NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation New York Weekly Top 5/Bottom 5, Carmelo Anthony Earns Top Spot

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NBA Power Rankings 2012: SBNation New York Top 5/Bottom 5

The volatile season for New York area basketball continued last week, with the New Jersey Nets surprisingly winning three straight while more injuries and controversy shrouded over the New York Knicks. After watching last night's NCAA National Championship game, it might be a good idea for the Nets to start losing some games, since the pick they sent to Portland in the Gerald Wallace deal is top-3 protected (meaning they'll keep it if the pick ends up being 1-3), and Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Thomas Robinson would all look pretty good in a Brooklyn Nets uniform next season. As for the beaten and battered Knicks, they're trying to keep the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and ward off the ever-charging Milwaukee Bucks, but will have to do so without Jeremy Lin. See how last week's performances shifted our SBNation New York Player Power Rankings:

SBNation New York Top 5

1. Gerald Wallace - Nets
For the first time all season, the Nets won three straight and Wallace was leading the charge. He averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds this week, including a monster 24 and 18 game against the Golden State Warriors. Wallace is giving Deron Williams the help on offense New Jersey thought they would have all season with Brook Lopez.

2. Carmelo Anthony - Knicks

The talk of this now being Carmelo's job to get done has heated up, and Anthony has responded by playing more akin to the perennial All-Star the Knicks acquired last February. Against the Magic last Wednesday, Anthony scored 25 points, doled out 6 assists and pulled down 5 boards, all while sitting out the entire 4th quarter. In an ugly win over the Cavaliers on Saturday, Anthony shot 50% and collected 19 points. Making 27 out of 53 field goal attempts (a 51% clip) in the Knicks' past three games? New York will sign up for that the rest of the way.

3. Deron Williams - Nets
Being able to focus on distributing -- and not having to be a "one-man band" as Avery Johnson said this week -- has helped push New Jersey past the Pacers, Warriors and Kings. Sure, Williams still did plenty of scoring -- just over 19 points a game -- but averaged nearly 15 assists, including 20 at Golden State. He might not stay with the Nets when they make the move to Brooklyn, but you can't accuse him of doing anything but giving it his all down the stretch of these meaningless games.

4. Iman Shumpert - Knicks

Good luck figuring out Iman Shumpert. He looks like Dwyane Wade on some nights, Ricky Davis on others. He has two-straight 25-point efforts last week, against the Magic and Hawks, but then went just 3-of-12 against the Cavaliers. With Lin down, Baron Davis looking old and beaten and the ever-unreliable J.R. Smith getting serious minutes, the Knicks could use more of the Wade-like Shumpert the rest of the way.

5. Kris Humphries - Nets

The only person happier to have Wallace around other than Williams is Humphries. The forward no longer has to do all the dirty work on the glass and knows he has help above the rim from the high flying Wallace. No doubt Humphries will gladly "only" pull down 10 rebounds a game -- as he did this week -- if it means he doesn't have to take the beating that comes along with carrying the load.

SBNation New York Bottom 5

1. Jeremy Lin - Knicks

It's not Lin's play that ended him up in our Bottom 5, but that his meniscus tear and subsequent surgery couldn't have come at a worse possible time for the Knicks. With his absence severely hampering the Knicks' chances of getting into the Top 6 of the East, there's a good chance the next time we see Lin in a Knicks uniform will be in October.

2. Sundiata Gaines - Nets

The one thing that didn't change during the Nets winning streak was Avery Johnson holding his breath every time Deron Williams hit the bench. In the first two wins of the week, Williams had a +26 while Gaines could manage a -12. Certainly plus/minus can often be misleading, but with these two it's the perfect example of why New Jersey has trouble holding onto leads. Who knew losing Jordan Farmar would be such a blow to the Nets?

3. Baron Davis - Knicks

Davis looks old, slow and hurt - wait, he doesn't just look those things, he is those things...but the Knicks are going to need more from their point guard position if they want to safely secure a playoff spot. Davis averaged just 7 points and 5 assists last week, and more importantly, can't really crack the 30-minute plateau. It's not exactly Davis' fault, but remember when we all thought he'd be the savior? All we can say is thank goodness for Jeremy Lin.

4. Johan Petro - Nets

You know it's a good week when even Petro only ends up here because this section was created for him. He's actually looked like an NBA player during the Nets winning streak, averaging eight points and six rebounds. Even with a solid handful of games by his standards, few around the team would argue all parties are best served with Petro staying on the bench.

5. James Dolan/Mort Zuckerman/Cablevision/Daily News

You're all a bunch of clowns.

