NFL Power Rankings – Week 7: Rams break into top 5, Packers sink without Rodgers

The NFL Power Rankings are selected by a panel of theScore’s NFL Editors, including Jack Browne, Michael McClymont, Mitch Sanderson, and Arun Srinivasan.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
1st 1st 1st 1st

Previous Rank: 1st

Did anyone really think the Chiefs would go undefeated? They remain the NFL’s best team until further notice. – Srinivasan

2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd

Previous Rank: 7th

The Eagles’ schedule has been light so far, but they get full marks for being one of very few solid teams that haven’t shot themselves in the foot yet. – Sanderson

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
4th 3rd 3rd 4th

Previous Rank: 11th

The Steelers continue to play up or down to their competition. As long as a they have a performance like Sunday’s in them, they’ll remain title contenders. – McClymont

4. New England Patriots (4-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
3rd 7th 4th 3rd

Previous Rank: 6th

Only the Patriots could have Josh McCown be the sixth straight quarterback to rattle off 300 passing yards against them without getting written off as a terrible team. – Sanderson

5. Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
5th 5th 5th 7th

Previous Rank: 10th

Todd Gurley’s first-quarter surge was no fluke and the third-year pro should definitely warrant consideration for Comeback Player of the Year. – Srinivasan

6. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
6th 4th 8th 5th

Previous Rank: 9th

The Seahawks come off their bye week focused on getting their second Super Bowl in franchise history, with their core in the latter stage of its peak. Can they overcome their abysmal offensive line? – Srinivasan

7. Carolina Panthers (4-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
7th 6th 9th 6th

Previous Rank: 5th

The Panthers remain in pole position in the NFC South, but unless they can lessen Cam Newton’s workload and get the run game going, their ceiling is capped. – Browne

8. Atlanta Falcons (3-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
8th 9th 7th 8th

Previous Rank: 3rd

Atlanta just had to blow a 17-point lead the week before a Super Bowl rematch with the Patriots. – Browne

9. Denver Broncos (3-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
10th 8th 6th 9th

Previous Rank: 4th

Orleans Darkwa was the running back to finally crack the Broncos’ second-ranked rushing defense. Whether that spells further trouble remains to be seen. – Srinivasan

10. Houston Texans (3-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
9th 10th 12th 10th

Previous Rank: 19th

If Deshaun Watson can take it to the Legion of Boom, there will be no stopping his hype train – and for good reason. – Browne

11. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
11th 11th 11th 11th

Previous Rank: 15th

The division is there for the taking. With Aaron Rodgers out and Matthew Stafford hobbled, the Vikings must overcome their own injuries and capitalize. – McClymont

12. Detroit Lions (3-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
13th 12th 17th 12th

Previous Rank: 8th

Every time we want to believe in the Detroit Lions, they give us reasons not to. – McClymont

13. New Orleans Saints (3-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan  
12th 14th 15th 14th

Previous Rank: 20th

Seriously: Is the Saints’ defense good now? Just like in their 2009 Super Bowl run, New Orleans’ oft-criticized unit is relying on creating turnovers. Drew Brees is praying this isn’t a mirage. – Browne

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
15th 17th 13th 14th

Previous Rank: 12th

The Jaguars sit at a respectable 3-3, but how much longer can they accept Blake Bortles’ inability to perform even the simplest quarterbacking tasks? – Browne

15. Green Bay Packers (4-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
14th 14th 16th 16th

Previous Rank: 2nd

Pour one out for the Packers. We’re about to see just how inferior the talent around Aaron Rodgers is, and it’s going to get ugly. – McClymont

16. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
16th 13th 20th 13th

Previous Rank: 14th

Will Buffalo come out of its bye with a 3-2 record feeling confident, or is it time to return to earth? – Sanderson

17. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
18th 19th 10th 18th

Previous Rank: 16th

Elliott has fought off his suspension for another week, but sooner or later we're going to have to see if Prescott can lead the offense without his backfield buddy. – Sanderson

18. Washington Redskins (3-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
17th 18th 15th 17th

Previous Rank: 18th

Barely beating the 49ers isn’t an accomplishment to hang your hat on, but a win is a win when most of the NFC is imploding to some extent. – Sanderson

19. Tennessee Titans (3-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
19th 16th 19th 19th

Previous Rank: 22nd

The Titans stayed in contention for the division by beating the Colts for the first time in years. Marcus Mariota deserves serious props for basically playing on one leg. – Browne

20. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
20th 21st 21st 20th

Previous Rank: 25th

As long as ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald plays like he’s 24 instead of 34, the Cardinals have a fighting chance. – Srinivasan

21. Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
22nd 22nd 18th 21st

Previous Rank: 23rd

Forget their ugly start to the season for a minute – the Dolphins deserve a round of applause for beating the Falcons with a 17-point comeback and giving us all a good laugh. – Sanderson

22. New York Jets (3-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
21st 20th 26th 23rd

Previous Rank: 24th

Typically, a loss could be viewed as a good thing for the Jets, since they can’t keep winning and get a top pick, but a win over the Patriots would have been sweeter than any kind of long-term strategy. – Sanderson

23. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
25th 23rd 24th 22nd

Previous Rank: 13th

The Ravens’ offense is at a Pop Warner level. Just about all their points came via special teams in an embarrassing loss to the Bears. – McClymont

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
24th 24th 25th 25th

Previous Rank: 17th

Their matchup with the Cardinals was winnable, but as usual, the Bucs didn’t play anywhere close to their talent level. Their season is teetering on the brink. – Browne

25. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
23rd 27th 23rd 27th

Previous Rank: 28th

The Chargers finally won a game on a last-second field goal, but it may have been too little, too late. – Srinivasan

26. Oakland Raiders (2-4)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
26th 28th 22nd 28th

Previous Rank: 21st

Even with Derek Carr back in action, this is a shell of the team that many pegged as Super Bowl contenders. – Srinivasan

27. Chicago Bears (2-4)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
27th 26th 27th 25th

Previous Rank: 29th

That’s the recipe for success. Hand the ball to Jordan Howard 36 times as Mitchell Trubisky continues to develop. – McClymont

28. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
28th 25th 29th 26th

Previous Rank: 26th

While you weren’t watching, the Bengals put themselves in position to reach .500. They have favorable matchups with the Colts and Jaguars after a date with the Steelers. – McClymont

29. New York Giants (1-5)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
29th 29th 28th 29th

Previous Rank: 30th

The Giants were clearly motivated by everyone counting them out before the game started, but how long will it take until they fall back into a rut without any offensive stars? – Sanderson

30. Indianapolis Colts (2-4)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
30th 30th 30th 30th

Previous Rank: 27th

The Colts keep showing promise in the first half of games, only to fall apart due to poor coaching and a lack of discipline. It’s finally time to show Chuck Pagano the door. – Browne

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
31st 31st 31st 31st

Previous Rank: 31st

The 49ers are the only team in league history to lose five straight games by three or fewer points. In many ways, this is the ideal result for a team in a long-term rebuild. – Srinivasan

32. Cleveland Browns (0-6)

Browne McClymont Sanderson Srinivasan
32nd 32nd 32nd 32nd

Previous Rank: 32nd

Twenty-two games under Hue Jackson, and the Browns’ only win came last year against the Chargers. Week 13 can’t get here soon enough. – McClymont

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NFL | theScore

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21st Century NBA Power Rankings: Middle 10

On Wednesday, theScore began counting down its rankings of all 30 NBA franchises based on how successful they've been so far in the 21st century – graded by a variety of objective (Best Season, Worst Season, Overall Record, Playoff Performance), and subjective (Franchise Player, Cult Appeal, Public Dysfunction) factors.

With 30-21 behind us – and the top 10 coming Friday – we’ll spend Thursday looking at the NBA’s middle class, including the first of eight teams to have won a championship this century.

20. New Orleans Pelicans

Best Season: 3
Worst Season: 16
Overall Record: 15
Playoff Performance: 8
Franchise Player: 16
Cult Appeal: 8
Public Dysfunction: 16

Total Score: 82

It’s hard to get a firm grasp on the Pelicans‘ place in the NBA universe this century, partly due to their multiple franchise relocations and single name change, and partly due to a lack of consistency – good or bad.

They were more successful than you may recall at the start of the century (the Baron Davis/Jamal Mashburn years), they bottomed out in time to grab franchise point guard Chris Paul in '05, they came one game away from the conference finals in '08 before injuries and faulty team-building stuck them with a first-round ceiling, then they bottomed out again in time to grab Anthony Davis in 2012 – though maladies and poorly thought-out roster construction again may cut this era down before it gets too successful.

Ultimately, the Pelicans escape the bottom 10 because they have enjoyed the primes of Paul and The Brow, because their most publicly humiliating moment (the vetoed CP3-to-LA deal) was more the league’s fault than theirs, and because their see-sawing between fat and lean years ultimately leaves them squarely in the middle of the pack in overall record.

Organizational consistency would go a long way, but the upcoming one-season experiment of Davis and DeMarcus Cousins – flanked by Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen – doesn’t augur particularly well on those grounds.

