By Chris Mannix
March 22, 2010
NBA Power Rankings
21 New York Knicks
Last Week: 21
The Knicks will undoubtedly scour the market for a starting point guard this summer -- a call to New Orleans about Collison seems likely -- but they may have found a solid backup in Toney Douglas. The defensive-minded rookie was 10-of-17 from three-point range against Philadelphia and Houston last week and has scored 20-plus points in three of his last four games.
22 Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 26
A third straight losing season could spell doom for coach Jim O'Brien, but you can't say his team has quit. Indy thrashed Charlotte and Oklahoma City last week and is riding a five-game home winning streak. Said Troy Murphy: "Teams come in here thinking that they can overlook us and we're just not going to let that happen."
23 Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 22
Tyreke Evans' quick recovery following a concussion last week (he could return to the lineup as early as Monday) shows his commitment to helping the Kings win. Or, perhaps, it's his desire to hold off a hard-charging Stephen Curry in the Rookie of the Year race.
24 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 24
Stuff Utah, get smoked by Phoenix. Stymie the streaking Bucks, get run out of their own building by the Evans-less Kings. This is the story of the 2009-10 Clippers, the most enigmatic team in the NBA.
25 Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 23
Ben Wallace was on the verge of retirement when the Pistons pulled him back. No reason they shouldn't do it again next season. Wallace, 35, is averaging 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks and has been a valuable mentor to Detroit's young big men.
26 Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 25
Dunk contests in layup lines. Fleeting attention during huddles. Sloppy play late in games and a seeming indifference to ugly losses. It's official: The Sixers have quit on first-year coach Eddie Jordan.
27 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 28
Look out, Nellie. The Warriors announced they have hired Galatioto Sports Partners to handle the sale of the franchise. Assuming they are sold -- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has long been considered the front-runner -- that gives Don Nelson less than a month to find the five victories he needs to break Lenny Wilkens' coaching record.
28 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 27
Interesting how Flip Saunders' ex-players have rushed to his defense. Last week, Chauncey Billups defended Saunders' system and took a not-so-subtle shot at the Wizards' roster. "Flip's system is difficult. It takes some getting used to," Billups told The Washington Post. "It's a lot of detailed things about his system and you can't just go in there and think you're going to learn it. You've got to study. I don't know if those guys really put that work in or not."
29 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 29
A winless March bottomed out last week when they surrendered a combined 378 points to the Suns, Jazz and Lakers. Let's call them co-No. 30 from here on out.
30 New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
Hypothetical question: If Jeff Van Gundy were coaching this team, what's the over/under on the number of post-up plays called for Lopez? One scout pegged it at 110 ... per game.
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