Welcome to Week 4 of SB Nation Arizona's look at the NBA Power Rankings, where Chris Paul is a happy man and his New Orleans Hornets are winning because of it, Tony Parker is an unhappy man and his San Antonio Spurs are winning despite it, Yao Ming hurt his foot (again) and the Houston Rockets are losing because of it, and Blake Griffin is the best power forward in the league and the Los Angeles Clippers are losing despite it.
Everyone is still talking about the Miami Heat nonstop, though now the topic is how terrible they are instead of how crazy-awesome-cool they are. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of basketball could see it was going to be tough stuff for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to happily coexist and that's how things are playing out so far -- they have very similar skill sets and egos and coach Erik Spoelstra's offensive game plan seems to be, "Okay, LeBron, your turn. Okay, Dwyane, your turn. Now switch."
Everyone seems to think Chris Bosh is the odd man out, but I wouldn't be shocked to see James or Wade be the first to go (probably Wade), perhaps to land an elite center or point guard in return. Pat Riley's just enough of a cold-hearted bastard to use Wade to lure all this top-tier talent to his team, then trade him away for pieces that fit better, just as Wade's getting a little older and a little more broken down.
Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs have taken over the top spot in many rankings, being in the midst of an 11-game win streak. Tony Parker, despite being divorced by Eva Longoria after allegedly sleeping with ex-teammate Brent Barry's (disappointingly unattractive, when taking Eva Longoria into consideration) wife and sexting another (different) woman, has kept his junk together on the court, averaging 20 points and 8.1 assists during the streak. And Manu Ginobili continues to defy age, perhaps super-powered by the ever-expanding globe of shiny, bald flesh at the back of his skull -- which has allowed him 20 points per in the past 11 games.
The Atlanta Hawks have settled into steady mediocrity after opening the season hot with a six straight wins. That max extension for Joe Johnson's already looking a tad silly -- his shooting percentages have been spectacularly craptastic over the last week; he's making only 27% of his shots in three games (all losses).
Another team with early promise, the Golden State Warriors, has also fallen into a nice .500 groove after losing David Lee to a persistent elbow infection caused by the bacteria swarming and teeming in the filthy mouth of ex-teammate Wilson Chandler.
And in local news, the Phoenix Suns, after winning three straight -- including confidence-builders against the Lakers and Nuggets -- promptly lost three straight in blowout fashion, thus quashing the warm-fuzzies of those seeking a respite from the Arizona Cardinals and their god-awful season. But hey: the Suns beat the Houston Rockets minus Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming (even though they got thoroughly out-rebounded by one of the only teams in the league as small as they are). Whoa boy.
And here are the rankings:
SBNation.com | NBA Power Rankings, Week 4: Lakers Overtaken By Hornets, Spurs Despite Winning Four Straight
The Lakers are 12-2 and on a four-game winning streak. But that still isn't enough to make them the best team in the Western Conference in Week 4's NBA Power Rankings.
NBA.com | Spurs take the top spot with 10 straight
When it comes to ranking the NBA teams from 1-30, there is always a drop-off or two. Often, there's one right at the top, with two or three teams establishing themselves as the elite of the league. Late in the season, there was usually a drop-off after the No. 16 or 17 teams, with the separation between playoff teams and non-playoff teams becoming more pronounced. This week, it's apparent that no team wants to be No. 14.
ESPN.com | NBA Basketball Power Rankings
The New Orleans Hornets can no longer be denied. Best record in the league at 11-1. Accounted for the San Antonio Spurs' only loss. Avenged the loss to the Mavericks that knocked the Hornets from the ranks of the unbeatens at home two nights later ... one of eight wins already against playoff teams from last season.
SI.com | Spurs take top spot with 11-game win streak
With their 11th consecutive victory, the Spurs served notice that they belong at the top of this week's Power Rankings, another sign that the NBA's best reside in the Western Conference right now. The Spurs are followed closely by the Lakers, who have rolled to four straight wins after a two-game losing skid, and the Hornets, who acquired Jarrett Jack from Toronto in a trade that improved their backcourt and moved them under the luxury-tax threshold.
FOXSports.com | NBA Power Rankings - Top 30 NBA Basketball Teams
The Spurs are on an amazing roll, the Lakers and Celtics are proving good enough to recover from temporary slips, and there are a whole lot of really bad teams as we move closer to the season's second month. There's a real drop off after the top four, then another, steeper drop in the 9-to-11 range. Everything appears to be wrong with the Heat, who can expect no sympathy from the rest of the league.
ProBasketballTalk | NBA Power Rankings, where the Spurs, they jingle, jangle, jingle
Our weekly NBA Power Rankings, or, how the West looks better than the East right now by a long shot.
Dime Magazine | Dime NBA Power Ranking: There’s a new No. 1 in town
Ranking the NBA from worst to first ...