19. Denver Nuggets

Best Season: 8
Worst Season: 15
Overall Record: 18
Playoff Performance: 9
Franchise Player: 10
Cult Appeal: 23
Public Dysfunction: 14

Total Score: 97

How do you make the playoffs 10 straight years and still score as one of the least successful postseason teams of the century? Losing in nine out of 10 first rounds is a good start. The only time the Nuggets advanced since 2000 was in 2008-'09, following the Allen Iverson-Chauncey Billups swap that resulted in their first Conference finals appearance in nearly a quarter-century.

As good as that campaign was, the Nuggets still score low in Best Season and – due to Carmelo Anthony prematurely forcing his way out of Denver and going on to much greater individual visibility (but not exactly greater postseason success) in New York – they score bottom 10 in Franchise Player as well.

Still, they're buoyed by their overall record – 10 straight winning seasons certainly helps with that – and by their enduring cult appeal, dating back at least to the thrilling chaos of the AI-Melo-K-Mart-J.R. days, enduring through the "no sticky hands" days of the team post-Melo trade, and the supremely exciting 57-win team in '12-'13 (who were upset by Golden State in the first round and dismantled almost immediately after).

The future of the team's Internet-friendliness should be fairly safe in the hands of 7-foot wizard Nikola Jokic, as well.

18. Philadelphia 76ers

Best Season: 19
Worst Season: 2
Overall Record: 6
Playoff Performance: 14
Franchise Player: 23
Cult Appeal: 26
Public Dysfunction: 8

Total Score: 98

The Process may have set up the 76ers for as bright a future as any young team in basketball, but its effects on the team’s win-loss record have of course been woefully deleterious – the last four lottery-bound seasons have dragged the Sixers down to the Association’s sixth-worst overall record for the century, and only the then-Bobcats’ historic 7-59 record in the lockout year saves them from having the worst Worst Season.

It hasn't always been easy off the court, either, with Iverson standing as perhaps the most controversial player of his day, Andrew Bynum treating fans to the most comically disastrous rental season in big-man history, and Jahlil Okafor's very bad night in Boston ending up on TMZ.

But as much drama as Iverson courted, he also served as one of the true superstars of the early century – winning MVP and leading the 76ers to the Finals in 2001. And as much losing as The Process has resulted in, it's also led to the development of one of the most devout cult followings in professional sports, with deposed general manager Sam Hinkie a martyr figure inspiring near-Messianic reverence.

Strikes and gutters for the 76ers this century, as Bynum is all too familiar with.

17. Memphis Grizzlies

Best Season: 9
Worst Season: 21
Overall Record: 11
Playoff Performance: 11
Franchise Player: 3
Cult Appeal: 25
Public Dysfunction: 20

Total Score: 99

Like the Nuggets, the Grizzlies have a ton of playoff appearances this century without a lot of playoff series wins to show for it – in their 10 appearances, they've only made it to the second round three times, and were swept in their lone conference finals appearance.

That hurts them here, as do their two seasons still in Vancouver at century's beginning (combined record: 45-119), and the fact that they've never had a true franchise superstar, with Thinking Man's All-Star Marc Gasol likely the closest thing at this point.

What the Grizzlies do have, though, is a ton of Cult Appeal – thanks to one of the strongest team identities in recent sports history, classified (and largely personified) by Tony Allen as the Grit-n-Grind era.

And despite their GM once being a punchline for his tendency to get out-maneuvered in his dealings, a lot of his once-mocked bets on players like Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley ended up paying off not with a playoff perennial, but in one of the model organizations in the NBA. We'll see how much of that can survive now, with franchise-definers Randolph and Allen finally headed further West.

16. Orlando Magic

Best Season: 22
Worst Season: 18
Overall Record: 12
Playoff Success: 13
Franchise Player: 19
Cult Appeal: 9
Public Dysfunction: 15

Total Score: 108

It feels like one or multiple lifetimes ago that the Magic were a perennial playoff contender, but not even a decade ago, the Magic were winning 59 games and playing for the title, with an innovative roster built around the generational talents of two-way monster center Dwight Howard.

It fell apart with surprising quickness, but it’s enough to get the Magic strong scores in Best Season and Franchise Player here – as well as Worst Season, since they never quite bottomed out post-Dwight trade the way some initially predicted.

All that’s really keeping the Magic from this list’s top half is a lack of real outsider appeal: Despite having employed a couple transcendent players this century in Howard and Tracy McGrady, the Magic never quite built the teams around the two superstars that were entertaining and/or identifiable enough to engender much bandwagon-jumping – and these days, not even their own fans seem to have a ton of love for the directionless squad.

