By Chris Mannix
November 16, 2009
NBA Power Rankings
21 Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 25
How good has their offense been early in the season? So good that they haven't needed promising big man Spencer Hawes to help much. Hawes is averaging 10.4 points but is shooting only 41.8 percent. "I don't know if his confidence is real high right now," Paul Westphal told the Sacramento Bee. "We know he's a good shooter and his shots will fall. I think he probably needs a little more confidence in that area."
22 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 19
Count Gilbert Arenas as one of the players struggling to grasp Flip Saunders' offense. "I find myself doing more thinking than I am just reacting, off my instincts," Arenas recently told the Washington Post. "Players in this league, they react. I was a reactor. Now I find myself being a thinker." Arenas is shooting only 36.5 percent during Washington's current six-game losing streak.
23 Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week: 18
Stephen Jackson, acquired with Acie Law from Golden State on Monday for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic, may not win many games in Charlotte, but he should score plenty of points. The Bobcats are averaging an NBA-worst 82.4 points, so they will make good use of Jackson, whose 16.6 average this season is more than that of Charlotte leading scorer Gerald Wallace (13.7).
24 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 26
The Jackson trade couldn't have come at a better time; the Warriors don't need any distractions with the schedule they have the rest of the month. Golden State closes November with road games against Boston, Cleveland, Dallas and San Antonio, and home contests against Portland and the Lakers. That's no way for a team giving up a league-worst 113.7 points to get on the right track.
25 New Orleans Hornets
Last Week: 22
How the mighty have fallen. After firing coach Byron Scott last week, the Hornets learned that Chris Paul will be out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. Now, an NBA source says the cash-strapped Hornets are trying to deal Emeka Okafor in a salary dump. Somehow we're not confident coach Jeff Bower (no head-coaching experience) and assistant Tim Floyd (ineffective and fired by the Bulls and Hornets) will be able to prevent a free fall.
26 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 23
After a three-game winning streak, L.A. dropped three of its next four, including home losses to New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Toronto (the Clippers did win at OKC on Sunday). And players are starting to wonder when changes are coming. "I'm not really sure what they're going to do as far as any of that goes, whether it's players, coaches, whatever it may be," center Chris Kaman told reporters recently. "Right now, we need to get a fair shot with this team with [injured players] Blake [Griffin] and Eric [Gordon] back and healthy."
27 Memphis Grizzlies
Last Week: 27
Further proof that Allen Iverson will never be seen in Memphis again: The Grizz signed veteran point guard Jamaal Tinsley last week. Tinsley, with career averages of 10.4 points and 7.0 assists, hasn't played since being exiled by Indiana before last season. If the 31-year-old guard still has anything left in the tank, he should help a Memphis team that isn't getting enough from Mike Conley (8.7 points, 5.5 assists).
28 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 28
Rookie point guard Jonny Flynn is averaging 14.2 points but has more turnovers (3.6) than assists (3.3) as he tries to get comfortable in coach Kurt Rambis' triangle offense. "It's tough," Flynn told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I'm just following the game plan, doing what Kurt wants. Me being a guy who likes to create off the dribble, likes to get into the lane, it's tough coming into a system like that."
29 New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
The Nets' hard luck continues. They dropped a three-point home game to Philadelphia and were nipped by Miami on the road by a point on Dwyane Wade's last-second three-pointer. But help may be on the way: Point guard Devin Harris could return from a groin injury this week.
30 New York Knicks
Last Week: 29
Here's why the one-win Knicks sit behind the winless Nets: Watch New Jersey play and you see an under-talented team fighting for wins. Watch the Knicks and you see a marginally talented team that plays selfish offensively and looks disinterested defensively.
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