Since our last edition of the SBNation New York Power Rankings, the New Jersey Nets have started to play a bit better while the New York Knicks have fallen into a crisis. Basketball in the New York area is unfortunately resembling what it did from, say, 2007-2010 when both the Knicks and Nets were among the worst teams in the sport. Last week though, Jersey went 2-1, posting wins over Golden State and Charlotte (with a loss to Oklahoma City sandwiched in), and the Knicks…well, did we say they’re in a crisis? They’ve lost six in a row in total — the final three coming since we put out our last power rankings.
SBNation New York Top Five
1. Deron Williams, Nets
It’s no surprise the Nets started to play better when the elite version of Williams showed up. Playing through a rib injury he suffered the beginning of the month, the point guard has looked unstoppable at times, averaging 19 points, nearly 9 assists and 7 rebounds since the last rankings. New Jersey is 2-1 over that time.
2. MarShon Brooks, Nets
The explosive scorer continues to impress as he pushes his name to the top of the Rookie of the Year discussions. The last three games Brooks is averaging a shade below 19 points per game, including a team-high 22 in a win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. After recovering from an ankle injury, Brooks is now dealing with an achilles issue, so durability could be something to keep an eye on as the season drags on.
3. Jordan Farmar, Nets
Talk about finding your way out of the dog house. Farmar started the season on the bench and has worked his way back to being one of the first players off the bench. Over the last week the backup point guard had 11 assists to just four turnovers, numbers that will keep him in head coach Avery Johnson’s good graces.
4. Kris Humphries, Nets
The Hump keeps doing what he does, and posted three double-doubles in a row last week for the Nets. He grabbed a total of 41 rebounds in the three contests and continues to lead the team in the category with 10.3 per game.
5. Tyson Chandler, Knicks
You can’t fault Chandler for the Knicks’ woes. He’s continued to do fairly well what the team brought him here for, defend, rebound and block shots. It’s not his fault that the team is employing a defensive system that switches on every screen, giving him mismatches against players like Steve Nash and Danilo Gallinari (and he’s done okay in those spots, too). Despite the poor team results, Chandler still managed to grab double digits in rebounds in each of the Knicks’ three games.
SB Nation New York Bottom Five
1. Carmelo Anthony, Knicks
If you just look at points and rebounds, Anthony has done alright this season. However, his shooting has been woefully bad, and he deserves to be here this week because he’s the leader of a team that’s 6-10 against a soft schedule and looks like it’s never played together. Anthony had a great fourth quarter against Denver to help get the game to overtime, but his total shooting numbers? Ten-of-30 just isn’t going to cut it when you’re the main man on Broadway. Plus, his ejection last Friday against Milwaukee was unacceptable.
2. Amare Stoudemire, Knicks
The same can be said for Stoudemire as it was for Anthony. Amare simply needs to be more aggressive and assertive. At some point, either Stoudemire or Anthony needs to say “Enough is enough, I’m going to win this game for us”. Both have done that in the past, both are capable. Yet neither has done it yet.
3. Toney Douglas, Knicks
In our Knicks season preview, we said that Douglas was the Knicks’ X Factor. While his failure so far this year isn’t the reason the team is in shambles, but it certainly hasn’t helped. His poor play has him coming off the bench now, but that’s where he’s thrived in the past. Not so this year.
4. DeShawn Stevenson, Nets
A sore knee continues to limit Stevenson, though he remains in the the starting lineup… for now. It’s hard to imagine a guard that can’t score, rebound or do much of anything else sticking in the rotation with a bum knee once the rest of the players on the roster start to get healthy.
5. Johan Petro, Nets
The center has taken the opposite route of Farmar, going from rotation player to bench warmer. The last week he played all of 8eight minutes while collecting two DNP – CDs.
Here’s where SBNation’s latest NBA Power Rankings have the Knicks and Nets:
23. New York Knicks: This is just sad. I mean, they are actually excited about Baron Davis! Poor rims.
24. New Jersey Nets: I, for one, am loving this epic power struggle for the hearts and minds of New York between the Knicks and Nets. Oh, wait …
As you can see, things can only go up for New York Metro area basketball. Hopefully it does, and soon.