NBAHawks Power Rankings: 1/23-1/29

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

RCT's weekly look at Jayhawks in the NBA.

1. Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) (Last Week: 1):

Markieff. What a champ. After going 3-4 from the field for 13 points in a frankly shocking loss against the Wizards (if you read that again I assure you it's accurate), he went off against Cleveland, with 27 points and 15 rebounds on 16 shots, before putting up 13 on 7 and 8 shots against the Sixers and Bucks, respectively. Kieff is on a prolific run of form right now, and getting to the line better than he has all season. ESPN projected him as 4th favorite for the 6th Man of the Year award on the 22nd, and since then he has gone for 86 points on 49 shots as the Suns have gone 4-1, including 3 road wins.

SBNation's Suns blog has some interesting stuff on Markieff as well.

2. Paul Pierce (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 3):

If I'm telling you the Truth, Paul's week was a story of the good, the bad, and the filthy. PP started the week with a 12-3-4-1-1 game in 28 minutes in a close win against Dallas. He followed that up with a 6-4-2 performance on 10 shots, which was... suboptimal, though the Nets won by 6 in his emotional return to Boston. He recovered quickly, however, and put together what was his best performance of the season, going 10-16, 7-10 from 3, and 6-7 from the line for 33 points with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and one apiece of steals and blocks. As impressive is that he did all that in just 31 minutes, though the effort was wasted in a 1-point loss... You should watch the highlights from that one.

3. Nick Collison (OKC Thunder) (LW: 2):

A really great week for Collison and the Thunder. Nick was 13-22 from the floor over 4 games, all of them wins, including a big one last night against the Heat. In that one Nick only was in the game for 13 minutes, yet was a +17, which, oddly enough, turned out to be the final margin. It should also be noted that this week saw Collison record what was only his second double-figure scoring game of the season (12 against Philly) less than a week after his first. He also set a season high in assists against Boston to start the week (4), before topping it three days later with 5 against Atlanta. Oh, and there's this...

4. Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings) (LW: 10):

This week has seen the Kings in free fall as they lost 4 straight, though by respectable margins, to the Pacers, Nuggers, Jazz (ugh), and Grizzlies. Ben actually had a pretty solid week if you discount his non-performance against Indy (1-5, 3 points), following it up with 6-12 performances against both Denver and Utah for 18 (3ast 2stl) and 14 points (9reb 2ast), respectively. In a tough game against Memphis I was happy to see Ben keep shooting after starting off 0-3, ending with 6 points after going 2-3 the rest of the way. That game was also notable for seeing Marcus Thornton benched for not playing any semblance of defense, and with Ben on the receiving end of 27 minutes per game in the last three, it may be that he takes over the majority of SG minutes for the Kings again.

Also, despite being named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November, Ben didn't receive an invite for the NBA Rising Stars Game, which is surely a disappointment. Nobody can be too mad about it seeing as Ben's FG% just isn't up to snuff, but it would've been nice to be able to watch that game with some vested interest.


5. Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) (LW: 5):

The week started out well for Mario and the Heat as he went for 11 points, 3 assists on 6 shots in a win against the Lakers, then for 16 points on 8 shots with 7 assists to top the Spurs. It all looked to be going the same way against the Thunder last night, with the Heat up big in the first quarter after an 18-0 run, but it was all OKC from there. Mario ended the day with 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists, but it was little consolation for a team that looked excited to shelve the coasting narrative, but will be dealing with it for a while longer.

6. Marcus Morris (Phoenix Suns) (LW: 7):

Three ho-hum games to start the week for Marcus before contributing 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal against Milwaukee last night. He was 10-20 from the floor for the week, and added his typical rebound/assist/steals combination that gives the Suns bench units a real boost.

7. Thomas Robinson (Portland Trailblazers) (LW: 6):

Four games in five days ended with a 2-2 record for the Blazers as they won against Denver and Minnesota before losing at Golden State in a Segababa, and then being completely flattened by a bulldogging Memphis at home. Robinson was a solid contributor in the first three games of the week, contributing 4p-5r-2s-1a in 10 minutes against Denver, 6p-6r-1s-1a-1b against Minnesota in 14 minutes, with the assist being a beauty, and 5p-11r-1s-1a-1b against the Warriors in 14 minutes. He got 7 minutes against the Grizz, but contributed just 3 rebounds on no shot attempts.

8. Jeff Withey (New Orleans Pelicans) (LW: 8):

After the solid performance to end the week against Sacramento that I noted last week, the Pelicans ran Withey out there for 19, 23, and 23 minutes with a DNP-CD in there against Cleveland when Greg Stiemsma actually resembled a basketball player for 30 whole minutes, going 4-5 while taking in an Anthony Davis explosion from the floor. Aaaaaanyway. Withey wasn't terribly assertive in his minutes, going, 1-3, 1-6, and 1-1 from the floor while contributing the odd assist, steal, or couple of blocks. I feel like the +/- stats really shed light on why Withey needs to be playing those minutes, for example, in their win at Detroit, Withey was +9 in his 19 minutes, while Stiemsma was -3 in the same minutes, and Alexis Ajinca was -14 in his 15... In his rookie season Jeff is really the least-bad option at the 5 for New Orleans, and with the injuries they've had derailing their season, it seems like it'd be worth it to keep giving Withey that experience and see what they have there rather than trotting out older, worse players, but that's just me.

9. Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls) (LW: 4):

The hamstring issue that I mentioned last week kept Kirk from playing in any of the Bulls' games this week before yesterday's. In that one against the Spurs he was worked into the game from the bench, totaling 22 minutes, and with a decent 4-8 evening, ending with 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. The Bulls won by 10, but the bench did not do very well, even with Kirk's performance he was a -14 on the night while the starting shift was all firmly in the positive range... Kirk should be back with them soon as he works his way into fighting shape.

10. Cole Aldrich (New York Knicks) (LW: 11):

Three games at 14 minutes per-game! Progress, even if two of the three were in absolute blowout wins, by 26 and 29 points against Charlotte and Boston, respectively. He did register the same minutes in a somewhat closer win against the Lakers. He went 3-7 from the field with 18 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocks over the course of the week. The roller-coaster ride continues for Cole as he played more in each of these three games than he had in the entire month of January prior...

11. Brandon Rush (Utah Jazz) (LW: 9):

Appearances in 2 wins, albeit token ones, were about all that Rush was able to contribute, with some pretty barren box scores to go with them.

12. Darrell Arthur (Denver Nuggets) (LW: 12):

In his first game back from the strained groin he suffered two-and-a-half weeks ago Shady contributed 7 points and a rebound in a close loss against Charlotte on Wednesday.

13. Xavier Henry (LA Lakers) (LW: 13):

The knee strain he suffered on the 29th of December lingers, but Xavier sounds like he'll be making his return sometime in this upcoming week barring any setbacks.

I legitimately don't know what to say here other than what I said last week... So I copied exactly what I posted last week, so sue me.

14ish. Tyshawn Taylor (FA) (LW: 14ish):

Not picked up yet as far as I was able to find.

Sorta 15. Mario Little. Tulsa 66ers.

Mario deserves some mention here as he has had a great season in the D-League, including a 27 point, 10 rebound, 8 assist effort last night. For the season he's averaging 18.6 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists and a steal per game while shooting 39% from 3 and converting 87% from the stripe. I don't know that he'll ever really get a look moving forward since he's not really a prospect at 26 years old, but if he can polish his game into a 3-and-D type or bench contributor then anything's possible.

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