Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:43 am

ChiTownCliff's Top 10 - Power Rankings #1

Well most teams have 4 to 6 games under their belt so I think we have a small taste of what teams look good early off and what teams should be able to establish themselves as forces for the rest of the season. I only want to look at the top 10, because that is all that really matters right? If you make the top 10 then you are either a contender for the title or real close to it. Outside of the top ten and you have some issues to deal with or you simply are a bad team. 

Well let us take a look at the Top 10 teams thus far.

1. Lakers
. How any other team could be ranked number 1 is beyond me. The Lakers are clearly the best team in the league. Kobe looks like himself and should still be considered in the running for the MVP, but the real stars of this team are the newly added Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. These two smaller pickups were well thought out by Laker's brass and have been a big part of the Lakers early success.

2. Celtics. Coming out of the gates and handing the Heat a loss goes was the perfect start to their season, but they have looked very good since as well. Rondo is averaging an amazing 16.4 assists per game and the green machine is off and running like they are well oiled. Paul Pierce has showed little signs of aging and the J.O. pickup looks like a solid move thus far.

3. Heat. The number that sticks out to me so far with this team is the average margin of victory which is a league leading 16.6 points. That is pretty scary. After their first game loss to the Celtics this team has looked pretty great since. Winning big against the Nets and Timberwolves is not a big deal, but the pounding they put on the Magic is.

4. Hornets. Who would have thought, right? This team is not only 4-0 but they have won against the likes of the Bucks, Nuggets, Spurs, and Rockets. Beating those 4 in a row proves you are doing something right. Chris Paul looks like his old self leading the NBA already in NBA efficiency with a 21-6-9 statline. Play from Belinelli and Thornton have been key but really missing in action is Trevor Ariza, who if he can get on track, could be an X-Factor for this team.

5. Magic. Getting hammered by the Heat does not make a good statement, but this team is still a great team. They simply had a bad night. I do not tink they will lose like that to the Heat again. In their two wins thay have looked great and Dwight Howard has added a little offensive punch to his game in the form of an outside shot that looks better then ever, but he needs to continue to be that force in the paint on defense if this team want to make it to or past the ECF.

6. Hawks. Okay, so they are 5-0, but I do not think this team is quite top 5 yet. Their wins have come against the Pistons, Cavaliers, Wizards, 76ers, and Grizzlies. That might have been a feat 5 years ago but not today and they face the Timberwolves tonight. We will not know what to think of this team until after next week when they face the Suns, Magic, Bucks, and Jazz.

7. Mavericks. This team has all the parts to have a 60+ win season. Most have played together for a few seasons and Jason Kidd continues to defy age, but the key to this team is the fact that Dirk is still in his prime and puting up great numbers. His ability to score from anywhere opens the floor for everyone else. This team has plenty of scoring theats and now they have some big defenders to clog the paint in Chandler and Haywood.

8. Thunder. Big wins against the Bulls and Trail Blazers has this team close to being in the talks with the elite. They still lack size and that may turn into a bigger issue down the road, but for now the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook looks like a top 1/2 punch in the league.

9. Trail Blazers. It is hard not to like tis team. With Brandon Roy putting up jumpers from the outside and LaMarcus Aldridge turining into an elite back to the basket player Portland has their bases covered. Sprinkle in a savvy veteran point guard in Miller and a defender of the paint in Camby and this team is on a roll. Just wait until they add more size in JP and Oden.

10. Spurs. The combo of Duncan, Parker, and Manu is already a thing of history and it looks like they will continue to be together for quite some time. Sure they could use some new springs in the legs, but they are wise and well coached. This team can never be ruled out until Duncan retires. Jefferson is also starting to play the way they were hoping he would. This is a darkhorse team in the west if you ask me.

Let us take a look at a few players that have come out of the gates on fire. The Sexy Seven.

Monta Ellis.
they guy is just thowing up sick numbers and is leading the league in points per at an even 30 a game. His Warriors are 3-1 and just missed my list. Toss in 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 55% shooting from the floor and Warriors' fans must be happy.

Joakim Noah. It is still early but it looks like Noah could lead the league in rebounding. He is right now with 15.3 per game to go along with 14 points and 2 blocks. He also has had 4 double doubles in 4 games and it seems unlikley that that trend wont continue.

Luis Scola. 23 points and 14.5 rebounds per! Are you kidding me? While the Rockets may be 0-4, Scola is proving to be a star player in this league. I wonder if these numbers will continue.

Rajon Rondo. I do not care how overrated the steals per and assist per statistics are, if you are averaging 16+ assist per game you are doing a good job of gettting the ball to were it needs to go. Rondo certainly is the front runner to lead the league in assists and by a large margin.

Pau Gasol. 23.8ppg, 11rpg, and 4.4apg is pretty darn scary. The Lakers made the best trade perhaps of the past decade when they landed this guy. He is a top 3 bigman for sure with Howard and Dirk and he plays with the best team in the league. I see no end to these types of numbers from him.

Derrick Rose. With 26.8 ppg(2nd) and 10 apg (5th) Rose is slowly becoming the superstar that many thought he would be. Thesse numbers should stay high but his scoring will certainly come down a bit when Boozer returns. 

Russell Westbrook. Durant who? Just kidding, but this guy must be the most underrated point guard in the league. A debate could be had that he is a top 3 PG right now. He certainly is as good as Derrick Rose if you ask me.

Just missing the Sexy Seven are: Paul Millsap, Dirk Nowitzki, and Rudy Gay.

