Mark Heisler's NBA rankings

November 17, 2009

Last week's ranking in parentheses

1. Lakers (2): What, them worry? Won't even put first unit on floor for another week or two.

2. Hawks (8): Shot heard 'round East wasn't Cavaliers over Magic but Hawks' victory in Boston.

3. Celtics (1): Seeking defense like '85 Bears, Doc Rivers may go Mike Ditka on them soon.

4. Suns (3): Who knew Steve Nash was still an MVP without Shaq?

5. Nuggets (4): Smith goes back to his name - Earl - scores two in debut, says he's J.R. again.

6. Cavaliers (10): Still not nice to upset Mother Nature or LeBron: Gets 70 on 2-0 Florida trip.

7. Magic (5): No more sneaking up on teams: Cavs waited all summer to see them.

8. Trail Blazers (11): Found something: Three-guard lineup of Brandon Roy, Andre Miller and Steve Blake goes 5-0.

9. Heat (6): Even if Michael Beasley starts, Dwyane Wade's fave, Udonis Haslem, finishes.

10. Mavericks (7): Rick Carlisle rips effort after loss to Spurs. In other words, his team is old too.

11. Spurs (12): With Tim Duncan, Tony Parker out, Manu Ginobili overcomes post-bat grief to get 52 in 2-0 run.

12. Rockets (9): Tracy McGrady gives up No. 1 jersey to Trevor Ariza, perhaps so it can get on the floor.

13. Bucks (22): Andrew Bogut, who missed 46 games last season, warms up, averaging 19 and 10 over four.

14. Thunder (19): Kevin Durant averaging 28, doesn't even have it going yet, missing 32 of 41 3s.

15. Bulls (15): TNT's Kevin McHale says they "blue-collar you to death." Oh, for one 20-point scorer.

16. Jazz (13): Tied for 18th in defense last season, allowing 101. Now 21st at 102.

17. Kings (26): Tyreke Evans gets 32-23-20-20 in 4-0 run after Kevin Martin injury.

18. Pistons (23): Has no position except "leading scorer": Ben Gordon averaging 22.4, shooting 45 percent.

19. Pacers (24): Taking what schedule offers, went 3-0 vs. Wizards, Warriors, Knicks at home.

20. Raptors (14): Outbound or not, Chris Bosh having his best start, averaging 27.7, 11.6 rebounds.

21. 76ers (16): Eddie Jordan on Elton Brand's old form: "I see some of it … but not all."

22. Bobcats (17): Tyson Chandler's back, sort of, averaging 6.4 points, 7.0 rebounds.

23. Warriors (27): Best performance by team in turmoil, which now moves on after Stephen Jackson trade.

24. Hornets (21): Chris Paul leaves with an ankle injury as Jeff Bower, aka Mr. Lucky, loses debut.

25. Wizards (18): New coach, same guys who score, don't defend and aspire to play .500.

26. Clippers (20): Recently blew 22-point lead over the Raptors. On the bright side, no one else got hurt.

27. Grizzlies (28): Can't blame their last three losses on Allen Iverson, who went home.

28. Timberwolves (25): UCLA Arctic Cirle: GM David Kahn hires Darrick Martin to help coach Kevin Love and Ryan Hollins.

29. Knicks (29): At least City Series looks competitive: 1-9 is their worst start.

30. Nets (30): Lost in their swamp almost as long as Hoffa, 0-10 is their worst start too.

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