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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.