Hope you enjoyed the read and please reply with your Top Ten and your Sexy Seven or simply give your thoughts. Thanks. 
Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am

Noah's Bark

     It has become clear to me that Joakim Noah is now my favorite player in the NBA. If anyone is missing from the Allstar ballot it is him. I cannot believe the league has Brad Miller on it and not Noah. Silly. In this blog I am going to make a case for Noah to be a reserve on the eastern conference Allstar team and I will also give you my top ten centers in the league today. I understand the noah has a couple of weaknesses and I will talk about them as well. I am a bit bias, but I am not a fool. So what has Noah done to make me a huge fan? Let us take a look.

     Rebounds Per Game. 12.2.
First we will look at perhaps Noah's biggest strength and that is his rebounding. He is second in the league behind only Dwight Howard and is half a rebound ahead on Marcus Camby. Noah is not a biggest or the strongest center so how does he grab so many missed shots? With his brain. He is very smart and knows were to go on every play and understands how to box-out. Couple this with his nasty take-no-crap attitude and you get a rebounding machine. If Noah puts on another 10 pounds of muscle this summer like he did last summer then he could lead the league in rebounding next year.

     Field-Goal Percentage. .495. Now we will look at one of Joakim's weaknesses. He has come a long way on the offensive side of the floor and is averaging 11.2 points a game, but to be considered a major threat in the paint you have to shoot a higher percentage from the floor. Somewhere above .550 for a center seems like the qualification to me and Noah still needs to work a bit more on this part of his game, but he has been getting better every game this season. He has a back to the basket game but needs to perfect his 15 footer. If he can hit the jumper with consistency then defenders will be drawn out of the paint and that will open things up for Derrick Rose to drive and create a nightmare for other teams to defend. Then Noah can learn from Brad Miller about the power of the shot fake and drive to the hole maneuver.

     Blocks Per Game. 1.74. Noah is a top 10 shot blocker in the league and to me shot blocking is one of the keys to being a great center along with rebounding and shooting a high percentage shot. In todays game the power forward is typically the scorer and the center tends to play of the scorer and block shots and score on put backs. Dwight Howard is really the last old school type center that does it all on both ends. Cases could be made for Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman in this regard. Not every team is so lucky as to have a scoring center. They are just rare these days. The bottomline is that the role of the center has changed over the last decade or so into more of a support player and less of a focal point.

     Double-Doubles. 20. Noah is tied for second amongst centers in total double-doubles and ranks sixth overall in the NBA. He is also one of only 4 total centers to be averaging a double-double.

     The Intangibilities of Noah. There are many like his passing ability that ranks in the top 3 amongst centers or his overall NBA Efficiency score of 20.79 that ranks 7th. If you add up his points, assists, and rebounds he ranks 8th amongst centers. But the real key to Noah is what you will see every time he steps foot on the hardwood. It is his passion and love for the game. He plays hard and focused every second on the floor. He more then makes up for his weaknesses with his heart and desire. He plays nasty defense and will not back down to anyone and is not afraid to speak his mind. Just ask LeBron James. He is not the quite leader, but a vocal leader that also leads by example. Much like Ben Wallace was once the heart and soul of the Detroit Pistons, Noah is now become that kind of player in that he can light a fire under a teammate with a little yell in the ear or by inspiring his whole team by making an incredible offensive rebound and then pushing off a defender and slamming home the ball for an and-one. Noah's overall game has few limits. He is a great athlete and has a great basketball mind. Just watch him take the ball up court by himself and you will see his great ball handling skills or you can always just watch his now epic steal in game 6 of last years playoffs were he runs 80 feet with the ball and beats Paul Pierce to the basket and slams in home. That moment just might have been the turning point in Noah's career. Here take a look.


Just a few stand out games from the last few weeks:

vs Wizards. 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
@ Celtics. 15 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Pistons. 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Timberwolves. 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
@ Bucks. 10 points, 18 rebounds,
@ Pistons. 15 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Hornets. 17 points, 18 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Knicks. 10 points, 21 rebounds
vs Lakers. 11 points, 21 rebounds, 6 blocks
vs Warriors. 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks

And these are only going back through december. There are many more great games from Noah during this time, but I do not feel like typing them all out.

My Current Top 10 Centers in the NBA.

1. Dwight Howard. The Best and it is not really close.
2. Brook Lopez. A distant second with a big upside.
3. Marc Gasol. Another young guy with a lot of upside.
4. David Lee. A center in a PFs body. Is he just a product of a system?
5. Chris Kaman. A classic 20 and 10 center. Watch out for injuries however.
6. Al Jefferson. Getting better with every game. Was my number two center last season.
7. Joakim Noah. See above.
8. Al Horford. Wonder what his numbers would look like on another team?
9. Andrew Bynum. Shows promise, but needs to become consistant.
10. Nene. Good defender and solid in the paint on both ends.

Honorable Mentions: Andrew Bogut, Brendon Haywood, and Kendrick Perkins.
Posted on: February 21, 2009 7:50 pm

Power Rankings Feb. 22nd

Here we go:

