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Friday, February 8, 2008

Jackson's NBA Power Rankings Part 3

Is this the man that has swayed my first NBA
Power Rankings? (photo courtesy of DIVX Video)

Welcome to the finale of the first ever Jackson's NBA Power Rankings. If you missed one or both of the other two sections you can use the links below to read those.

For teams 30-21 click here. For teams 20-11 click here. For everyone else, let's get started.

10. Denver Nuggets (28-18): This is the one team I cannot figure out. They have a great core of players in Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby, but they are extremely streaky. As Iverson is my favorite player I watch them whenever they are on TV, and some nights they look like big time contenders and sometimes they look like an average team. If they are going to get it done they are running on limited time, and need to make a run soon.

9. San Antonio Spurs (29-16): The utterly boring Spurs are doing what they always do. They play average during the regular season, but come post-season time they always have to be considered contenders, if not the favorites. This season they have played much more average than normal, and injuries are taking a toll as well. It seems like this is the year they may need a trade deadline move, and right now nothing seems imminent. I ranked them here because of that and my hatred of Manu Ginobili.

8. Utah Jazz (30-18): I had this Jazz team under the Nuggets just a few days ago, but given their recent winning streak I couldn't justify it. They have a good team, and Kyle Korver could end up being a better deal than Gasol when it is all said and done. The real question I have is this; if you put an average point guard and power forward in this teams offensive system do they automatically become ten times better? Both Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer are looking more like Stockton and Malone every day. Its kind of scary to think about.

7. Orlando Magic (31-18): This team is a great young team with enough talent to win now. They really have impressed me this season with their poise in big games, and absolutely have to be considered contenders. My one concern is the point guard spot. In the playoffs point guards are extremely important, and right now Jameer Nelson doesn't give me a whole lot of confidence. It'll be interesting to see if they get in on the Jason Kidd sweepstakes; it would make sense for them to do it.

6. Dallas Mavericks (31-15): This team seems to be the favorite to land Jason Kidd, and personally I think they are the team that needs him the least. They have a good young point guard in Devin Harris and they have a veteran guard that can play point in Jason Terry. What this team really needs is a little more size. If there was one team that needed Shaq I think this is the one. Dirk may be 7 feet tall, but he is a perimeter player. I just don't see Erick Dampier getting it done during the playoffs.

5. Los Angeles Lakers (30-16): I know that Pau Gasol is a very good player, and I know that the Lakers gave up next to nothing on this current team to get him, but I am not sold on this being a good deal for them. I just think when Andrew Bynum gets back it's going to be tough to spread the ball to everyone that needs it, and although I am no longer a Kobe hater I still don't think he can efficiently get the ball to both guys consistently in the post. Add into that the fact that Lamar Odom is more effective down low and I just don't know if the paint is big enough to allow them all to work. I will say this though; Kobe has absolutely nothing to complain about now. I have been saying for awhile now that this Lakers team has more talent than Jordan ever did around him, and now that isn't just my opinion, it's fact. If he can't get it done with this team then he just can't get it done.

4. New Orleans Hornets (32-14): This is a team that is quickly becoming my favorite team in the league. If it wasn't for Iverson I would already have a Chris Paul jersey. As it is now I am just waiting till Iverson gets done to get one. This is a team that I think has all the pieces to contend now, and for years to come. They have the shooter (Stojakovic), the true center (Chandler), the All-Star forward (David West), and the All-Star guard who takes the team to another level (Paul). I have been listening to a lot of their games lately, and they are a very exciting team to listen to. Just as a reminder, you can listen to the Hornets and every other NBA team live online here. You have to have an NBA.com account, but it's free.

3. Detroit Pistons (34-13): Similar to the Spurs, this team is really, really boring. They do however still have the talent to win it all, and have played great all year. There has been a lot of talk going around that this is the best team out there right now, and while I am not buying into that, I do think they could very easily win it all. The only big concern I have with them is that they have managed to stay major injury free for a few years now, and it seems like it's only a matter of time before one occurs.

2. Boston Celtics (36-8): I just can't put this team any higher. They have the big three, they have some good young role players that can step up and win games and they have the home crowd again to intimidate the opposition. They do still however have Doc Rivers, and because of that I am always wondering when the other shoe falls. When it comes crunch time and they need one play to win it I have no faith that Doc can get it done. I also wonder if the big three can stay healthy. All three players have missed time already because of injury, and although none seem too serious they aren't exactly young guys.

1. Phoenix Suns (33-14): I always say teams need to decide what they are going to do and then go out and do it. That is exactly what the Phoenix Suns did by acquiring Shaq. Look, I don't know if Shaq is the answer, but they needed to take a chance, and I give props to Steve Kerr for having the cajones to do something about it. It's refreshing to see a GM put his neck on the line for something he believes in, and although this trade could turn out to be a disaster at least the attempt was made. This team needed a big defensive presence down low, and Shaq, when healthy, can provide that. Only time will tell if the Suns made the right choice here, but for now I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

~Aaron Jackson

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