15. Toronto Raptors

Best Season: 11
Worst Season: 22
Overall Record: 13
Playoff Performance: 10
Franchise Player: 20
Cult Appeal: 15
Public Dysfunction: 18

Total Score: 109

Middle of the pack nearly the whole way, the Raptors only squeak their way into the top 10 of our rankings once (for Worst Season – the only marginally disastrous 22-win '10-'11 campaign) and into the bottom 10 once (for Playoff Performance – 15 years in between series wins'll do that).

Otherwise, their best season was great but hardly the stuff of legend, their franchise player defined basketball north of the border but left too soon under lousy circumstances, and their bandwagonability is still a relatively new development, along with the rise of Jurassic Park and Drake Night.

On the bright side, middle of the pack would’ve certainly seemed wishful thinking for the 21st-century Raptors a half-decade ago. On the less-bright side, with a somewhat compromised roster and not a ton of wiggle room going into this season – not to mention a creeping feeling of redundancy – it’s hard to see how their scoring prospects improve significantly from here.

14. Utah Jazz

Best Season: 7
Worst Season: 25
Overall Record: 24
Playoff Performance: 19
Franchise Player: 4
Cult Appeal: 5
Public Dysfunction: 29

Total Score: 113

No other team on these rankings has a bigger disparity between their Best Season and Overall Record scores as the Jazz.

Despite only making the conference finals once, with a largely underqualified ’06-07 squad, the Jazz have been one of the best regular-season teams in the Association this century, with winning campaigns in 12 out of 18 seasons, and never fewer than 25 Ws in a season. That consistency has also been mirrored in the team’s off-court dealings, which have been as undramatic as any team outside of San Antonio.

But that dependability has also led to staid basketball for outsiders looking in. Deron Williams threatened superstar status for about a season but never quite got there, and his closest thing to a successor just bolted in the offseason. The new Jazz threaten to be an enjoyably stifling defensive juggernaut – the Salt Lake equivalent of Grit-n-Grind, perhaps – but that would make it the first Jazz squad post-Stockton & Malone with a truly memorable identity.

13. Portland Trail Blazers

Best Season: 13
Worst Season: 20
Overall Record: 20
Playoff Performance: 15
Franchise Player: 12
Cult Appeal: 27
Public Dysfunction: 9

Total Score: 116

Almost hard to believe sometimes that the Blazers were once the problem children of the NBA, when for the last decade they’ve been about as cuddly a franchise as the Association could ask for. The Jail Blazers era hurts Portland in Public Dysfunction but helps them in Cult Appeal, where they’ve drawn strong for motivations both vicarious and voyeuristic for most of the century.

It's slightly surprising their Overall Record score should be so strong, considering they haven't really had a playoff run of consequence since 1999-2000, but like the Jazz, they just never really lost that much: only five losing seasons this century.

It’s arguable that the Blazers have lacked a real superstar since Clyde Drexler, but Brandon Roy and Damian Lillard (and to a lesser extent, LaMarcus Aldridge) have definitely at least captured the public’s imagination and felt like true franchise leaders; Lillard’s series-clincher against the Rockets in ’14 was one of the great star moments for any player this century.

The Blazers haven’t had the highest-level success to really threaten the top 10 of these rankings, but it feels right they should land in the top half.

12. Indiana Pacers

Best Season: 20
Worst Season: 28
Overall Record: 22
Playoff Performance: 23
Franchise Player: 7
Cult Appeal: 10
Public Dysfunction: 10

Total Score: 120

The Pacers have basically been awesome on the court all century. Despite a brief dip into losing basketball in the late 2000s – the Danny Granger and/or Jim O'Brien years, though even then they never sagged below 32 wins – Indiana has been one of the league's most consistent winners since the turn of the millennium, starting the period off with a Finals trip in '00 and making the conference finals three more times since.

They haven't been the sexiest of organizations over that period – and their franchise-derailing involvement in the Malice at the Palace pretty much dooms them to the bottom 10 in Public Dysfunction, despite a relatively healthy off-court run since – but the winning is enough to get them scores of 20 or higher in all four on-court performance categories here.

It’s a track record that should give Indy fans hope that growing pains from their upcoming rebuild through Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo might not hurt that hard for that long.

11. Detroit Pistons

Best Season: 23
Worst Season: 26
Overall Record: 19
Playoff Performance: 25
Franchise Player: 5
Cult Appeal: 12
Public Dysfunction: 11

Total Score: 121

The only 21st-century title-winners to fall outside of the top 10 of our rankings – though considering how lousy the Pistons have been for most of the last decade, maybe it’s a marvel that they even got as close as they did.