  1. Lakers. The team to beat and without doubt the best in the NBA right now. Best record plus being the hottest team in the league is proof enough.
  2. Cavaliers. Just when you think this team is not as good as the Celtics LeBron James does something insane that gives me a Michael Jordan flasback. Lack of depth? Who cares? Who is going to stop LBJ?
  3. Spurs. Overtime loss to the Knicks was a hard one for any fan to watch who does not live in New York. I still think this team has a real shot at an upset when the WCFs roll around.
  4. Celtics. How will this team adjust without Kevin Garnett? I think they just lost themselves the number one seed for sure. Will KG come back in full health? Scary for Celtic fans I bet.
  5. Magic. Rafer Alston was a great move for the Magic with Jameer Nelson out for the season. Magic fans must be breathing a sigh of relief right now. There is yet a flicker of hope off in the distance.
  6. Nuggets. Loss to the Bulls was ugly for sure. But Billups has been great for this team. They need to be a bit more consistant and play with passion every game.
  7. Portland. With Michael Ruffin on board they could make it to the Finals. Sorry, that was a joke. This team is young and balanced. Most of all they keep winning games.
  8. Jazz. Look out here they come. They are just 3 1/2 games out of the 4th seed and playing quite well. Have won 3 in a row. I smell a darkhorse.
  9. Rockets. This team iwins three games without Tracy McGrady. Didn't this happen before? Tracy McGrady is a cursed player. There I said it.
  10. Mavericks. Another darkhorse team. Dirk is playing his best ball this season and this team has nice depth. I hope they can do without Jason Terry.
  11. Hornets. I really liked the double reverse trade for Tyson Chandler. I wonder if they knew how bad his toe was? This will hurt them in future trades. What seed does this team get in the playoffs? 8th vs Lakers? Ouch!
  12. Hawks. Young and balanced. They are the fourth best team in the east but are this low in the rankings. Says a lot about the east.
  13. Suns. This team was reborn the day they fired Terry Porter. How far will they get without Amar'e Stoudemire? That is the real question.
  14. Heat. Not to sure that JO was the right move or not. He is injury prone so you have to wonder if he will be there come playoff time. Good thing they have that other guy Dwyane Wade to carry them.
  15. Bulls. This team is one of the hottest teams in the east right now. Beating the Nuggets with only 7 players says a lot about this teams passion. They are playing gritty, backs against the wall basketball. Hello playoffs.
  16. Pistons. Rasheed Wallace will jack up 5 failed 3 point attempts before I finish writing this sentence. Someone needs to buy Coach Curry a chemistry set. Sad when AI is not the problem.
  17. Bucks. This team has one thing going for it. Scott Skiles. He and he alone will will this team into the playoffs. I am not sure that will be enough at the end of the day.
  18. 76ers. This team will most likely make the playoffs but lets hope Miller gets back soon to run this team before they rack up to many losses.
  19. Knicks. Starting to rack up a lot of points on other teams. Larry Hughes should be a nice addition to Mike D'Antoni's run and gun offense. Knicks could slip into the playoffs yet.
  20. Pacers. This is were the teams really start to slip off for me. Granger can not do it by himself. This team needs to make some smart draft selections this summer and let the rebuilding continue.
  21. Nets. They could not get rid of Vince Carter. Souldn't they have done that like 3 years ago anyways? Brook Lopez is a solid piece to the puzzle for the future.
  22. Warriors. Despite what some Warriors fans think Monta Ellis has not been playing that well and without Andris Biedrins in the paint this team will continue to struggle.
  23. Raptors. Record or no record, a team with Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh, and Shawn Marion can not be this bad, can they?
  24. Bobcats. Is this team ever going to be a .500 team after an Allstar break? They have rebuilding down to a fine art in Charlotte.
  25. Timberwolves. No Al Jefferson equals a lot of tears in pillows. Timberwolves fans need only think about the draft to find comfort.
  26. Grizzlies. At least this team has a bright future to think about. To bad the owners do not like to spend money.
  27. Wizards. Two wins in a row is nice to see. Other then that this team has been shockingly bad this season.
  28. Clippers. Baron Davis needs not to be traded for Tracy McGrady, we need to get these two guys on the same team. That would be interesting.
  29. Thunder. Maybe the best young talent in the NBA reside here in Kevin Durant. What a joy to watch he is. Let's hope they can build something around him.
  30. Kings. What else can be said. Drew Gooden and Andres Nocioni could help things out. I will miss Andres Nocioni though.
Posted on: February 14, 2009 6:36 pm

Power Rankings Allstar Weekend.

