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NBA Power Rankings – Week Two

Did you miss the NBA as much as we did? If you did check out Jason Goldstein and Benjamin McDonald’s second weekly installment of the NBA power rankings. Sit back, relax, and get ready for some power rankings:

 

  1. Golden State Warriors (2-2) (Last week’s ranking: 1) – It isn’t panic time yet for the Warriors but two losses are more than many expected for this team in the first month, let alone the first week. In a tough Western Conference the Warriors cannot avoid a long championship hangover the same way the Cavaliers can.

 

  1. Houston Rockets (3-1) (Last week’s ranking: 2) – Welp, consider the fit questions between Chris Paul and James Harden to be temporarily tabled. In the meantime, the other additions have fit in perfectly. If Paul elevates this team to the next level, they could emerge as a real challenger to Golden State.

 

  1. San Antonio Spurs (3-0) (Last week’s ranking: 4) – Same old Spurs. No Kawhi? No problem. San Antonio rolled to a 3-0 start with an average margin of victory of 14 points with wins over two playoff teams. Consider the LaMarcus Aldridge drama over with him averaging over 24 points to start the season. To top it off, Dejounte Murray already looks like their latest steal.

 

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 3) – The Cavs were on cruise control until they took a night off at home against Orlando.  Moving Dwyane Wade to the bench and J.R. Smith back to the starting lineup will bode really well for the team in the long run.

 

  1. Washington Wizards (3-0) (Last week’s ranking: 7) – John Wall looks like an early MVP candidate.  Bradley Beal is shooting at a high rate, and the Wizards are picking up right where they left off last season.

 

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) (Last week’s ranking: 5) – The Timberwolves and Jazz are tough, sure, but the Thunder have not started off the season like a championship contender. Carmelo Anthony leading the team in shots likely has Knicks’ fans cackling and Thunder fans moaning. Coach Billy Donovan will have to ensure Melo knows his role or the Thunder could slide in the ultra tough Western Conference.

 

  1. Memphis Grizzlies (3-0) (Last week’s ranking: 10) – Some poor fool predicted the Grizzlies’ demise in their tiered NBA preview a couple weeks ago. That looks premature as the Grizzlies rumbled to a 3-0 start including a road win over the Rockets and then a big win over the defending champs. The top of the west is getting more full by the day.

 

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (2-0) (Last week’s ranking: 13) – No team has had a more impressive start than the Clippers. Many were cautiously optimistic coming into the season and they look right two games into the season. The Clippers are sporting a ridiculous +29 point win differential and the ball is whizzing around the court. The Clippers are going to be fun to watch.

 

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (3-1) (Last week’s ranking: 15) – Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing the best basketball of his young career.  If he keeps this up, he will vault himself to the top of the MVP race.  He has the Bucks in contention right off the bat, and they could make some noise in the postseason with the Greek Freak at the helm.

 

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 11) – The Minnesota Timberpups are evolving. A close loss to San Antonio showed there might be something there and the two subsequent wins against Utah and OKC prove that Minnesota is gunning for a playoff spot. Jimmy Butler has struggled but once he fits in, Minnesota could be dangerous.

 

  1. Boston Celtics (1-2) (Last week’s ranking: 6) – They lost arguably their best player (Gordon Hayward) to a gruesome injury and have looked lost without him.  Brad Stevens is coaching a roster that currently lacks much cohesion.  The Celtics are still a good team without Hayward, but the road to the NBA Finals just got a lot more difficult.

 

  1. Toronto Raptors (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 8) – The bench has outplayed the starters so far, and the Raps are definitely missing DeMarre Carroll right about now.  However, they are a close road loss in San Antonio away from remaining undefeated.  With Gordon Hayward out for the season, the Raptors have the chance to contend with Boston for the Atlantic Division crown.

 

  1. Portland Trail Blazers (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 12) – Things are off to a good start in rip city. Two blowout wins to start the season had everyone in high spirits and the loss at Milwaukee only hurts so much when watching Giannis Antetokounmpo turn into the next great NBA player. The offense looks good so the defense will need to do its job in order to keep Portland in the playoff hunt.

 

  1. Utah Jazz (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 14) – Utah has to be thrilled with their start. The hot shooting is probably not sustainable but they have taken down some excellent teams after many pundits left them for dead with Gordon Hayward’s departure. They will have to figure out their spacing once their shooting percentages from downtown dip back to earthly levels but let them enjoy it for now.