Here's where SBNation's Tim Ziller has the Knicks and Nets in his latest NBA Power Rankings:

18. New York Knicks - The loss of Jeremy Lin is incredibly unfortunate, not only because it makes Baron Davis a starter, but also because it makes Toney Douglas a rotation player.

23. New Jersey Nets - Deron Williams, 35 assists in a back-to-back this weekend, also ranks highly on the Bad Team MVP ladder, but I refuse to acknowledge that the Nets are even a team. The Nets are the NBA's version of a weird mid-career concept album.


NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation New York Weekly Top 5/Bottom 5, Stoudemire's Final Appearance?

The New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets have had very different weeks. The Mike Woodson-led Knicks continued their resurgence in the race for a playoff birth, going 4-1 while the Nets could only pull off a victory over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats for a 1-3 week.

Both teams will face a difficult week with the Knicks being dealt injuries to Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin and the Nets caught in between keeping PG Deron Williams happy and doing all they can to snag a top 3 pick in June's draft.

As the 2011-12 NBA season winds down, it's clear these two franchises are in very different places. Here is a look at the best and worst for each team over the last week.

SBNation New York Top 5

1. Amar'e Stoudemire

Unfortunately for the Knicks, this could be the last time Stoudemire finds himself in the "Top" of our rankings. With the news yesterday that he has a bulging disk in his back and is out indefinitely, the Knicks will have to move on without Stoudemire for now. It's even more crushing given Stoudemire's recent play. Last week, he really started to come around and looked as though he regained the "spring" and athleticism that many thought he had lost. Against the Sixers last Thursday, Stoudemire was the best player on the floor, leading the way with 21 points and chipping in defensively as well.

2. Tyson Chandler

Chandler kept plugging along since our last rankings, staying consistent with scoring, rebounding and defense. In their last five games, the Knicks have given up an average of 84.2 points. The Knicks simply can't do that over any five-game stretch without Chandler patrolling the middle.

3. Deron Williams

Most of the Nets players may be mailing it in, but not Williams. He continues to play with fire every night, though that recently has meant showing more frustration than we are used to seeing. Over the last week Williams averaged over 18 points and nine assists, often single-handedly keeping New Jersey in games.

4. Jeremy Lin

Lin missed Monday's win over the Bucks with a knee injury, but it's not expected to be serious. That's a good thing for the Knicks, who will need Lin to pick up some of the offensive slack with Stoudemire out. In his four games since our last rankings, Lin wasn't spectacular but was efficient. In last Thurdsay's big win over the Sixers, Lin scored 16 fourth quarter points.

5. Gerald Green

The athletic Green continues to look like a keeper for the Nets. To go along with the nightly highlight-reel dunks, he has provided an offensive spark off the bench, picking up the slack for MarShon Brooks, who has hit the rookie wall. Last week Green averaged over 11 points per game, including a 20 point outburst against the Utah Jazz.

SBNation New York Bottom 5

1. Landry Fields

If Mike Woodson's taking over for Mike D'Antoni had the wrong impact on anyone, it's Fields. He averaged just 4.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2 assists in the past five games, and Woodson almost always favors Iman Shumpert or J.R. Smith and the 2-guard in crucial minutes.

2. Baron Davis

Everybody railed against Jeremy Lin for turning the ball over, and he's essentially a rookie. The veteran Davis should be better at taking care of the ball, but he had more turnovers (20) than assists (18) since our last rankings. If Lin is out for any more time, Davis simply has to hold onto the ball better.

3. Jordan Farmar

A groin injury could end his season, but it's safe to say no matter what he's had to deal with, Farmar has been a disappointment for the Nets. He returned for two games this week and in 28 minutes of action had three assists to go along with three turnovers. New Jersey's lack of any sort of legitimate backup PG has been a huge reason for losing close games thanks to the second unit's inability to hold the fort.

4. Toney Douglas

What did Toney Douglas do to the Knicks to get completely banished from the lineup? With Lin out Monday, Mike Bibby played 12 minutes backing up Davis. There's no rationale for that.

5. Johan Petro

After a season of teasing, Nets head coach Avery Johnson may finally be on the verge of eliminating Petro from the lineup. Rookie Jordan Williams has taken on an increased role off the bench and should allow the front court to operate without the services of the disappointing center.

Take a look at the latest rankings from SB Nation to see how the Knicks and Nets match up against the rest of the league.

19. New York Knicks

Just when the Knicks make it seem like it's all clicking, they do something like "lose to the Raptors." It's just the Knick way.