Since swapping Billups for Iverson at the beginning of the 2008-'09 season, the Pistons have made it to the playoffs twice without winning a single game either time – otherwise treadmilling through bad contracts and bad management, at one point winning 30 games or fewer for six straight seasons.

And yet, for a not inconsiderable amount of time, the Pistons were the surest bet in the Association – making the Conference Finals six years in a row, the Finals twice, and in 2004, upsetting the Kobe-Shaq-led Lakers for one of the more inspiring championship victories in recent NBA history.

They never had a real superstar – that was sort of the whole point – and their Cult Appeal was never off the charts, but the winning was legit and sustainable on a level we haven't really seen since, outside of "Team LeBron plays for." Detroit's done its damnedest to undo all of that in the years since, but it hasn't succeeded just yet.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NBA | theScore

21st Century NBA Power Rankings: Bottom 10

The NBA’s 21st century is officially of adult age.

Eighteen seasons have come and gone, beginning with the Lakers‘ ascendant empire finally being crowned at the end of the ’99-’00 season, evolving through MJ’s second comeback, the Malice at the Palace, the rise of LeBron, the third wave of Celtics vs. Lakers, any number of Big Threes, and a lockout, right up to the beginning of the Superteam era we’re currently in.

And so, we have theScore’s 21st Century NBA Power Rankings: All 30 of the association’s teams this century, ranked from least to most successful.

Despite a chunk of it technically happening in a year that starts with "1," we're counting the entirety of the '99-'00 season, and we're grouping teams who've changed cities and/or names as long as they've maintained organizational continuity – so nine Seattle Supersonics seasons are grouped with nine Oklahoma City Thunder seasons.

(Sorry, revisionist historians: Despite whichever team may be termed the Charlotte Hornets at present, the team that was known as the Charlotte Hornets up until 2002 is grouped along with the team currently known as the New Orleans Pelicans for the purposes of this exercise.)

How did we come up with our rankings? Very scientifically, of course: we came up with seven categories of import – categories that mixed the statistical with the anecdotal, the objective with the highly subjective – and awarded between one and 30 points on how successful they were in that category, adding up those seven scores to come up with each team’s final 21st-Century score. Those categories are:

Peak Season: What was the single greatest season the franchise has had this century? (Playoff performance was given precedence, with regular-season record used as the primary tiebreaker.)

Worst Season: In strict win-loss terms, what’s the lowest the franchise has sunk over the course of 82 games? (Higher ranking awarded for a higher low point, obviously.)

Overall Record: Add up the Ws and Ls from all 18 regular seasons – how’s the team doing in the total standings?

Playoff Performance: With a point awarded per playoff round the team has appeared in – i.e., 1 point for a season that ends in a first-round loss, 2 for getting to the second round, etc. – and a bonus two points for winning the title, what kind of impact has the team made over the last 18 postseasons?

Franchise Player: Did the team have one guy whose stardom helped define and shape the league at his peak – and how long did he stay there for?

Cult Appeal: Whether or not the team was winning, did they have enough personality and/or “bandwagonability” to make them worth paying attention to regardless?

Public Dysfunction/Embarrassment: How successfully did the team stay out of the kind of off-court headlines that punish a loyal fan base more than subpar performance on the court?

Got it? All right, let’s start with the bottom 10, followed Thursday by Nos. 11-20, and concluding with the top 10 on Friday.

30. Charlotte Hornets

Best Season: 1 (out of 30)
Worst Season: 1
Overall Record: 1
Playoff Performance: 1
Franchise Player: 1
Cult Appeal: 1
Public Dysfunction: 19

Total Score: 25

It should come as absolutely no surprise that the Hornets (nee Bobcats) bring up the rear on these rankings. Of course, they’re at an obvious disadvantage to begin with in this exercise, having missed the first five seasons of the millennium, and having started from scratch as an expansion roster.

But it’s still surprising just how little history this franchise has to show for 13 years into its existence: they’ve still yet to win a playoff series, notch consecutive winning seasons, or have a player named to multiple All-Star teams, and they still have no obvious team identity.

In fact, of the seven categories we ranked teams by, the Hornets fell dead last in all but one: public dysfunction/embarrassment. They’ve mostly managed to stay out of headlines for any reason but their subpar on-court play and questionable team building.

Zoom out on the Hornets and you can see a vaguely upward trajectory – two seasons ago was their best, a 48-34 campaign that ended in a seven-game first-round exit, and homegrown point guard Kemba Walker was named a first-time All-Star last year – but they still have a very, very long way to go just to climb out of the cellar for this century.