  1. Lakers. Great road trip only solidifies their dominance. Sole loss to the Jazz should not faze them what so ever. They are the team to beat.
  2. Spurs. Win over the Celtics move them up in my book. This is a scary team that is now playing their best ball of the season. It seems this way every year. Spurs always make a push come midseason.
  3. Celtics. Losses to the Lakers and Spurs hurts their chances to be called the top dog. Even with that being said they are still playing fairly good and should rebound. They are the best in the east for now.
  4. Nuggets. Call me crazy but this team is quitely pushing itself up the standings and beating solid teams on the way. Chauncy Billups is proving to be a top point guard. Piston fans must be missing him.
  5. Cavaliers. A loss to the Lakers is understandable but a loss to the Pacers is just sad. The question of depth once again the topic of conversation amongst Cavalier fans.
  6. Magic. Still sitting pretty in the east. A loss to the Nuggets is bound to happen. Will the loss of Jameer Nelson keep the Magic from going deep in the playoffs?
  7. Trail Blazers. This young team may be to young to win rings this year, but Laker fans have to be a bit afraid of the future. The Blazers are looking more and more like the team of the future.
  8. Hawks. The Hawks are for the east what the Blazers are for the west. A young team that could be in the finals for years to come. Young and athletic, this team has a bit off everything needed to win.
  9. Hornets. Something tells me this team will finish the season strong. A healthy Chris Paul is a must or this team is not going anywhere and they will continue to slip in the standings.
  10. Jazz. Creeping back to life this is not a team anyone wants to face in the first round. When Boozer returns this team will make a push. I could see them landing the 6th seed.
  11. Rockets. With Tracy McGrady out again with knee problems the Rockets can say goodbye to the season. What looked like a promissing season has turned into what most expected. Injury plagued.
  12. Mavericks. A Darkhorse? I was starting to think so but they play so hot and cold it is hard to figure them out. On a bright note Dirk is having his best season ever.
  13. Heat. Is Jermaine O'Neal the answer? Maybe not but they finally got rid of Shawn Marion and I like the pickup of the young and athletic Moon.
  14. 76ers. Elton Brand who? To bad they owe Brand so much money because it looks like they do not need him at all. In the end though how far will this team get in the playoffs?
  15. Suns. What is going on in sun city? This is a team that is about to dismantle and start over. Not even Steve Nash can make this team look good. Say goodbye to Shaq or Amar'e or both.
  16. Bucks. Even with all the injuries this team still keeps winning. I do think that this team will still slow down and slip in the standings and maybe out of the playoff picture.
  17. Pistons. Slip sliding away. 3 losses in a row only magnifies their issues. Rasheed Wallace needs to be traded. I would trade Iverson if I were them and build around Rip, Stuckey, and Prince.
  18. Bulls. This team is either winning or losing close games. There is a lot of turmoil behind the scenes with talk of Paxson stepping down after the Allstar game and trade talks with the Suns could hurt this team.
  19. Nets. Brook Lopez has been outstanding thus far this season. He looks like he may be what most thought Grag Oden was. A future Allstar Center. He will be key for this team down the stretch.
  20. Pacers. Big win over the Cavaliers was a great game for Pacer fans and Danny Granger is becoming a top 10 player overnight. No only if they can build a team around him.
  21. Bobcats. This team has 6 players averaging more then 10 points a game. You would think that is a good thing but they have no go to guy down the stretch.
  22. Warriors. They have won 3 in a row. To bad there is no hope of making the playoffs in the stacked western conference.
  23. Knicks. Another Hot and Cold team that has little chance of making the playoffs. They have to hope for other teams ahead of them to really fall apart. 2010 can not come soon enough.
  24. Raptors. With Shawn Marion teamed up with Jose Calderon and Chris Bosh you would think this would be a great team. we will just have to see.
  25. Grizzlies. They move up just because others have moved down and not because they have gotten any better. O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol are a solid young pair and can be built around.
  26. Thunder. Kevin Durant is the next big thing but I am sure you already know that. By next season he will be a top 10 player. To bad he is on the Thunder. When is his contract up?
  27. Clippers. This team has a lot of solid players. They have to start winning some games right? No, they most likely be looking for yet another high draft pick.
  28. Timberwolves. Can this team even land one more win without Al Jefferson? I would be shocked if they win more then 3 games by seasons end.
  29. Wizards. Two players averaging more then 20 points is nice but when your top assist maker is your small forward and he only averages 4.4 assists then you are in trouble.
  30. Kings. Kings of crap that is. Kevin Martin needs to demand a trade if this team is in the same boat next season. On another note I think they should trade Brad Miller to my Bulls for Larry Hughes.
Posted on: February 7, 2009 11:51 pm

Power Rankings. Feb. 7th

Here we go.

  1. Lakers. How can they not be number one right now? Kobe Bryant's 62 points against the Knicks aside the Lakers have been very balanced and even without Andrew Bynum I still see them finishing at the top of the west.
  2. Celtics. I think it is a safe to say that the Celtics are the second best team in the NBA and continue to play solid on both ends. An overtime loss by one point to Lakers goes to show how close these two teams are.
  3. Cavaliers. LeBron James and company are in a standings war with the Celtics and even though the Cavs have a slight edge right now, I feel they are just not as complete as the Celtics. Cavs and Celtic should be in the ECF.
  4. Spurs. Call me crazy but the Spurs are healthy and playing very well of late. They are not as deep as they have been in the recent past, but they still run a flawless game and have one of the best coaches leading them.
  5. Magic. The loss of Jameer Nelson is going to hurt, but with Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard I do not see them losing the three seed.
  6. Nuggets. Chauncey Billups would really look good in a Pistons unifrom right now. All kidding aside Denver looks really strong, but I am not sure how this will all equate in the playoffs.
  7. Hornets. This team is not the same without Chris Paul, but they are still good and when he returns and Chandler as well I see them going on a winning streak. They have things to prove.
  8. Rockets. If Healthy they could end up in the WCF, but I have this feeling that another injury will strike this team down. That being said they have been playing well as of late.
  9. Trail Blazers. I would have them a couple notches higher if they were not so young still. Roy and Aldridge have been outstanding. Let us hope Steve Blake can get healthy so they can move up the standings.
  10. Mavericks. They are the Darkhorse in the west. Not just because they have been playing well but because at any moment Mark Cuban could pull the trigger on a big trade. Chris Bosh? Amar'e?
  11. Hawks. A distant fourth in the east the Hawks just seem one step behind the pack. Joe Johnson is looking like the third best shooting guard behind Kobe and Wade. Could he lead this team deep into the platoffs?
  12. Jazz. This team has a good excuse for their record unlike many other teams. Injuries have plagued them. Let us see what happens when Carlos Boozer returns.
  13. Pistons. This is a team that has no excuses. Allen Iverson has been a mistake and it really looks like the Pistons a fading fast. They should have made moves before. A good trade is their only hope.
  14. Suns. They are like a puzzle comprised of pieces from five different puzzles. You just can not figure them out because nothing seemd to fit together. Trade and rebuild time for sure.
  15. Heat. They really remind me of the Bulls two seasons ago. I solid team missing that inside difference maker. Without that player they will not get out of the first round.
  16. Nets. Another incomplete team. Two very good guards and a solid young Center, but not much else. They do have depth but no real starters outside the aforementioned. They need a swingman with skills badly.
  17. Bulls. Luol Deng has been a machine since his return from injury and Kirk Hinrich is great off the bench. Could the Bulls swing a trade before the deadline with all their young talent and expiring contracts? Derrick Rose = ROY.
  18. 76ers. Elton Brand has been a nightmare. I am just happy the Bulls did not go after him. Even without him the 76ers still have been playing well. I do expect them to slip in the standings however.
  19. Knicks. They have won six of their last ten and even though they made history in a bad way with Kobe they still seem to be playing better under D'Antoni.
  20. Pacers. Danny Granger is a stud but this team needs to make some trades if they want to reach the playoffs. I think they should focus on the offseason and the draft.
  21. Bucks. Stick a fork in them. They are done. Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut, and Luke Ridnour are all out with injuries and they just traded Lue. I see them falling out of the playoff picture.
  22. Timberwolves. Al Jefferson should have made the Allstar team instead of Shaq. That is a solid snub if you ask me. That being said the Wolves need help in the draft or a trade in a bad way.
  23. Warriors. The Warriors do not want to come out and play. They put forth little effort for a team loaded with talent. The only player I would want off the roster is Andris Biedrins.
  24. Bobcats. Decent starters but no depth is killig this team. Will they ever stop looking like an expansion team or is this all Charlotte can hope for? Bobcat fans need to move to Atlanta.
  25. Thunder. Do not look now but the Thunder are creeping up the standings. Maybe they will win 20 games this season after all. Kevin Durant is a monster.
  26. Raptors. What a shocking season for Raptor fans. I saw them as a top 5 or 6 team in the east at the begining of the season. They should trade Chris Bosh now before he bolts in 2010. They need to rebuild.
  27. Grizzlies. Gasol and Mayo are nice players to build around. The draft is their only hope to improving quickly. O.J. Mayo could be ROY if his team wins a bunch more games. Do not see that happening.
  28. Wizards. Another team that we all saw making the playoffs. Injuries have crushed this team but they should get a high draft pick and maybe a healthy Arenas for next season. Cross your fingers wizard fans.
  29. Clippers. The great experiment has failed. Baron Davis has been exposed as a player that can not lead. Can you imagine if they had kept Brand? They would be even worse then they are now.
  30. Kings. Kevin Martin is trapped in a place that lies between fate and destiny. A place we like to call the Twilight Zone. I really feel bad for this young star.
Posted on: November 16, 2008 6:33 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2008 6:35 pm