27. New Jersey Nets

But they beat the Bobcats! (Oh, god.)


NBA Power Rankings 2012: SBNation New York Top 5, Mike Woodson Edition

Since our last edition of the SBNation New York NBA Power Rankings, there was a seismic event in New York area basketball. Out went Mike D'Antoni as head coach of the Knicks, and in came Mike Woodson in the interim. The Knicks have responded by going 3-0 under Woodson.

As for the Nets, they acquired Gerald Wallace from the Portland TrailBlazers, but unfortunately it looks as though he might be their marquee guy in the move to Brooklyn next year. With Dwight Howard re-upping in Orlando for another year, Deron Williams is expected to test the free agency waters this summer. For a week at least, it seems as if the two teams are going in opposite directions.

Related: Carmelo Anthony Admits He Is Player Harder Now

SBNation New York Top 5

1. Mike Woodson

With the resignation of Mike D'Antoni last Wednesday, in stepped Woodson as the interim coach. The immediate results? A renewed energy, a stiffer defense, and a 3-0 record. Sure, in just three games it's impossible to say that Woodson is a savior of any sort. But the Knicks have no doubt responded to the changing of the guard.

2. Carmelo Anthony

Anthony was going to come under some fire for D'Antoni's resignation, as most believe it was his unhappiness with the coach that led to the "mutual" parting of the ways. Now it's time for Anthony to put up or shut up, and while he hasn't put up gigantic numbers since D'Antoni left, he's been efficient. He's averaged 5 assists per game in the 3-game winning streak. The Knicks haven't been in a close game late in the fourth quarter under Woodson yet, and when that happens, you'll see Anthony get the lion's share of the touches. As he should.

3. Gerald Green
In what has been a disastrous final season in New Jersey, there have been few pleasant surprises. Green has been the rare exception, turning a couple 10-day contracts into a deal for the rest of the season thanks to another solid week. He started off with a 26 point effort against the Toronto Raptors in the Nets only win on Wednesday night and averaged over 15 points.

4. Deron Williams
He missed the Nets first two games of the week, but returned Saturday against the New Orleans Hornets and didn't miss a beat. Turning in performances of 20 and 28 points, Williams continues to be the only consistent option head coach Avery Johnson has on offense. The frustration is building with Williams, but it hasn't hurt his production.

5. J.R. Smith

Despite being a headache as expected (like tweeting a picture of his girlfriend's butt, and earning a technical for hanging on the rim late in a blowout against the Pacers) Smith has provided the Knicks with some hot shooting off the bench. After not scoring last Monday against the Bulls, Smith is averaging over 16 points per game in the Knicks' last three games. A lot of his points came in garbage time, but Smith finding his stroke is a good sign for the Knicks.

SBNation New York Bottom 5

1. Mike D'Antoni

The mutual parting of ways by D'Antoni and the Knicks last Wednesday proved that D'Antoni is a stubborn, one-dimensional coach. Him and Carmelo Anthony were never a good fit, but it's pretty tough to call yourself an "offensive genius" when you can't fashion a consistent offense with the likes of Anthony and Amare Stoudemire on your roster. D'Antoni is married to his ball movement, heavy-on-spacing offense where the focal point is the point guard. He's simply lost in any other scenario.

Think of this: Pat Riley successfully guided the "Showtime" Lakers of the 80s, a team that ran through Magic Johnson, its best player. When Riley came to the Knicks in the early 90s, he didn't force that same style on a roster that wasn't shaped for it. He knew better than to play run-and-gun through Derek Harper. He saw the roster (Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, John Starks) and ran a slow-down, drag it out style through its best player, Ewing. He adapted. Mike D'Antoni has just a bout proven that he can't. That's the last time D'Antoni and Riley should be mentioned in the same sentence.

2. Kris Humphries
A rare below average week for the power forward. In what has been a second fantastic season with New Jersey, Humphries didn't have any luck on offense, but at least he still managed to pull down nearly 13 rebounds per game.

3. MarShon Brooks

Along with Green, the rookie from Providence has been a bright spot for New Jersey. It would appear, however, Brooks has hit a wall. He struggled with his shot all week, headlined by an atrocious 1-for-11 against the Magic. Things didn't get much better as the week wrapped up with the Cleveland Cavaliers holding him to 3-for-10 from the field.

4. Baron Davis

This isn't for Davis' on-court performance, but rather his hard luck in getting injured last Friday against the Pacers. Davis needs to be healthy, because if not, Mike Bibby will be forced to play minutes.

