Ranking the NBA from worst to first…
30. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-17)
Last week — Lost at Philadelphia, lost to Chicago, lost at Houston, lost at Oklahoma City
They could snap this eight-game losing streak at Miami on Wednesday. And Brett Favre could go one week without appearing on SportsCenter, and Mel Gibson could actually respect people who aren’t like him.
29. Sacramento Kings (5-16)
Last week — Lost at L.A. Clippers, beat Washington, lost to Miami
At least longtime announcer Jerry Reynolds can keep himself occupied during the losses by coming up with new nicknames and wordplay for Sam Dalembert. The other night he broke out “Dalemblock” and “Sammy Slam.”
28. New Jersey Nets (6-18)
Last week — Lost at Atlanta, lost at Dallas, lost to L.A. Lakers
Terrence Williams is back from the D-League, and just trying to play his role and fit in as quietly as a heavily-tattooed guy who is the best athlete on the team can fit in.
27. Minnesota Timberwolves (6-18)
Last week — Lost at New York, lost to Oklahoma City, beat Detroit, lost at Chicago
Their West Coast road trip begins with the Warriors and Suns. Kevin Love might grab 40 rebounds. Per game.
26. Los Angeles Clippers (5-20)
Last week — Beat Sacramento, lost to L.A. Lakers, lost to Memphis, lost to Orlando
DeAndre Jordan should have somebody make him a DVD of Tyson Chandler. Jordan has a similar build and similar game to Chandler, but he still can learn little things like defensive positioning and making himself a big target that Chandler has learned over the years.
25. Washington Wizards (6-16)
Last week — Lost at L.A. Lakers, lost at Sacramento, lost to New York
Don’t count out Gilbert Arenas making an All-Star push over the next few weeks. The only locks among East guards are D-Wade, Rose and Rondo. That leaves two more spots, and Arenas is putting up 17.5 points, 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
24. Detroit Pistons (7-18)
Last week — Lost at Houston, lost at New Orleans, lost at Minnesota, lost to Toronto
Ben Wallace posted a career-high 23 points to go with 14 boards and 5 steals against the Raptors, but the Pistons blew a 25-point lead and lost the game.
23. Milwaukee Bucks (9-13)
Last week — Lost to Miami, beat Indiana, beat Houston
Slowly trying to climb out of this hole by winning three of their last four, but this week brings road games at Dallas and San Antonio, then back home for the Jazz.
22. Charlotte Bobcats (8-15)
Last week — Beat Denver, lost at Indiana, lost to Boston
After being held to 62 points and 33% shooting while turning the ball over 21 times against the Celtics, the Bobcats get a chance to rediscover their offense when the Raptors come to town Tuesday.
21. Golden State Warriors (8-15)
Last week — Lost at Dallas, lost at San Antonio, lost to Miami
Six losses in a row, in which opponents scored an average of 110 points per game. Did I miss something and they re-hired Don Nelson?
20. Toronto Raptors (9-15)
Last week — Lost at Indiana, lost to New York, lost to Denver, won at Detroit
With Jose Calderon (foot) out of the lineup, Jerryd Bayless choked in his first Raptors start, but then dropped 31 points, five boards and seven assists in his second.
19. Philadelphia 76ers (8-15)
Last week — Beat Cleveland, lost to Boston, beat New Orleans
In the last five games, Elton Brand is averaging 14.2 points and 11.2 rebounds.
18. Houston Rockets (9-14)
Last week — Beat Detroit, lost at Milwaukee, beat Cleveland
Aaron Brooks (ankle) has been upgraded to day-to-day and could return this week, when the Rockets have the Kings (twice), Thunder and Grizzlies on the schedule.
17. Memphis Grizzlies (10-14)
Last week — Lost at Utah, won at Phoenix, won at L.A. Clippers
As much grief as the Grizzlies got for Mike Conley’s $45 million extension, he’s been good for 15.3 points, 7.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game, and the team is only two games out of a playoff spot.
16. Indiana Pacers (11-11)
Last week — Beat Toronto, lost at Milwaukee, beat Charlotte, lost at Atlanta
Jim O’Brien’s improved defense has some tough tests ahead this week, facing Derrick Rose and the Bulls, Kobe and the Lakers, and Pierce and the Celtics.
15. Phoenix Suns (11-12)
Last week — Lost at Portland, lost to Memphis, lost to Portland
When was the last time the Suns went three games in a row failing to score 100 points? This current three-game skid has them finishing in the 90’s every night, and in a directly related story, Jason Richardson has averaged 6.0 points while shooting 21% from the field and going 0-for-12 beyond the arc.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (12-12)
Last week — Beat Phoenix, beat Orlando, won at Phoenix, lost at San Antonio
Four-game win streak was snapped by the Spurs.
13. New Orleans Hornets (14-9)
Last week — Beat Detroit, lost to Oklahoma City, lost at Philadelphia
Back on Nov. 5, the Hornets beat Miami in a game that seemed to confirm Chris Paul’s squad would be dangerous in the West this year. The rematch is on Monday, but it seems like two completely different teams will be on the court. The Hornets have lost eight of their last 11 games.
12. Denver Nuggets (14-9)
Last week — Lost at Charlotte, lost at Boston, won at Toronto, lost at New York
When he gets the time and opportunity, Ty Lawson proves he’s either Denver’s point guard of the future or a great trade chip in a few months.
11. Atlanta Hawks (16-9)
Last week — Won at Orlando, beat New Jersey, lost at San Antonio, beat Indiana
Making up for Joe Johnson’s absence, Jamal Crawford has scored 24.6 ppg in the last three.