Posted: Tuesday January 31, 2012 1:17PM ; Updated: Tuesday January 31, 2012 6:46PM
Britt Robson
Britt Robson>NBA POWER RANKINGS

Heat rise to top after perfect week

Story Highlights

The Heat supplant Luol Deng-less Chicago as the top team after a 5-0 week

The Chris-Paul led Clippers, who went 11-4 in January, rise from 10th to fourth

Orlando (18th) and Memphis (19th) fall out of the top 10 after nightmarish weeks

There is a very simple reason to put the Heat at the top of this week's Power Rankings: They are the only team not to lose in the last week, going 5-0 to improve to 8-1 since dropping three consecutive road games.

The most impressive of the five victories was Sunday's nail-biter over a Chicago team missing Luol Deng, knocking the Bulls from the top spot. The Thunder seemed like the best bet to succeed the Bulls until falling to the Clippers on Monday. That outcome ended Oklahoma City's four-game winning streak and capped a strong month for the Clippers, who climb to fourth this week.

(All stats and records are through Monday, Jan. 30 unless otherwise noted.)

NBA Power Rankings
1Miami Heat
Last Week: 3
Miami Heat (16-5)
The question that first confronted the Big Three at the beginning of last season remains: Is there enough ball for all of them to operate at maximum efficiency? Statistically, LeBron James is having his best season -- no mean feat. He's shooting an absurd 55.1 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from three-point range, and his rebounds, scoring average and usage rate are also career highs. Chris Bosh's scoring, shooting and usage-rate numbers are just a bit behind what he posted when he was the No. 1 option in Toronto. But Dwyane Wade, who has been in and out of the lineup, is having an off-year, on pace for career lows in minutes and shooting percentage and the lowest usage rate since his rookie season. Other teams should have such problems, of course, but given LeBron's ongoing drama at crunch time, a relatively rusty Wade is not optimal.
 
2Chicago Bulls
Last Week: 1
Losing Luol Deng for a month because of a torn ligament in his wrist is grim news. Deng is a viable candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, logging 38.3 minutes per game as the bridge between the starters and the NBA's most suffocating second unit, and his absence really disrupts the rotation. Under the best of circumstances, there is a significant drop-off from Deng to Ronnie Brewer, Rip Hamilton and Kyle Korver, and the way Hamilton in particular has been performing, it is not the best of circumstances. Even so, the Bulls had the fate of Sunday's game at Miami in the hands of their best player, Derrick Rose, a testimonial to their grit and adaptability. They are diminished, but still a heavyweight, without Deng.
 
3Oklahoma City Thunder
Last Week: 2
The fans and pundits who defend 23-year-old point guard Russell Westbrook correctly note that his virtues far outweigh his vices, that he is still very young and that while his style is somewhat unorthodox for the position he plays, the team is having great success with him. As both an admirer and critic of Westbrook's, my response is, How can Westbrook get himself and his teammates to the next level without some fundamental changes? Or, what type of players best complement Westbrook's style? Would Westbrook more readily feed the post if there was a scorer down there, or would he become impatient with the slower pace of play? As a career 27.1 percent three-point shooter, will he reduce his attempts and hone his accuracy in the offseason or maintain the status quo of chucking it up a couple of times per game? An obviously spectacular penetrator, is he able to broaden his drive-and-kick game as opponents inevitably play the shot and not the pass? The Thunder have a real shot to win it all this season. But can Oklahoma City go all the way if Westbrook continues to have the lowest assist-to-turnover ratio of his career and he and Kevin Durant have games like Monday's loss to the Clippers in which they account for 77 percent of the team's points?
 
4Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 10
The Clippers went 11-4 in January with wins over Miami, Oklahoma City, Denver, Dallas and Houston, and they split two games with the Lakers and Portland. They lack depth and polished fundamentals in the frontcourt, which, along with their back-loaded road schedule, remains the greatest concern. But this team could jell into a juggernaut. At some point every year, people realize that Chris Paul is the best floor general in the game, and after he had a combined 51 points (on 60 percent shooting), 21 assists and three turnovers in back-to-back victories against Denver and OKC, now is as good a time as any to repeat it. With Paul, Chauncey Billups and Mo Williams, the Clippers have three guards who have been tempered by the pressures of the playoffs, an ideal counterbalance to the hepped-up frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. And as the Thunder discovered on Monday, if you ignore small forward Caron Butler, he will burn you. On to February, when the Clips will play nine of 14 on the road.
 