5. Sundiata Gaines
It's never a good sign when you are immediately replaced in the rotation by a D-League call-up. That's exactly what happened this week with Gaines and Jerry Smith from the Springfield Armor.

Here is where SBNation's Tom Ziller has the Knicks and Nets ranked in his latest NBA Power Rankings:

15. New York Knicks: Mike Woodson hasn't inspired this much excitement since everyone noticed he burned off his eyebrows in a freak chemistry experiment.

26. New Jersey Nets: You make a trade to show Deron Williams that you're tired of losing and committed to winning. Two days later, you lose to the New Orleans Hornets. Is this a bad dream?


NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation New York Top 5, Knicks And Nets Both Struggle

The roller coaster that has been the 2011-12 NBA season for the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets continued this past week. The Knicks weren't able to win and while the Nets picked up two solid wins, they quickly headed south without the services of PG Deron Williams.

Not only has the Linsanity calmed down around MSG, but the rumored feud between Carmelo Anthony and Mike D'Antoni has reached a fever pitch for the Knicks that forced the head coach to resign.

Compounding the loss of center Brook Lopez with a calf strain for Williams has simply been too much for New Jersey to handle.The short-handed Nets stayed close with the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks but couldn't hold on in games that were vital to their slim playoff hopes.

SB Nation New York Top 5

1. Kris Humphries

Keep booing, folks. The Nets power forward seems to feed off the negative energy from opposing fans as he turned in another solid week. In addition to a monster effort against the Bucks with 31 points and 18 rebounds, Humphries also carried New Jersey to a win over the Charlotte Bobcats with 20 points and 15 boards.

2. Amar'e Stoudemire

Stoudemire has not been good this season, at all, but he seems to be starting to turn around his game a bit. Despite the Knicks losing all five of their games since our last rankings, over that span Stoudemire is averaging 20 points a game. More importantly he's shooting 585 from the field, a mark that is much more like it than his 46% for the season. It hasn't translated into wins for the now-dysfunctional Knicks, but Stoudemire may finally be coming around.

3. Gerald Green

It takes a lot these days to get excited about an in-game dunk. Green went to "a lot" and jumped four levels past that with his unreal windmill alley-oop throw down against the Rockets. The athletic forward isn't all dunks though, as he put up 26 points in the game vs. Houston and is finally giving New Jersey production at small forward.

4. Tyson Chandler

Chandler earns this spot despite missing two games last week. The Knicks are a totally different team when Chandler isn't in the lineup, as their defense reverts back to what it looked like most of last year -- and most of D'Antoni's tenure during the Knicks -- and that's abysmal. In the two games since his return, he's averaged 10.5 points and 11 rebounds, as he continues to be one of the only consistent Knicks this season. He's also one of the only ones who visibly gives a damn

5. Jeremy Lin

He's averaged 16.6 points and 7.8 assists over the Knicks' last five games. If Lin can settle into those type of numbers, the Knicks will take that from their surprise starting point guard.

Bottom 5

1. Mike D'Antoni

(See below)

2. Carmelo Anthony

The Knicks would have been doomed if both D'Antoni and Anthony stayed around. As usual, the player won out in this dispute, but now the pressure is squarely on Anthony. If the Knicks star still cannot produce, it will fall on his shoulders and not the coach he couldn't get along with.

3. DeShawn Stevenson

When the Nets were getting healthy, it was looking like Stevenson would be able to scale his minutes back. Instead, he has stayed in the rotation and continued to do anything productive. He averaged just 3.2 points and 2 rebounds this week. The emergence of Green could help keep him minutes down.

4. J.R. Smith

If you're going to start doing things like tweeting pictures of your girlfriend's backside, you better start hitting some shots, J.R.

5. Johan Petro

He is staying on this list until the Nets find a team silly enough to take him off their hands. Another empty week of games from the big man.


NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation New York First Half Top 5, Getting To The Point

The New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets looked very similar for most of the first half of the 2011-12 NBA season. Both teams were hit by the injury bug up and down their roster and were in a tailspin heading towards the lottery.

Then Linsanity hit and all of a sudden the Knicks looked a whole lot like a contender in the Eastern Conference. Despite ending the first half losing three of their final five (including one at home to the Nets), New York heads to the second half healthy and ready to make a run thanks in large part to the shot of life from point guard Jeremy Lin.

Like the Knicks, the Nets best player in the first half was running the show. Deron Williams, playing most nights as the only offensive weapon in head coach Avery Johnson's arsenal, was fantastic while finding a way to get New Jersey 10 wins. New Jersey is also a team starting to get healthy, including the return of center Brook Lopez from a broken foot.

