Old School Power Rankings 2018-19: Weeks 9-10

NBA.com Global on Dec 30, 2018 08:35 AM
Old School Power Rankings 2018-19: Weeks 9-10
FILE - Charlotte Hornets' Marvin Williams gestures after making a 3-point basket against the Detroit Pistons during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com

While a pair of familiar names battle injuries and try to keep a spot on the list, another duo enters the chase for the first time in 2018-19.

Now that we're past the 'unofficial' start of the season with Christmas Day in the rear-view mirror, it'll be interesting to see which challengers step forward.

Meanwhile, the King receives the first dent in his armor in the form of a groin injury. But that won't likely be enough to slow him down or allow for anyone else to break through the gate.

- Notes: Statistics are through games of Dec. 27 (Dec. 28, PHL time); ATHO = All To His Own
- Any player who turns 32 during regular season can be added to rankings.
- Check out previous rankings

ATHO. LeBron James (33), Los Angeles Lakers

Previous rank: ATHO
Latest stats: 6 games, 22.3 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 8.0 apg
Season stats: 27.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 7.1 apg

A strained groin has ended James' consecutive games streak at 156. The Lakers will be extra cautious, electing to sit him for 'several games.' Yet it's still difficult to see the King losing his spot if he misses three, five or even 10 games. Before the injury, James had secured four straight double-doubles including a triple-double.

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1. LaMarcus Aldridge (33), San Antonio Spurs

Previous rank: 1
Latest stats: 6 games, 20.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.2 apg
Season stats: 18.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 apg

After struggling at the start the season, Aldridge has found his comfort zone while helping the Spurs go 8-2 in their last 10. Aldridge has managed five games of 20 or more points in the last seven while shooting a blistering 58.1 percent from the field. All this while averaging fewer than 30 minutes per game, which comes out to 28.2 points per 48 minutes on the season.

2. Marc Gasol (33), Memphis Grizzlies

Previous rank: 2
Latest stats: 7 games, 15.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 5.4 apg
Season stats: 16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.3 apg

Gasol was unspectacular over the last seven, but just good enough to hold off Redick for the No. 2 spot. Yes, the veteran center managed to score 15 or more in four of those games, but went for 20 or more once. Gasol also posted double-digit rebounds in one game while failing to shoot better than 50 percent from the field in four straight games.

3. J.J. Redick (34), Philadelphia 76ers

Previous rank: 3
Latest stats: 7 games, 18.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.6 apg
Season stats: 18.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.9 apg

Another solid stretch has Mr. Steady this close to overtaking Gasol. In his last three games, Redick has scored 17 or more points, connected on four or more three-pointers and shot better 58 percent in two of the three. He continues to score at a career-best 18.2 ppg, reaching double figures in all 36 games this season.

4. Lou Williams (32), LA Clippers

Previous rank: 5
Latest stats: 4 games, 20.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 7.5 apg
Season stats: 17.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.9 apg

After missing four games with a hamstring injury, Williams returned in a big way -- scoring 24 or more in three of four games in just 22 minutes per game. If that's not enough, he shot an impressive 56.5 percent from the field, 60.0 from deep and contributed six or more assists in all four games. Williams just might be the Clippers' most important player.

5.  Kyle Lowry (32), Toronto Raptors

Previous rank: 4
Latest stats: 1 game, 20 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.0 apg
Season stats: 14.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 9.8 apg

Lowry has been battling back/thigh injuries that has forced him to miss five of the last six games. The one game he was able to suit up for went OK (20 points on 6-for-16 shooting, six rebounds and five assists). The nagging injuries could help explain his uneven production over the last three weeks.

6. Marvin Williams (32), Charlotte Hornets

Previous rank: NA
Latest stats: 6 games, 13.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.2 apg
Season stats: 9.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 apg

Welcome to the race, new face. After starting the season with just four double-digit scoring games in the first 17 games, Williams has produced six such games in the last nine as well as connecting on three or more three's. In fact, he's matching his career best (2015-16) of 1.9 three-pointers made per game.

7. Trevor Ariza (33), Washington Wizards

Previous rank: NA
Latest stats: 5 games, 14.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.4 apg
Season stats: 10.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.4 apg

All Ariza has done since his trade from Phoenix is post double-digit scoring games in four of five, with no total dipping below 14. The shooting has been off lately (36.2 FG%, 31.7 3PT%), but he's still managed to hit multiple three's in 3-of-5 and at least three steals in four of five, including a season-high six in his first game with the Wizards.

8.  Chris Paul (33), Houston Rockets

Previous rank: 6
Latest stats: 4 games, 11.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 7.8 apg
Season stats: 15.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 8.0 apg

Paul has missed the last three games and will be sidelined at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. It could be hard to see him holding down a spot on the list much longer. In four games before the injury, Paul was hit-and-miss, shooting 3-for-10 in three games and 7-for-11 in the other. He did, however, manage eight or more assists in three of four.

9. Rudy Gay (32), San Antonio Spurs

Previous rank: 9
Latest stats: 6 games, 13.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.3 apg
Season stats: 14.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.4 apg

Gay's streak of double-digit scoring games came to an end at 10 after Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) six-point effort. Outside of that, he was fairly consistent, putting up between 12-21 points in the other five games. Gay also grabbed six or more boards in five of six and shot better than 50 percent from the field in four.

10.  J.J. Barea (34), Dallas Mavericks

Previous rank: 10
Latest stats: 5 games, 13.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.8 apg
Season stats: 11.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.6 apg

The good: 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) and 19 points in 8-for-15 shooting on Dec. 20. The bad: nine points on 2-for-9 Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and 10 points on 4-for-11 on Dec. 18 (Dec. 19, PHL time). It certainly has been a mixed bag for Barea, who continues to provide sparks here and there despite averaging just 23.4 minutes.

Just missed the cut: DeMarre Carroll, Dwyane Wade, Garrett Temple, Marco Belinelli

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