5Denver Nuggets
Last Week: 4
Even without a star go-to guy, the Nuggets possess the depth, talent and versatility to dream of playing for a championship this season. But for Denver to realize its potential, the two players who re-signed for big money before the season, center Nene and swingman Arron Afflalo, have to stop straining for an eminence comparable to their salaries and return to being the superb complementary players that earned them their deals in the first place. Nene's shot attempts, turnovers and usage rate are all career highs and his shooting percentage is the lowest since 2004-05. Afflalo's regression has been even more severe. Like Nene, he's been beset by nagging injuries, and although he hasn't found the rhythm on his shot, his usage rate is well above any previous season. Nene and Afflalo need to relax and remember the cliché about letting the game come to them, before coach George Karl is in the awkward position of cutting their minutes.
 
6Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 5
If center Spencer Hawes (who has missed the last eight games with a strained Achilles) is healthy enough to play a murderers' row of a schedule in the next six games -- the Bulls, Heat, Hawks, Lakers, Spurs and Clippers -- then we'll finally have an idea of where the Sixers stand among contenders. With the 7-footer in the lineup, Philadelphia has won nine in a row and is 10-2 overall, albeit against inferior competition. Without him (or his rookie backup, Nikola Vucevic), Kris Humphries can overwhelm Elton Brand for 19 rebounds, point guard Deron Williams can probe the paint for 34 points and 11 assists and New Jersey can beat the host Sixers -- it happened last Wednesday. Hawes' absence proves that the role is nearly as important as the talent when it comes to injuries -- certainly Andre Iguodala or Thaddeus Young is a better player than Hawes, but Philadelphia is stocked on the wing and thin in the pivot.
 
7Atlanta Hawks
Last Week: 6
Point guard Kirk Hinrich's return and Jeff Teague's quick recovery from a sprained ankle give the Hawks impressive depth and versatility in their backcourt and on the wing. Hinrich's availability to back up Teague frees Tracy McGrady for more shooting and less ball-handling responsibilities and allows coach Larry Drew to spread the floor with different combinations from among Teague, Willie Green, McGrady, Marvin Williams, Vladimir Radmanovic and Joe Johnson. (All are making more than 41 percent from three-point range except for Johnson at 36.9.) For that matter, Atlanta has the rebounding prowess and quickness in transition to rain down threes before opponents can recover. The main obstacle in this strategy is the notoriously poor shot selection of Josh Smith, the team's best rebounder and defender, who is launching a career-high 6.4 shots per game from 16-23 feet and hitting just 38 percent of them, along with his 3-for-16 abomination (18.8 percent) from three-point territory.
 
8Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 7
No one ever accused coach Frank Vogel of playing an exciting brand of basketball. In his first full year, Vogel has slowed the pace and prioritized defense, which, abetted by the luck of good health and key personnel additions, has Indiana off to its best start since 2003-04. On offense, the Pacers rank 28th assists but have cut down on the turnovers that plagued them last season. They have also limited their three-point attempts, a favorite of Vogel's predecessor, Jim O'Brien, while making a higher percentage. But it is the tough, lengthy defense, ranked third in opposing field-goal percentage, that is the Pacers' calling card. After a soft early schedule, they won at Chicago and at a reeling Orlando team that had beaten them at home earlier in the week. Most significant, their top eight players in minutes have missed a combined two games in the compressed schedule.
 
9Dallas Mavericks
Last Week: 13
What an odd season so far for the Mavs, who are 11-3 since a 3-5 start. Jason Kidd is shooting 28.2 percent and battling injuries, the latest a strained calf that will sideline him for a week. Lamar Odom continues to struggle after being traded from the Lakers. And Dirk Nowitzki, the most important of these high-profile underachievers, looked stiffer and more tentative after taking 10 days off to strengthen his sore knee. Fortunately, some things never change, including Jason Terry's clutch crunch-time shooting (on display in Sunday's overtime victory against San Antonio) and Rick Carlisle's acumen as a defensive coach. Carlisle has constructed sturdy defenses in Detroit and Indiana, but this year's pack-the-paint schemes may be the most effective work of his career.
 
