By Chris Mannix
February 01, 2010
NBA Power Rankings
21 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 19
The Clippers are slumping (0-4 last week and 3-9 since Jan. 12), but Baron Davis is finding different ways to make positive contributions. Baron has been tweeting his beard tips daily. One of the latest: "no matter how cold it gets neck beards are not cool... keep it clean and trim under the chin."
22 Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 22
Allen Iverson's presence has had a negative effect on Lou Williams. The fifth-year guard's scoring in January was down four points from November, and he has looked visibly frustrated on the sideline. "I was playing at an all-time high [in November]," Williams told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Obviously we've gone through the changes of having Allen here. It hasn't been the same since then."
23 New York Knicks
Last Week: 23
Teams with an eye on the playoffs don¹t drop back-to-back games to Washington and Minnesota, as New York did on consecutive nights last week. The Knicks had better take advantage of a relatively soft February schedule because March is shaping up as a doozy. New York will make two extended West Coast road trips next month.
24 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 28
Signs of life in Washington? Maybe if the Wizards only have to play teams in the New York tristate area, as Washington picked up wins over the Knicks and Nets last week. But the Wizards still face an uncertain future with starters Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood on the trading block. "When you get near the trade deadline, you hear 50 million trade rumors, but at the end of day, only about three of them happen," Haywood told The Washington Post. "If you get traded, so be it. It happens. If you don't, then you don't."
25 Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 26
Their once-prolific offense has failed to crack 100 points in nine of the last 10 games, a stretch in which the Kings won just once, at home against the Warriors. In the third quarter of their most recent loss, the Kings shot 5-for-20 from the field, committed seven turnovers and were outscored 34-13 by Charlotte.
26 Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 27
Jim O'Brien is getting a little desperate. The Pacers' coach used his 19th starting lineup of the season against Toronto, subbing in Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy for Dahntay Jones and Roy Hibbert. According to O'Brien, this one could stick for a while. "Our starting lineup is our small lineup for the rest of the year because with Jeff [Foster] and Tyler [Hansbrough] out for I don't know how long, we're just so thin at the big spots," O'Brien said. "It doesn't make sense to try to force-feed something."
27 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 29
The more trade rumors crop up about the Wolves, the more president David Kahn shoots them down. Though Kahn left the door open for a "modest" move before the Feb. 18 deadline, he continues to insist none of the team's core players are available, especially Al Jefferson. "I have not sought to trade Al Jefferson all season long," Kahn told the New York Post. "And will not do so [this] month."
28 Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 25
When a team bottoms out like the Pistons have, change is needed. And Richard Hamilton is willing to be the first to do it. "I have to just be a positive guy on and off the floor," Hamilton told the Detroit News. "That means on the floor, instead of being a scorer, maybe be more of a facilitator and try to get guys open and stuff like that. That might help us get more momentum and more into a rhythm in a game and hopefully get us a win."
29 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 25
Lenny Wilkens' NBA record of 1,332 coaching victories could, unbelievably, be safe. Don Nelson is 11 wins shy of passing Wilkens, and the Warriors, who have dropped five in a row, have shown no signs they can get him there this season. With the potential that a new owner could come in and clean house, Nellie, who has one year left on his contract, may be permanently stuck at No. 2.
30 New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
The Nets picked up win No. 4 last week, against the Clippers, but missed opportunities for more with close losses to the Wizards and 76ers. They play host to the reeling Pistons on Tuesday before heading out on a four-game road trip.
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