NBA Weekly Review

Posted: 01/16/2012 by levcohen in Basketball

Power Rankings, top 5:

1. Chicago Bulls, 12-3 (last week: #4) : The Bulls have the second best record, and the second best point differential, in the NBA. They don’t score many points, but pound it out on the defensive side of the ball, and they are the top rebounding team in the NBA. PG Derrick Rose is averaging 21 points and 9 assists per game, but the Bulls need more production from their secondary pieces. Luol Deng, the SF,  is the second leading scorer at 15 points with 8 rebounds to go along with that. When Rose is injured, however, the Bulls average just 82 points per game and are 1-1. Joakim Noah, the C, has been good defensively, but surprisingly weak offensively, scoring just 7.1 PPG. For the Bulls to beat the Heat in the playoffs, they are going to need to get to score without Derrick Rose on the court at all times.

2. Philadelphia 76ers, 10-3 (last week: #3): The 76ers keep getting better. They have the best point differential in the NBA by more than 6 points per game, at +14.9. Not only is that surprising, it is truly amazing. People may argue that they have played a weak schedule so far, and are beating the teams they are supposed to, which is true. However, if you want to succeed in the NBA you have to beat the bad teams, and the Sixers are doing it at an astounding pace. They are the most balanced team in the NBA, with 7 players scoring in double figures, led by 6th man of the year candidate Lou Williams at 16.1. They can put out almost lineups at any time, going 9 players deep most games. They have 8 players with in between 24 and 35 minutes per game, and their two lineups consist of:

PG. Jrue Holiday (14 points, 4 assists per game)

SG. Jody Meeks (9 points, 2 3’s per game)

SF. Andre Iguodala (14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals per game)

PF: Elton Brand (10 points, 7 rebounds, 1+ steal and block, and valuable leadership per game)

C: Spencer Hawes (10 points, 9 rebounds, 1.5 blocks per game)

Rotation 2:

PG: Lou Williams (16 points, 1.5 3’s per game)

SG: Evan Turner (10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists per game)

SF/PF: Thaddeus Young (12 points, 5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, good hustle every game)

C: Nikola Vucevic (rookie 5 points and 5 rebounds per game)

this is a team that can win the Atlantic Division and finish as a top 4 seed

3. Oklahoma City Thunder, 11-2 (last week, #2): Some people might wonder, how did the Thunder go 3-0 and drop down a spot in the rankings? It is only because the teams ahead of the Thunder have a much better point differential. The Thunder are on a 6 game win streak, but their only impressive win was against the Spurs. OKC is the anti-Philadelphia, in a way. SF Kevin Durant averages 26 points per game, PG Russell Westbrook averages 19, and SG James Harden averages 17. That is a combined 62 points, out of the 100 they score per game. However, if they are getting these results, why not keep going to those three go-to players? It’s not as if they don’t have any good players after that. PF/C Serge Ibaka is a force down low, averaging more than 2 blocks per game. C Kendrick Perkins also gets over a block per game, and Thebo Sefolosha gets a steal per game. Expect some regression from the Thunder if they don’t get more help from their secondary players.

4. San Antonio Spurs, 9-4 (last week, NR): The Spurs are a veteran team, and you know what you are going to see from them. SG Manu Ginobli is still out for two more months, but the rest of the team has picked it up in the last week. PG Tony Parker is having a career year, averaging 16 points and 7 and a half assists per game. C Tim Duncan has stepped it up recently, averaging 17 points, almost 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 1.5 steals, and a .580 FG% per game. SF Richard Jefferson is shooting over 50% on his 3 pointers. The Spurs look good as a team, and can challenge for a top 3 spot in the Western Conference.

5. Atlanta Hawks, 10-4 (last week, NR): The Hawks lost one of their best players, but continued playing well, going 4-1 on the week. C Al Horford, the Hawks best big man, 3rd leading scorer, and smartest player is out for at least the regular season. They still have 2/3 of their big 3 healthy, and playing as well as usual. Wing man Joe Johnson is scoring 18 points per game, and PF Josh Smith is averaging his usual 16/9/3/1.5/1.5 but the Hawks MVP so far might be point guard Jeff Teague. Teague is averaging 12 points, 6 assists, and is top 5 in the NBA with over 2 steals per game. They can certainly make the playoffs without Horford, and he might be back just in time..

Fantasy add of the week:

Byron Mullens, Charlotte C:

Mullens had at least 15 points 4 times, and more than 6 rebounds 4 times in the past week. It looks like Mullens has passed Boris Diaw as the starting C on the Bobcats, and when he is getting 30 minutes a game, he should be on every roster

Fantasy drop of the week:

Devin Harris, Utah PG:

Harris was draft fairly early in fantasy drafts on most websites, including top 70 on ESPN. He is definitely disappointing, averaging only 8 points and 5 assists so far this year. He gets a steal and a 3 a game, but other than that he hasn’t been doing much for fantasy owners and he is also only playing 26 minutes per game, so he is now droppable. However, be ready to pick him back up, as he has much better skills than he has shown.


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