|Rose is back in the lineup for the Bulls, but says his turf toe may linger all season. (AP)|
Updated Jan. 24
I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and say the quality of basketball this year is great. It's not. Teams are exhausted, banged up, injured, out of shape and generally off their game. The lockout did have an effect, just like we feared.
But there's all this hand-wringing lately about how many terrible teams there are.
But what we are seeing are some exceptional teams thriving on the tight schedule. The Bulls, without Rose, dominating. The Heat, without Wade, flying past the Lakers. The Thunder coasting again and again. The Sixers, the Nuggets, the Grizzlies. Yes, there are more challenges this season, but that makes the efforts to overcome them that much more impressive.
And, all in all, the Cavaliers have been competitive. The Bucks are starting to fight some teams. The Kings have a coach who at least has them running something coherent. The Bobcats have no talent and no team concept, but there's still some fight left. This isn't radically different from any other season.
It's been a week of inconsistency, but for the most part a lot of trends are holding. Here are this week's Power Rankings.