Now that Week 1 is in the books, I figured I would do a quick rundown of my NBA Power Rankings. The season is still very young and these rankings are certainly going to change, but for now, this is how I see it going so far.
1. Indiana Pacers, 3-0
The Pacers are the #1 defense in points allowed at 83.7 per game. Paul George is averaging 25 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals per game. They beat 3 teams who are a lot farther down the list, but the Pacers have looked good.
2. Houston Rockets, 3-0
The Rockets are supposed to be good. Since acquiring Dwight Howard in the off season, this team has been projected to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Howard and Harden are a fantastic duo and have gotten off to a great start, but I think they need a 3rd scorer if they want to go deep into the playoffs.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves, 3-0
The Wolves have Kevin Love. The Wolves have a healthy Kevin Love. A healthy Kevin Love is good. Very good. So far, Love has showed how much the Wolves missed him last season. Love is averaging 29.7 points and 14.7 rebounds per game and has the Wolves ranked 5th in scoring, 7th in rebounding, and 7th in assists in the NBA.
4. Philadelphia 76ers, 3-0
The 76ers were supposed to be very, very bad this season. And they still very well could be at season’s end. However, after 3 games, the 76ers have put together the most impressive resume in the NBA. They beat the defending champion Heat, a Wizards team that was projected to be good this year, and the Bulls with a healthy Derrick Rose. If Michael Carter-Williams keeps his play up, the 76ers can surprise a few people, and so far, he is the front runner for Rookie of the Year.
5. San Antonio Spurs, 2-1
Year after year, the Spurs somehow seem to get better as they get older. So far, they have beaten 2 teams that, on paper, are younger and quicker than they are. Still the Spurs win games. They will do that all season long.
6. L.A. Clippers, 2-1
After an opening night defeat at the hands of the Lakers, the Clippers bounced back with an impressive win against the Warriors and Kings. I picked this team to come out of the West and go to the NBA Finals. I am still sticking with that pick as the Clips lead the league in points per game and are 3rd in assists.
7. Miami Heat, 2-2
The Heat looked like they were in mid-season form in their opening night victory against the Bulls. Then, they came out and lost to a 76ers team that nobody expected to do good, and fell to the newly reloaded Nets. Miami has been up and down so far, but I expect that to be fixed pretty quickly, as they are still the favorites to win the NBA Finals.
8. Golden State Warriors, 2-1
The Warriors acquired Andre Iguodala this off season, and it makes them fast. Klay Thompson has shot the ball well in the first few games, and along with one of the best point guards in the league in Steph Curry, the Warriors could cause some havoc in the West.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder, 2-1
The Thunder might start looking a little better now that Russel Westbrook has returned from injury. Kevin Durant was trying to carry the team in the first 2 games, and it kind of worked. The game against the Jazz, the Thunder nearly lost. Then they got beat up by Minnesota. Having Westbrook back will help take some pressure off Durant, but they still need more help than that.
10. Portland Trailblazers, 2-1
They fell to the Suns in their 1st game which would look like a bad loss, but Phoenix has been surprising. They beat Denver at the Pepsi Center and outlasted the Spurs. Anytime you beat the Spurs, it makes you look good. Also, Portland is ranked in the top 10 of the NBA in points per game, rebounds, and assists.
11. Chicago Bulls, 1-2
The return of Derrick Rose has not been exactly what everyone expected. Besides a great win at home against the Knicks, the Bulls got blown out by the Heat and beat by the 76ers. I think everyone expected Rose to dominate, including himself, but he has admitted that he is not back yet. Rose has to do more.
12. Dallas Mavericks, 2-1
Monta Ellis looks to be feeling at home in the Big D. He is tied for the team lead with Dirk Nowitzki in scoring at 23.3 points per game. Also, he leads the team with an amazing 2.7 steals per game. Both wins for the Mavericks have been blowouts, and the loss to the Rockets was close. The Mavs look like they might make a return to the playoffs this season.
13. Brooklyn Nets, 1-2
The Nets reloaded their roster this off season with the additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko. The win against the Heat was impressive, but the blowout loss to the Magic was anything but impressive. Next up for Brooklyn, the Utah Jazz.
14. Detroit Pistons, 2-1
The Pistons have a very good front court with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond. The off season additions of Chauncey Billups and Brandon Jennings gives them a nice backcourt threat. Watch out for Detroit.
15. Phoenix Suns, 2-1
They beat a good Portland team. They showed how to finish a game against the Jazz. Then they hung tough with the Thunder. The Suns have looked surprisingly good through the first 3 games. Eric Bledsoe looks good as a starting point guard.
16. New York Knicks, 1-2
The Knicks, to me, look nothing better than they did a year ago. I will be surprised if the don’t fall out of the playoff race.
17. Memphis Grizzlies, 1-2
The Grizzlies got beat up by the Mavericks. They got beat by the Spurs. They got a good win by beating Detroit in overtime. With Boston up next, the should even up their record at 2-2.
18. Orlando Magic, 2-2
The Magic are supposed to suck, but after 4 games, they haven’t done a very good job of that. The Magic blew out the Nets and Pelicans. Their 2 losses were to the Wolves, in overtime, and the Pacers. They rank in the top 10 in points and rebounds.
19. L.A. Lakers, 2-2
I don’t have anything to say about the Lakers.
20. Toronto Raptors, 2-1
The Raptors are #1 in the league in rebounds per game with 50. However, things could go downhill if Toronto’s GM follows through and trades everybody except for Jonas Valanciunas.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers, 1-2
I’m hoping that this ranking changes because I like this Cavaliers team. Kyrie Irving is a stud and if they can get Andrew Bynum back to form, the Cavs could be good.
22. New Orleans Pelicans, 1-2
With as good as Anthony Davis looked in pre-season, I am kind of surprised they’re not undefeated. Davis still should have an absolutely killer year. A group of Jrue Holliday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, and Davis will definitely be good sooner rather than later.
23. Atlanta Hawks, 1-2
The Hawks probably aren’t going to do much this season. They could be a team that, come trade deadline, could be making some moves.
24. Sacramento Kings, 1-2
The Kings looked good in their home opener against Denver, but after that, not so much. Sacramento’s crowd is ranked higher in power rankings than the team is.
25. Washington Wizards, 0-3
For a team that was predicted to do pretty well this season, they haven’t really lived up to it. The Wizards have struggled, and could continue to struggle with their next 2 games against the 76ers and Nets.
26. Charlotte Bobcats, 1-2
Charlotte needs to have Big Al back from ankle injury to have some offense. Surprisingly, the Bobcats are 7th in the league in defense.
27. Utah Jazz, 0-3
The Jazz probably should be ranked higher than this. They, in all honesty, should be 3-0. They need to learn how to finish games though. After the Rockets game, the went from 2nd in the league in rebounding to 7th. They rank 12th in the league in defense as of now. To the hope of all Jazz fans, things will hopefully improve once Trey Burke comes back from injury. Also, they need to seriously cut down on turnovers, but that is to be expected of a young team. Things will soon get better. Go Jazz!!!
28. Milwaukee Bucks, 1-2
They beat Boston. Not really impressive, but it’s more wins than our Jazz have so far this season.
29. Denver Nuggets, 0-2
When I was watching the Nuggets play the Kings last week, I was thinking, “I really don’t like this Nuggets team all that much.” So far, they have not looked good at all in their first 2 games. Right now, I would pick the Jazz to finish with a better record than the Nuggets at season’s end.
30. Boston Celtics, 0-3
Shocker….Boston isn’t good. They might not even move from this spot all season.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of the rankings. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Also, you can ask me questions on Twitter, @codytpowers.