10Los Angeles Lakers
Last Week: 15
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are playing heavy minutes and it increasingly appears that the Lakers will need to continue scrapping just to make the playoffs. Barring a roster shake-up, the Lakers will try to remain in contention with ferocious defense and an offense predicated on Bryant's jump shooting and Gasol's and Andrew Bynum's scoring in the paint. There isn't an alternative because the Lakers don't have a fourth-best player. The Lakers are holding opponents to 41.7 percent shooting, second best in the NBA, yet are last in generating turnovers, pushing their defensive efficiency down to 12th. Two positive signs: After Metta World Peace's inspiring performance against the Clippers, coach Mike Brown inserted him into the starting lineup for Matt Barnes at Minnesota on Sunday and L.A. finally won its second road game of the season; and after barking about not getting the ball enough, Gasol has averaged 21 points on 56.5 percent shooting in the last three games.
 
11San Antonio Spurs
Last Week: 12
If nothing else, coach Gregg Popovich called attention to the strength of his bench by leaving the second unit in from late in the third quarter until the end of overtime in Sunday's 101-100 loss at Dallas, where the Spurs erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit. The most valuable of those reserves to San Antonio's postseason prospects is 6-11 center-forward Tiago Splitter, who disappointed last season as a 26-year-old rookie after starring in Europe. A finesse player with a soft, accurate touch on short shots, Splitter is steadily learning how to absorb and mete out contact without disrupting his feel for the game. As a sharp contrast to undersized banger DeJuan Blair, the Spurs hope Splitter can become their much-needed rim protector who helps prevent Tim Duncan (the other 6-11 presence on a roster without 7-footers) from getting into foul trouble. January has been Splitter's best month in the NBA, as he's compiled career highs pretty much across the board.
 
12Utah Jazz
Last Week: 14
Utah Jazz (12-7)
Leading scorer Al Jefferson missed two of the last four games with an ankle injury, putting pressure on second-year swingman Gordon Hayward to pick up the slack alongside Paul Millsap. But Hayward isn't ready to accept the added responsibility and attention from defenses, shooting a combined 4-for-21 in the games Jefferson sat. It may have been part of a greater slump -- Hayward is 19-for-60 (31.7 percent) in his last seven games -- but if rebuilding wasn't Utah's proper priority, it would make more sense to play Josh Howard and C.J. Miles ahead of Hayward in crunch time. Meanwhile, fans and team officials are clamoring for more All-Star support for Millsap, who clearly got the better of his individual matchups with Blake Griffin and Kevin Love, has delivered often as Utah's go-to guy late in close games and is a quality defender from the paint out to the perimeter.
 
13Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week: 18
It would be a mistake to write off the Bucks' playoff chances just because center Andrew Bogut is expected to miss two to three months with a broken ankle. First, although undeniably crafty and a talented force, especially on defense, Bogut hasn't been the same player since his gruesome arm injuries in April 2010. Second, coach Scott Skiles has molded a deep team of selfless scrappers not unlike the overachieving outfit of two years ago. Not only has a reserve scored in double figures in 12 straight games, but it also has been five different players and no one has done it more than three times in that span. Skiles just mixes and matches to replace Bogut, getting more offense from Drew Gooden (20.7 points in three games since Bogut went down) and counting on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova, who almost always do better than expected going chest-to-chest with the likes of Pau Gasol and Greg Monroe, as happened in last week's wins over the Lakers and Pistons. Add in the huge and frankly unexpected improvement of point guard Brandon Jennings and the fact that Skiles refuses to let the narcissism of Stephen Jackson spoil the synergy, and you've got the NBA's most enjoyable, team-oriented underdogs.
 
14Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 19
Reinforcements arrived in the last week, as swingman Martell Webster and center Brad Miller were activated for the first time this season and forward Michael Beasley returned after being out three weeks with a sprained foot. Webster's defense and Beasley's 34 points on 14 shots keyed Monday's victory at Houston, which had won nine of 10. Another boost to the rotation occurred when Nikola Pekovic replaced the flu-ridden Darko Milicic as the starting center three games ago. Pekovic lacks Milicic's length and shot-blocking timing, but he is much more aggressive (and confident) rolling to the hoop. Thus, after averaging 35.9 points in the paint their first 18 games, the Wolves have scored 54.7 since Pekovic took over. With Beasley (a ball stopper and streaky shooter) and Petkovic (who plays like the proverbial bull in a china shop) used in the right doses in a mix with Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, the Wolves have the pieces to execute more of coach Rick Adelman's time-tested offensive schemes. But the team still needs one more roster addition: a healthy J.J. Barea to relieve some of the playmaking and ball-handling burden from Rubio, who is averaging 38.9 minutes over his last 10 games.
 
15Houston Rockets
Last Week: 11
When it comes to scoring in Houston, Kevin Martin has been restored to prominence and Kyle Lowry is in a slump. Martin, who has always ranked near the league leaders in free throws, has been adapting to the new rules about when contact on a shot results in trips to the line, or even a foul. Through his first 11 games, he was averaging just 3.4 free throws, with a high of six. In the last eight games, the average has jumped to 6.4 attempts (still slightly below his customary rate the past few years), including back-to-back games of 13 and 10. Because creating fouls is both a psychological and practical weapon against defenders, it's not surprising that his overall scoring has jumped to 26.3 points in the last eight games. That has helped the Rockets absorb the drought from Lowry, who is 9-of-39 (23.1 percent) over the last four games, two of them losses after a seven-game winning streak.
 
16Boston Celtics
Last Week: 17
Paul Pierce has been shouldering the offensive load, averaging 7.7 assists (and 4.8 turnovers) to go with 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in the six games since Rajon Rondo went down with an injured wrist. (Boston is 4-2 in those games, including Sunday's home loss to the Cavs that it gave away in crunch time.) Pierce is also a big reason why the Celtics rank first in three-point percentage (he is hitting 43.1, the team 41.9) and opposing three-point percentage (28.6). The down side is that Boston lives and dies with the jumper on offense, ranking ahead of only New Jersey in points in the paint.
 
17Portland Trail Blazers
Last Week: 16
Like San Antonio, Portland is nearly unbeatable at home (9-1) and wretched on the road (3-8). It was more of the same last week, as the Blazers ended the Grizzlies' seven-game winning streak and thumped Phoenix by 38 points in their two games at the Rose Garden, but couldn't close out tight games in the fourth quarter in Golden State and Utah. Only one of the team's top five scorers shoots more accurately on the road than at home, Nicolas Batum, who kept the Blazers in Monday's game against the Jazz with four three-pointers in the fourth quarter before crumpling to the floor with a knee injury (resulting in a crucial turnover) in the final minute. The extent of Batum's injury wasn't immediately clear.
 
18Orlando Magic
Last Week: 8
It seems as if the Celtics have ripped the heart out of this team. Last week's 56-point fiasco can be chalked up to Boston's superior defense, especially after Orlando bounced back to win at Indiana. But the rematch with Boston in Orlando was a choke job, a 27-point lead coughed up via a numbing barrage of missed wide-open jumpers and free throws. After Orlando went through the motions Friday in a 93-67 defeat to a Hornets team that had lost 15 of 16, coach Stan Van Gundy described the week's events as "the three worst losses I think we've had since I've been here," beginning in 2007. The carnage continued when Orlando turned a three-point halftime lead into 106-85 defeat in its second meeting of the week with Indiana, then executed another second-half fold in Monday's 74-69 loss at Philadelphia. Orlando's inside-outside offense has always relied on trust between center Dwight Howard and the shooters arrayed on the perimeter. Howard has mentally committed himself to leaving Orlando at the end of the season at the latest. Beginning with those Celtics losses, his teammates have played horribly, and disjointedly. The trust is gone.
 
19Memphis Grizzlies
Last Week: 9
The Grizzlies seem utterly spent, as if coming back from a 20-point second-half deficit at Golden State on Jan. 23 for their seventh straight win was all they had left. Since then they've careened to four straight losses, a span in which their largest lead was five points, they shot 38 percent and played from behind 90 percent of the time. Monday's home loss to the Spurs, after a four-game road trip, was particularly lethargic, as Memphis allowed a San Antonio team that had played an overtime game the night before to open a 22-point lead in the third quarter. Leading scorers Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol, whose sterling play catapulted Memphis to a 9-3 record after Zach Randolph went down with a torn MCL, combined for just eight points on 3-for-18 shooting. The schedule toughens with a five-game week that has the Celtics as the only opponent with a losing record.
 
