30. New York Knicks
I saw the Knicks in-person this week Saturday night at Chicago. It was worse than I thought. I suppose it’s worth mentioning it was their fifth game in seven nights, but when you are getting blown out nearly every game that can’t really be an excuse. The highlight of the Knicks week was a four-point loss at home to Boston. I asked head coach Derrick Fisher who he thought was the Eastern Conference favorite was. Answer: “The Knicks.”
29. Minnesota Timberwolves
Rookie of the year to be Andrew Wiggins got a win this week courtesy of another rookie. Zach LaVine had 27, including some clutch 3’s down the stretch in the Timberwolves surprising win at Utah. Of course, Minnesota followed that up with a loss at home to the Lakers. Good week for Wiggins scoring the basketball, 100 total points.
28. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers got a road win this week largely in part to D-League convert, rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson. The second-round pick from Missouri was drafted by Washington 46th overall then traded to the Lakers for cash. There is now a debate whether Clarkson is the point guard of the future for the Lakers after he scored 82 points in his last four games, along with a 30-point, 7-assist shocking performance against Russell Westbrook. The Lakers lost, but there future is shining a little brighter with Clarkson’s unlikely development.
27. Philadelphia 76ers
Nerlens Noel will not be playing center the rest of the season. Sixers head coach Brett Brown is moving Noel to power forward so he can get use to playing the position he will most likely play the majority of next season when rookie Joel Embid is back healthy. Noel had another monster performance Friday- 30-points, 14-rebounds- in a loss to the Clippers. The Sixers did get a road win this week at Denver. Noel had 14-points and 15-rebounds. They almost had another, but could not score in the final four minutes Sunday at Cleveland missing multiple layups, four free throws and a seven-footer from Noel. Ouch.
26. Orlando Magic
Winless week for the Magic. It was only two games, both at home versus Atlanta and Detroit. Shaquille O’Neal was inducted into the Magic’s Hall of Fame before the Pistons game joining Nick Anderson and Pat Williams. Shaq still has love for Orlando and admitted he has regrets leaving despite winning four championships in Los Angeles and Miami.
"“That’s why I kind of regret it, because we had a young, fabulous team,” he said. “We really did, and it’s a shame that we got torn apart. But I think about that all the time. I try not to live my life now on ‘ifs’ or ‘would’ve, should’ve,’ but do I regret leaving here in ’96? Yes I do.”"
Ouch if you are a Magic fan. Big-time ouch.
Next: No. 25 - No. 19