29. New York Knicks

Best Season: 5
Worst Season: 13
Overall Record: 4
Playoff Success: 3
Franchise Player: 11
Cult Appeal: 18
Public Dysfunction: 2

Total Score: 56

While the Hornets/Bobcats have spent the century suffering on the sidelines, the Knicks‘ awfulness has never been far from front-and-center.

Since the mid-’00s nadir of the Isaiah Thomas years, up to the ignominious recent end to Phil Jackson’s tenure, the Knicks have continuously inspired far-and-wide head-shaking, with brief moments of respite (Amar’e Stoudemire’s arrival, the Jason Kidd season, the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis) undone by injuries, thoughtless cap management, questionable dealings, and ridiculously poor player-management relations.

It’s hardly surprising that the Knicks finish with one of the worst scores in public dysfunction, though it should be noted that their on-court product has been nearly as odious, earning them bottom-five scores in Best Season, Overall Record, and Playoff Success.

What’s saving them from the basement? Well, Charlotte’s existence, mostly, but also the peak of Carmelo Anthony – a borderline MVP candidate and legitimate star who spent a healthy chunk of his prime in New York – and the unshakable lure of Knicks basketball, its spirit kept alive at the Garden through cult figures like Steve Novak, J.R. Smith, Nate Robinson, last-gasp Rasheed Wallace, and, of course, the earliest days of Linsanity.

It’s why the public can never totally quit the Knicks, and it’s why they’re never more than one good season away from turning it all around.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves

Best Season: 12
Worst Season: 5
Overall Record: 3
Playoff Success: 2
Franchise Player: 21
Cult Appeal: 6
Public Dysfunction: 7

Total Score: 56

The owners of the longest playoff drought in the NBA – they haven’t made it since 2004 – are another predictable find toward the bottom of this list. The team has floundered for the better part of the decade, only approaching .500 once in the ten years since trading superstar Kevin Garnett in 2007.

Any hope of growth has been undercut by poor drafting and/or player development, ceaseless organizational turnover, and inexcusable management gaffes – like the illegal contract signed by Joe Smith before the ’99-’00 season that cost the Wolves multiple first-round draft picks, and hamstrung their ability to build a perennial contender around KG.

And really, Garnett is just about the only thing the Wolves have going for them in these rankings. A true franchise anchor, the Big Ticket was named the MVP for the ’03-’04 season, where he led the Wolves to 58 wins and the conference finals – accounting for the Wolves’ only double-digit category scores, in Best Season and (of course) Franchise Player.

With multiple franchise fixtures seemingly in place for the 2017-18 season, Minnesota could up their score in multiple categories soon enough – including Cult Appeal, given that the Wolves have been one of the ultimate League Pass teases the last half-decade. But for now, they only edge out the Knicks here due to a scoring tiebreaker (awarded to the team with the highest score in any single category).

27. Milwaukee Bucks

Best Season: 6
Worst Season: 9
Overall Record: 7
Playoff Success: 6
Franchise Player: 6
Cult Appeal: 4
Public Dysfunction: 21

Total Score: 59

When it comes to not winning in the playoffs, nobody beats the Bucks: since Allen Iverson and the 76ers edged them out in the ’01 conference finals, they’ve made the playoffs seven times and lost in the first round every year.

Over the 16 seasons since, they’ve mired in mediocrity. Only once have they won more than 45 games (46 in ’09-’10) and only once have they won fewer than 25 (15 in ’13-’14).

Over that time, the Bucks’ roster has been almost entirely anonymous. Since Ray Allen was traded in 2003, only two Bucks have made an All-Star Team: Michael Redd in ’03-’04 and Giannis Antetokounmpo last year. And while they score low in six out of seven categories, Cult Appeal is understandably their worst showing.

Like the Hornets, the Bucks’ lone saving grace is having stayed mostly scandal-free: though Jason Kidd’s rapid rise to front-office power came with some furrowed brows, and George Karl burned his traditional array of organizational bridges after getting fired in ’03, it’s hard to remember the last time the Bucks served as a particular blight on the Association.

And like the Wolves, there’s hope for the future. If Giannis continues on his developmental arc for another couple seasons, you can bet that Franchise Player score – along with maybe one or two others – will rise soon enough.

26. Los Angeles Clippers

Best Season: 4
Worst Season: 7
Overall Record: 10
Playoff Success: 5
Franchise Player: 17
Cult Appeal: 22
Public Dysfunction: 1

Total Score: 66

The only team that can trump even the Knicks for public embarrassment, the Clippers have done a decent job washing the odor of the Donald Sterling era off the last half-decade, but still have some serious on- and off-court progress to make before they’re rid of it completely.

