a string of injuries to key contributors, Jerry Sloan’s steady hand has kept Utah at the top of the West. Predictable and boring, but you cannot argue with success.”
- A Stern Warning: “5-5 in their last 10, but don’t misunderestimate how good this squad will be with a full serving of Jazzsters.”
- Lakers Nation: “Deron Williams is back, and he is passing up the rock like it’s a Ron Artest album.”

9. Phoenix Suns (11-7)

- RaptorsHQ.com: “Think I could convince my boss to work every other day? Shaq’s got a dream gig.”
- With Malice: “Troubled times for the Suns, who still seem like a team with an identity crisis.”
- Empty the Bench: “Terry Porter as head coach of Phoenix feels like a square peg being squeezed in vain into a round hole. That, and Steve Nash still makes us laugh on the defensive end of the floor.”

10. New Orleans Hornets (9-6)

- 3 Shades of Blue: “This team is missing something, but I can’t quite put my finger on what.”
- Celtics Blog: “Still inconsistent; very puzzling and starting to become troubling.”
- Empty the Bench: “So what’s the problem here? Hard to pin down, but Tyson Chandler 2008 doesn’t look much like Tyson Chandler 2007, and as a whole the team just seems sort of flat. Byron Scott wearing out his welcome? Just a guess, who knows.”

The rest of this week’s NBA Blogger Power Rankings after the break…

My, Chris, you do look dapper

Chris Paul & Josh Smith Photo Credit: Icon SMI

11. Detroit Pistons (10-6)

- Empty the Bench: “Not much love for the Pistons this week, and quite frankly, they didn’t earn any. But here’s the thing: the problem isn’t as much with AI as it is with a lack of bulk and consistent scoring on the blocks. Antonio McDyess’ return can’t come soon enough.”
- Queen City Hoops: “The A.I. honeymoon lasted a long time. Any question now that this was about cap space and not improving the team for this season?”
- With Malice: “The Iverson trade’s paying dividends–kinda. I mean, we’re talking about practice right? It’s only practice. I mean, how the hell can can he make his teammates better by practicing?”
- Bright Side of the Sun: “Least improved team in the East.”

12. Atlanta Hawks (10-6)

- Celtics Blog: “Lets see what happens when Josh Smith comes back; should be interesting.”
- 3 Shades of Blue: “Getting Josh Smith back this week will certainly bolster the highlight quotient for this team.”
- Empty the Bench: “After now adding the three-point shot to his game, former second-overall pick Marvin Williams is slowly, steadily turning himself into the complete player he has the talent to be.”

13. San Antonio Spurs (9-7)

- 3 Shades of Blue: “I hear the train a-comin’, slowly ’round the bend…”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “Look for them to make a run now that health is not such an issue.”
- With Malice: “This surprises the hell outta me–talk about a quick climb back into the conversation. But hey, Manu & lil’ Longoria are back, so who’s to say they shouldn’t be here?”
- Bright Side of the Sun: “Will. Not. Die.”

14. Dallas Mavericks (8-8)

- RaptorsHQ.com: “Kidd is now untradeable…too bad they didn’t take the same approach with Devin Harris.”
- With Malice: “The Mavs seem on the verge… whether it’s a complete comeback into contention or a season that’s a complete failure, well… hard to say just yet.”
- Empty the Bench: “The Jason Terry not starting, but playing 35+ minutes per night charade is perplexing and silly.”

15. Toronto Raptors (8-8)

- Bright Side of the Sun: “I keep waiting for this team to be better. They should be the 3rd or 4th best in the East. What’s up Toronto?”
- With Malice: “Chris Bosh is amazing. Calderon’s damn good. O’Neal (when present) can be a beast. So why does this team suck?”
- A Stern Warning: “Chris Bosh, MVP candidate.”

16. Philadelphia 76ers (7-10)

- Empty the Bench: “At a meager 7-10 but ranked in the middle of the pack, there’s clearly still plenty of optimism that the Sixers just can’t stay this bad much longer.”
- Celtics Blog: “These guys definitely haven’t gelled yet. However if they do, I’m not sure they will be that great.”
- With Malice: “Without a doubt the biggest disappointment thus far this season. This team was constructed to do something. The fact that they are mired in a race with the Nets and the Knicks is testament to the lack of progess this group has made, despite adding Elton Brand.”

17. Miami Heat (8-9)

- RaptorsHQ.com: “Shawn Marion needs to be moved ASAP, preferrably to a team where he could excel like the Suns… wait a sec.”
- With Malice: “It seems like there are a heap of teams that are trying to ride the shoulders of one superstar player. The Heat are no different to half a dozen or so teams out there. It doesn’t work: ask Kobe.”
- Empty the Bench: “At 1.7 per game, Dwayne Wade is amongst the league leaders in blocks… as a guard. Yes, he’s been that good so far.”

18. New Jersey Nets (9-7)

- Lakers Nation: “Lawrence Frank has this team. . actually it’s probably just Devin Harris being a stud.”
- With Malice: “The tandem of Harris/Carter is one of the best in the NBA at the moment, and on that they climb considerably. Pity the rest of the team look like something you’d see on an outdoor court playing ball on a Sunday.”
- Empty the Bench: “Sorry, still don’t buy it.”

19. Chicago Bulls (8-9)

- Lakers Nation: “They still need an inside post player.”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “If they could move some swingmen for a respectable big…look out.”
- A Stern Warning: “And the mess continues…”

20. New York Knicks (8-8)

- A Stern Warning: “Closet has been cleaned out. Let’s just hope that they remember they have to play for the next 152 games til the Summer of LeBron arrives.”
- Celtics Blog: “Get your season tickets for 2010 now! David Lee’s line vs the Warriors was bananas.”
- With Malice: “Still unconvinced by recent wins, this team is at #19 despite the roster. They must be looking forward to a) waving bye-bye to Marbury, and b) 2010.

