Bulls

NBA Power Rankings: Week 10

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NBA Power Rankings: Week 10

By Tony Andracki & Mark Strotman

Each Monday throughout the regular season, Mark Strotman and Tony Andracki will rank all 30 NBA teams. Below are Week 4 Power Rankings. Think we're way off? Agree with our picks? Hit us up on Twitter at@BullsTalkCSNwith comments or criticisms.
Past rankings:PreseasonWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7 Week 8

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony: Still the king, but a viable case can be made for the Clippers.
Mark: Would have the lost the top spot, but stomped the Warriors on Sunday.
2
Tony: They've been dominant. I have a bet riding on them collapsing a bit, though.
Mark: Ibaka continues to improve offensively.
3
Tony: Slow and steady wins the race, right?
Mark:Consistent bench play always been as impressive as aging starters.
4
Tony: Fighting with New York for the top spot in the East.
Mark: Numbers don't lie: LeBron is your MVP.
5
Tony: Sporting the best D in the league.
Mark: Klay Thompson finally heating up from beyond the arc.
6
Tony: Come back to Earth a bit lately.
Mark: Impressive that they're better without Mayo...never thought that'd happen.7
Tony: Borderline Top 5 team, but have to keep playing at high level all year.
Mark: Tyson Chandler's career year has meant everything.8
Tony: Surprising squad of late. Highest scoring team in league.
Mark: They just won't go away in the West.
9
Tony: Lou Williams has been a real nice addition.
Mark: Nowadays it's impressive any time you beat the Clippers.
10
Tony: Can you believe they have a better defense than the Bulls?
Mark: So when does Taj start?
11
Tony: Big win over the Heat puts league on notice.
Mark: Danny Granger nearing a return.
12
Tony: Playing more like how I thought they would.
Mark:Quietly putting together an impressive season despite some offseason shake-ups.
13
Tony: At least D-Will is starting to play back to form.
Mark:Awful decision to fire Avery Johnson, but maybe it lights a fire underneath the Nets.
14
Tony: Need to fix the 7-11 on the road.
Mark: Still clinging to the No. 8 seed.
15
Tony: Right around .500 is what I expect of this team.
Mark: Dwight, Pau and Jordan Hill all out. Yikes.
16
Tony: If they can stay healthy, I fully expect them to be a playoff team in the West.
Mark: Could see them moving Courtney Lee for a big.
17
Tony: Rondo is having a whole heap of behavioral issues.
Mark: Derrick Favors has to break out at some point, right?
18
Tony: They've really fallen off lately haven't they?
Mark: Back at .500, the Bucks are slowly fading...like we all thought they would.
19
Tony: Pau and Howard out now? This is getting out of hand.
Mark: They were fine without Love the first time, don't know if it can happen again.
20
Tony: Jrue can't do it by himself, you guys.
Mark: The Bynum news this week was...that there's no new news...again.
21
Tony: TheReturn: Dirk Edition hasn't helped, huh?
Mark:Smart for the Kings to not want to move Cousins. He's a top-5 center with a bottom-5 brain. Hopefully he turns the latter around.
22
Tony: Cousins is beastin' right now.
Mark: Really believe they could sneak in as the No. 8 seed in the East (5 GB as of Monday).
23
Tony: Alan Anderson, Lowry tearin' it up from the bench.
Mark: Age quickly catching up with them. Glad they got their ring now.
24
Tony: At least Drummond looks like a future piece.
Mark: I concur with Tony: Andre Drummond is the real deal.
25
Tony: Won't be successful if you're just 7-12 at home.
Mark: Anthony Davis returning helps, but early season success was a mirage.
26
Tony: Maybe they need Steve Nash back?
Mark: What a boring team.
27
Tony: Got some nice players, but can't put it all together.
Mark: Really impressed with the overtime win over the Pistons on Sunday.
28
Tony: Hey, at least they halted their losing streak.
Mark: 2-8 in last 10; need Davis back soon.
29
Tony: My boy Greivis has been dominiant.
Mark: What happened to Dion Waiters.
30
Tony:Played the Heat real tough...until a MIA 21-0 run to end game.
Mark:Brad Beal rookie of the month in December. That's about it.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

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USA TODAY

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

John Calipari's 2017 recruiting class featured five McDonald's All-Americans and Hamidou Diallo, a former five-star recruit who nearly jumped to the NBA the previous year. It also included a lanky 6-foot-6 point guard named Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And for the first part of the 2017-18 season, the Toronto native who played his final two high school years in Tennessee, appeared to be a nice fit off the bench for Calipari.

But something flipped. Gilgeous-Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup for good on January 9 and never looked back. He played his best basketball beginning in late February to the end of the season, a span of 10 games against eight NCAA Tournament opponents. In those games Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He shot 51 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep and 84 percent from the free throw line, and added 1.4 steals in nearly 38 minutes per game for good measure. He was one of the best players in the country, and on a team with five McDonald's All-Americans, he was Calipari's best freshman.

"I knew with how hard I worked that anything was possible," SGA said at last week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "It was just a matter of time before it started clicking and I started to get it rolling."

That stretch included a 17-point, 10-assist double-double against Ole Miss, a 29-point showing against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, and 27 more points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Buffalo. Even in his worst game of the stretch, a 15-point effort against Kansas State in the Tournament, he made up for 2 of 10 shooting by getting to the free throw line 12, converting 11 of them.

It made his decision to make the jump to the NBA an easy one - that, and another loaded Calipari recruiting class incoming. He stands taller than just about any other point guard in the class and might have as good a jump shot as any. He's adept at getting to the rim, averaging 4.7 free throw attempts per game (that number jumped to 5.6 after he became a starter, and 7.5 in those final 10 games of the season. He isn't the quickest guard in the class, but he uses his feet well, is able to find open shooters due to his height and improved on making mistakes on drive-and-kicks as the season went on.

"I think I translate really well to the next level with there being so much more space on the floor and the open court stretched out," he said. "It only benefits me and my ability to get in the lane and make plays."

There's something to be said for him being the next in line of the Calipari point guards. The ever-growing list includes players like Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Murray and DeAaron Fox. It's the NBA's version of Penn State linebackers or Alabama defensive linemen. The success rate is nearly 100 percent when it comes to Calipari's freshmen point guards; even Brandon Knight averaged 18.1 points over a three-year span in the NBA.

"That’s why guys go to Kentucky," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It prepares them for the next level. Coach (Calipari) does a really good job, especially with point guards, getting them ready for that next level in a short amount of time."

Gilgeous-Alexander didn't test or play in the 5-on-5 scrimmages, but he still came out of Chicago a winner. He measured 6-foot-6 in shoes with a ridiculous 6-foot-11 1/2 wingspan, a full three inches longer than any other point guard at the Combine. He also added, rather uniquely, that he watches of film Kawhi Leonard playing defense. Most players don't mention watching film on different-position players; most players aren't 6-foot-6 point guards.

"(It's) obviously a more versatile league and playing small ball. And with me being able to guard multiple positions, a lot of teams are switching things like the pick and roll off ball screens, so me being able to switch and guard multiple positions can help an organization."

Gilgeous-Alexander's arrow is pointing way up. He appears to be teetering near Lottery pick status, though that could go one way or the other in private team workouts, especially if he's pitted against fellow top point guards like Trae Young and Collin Sexton. But if his rise at Kentucky is any indication, he'll only continue to improve his game, his stock and eventually his draft position.