Bulls Review: Week 3: Nov. 16th

     The week started off on the down side and then ended on a high note. They lost Kirk Hinrich for three months to an injury and signed Lindsey Hunter to fill his spot. With Kirk gone the Bulls seem to be finding themselves finally. They still look a bit shaky at times and sometimes they get stuck making a lot of quick outside shots. Kirk will be missed for sure , but with Hughes back in the lineup the Bulls look like they will survive. When they are driving and passing the ball they become a very difficult team to deal with. They almost won all three of their games this week. They barely lost to the Hawks and came from behind in an impressive win over the Mavericks and then ended the week controllng and in the end beating the Pacers. All in All it was a good week for Bulls fans, so let's take a closer look at what went down.

     The first thing that must be discused is the play of Ben Gordon. He has been putting up some real Allstar-like numbers in the past two weeks, and his 35 point effort against the mavericks was downright insane. He is really shining with Derrick Rose on the floor to take pressure off him. I really think the Bulls should have signed Gordon this summer , but hindsight is 20/20. I was like most who thought that Luol Deng was the must sign, but I am starting to think I might have been wrong. The season is still young, but Gordon clearly looks like the better player so far. His ability to create his own shot and his talent of blowing past opponents to the hoop is scary good and are both rare in this league. I really like him starting alongside Rose, but if we face a team with a taller shooting guard that has a post game then the Bulls should start Larry Hughes, once heathly of course, in his place.

     The continued growth of Derrick Rose is the key reason the bulls sit at .500 right now. With out him the Bulls would surely not be doing do well. I would have to boldly say that Rose is the best rookie so far this season and by a pretty large margin. O.J. Mayo is about the only player close, but Rose is a complete player already. He is averaging 18.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and climbing, and shooting over 46% from the field. If and when he gets his ppg up to 20+ then I think he will not only be a lock for rookie of the year, but should have a great chance at landing on the Allstar team. I am in awe at how fast his game is getting better and how he acts and plays like a savvy vet.

     I would like to see the Bulls run some more high sceen and rolls with Derrick Rose and Andres Nocioni. Those two have a special thing going and Rose really seems comfortable making the pass to the open Nocioni. Nocioni is also good at faking the shot, which most teams respect, and then driving the lane. Infact when any of the Bulls players start to drive into the paint good things seem to happen. Luol Deng's jumper has not been as pretty as it was in the past but when he drives to the hoop like he did against the Pacers then things open up for everyone.

     The Bulls really are a team that is solid in the 1,2, and 3 spot. Drew Gooden has been serviceable as a power forward, but can not guard most centers in the league. Joakim Noah is too small and weak to be a effective center right now and Aaron Gray is as slow as they come and prone to foul instead of play defense. As much as I love some of the players that the Bulls have, it has become increasingly obvious that a trade needs to take place. Tyrus Thomas has had his moments but overall has not been the player we need him to be. He had a nice 15 foot jumper in the preseason but that has disappeared altogether.

     It is really hard to figure out exactly who the Bulls should go after in a trade, but one clearly needs to happen. Ben Gordon's stock could be hitting a peak pretty soon here, so maybe the Bulls could trade him after all. The whole team is tradable if you ask me except for Rose. I would trade Deng or Gordon for the right player. We need a big man and we need one in a bad way. If we had a good inside player then we could contend. John Paxson just needs to find a team that is underachieving and make a phone call. What about Dallas and Dirk or the Timberwolves and Al Jefferson? What would it take to get a deal like that done?

