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No doubting Dirk (cont.)

Posted: Friday March 2, 2007 12:14PM; Updated: Friday March 2, 2007 12:14PM
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More Rankings: 11-20

NBA Player Power Rankings
Rank PVS   Player
11 18 Loyal reader(s) will regard me as a broken record at this point, but it makes Manu's work no less admirable: Ginobili is averaging 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in just 27.8 minutes. Per minute, his work stands among the league's (top 10) elite, though we're dumping him down to the second page of this list just on the outside chance that Popovich is among the reader(s) and that he develops a burr under his Kenneth Coles and decides to start playing Ginobili (in his prime, at age 29) the minutes he deserves.
12 6 Brand's Clippers appears to have resigned themselves to the idea that they will win just enough to hold onto the eighth playoff seed in the West, give the Mavericks a tough enough time in the opening round and wait for things to shake up this summer. Problem is, I'm not sure any of the Clippers braintrust has enough singular power to force significant roster changes and put a better team around Sir Elton. Brand is averaging 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.2 blocks since being passed over for the Western All-Stars.
13 11 His superb stroke from the charity line and ability to draw whistles (9.6 free throw attempts per game, third in the NBA) have kept his scoring average steady, but Arenas is enduring a woeful shooting slump from the floor. He shot 34.7 percent in February, including a (dare I say) DeShawn Stevenson-esque 18 percent from behind the three-point arc. Pretty nasty marks for an All-Star who was shooting 43 and 38 percent from those respective areas before entering the fourth month of the season. And yet, as alluded to, he still came through with 26.5 points over 11 contests.
14 13 Nobody should be blaming Anthony (or Allen Iverson, while they're at it) for Denver's underwhelming run since the AI trade. This team simply isn't good enough at both ends to compete with the big boys, and the Nuggets' brass (their 14 GMs and coach George Karl) is going to have to work hard this summer to secure a spate of shooters to surround said sensational slashers. Until then, it's nice to see Carmelo's all-around game on the upswing: He averaged 28.5 points in February, his lowest monthly mark of the season, but contributed a much-improved 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists.
15 15 Billups hit only 27 percent of his three-point attempts in February after nailing 39 percent entering the month, but it hardly stopped a primed Pistons juggernaut that lost once in 11 contests. Billups is still Detroit's top player, doing his damage without looking to pad the stats in anticipation of the deserved free-agent payoff that awaits this summer.
16 - Say this for Tony Barone's Memphis Grizzlies: They're not tanking. They're not playing any defense, they're not winning much, they're not that good, but they're also not tanking. Gasol has logged nearly 40 minutes a game over the last two months, and it wasn't to pump up his trade value -- he remained with Memphis, and he's averaged more than 40 minutes in the three games since the Feb. 22 trade deadline. Gasol is averaging 20.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks in 35.4 minutes for the season.
17 19 Though the Suns give up 103.1 points per game (25th in the NBA), that mark is tainted by the fact that they average nearly 95 possessions, the third-highest total. When normalized for pace, Phoenix is actually a pretty solid (or, at least, above-average) defensive team -- its 107.2 points per 100 possession ranks 11th. Marion is probably the biggest reason why, and he was sorely missed in Wednesday's loss at Philadelphia, even if the Suns allowed only 99 points in 99 possessions.
18 16 O'Neal's play has been remarkably consistent all season, in the neighborhood of 20 and 10 with a league-leading 3.1 blocks, but his reputation as a sometimes-moody guy who tends to float through games wasn't helped by SI.com colleague Paul Forrester's column this week, one that quotes a scout who wonders if the All-Star forward is aware that the Indiana coaching staff would prefer him to do his work down low. It'd be a shame if this lack of cohesion sustains, especially with the 28-year-old big man in his prime.
19 17 Randolph's defense still stinks on ice, but complaining about that at this point is like ordering something that stinks, on ice, and then complaining that it stinks on ice. He is what he is: a monster in the low post who doesn't take to the low post nearly enough, but still manages to average nearly 24 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes for a Trail Blazers team that walks it up the court nightly.
20 20 Kidd has been waiting for the other shoe to drop all season, from about three different pairs of moccasins. Whether he's trying to stave off New Jersey 's first lottery appearance in six years, facing questions about the dissolution of his marriage or dealing with trade rumors, Kidd has somehow managed to rise above the muck. And though he isn't completely out of the woods when it comes to taking the blame for differing roles in these disparate frustrations, the point guard has also made a point to not point fingers: at coach Lawrence Frank, "superstar" teammate Vince Carter, GM Rod Thorn or the assembled media. In three games since the trade deadline passed, Kidd has averaged 19.7 points, 11 assists, 8.3 rebounds and just one turnover. The Nets won all three games.
On the cusp: Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, Dwight Howard

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