Power ranking roundup and Rufus Links: Al Jefferson's time to shine and the rebuild

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

This late in the season, teams have generally found their spot in the league's hierarchy or a groove late in which they're finding their stride. The East's powers are struggling in these spots as the West's are having a bit of an easier time. The Spurs are still riding high on a double-digit winning streak and lead the league. Anyway, let's turn to the Bobcats, considering this is a Bobcats blog and all.

NBA.com: 16th
The Bobcats are 16th again this week as they split some games last week and didn't gain any ground for the 6 seed. Schuhmann, who's great for advanced statistic breakdowns or spotting trends in them, notes the Bobcats are 10th in the NBA in point differential since the All-Star Break. He tweeted out that they have the most improved net efficiency rating in that time frame, too, with the second-most improved offense.

ESPN - Marc Stein: 16th
Stein again lauds Jefferson as he keeps the Bobcats at 16th in his rankings.

ProBasketballTalk: 19th
The Bobcats took a bit of a tumble this week, falling to 19th behind the surging Knicks and Nuggets. Helin discusses how much he thinks Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been a let-down this year, coming to the conclusion that he "can't make a big impact being a big drain on the other end of the court."

Yahoo Sports - Marc Spears: 17th
The Bobcats hold steady at No. 17, where they were last week from Spears.

Hollinger Power Rankings: 17th
Same thing.

CBSSports.com: No. 13
Charlotte is up two spots to 13 overall for Matt Moore, who laments that their improvement will likely come to an end in a cruel fate against Indiana or Miami.

Links

Al Jefferson helps energize Bobcats and their fans - Lee Jenkins - SI.com
Sports Illustrated has a terrific feature on Al Jefferson. It's extremely well done, thorough and a great read about where he came from and how he came here. I can't speak more highly of it.

Grantland: The Charlotte Construction Co.
Zach Lowe delivers his even-handed take on the Bobcats' rebuilding effort with the highs and lows, detailing the efforts to improve Kidd-Gilchrist's shooting and more. It's well worth your time.

Adam Silver: Upgrade arena, then maybe All-Star Game will come
The NBA's new commissioner Adam Silver was in town Monday night to take in their game against the Rockets. When asked about Charlotte possibly hosting a prospective All-Star, he was optimistic, but not without upgrades to the arena. "I'd love to bring the All-Star Game back here. [...] This is a wonderful community, a hotbed of basketball, not just pro but college as well." A couple years ago, I asked Fred Whitfield about whether they were interested in bringing the All-Star Game back to Charlotte, about 20 years after its only appearance in the Queen City. He was of course open to it, though not high on his priorities with the team rebuilding taking center stage, and noting the added costs in bringing the event to the city. Some day, though.

Ex-Buck Gary Neal delivers for Charlotte Bobcats as Luke Ridnour adapts | CharlotteObserver.com
Rick Bonnell reviews the early returns of the Ridnour-Neal trade, with some great quotes and viewpoints from Neal and Clifford, especially, about coming to a new team in the middle of the season. We'll be having our own analysis of the trade in a couple days.

Examining Anthony Davis, the most unique star in the NBA | The Point Forward - SI.com
Davis is just flat-out scary, and this post goes into detail about exactly how and why.

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