NBA Power Rankings: Bledsoe keeping LAC afloat

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NBA Power Rankings: Bledsoe keeping LAC afloat

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 11 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 Week 10

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony: Durant plays like he's a cheat code.
Mark: An NBA-best 18-3 against the Western conference.
2
Tony: Bledsoe starring in CP3's absence.
Mark: How many teams would use Eric Bledose as a starter?
3
Tony: Same old, same old. Can Popp stir up some controversy again?
Mark: Ginobili missing two weeks will hurt quest for top spot in the West.
4
Tony: Trade Rudy Gay? Why would they do that? Legit title shot this year.
Mark: LeBron is still my MVP pick, but they need to figure out road woes.
5
Tony: David Lee is playing like a Warrior. Get it?
Mark: LeBron is still my MVP pick, but they need to figure out road woes.
6
Tony: Wow, never thought I'd move Heat out of Top 5, but they've lost 4 of 6.
Mark: Nuggets have won 8 of 10, are 14-2 at home. Rising fast.7
Tony: Gotta find a way to beat CHI.
Mark: Don't expect Carmelo to take any cereal endorsements in the near future.8
Tony: Lawson, Iggy leading well-balanced unit.
Mark: How long can this thing (No. 5 in the West) last?
9
Tony: Hottest team in the league right now.
Mark: An Eastern Conference-best 8-2 over their last 10 games.
10
Tony: Awesome at home, not so much on the road.
Mark: Danny Granger nearing a return, which could mean trouble for fellow Central Division foes.
11
Tony: Man, they need to shore up their play at the UC.
Mark: Tough to get a read on this team, especially after this week's roller coaster.
12
Tony: Ugly, ugly, ugly loss in Chi. Should be knocked out of Top 15 for that.
Mark: Quietly have won six in a row and are back in the playoff mix.
13
Tony: Asik has slowed down a bit. Growing weary with starter's minutes?
Mark: 58 points. In a game. Erm. Moving on.
14
Tony: Sullinger is looking like Boston's savior right now.
Mark: How good was Wes Matthews in the final minute against the Heat? Real good.
15
Tony: Man, can they fill up the stat sheet. Well, the starters can, at least.
Mark: The NBA's highest scoring team continues to move right along.
16
Tony: If only they played the Bulls every game...
Mark: Solid win over Miami last night as they fight for the last playoff seed.
17
Tony: They need Mighty Mo back.
Mark: John Henson is going to be a player in the NBA.
18
Tony: Injuries just sinking this season for 'Wolves.
Mark: Still haven't given up hope, but wow, what a disappointment.
19
Tony: It's getting pretty late. Do they have time to turn things around?
Mark: Good news for Andrew Bynum! All-Star center could be back at the All-Starb break.
20
Tony: Is this their true form or just a bad slump?
Mark: The wheels are coming off without Kevin Love, and Rubio still isn't near 100 percent.
21
Tony: Have quietly won 7 of 10.
Mark: A big fan of the Lowry-Calderon point guard duo. Will the latter be dealt?
22
Tony: Mark Cuban's gonna do somethin' crazy in second half.
Mark: They've won 7 of their last 10, including W's over Miami and Atlanta.
23
Tony: Lowry and Calderon co-existing experiment going just OK.
Mark: Dirk's return hasn't meant much to Dallas, which still sits 5.0 games back of final playoff spot.
24
Tony: Cousins has been another player altogether since suspension.
Mark: Isaiah Thomas back in the starting lineup and playing well.
25
Tony: Hey! They picked up a win on the road!
Mark: Worst record in the West, but defense has played well all year.
26
Tony: Gordon, Vasquez playing well alongside each other.
Mark: Glen Davis back in the rotation will help, but they've dropped nine of 10.
27
Tony: Have lost 9 of 10 and 5 straight.
Mark: 2-8 in their last 10, but a home win against the Bulls was nice.
28
Tony: Man, they won 3 in a row?? Completely different team with Wall back.
Mark: The Wizards have won two straight since John Wall returned. Baby steps.
29
Tony: Get the nod over CHA because they're only on 3-gm losing streak.
Mark: Nice to see Dion Waiters break out of a funk with a career-high 33 points on Monday.
30
Tony: Things have gotten downright ugly in Charlotte yet again.
Mark: Very little (if any) improvement from this team, despite "increase in wins".

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.