The funny thing about writing a weekly power ranking is that it's constantly evolving. Since last week's rankings, the Kings lost two games against the Portland Trail Blazers, and won a really fun game against the Brooklyn Nets. After each of those games, these power rankings would have looked different. I try to take into account the full week of games, and the whole season, but recency obviously plays a factor.
I'm sure I got a few of these wrong. I count on you, the readers, to tell me what I'm wrong about and why. And based on last week, you're willing to help me in this way. Chime in with your comments below.
1. DeMarcus Cousins (Last week: 1)
Last week's big debate was whether DeMarcus or Isaiah deserved the number one spot. It's easy to argue either side. Cousins definitely didn't have his best game against the Nets, as Cousins battled Brook Lopez all night. But I'm giving Cousins the nod because of his two dominant performances against the Blazers. As Akis pointed out in this week's GB&U, Cousins has three games of more than 30 points this season, where he had a total of three all last season. Cousins still has moments of "bad Cousins", but for the most part he's been playing fantastic.
2. Isaiah Thomas (Last week: 2)
Isaiah remains the 1b to DeMarcus' 1a. He's been a great facilitator off the bench, and if he's upset at his bench role he hasn't shown it. Isaiah continues to make the most of whatever minutes he's given. Isaiah did struggle in both games against Portland, at least by the standard we hold Isaiah to. IT bounced back with a brilliant performance against the Nets, finishing with 19 points, six assists, and six rebounds. Keep an eye on this DeMarcus vs Isaiah debate, because Isaiah is still nipping at DeMarcus' heals for that number one spot.
3. Greivis Vasquez (Last week: 4)
Vasquez had a fantastic game against the Nets, as Ziller discussed. But he also had pretty decent games against the Blazers as well. I'd still like to see more impact on the defensive end, but Vasquez has consistently been a positive contributor for the Kings. For this week, that's enough to grab the number three spot.
4. Ben McLemore (Last week: 3)
McLemore earned a starting role this week, and we couldn't be happier. That doesn't change the fact that McLemore struggled in limited minutes in the first Portland game, and that he struggled against the Nets as well. He often still looks every part the rookie. He gets the nod simply because when he's on the floor, McLemore works hard. He's a spark plug, and you never know when he's about to do something amazing. The Nets game notwithstanding, McLemore gets a lot of credit for his attitude and effort on the court.
5. Marcus Thornton (Last week: 6)
I had some difficulty putting Thornton this high. If it wasn't for the Nets game, he'd be much lower on this list. Don't get me wrong, that Nets game was a perfect reminder of why so many Kings fans love Thornton. But goodness he looked awful in those Portland games. Absolutely lifeless. If DeMarcus Cousins acted the way Thornton did during the Portland games, we'd be reading every national writer lamenting Cousins' attitude issues. Maybe moving to the bench is the wake up call Thornton needed. If he can go back to being a volume scorer off the bench, and can accept that role, he could thrive and rise up these rankings.
6. Jason Thompson (Last week: 5)
JT moves down a spot, largely due to a couple lackluster performances against Portland (seems like a recurring theme, no?). Thompson struggled, but still did enough to beat out the next two players on this list. Thompson was inserted back into the starting line-up as part of Coach Malone's efforts to improve the effort on the floor. Thompson responded with his best game of the season, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds.
7. Patrick Patterson (Last week: 8)
Patterson is lower than JT simply because I've become incredibly frustrated with Patterson squandering his opportunity. He was given every chance to succeed, and managed to put up worse per-minute numbers than Thompson. Patterson, like many of the Kings, did have a good game against the Nets. It's too little too late in my book. Patterson also went 2-9 from beyond the arc this week. Please, PPatt, please stop jacking up threes.
8. Travis Outlaw (Last week: 10)
I've begrudgingly come to appreciate Travis Outlaw this season. I appreciate his effort and his attitude. I'd be perfectly fine with Outlaw as the Kings starting small forward. Is this what Stockholm Syndrome feels like?
9. Chuck Hayes (Last week: 7)
Chuck Hayes has scored 3 points this season, all against the Warriors. He's still number nine in my rankings based on his defense, effort, and screens. I love me a good screen.
10. Jimmer Fredette (Last week: 9)
I still believe Jimmer deserves a spot in this team's rotation. Thornton having a good game off the bench doesn't help Jimmer's cause. Until we see it on the court, I just can't justify putting him higher.
11. Luc Mbah a Moute (Last week: 12)
Mbah a Moute isn't going to fill a stat sheet. I just wish he could fill a role for more than one game in a row.
12. Hamady N'Diaye (Last week: 13)
Hamady played 28 seconds this week. He put up no stats. He had a plus/minus of +21, somehow. Good enough for me!
13. John Salmons (Last week: 11)
I don't know how Salmons gets compromising photos of every head coach we hire, but I know he uses them to maintain a spot in the starting line-up.
Not ranked: Ray McCallum, Carl Landry
Not going to rank these guys until they get into a game.