     Let us look at the Ups and Downs of week 3:

UP: Bulls come back from a first quarter thrashing to beat the Mavericks.

Down: Kirk Hinrich gets injured and is set to miss 3 months of play.

UP: Ben Gordon continues to shine and scores 35 points against the Mavs.

Down: Thabo Sefolosha has scored only 15 point total in the last five games.

UP: Andres Nocioni has big game off the bench against the Pacers and scores 20 points with 11 rebounds and 2 steals.

Down: Tyrus Thomas id shooting 28% from the field so far this season.

UP: Derrick Roses averages slowly climbed all week long with one great outing after another.

Down: Bulls allow Al Horford to have a career game at the United Center.

Player of the Week: Derrick Rose. Ben Gordon is a close second this week, but Rose has become Mr. Consistant. Something we have been missing in Chicago for a long time. You know exactly what you are going to get from him each and every night. He leads the team whenever he steps foot on the floor. Not bad for a rookie.

Predictions for the week ahead:

With the Circus trip starting this week the Bulls will be up for some big tests and we should have a good idea what the Bulls are made of after the next two weeks.

Bulls 94 Lakers 106- The Lakers are a couple of steps up the ladder of the Bulls as far as being a contender. The Lakers should own the Bulls in this game and the Bulls reserves will make the score look closer in the end then the game really was. Bloodbath.

Bulls 101 Blazers 97- This should be a close game and it will take all the energy the Bulls have to win this game seeing as how it is the second of a back to back. Bulls need to win this game.

Bulls 105 Warriors 111- This game will be a high scoring affair with the Warriors having the edge. If the Bulls can control the tempo then they could sneak out a victory here.

I think the Bulls have a chance against either the Blazers or the Warrior and should be able to beat one of those teams and end the week at 6-7. As Bulls fans we need to keep our fingers crossed.

Posted on: November 2, 2008 11:47 pm

NBA Power Rankings: Nov. 2nd

     Well, one week of the NBA season is behind us and we have witnessed a few surprises and seen a few of our beliefs solidified. The Lakers look balanced and deadly and most of the top teams seem to be just that, top teams. However, we saw teams like Hawks and Raptors make strides into the right direction and teams like the Spurs and Magic slide in the other way. It is to early to draw any real conclusions yet, but Power Rankings are just that. So let's have at it:

1. L.A. Lakers (+1)

Kobe looked to be a little under the radar until the fourth quarter against Denver were he took over and pounded the Nuggets into the dirt. Andrew Bynum is not quite living up to expectations, but he will come around. With eight players averaging over eight points per game, the Lakers look really deep.

2. New Orleans Hornets (+1)

With wins over the Warriors, Suns, and Cavaliers the Hornets look to be proving the few critics wrong who thought they were a one hit wonder. Chris Paul is a beast and is looking more and more like a MVP. The Hornets also have great depth with 6 players averaging over 10 points per game. The James Posey experiment looks to be working out just fine.

3. Boston Celtics (-2)

A close win against the Cavs followed by a thrashing of the Bulls, only to get beaten by the Pacers does not equate to consistant basketball. With KG, Allen, and Pierce they need not worry to much for they will certainly go on a few winning streaks. Leon Powe looks really good thus far.

4. Houston Rockets (0)

The Rockets remain in the 4 spot with their 3 wins this week. Yao Ming looks a monster down low and Ron Artest seems to be fitting in quite well. Tracy McGrady is Tracy McGrady. The Rockets need to run more plays that get him open looks rather then counting on him to create his own shot. His FG% is nothing to write home about.

5. Detroit Pistons (+2)

Wallace and Chauncey look like they are slowing down a bit, but Piston's basketball has never been about one or two players. Detroit basketball is about team ball and the Pistons have been playing just that. They look savvy and poised. By the way, who the heck is Walter Herrmann?

6. Utah Jazz (+2)

A couple of wins against a couple of teams does not seem a great feat but without their star it is a big deal. Without Deron Williams on the floor Carlos Boozer has turned into a beast and put the Jazz on his back. Jazz fans should be really happy to see their team succeed with Deron. Can you say good coaching?

7. Toronto Raptors (+4)

Let me start out by saying that Jose Calderon is by far the best point guard in the east thus far. He, like Chris Paul, make everyone around him look better then they are. Chris Bosh is the exception. He is in Allstar form and a real force down low. The Raptors are young and deep, so look out east!

8. Phoenix Suns (+4)

They are off to a better start then I thought. Losing to the Hornets is understandable. The real key here is that the Suns are shooting over 52% as a team. That is crazy. Sure, they will not be able to keep that kind of shooting going forever, but they will outscore teams as long as they keep shooting like that. Shaq also has looked pretty good.

9. Cleveland Cavaliers (-3)

So they lose a close one to the Celtics and get it handed to then by the Hornets. Those are top 3 teams, so not to much can be drawn from that. They did beat the Bobcats. Sad, I know. The problem is very obvious. They have no depth or consistant inside scoring. LeBron James can only do so much as we all know.

10. San Antonio Spurs (-5)

Wow, the Spurs really need Manu Ginobili back fast. They look a step slow and really have no depth whatsoever. It is early I know, but the Spurs can not expect Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to continue playing the way they have been. In their defense, both game were very close, but they should have won against the Blazers.

11. Atlanta Hawks (+8)

The Hawks just flat out look great. Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, and Josh Smith are as good a trio as any in the league. Johnson looks like he could remain the league leader in scoring and I would be surprised to see him out of the top 5. Josh Smith is a stat sheet filler and a headache for opposing teams coaches. Watch out Cleveland!

