The Tank watch is now back, after a one week tryptophan induced break. Not a ton has changed in the week we missed, the East is still awful (except for Miami and Indiana), the West is still deep and neither of the coaches who work in the New York area know what they are doing.
The Bottom Five:
1. Milwaukee (3-15): Too bad the Bucks don’t play the Celtics every game, Milwaukee is 2-1 against Boston and 1-14 against every other team in the league. Going into the season, I had the Bucks as a fringe playoff team, but after injuries to Larry Sanders, Caron Butler, Carlos Delfino, Zaza Pachulia and Brandon Knight (Knight and Pachulia have since returned) they are suddenly the worst team in the league. Once those players come back, their team will skyrocket from truly shitty to just kind of smelly.
2. Utah (4-16): Since Trey Burke became healthy enough to be moved back into the starting lineup the Jazz are 3-3. Utah now has good young players at every position, this team will only improve as the year goes on. The only problem is, they play in the West, so that any progress they make will be overshadowed by stiff competition. This team started out on this list because they were playing poorly, but they will stay on the list because they will play a much more difficult schedule than most of their tank watch counterparts (who are in the East).
3. Brooklyn (5-14): The Nets are bad. They are too old and slow to play good defense. WIthout Deron Williams they have no shot creators. Brooklyn has no cohesion on offense or defense, which points to a gaping void at their head coaching position. Jason Kidd tried to throw Lawrence Frank under the bus for his team’s bad start, now with Frank kicked off the bench who will Kidd blame for his inability to be an NBA level coach?
4. New York (4-13): The Knicks take terrible shots, and are completely undisciplined on defense. JR Smith is taking a while to get back to where he was last year after knee surgery, which hurts their already fragile offense. Tyson Chandler tore the heart out of the Knicks defense when he got injured. These problems are the biggest causes of their poor play to start the season, but really, the flaws this team has have always been there, now they are just more obvious. The Knicks could start their turnaround by firing Mike Woodson and bringing in a coach who runs an actual offense (and no everyone standing on the opposite side of the court while Melo chucks is not an offense).
5. Sacramento (4-12): The Kings sneak into the back end of the rankings due to them carrying a league worst five game losing streak. On the bright side Ben McLemore was the rookie of the month in the West, too bad this says more about the rookie class than “Thrift Shops” play. The Kings are playing poor defense (26th in the NBA) and are not playing at a quick enough pace to outscore opponents (21st in pace), until one of those changes they will be on the edge of this list.
Top Five Prospects:
1. Jabari Parker: 22.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.6 BPG, 54.8 FG%
Parker really struggled during Duke’s loss to number two Arizona. Well, he really struggled by his lofty standards, only scoring 19 points with three rebounds two blocks and a steal. He is quickly showing that he is not only the best prospect in the draft but the best player in college basketball. This year at Duke is giving Parker experience losing to more talented teams, which will come in handy when he is playing for a team like the Bucks next year.
2. Andrew Wiggins: 14.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, .6 BPG, 49.3 FG%
Kansas’ surprise loss to Villanova last week illustrated the biggest knock on Andrew Wiggins. In a tight game in which the Jayhawks had trouble scoring, Wiggins faded into the background, only taking 8 shots and scoring 10 points. Wiggins is a super athlete with all star potential but until he shows the aggressiveness needed to take over a game, Parker is the better pick.
3. Julius Randle: 18.1 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, .6 BPG, 52.9 FG%
Randle is simply a monster. If he gets the ball on the block he is going to score. If you deny him the ball and focus on someone else, he is going to get the rebound and then score. He is going to come into the NBA and immediately dominate the glass. Randle is a throwback player who is a master of the post. Since post touches are not as heavily utilized as they used to be in the league, a team might have to remake its offense for him, but it will be worth it.
4. Marcus Smart: 20.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.6 APG, .6 BPG, 46 FG%, 3.0 SPG
Marcus Smart can really score. His football player size allows him to punish smaller point guards in the post, if he is guarded bigger player on him he will use his quickness to get to the hole, give him space and he might even knock down a jumper. In addition to being a great scorer he is a very good on the ball defender. Still the same questions I had about him coming into the year remain, will he be an efficient scorer in the NBA? Is he disciplined enough to play in an NBA defense or will his gambling get him caught out of position.
5. Aaron Gordon: 13 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 51.3 FG%
Aaron Gordon makes it back on the list because of the play of his team. Of all the highly touted Freshman, Gordon is on the best team. With stellar teammates around him, Gordon is able to grow into his role and not be looked at to lead the team immediately. With less pressure on his shoulders Gordon is able to slowly improve his game and not pick up any bad habits along the way.