Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 7 and 8

NBA.com Global on Dec 16, 2017 07:42 PM
Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 7 and 8
FILE - BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 2: Dwight Howard #12 of the Charlotte Hornets shoots a free throw against the Boston Celtics during a preseason game on October 2, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com

Less negativity, a wiser perspective, fewer headaches and inclusion in the OSPR club. Those are just a few benefits of getting older.

On Dec. 8, the club added an eight-time All-Star who has been putting up stellar numbers in the Queen City -- arguably his best stats since the 2013-14 season.

Meanwhile, the King maintains a firm grip over his kingdom while a hoodie in OKC continues a free fall.

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, 28.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 11.0 apg
Season stats: 28.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 9.1 apg

Another two-week stint, another three games with 30 or more points. Wait. We said that last time. Well, it rings true yet again. In fact, James' lowest scoring output was 23 points. He also ripped off three straight games of 12 or more assists, including tying a career high with 17 in Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) victory over the Hawks. There's no slowing the King.

2. LaMarcus Aldridge (32), San Antonio Spurs

Previous rank: 2
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 21.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.7 apg
Season stats: 22.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.1 apg

Aldridge has gone for 20 or more points in three consecutive games and six of his last eight. In fact, his 22.7 points this season is his highest mark since 2014-15 when he averaged 23.4 with the Trail Blazers. It will be interesting to see the effect Kawhi Leonard's return will have on Aldridge's offensive stats.

3. Marc Gasol (32), Memphis Grizzlies

Previous rank: 3
Last weeks' stats: 8 games, 19.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.5 apg
Season stats: 18.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.0 apg

It was a consistent and yet unspectacular (for the most part) two-week stint for Gasol, who went for 15 or more points in all eight games but only broke 25 in one game (27 last Saturday against the Cavaliers). We've also taken notice of the slip in shooting, eclipsing 50 percent from the field in just one of his last 14 games.

4. Chris Paul (32), Houston Rockets

Previous rank: 6
Last weeks' stats: 5 games, 23.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 8.6 apg
Season stats: 16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 9.6 apg

Paul has found his groove, shooting 51.9 from the field, 44.1 from beyond the arc, 2.4 steals and 20 or more points in three straight. He's also managed to go over 10 assists in five of the last nine -- a big reason the Rockets have won a season-high 11 straight. On top of that, Paul is hitting three-pointers at a career-best 41.8.
 
5. Dwight Howard (32), Charlotte Hornets

Previous rank: NA
Last weeks' stats: 4 games, 23.8 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 1.0 apg
Season stats: 16.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.2 apg

Welcome to the club, big fella. Since Howard turned 32 on Dec. 8, he only has four games under his belt. But those four were certainly good enough for inclusion, going for 20 or more points and at least two blocks in all four. Also, in two of those games, Howard grabbed 18 or more rebounds while shooting better than 60 percent.

6. Zach Randolph (36), Sacramento Kings

Previous rank: 8
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 21.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.9 apg
Season stats: 15.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.2 apg

It was a blast from the past last Friday (last Saturday, PHL time), as Randolph turned in one of his typical Z-Bo type games from years ago (35 points and 13 rebounds). Randolph, who has shot better than 50 percent in seven of the last eight games, is shooting 51.2 -- his highest mark since '02-03 (51.3). And with 21 3s, he's on pace to shatter his career high of 25.

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

Previous rank: 10
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 21.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.2 apg
Season stats: 17.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.5 apg

Redick, who will most likely be a bit of a roller-coaster ride all season, is in the midst of his best scoring spree, notching at least 15 points in seven straight while going for 25 or more in three of those games. He's also hit three or more three-pointers in three straight and five of the last seven. This is probably as close as he'll be to being locked in.

8. Taj Gibson (32), Minnesota Timberwolves

Previous rank: 5
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 12.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
Season stats: 11.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.5 apg

Uh oh. Did we jinx Gibson by touting him so much? After stringing together three straight double-doubles, he's managed just two in the last seven games. As has been the case all season, Gibson plays better win the Timberwolves win. In four wins, he averaged 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 58.8 FG%. In three losses, Gibson averaged 10 points, seven rebounds and 38.5 FG%.
 
9. Carmelo Anthony (33), Oklahoma City Thunder

Previous rank: 4
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.4 apg
Season stats: 17.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.5 apg

It's like the popular Paul Simon song goes: "Slip Slidin' Away." That's what's happening with Anthony, who can't seem to snap out of his season-long slump, shooting 34.3 FG%, 24.1 3PT% and 55.6 FT% over the last two weeks. Yes, he did score 21 last Saturday against Memphis, but it took him 20 shots (7-for-20) to get there.
 
10. Courtney Lee (32), New York Knicks

Previous rank: 7
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 15.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
Season stats: 13.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 apg

Three good, three bad and one mediocre. That's how we summarize Lee's last seven games. In fact, if not for Thursday's 27-point performance, Lee may have been bumped off the list. After securing nine straight games of 50 percent or better from the field, Lee has bettered that threshold just once in the last four games.

Just missed the cut: J.J. Barea, Marcin Gortat, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade

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

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