NBA Power Rankings: Thunder making some noise

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NBA Power Rankings: Thunder making some noise

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 7 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 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony: Watch out now, the Serge Protector has an offensive game.
Mark: 11 wins in a row, showing no signs of slowing down.
2
Tony: Blake Griffin and Co. have rattled off 10 straight now.
Mark: Carmelo may be MVP, but Tyson just as valuable to Knicks.
3
Tony: Tony Parker is playing at an MVP level.
Mark: 10 straight victoriesat least one team in L.A. is winning.
4
Tony: Still holding off Miami as the beasts of the East.
Mark: Now Tony Parker is triple-doubling? These guys never get old.
5
Tony: They need Dwyane Wade to stay on the court consistently.
Mark: Chris Bosh having another underrated yet efficient year.
6
Tony: Not as hot as other teams in the West, but a bonafide contender.
Mark: Slowly coming back down to Earth, but still talented.7
Tony: Winning streak came to an end, but have still won 8 of 10.
Mark: Stephen Curry should be an All-Star for the first time this year.8
Tony: Surprisingly boast leagues 7th best D in pts allowed.
Mark: HorfordSmith frontcourt has been dominant so far.9
Tony: Bench has been coming to play, Mon. night in MEM notwithstanding.
Mark: Looking better each week, but Hinrich needs to stay healthy.
10
Tony: Rubio back, Love looking like a stud again. All is well in Minny.
Mark: Brook Lopez is back at the perfect time (ASAP).
11
Tony: D-Will calling out his coach? Uh oh.
Mark: Ricky Rubio was great in return from ACL surgery.
12
Tony: Need some frontcourt help. Last in league in rebounding.
Mark: Quietly have won seven of last 10.
13
Tony: Really like this squad, and they're starting to gel.
Mark: Ersan Ilyosova showing signs of life is great news for Bucks.
14
Tony: We all know George can get hot, but can he be consistent?
Mark: Back over .500 (13-12) for first time since Nov. 23.
15
Tony: Ersan Ilyasova coming up just when Bucks need it.
Mark: One of two teams (Milwaukee) with a winning record and negative point differential.16
Tony: See? They rely on Jrue Holiday so much.
Mark: Brutal four-game roadtrip awaiting Utah (BRK, IND, MIA, ORL).
17
Tony: If they can shore up their D, they may join ranks of elite.
Mark: Philly hoping for good news on Andrew Bynums MRI this week.
18
Tony: Just look like a completely different team without Dirk.
Mark: 12th in the West is the season ended today.
19
Tony: Lin starred in return to NY, but he has no consistency.
Mark: Could sneak into the playoffs as players continue to get comfortable playing together.
20
Tony: Can't hack it when one or two guys go down to injury.
Mark: Damian Lillard is your current Rookie of the Year, and its not close.
21
Tony: Already talking trades? Alright.
Mark: Just 4-10 on the road, and play 8 of next 13 away from Dallas.
22
Tony: When Nash comes back, run offense through him.
Mark: 2-0 week on the heels of losing seven in a row.
23
Tony: If they have Gortat, why not at least utilize him?
Mark: Impressive win over Golden State was part of 2-0 week.
24
Tony: Rough luck this season for Lowry and Co. thus far.
Mark: Trade candidate Jose Calderon will lead a contender down the stretch. Book it.
25
Tony: I like this Drummond kid. Could be dynamic duo with Monroe.
Mark: Roller coaster continues after losing four straight.
26
Tony: Man, they're sinking faster than the Titanic. This is sad.
Mark: Isaiah Thomas showing signs of life off the bench.
27
Tony: Feel bad for fans in Sacremento. No hope on horizon.
Mark: Losers of 11 straight, even Kemba cant straighten it out.
28
Tony: Kyrie's back! And he's dropping 40.
Mark: Irvings mask is a thing of beauty, and its the same dominant player behind it.
29
Tony: Vasquez is putting up solid numbers, but needs to improve efficiency.
Mark: Anthony Davis has lost his grip on Rookie of the Year honors.
30
Tony: Not even an exorcism could help this team.
Mark: Bradley Beal and Jordan Crawford will work well when John Wall returns.

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

"Be sexy."

That was one of two rules manager Joe Maddon told David DeJesus when the Tampa Bay Rays acquired him in 2013.

DeJesus appeared on SportsTalk Live on Wednesday to discuss his time spent with Maddon in Tampa Bay.

"Just be yourself out there," DeJesus said of Maddon when the Rays traded for him. "I want you to have fun and I want you to just have that ora of 'just don't worry, just go out there and play.' It kept the whole team loose."

DeJesus also shared his thoughts on Maddon's questionable managerial decisions in the World Series.

Hear that, and more, in the video above.

Between Cubs' victory lap and Hall of Fame vote, Sammy Sosa barely staying in the picture

Between Cubs' victory lap and Hall of Fame vote, Sammy Sosa barely staying in the picture

Sammy Sosa has stayed so far off the radar that his long-running absence from Cubs Convention didn't even come up during last weekend's Q&A session with ownership.

And the Cubs can't go viral all the time and dominate every offseason news cycle, with the National Baseball Hall of Fame revealing the election results on Wednesday and welcoming Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez as part of its 2017 class.

But it's become out of sight, out of mind for Sosa, who barely crossed the 5-percent threshold (8.6) needed to remain on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for another year.

Sosa — a seven-time All Star, 1998 National League MVP and the franchise's all-time leader with 545 home runs (and 609 overall) — hadn't gained any traction at all during his first four years under BBWAA consideration, hovering between 12.5 and 6.6 percent.

It's complicated with Sosa, a diva personality who experienced a dramatic late-career renaissance and got named in a New York Times report that exposed him as one of the players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003 (during what was supposed to be an anonymous survey).

The Cubs have undergone a complete makeover since Sosa walked out in 2004, leaving him without many allies in the organization. It's nothing personal, but in the past the Ricketts family has hinted that Sosa could mend certain fences and fill in some of the blanks he once left open during an unconvincing performance in front of Congress.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

The Cubs brought Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg to meet President Barack Obama during their Martin Luther King Jr. Day visit to the White House and keep adding former players to the front office. It's awkward after a World Series run where so many alumni showed up to do TV work, throw first pitches, spray champagne or simply watch a rare playoff game at Wrigley Field.

— If Sosa's looking for a roadmap, Manny Ramirez did his penance and cooperated with Major League Baseball to the point where Cubs president Theo Epstein shockingly hired him as a Triple-A Iowa player/coach in the middle of the 2014 season, something that would have been unthinkable during their clashes with the Boston Red Sox.

As a hitting consultant, Ramirez took a come-and-go-as-you-please arrangement, becoming a national story during the 2015 playoffs but largely staying away from the 2016 championship team, perhaps gearing up for his independent-ball comeback in Japan this year. Even after failing multiple drug tests, one of the greatest right-handed hitters of his generation still finished at 23.8 percent in his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

— Lee Smith (34.2 percent) — a drafted-and-developed Cub and the franchise's all-time leader with 180 saves — didn't come close in his 15th and final time on the BBWAA ballot. Smith had been grandfathered when the Hall of Fame narrowed the eligibility window to 10 years, possibly trying to squeeze Steroid Era symbols like Roger Clemens (54.1 percent) and Barry Bonds (53.8 percent).

— This will make Cub fans feel old: Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano are Hall of Fame-eligible for the first time in 2018, when based off this year's returns Trevor Hoffman (74) and Vladimir Guerrero (71.7) should be building momentum toward the 75 percent needed for induction into Cooperstown.