From worst to first, ranking the NBA through the first couple of weeks…
30. New Jersey Nets (0-7) — They’re dropping like panties at R.Kelly’s house in Jersey, with starters Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, CDR and Yi Jianlian all missing games with injury and/or illness.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-6) — The only bright spot of this past week was Jonny Flynn outplaying Brandon Jennings head-to-head. And the Wolves still lost that game.
28. Memphis Grizzlies (1-6) — All the drama surrounding Allen Iverson has drawn attention away from the fact that Hasheem Thabeet (6 mpg) looks like the biggest bust since Glitter.
27. New York Knicks (1-6) — Actually, let’s call that a two-man bust race between Thabeet and Jordan Hill. Four DNP-CD’s, he’s only seeing six minutes in the games he has played in, and he’s only hitting 41% of his shots when he is on the court.
26. Indiana Pacers (2-3) — Was Danny Granger watching film of Antoine Walker over the summer? Fifty-one of his 93 field-goal attempts have been three-pointers, or 54% of his shots. And he’s only hitting 29% of those so far.
25. Golden State Warriors (1-4) — Still waiting for that Anthony Randolph breakout …
24. Charlotte Bobcats (3-3) — We’re about three weeks away from a disturbing magazine feature about how much Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler miss each other.
23. Sacramento Kings (3-4) — In K-Mart’s absence, Tyreke Evans has looked a lot better at two-guard than he was at point guard. That should’ve been expected; ‘Reke is a natural scorer who is still learning how to play the point.
22. Milwaukee Bucks (3-2) — Don’t let the record fool you; they’ve had probably the easiest schedule in the League so far.
21. L.A Clippers (3-4) — Remember that Western Conference All-Star spot left vacant by Yao and Shaq that everyone wanted to hand to Andrew Bynum? Right now it’s looking like a lock for Chris Kaman (23 ppg, 9.9 rpg).
20. Washington Wizards (2-5) — During Washington’s loss to Phoenix on Sunday, one of the Suns announcers said Gilbert Arenas looked “disinterested” on the court. During this current four-game losing streak, that’s actually been pretty accurate.
19. Philadelphia 76ers (3-3) — While a lot of people predicted disaster, Lou Williams at starting PG has quietly been putting up solid numbers (15.3 ppg, 5.2 apg). Now if he can put together a string of two straight good games, he’ll be on his way.
18. Utah Jazz (2-4) — The last three losses have been bad: Booed by the home crowd in a blowout against the Rockets, eviscerated in the fourth quarter by Dirk while blowing a 15-point lead, and making the Martin-less Kings look like the Webber/Divac Kings at home.
17. New Orleans Hornets (2-5) — Whether Byron Scott is really on the hot seat or not, how many out-of-work coaches do you think are preparing their interview answers to the question of how they’d utilize Chris Paul in their system?
16. Detroit Pistons (3-4) — Tayshaun Prince is missing games now? What’s next, Tila Tequila getting a real job?
15. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3) — Imagine when Kevin Durant finds his stroke. He’s averaging 24 points a night but is only hitting 19% of his threes.
14. Toronto Raptors (3-3) — It’s not like Hedo Turkoglu has been bad, but at the money he’s being paid, do you think Raptors fans expected more than 14 points and 3.5 dimes?
13. San Antonio Spurs (2-3) — Tony Parker is expected to miss about a week with an ankle injury.
12. Portland Trail Blazers (4-3) — The new lineup of Andre Miller and Steve Blake starting in the backcourt has produced two straight wins, and Jerryd Bayless is even getting some PT. But is sticking Brandon Roy at small forward something you want to do long-term?
11. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-3) — The Knicks brought LeBron’s favorite rapper and his favorite baseball team to MSG for their recruiting pitch. After road games this week in Orlando and Miami, the Cavs should do something special this Saturday when LBJ returns home to face the Jazz.
10. Chicago Bulls (4-2) — Tyrus Thomas’ broken arm definitely hurts the team, but they’re deep enough in the frontcourt to withstand it.
9. Houston Rockets (4-2) — Their first loss was on the road in Portland on opening night, understandable because they’re getting used to the new lineup. Their other loss was by one point in overtime against the Lakers.
8. Denver Nuggets (5-2) — Now that J.R. Smith is off suspension, the offense becomes instantly more explosive, and the team’s tattoo count doubles.
7. Atlanta Hawks (5-2) — In an interview with NBA TV the other night, Josh Smith said he’s not taking as many outside jumpers because he realized he’s much better “around the inner part of the basket.” Exactly.
6. Miami Heat (5-1) — And to think, D-Wade (28 ppg, 4.8 apg) hasn’t even really gotten rolling yet.
5. Phoenix Suns (6-1) — With Jason Richardson bouncing back from an awful game in Orlando and Leandro Barbosa back from his wrist injury, the offense is clicking on all cylinders.
4. Orlando Magic (5-2) — After withstanding Rashard Lewis’ suspension and Vince’s ankle injury, apparently the loss of Ryan Anderson was the straw that broke Gortat’s back.
3. L.A. Lakers (6-1) — In two starts, DJ Mbenga has collected eight blocks and pulled down 25 boards. Meanwhile, Kobe (33 ppg) is as unstoppable as ever.
2. Dallas Mavericks (5-2) — Josh Howard is back, and doesn’t look rusty at all. He put up 16 points in just 24 minutes against the Raptors.
1. Boston Celtics (7-1) — Rajon Rondo is leading the NBA in steals (3.1 spg) and is fourth in assists (9.0 apg). He can get to the rim on almost anybody and is deadly in transition, but the jumper is still broken. He gets that down, and he’ll be near impossible to stop.