Entering this short second half of the season, the Knicks are right in the thick of the playoff race, but the Nets are poised to finish up as the best "bad" team in the league thanks to Lopez and the rest of the walking wounded in New Jersey getting healthy.

Before we shine the spotlight on the final 31 games, we need to look back at the best and worst players for the Knicks and Nets in the first half.

SB Nation New York Top 5

1. Jeremy Lin, Knicks

The Knicks went from perhaps the NBA's biggest disappointment to the most talked about team in the league and a probably playoff side thanks to Jeremy Lin, who has become a worldwide sensation. Even though he's only been a prominent figure on the team for a month, the Knicks are 9-3 since Lin started getting serious minutes. He took a dead team and gave it life.

2. Deron Williams, Nets

Thanks to the non-stop injuries, Williams has been forced to play along side the least amount of talent in his career. All he has done is take on the burden of scorer and distributor for New Jersey, pouring in 22.2 points and handing out 8.2 assists per game. The point guard might not know how to handle having both Lopez and impressive rookie MarShon Brooks on the floor with him in the second half.

3. Tyson Chandler, Knicks

He's been everything that the Knicks could have expected and then some more. He's averaging nearly a double-double and is making 70% of his shots. Most impressively has been him overall impact on the Knicks' team defense. Yes, the Knicks finally have more than a few players who are good defenders, but Chandler makes all the difference by patrolling the paint. New York is fifth in the league in Defense Rating, allowing 99.6 points per 100 possessions.

4. Kris Humphries, Nets

This man deserves an award just for having to deal with dumb NBA fans. Humphries is booed at almost every stop along the way for... well, no one is really sure what for. Sure, his short-lived marriage to Kim Kardashian is worthy of the occasional sign or chant, but the non-stop booing is bizarre. All he has done to answer his critics in the stands every night is put together the best season of his life. Humphries is averaging 13.6 points and 10.5 rebounds, both career-highs.

5. Steve Novak, Knicks

There were a myriad of guys who could have been in this spot, namely Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert or Jared Jeffries. I'll give it to Novak because he's made himself an indispensable part of this team who simply needs to get minutes every night on a talented bunch. He's been a beneficiary of Lin's spectacular play, but Novak's clutch three point shooting has become a major asset for the Knicks. That fourth quarter show against the Mavericks a few weeks ago was wild.

SB Nation New York Bottom 5

1. Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks

Stoudemire came into the season with lingering back and knee issues, and he lost his brother in a tragic car accident in early February, so the reasons are palpable, but he just doesn't look the same this year. Stoudemire's scoring hasn't been this low since his '02-'03 rookie season (not counting '05-'06 where he only played three games), and more concerning is his visible lack of explosiveness.His usually reliable mid-range jumpshot -- which should be a real weapon with Lin now running the show -- has been off all year. It was a short while ago that Stoudemire played like an MVP candidate for New York and played an unbelievable Game 1 against the Celtics in the playoffs last year. What happened?

2. Brook Lopez, Nets

A low-blow, I know. It's not right to hold a broken foot against a player, but it's impossible to look at how bad the Nets season has gone and think about how much different it would be if Lopez had been healthy. Not only would New Jersey be a playoff team, but the Orlando Magic would have been given plenty to see leading up to their decision to trade Dwight Howard.

3. Carmelo Anthony, Knicks

Don't let the fact that Anthony just started in the All-Star Game fool you. This has not been a good season so far for the Knicks' prized possession. He's shooting a career-worst 40% from the field and his points per game (21.4) is the third-lowest of his career, and he's down by nearly 5 full points from last season. The hard questions are starting to be asked, and despite Lin's surge, most people know the Knicks are Anthony's team. He will simply have to start playing better if the Knicks are going to make any sort of playoff run.

4. Shawne Williams, Nets

Remember when the Knicks and Nets were fighting for his services before the season began? Williams came into the season with an injury, which led to more injuries and now he is out for the season after surgery on his foot. He averaged 4.5 points in 25 games this season and is all but assured now to pick up his player-option for 2012-13.

5. Johan Petro, Nets

Take our backup center... please! There is no bigger disappointment in the area than Petro. With Lopez out for most of the season, he had a chance to prove he was worth the confidence GM Billy King showed in him last year with a long-term contract. Instead of stepping up, Petro has turned dropping perfect passes into an art form.


NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation NY Top 5, Linsanity Continues

The New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets had very different weeks. The Nets lost three straight, including two to the Detroit Pistons as they continued to be hit by non-stop injuries. The Knicks, meanwhile, have done nothing but win.

More than just win, New York has the focus of the entire sports world thanks to Jeremy Lin. The guard had a full week of eye-popping performances and all of a sudden the Knicks are looking a lot like the team head coach Mike D'Antoni thought he would have when the season began.

It should come as no surprise Lin leads the way in our latest Power Rankings.


NBA Power Rankings From SB Nation

SB Nation New York Top 5

1. Jeremy Lin

Since our last rankings, Lin led the Knicks to three more victories, making that five in a row since he started getting serious minutes. On Wednesday against the Wizards he made a highlight reel dunk that has forever etched itself in the YouTube annals. The Linsanity hit a fever pitch on Friday night at Madison Square Garden when Lin outplayed Kobe Bryant, pouring in 38 points, putting MSG in a frenzy and leading the Knicks to an improbable win. And although the victory over the Lakers got more attention, perhaps most impressive was Lin helping the Knicks gut out and steal a victory the following night in Minnesota. It's two weeks in a row for Lin in the top spot in these rankings, and deservedly so. But what might be most compelling of all? Where he ranks here next week - with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony back in the fold.

2. Steve Novak

First off, if you would have given me two scenarios before this NBA season and asked me which one was more likely, and the two scenarios were: A) At any point this season the first two Knicks in our Power Rankings would be Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, or B) Tim Tebow would retire from football and successfully earn the Republican nomination for President and defeat Barack Obama in November, there's a really good chance that I'd pick B.

Now that that's out of the way, Novak has been perhaps the biggest on-court beneficiary of Linsanity. In the last three games since our previous rankings, Novak has scored 19, 9 and 15 points, and has shot 11-of-23 from 3-point range. He hit a clutch three late in the Knicks' comeback victory over the Timberwolves on Saturday, and he's no doubt earned a rotation spot for the rest of the season. Many are saying that his minutes will diminish when Anthony comes back, but I offer this: If Shawne Williams played a whole bunch of minutes for the Knicks last year, why can't Novak this year? Novak should get at least 10 minutes every night to see if he's on, because if he is on -- despite how shocking this may sound -- he's as good as anyone in the league from behind the arc.

3. Iman Shumpert

It's really hard to leave Jared Jeffries, Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields off this list, but that's a testament to how good the Knicks have been since Lin took over. Lin's surge has allowed Iman Shumpert to play a much more natural shooting guard, swing man role. Shumpert is great at taking the ball to the basket, and Lin has created tons of space for the Knicks offensively, allowing Shumpert to do just that. He averaged 16 points per game in his last three and is making shots at a much more efficient rate than before.

4. Deron Williams

Thanks to zero help around him, Williams has taken most of the scoring burden on himself. Averaging 25 points and more than six assists (he's average at least 10 if his teammates would stop dropping perfect passes under the basket) a game the last week, all the Nets need to do now is give him a consistent No. 2 scorer.

5. Jordan Farmar

He's not exactly the best second option, but without much more to choose from, New Jersey has turned to the backup point guard to pick up some of the slack. Last week he continued his solid play by averaing16 points while logging just over 31 minutes per game for the short-handed Nets.

New Jersey will be much better off when Farmar never has a chance to put himself on this list.

Bottom Five

1. Johan Petro

Nets GM Billy King has done plenty of good things since coming to New Jersey, but the terrible contract he handed out to Petro will always be a scarlet letter for him. Petro had another puzzling week. Sure, he scored 16 points in mop up duty against the Pistons on Friday, but couldn't score when the team actually needed him. In the other two games this week, Petro was doing a great job fumbling passes while scoring zero and six points.

2. Toney Douglas

Give Douglas credit for being professional and showing Lin tons of support, but deep down he can't be too thrilled about Linsanity. Douglas had 3 "Did Not Play - Coach's Decision" since our last rankings.

3. Bill Walker

Walker has gotten plenty of minutes recently -- 27, 31, and 24 respectively in the Knicks' last three games, but has done absolutely nothing with them, shooting 5-for-26 from the field during that span. If anyone should be nailed to the bench when the Knicks' stars return, its Walker.

4. Kris Humphries

For the first time this season, the Nets forward struggled for an extended stretch. Humphries failed to turn in a double-double and only pulled down double digit rebounds once. He had trouble offensively as well, with a season-low five points on Friday.

