Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 18-19

NBA.com Global on Mar 04, 2018 07:49 AM
Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 18-19
CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 7: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks against the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 7, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com

It took a while, but we're seeing a true separation of powers occurring with the OSPR.

To break into the top five these days, someone will have to put together a string of impressive performances. And that may still not be enough.

Meanwhile, another name joins the ranks of the 32-and-older club, just missing the cut in his inaugural stint.

- Season statistics are through games of Mar. 1 (Mar. 2, PHL time)
- Any player who turns 32 during the regular season can be added to the rankings.

1. LeBron James (33), Cleveland Cavaliers

Previous rank: 1
Last weeks' stats: 5 games, 27.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 8.6 apg
Season stats: 26.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 9.0 apg

James averaged a triple-double (27.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 10.5 assists) for the month of February. 'Nuff said. It was about a month ago when it appeared he was losing his grip on the throne. Think again, people! If that's not enough, he's gone for 30 or more in three straight games for the first time this season.

2. LaMarcus Aldridge (32), San Antonio Spurs

Previous rank: 2
Last weeks' stats: 3 games, 24.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
Season stats: 22.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.0 apg

The two-week stint couldn't have started better for Aldridge, who poured in 38 points on Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time) followed by a 27-point showing two days later. But the strong start was negated by an injury-shortened eight-point performance on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Aldridge was forced to leave after just 13 minutes with a sprained ankle, which will keep him day-to-day.

3. Chris Paul (32), Houston Rockets

Previous rank: 3
Last weeks' stats: 4 games, 15.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 7.3 apg
Season stats: 18.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 8.2 apg

We're putting it nicely when we say Paul is struggling with his shot. Over the last four games, he shot just 38 percent from the field (46.3 for the season) and an ugly 19.0 percent from long range (38.2 this season). In fact, over his last eight games, Paul has shot better than 50 percent from the field just twice.

4. Dwight Howard (32), Charlotte Hornets

Previous rank: 4
Last weeks' stats: 5 games, 17.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 0.8 apg
Season stats: 15.9 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.4 apg

We're not sure what to think of Howard's last five games. He went for double-digit scoring in all of them (going over 20 in two of them), but he managed more than 10 rebounds just twice, including a season-low three rebounds on Wednesday (Friday, PHL time), if you don't count Dec. 22 (Dec. 23, PHL time) when he played just five minutes before leaving with an injury.

5. Marc Gasol (32), Memphis Grizzlies

Previous rank: 5
Last weeks' stats: 3 games, 17.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 4.7 apg
Season stats: 17.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 4.0 apg

Despite poor shooting (39.5 FG%, 30.8 3PT%), Gasol has eclipsed 15 points in four of his last six games. But what we liked most was seeing 13 rebounds on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), snapping a slide of seven consecutive with fewer than 10 boards. It was equally good to see him swat away four shots in that same game.

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

Previous rank: 6
Last weeks' stats: 5 games, 13.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.0 apg
Season stats: 16.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.2 apg

That separation of powers we spoke about? It starts right here. Redick's standing was certainly helped by Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) 22-point effort against the Cavaliers. Other than that, it wasn't much to write home about: 38.9 FG%, 34.4 3PT% and no other games with more than 16 points. And Sunday's (Monday, PHL time) six points broke a string of seven straight double-digit scoring games.

7.  Zach Randolph (36), Sacramento Kings

Previous rank: 8
Last weeks' stats: 3 games, 18.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.3 apg
Season stats: 14.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.1 apg

It was just three games, but Randolph did enough (barely) to move up one spot, scoring 20 or more points twice. His 29-point, 12-rebound showing on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) was his first double-double since Jan. 30, a span of six games, and the most points he's scored since Dec. 8 (Dec. 9, PHL time).

8.  Carmelo Anthony (33), Oklahoma City Thunder

Previous rank: 7
Last weeks' stats: 4 games, 14.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.8 apg
Season stats: 17.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.3 apg

One good game followed up by three uninspiring efforts. That's more or less been the norm this season for Anthony, who continues to struggle with his shooting (36.5 FG% last four games, 40.9 FG% this season). Not that he's ever been a big facilitator, but we've noticed he hasn't had more than one assist in nine straight games.

9.  J.J. Barea (33), Dallas Mavericks

Previous rank: NA
Last weeks' stats: 4 games, 15.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 8.5 apg
Season stats: 11.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.3 apg

Barea continues to put up solid numbers despite averaging just 27.6 minutes per game. In addition to stellar shooting (51.1 FG%, 42.9 3PT%), Barea scored in double digits and dished out six or more assists in all four games. He's also chipped in two or more three-pointers in four of the last five.

10. Dwyane Wade (36), Miami Heat

Previous rank: NA
Last weeks' stats: 4 games, 18.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 apg
Season stats: 11.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.4 apg

Moving back to Miami seems to have reinvigorated Wade, who for the first time this season secured back-to-back 20-point games (27 on Wednesday, PHL time vs. 76ers, 25 on Friday, PHL time vs. Lakers). In those games, he shot better than 60 percent from the field in both while averaging just 25.5 minutes.

Just missed the cut: Dirk Nowitzki, Taj Gibson, Rajon Rondo, Jamal Crawford

Will turn 32 this season: Corey Brewer (March 5), Kyle Lowry (March 25), Marco Belinelli (March 25).

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