By Chris Mannix
January 04, 2010
NBA Power Rankings
21 New York Knicks
Last Week: 22
The Knicks have replaced one disgruntled guard with another. Nate Robinson's 14-game exile ended last week when he torched Atlanta for 41 points, but it created a spot on the bench for Larry Hughes. And Hughes is not happy. "This is my second or third time now, so it's getting old," Hughes said. "I'm just dealing with it every day."
22 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 15
Marcus Camby's ailing left knee has opened the door for DeAndre Jordan's return to the rotation. The second-year center chipped in six points in 38 minutes in a win over Boston, and 12 points in 19 minutes in a W over Philly. I know I'm not going to score 20, 30 points," Jordan told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm just going to go out there and rebound, defend and block shots. And when I score, it's a bonus for us."
23 Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week: 20
Where have you gone, Michael Redd? The Bucks' shooting guard exploded for 27 points in a win over the Thunder last week, but scored 14 points total in the three previous games. "I've been in funks before, but this is a little different," Redd said. "I'll find my way out of it."
24 Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 25
The town is already starting to turn on Eddie Jordan. A story in the Philadelphia Inquirer last week titled "Jordan has the Sixers heading nowhere" tagged the embattled first-year coach for bad losses (namely a 16-point drubbing by the Clippers) and for an inconsistent and questionable rotation.
25 Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 19
It's getting ugly in Motown. The injury-ravaged Pistons have dropped nine straight and are desperately trying to get Richard Hamilton back into the flow. In the three games since returning to the lineup from a menu of nagging injuries, Hamilton shot 30 percent, 23.8 percent and 15.4 percent.
26 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 29
Monta Ellis ranks first in the NBA in minutes per game (41.5) and second in minutes played (1,328). So why do the numbers say the Warriors are better when he isn't on the floor? Perhaps that's due to Ellis' league-leading 4.31 turnovers and the fact that he jacks up 47 percent of his shots less than 10 seconds into the shot clock.
27 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 27
Multiple league sources say the Wizards are open to holding a fire sale for any player on their roster, including Gilbert Arenas, who is in the second-year of a six-year, $111 million contract and at the center of an investigation by local and federal authorities over an alleged gun-drawing incident with Javaris Crittenton.
28 Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 26
A 43-point loss to the Knicks. I repeat, a 43-point loss to the Knicks. I don't care if injuries forced Jim O'Brien to play point guard alongside shooting guard Dick Harter. You don't lose to the Knicks by 43 points.
29 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 28
If there are such things as quality losses, the Timberwolves have taken a lot of them lately. The Wolves nearly caught the Jazz with a frantic fourth-quarter comeback last week, and they held Dwight Howard and Vince Carter to a combined 21 points in a loss to Orlando.
30 New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
They snapped their latest losing streak (a 10-game skid) with a home victory against the Knicks last week. Forward Yi Jianlian is averaging 20.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in five games since returning from a knee injury.
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