Even with 50+ wins in each of the previous five seasons, they still have one of the league’s ten worst overall records for the century, and even after making the playoffs each of the last six seasons, they’re still bottom five by our system in playoff success.

And while ousting your team’s racist, slumlord owner is always going to do wonders in the karma department, on-court incidents like the team’s Game Six meltdown in the 2015 semis and off-court incidents like Blake Griffin’s broken punching hand show the Clipper Curse will take time to work off.

The star power has been there, though – whether you consider their ultimate franchise player to be Griffin, Chris Paul, or even Elton Brand, it’s a fringe MVP candidate and multiple All-Star who put in considerable work for L.A.’s second sons. And between their “FreeDarko”-friendly early-century squads of ultimately unrealized promise, and their bandwagon-courting later years, the team certainly has had no shortage of cult potential.

Still, until they go a couple seasons without dysfunction – hopefully with a conference finals appearance at the end of one of those campaigns – the Sterling shadow will be forever looming.

25. Sacramento Kings

Best Season: 14
Worst Season: 14
Overall Record: 9
Playoff Success: 7
Franchise Player: 8
Cult Appeal: 16
Public Dysfunction: 3

Total Score: 71

It’s been a long way down for the Kings, who opened the century growing into one of the West’s only credible threats to an oncoming Lakers dynasty, and who have now managed to lose fewer than 50 games only once in the past nine seasons.

Bad management and worse ownership has been the primary culprit: The Kings’ last decade has been defined by hilariously one-sided trades and short-sighted signings, and a revolving door at the head coaching position. After trying and failing to build around DeMarcus Cousins for most of the 2010s, the Kings admitted defeat and dealt him for a widely panned return, ensuring it’ll be years still before the Kings are anything but a punchline.

That said, though Sactown’s early apex is pretty far in the rearview at this point, it was a memorably high one, including a 61-win campaign in ’01-’02 that arguably could have seen them make (and likely triumph in) The Finals if not for some questionable officiating. That squad – led by Chris Webber, who’d certainly get the team a higher score in the Franchise Player category if he’d had a longer, healthier peak – was also one of the first great cult teams of the century.

It’s one of the Association’s greater shames that there’s been barely any reason for bell-ringing in Cowbell Kingdom the past decade, and now that the team has some nice young players again, you just have to hope the people in charge can get out of their own way for long enough to get it back there again.

24. Atlanta Hawks

Best Season: 15
Worst Season: 4
Overall Record: 8
Playoff Performance: 18
Franchise Player: 2
Cult Appeal: 2
Public Dysfunction: 23

Total Score: 72

They spent about a season as a convincing facsimile of Spurs East – longer than most get, really – but still have spent the majority of this century either rebuilding or treading water. They were lottery bound through 2007, and then a playoff stepping stone for the Cavaliers, Pacers, and other East elites since.

Outside of one exciting, seven-game, first-round series against the Celtics in ’08, Cult Appeal has almost entirely eluded them, and when your shining beacon of star power is Joe Johnson (or Paul Millsap), your wattage could use a significant upgrade. That 13-69 record in ’04-’05 isn’t helping them either – only three teams posted a worse Worst Season this century.

The Hawks stay out of the dregs thanks to keeping a mostly drama-free organization – with the notable exception of the thoughtless racial remarks that brought Danny Ferry’s Atlanta career to a premature close, and the struggle to fill the power vacuum that ensued – and due to an impressive streak of ten consecutive playoff appearances, longest in the NBA outside of the Spurs, though that streak seems almost sure to end in 2017-18.

23. Washington Wizards

Best Season: 2
Worst Season: 17
Overall Record: 2
Playoff Performance: 4
Franchise Player: 15
Cult Appeal: 28
Public Dysfunction: 4

Total Score: 72

Coming off the most successful season in post-Bullets franchise history – 49-33, one game away from the Conference Finals – you might have forgotten just how bad the Wizards have been for most this century.

Indeed, that Most Successful Season is still the second-worst Best Season of any team, and in total, it’s only Charlotte keeping Washington from having the worst overall 21st century record in the Association. The team has hardly kept its record spotless off the court, either: Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton headline the litany of embarrassing incidents the D.C. locker room has seen the last 18 years.

But as bad as the Wizards have been, you can’t say they haven’t been entertaining. From MJ’s surreal final return to Gilbert Arenas at peak Hibachi, from Soulja Boy vs. LeBron to Swaggy P and Lapdance Tuesdays, to John Wall and Markieff Morris trying to be the new Bad Boys, the Wiz have been a continual source of Internet delight.