20Cleveland Cavaliers
Last Week: 23
A week after criticizing No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving for his unreliable ball-handling and subpar defense -- both still blatant flaws -- it is time to laud the versatile scoring of a 19-year-old with 11 games of college experience. Irving's twisting layup through traffic to beat the Celtics on Sunday wasn't an aberration: According to Hoopdata, he's gotten to the rim 100 times this season, making 63. That's comparable to the NBA's premier penetrators, such as Derrick Rose (66-for-105 at the rim through Sunday) and Ty Lawson (64-of-100). Irving is also making 40.7 percent of his three-pointers and 80.6 percent of his foul shots. Add the work of center Anderson Varejao, who is also among the league leaders in finishing at the rim, and Cleveland ranks fifth in points in the paint.
 
21Toronto Raptors
Last Week: 26
The Raptors went 3-2 on their road trip, with Andrea Bargnani coming back to score a combined 61 points in victories at Phoenix and Utah before re-aggravating a calf injury and missing Sunday's win at New Jersey. Toronto had success going small without Bargnani (who is out indefinitely) against the Nets, shooting 51.5 percent in a 94-73 win while using a starting lineup of Jose Calderon, Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson and Amir Johnson. That's not likely to be repeated often, both for the matchups down low and need to rely on the teasing talents of DeRozan, Bayless and Linas Kleiza, all of whom had productive games on the trip. But coach Dwane Casey will continue to preach defense and trust in steady point guard Calderon -- who hit two clutch jumpers to win the game against the Jazz -- to hold the fort until Bargnani returns.
 
22Phoenix Suns
Last Week: 20
The drop-off from Steve Nash to backups Ronnie Price and Sebastian Telfair is about as steep as it gets in an NBA rotation, as evidenced by the Suns' 122-99 home loss to Dallas on Monday without the NBA assists leader (bruised thigh). The obvious next question is if you are even remotely serious about making the playoffs, how can you not have a better option behind a guy who will turn 38 next week and, like the rest of the players, is in a meat grinder of a schedule? Another disappointment in the desert is rookie Markieff Morris' slump. After a rousing beginning to the season, his numbers are down across the board, especially that 35 percent shooting in the last 10 games.
 
23New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 25
New Jersey is 5-5 in its last 10 games, including 3-3 on the road, despite ranking last in defensive efficiency and field-goal defense. Three players have led this boomlet of success: Point guard Deron Williams is flashing his All-Star form again, averaging 22.3 points and 8.8 assists in that 10-game span; rookie MarShon Brooks continues to demonstrate he's a natural scorer, with an average of 16 points on 46.8 percent shooting in that stretch; and high-energy power forward Kris Humphries continues to compensate for the loss of Brook Lopez, helping the Nets by more than 10 points per 100 possessions on both offense and defense this season.
 
24New York Knicks
Last Week: 21
Anyone who watches the Knicks knows what's wrong with their offense, which is 25th in efficiency: They are wretched at moving the ball, getting player movement away from the ball, limiting turnovers and showing good shot selection. Why is a team with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony taking the third-most threes while ranking 24th in accuracy? Meanwhile, according to Basketball Value, two players are head-and-shoulders above their teammates in terms of positive impact: former second-round picks Landry Fields and rookie Josh Harrellson (who is now sidelined with a broken wrist). The Knicks are a whopping 20.36 points per 100 possessions better during the 620 minutes Fields is on the court compared to when he sits, and 19.76 better during Harrellson's 296 minutes versus when he's on the bench. Finally, after improving the defensive performance of three different teams (Dallas, Charlotte and New Orleans) the previous three seasons, why is Tyson Chandler so ineffective in New York, with the Knicks allowing 12.92 more points per 100 possessions when he is on the court?
 
25Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 24
Monta Ellis is racking up assists at a faster rate than Stephen Curry for the first time since they started sharing the backcourt in 2009, a dynamic dramatized by Ellis' 12-assist, four-point performance as Curry was scoring 32 points with seven assists in a recent win over Portland. Because Curry is slightly more selective and significantly more accurate with his shot, it's best for the Warriors if Ellis is the primary feeder. But knocking down shots isn't the problem. Golden State has 21 more field goals than its opponents in 18 games. But the Warriors have won only a third of those games because they've made 114 fewer free throws in 155 fewer attempts, the biggest disparities in the NBA. It's hard to even reach .500 when you're losing an average of 6.3 points per game at the line.
 
26Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 22
Jimmer Fredette's much-ballyhooed return to the state of Utah, where he captivated the nation at BYU, went as expected on Saturday: He converted 5-of-13 from the field (right around his season mark of 36.5 percent), had four shots blocked and registered one assist with three turnovers in a 96-93 loss. On draft day, Sacramento should have realized that Fredette would be a bad match for fellow combo guard Tyreke Evans, who would function best with a quick, "pure" point guard beside him to take over the ball-distribution duties. And if that player wasn't available with a top-10 pick, how about taking someone who could body up his man in the low post or deter penetration from the wing? The 92 points in the paint that Denver hung on the Kings recently is the most eye-popping statistic of the season.
 
27New Orleans Hornets
Last Week: 28
"Basketball reasons." That was commissioner David Stern's vaguely worded phrase to justify his veto of the three-team Chris Paul trade between the Hornets, Lakers and Rockets in December. Six weeks later, Stern's action looks even more specious and laden with hubris, as the fallout from the deal he did allow is hardly brightening New Orleans' future. First, Eric Gordon, the key acquisition in the Paul trade with the Clippers, rejected a four-year contract extension, making him a restricted free agent after the season. New Orleans still is in good position to keep the 23-year-old guard because it can match any offer this summer, but he doesn't seem particularly happy to be there. Also last week, another player obtained from the Clippers, 2010 All-Star Chris Kaman, was told to stay home collecting his $14 million salary while the team tries to trade him. You'll recall that if not for Stern's veto, New Orleans could have had Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Lamar Odom, along with a first-round pick (from Houston via the Knicks) that might end up being better than the one acquired from the Clippers (via the Timberwolves). In other words, the deal Stern approved could leave the Hornets in worse "basketball" shape than the one he rejected.
 
28Detroit Pistons
Last Week:
As coach Lawrence Frank begins to tinker with unconventional lineups to jump-start his inert team, third-year forward Austin Daye has received additional playing time. Day is averaging more than 30 minutes the last four games after getting more than 20 minutes only once in his previous 13. The results have been somewhat promising: Daye is 7-for-17 from three-point territory in those four games and a respectable 45.1 percent from the field overall. But it is still unclear where, or if, he fits into Detroit's long-range plans. Still just 23, the 15th pick in the 2009 draft has good length at 6-11, and has shown some defensive ability. But the Pistons signed the more hard-nosed forward, Jonas Jerebko, the 39th pick in the same draft, to a four-year, $18 million deal before the season, and they still have forward Charlie Villanueva on the books for two more seasons after this one.
 
29Washington Wizards
Last Week: 29
The calf injury to unpopular veteran forward Andray Blatche will sideline him for about a month and allow interim coach Randy Wittman to continue giving minutes to No. 6 pick Jan Vesely. The 6-11 Czech forward looks leaner than his listed 240 pounds, and right now his athleticism is more impressive than his skill set. He needs to either bulk up or develop an outside shot to avoid becoming a tweener rather than an effective combo forward. But at just 21, Washington can and should be patient. That forbearance should be in shorter supply regarding the defense of second-year point guard John Wall, who yielded a triple-double to rookie Kemba Walker and 35 points to Derrick Rose the last two games.
 
30Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week: 30
Blowout losses to the Sixers and dysfunctional Knicks, coupled with two defeats to the Wizards, leave no doubt that Charlotte is the worst team in the NBA. Yes, injuries to D.J. Augustin and then Gerald Henderson depleted an already pitiful rotation, but some players deserve to be called out. DeSagana Diop is in his 11th season and Boris Diaw his ninth, yet they showed up for the season in shameful physical condition. And sixth-year forward Tyrus Thomas, in the second season of a five-year, $40 million deal, has no clue what his strengths and weaknesses are. (Hint: When you're a 6-9 leaper, it makes no sense to attempt nearly half your shots from 16-23 feet, especially when you make just 24 percent from that range.)

 
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