D-League Power Rankings: January 9, 2008

by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com

The Austin Toros retain the top spot in this week's Power Rankings, but Los Angeles and Idaho are both right behind as they have been piling up the wins over the past few weeks. Rio Grande Valley has also been in contention during the first two months of the season but will have to adjust to the loss of several key players including C.J. Watson, who was called up to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. There are also five teams in the league with 9-7 records, so these rankings could chance a lot over the next week if a team can get on a winning (or losing) streak.

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Wendell White and the D-Fenders lead the West Division.
Noah Graham/Getty Images/NBAE
1. Austin Toros, 12-4, last week: 1st : The Toros swept Rio Grande Valley and have now won five straight games to post the league's best record. Marcus Williams returned to the team after a GATORADE Call-Up to the Spurs and averaged 23.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in his first two games. Forwards Kris Lang and Justin Reed have also been added to the Austin lineup. Next up for the Toros are two home games against Albuquerque. Austin remains 10-0 at home this season.
This Week: Albuquerque, Albuquerque

2. Idaho Stampede, 12-5, last week: 2nd: The Stampede have taken advanatage of their recent schedule, winning seven straight games against teams with a combined record of 14-37. Idaho is likely to keep adding to the win total as seven of their next eight games will be held in Qwest Arena, where they have not lost a game this season. Colorado and Fort Wayne will be the first teams this weekend to attempt to topple the Stampede on their home floor.
This Week: Colorado, Fort Wayne

3. Los Angeles D-Fenders, 11-4, last week: 3rd: The D-Fenders have won eight of their last ten games and lead the West Division with an 11-4 record. Coming off of an impressive 121-93 win over the Dakota Wizards on Friday, Los Angeles will visit Anaheim and host Sioux Falls before they head to the D-League Showcase. They will face Austin next Thursday in Boise in what could shape up as a battle for the league's best record.
This Week: at Anaheim, vs. Sioux Falls

4. Dakota Wizards, 9-7, last week: 4th: The Wizards lost both of their games on a West Coast road trip but remain on top of the Central Division. Their next four games will be against division rivals, including three games against the Iowa Energy. The Wizards have struggled against the Energy this season, compiling a 1-3 record. Center Kevin Lyde became the all-time leader in games played in the D-League when he appeared in his 162nd game on Saturday. Lyde is also the career leader in blocks with 224.
This Week: Sioux Falls, Iowa

5. Colorado 14ers, 9-7, last week: 6th: The 14ers are on a three-game losing streak and have dropped four of five games after an 8-3 start to the season. Eddie Gill has been of the league's best guards since returning from the Nets, averaging 7.0 assists as well as 18.5 points in seven games. The 14ers host Tulsa on Thursday before heading to Idaho and the D-League Showcase.
This Week: Tulsa, at Idaho

6. Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 9-7, last week: 5th: The Vipers will have to make some adjustments as star guards CJ Watson and Kenny Taylor have moved on. The team has already been struggling, as Rio Grande Valley had lost five of seven games after a 7-2 start to the season. The Vipers visit Utah and Tulsa this week before they head to Boise for the D-League Showcase.
This Week: at Utah, at Tulsa

7. Utah Flash, 9-7, last week: 7th: The Flash have been two games above .500 for most of the past month, and should be in contention for a spot in the D-League playoffs if they continue their current level of play. Morris Almond, who was leading the D-League with 29.8 points, was recalled by the Jazz on Tuesday so the Flash will need to turn elsewhere for some offense. Former NBA player James Lang is currently the team's leading scorer and rebounder with 13.7 points and 7.1 rebounds.
This Week: Bakersfield, Tulsa

8. Albuquerque Thunderbirds, 6-7, last week: 9th: The Thunderbirds continue to hover around the .500 mark after splitting last weekend's games. DJ Strawberry was named the D-League Performer of the Week after averaging 34.0 points over the past two games. The Thunderbirds will play their next seven games on the road, where they have struggled this season with a 2-5 record.
This Week: at Austin, at Austin, at Rio Grande Valley.

David Bailey is leading the Skyforce in assists.
Dave Eggen/Getty Images/NBAE
9. Sioux Falls Skyforce, 7-10, last week: 11th:The Skyforce jump into the top ten this week after sweeping Iowa at home to improve to 7-10. Kasib Powell continues to lead the way with 20.5 points, but David Bailey has also been developing into one of the league's top point guards. Bailey, a 5.8 guard out of Loyola-Chicago, leads the team with 5.6 assists and also chips in 12.6 points per game. The Skyforce will play five straight games on the road, including the D-League Showcase.
This Week: at Dakota, at Bakersfield, at Los Angeles

10. Iowa Energy, 9-10, last week 8th: Iowa has dropped four straight, including three to division rivals, to fall under .500 for the first time this season. Help is on the way as the Bulls re-assigned JamesOn Curry to the team on Monday. The Energy went 6-3 during Curry's first stint in the D-League, and will try to get back on the winning track with three straight games against Dakota. One is at home, one is in Bismarck, and the final matchup is in Boise at the D-League Showcase.
This Week: Dakota, at Dakota, vs. Dakota

11. Anaheim Arsenal, 6-10, last week: 13th: Anaheim won two straight at home over the weekend to improve to 6-10, although there is still some distance between them and the top three teams in the West Division. One hurdle that the Arsenal must overcome to contend for the playoffs is winning on the road, as they have yet to win a game away from Anaheim in six tries. Next on the schedule is a home date against Los Angeles, who defeated the Arsenal in their first meeting of the season.
This Week: Los Angeles, vs. Sioux Falls, vs. Bakersfield

12. Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 6-9, last week 10th: The Mad Ants have won only four of their last eight games after last night's win over Colorado but remain in striking distance in the Central Division where only one team is sporting a winning record. Including the Showcase they will play only one game at home until February 5. Sammy Mejia has continued his strong play, averaging 22.4 points and 6.7 rebounds since joining the team.
This Week: at Colorado, at Utah, at Idaho

13. Tulsa 66ers, 5-10, last week 12th: The 66ers won in Utah on Saturday night to snap a six-game losing streak. They will visit Bakersfield and Colorado this week as they look to edge back to .500. Tulsa fell 104-100 to the 14ers back on the second weekend of the season. NBA-assigned players and college teammates Nick Fazekas and Ramon Sessions continue to provide the lion's share of the offense, combining for 36.0 points per game.
This Week: at Bakersfield, at Colorado

14. Bakersfield Jam, 3-17, last week 14th: The Jam upset the D-Fenders to win their last game with Jim Harrick at the helm, but have since lost three straight to fall to 3-17 on the year. Interim head coach Sean Rooks will lead Bakersfield into a two-game homestand this week before they head to the D-League Showcase.
This Week: vs. Tulsa, vs. Sioux Falls