NBA Power Rankings (cont.)

Monday January 11th, 2010

NBA Power Rankings
21New York Knicks
Last Week: 21
Danilo Gallinari, meet Larry Bird. Figuratively speaking, that is. Knicks president Donnie Walsh gave the promising second-year forward a 30-minute Bird highlight reel, which Gallinari said he watched 10 times. "I've learned a lot from watching the tape," Gallinari told The New York Times. "I don't know about playing at his level, but I want to learn from him, that's for sure."
22Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 20
A two-point win over Denver was a cosmetic fix for a pretty ugly stretch for the Kings, who capped a five-game losing streak with a loss to the lowly Warriors. A lack of D continues to plague Sacto -- the Kings are 26th in opponent scoring, surrendering 105.6 points per game.
23Chicago Bulls
Last Week: 16
Vinny Del Negro watch, Week 6: Rough week for Vinny as his team dropped games to sub-.500 opponents Charlotte and Milwaukee. It doesn't look to get any easier anytime soon. Eleven of Chicago's 16 games before the All-Star break are on the road.
24Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 26
Just as Anthony Randolph seemed to have dug himself out of Don Nelson's doghouse -- he started the last three games, which included two Warriors wins -- he will be out indefinitely with an ankle injury. It opens the door for 10-dayer Cartier Martin to make an impact. Martin averaged 19.7 points and 4.3 rebounds with the Warriors' summer-league team.
25Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 24
Is Eddie Jordan on the hot seat? Despite giving Jordan a three-year contract last summer, GM Ed Stefanski reportedly is not ready to guarantee that Jordan will coach the reeling Sixers for the remainder of the season. "We're all accountable in this whole situation," Stefanski told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's not just the head coach; it's the coaches, the players and myself -- no one is happy."
26Washington Wizards
Last Week: 27
With Gilbert Arenas on the shelf, Caron Butler has to step up. Butler is averaging four-year lows in points (16.6) and shooting (42.5 percent), and has struggled to adjust to Flip Saunders' flex offense. "Some of the things that I need to get back to -- not second-guessing yourself out there at all," Butler said. "Don't try to fit in, just be you out there."
27Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 28
Indy is hoping the return of Danny Granger can salvage this season, but the Pacers will need to sharpen him up first. Granger returned to the lineup after missing more than a month with a foot injury, but he couldn't crack 37 percent shooting in losses to Minnesota and Oklahoma City. "We have to get him going as quickly as possible," coach Jim O'Brien said. "Our whole package of plays are in play when he's able to play."
28Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 25
Free-fall wouldn't even begin to describe their recent 12-game skid. Injuries continue to spread like wildfire -- Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince are the current walking wounded -- which has contributed to lackluster defense and poor offensive chemistry. "We're going through this stretch, it's not fun," coach John Kuester said. "We have to get back to the things we were doing and being consistent."
29Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 29
A recent Yahoo! report that Al Jefferson may be available raises a legitimate question: Can Jefferson and Kevin Love, two pure power forwards, really play together? Chatter around the league is that Minnesota, which has dropped six of its last seven games, will eventually have to move one of its big men to make room for a true center.
30New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
At some point we're going to have to consider ranking the Iowa Energy -- who lead the D-League with a 15-4 mark -- ahead of the Nets. The Nets cut Rafer Alston (who was acquired in the Vince Carter deal) and former first-round draft pick Sean Williams, getting a jump-start on this summer's planned roster makeover.
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