Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 20-21

NBA.com Global on Mar 18, 2018 08:23 AM
Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 20-21
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 1: Rajon Rondo #9 of the New Orleans Pelicans looks to pass against the Utah Jazz on December 1, 2017 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com

The NBA's regular season ends April 11 (April 12, PHL time), but for those chasing the King, the season is officially over. Book it.

With the top dog distancing himself even more, the only race remaining is for runner-up honors, which appears to be a three-man chase.

After just missing the cut in his inaugural OSPR showing, a certain enigmatic point guard in New Orleans finds himself in the race. Also take note of who'll be joining the 32-and-older club later this month. That could make things interesting.

- Notes: Season statistics are through games of March 15 (Mar. 16, PHL time)
- Any player who turns 32 during regular season can be added to rankings.

1. LeBron James (33), Cleveland Cavaliers

Previous rank: 1
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 29.6 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 8.9 apg
Season stats: 27.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 9.0 apg

No matter which stats you look at, they're all impressive: 25 or more points in nine of the last 10 games, double-digit rebounds in four straight, double-digit assists in four of the last nine and better than 50 percent from the field in five of the last six. James is absolutely right when he says he's like a fine wine that gets better with age.

2. LaMarcus Aldridge (32), San Antonio Spurs

Previous rank: 2
Last weeks' stats: 5 games, 19.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.2 apg
Season stats: 22.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.0 apg

Because of knee/ankle issues over the couple of weeks, Aldridge's grip on the No. 2 spot is weakening. The Spurs big man started the two-week stint by missing the March 3 game with a sprained ankle. He then played three games (scoring 30 in one) before missing another game with a sore knee. On a positive note, he's gone for 24 and 25 in the last two games.

3. Dwight Howard (32), Charlotte Hornets

Previous rank: 4
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 21.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.0 apg
Season stats: 16.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 1.3 apg

It looked like Howard would slip a couple spots when he began the stint with six points on March 2 (Mar. 3, PHL time) and 10 points on March 4 (Mar. 5, PHL time). But he rebounded nicely, turning in three 30-point games over the next five. Over the seven games, Howard shot a blistering 63.6 from the field to go along with 2.3 blocks. That was more than enough to leap over Paul.

4. Chris Paul (32), Houston Rockets

Previous rank: 3
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 17.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 7.1 apg
Season stats: 18.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 8.0 apg

Ho-hum is probably the best way to describe Paul's last seven games. He did manage to score 15 or more in five of the seven, but broke 20 just twice. He also dished out double-digit assists just twice while managing two games with just three dimes. Paul did, however, shoot a respectable 45.7 from the field.

5. Marc Gasol (32), Memphis Grizzlies

Previous rank: 5
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 18.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 5.5 apg
Season stats: 17.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 4.1 apg

It was a typical six games for Gasol, who in addition to going for 20 or more points in three games also snatched double-digit rebounds three times. In fact, his only stinker was a nine-point, 11-rebound effort March 9 (Mar. 10, PHL time) against Utah. Other than that, Gasol managed at least 17 points and six rebounds in all.

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

Previous rank: 6
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 16.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.1 apg
Season stats: 16.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.1 apg

We pretty know what we're going to get with Redick: 17-20 points a night and not much in the way of rebounds or assists. Well, Redick certainly stayed true to form in the last seven games, going for 16-18 points in five of seven. He also didn't manage more than three rebounds or five assists in any one game.

7.  Zach Randolph (36), Sacramento Kings

Previous rank: 7
Last weeks' stats: 5 games, 15.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.2 apg
Season stats: 14.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.1 apg

The big man continues to plug away, averaging a surprising 25.8 minutes while starting 56 of 57 games. Of course like most players, he's more comfortable and effective at home. In his last three games, Randolph averaged 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 44.7 from the field. In his last two road games, he averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 34.4 from the field.

8.  Carmelo Anthony (33), Oklahoma City Thunder

Previous rank: 8
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 15.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.8 apg
Season stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.3 apg

OK, we'll choose not to talk about the shooting (we can see the numbers). Anthony has gotten into a bit of a groove from deep, hitting at least three three-pointers in four of his last five (43.9 percent). He's also gone for 20 or more points in three of his last five. So why didn't he move up? Because of last Saturday's (last Sunday, PHL time) two-point performance on 1-for-7 shooting.

9.  Rajon Rondo (32), New Orleans Pelicans

Previous rank: Just missed
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 9.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 8.6 apg
Season stats: 7.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 7.7 apg

We'll be perfectly honest: Rondo basically made the cut on the strength of one game -- a 12-point, 17-assist showing against the Hornets. Other than that, he had one just above-average performance (14 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists) coupled with three games in which he failed to score more than six points.

10. Dirk Nowitzki (39), Dallas Mavericks

Previous rank: Just missed
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 14.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
Season stats: 12.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.6 apg

Nowitzki started the two-week stint in solid form, going for 18, 23 and 17 points. Unfortunately, he tailed off a bit, going for 13 or less in the next three games. But the big German shot well (48.4 FG% and 44.7 3PT%), connecting on three or more three's in four of the six games.

Just missed the cut: Dwyane Wade, Kyle Korver, J.J. Barea, Trevor Ariza

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

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