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Power Rankings Roundup: Winning!

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The Minnesota Timberwolves were on a three game winning streak when Power Rankings came out around the league this week, at the time the longest in the league. What difference did that make in the numbers?

Pek has an opinion he would like to share with the class about the power rankings.
Pek has an opinion he would like to share with the class about the power rankings.
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As noted in last week's power rankings, the Minnesota Timberwolves had some winnable games last week. Turns out that all of them were winnable, as the Wolves went 3-0 during this cycle of events, thanks to the return of Ricky Rubio and some high-quality basketball. Did the Internet appreciate it? Let's dive in.

CBS Sports: #24 (no change)

(full rankings here)

After Matt Moore of CBS was the only blogger of the four here to have the Wolves off the bottom last week, it's no surprise that they maintained that positive mark:

It's either the start of Ricky Rubio's ascent to the top of the point guard rankings (two years late) or the start of the bi-annual "No really, Ricky Rubio can shoot now!" Either way, the Wolves are an entirely different team with him back. (And Kevin Martin.) (And Nikola Pekovic.)

I also need to shout out delightful puns, because I can't resist. Moore's comment on the Cavaliers:

This season can be accurately described as one of the Cavs (how they've played over the last month) and the Cav-Nots (those first three months). What? No, I will not apologize for that pun, how dare you.

NBC ProBasketballTalk: #25 (up 5)

(full rankings here)

Kurt Helin of NBC saw that quality basketball this past week, and continues to think trades:

Ricky Rubio is back and suddenly the ball is moving, players are running the break, and the Timberwolves have won three in a row. It's going to be a pretty quiet trade deadline again this season, but don't be shocked if Kevin Martin or Thaddeus Young are the biggest names on the move. Flip Saunders wants to deal.

ESPN: #25 (up 5)

(full rankings here)

Marc Stein of  ESPN wants the Wolves to embrace the tank instead of this winning nonsense:

Trading Thaddeus Young, Kevin Martin or Mo Williams -- or some combination -- has to be increasingly appealing to the Wolves. They're going to win too much with their full-strength team, now that Ricky Rubio's back. They're up to 7-9 now when Martin plays ... and 4-31 without him.

SBNation: #29 (up 1)

(full rankings here)

Drew Garrison of SBN didn't have the same sunshine as the other three columnists:

The Timberwolves' roster received a few much-needed helping hands with the return of both Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio. Minnesota stunned the Grizzlies in a one-point victory as Rubio put in eight points down the stretch Friday. You know a team is having a horrendous year when its first any-game winning streak of the season comes just one week out from All-Star weekend.

Extra Shoutout: NBA.com!

David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT shouted the Wolves out as his Team of the Week in his Morning Tip column today:

Wolves get Ricky Rubio back in the lineup and pull off consecutive wins over Memphis and the hot Pistons, producing their first three-game win streak since last March.

Aldridge also had an interesting note which I hadn't heard before:

Mike Malone's trip to Minnesota last month, at Flip Saunders' request, to spend a few days with the Timberwolves won't have any impact on the team this season. But Malone also met with owner Glen Taylor on a second trip to Minneapolis, which hasn't been out there -- leading one to believe Malone is solidly on Saunders' radar when and if he asks Taylor if he can go back upstairs full time as team president.

Summary

This kind of leads back to a discussion from last week's article about what exactly power rankings are: are they an assessment of the state of the team, an assessment of the past week's play, etc. There appears to be a bit of both. I have to say, I think the Wolves right now are better than all three of the Lakers, 76ers and Knicks, and the Magic and Nuggets are absolutely both in the conversation with the turmoil they have been in the last week. I wouldn't usually lean on the side of optimism, but right now, the Wolves are far better than 29th in the league, and no one really wants to play them.

The Wolves in this half-week before the All-Star break play/have played the top teams in each conference: Atlanta last night, and Golden State on Wednesday. One last big test for these young players before the break.