 

  1. Denver Nuggets (1-2) (Last week’s ranking: 9) – The Nuggets have struggled to open the season and Nikola Jokic is at the center of it. Jokic has not matched the lofty standards he set last year. If he regresses, the Nuggets could be in trouble.

 

  1. Miami Heat (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 16) – Justise Winslow looks extra spry and athletic after missing most of last season due to injury.  The Heat will be a playoff team in the East if Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside stay healthy.

 

  1. New Orleans Pelicans (1-2) (Last week’s ranking: 17) – Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins continue to put up numbers. The Pelicans continue to lose. Something is going to have to give or New Orleans is going to end up without one or both of their stars soon. If the Pelicans do not emerge as contenders, will they start listening to calls on Cousins?

 

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (1-3) (Last week’s ranking: 18) – Move over, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons is looking like an All-Star despite having only four games of NBA experience under his belt. Both players have been monsters so far, but the 76ers have one reached the win column once in its first four games.
  2.  Charlotte Hornets (1-2) (Last week’s ranking: 19) – Dwight Howard has turned back the clock, but the Hornets aren’t  getting much production from the rest of their frontcourt. They need a good road win in order to separate them from the rest of the pack in the Eastern Conference.
  3. Detroit Pistons (2-2) (Last week’s ranking: 21) – Tobias Harris could be a sneaky All-Star pick if he continues to score as well as he currently is.  A nice comeback win over the Knicks at MSG has to feel good, but playing in a brand new arena that is only ½ full has to feel pretty terrible.

 

  1. Brooklyn Nets (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 23) – The Nets currently lead the NBA in scoring at 124.3 points per game.  They are getting buckets at an astonishing rate.  Losing Jeremy Lin for the season to a ruptured patellar tendon stings, but this team will come to play every single night.

 

  1. Dallas Mavericks (0-4) (Last week’s ranking: 20) – Could the Mavericks’ be stealth tanking candidates this year? For Dirk’s sake I hope not but it would be no surprise to see the Mavericks pivot if they continue to struggle. Dennis Smith has already showed signs in his brief career and gives them a piece to start building around.

 

  1. Orlando Magic (2-1) (Last week’s ranking: 22) – The Magic looked like they were sleepwalking to start the season until they pummeled the Cavs on their home floor.  Nobody knows what to make of this Orlando team, but I think they’ll surprise some people this season.

 

  1. Los Angeles Lakers (1-2) (Last week’s ranking: 24) – Don’t pay attention to the wins and losses Laker fans. It is all about Lonzo Ball. After narrowly missing a triple double, all eyes should be on Lonzo for the rest of the season as he seeks to reinvigorate the Lakers before next year’s offseason.

 

  1. Sacramento Kings (1-3) (Last week’s ranking: 25) – No surprises here. The veterans have been OK and the young guys have shown signs. Good news for Kings’ fans is the play of De’Aaron Fox who has played exceptionally well leading the Kings so far.

 

  1. New York Knicks (0-2) (Last week’s ranking: 26) – So far, the Knicks have been blown out on the road in Oklahoma CIty and blew a 21-point lead at home to the Pistons.  Things are going as we’d expect them to in The Big Apple.

 

  1. Phoenix Suns (1-3) (Last week’s ranking: 27) – Oh boy. Things are heating up in the desert. The Bledsoe drama has reached its apex and he will be playing elsewhere soon by all accounts. Add that to Coach Earl Watson’s firing and the Suns have arrived at the type of dysfunction the Kings just left.

 

  1. Indiana Pacers (1-2) (Last week’s ranking: 28) – Myles Turner is a star in the making.  I just don’t see how they can keep up with high-scoring teams every night.  The 140 points put up on Brooklyn in the season opener was an aberration.

 

  1. Atlanta Hawks (1-3) (Last week’s ranking: 29) – The Hawks will be a scrappy team this year, but they simply do not have enough talent to contend right now.  Here’s hoping that Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroeder develop into stars.

 

  1. Chicago Bulls (0-2) (Last week’s ranking: 30) – At this moment, Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic have provided more sparks off the court than the entire team has provided on it.  It is going to be a long season in Chicago.  Please, somebody go rescue Robin Lopez.

 

Biggest Mover: Milwaukee Bucks (6)

Biggest Drop: Nuggets (6)

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Ben is a Staff Writer at DoubleGSports.com with a focus on the NBA.
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