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NBA Power Rankings: Doomed Teams That Must Trade Their Stars to Rebuild

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJanuary 23, 2012

NBA Power Rankings: Doomed Teams That Must Trade Their Stars to Rebuild

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    It's time to face it: Danny Ainge must blow up the Big Three. It's time to open the phone lines and take request from contending teams. I recently wrote an article that offered some options and trade possibilities for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, but we should see some things take shape in the next month.

    The Celtics aren't alone in their place of doom. There are a few other teams that need to put a for sale sign next to their star player's names and circulate the word among NBA general managers.

    Here are the newest NBA Power Rankings, as well as a highlight of the team that should be looking to sell.

Everyday We Strugglin, Everyday We Strugglin (Nos. 30-24)

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    Last week's rankings are in parentheses if different from this week.

    30. Washington Wizards (2-13): Second win was an upset of Oklahoma City. They're trying, but still lack discipline.

    29. (26) Charlotte Bobcats (3-13): Bobcats need to choose a PG and start looking towards next season now. Trading D.J. Augustin is the first move towards building a team built around Kemba Walker and the player they plan to draft with the lottery pick their destined for.

    There are several teams that could use a quality starting or backup point guard. Augustin could fill either role for teams like the L.A. Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets, especially if Deron Williams bolts via free agency.

    28. Detroit Pistons (4-13): Despite a home win over the Blazers, the Pistons are still one of the most automatic wins for opposing teams every night.

    27. (24) Toronto Raptors (4-12): Raptors missed Andrea Bargnani this week, but the team hasn't made any strides since their decent start.

    26. (27) New Jersey Nets (4-12) Nets need to move Deron Williams now. They cannot allow the franchise to continue to be held hostage by Williams and the prospects of acquiring Dwight Howard. The Nets must realize—if you look at Williams' list of teams—that there are a few squads that could offer some nice building blocks for the Nets. They also have Brook Lopez as a trade piece or building block.

    They have options.

    25. (20) New Orleans Hornets (3-13): The Eric Gordon excuse doesn't hold up when you lose at home to Mavs without Dirk Nowitzki.

    24. (15) New York Knicks (6-10) The Knicks continue their monumental fall. The offense has one play, and that is Carmelo Anthony in isolation. If they aren't going to properly use Amar'e Stoudemire, then he should be moved.

    It makes no sense to pay a man over $16 million dollars per year and not get him a shot for an entire fourth quarter and a overtime period. That is what happened in the Knicks loss on Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets.

    The Knicks must consider moving one of these players. If not, they must fire Mike D'Antoni. He has lost this team.

On the Edge (23-17)

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    23. (21) Cleveland Cavaliers (6-9) The Cavs had a decent start this year, but the last two games looked like 2010-11 all over again. Two losses by an average of 33 points.

    22. (29) Sacramento Kings (6-11) The Kings had a winning week at 3-2, highlighted by a win over the Spurs.

    21. (22) Boston Celtics (6-9) The C's look old and tired. For the first time since they were linked together, they don't even look confident. Danny Ainge seems ready to blow it up, and it's time.

    20. (25) Phoenix Suns (6-9) A 2-2 week included a road win at New York. I'm not sure that is all that impressive anymore. It is time for the Suns to send Steve Nash back with the coach that knows him best. The Suns are going to miss the playoffs with him, and it's possible the Knicks could make the playoffs with Nash.

    Imagine if Nash could still run this play with Amar'e.

    Beyond some defensive lapses, right now, the Knicks' biggest problem is a lack of movement on offense. Baron Davis may be able to fix that when he heals up, but Steve Nash could definitely fix it.

    The one problem is that D'Antoni may be on his way out. Is Nash still worth it, even if D'Antoni doesn't make it through the season?

    19. (23) Milwaukee Bucks (6-9) The Bucks' big win at Miami gave Milwaukee their biggest win of the year. It was only the second road victory of the year.

