NBAHawks Power Rankings: 12/12-12/18

Paul leads the rankings this week after a special effort on Wednesday night. - Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

RCT's weekly review of Jayhawks in the NBA.

I apologize about the formatting, but I just cannot get any text to stay the same size no matter how hard I try, probably because of the links and things... So go ahead and overlook the aesthetic issues but feel free to tear into any other part of these rankings in the comments.

1. Paul Pierce (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 11):

I'm gonna disregard whatever else happened this week for Paul, because a bench-bound PP came on as a 6th man and absolutely killed it, to the tune of 10-12 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block for 27 points in what, sadly, ended as a loss for the Nets against the Wizards. However, the Nets have won 4 of their last 6, so it doesn't appear that they'll be as godawful as they appeared to be. Regardless, it'll be interesting seeing whether Pierce will continue to come off the bench and feast on second-units in the next week or whether he'll be restored to the starting lineup where he had struggled a bit so far this season. (If you were wondering, the rest of his week was 10-23 for 36 points, not too shabby in itself.)

http://i.minus.com/ib1DedWxepcCRM.gif

2. Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) (LW: 8):

Not a bad week for the Heat as they went 3-0 including a win against the Pacers on Wednesday. Mario was a solid contributor in the first two wins of the week, putting up 23 points on 14 shots while adding 13 assists and 4 steals. He was a bit of a liability against the Pacers though, going 1-5 and 0-4 from 3, which probably played a part in this happening: (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24380391/video-lebron-james-appeared-to-be-unhappy-with-mario-chalmers) as you can see from the tweet in that article, supposedly things are fine, I'm going to chalk the blowup to being down by a substantial margin, and the apology to the fact they still won. I'd pay good money to know what Mario was saying though.

3. Xavier Henry (LA Lakers) (Last Week: 5):

Another up-and-down week from Xavier, with a couple lukewarm 4 and 5 point performances seasoned with a good 18, 6, 3 and 3 effort in a loss against the Hawks on Monday. In that 18-pointer he hit all six FT attempts, and if he can continue to draw fouls and put them away at a solid rate he'll merit a decent offer on the Free Agent market next year. Also, Grantland had a piece on him that isn't exactly new info, but worth a read if you're bored at work:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10120670/the-resurrection-lakers-forward-xavier-henry



4. Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) (LW: 1):

The Twins need to stop having such similar stat-lines, it makes writing these difficult. I was very impressed by Markieff on Wednesday night in the Suns' loss to the Spurs. Kieff was all over the place, especially on the offensive glass, and brought the Suns back to tie it up by sheer force of will. They faltered a bit after he left the game (putting the team on your back is apparently exhausting) and ended up losing by 7, but Markieff put up 8 points and 4 boards in the final frame, including the highlight at 1:00 of this clip.

http://www.nba.com/video/games/suns/2013/12/18/0021300378-sas-phx-recap.nba

5. Marcus Morris (Phoenix Suns) (LW: 2):

Maybe a bit of a quiet week for Marcus as he topped out on 11 points on 10 shots on Sunday, but the Suns have been winning and he's been shooting about 50% from the field, so I can't criticize much.

6. Nick Collison (OKC Thunder) (LW: 6):

I don't know why I even write anything about Nick, it's all the same... That being said, in his relentless drive towards identical replication of performances, he put up a rather solid 8-6-2-1 game in only 20 minutes on Tuesday against the Nuggets.

7. Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings) (LW: 4):

Not the best of weeks from Ben as he struggled a bit in the first three games of the week, going 4-20 cumulatively. He had a solid game on Wednesday, though, as he went 5-6 from the field in 35 minutes. I find it difficult to watch the Kings too much, personally, because it seems like (especially with the addition of Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams) the ball sticks with the first player that receives a pass, if they get a pass at all from Isaiah Thomas... Ben will be just fine, I just can't help wondering how he'd do on a team like San Antonio with incredible ball movement or Minnesota with a sublime playmaker.


8. Darrell Arthur (Denver Nuggets) (LW: 7):

The Nuggets week was so-so, as was Darrell's, from a high of 9, 4, 2 blocks, and an assist, to the typical 2 point 5 rebound effort, he's clearly a contributor, but with the logjam at PF for the Nuggets and lacking JaVale McGee at the moment, it's difficult to see exactly where this team is headed. I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the aforementioned logs shipped out, meaning either more consistent playing time for Shady or a change of scenery, especially with the manageable contracts at the position...

9. Thomas Robinson (Portland Trailblazers) (LW: 3):

Five games in 7 days turned out to be a bit too much for the Blazers as they were able to win the first 4, the latter two by Damian Lillard game-winners, but the 5th game was too much as the Timberwolves ran rampant early, leading by 30+ in the first half, though the Blazers managed to make the final score respectable. Thomas' week was full of peaks and valleys, receiving anywhere from 4 to 18 minutes, with no especially notable performances. Several times this week he played decent first half minutes but was supplanted by a full dose of LaMarcus Aldridge in the second half, whether that was wise or not, who knows...


10. Brandon Rush (Utah Jazz) (LW: 10):

Well, he's getting some minutes, just not taking many shots, or making many of those he does. The Jazz are a conundrum to me, but it seems like Rush is getting healthier, so that's all that matters for now, I just wish he had been able to showcase himself more in hopes of a trade to a contender looking for a 3-and-D guy before the deadline, rather than toiling away on a tanker.

11. Jeff Withey (New Orleans Pelicans) (LW: 14):

Jefferey played sparing minutes in a couple of contests for the Pellies this week, including 7 in a loss to the Warriors on Tuesday. Upon seeing that he, once again, hit his only attempted basket on the night, I thought I'd check out his season stats. It turns out that everyone's favorite shot-blocker is shooting 67% from the field and 83% from the line, and has some fun Per-36's of 11.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.1 steals, against just 1.6 turnovers while shooting 4.8 free throws per game. That, unsurprisingly, places him at a 148 Offensive Rating, and on pace for .229 Win Shares per 48 minutes (for perspective, that's somewhere between Steph Curry and Paul George). Join the movement #FreeWithey #WitheyFor2014AllNBA.

12. Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls) (LW: 9):

A back injury has had Kirk out of commission for most of the week. At least this is a break from being run into the ground, as he's been playing 36+ minutes per game in December so far, which might not be the best role for the Captain.

13. Cole Aldrich (New York Knicks) (LW: 13):

Two enchanting minutes of play for the big Minnesotan this week... I hope it was as good for him as it was for us. I'm going to go ahead and link to Posting and Toasting's postgame for last night, because, well, you'll see...

http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2013/12/18/5226294/knicks-107-bucks-101-2ot-the-knicks-just-painted-their-masterpiece

14. Tyshawn Taylor (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 12):

Ten minutes and no points culminated in a DNP-CD for Tyshawn in Wednesday's tilt, meaning there is legitimately nothing to say about him this week.


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