There’s never much drama in our Power Rankings, at least as far as the No. 1 spot goes. And we’re sorry to admit that the same can be said for this week’s edition. In fact, the summit of these rankings has never been more secure.
1. Carmelo Anthony (Last: 1) – Well now. On Friday, Anthony scored the most points in an NBA game without committing a turnover (since they’ve been keeping individual turnover stats sometime in the late 70s). He also needed just 35 field goal attempts to reach his new Knicks record 62, and scored only 10 of those points at the free throw line. As Anthony said himself, there are very few people on the planet who can ever get into that type of zone. In a season that has given us basically zero things to be happy about, it was a joy to watch. Any criticisms (0 assists, it came in a blowout) are a joke, and tells you all you need to know about how unfairly Anthony is viewed in the larger NBA landscape.
2. Tyson Chandler (Last: 2) – The Knicks have finally started winning a few games with Chandler in the lineup. He didn’t do much against the Bobcats but that was an aberration; he has three double-doubles in his last five games, and is averaging over 11 boards a contest in that span. That’s a lot more like it than the 8.5 he’s pulling down per game for the season, so far.
3. Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Last: 4) – Hardaway keeps making a case for more playing time. He’s still really rough on the defensive end, but with the Knicks often struggling so much to score too, you could learn to live with Hardaway’s poor defense. It’s a bit easier to swallow than the bad defensive play of some of his veteran teammates. Hardaway had 18 points against LA, 10 against Charlotte and 11 against Brooklyn. And he’s rediscovered the range from deep, connecting on nearly 53% of his 3s over the past 5 games.
4. Kenyon Martin (Last: 3) – Hasn’t played since our last ranking, but his importance to the team keeps him from falling too far.
5. Iman Shumpert (Last: 6) – Iman moves up by default (see why below). He had some really nice production against Philly, scoring 19 points and grabbing 8 boards, which is one reason that was a very tough loss to swallow. When Shump scores like that the Knicks need to take advantage, because he simply doesn’t do it consistently enough. He had just 14 points in the other 3 games combined last week.
6. Andrea Bargnani (Last: 5) – The Knicks haven’t been world beaters since Bargnani went down, but they are 2-0 since his injury. By principle, he must move down in the rankings! I like to think I’m pretty fair about Bargs; I don’t think he’s the reason the Knicks are awful, and I don’t think the Knicks would have lost these last two games if he played. When he does return, I’d like to see his minutes cut, though.
7. J.R. Smith (Last: 9) – Anybody with a brain knows that J.R. is going to make his share of head-scratching plays in every single game. But if you can get over that fact, and wade through the snark-filled commentary that accompanies every step the guy takes (not that it’s not fair), what comes out is that he’s played pretty well as of late. At the very least, he’s resembled the “GOOD JR” from last year a lot more frequently. In his last five games, he’s averaging 16.6 points on 43% shooting and hitting 46.7% of his threes. Against LA, he decided to start driving the lane, much like he did in his late-season surge from a year ago, a welcome sight.
8. Pablo Prigioni (Last: 8) – Pablo gon’ be Pablo. Dude should play more, but aren’t we past that at this point? It doesn’t seem as though Mike Woodson is ever going to play the guy enough for our liking, and it’s shame. The numbers aren’t stark, but per 82games.com, the Knicks continue to be a more effective team on both ends when Prigioni is on the floor. But you already knew that.
9. Amar’e Stoudemire (Last: 7) – Hasn’t played since our last ranking.
10. Raymond Felton (Last: 11) – Felton’s still having a bad season, but his performance on Sunday against the Lakers gave a bit of hope. He has been fighting injuries all season, so perhaps he’s just getting fully healthy for the first time all year. He was pretty good against the Bobcats too, and has shot 14-for-29 in the last two games. In related news, the Knicks have won both contests.
11. Beno Udrih (Last: 10) – A disappointment overall this season, Udrih’s rough season continues. There were rumors he wanted out, and I don’t blame him. Udrih is an interesting case, one of those guys who, for whatever reason, is just much more effective on a really good team, and doesn’t quite help a bad team win games. For the Knicks’ current situation, why would you give him minutes that could go to Hardaway or Toure Murry? It seems like the Knicks are feeling that way too, since Udrih has sat three of the last five games.
12. Jeremy Tyler (Last: 13) – Tyler has given the Knicks some good minutes and looks like a guy with some upside. He had the non-Carmelo highlight reel play on Friday against Charlotte, slamming home an alley-oop off a wacky feed from J.R. Smith. That game, specifically, was the best of his young career with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 22 minutes.
13. Toure Murry (Last: 12) – Switches spots with his fellow HERO IN WAITING AT THE END OF THE BENCH Jerermy Tyler. Murry’s been relegated back to a garbage time player since the Knicks have gotten healthy at point guard.
14. Cole Aldrich (Last: 15) – Aldrich’s VICIOUS put-back dunk on Friday against Charlotte is enough to get him out of the cellar. Congrats Aldy. (“Aldy” would be Cole Aldrich’s hockey nickname if he played hockey. Cole Aldrich should try hockey, I think.)
15. Metta World Peace (Last: 14)