Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 3 and 4

NBA.com Global on Nov 18, 2017 08:21 PM
Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 3 and 4
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 5: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against the Atlanta Hawks on November 5, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com

If you want to bump the King from his throne, you'd better come strong. Real strong.

It's true, if you have hopes of ascending to the top of the mountain this season, you'd better turn in some memorable performances, triple-doubles, 40-point efforts and then some. That's what happens when the club opens its doors to "youngsters." 

Even if you do all that, there's no guarantee you'll be sitting at the head of the table, not when a certain four-time MVP goes off for 57. Good luck, folks.

Notes:
- Season statistics are through games of Nov. 2 (Nov. 3, PHL time)
- Any player who turns 32 during the regular season can be added to the rankings.

1.  LeBron James (32), Cleveland Cavaliers

Previous rank: 1
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 31.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 8.6 apg
Season stats: 28.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.7 apg

Anytime you open the two-week period with a 57-point performance, you ain't going anywhere. Period. Mr. James could've put up bagels the rest of the way and it wouldn't have mattered (We say that knowing it never would've happened). And here's the real scary part: LeBron is eclipsing career-highs in FG% (57.9), FT% (81.4), assists (8.7) and blocks (1.3). Like a fine wine, right?
 
2.  Marc Gasol (32), Memphis Grizzlies

Previous rank: 3
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 19.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.3 apg
Season stats: 20.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.4 apg

It was looking like a ho-hum stretch for Gasol ... until he exploded for 35 and 13 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Like James, Gasol is setting career-highs in several categories: 9.3 rebounds (would tie his mark set in 2009-10), 1.9 blocks (would tie his mark in '11-12) and 1.6 3-pointers made per game. He's also just four double-doubles away from matching all of last season's total.

3.  LaMarcus Aldridge (32), San Antonio Spurs

Previous rank: 2
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 20.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
Season stats: 22.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.4 apg

Despite slipping one spot, Aldridge had a relatively productive period, including a 32-point showing Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). But the big thing for Aldridge is rest. In three games with no rest, he averaged 14.3 points and 43.2 FG%. In two games with one day of rest, he totaled 23 points and 59.4 FG%. And in two games with two days of rest, Aldridge went for 26 points and 57.1 FG%.

4.  Carmelo Anthony (33), Oklahoma City Thunder

Previous rank: 4
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 16.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.3 apg
Season stats: 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 apg

Unlike James and Gasol, Anthony is going the other direction in a couple of categories. After shooting just 34.9 from the field over the last two weeks, Anthony is sitting at a career-low 41.8 for the season. His previous low was 42.6 in '03-04, his rookie season. Anthony is also averaging just 1.5 assists, which would be the lowest of his career by a wide margin (2.6 in '04-05 and '12-13).

5.  Taj Gibson (32), Minnesota Timberwolves

Previous rank: 8
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 12.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 0.8 apg
Season stats: 10.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.3 apg

Maybe the brisk Minnesota air has reinvigorated Gibson, who is putting up career numbers across the board. Playing a career-high 30.5 minutes, he's shooting 53.6 from the field, 83.3 from the line and hauling in 7.7 rebounds -- all career bests. Gibson also already has five double-doubles, putting him on pace to break his career-high of 18 double-doubles in '09-10.

6.  Paul Millsap (32), Denver Nuggets

Previous rank: 5
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 16.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.7 apg
Season stats: 15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.9 apg

Millsap started to week in grand fashion, pouring in 27 points and nine rebounds on Nov. 3. Unfortunately, he followed that up the next night with six points and zero rebounds against the Warriors. He did, however, bounce back nicely with four straight games of 16 or more points including tying a career high with six blocks on Nov. 9 (Nov. 10, PHL time) against the Thunder.

7.  Trevor Ariza (32), Houston Rockets

Previous rank: NA
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 14.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.1 apg
Season stats: 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.6 apg

The Rockets put up 142 points in a win over the Suns and Ariza contributed just 11 points? Huh. Despite that showing, it was still a solid two weeks for the small forward, who went for double-digit scoring in five of six games including two steals in four straight. He's also connected on at least three three's in six of his last eight games.

8.  Zach Randolph (36), Sacramento Kings

Previous rank: 10
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 15.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.3 apg
Season stats: 13.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.8 apg

Randolph, who has started every game this season for the Kings while averaging 25.4 minutes, is getting with the times and taking his game out beyond the arc. Before this season, the most three-pointers Z-Bo had made in a season was 25 back in '08-09 with the Clippers. This season, he already has eight (8-for-20), putting him on pace for 40-45. 

9.  Courtney Lee (32), New York Knicks

Previous rank: NA
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 13.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg
Season stats: 11.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg

Lee has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. Starting and averaging more than 33 minutes, he's scored in double figures in four consecutive games while connecting on at least two treys in three straight. In fact, Lee has made at least two three's in 7-of-14 games and is shooting a career-high 47.2 from deep.

10.  J.J. Redick (33), Philadelphia 76ers

Previous rank: Just missed
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 17.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.0 apg
Season stats: 14.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.1 apg

Redick started the stretch nicely, snatching his first 30-point game of the season (31 points with 8-for-12 three's). He followed that up with five straight games of double-figure scoring, though two of those (10 on Tuesday, PHL time, 11 on Thursday, PHL time) left much to be desired. Much of Redick's success is tied to his long-range accuracy, which has been off in the early going (35 percent).

Just missed the cut: J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, J.J. Barea, Pau Gasol, Marcin Gortat

Will turn 32 this season: Dwight Howard (Dec. 8), Gerald Green (Jan. 26), Rajon Rondo (Feb. 22), Corey Brewer (March 5), Kyle Lowry (March 25), Marco Belinelli (March 25).

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