12. Dallas Mavericks (-2)

The Mavericks have all the parts to be deadly and a darkhorse, they just need to step it up a notch. Dirk needs to make at least one assist and Terry needs to take better shots. On the bright side, Kidd is putting up nice numbers and Josh Howard is playing the way I wish Luol Deng was. This team is still dangerous.

13. Philadelphia 76ers (-4)

Were in the world is Andre Iguodala? Elton Brand seems to be doing what he was brought over to do and the rest of the team looks pretty solid. They have 7 player averaging over 9 points per game. If Iggy can start playing like he did last season then the 76ers will be just fine. This team has too much talent to be losing.

14. Chicago Bulls (+2)

The Bulls took care of the Bucks and the Grizzlies but got it handed to them by the Celtics. Tyrus Thomas has gone from looking like a young stud to a dud. He needs to be more consistant. The one real bright spot is Derrick Rose. He looks like he is the real deal and if he continues to play this way the Bulls could become a factor.

15. Orlando Magic (-2)

The Magic are not looking so hot. With Dwight Howard and his insane stats so far you would think they would be off to a better start. The Magic flat out lack depth. Lewis and Turkoglu have been good for sure but who else is going to step up. It is to early to read a whole lot into a couple of losses, but Magic fans can not be happy.

16. Indiana Pacers (+8)

Yes, I am moving the Pacers up eight spots for beating the Celtics. Besides, HurricaneDij39 wired me 50 bucks to do so. Kidding aside, I think the Pacers showed a lot of heart in that game and I think they could build on that victory. When Mike Dunleavy returns they will have more depth and will be in even better shape.

17. Portland Trail Blazers (-3)

Greg Oden looked really bad before he got injured again. This does not bode well for the Blazers. They do have a lot of other good players, but so much was riding on Oden being a factor this season. If he does not return and contribute then the Blazers just might miss the playoffs.

18. Denver Nuggets (-1)

It is hard to blame them for losing to the Lakers or the Jazz. They were just outclassed. This team has 6 players averaging over 13 points per game, so what in the world is the problem? Turnovers. If they took better care of the ball and if Melo wakes up then they could turn the boat around.

19. Washington Wizards (-4)

The Wizards really need Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood back A.S.A.P. The season has just begun but they do not look very good at all. Nick Young is a bright spot but the team as a whole is not grabbing rebounds and they lack size. Things seem to be heading in the wrong direction.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (-2)

Redd is jacking up shots like crazy. Jefferson seems the odd man out. Villanueva needs to be traded. Bogut is not being used really at all. I think it is time for Skiles to lose his cool.

21. Charlotte Bobcats (+2)

Gerald Wallace and Jason Richardson both look great thus far and Okafor is a solid rock down low. I think if Larry Brown does not give up on this young team then they could make some strides.

22. N.Y. Knicks (+4)

Sit down Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry! We do not need you! The Knicks look good under Mike D'Antoni and I think they will keep their fans on their toes. They appear balanced and anything is possible under D'Antoni.

23. Golden State Warriors (-1)

They kept their games close but could not seal the deal. Maggette and Jackson are a nice 1-2 punch and Andris Biedrins is a stud down low. I thought he would improve, but not this much. Warriors fans should rest knowing that they have talent on the floor.

24. Miami Heat (-3)

Losing to the Bobcats and Knicks and beating the Kings is not going to get you moved up on my list. After Wade, Haslem, Beasley, and Marion this team really drops off the map as far as talent goes. They should have moved Marion this past summer.

25. Memphis Grizzlies (+2)

This team plays with heart, but lack the players to really do much. Gay and Mayo are a nice combo, but nobody else has stepped up and I am not sure that player is on the roster.

26. N.J. Nets (+3)

They have this guy on the team named Vince Carter and this other guy named... uh uh uh... They have this guy on the team named Vince Carter and this other guy named... uh uh uh

27. L.A. Clippers (-7)

The Clippers are back were they are most comfortable. Near the bottom. Injuries really have hurt this team. When everyone is healthy they could get back into the mix.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (0)

This team needs to just play the rookies and young guys and let them get experienced. This team is out of the picture right now.

29. OKC Thunder (+1)

Thunder Thunder Thunder Thundercats HOOOOOOOOOO! This is about all you are going to get from me on this team. Sorry.

30. Sacramento Kings (-5)

They lost 3 games to average to crappy teams and were just hammered by the Heat and Magic. Kevin Martin is a wasting away in Sacramentoville.

Well, that concludes the 2nd Power Rankings of the season. Please feel free to mail complaints to David Stern. Also, thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoyed it.

Posted on: October 26, 2008 11:06 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2008 11:07 pm

NBA Power Rankings: Oct 26th

OK, the preseason is over. All the exciting action is over. Most Coaches now understand what they have and what they don't. Some teams Looked better then expected while others looked shockingly bad. Some coaches still have no set roster and some teams really did not even need a preseason. Well, it is time to breakdown the NBA and all the teams within it. I will try my best to be fair and not bias. So here goes:

1. The Boston Celtics:

Must really stink it up in the early goings to lose their spot on top. That is not to say that they are that much better then the number two team, but they all do have pretty new rings coming.

2. L.A. Lakers:

With Bynum back in the picture it is hard not to say that they are the best team in the West until proven otherwise. This team better make up their minds with concern to Odom. They can not afford him to get to unhappy. Trade him quickley or let him know he is staying.

3. New Orleans Hornets:

With Chris Paul leading the way this team will be hard to stop. They are strong in each position and now have a gritty defender in James Posey. They have to be careful though, because everyone will see them coming this season.

4. Houston Rockets:

If Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady stay healthy all year and Ron Artest has an impact then the rest of the NBA better watch out, because they will be near impossible to beat. The problem is is that McGrady and Yao will miss games and this could hurt their playoff seeding.