Caron Butler can only do so much for the Wizards

LeBron James & Caron Butler Photo Credit: Icon SMI

21. Indiana Pacers (6-10)

- With Malice: “Thus far, this is a team with very little identity, and the record to match.”
- Hoops Addict: “I miss watching T.J. Ford for Toronto.”
- Empty the Bench: “If not for Danny Granger, this team is down there with the Clippers.”

22. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-11)

- RaptorsHQ.com: “Al Jefferson really is following in KG’s footsteps–it is him and no one else.”
- With Malice: “It’s going to be a very long, very cold winter in Minneapolis.”
- Empty the Bench: “All joking aside, Randy Wittman and Kevin McHale both really do need to be fired.”

23. Milwaukee Bucks (7-12)

- Bright Side of the Sun: “Defensive improvement proves that bad teams can get better until Skiles act gets old and bad team revolts.”
- LakersNation: “Michael Redd is back!”
- Empty the Bench: “So, um, yeah… that Ramon Sessions is quite a player, and, um…”

24. Golden State Warriors (5-12)

- 3 Shades of Blue: “They’ve lost 6 in a row and don’t appear to be any closer to righting the ship after giving up 138 points to the Knicks. Yes, those Knicks.”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “Think they need to work on defense? 82 points in one half is disgraceful.”
- A Stern Warning: “This team’s personality fell off the back of Monta’s moped.”
- LakersNation: “Anthony Morrow – One game wonder, where’d he go – only Nellie knows.”

25. Memphis Grizzlies (4-13)

- Bright Side of the Sun: “The best 4-13 team in the game today.”
- Empty the Bench: “Looks like Timberwolves fans can safely add O.J. Mayo to the ever-growing list of “All-Stars Who Kevin McHale Let Get Away” list. Hey, cheer up, at least you have Kevin Love.”
- With Malice: “Two things stop me from ranking this team lower: the presence of tandem Mayo/Gasol, and that at home they’re actually not that bad.”

26. Charlotte Bobcats (5-11)

- Lakers Nation: “Raymond Felton is only slightly better than Derek Fisher at finishing in the lane, and Fisher sucks at finishing in the lane.”
- Queen City Hoops: “Not sure what to make of them – is there a more inconsistent shooter in the league than Raymond Felton?”
- With Malice: “There are times when this team looks like they could actually complete; then reality sets in.”

27. Sacramento Kings (5-14)

- RaptorsHQ.com: “Six straight L’s. No wonder: Theus looks 10 years older than he did when he took the job.”
- Empty the Bench: “After a somewhat promising start to the Reggie Theus Era, it’s looking more and more like his days might be numbered. Some sick boxscores from John Salmons last week though.”
- Bright Side of the Sun: “This team has some nice pieces to build around. Trading Brad Miller is the best idea I read all week.”

28. Washington Wizards (2-12)

- 3 Shades of Blue: “New coach, same crappy team, same cringe-worthy results.”
- RaptorsHQ.com: “They won a game this week. It’s a start, right?”

29. Los Angeles Clippers (3-13)

- Empty the Bench: “Who’s coming to town next–Stephon Marbury?”
- A Stern Warning: “Has any team made more changes in the past six months? No. Don’t argue with me.”
- Bright Side of the Sun: “The AZ Cardinals of the NBA. Worst ownership ever.”
- Lakers Nation: “Only the Clippers are dumb enough to give Mike Dunleavey not one but two jobs.”

30. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-16)

- With Malice: “The win on Saturday not withstanding, quite simply the worst NBA team I’ve seen in a long time. These guys suck on a level that Linda Lovelace would be proud of.
- RaptorsHQ.com: “Wow. It might take longer to turn this team around then the economy.”
- Lakers Nation: “You do not lose to the horrible logo’s.”

Participants in this Week’s NBA Blogger Power Rankings:

- Empty the Bench
- A Stern Warning
- Hoops Addict
- Celtics Blog
- 3 Shades of Blue
- Bright Side of the Sun
- Queen City Hoops
- RaptorsHQ.com
- Brew Hoop
- The Lakers Nation
- With Malice

When betting the NBA, power rankings can be a great tool to help you beat the NBA odds.

7 Comments »Posted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 1, 2008 at 10:21 am in NBA

7 Responses

We’re #3 !!!!

Posted by: Carolyn on December 1st, 2008 at 11:35 am

Nice work Brian.

And Starbury on the Clippers is a great idea!

Posted by: Joshua Coleman on December 1st, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Who’s got next week’s?

Posted by: Exick on December 1st, 2008 at 2:58 pm

bit dissapointed that you didn’t put in my anthony morrow haiku, but this is still brilliant

Posted by: Jonny on December 1st, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Very, very good work Brian.

This is something I look forward to each and every week!

Posted by: Don (with malice) on December 1st, 2008 at 8:55 pm

I added the haiku, Jonny, as well as a link to next week’s hosts (3 Shades of Blue).

Posted by: Brian Spencer on December 1st, 2008 at 10:19 pm

We think that when all is said and done this Lakers team will be considered
among the best ever. They have shown they have the ability to play some of
the best defense in the league but they don’t need to concentrate on that
every night since they are running over teams offensively. As far as the
rest of your Top 5, we expect the Cavs and the Magic to take a step back
during the heart of the season and for teams like Utah and Houston to rise
up.

Posted by: Doc's NBA Power Rankings on December 2nd, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Leave a Comment



(will not be displayed)