INSIDER: DECEMBER POWER RANKINGS

Here is the second regular season installment of monthly power rankings. The Clippers have put together a string of wins over the last week, taking advantage of a home-heavy schedule of late. See below for their ranking as compared to the other 29 teams in the league. I would love to read your comments on Twitter (@ericpatten) or in the comments section at the bottom of these rankings.

Note: Rankings based on all games through Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.


Rank

Team

Previous

Rec.

Reason

1


7

13-3 

Going well: Zach Randolph is 2nd in NBA in rebounding (13.3) and best evidence of his dominance was 38-pt, 22-reb game Dec. 4. Not so much: They are a middle of the road FG% team (44.1), but that's nit-picking.

2

3

15-4 

Going well: The integration of Kevin Martin. He's 2nd among bench scorers (15.6 ppg) and doing it on 46-47-90 shooting. Not so much: Protecting the ball has been a perenniel problem for OKC. They are 29th in turnovers per game.

3

9 

14-4 

Going well: 3-pt shooting has been monstrous. They made 18 in Thursday's win over the Heat and did it w/o Carmelo. Not so much: The looming question of what happens when Amar'e Stoudemire (knee) returns.

4

4

-

12-6 

Going well: The bench has nearly a perfect blend of scrappers and scorers. If Odom comes along they'll be even better. Not so much: A lack of defensive focus for a full 48 mins nearly caught up to the Clips in Utah, but they were talented enough to bail themselves out. 

5

1

12-5 

Going well: LeBron James has been on a triple-double tear. A game after his 1st of the season, he nearly had another in a loss to NY. Not so much: The small-ball lineup is getting crushed on the glass, ranking 29th in rebounding.

6

 

2

15-4 

Going well: Resilience. Despite a massive fine from the league, a controversial Halloween photo and injuries to 4 members of the backcourt, the Spurs just keep winning. Not so much: All of the things named above (besides the winning).

7

 

13

11-6 

Going well: De-fense, De-fense. Opponents are scoring just 92.1 ppg (4th lowest in league). Not so much: Even when it's looked like Joe Johnson was breaking out of shooting slump, he winds up going on a bad run a couple games later. He's shooting a career-low 40.6%.

8

19

10-5 

Going well: Despite 9 new players they're coming together, including a convincing home win against the Clippers. Not so much: Josh Smith is at a career-low 50% clip from the line. In two games he missed enough to perhaps cost ATL a win.

9

18

11-7 

Going well: Stephen Curry is 14th in scoring (19.1 ppg) and among the league's top 5 in 4th quarter scoring. Not so much: The state of Andrew Bogut's ankle.

10

6

10-8

Going well: They finally got a signature win over the Thunder on Nov. 23. Not so much: They followed it up with continued mediocrity and the Rondo-instigated brawl with Brooklyn.

11

14

 10-8 

Going well: Jrue Holiday is averaging 18.2 ppg and 9.3 apg, proving why PHI signed him to a longterm extension in Oct. Not so much: Two words: Andrew Bynum.

12

12

-

 9-8

Going well: They are leading the wide-open Central Division and Derrick Rose is getting a little closer to a return. Not so much: They only reason they lead the Central is because it's been so average. 

13

21

 9-8

Going well: They can really score it, thanks in part to Harden. HOU is averaging 102.5 ppg (4th in NBA). Not so much: The H-Town version of Linsanity, but hey, at least he'll probably start the ASG over CP3 or Kobe.

14

8

10-9 

Going well: They have stayed afloat without Danny Granger. Not so much: The fact that they score fewer than 90 ppg and have 10 wins is remarkable.  

15

5

9-10 

Going well: Kobe is a member of the 30K point club, is as efficient as ever and has not turned on Dwight (yet). Not so much: Where do we start? Howard's free throws, injuries to the Steves, firing a coach after 5 games...

16

11

10-10 

Going well: Former Clippers Mo Williams and Randy Foye are fitting in well. Foye is one of the league's top 3pt shooters at 44% and 48 makes. Not so much: They are 3-9 on the road.   

17

20

 8-9

Going well: Larry Sanders is averaging a double-double in 3 Dec. games. Not so much: A recent 3-7 skid has the upstart Bucks and their feel-good story reeling.

18

16

 8-9

Going well: Ricky Rubio (knee) has started practicing and could be back soon. Not so much: They are a 30.6% 3pt shooting team and 71.1% FT shooting team. 

19

10

 9-10

Going well: They have two of the six leading dunkers in the league (Iggy and McGee) and are 3rd in the NBA in rebounding. Not so much: Where is depth and firepower that was so heralded early on?

20

15

 

 9-10

Going well: The sight of Dirk Nowitzki on the recent road trip, albeit in a suit. Not so much: Chris Kaman's ankle rolling Dec. 5 vs the Suns.  

21

22

 8-11

Going well: They might as well spell Dame Lillard, R-O-Y. Not so much: Their bench scoring has been morbid. Through 19 games they are averaging 14.7 points, 8.7 points worse than the 29th team in the league. 

22

26

 7-11

Going well: Their Dec. 2 win over the Lakers was an emotional boost, considering the circumstances. Not so much: They are still clearly in rebuilding mode. 

23

28

 7-10

Going well: They got as many wins in 16 games as they earned in 66 last year. Not so much: They are in dire need of shooting. As a team they are 26th in the NBA (41.8%).

24

27

 7-13

Going well: Goran Dragic is having a career year. Not so much: 13 of theif first 20 games came against teams with losing records and they lost 6 of them. 

25

29

 6-14

Going well: After a dreadful start to the season, they're playing .500 basketball and rookies Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler have shown promise. Not so much: Rodney Stuckey is averaging 9.9 ppg and shooting 35%. Yikes.  

26

17

 4-15

Going well: They play hard and they protect the ball. Not so much: They're missing Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, which certainly is why they average a mere 93 ppg (25th in NBA).

27

23

 4-15

Going well: Kyrie Irving is awesome, which was witnessed when he dismantled the Clippers with a 16-pt 1st quarter in early Nov. And Andy Varejao is more awesome and almost a certain All-Star on a 4-win team. Not so much: Kyrie Irving is hurt (again).

28

24

 4-15

Going well: Terrence Ross seems to be finding himself with 4 double-figure games in a 15-day stretch, including 19 vs HOU. Not so much: The health of their new backcourt additions (Lowry and Fields).

29

25

 2-13

Going well: RG3 is 1-0 when attending games in D.C. That one win? A victory over the defending champs. Not so much: The record speaks for itself.

30

30

-

 5-12

Going well: I guess Tyreke Evans is back to being a terror in transition... Not so much: Just about everything else, including some bizarre performances from DeMarcus Cousins (18 mins, 3-9 vs LAC last week, for example).