5. San Antonio Spurs:

Yes, another Southwest division team. The Spur are the Pistons of the west. Nobody would be shocked if they won another title but at the same time if they got knocked out in the first round people would just shrug it off and say that their time has past.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers:

The Cavs are now the second best team in the East. They now have a solid young Point Guard in Mo Williams, so anything less then a showing in the ECF is a failure in my mind. Besides they have Ben Wallace.

7. Detroit Pistons:

The Pistons did basically nothing to improve their team this off season. The one thing they did do is get older. Billups is slowing down and Wallace as well. They do have some nice young players in Prince, Stuckey, and Maxiell so the who really knows?

8. Utah Jazz:

Williams and Boozer are almost as good as Stockton and Malone. Almost. The Jazz have a lot of good players that can create problems for other teams like Okur and Kirilenko, but Deron is going to have to take his game up a notch for the Jazz to reach the Finals.

9. Philadelphia 76ers:

Will Elton Brand be the difference? Maybe. This team could make a lot of noise with Iggy, Brand, and Miller as a 123 punch. As a fan of basketball I would like to see Elton win a Championship simply because he is a stand-up guy.

10. Dallas Mavericks:

Anything could happen with this team, but they should make the playoffs. Jason Kidd really seems like he could rebound and the Mavs are a run and gun team that will fit him nicely. I think they are a darkhorse if Josh Howard decides to grow up.

11. Toronto Raptors:

We all know what Chris Bosh is all about now but the key for the Raptors success is Jose Calderon. If he improves as much as it looks like he will then the future is bright in Canada.

12. Phoenix Suns:

This team is not the same since they traded Shaq for Marion. That trade is going to haunt the Suns for a while. Shaq is going to fade so bad this year that it will bring tears to the eyes of the most bitter Shaq-hater.

13. Orlando Magic:

All I can say is Dwight Howard. He is a monster and he alone will get the Magic into the playoffs. It is also important to note that the magic do have a nice grouping of players around Howard, but what are the Magic really without him?

14. Portland Trail Blazers:

I would have them higher, but much depends on a healthy Greg Oden. They have the best group of young talent in the whole NBA, but they are young, so will they be a bust or this seasons Hornets?

15. Washington Wizards:

If Gilbert Arenas returns to his old self, which I do not think will happen, then they could reach the ECF, but that is the best outcome. They will struggle through the season and most likely not have a healthy Gilbert come playoff time.

16. Chicago Bulls:

I would have them lower had Derrick Rose not played so well in the preseason. If he can prove to be good PG this season then the Bulls could make a run in the east. They just have too much talent not to make the playoffs in the east.

17. Denver Nuggets:

A.I. and Melo are one of the best scoring combos in recent years, but that is sadly the extent of what Denver has to offer. The Camby trade is the worst trade I think I have seen in a while. It is right there with the Pau Gasol Trade to the Lakers.

18. Milwaukee Bucks:

With Scott Skiles at the helm this team could be a beast or a bust. If the start playing skiles' defensive first game then this team could really be good. They have some nice players and R.J. was a great pick-up.

19. Atlanta Hawks:

I may be going out on a limb here, but I really like the Hawks this season. Bibby, Johnson, and Smith is a great trio and let us not forget the playoffs last season. I think this team could take another step forward.

20. L.A. Clippers:

They lost Maggette and Brand and gained Baron Davis and Camby. Honestly, I think they are in the same boat almost as last season. Sure Davis is a top PG and Kaman is a solid Center as well, but they will be lucky to get the 8th seed.

21. Miami Heat:

Will Wade stay healthy? Will Marion get traded? Will Beasley stay out of trouble? To many questions if you ask me. If things work out for the Heat then they could make the playoffs, and who knows what Wade will do there?

22. Golden State Warriors:

They had a small window two seasons ago to make a run for it, but that window is closed. They lost Baron Davis and added Corey Maggette. I like Maggette, but he is not a team leader like Davis was, and Monta is not a leader either. Fading.

23. Charlotte Bobcats:

Will Larry Brown melt down? Is he really ready to work with a young team and under Jordan? I see a disaster in the making. I think this team is great on paper, but I am not sold on Larry Brown. Jordan could also make a trade for Kwame Brown.

24. Indiana Pacers:

This team is mediocre. Granger is a great young talent and Troy Murphy is a solid young bigman, but T.J. Ford is one fall from being done and the Pacers have no depth. Will Mike Dunleavy save the day? I do not think so.

25. Sacramento Kings:

Kevin Martin could be this season scoring champion. He is going to get more looks then a Hooters waitress. I hope this team gets some talent back around him before he decides to skip town.

26. New York Knicks:

They just have to be a better team playing for Mike D'Antoni then Isiah. It is a matter of addition by subtraction. I can not wait to watch Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph run run run.

27. Memphis Grizzlies:

I think O.J. Mayo will be rookie of the year. Not just because he is on a bad team and will get a ton of playing time, but because he is a stud. Mayo and Gay will be a fun duo to watch grow and Marc Gasol could end up being a impact player this season. Bright future.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves:

It is a one man show for now in wolf country. Will Mike Miller step up? Who really thinks he will? I wish they would trade Al Jefferson to a real team, but he will most likely just be the next KG. Hopefully he gets traded to the Celtics in 7 years.

29. New Jersey Nets:

Vince Carter brings the ball up. He stops. Passes to Carter. Carter drives... and kicks it out to Carter. Carter fakes the three and drives... tosses it up... Carter grabs it and slams it home. what a play. To bad the Nets are down 15.

30. OKC Thunder:

Thunder. Thunder. Thunder. Thundercats. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Sorry I could not resist. This team is years away from competing for anything.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com