And as bad as they’ve consistently been, the Wizards have managed better than some to stave off that one season of total disaster, with 19-63 in ’08-’09 marking their overall low point. It’s enough to keep them out of the overall bottom five, but without sustainable regular season success and a couple deep playoff runs, that’s about it.

22. Brooklyn Nets

Best Season: 18
Worst Season: 3
Overall Record: 5
Playoff Performance: 20
Franchise Player: 13
Cult Appeal: 3
Public Dysfunction: 12

Total Score: 74

Could it really have been this century that the then-New Jersey Nets went to back-to-back finals? Indeed, they were the East representatives for ’01-’02 and ’02-’03, at a historically weak moment for the conference. But two straight Finals appearances is two straight Finals appearances, and it leads to the Nets scoring well in Playoff Performance (and Best Season) here despite having won just a single playoff series in the past decade.

Still, the lows have been exceptionally low for the Nets over the years, none more so than the team’s history-chasing 12-70 campaign in 2009-10. The organization has mostly stayed scandal-free, but they’ve been fleeced so mercilessly in so many trades since stealing Vince Carter from the Raptors in ’04 that it’s practically tabloid fodder at this point.

And despite taking on Jay-Z as a minority owner and moving to his cred-boosting home borough a little over a decade into the century, the Nets just can’t seem to capture cool, having stayed defiantly bandwagon-proof since relocating to Brooklyn, with no obvious end in sight.

21. Chicago Bulls

Best Season: 16
Worst Season: 6
Overall Record: 14
Playoff Performance: 17
Franchise Player: 14
Cult Appeal: 7
Public Dysfunction: 6

Total Score: 80

It took nearly a decade for Chicago to rebuild from the post-Jordan days to the Tom Thibodeau era that marked the second-most successful period in franchise history, and essentially, the two periods canceled themselves out on the court.

The team scores squarely in the middle of the pack for Best Season, Overall Record and Playoff Success. Franchise Player, as well: Derrick Rose evens out in the rankings as a homegrown MVP whose career was cruelly devastated by injury.

Sadly, health concerns for Rose and others all but sucked the life out of the team’s Cult Appeal – what should have been the Eastern Conference’s bandwagon team of choice for the last ten years instead turned into an exercise in puzzle-solving, in which crucial pieces were always missing.

In the meantime, the franchise has remained in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: firing coaches before holidays, contradicting themselves with personnel decisions, and alienating their players with poor medical care.

In some universe, everything went right for the Bulls and they’re in this list’s top 10 by now. In this one, they close out our bottom third.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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NBA | theScore

Absolutely Amber: More of Absolute Power – Jose Guerra

We were excited to get Absolutely Amber in the studio when she touch down in NYC. Enjoy the latest of what we hope to be many exclusives.

Absolutely Amber: More of Absolute Power - Jose Guerra

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Absolutely Amber: More of Absolute Power – Jose Guerra

We were excited to get Absolutely Amber in the studio when she touch down in NYC. Enjoy the latest of what we hope to be many exclusives.

Absolutely Amber: More of Absolute Power - Jose Guerra

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The post Absolutely Amber: More of Absolute Power – Jose Guerra has been featured on

The post Absolutely Amber: More of Absolute Power – Jose Guerra has been featured on All Hip Hop Models.

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Power Recap: Season 4, Ep. 10 – “You Can’t Fix This”

The fourth season of Power ends with cliffhangers, death, and big reveals.

Spoilers are below. You have been WARNED!

Raina’s murder reverberated across the entire POWER landscape. Her death served as the catalyst for unexpected alliances, personal accountability, and desperate plays for self-preservation. Her demise also led to the revelation of whose been orchestrating Ghost’s downfall this season: Dre.

Andre Coleman. Who would’ve thought that Dre would be the epicenter of everyone’s disdain? The kid from the streets of Southside Jamaica Queens who was coerced by Kanan to infiltrate Ghost’s organization and destroy it from within, has now evolved from Trojan Horse to urban warfare strategist.

Dre positioned himself with the Jiminez by implicitly excommunicating Tommy from his own organization, attempted to kill Kanan, and will silence anyone who dares blow his cover (including Father Callahan, who tried to do the right thing among all his sinful ways, and still ended up dead). Slowly his anonymity began to unravel, as those affected around him began to collaborate and put the pieces of this season-long puzzle together, along with finding Raina’s killer, Ray Ray.


Photo: Starz

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