5. Shawne Williams

If the Nets ever get more than 10 healthy bodies this season - anything but a certainty - Williams will be able to cut his minutes to roughly 15 minutes instead of the nearly 25 he put in last week. He should be given credit for fighting through injuries to give his head coach much needed time on the court, but he's just not able to be effective for long stretches.


NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation New York Top Five

While both the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks have yet to find themselves this lockout-shortened season, we have keep finding out more about each team and it's reflected in the latest installment of the SB Nation New York NBA Power Rankings.

The New York Knicks continued to struggle in all facets of the game with their stars failing to shine and the team as a whole showing they desperately need some sort of consistent point guard play if they hope to turn things around.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Nets started to put wins on the board, but are left with even more questions than they had thanks to an injury to standout rookie MarShon Brooks. Their ability to rebound from yet another devastating injury will ultimately tell the tale of their 2011-12 season.

Once again, there is quite the shakeup in both the Top Five and Bottom Five this week.

SB Nation New York Top Five

1. Deron Williams

Behold the power of the blue head band! Ever since scoring 34 points in an upset victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, Williams has made the accessory his favorite item and led the Nets to a 2-1 record since the last batch of rankings. He's shown more and more as the season has gone on why Mikhail Prokhorov and Billy King want him to be the face of the franchise for years to come.

2. Kris Humphries

With the injuries continuing to mount throughout the roster, Humphries has continued to play Robin to Williams' Batman. In the two New Jersey wins last week, Humphries averaged 15.5 points and 15 rebounds. Those numbers are impressive alone, but even more so when you figure the most help he is receiving in the front court is from Shelden Williams.

3. Landry Fields

It's about time Fields showed a pulse. The second year man has started to finally turn his game around as of late (aside from putting up a goose egg on Saturday against the Rockets). Fields has started to stuff the stat sheet the way he did most of last season, as last week he had an 18 point, 4 rebound 5 assist performance against the Bobcats (the Knicks' lone win in their past 10 games) and a 14-7-5 on Friday at Miami.

4. Tyson Chandler

Chandler continues to do what the Knicks brought him here to do, and he's also earned this spot because he seems to be one of the only guys on the team who is visibly upset by the recent slide. Chandler dominated the paint against his former team the Bobcats (20 pts., 17 rebs.) and had another double-double in Houston.

5. Amar'e Stoudemire

While things still aren't totally right with STAT, his shooting numbers seem to be turning the corner a bit. He was over 50 percent twice last week in four games and also had 19 points and 14 rebounds in the loss to the Cavaliers. Of course, his worst shooting performance of the week came against the Miami Heat (5-of-14, 12 points), but when you've won just once in your last 10 games, pickings are slim for a Top 5.

Bottom Five

1. Bill Walker

If the Knicks were coached by anyone else other than Mike D'Antoni, I think Billy Walker would be hearing about his poor shot selection. And he should. Yes, he made seven of his 10 three pointers against the Heat last Friday, and his makes kept the Knicks from getting blown out. But that doesn't mean his shot selection is any good, and he's wildly inconsistent. He put up 21 points against the Heat, and a combined 12 in the Knicks' three other games last week.

2. MarShon Brooks

Landing here isn't due to anything he did on the basketball court last week, but rather because of his inability to stay there. After being sidelined with an Achilles issues, Brooks was knocked out indefinitely by a broken pinky toe. He has been the most impressive rookie in the NBA this season outside of Kyrie Irving, but he needs to stay on the court before we start counting him among the Nets better assets for the move to Brooklyn

3. Iman Shumpert

Assists in the Knicks' four games last week for Shumpert: 8. Turnovers: 10. Eleven makes in 37 field goal attempts. You love Shumpert's athleticism, aggressiveness and effort on defense, but the rookie's production right now is sorely lacking.

4. Carmelo Anthony

This is where things get dicey. A lot of people are quick to blame Anthony for the Knicks' woes this season. It's no secret that the big trade, thus far, hasn't quite worked. I just can't yet believe that it's Anthony's fault. Mike D'Antoni, a supposed offensive genius, has had plenty of time to craft an offense that would play to Anthony's strengths and he hasn't been able to do it. A lot of people are mad at Anthony for sitting out the Knicks' past two games, especially the marquee matchup against the Heat. It's reasonable to say that he should have sat out the two prior games and positioned himself to play against Miami, but that's very easy to say right now. We don't know how Anthony is feeling, and you have to admire him for giving it a go these past few weeks when his game has clearly been affected by his myriad of injuries.

