We're into Week 5 of the NBA Power Rankings and again there's a new team hovering around the top spot of the myriad polls. This time, the Dallas Mavericks -- on a six-game winning streak -- are the critics' darlings for the week. They're bolstered by an improved defense led by offseason acquisition Tyson Chandler, whose feet aren't broken down this year. He anchors the middle in lieu of last season's traded-for center, Brendan Haywood who, after signing a six-year $55 million deal with Dallas in the summer, is now coming off the bench. Mavs owner Mark Cuban is many things, and one of them is a man who loves overpaying unproductive centers.
A few teams have been reeling in the past week, including the Los Angeles Lakers, who have now lost three in a row (OMG APOCALYPSE LOL), mainly because they seem to have decided that they're too Hollywood for defense. The Portland Trailblazers who (totally shockingly) are beset with injuries, have fallen below .500 after dropping four games in a row. (As an added bonus, star Brandon Roy may decide at any minute he can no longer play basketball with his cartilage-less knees.) And the New Orleans Hornets, who spent the first three weeks of the season confounding people by not sucking, have sucked, losing four of their last five, which I'm sure will prompt speculation that Chris Paul is being traded to the Knicks for Wilson Chandler's new ceramic tooth, a conditional second-round pick, and fat Eddy Curry.
On the "implosion forthcoming" front, the Sacramento Kings are a mess of sassy personnel that don't like coach Paul Westphal. Lottery pick DeMarcus Cousins has been kicked out of practice, probably for excessive douche-baggery; star Tyreke Evans reportedly has issues like "being too good to be on such a bad team"; and Carl Landry was late for a shootaround and is now banished to being a poor, sad sixth man. It's a team with diva players and a passive coach who's getting paid too much to be canned just yet. The Kings, after starting the season 3-1, have now blundered their way to 11 losses in their last 12 games. And, of course, any talk of ineptitude has to include the Los Angeles Clippers, who somehow are only 3-12 despite having two of the most talented players in the NBA in Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. Vinny Duh Negro probably isn't helping matters, I'd guess.
And in local news, the Phoenix Suns have decided to take a dip in the scummy underworld of defensive ineptitude and have a palpable hatred of rebounding. They're now one game below .500 and scratching to find an identity as anything other than "some small forwards and Steve Nash." Five of their next seven games are at home, so hopefully a little home cookin' will help settle their bellies and get the fires burnin' again. The only way the Suns are going to get anywhere this year is with effort and lots of it. So far, that supply seem kind of dry. That, and they need their once-lauded bench to start playing like NBA players again.
Anyway, on to the rankings:
SBNation.com | NBA Power Rankings, Week 5: Spurs Rise In The West, Celtics Top The East
NBA Power Rankings for Week 5 have the Spurs kicking it at the top of the Western Mountain while the in the East those Tres Amigos from Miami continue to fall.
NBA.com | Spurs stay on top as Heat slide out of top 10
Yes, this is the same guy who asked if the Miami Heat were really doing so poorly just four days ago. The same one that's quick to tell you that Miami is the only team that stands in the top seven of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency. That the Heat aren't bad. They're just playing that way.
ESPN.com | NBA Basketball Power Rankings
Two longtime Texas rivals, maybe harder than ever to separate, have taken over the upper crust of ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings.
SI.com | Mavericks take top spot with six-game streak
For the fourth straight week, a different Western Conference team has grabbed the top spot in our weekly Power Rankings.
FOXSports.com | NBA Power Rankings - Top 30 NBA Basketball Teams
The Spurs take over the top spot, with the Mavericks knocking on the door and the Celtics remaining steady and successful. The Pacers might be the Team of the Week, but they still stand outside the elite. It's a top-heavy league that's really bad at the bottom and really interesting with the "buzz" team of the preseason, the Heat, stumbling, struggling and bickering as LeBron's return to Cleveland looms.
DimeMag.com | Dime NBA Power Ranking: Big Moves in Dallas, Lakers and Heat falling
Ranking the NBA from worst to first ...