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NBA Power Rankings: New York Knicks' Glory Suspended (For Now)

The New York Knicks continue to travel through the 2011 NBA season in a state of uncertainty. Is this what glory is supposed to be? When the world deemed Amar'e Stoudemire an MVP candidate, did they understand that the Knicks were no better than the Phoenix Suns he left? What do you mean Raymond Felton isn't a legit All-Star?! It's like cognitive dissonance punctuated again and again by reality.

But the trade deadline is less than 10 days away, which means that the Knicks and other teams in the bottom half of our NBA Power Rankings will have a blueprint soon.

16. New York Knicks (27-26, Prev: #14) -- That .500 basketball is such a Valhalla for Knicks fans tells you both how incredibly passionate Knicks fans are and how awful the previous decade had been. But that said, a 4-0 sweep out of the first round won't keep the warm-fuzzies around all offseason. Can Donnie Walsh deliver a promised second star?


17. Utah Jazz (31-24, Prev: #15) -- Other than the Knicks, the Jazz may be the team with the most invested in a Carmelo Anthony trade. If the Nuggets trade 'Melo, they will fall out of the playoff picture, allowing Utah to theoretically survive ... unless Phoenix comes charging.

18. Indiana Pacers (24-28, Prev: #18) -- We are all Frank Vogels.

19. Phoenix Suns (26-26, Prev: #19) -- The Suns' newly vaunted defense didn't stand up to the Sacramento Kings, who were missing DeMarcus Cousins. Of more serious concern is what will happen with players like Josh Childress at the deadline. Is Lon Babby going to get into the trade game?

20. Milwaukee Bucks (21-33, Prev: #20) -- Very soon, the Bucks will have to admit that this season is a complete wash -- there ain't no Packer run in the NBA, not in the top-heavy East. But can John Hammond actually move any of the pieces he signed or traded for last summer? Are the Bucks stuck with this roster?


21. Los Angeles Clippers (20-35, Prev: #22) -- As expected, the road has not been kind to the Clippers. Getting a win at Minnesota Wednesday is vital. If they don't, the Clippers might not win again until mid-March.

22. Golden State Warriors (24-29, Prev: #21) -- The Warriors need a defensive-minded big to help David Lee up front, and they could likely use a defensive-minded small forward in place of Dorell Wright, who, in fairness, has been incredible. Can't patience solve the issue though? Ekpe Udoh has looked solid, and he seems like a great fit next to Lee. Patience!


23. Charlotte Bobcats (24-31, Prev: #23) -- It breaks my heart that one of the Bobcats and Pacers will be left out of the playoffs ... until I remember the Bobcats' less-than-thrilling first-round appearance last season.

24. Detroit Pistons (20-36, Prev: #24) -- I think it goes without saying that John Kuester will not be retained as the Pistons' head coach next season. But will Joe Dumars survive Tom Gores' eventual takeover? Either way, it's a huge offseason in Detroit.

25. Sacramento Kings (13-38, Prev: #25) -- Speaking of huge offseasons, the Kings face one of their own. Sacramento's bet the farm on a big league victory over the union, and will look to capitalize with cheap pick-ups. As such, what should be one of the NBA's most active deadline teams (with expiring contracts like Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry -- contracts attached to really useful players) will probably sit on the sidelines.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-42, Prev: #26) -- Can we keep talking about the trade deadline? Because I think David Kahn should get involved. And I'm not talking about a first-round pick for Anthony Randolph. Let's mix it up! How can the deadline not be more fun with Kahn involved?

27. Toronto Raptors (15-40, Prev: #27) -- Cleveland isn't the proper cautionary tale for the Nuggets, but 'Melo isn't anywhere near LeBron James. But the Raptors and Chris Bosh fit. Toronto wasn't competing for a championship in 2010 when it decided to keep Bosh. And look where it got them?

28. Washington Wizards (15-38, Prev: #28) -- The Wizards can finish the season strong. I don't believe that because I believe in the talent not named John Wall on this team. The Wizards are just better than they've performed all season, and I sense a bit of momentum stirring.

29. New Jersey Nets (17-39, Prev: #29) -- Oddly enough, despite the apparent fact that trade rumors damage the performance of young players, no one has suffered more this season than Brook Lopez, who was never mentioned seriously in 'Melo talks. Maybe they should talk about trading him, just to mess with his head and unlock something.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers (9-46, Prev: #30) -- The Cavaliers are champions! Long live the Cavs! (Serious question: do they have another 20+ streak in them? Probably not, as they've had the league's toughest schedule so far (meaning more Clippers-y teams are on the way).