Traditional Power rankings need a jump start. Let's face it, the parameters are old and tired: An esteemed journalist ranks the teams from 1-30, fans argue, repeat. Snooze. So I'm going to experiment here and rank teams according to strength on the one hand as everyone else does; but unlike everyone else, I'll actually admit I'm completely biased and put teams where I want them.
Here we go:
1) Boston Celtics. 20-2. Last week (first): The Celtics are the best defensive team in the league. They have the best record in the league. They are morally and ethically superior. Their basketball prowess is unmatched. Everyone in the organization is witty, handsome, and warm-hearted. Every decent human being loves them. They have great broadcasters. They have the best GM and coach in the league. Their trainer walks through the snow for pizza. Like the team, their fans are uniformly attractive, intelligent, and innately good.
2) Nobody. I just wanted to put some distance between Boston and the next team.
3) San Antonio. 18-5. Last week (unranked): The Duncan swipers parlayed one little bit of luck into four titles. Despite having some talented likable players and a great recent history, there's very little chance of them rising above the #3 position in these rankings regardless of the outcome of any future games.
4) Detroit. 17-7. Last week (unranked): They rank extra high because these guys dismantled the Laker title run a few years back. They're skilled, poised and professional. They can beat any team on a given night, but are henceforth doomed to fall short of any pending finals appearances due to the awesome irresistible might of the reborn Boston Celtics.
5) Phoenix. 17-7. Last week (unranked): They play like the old Tommy Heinsohn coached Celtics— flying up the floor, fastbreaking off free throws and made baskets. But unlike Tommy's teams they don't play great defense. They get an A for reminding me of the old Celtics, and a D for not being the old Celtics.
6) Orlando. 17-8 with an anchor. Last week (unranked): They've got Dwight Howard. Man he's good. But the Magic have been falling recently. They're the only team in the league to beat the Celtics and not lose to them (a situation to be remedied this coming Sunday).
7) Dallas. 16-9. Last week (unranked): The thought of Texas makes me so unhappy these last seven years... I should really rank them lower for all that extracurricular stuff going on in our nation's capitol, but it's probably not the Mavericks' fault. This has been an extremely well-coached team for many seasons. No rings though. This year? Uh uh, no ring again.
8) New Orleans: 15-9. Last week (unranked): You gotta love Chris Paul. Plus you gotta feel for the great city of Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. In fact, they probably should be ranked like 4th just because of the music, but their frontcourt isn't nearly as good as their point guard or horn section.
9) Minnesota. Record- undisclosed. Last week (unranked): They've got Big Al! They've got Gerald and Gomes! They beat Phoenix! I love the Timberwolves! I have not seen their season record, but whatever it is, it will not affect Minnesota's power rank. Please no one email it to me; I don't want to know. I'm shutting my eyes and covering my ears. "La la la la la."
10) Good Milwaukee. 10-0. Last week (unranked): This team is undefeated. When they win they beat everybody. I miss Earl Boykins though.
11) Denver. 14-10. Last week (unranked): Wow, this is one strange conglomeration of fine basketball talent running wild. They're great; they're good; they're fair; they suck. They're inconsistent. ...not a tremendous formula for playoff success.
12) Utah. 14-11. Last week (unranked): They get a slight boost for sharing a D-league team with the Celtics. Utah is a beautiful place. Their lake is salty.
13) Washington. 13-10. Last week (unranked): No Arenas. Too bad because I loved Gilbert when he talked a lot and backed it up. But guess what? I love Gilbert when he talks a lot and doesn't back it up too! Get well soon Gil. In the meantime the team's doing pretty well.
14) Golden State. 13-11. Last week (unranked): Remember when Don Nelson used Manute Bol as a 3 point specialist? He does a lot of things that go beyond "creative." I think maybe Don takes the old Celtic style, draws up a bunch of plans on the blackboard, and then drops some acid before each game. The 1969 finals game seven shot that bounced straight up and dropped down through the rim crushing the Laker's hopes is just about the greatest moment in the history of the sport.
15) Indiana. 12-12. Last week (unranked): Once again Jim O'Brien wrings every last win out of his talent, but this time it's not completely insane looking. Good for him and Larry. Oh and God bless Jamaal Tinsley and Jermaine O'Neal. There's something very likable about both those guys, isn't there?
16) Houston. 12-12. Last week (unranked): You look at Yao Ming and you just shake your head in awe— and I'm not even talking about basketball. I mean I saw a little of the Houston-Dallas game this week and Yao makes 7 foot wide-body Dampier look like a little kid. You throw in McGrady and you'd think this team would be like 24-0. Nope.
17) Cleveland. 10-14. Last week (unranked): They've just gotten their guys back. They've got you-know-who. As everybody in the East found out last year, this is a really scary team to have to face in the playoffs. Still, 10-14? You guys suck so far.
18) Chicago. 8-13. Last week (unranked): They've got depth. Oh my yes. Such depth. The preseason champs have fallen short record- wise to this point. They could make the playoffs though. Really, I mean it.
19) Portland. 12-12. Last week (unranked): They're on a hot streak. They're young. They're good. They're doing without Aldridge and Oden right now. Since I don't know how this is happening, I'm dropping them 4 positions. (I love being in charge of the rankings.)
20) Atlanta. 11-12. Last week (unranked): I'm really glad the Hawks are doing so much better. I always felt like Sally Struthers should do a charitable infomercial for them in past seasons. Is the ownership thing straightened out yet? Does anyone know? Or care?
21) Philly. 10-14. Last week (unranked): They rise 4 positons for being feisty. Cripes, if they weren't so morally upright and would just tank a few seasons, they could turn this thing around.
22) Jersey. 10-14. Last week (unranked): What a weird vibe this club has. They've got winners and they've got whiners. No their big 3 is not nearly nearly nearly as good as our big 3. Their successful era has just ended and they haven't made the next move yet.
23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28) Clippers, Sacramento, Charlotte, Seattle, Memphis, and Miami. 9-14, 9-14, 8-14, 7-18, 7-16, 6-17. Last week (unranked) : All of you are such a bitter disappointment to me. The old Chris Wallace magic is working in Memphis.
29) Bad Milwaukee. 0-13. Last week (unranked): This team is has yet to win. When they lose they can't beat anybody. I like Yi long term.
30) New York. 7-16. Last week (unranked): I fear Isiah is going to lose his job and hope this does not happen because I love him in New York. I got your back Zeke.
31) Toronto. 14-11. Last week (unranked): I actually like the Raptors a lot, but their online fans are so out-of-control I thought I'd needle them a bit by putting Toronto here.
32) Lakers. 14-9. Last week (last): The Lakers are an organization dedicated to pure evil. They will not rest until they have obliterated everything good and decent from the face of the Earth. For now their nefarious plans have been derailed. How come no one else was swift enough to draft Bynum before the 10th pick in 2005?
Date of next rankings: never.