    18. (19) Minnesota Timberwolves (7-9) The Wolves are slowly becoming all about Rubio and Love. Ricky Rubio drained a game-tying three and then Kevin Love hit the game-winner from distance to knock off the Clippers in LA.

    I've got a secret....the Wolves are going to make the playoffs.

    17. (18) Golden State Warriors (5-10) The return of Stephen Curry came just in time; the Warriors were 2-2 this week. They need to string some wins together to prevent a drop. The injury break is about done.

Playoff Hunting (16-10)

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    16. (13) Dallas Mavericks (9-7) The Mavericks suffered a few costly losses last week—two on last-second shots, and one to the injured knee of Dirk Nowitzki.

    15. (17) Houston Rockets (9-7) The Rockets are solid at home. With some consistency on the road, they can become a solid playoff team in the west.

    14. (8) Los Angeles Lakers (10-8) Kobe and the Lakers have a solid team and they will be decent position for the playoffs, but these are the Lakers; they want it all. They lost three in a row, including a home loss to the Pacers. If they don't make a move for a point guard, they will exit in the first or second round. The loss at Orlando was telling.

    13. (11) Portland Trailblazers (9-7) The Blazers 2-2 week is beneath them. Their struggles were never more apparent than they were in their loss to the Pistons. File that under "this should never happen."

    12. (16) Utah Jazz (10-4) The Jazz had a strong week and they are looking like a team to be reckoned with this season. Strong defense from a youthful core, with a splash of veteran leadership.

    11. Philadelphia 76ers (11-5) The Sixers could have moved up this week and proved that they deserved a higher ranking. They went 1-2 against their toughest stretch of opponents (Denver, Atlanta and Miami), so they remain here. They now have two wins over teams with winning records.

    10. (14) Memphis Grizzlies (9-6) An undefeated week has the Grizzlies on the move. They are playing great defense. When they get Zach Randolph back, we will see the team we saw in the playoffs. Only now, they have depth up front with Marreese Speights and Rudy Gay.


Just Outside Looking in (9-5)

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    9. Atlanta Hawks (12-5) Very talented, but very inconsistent. They own victories over Miami and Chicago, but they also lost to the Heat without James and Wade and to Chicago after leading by 16.

    8. (10) Orlando Magic (11-4) With all the Dwight Howard trade talk, the Magic's great start has been lost. Orlando cannot trade him, under any circumstances. Orlando must play out the string, and force him to leave on his own.

    7. Los Angeles Clippers (9-5) Huge win for the Clippers over the Mavericks, leveled off by a last-second loss to the Wolves. The Clips have held their own without Paul for the most part, withstanding a blowout loss at Utah.

    6. (5) Indiana Pacers (11-4) A 2-2 week isn't horrible. The win over the Lakers in LA reestablishes them as a quality team and justifies their ranking.

    5. (6) Denver Nuggets (12-5) The Nuggets scored two big wins this week: one at Philly and the other at NY. Is Denver ready to take the next step?

The Four (4-1)

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    4. San Antonio Spurs (10-7) The Spurs continue to hold the fort while they wait for Manu's return. They could be overtaken by the Nuggets soon, but players like Kawhi Leonard and Daniel Green are getting valuable minutes.

    3. (2) Oklahoma City Thunder (13-3) The Thunder did stumble at Washington in a terrible loss. They drop a spot, but Westbrook has a new contract and these guys aren't likely to leave this last slide all year.

    2. (3) Miami Heat (11-5) The Heat showed some depth and LeBron stepped up big against Kobe and the Lakers, but they dropped a game at home against the Bucks. They wouldn't have taken over the top spot, even if they had won that game.

    1. Chicago Bulls (15-3) The leaders of the pack as they have not only defeated teams without Derrick Rose, they have blown them out. The latest blowouts came without Rose, John Lucas III, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Something tells me Rose will be back for the Pacers' game this week.

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