30. Minnesota Timberwolves (Last week’s ranking: 30): Kevin Love has sat out seven of the T-Wolves’ last 10 games and to no one’s surprise, they are struggling mightily. It didn’t seem possible for anyone to challenge Cleveland for the worst team in basketball, but having lost 13 straight games, Minnesota is definitely making a case in that argument.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers (29): The only way the Cavs’ season can get any worse is if they fall out of the top-three picks in the NBA Draft. It’s not set in stone that they will have one of those picks, but at the same time, they are tied for the worst record and the league. Coupled with LeBron’s demoralizing departure last summer, I don’t think Cleveland fans can handle any more disappointment.
28. Toronto Raptors (27): DeMar DeRozan is coming along nicely and his athleticism is almost reminiscent of a young Vince Carter. His jumper might not be there yet, but if he continues to improve (he’s averaging 21.5 PPG over his last 10 games and 17.2 for the entire season) he might become the man who brings basketball back to Toronto.
27. New Jersey Nets (28): If the Nets want to keep Deron Williams around past 2011-12, they better have some moves in the works this summer, because without their No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, they will have to find other ways to bring in talent to surround their all-star point guard. Otherwise, he will jump ship without blinking an eye.
26. Washington Wizards (26): Similar to last season, Andray Blatche is finishing out the year on a strong note (23.9 PPG and 11.6 RPG over his last 10 contests). If he could play this way for even 60 games out of the year, he would be an all-star. Along with Blatche, John Wall, JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford, the Wizards have a solid core of young guys, but also similar to the Sacramento Kings, they are very immature as well.