Ranking the NBA from worst to first …
30. Washington (0-8)
Last Week: 30, —
As we wrote in Smack, no one’s feeling sorry for the Wizards right now. You can’t have multiple players ready to stage a mutiny (Lewis, Blatche), guys who don’t always play hard (McGee) and other cats who smile during blowout losses. John Wall was supposed to make the jump this year. Who would’ve ever thought this team would be going backwards?
29. New Orleans (2-6)
LW: 20, -9
No Eric Gordon means the Hornets are relying on a bunch of role players for big buckets. Six straight losses for the Bees, and it’s only going to get worse. If I was a betting man, by the end of this month, I’d bet they’ll be something like 4-17 or 5-16. The schedule looks THAT bad.
28. New Jersey (2-7)
LW: 29, +1
If you get blown out by 16 on the road in Cleveland, there’s a good chance you’re not very good. They’ve won one game since opening night. One! And that was against a Raptor team that isn’t much better. It’s so bad in New Jersey then even Deron Williams – the guy I called the best point guard in the world for so long – has become inflicted with the bad Net disease (17 and seven… weak at least for him). This all feels like payback for Kris Humphries turning into a celebrity, and the NBA’s biggest ass.
27. Detroit (2-6)
LW: 23, -4
For at least the first week or so, the Pistons seemed to toss out their garbage and issues. Yes, they were always going to blow, but for a team that has an abundance of inefficient offensive players (second worst offense in the league with an efficiency of 92.1) who can’t play defense either, we knew that going in. But even as Detroit is taking more beatings now than Bodie from The Wire, Greg Monroe has upped his PER to a ridiculous 23.92. Also, Ben Gordon finally woke up enough to average close to 16 a night (Can I take some of the credit for this? No? Okay.).
26. Milwaukee (2-6)
LW: 16, -10
I can already see some of you longtime Dime readers out there snickering and rubbing your hands together. Can we still find a way to defend Brandon Jennings? Take away his phenomenal 31-point game against Sacramento last week, and Young Money has shot under 43 percent in every game in 2012. They went on a five-game road trip this past week, and proceeded to lose every one of them. Will this be the second straight year this team goes loco on us and doesn’t come close to expectations?
25. Golden State (2-6)
LW: 13, -12
Well, at least Mark Jackson has them losing competitively. Five straight losses, yes, but only one was a blowout. Jackson’s real test comes now. Can he find a way to help Stephen Curry stay healthy? Can he get something – ANYTHING – out of his wing players not named Brandon Rush? Can he convince Andris Biedrins to like basketball again? The one shining light? Monta Ellis. He’s still getting his points (24 a night), but now he’s averaging over eight assists a game.
24. Charlotte (2-6)
LW: 28, +4
Leaning heavily on people like D.J. Augustin, Boris Diaws (he doubled in size over the summer) and Bad Porn nearly guarantees you’ll have the worst defense in the league. If it wasn’t for those Knicks, we’d be looking at seven consecutive losses for MJ‘s crew. Still, we recommend watching them because there’s something fishy going on down there with DBMD: D.J. White (10 and six) and recently-acquired Byron Mullens (11.4 points a night). They are miraculously somehow pretty good.
23. Toronto (3-5)
LW: 26, +3
Yes, they’re coming off an embarrassing loss to the Nets, and a 35-point destruction in Philly. But things could be worse in Toronto. Andrea Bargnani still won’t rebound. But at least he’s dropping nearly 23 a night. DeMar DeRozan hasn’t made The Leap, but at least he can actually make a shot now (He’s shooting 56 percent from the arc. WTF?!). And they’re No. 20 in defensive efficiency (101.3), which is at least better than last. Our Canadian friends just need to see the glass half full.
22. Sacramento (3-6)
LW: 19, -3
Not even the largest Kings haters (if they even exist) could’ve predicted we’d be two weeks into the season, and DeMarcus Cousins would’ve already helped oust Paul Westphal. As Shaq said on TNT, if you can’t play for Westphal, who CAN you play for? The guy is (was) only the most laid-back coach in the game. We’ve made fun of him for years because he literally just rolls the ball out and lets everyone play. With the Playground Kings, that should’ve worked. Instead, he got axed because 1) Cousins hated him and because 2) the Kings’ young players weren’t improving.
21. Houston (2-6)
LW: 15, -6
You know what doesn’t really make any sense? A team like the Rockets, who are only competitive because they play hard, are actually the second-worst defensive team in the league. Their offense isn’t the problem (it’s in the top 10). No one can D up. Why is Houston catching a break in these rankings? They might’ve had the most difficult schedule of any team to start the season: at Orlando, San Antonio, at Memphis, Atlanta, at the Lakers, at the Clippers and a home/away series with OKC. Woah.