5. Timofey Mozgov. (Last week: 5) Mozgov's 23-point, fourteen-rebound breakout last week was a tough act to follow, but Timo still worked his way to sturdy defense, tough rebounds, and a spot in the starting lineup. After watching his Knicks get pummeled by Elton Brand and rebounders, Mike D'Antoni called upon his Russian to perform (this is called "wielding tha AK" by absolutely nobody), and perform he did. Brand still got his, but Mozgov's eight rebounds and three blocks (and even his six fouls) were key to New York's win. If you haven't been reading Alexander Chernykh's translations of Timo's blog posts (or the original Russian, if that's your cup of чай), you totally should.
For a guy that couldn't fight his way into the rotation just weeks ago, back to back "5" rankings in New York Magazine's "Knicks Power Rankings" is nothing to sneeze at for the Russian center. This week, the rankings were compiled by none other than everyone's favorite Poster and Toaster, Seth Rosenthal.
Mozgov's week was highlighted by (last) Sunday night's dominating 23 point-14 rebound performance off the bench during a win against the Pistons, but as Seth notes, Coach D'Antoni's vote of confidence helped Mozgov turn in a string of nevertheless solid stat-lines throughout the week.
As he becomes a smarter and more aware player as well, Mozgov is again learning on the fly (as he did when he began the season in the starting lineup), back in the starting five as Wilson Chandler climbs his way back from an injury as a reserve, and also, while Ronny Turiaf sits nursing a nagging injury of his own.
Mozgov will perhaps face his toughest matchup of the season, as he starts for the Knicks at center tomorrow night against Blake Griffin and the Clippers at home.
It was none other than Griffin who presented Mozgov with his official "Welcome to the NBA!" message, completely posterizing him during the two teams' last meeting.