Yes, Anthony has been bad this season, but it's also not his fault that the Knicks' depth is so disastrously bad. They did have to give up a lot to get him from Denver, but you don't see the Miami Heat, with three max contract players on its roster, with the same depth issues. The problem runs a lot deeper than Anthony. Nobody seems to be talking about how ludicrous it is that D'Antoni is still with the franchise while the architect of the clean-up job, Donnie Walsh, is not. That of course is on owner James Dolan, and that's a problem that's not going away any time soon.

Don't get me wrong, Anthony had been sub-par this season, and that's why he finds himself in the Bottom 5. But he doesn't deserve all of the blame for the team's 7-13 record.

5. Johan Petro

He sat out the Nets impressive win over the Sixers and then averaged a whopping five points and three rebounds in New Jersey's other two games of the week. While Avery Johnson attempts to find answers in the front court with Brook Lopez and Mehmet Okur both out, Petro continues to disappoint.


NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation New York Top Five

A mixed bag from the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks on the court this past week has shifted things in the latest installment of the SB Nation New York NBA Power Rankings.

In the season-long battle to grab onto the top spot and avoid the Bottom Five, neither team wanted to put their best foot forward. Both teams were an uninspiring 1-3 since we last met here last week.

The movement here shows how quickly things can change in the greatest city in the world.

SB Nation New York Top Five

1. Carmelo Anthony

How does a player who missed a game and a half last week top the Power Rankings? Pretty simply, the Knicks showed that they're pretty much an uncompetitive team without 'Melo. He led the Knicks in points (27) and assists (5) in their impressive win over the 76ers on Wednesday, and was the Knicks' best player on Thursday in Memphis before leaving the game with a sprained ankle. With him totally absent against the Thunder on Saturday? The Knicks were totally outclassed.

2. MarShon Brooks

The Nets may have had a miserable West Coast road trip, but it had nothing to do with the play of their impressive rookie. Still recovering from an ankle injury, Brooks averaged 15 points a game, including a team-high 19 against the Los Angeles Clippers Monday.

3. Deron Williams

He's not firing on all cylinders yet, but Williams is getting a lot closer. To dig the Nets out of their early season snooze, he will need to live up to his All-NBA reputation the way he did against the Phoenix Suns Friday when he dropped 35 points and dished out 14 assists.

4. Tyson Chandler

Chandler had a breakout game last Monday in the Knicks' victory over the Bobcats, scoring 20 points and pulling down 13 boards. He had another 13 rebound effort in the win over the Sixers, despite only having three points in the game.

5. Kris Humphries

Though he escaped being booed in Utah as the Jazz fans concentrated their efforts on Williams, Humphries felt the wrath in every other game last week. All he did was respond with nearly 15 points and 8 rebounds while shooting an amazing 69 percent from the floor.

Bottom Five

1. Iman Shumpert

The rook has shows some moments of brilliance, but Thursday's epic disaster against the Grizzlies was not one of them. Shumpert missed, missed, missed and missed some more, and didn't seem to realize that simply chucking the ball at the hoop doesn't guarantee that it's, you know, going in. You love his aggressiveness but when he's off and is dribbling into turnovers, he has to recognize and scale it back.

2. Anthony Morrow

He was quickly headed for the Top Five after finding his shooting stroke on the way to 23 and 12 points, but then disappeared against the Jazz and Clippers. With New Jersey desperately needing a three late in the game Monday, Morrow found himself nailed to the bench.

3. Amar'e Stoudemire

It's just been a terrible season for Stoudemire. His shooting percentages are down and he's having trouble getting any easy baskets. That's probably because the Knicks lack a floor general, and it's become clear that Stoudemire needs one to be effective. That's not what you want out of a max contact player, but with more weeks like last by Stoudemire, it's becoming increasingly apparent.

4. DeShawn Stevenson

The flagrant foul he dropped on Blake Griffin Monday night was pretty sweet, but it isn't enough to erase his play on the court. He made exactly one field goal on the last three games after sitting two due to a sore knee.

5. Landry Fields

It just isn't getting any better for the second year man. When Baron Davis comes back, will there be any minutes for him?


Where do the Knicks and Nets rank as a team in the latest SB Nation NBA Power Rankings?

22. New York Knicks

The Knicks' efficiency differential is so bad -- just -0.6 points per 100 possessions. But the fact that it's come against one of the very softest schedules in the league is frightening. What happened to this offense? It scored 83, 85, 91 and 92 points last week.

26. New Jersey Nets

Deron Williams, though still shooting poorly, is coming around this season. If only the team has one more player -- just one -- who belonged in an NBA starting lineup.

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