NBA Power Rankings 2012: SB Nation New York Top 5, Jeremy Lin and Deron Williams Go Head To Head

On Monday, the last night of the “week” that makes up our SBNation New York Power Rankings, Deron Williams’ domination led the Nets to a victory over Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. It was a great performance for Williams, but it wasn’t enough to keep Lin from the top spot in our player power rankings. Despite two losses during the week, Lin still led the Knicks to three wins, including perhaps the most Linsane moment of all last Tuesday with his near-buzzer beater against the Raptors, and maybe his best overall performance in helping the Knicks beat the defending champion Mavericks on Sunday. It’s getting close at the top, but Lin reigns once again.

SB Nation New York Top 5

1. Jeremy Lin, Knicks
On Tuesday, Lin led the Knicks to a frantic come from behind win over the Toronto Raptors, hitting the biggest shot of his young career with the game on the line. Lin’s 3-pointer went through with 0.5 seconds left to give the Knicks a 90-87 win. But perhaps most impressively was Lin’s performance this past Sunday against the Mavericks. The Knicks jumped out to an early lead before the Mavs appeared to take control with a double digit third quarter advantage. But the Lin took over.

His steal-and-dunk at the very end of the third quarter gave the Knicks all the momentum heading into the fourth. And while Steve Novak drained 14 points in the final frame, Lin hit a pair of big 3’s as well, and finished with 28 points and 14 assists. All against one of the best defensive teams in the league and the defending champions? Impressive stuff.

2. Deron Williams, Nets
The Nets were 2-3 since the last rankings and it was the continued fantastic play of Williams that helped New Jersey down the best team in the East, the Miami Heat, and the suddenly surging Knicks. He averaged an out of this world 29.6 points and seven assists last week while shooting 21-for-45 from beyond the arc (47 percent). No one on the Nets is happier to finally have Brook Lopez back, giving the point guard the opportunity to play without always being double teamed.

3. Landry Fields, Knicks
Fields has steadily improved since a cold opening to the season, and last week he continued his solid play with two double-doubles and an excellent first half against the Mavericks on Sunday. I’m not sure why he didn’t see a lot of time in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks despite the Knicks winning – you’ll have to ask Mike D’Antoni that one.

4. Kris Humphries, Nets
The second happiest Net to see Lopez suiting up again? That would be Humphries. He’s done an admirable job picking up the slack on offense while Lopez was out, but he is better just worrying about rebounds and picking up his points on putbacks and dunks. After a week in which he averaged 17 points and 11.4 rebounds, Humphries will get the benefit of going back to being the “clean up crew” as defenses focus on Williams and Lopez.

5. Iman Shumpert, Knicks
Shumpert cracks the Top 5 for his role in two games this past week; and one of those games he didn’t play in. In the Knicks’ victory over the Raptors on Tuesday, Toronto point guard Jose Calderon had 25 points heading into the fourth quarter, doing a number on Jeremy Lin (which is slowly becoming the main negative trait of Lin thus far). Shumpert guarded Calderon in the fourth, and Calderon didn’t score a single point. Before Jeremy Lin’s final six points of that game, Shumpert pick-pocketed Calderon at half court and took the ball in for a dunk. Then, on Monday against the Nets, Shumpert’s value to the Knicks was proven when Deron Williams went totally off, with nobody on the Knicks able to shut him down with Shumpert injured. He’s the Knicks’ best on the ball defender, and Lin’s surge has allowed him to slide into a tailor-made role.

SB Nation New York Bottom 5

1. DeShawn Stevenson, Nets
Under most circumstances, Stevenson wouldn’t be putting in 25+ minutes a game, but the Nets injury situation has forced head coach Avery Johnson’s hand. In addition to averaging a whopping 3.8 points per game, the veteran also committed a silly flagrant foul late against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday that threw a wrench into the Nets comeback attempt.

2. Amare Stoudemire, Knicks
This was Stoudemire’s first week back since the death of his brother, which caused him to miss about a week’s worth of action, but Stoudemire just hasn’t looked the same all year, and he had a rough week. his best performance (26 and 12) came in a home loss against New Orleans, and he continues to struggle on his usually reliable mid-range jumpshot. Stoudemire is still acclimating himself back into the lineup, but it has been a down year so far on all accounts for the All-Star.

3. Johan Petro, Nets
In the first game back for Lopez, Petro only logged two minutes of action. Don’t worry, he still managed to miss a shot and turn the ball over in that time. If the Nets can keep their center healthy, that should mean the end of Petro playing many meaningful minutes the rest of the way

4. Sundiata Gaines, Nets
He had 11 points and seven assists in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, but few moments worth mentioning beyond that. With Deron Williams sitting against the Knicks due to fouls, Gaines missed two jumpers, one free throw, turned the ball over once and had a shot clock violation in the final four minutes of the game.

5. Toney Douglas
Will Toney Douglas ever suit up for the Knicks again? Fair question. With Baron Davis coming back from injury, the Knicks signing J.R. Smith and all the Linsanity, it’s certainly possible Douglas will be shipped out of town soon.

Below is where the Knicks and Nets rank in the latest SBNation NBA Power Rankings:

7. New York Knicks: The Knicks saw their streak end, but began an important, telling stretch on the right foot in beating Dallas on national TV on Sunday. Carmelo Anthony could return Monday against the Nets, then the Knicks go back-to-back against the Hawks and Heat before the All-Star break. New York would love to catch the Hawks in the standings, and a national TV win over the Heat before the break would be one helluva statement.

27. New Jersey Nets: Brook Lopez in his return: 28 minutes, two rebounds. Didn’t miss a beat.

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