Old School Power Rankings 2018-19: Weeks 23-24
NBA.com Global on Apr 07, 2019 08:19 AM
FILE - LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after the game between the two teams on December 10, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Scott Wraight, NBA.com
It was a dominant season-long performance from The King, who for one millisecond allowed others near him in the throne room.
In addition to the champion's showing, there were other things that caught our eye during 2018-19: Lou Williams' emergence, Dwyane Wade's solid second half and Marc Gasol's slippage. As we look toward next season, it's going to be hard for anyone to stop the King's quest for a three-peat. Maybe Stephen Curry? That'll be very tough since he turns 32 next March.
Here's a quick look at all the OSPR champions: Pau Gasol (2015-16), Dwyane Wade (2016-17), LeBron James (2017-18), LeBron James (2018-19).
- NOTE: Statistics are through games of April 5 (PHL time)
- Any player who turns 32 during regular season can be added to rankings.
1. LeBron James (34), Los Angeles Lakers
Previous rank: 1
Latest stats: 4 games, 26.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 12.0 apg
Season stats: 27.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 8.3 apg
Whether at 33 or 34 (his birthday was December 30), LeBron didn't miss a beat, injuries notwithstanding. His 27.4 ppg were in line with last season's (27.5) and represented his highest mark since 2009-10, when he went for 29.7. We also took notice that this was the fourth straight season in which he shot better than 50 percent from the field (51.0 FG%). Is anyone going to bet against a three-peat from Mr. James?
2. Lou Williams (32), LA Clippers
Previous rank: 2
Latest stats: 6 games, 18.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 5.8 apg
Season stats: 20.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.3 apg
Williams closed out strong, notching six straight games of 14 or more points. He also managed 20 or more in four of the last nine and seven or more assists in three of the last five. This also makes two consecutive seasons in which Williams averaged more than 20 points per game while matching a career high with 5.3 assists. We also can't fail to mention he secured his first career triple-double in 2018-19.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge (33), San Antonio Spurs
Previous rank: 3
Latest stats: 7 games, 21.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.7 apg
Season stats: 21.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.4 apg
Despite a monster 48-point, 13-rebound game on March 24 (Mar. 25, PHL time) against Boston, Aldridge didn't have quite enough juice to overtake Williams at No. 2. He did chip in another solid showing (27 points and 18 rebounds on Monday, PHL time), but we couldn't look beyond the 10-point effort at the start of the stint and a 14-point on 6-for-15 shooting game last Thursday (last Friday, PHL time) against the Cavaliers.
4. Chris Paul (33), Houston Rockets
Previous rank: 5
Latest stats: 7 games, 16.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 7.7 apg
Season stats: 15.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 8.1 apg
Yes, the shooting was a bit ugly (41.2 FG%), but Paul did so many other things that it was hard not to move him up. He had two games of 20 or more points, two games with 12 or more assists and another two games with 18 or more points. In addition, Paul snatched two or more steals in three of seven. Next preseason could see Paul in the top three ... if he can stay healthy.
5. Dwyane Wade (36), Miami Heat
Previous rank: 7
Latest stats: 7 games, 16.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.4 apg
Season stats: 14.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.1 apg
Like Paul, the shooting definitely left something to be desired (42.3 FG%), but Wade did enough in his seven games to warrant a bump into the top five. In addition to scoring 17 in two straight, Wade eclipsed the 20-point barrier two more times. He's now gone 14 straight games with double-figure scoring, a nice finishing kick from the future Hall of Famer.
6. Kyle Lowry (32), Toronto Raptors
Previous rank: 4
Latest stats: 6 games, 10.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.5 apg
Season stats: 14.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 8.7 apg
We're sensing a theme here between Paul, Wade and Lowry. You guessed it -- bad shooting. Lowry was low man on the totem pole with a 37.3 FG% clip over the last six games. He did, however, manage to dish out six or more assists and score in double figures in 4-of-6. In addition, Lowry had nine steals over a three-game stretch.
7. J.J. Redick (34), Philadelphia 76ers
Previous rank: 8
Latest stats: 7 games, 20.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.6 apg
Season stats: 18.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.7 apg
No more of the poor shooting, as Redick went for a more-than-respectable 46.5 FG% and 40.0 3PT%. In fact, his last three games may have been one of his better stretches all season, going for 26, 30 and 29 while connecting on 15-for-33 three-pointers. It looked like Redick would slip after starting the stint with 14 and eight, but he rebounded quite nicely over the next five.
8. Al Horford (32), Boston Celtics
Previous rank: 9
Latest stats: 4 games, 19.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 5.3 apg
Season stats: 13.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.2 apg
You gotta move up a notch when you secure your first triple-double of the season (and second of career), right? Of course you do. Horford has been sizzling of late, pouring in 19 or more points in six straight while shooting a blistering 59.3 FG% over the last four. He's been trending in the right direction: 13.1 points in January, 14.5 in February, 15.3 in March and 20.0 in April.
9. Goran Dragic (32), Miami Heat
Previous rank: 10
Latest stats: 7 games, 12.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.7 apg
Season stats: 14.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.6 apg
Like Horford, Dragic moves up a tick on the strength of his first triple-double of the season, and first since 2010-11. In addition to the triple-double, Dragic torched the Celtics for 30 (12-for-20 shooting) last Monday (last Tuesday, PHL time). But outside those two games, it was rough sailing for the point guard, who shot just 35.6 FG% and 21.9 3PT% over the seven games.
10. Paul Millsap (34), Denver Nuggets
Previous rank: 6
Latest stats: 8 games, 9.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.5 apg
Season stats: 12.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.0 apg
You're going to take a big tumble whenever you shoot just 33.8 FG% over an eight-game stretch. We gave real consideration to bumping Millsap from the top 10, but none of the names below did enough to warrant it. In his last eight, Millsap went for double-figure scoring just four times, failing to eclipse 14 in those contests. He did, however, manage to turn in two double-doubles.
Just missed the cut: DeMarre Carroll, Rudy Gay, George Hill, Marc Gasol
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