Week 2 is in the books. Now that we are heading into week 3, it is time to check in with my weekly edition of the NBA Power Rankings! Who is at the top? Who is at the bottom? Any surprises? Let’s dig in and find out!
1. Indiana Pacers (7-0) previous rank : 1
The Pacers continue to be on a roll to start the season. The only team in the league that hasn’t lost a game yet. Paul George is leading the way, averaging 25.1 points per game. The Pacers also rank #1 in defense, allowing only 85.3 points per game. The Pacers also have the biggest +/- points differential in the league at +9.6. It is still only week 2, but this team is for real and could definitely be a team that could come out of the Eastern Conference.
2. San Antonio Spurs (6-1) previous rank : 5
The Spurs are ranked #2 in the NBA in defense this season. There 6-1 record is impressive. As they get older, they seem to also get better. The Spurs went 4-0 this week. Including a 120-89 pounding on the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon. Tony Parker is leading the Spurs in points (19.3), and assists (6.7)
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1) previous rank : 9
Russell Westbrook is back for the Thunder, and I think Kevin Durant is pretty happy about it. Westbrook opens up things for Durant. This week the Thunder went 3-0, and Durant went off for an average of 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists. The Thunder are now 3-0 at home, but go on a 3 game road trip this week where they are 1-1 so far on the season.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-2) previous rank : 3
The Wolves finished up this week going 2-2, but Kevin Love is having a fantastic start to the season, averaging 27.2 points and 14.7 rebounds per game. Ricky Rubio is coming off a fantastic game against the Lakers, where he finished with a triple-double, 12 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists, and added in 5 steals. The Wolves also are the 6th best scoring team in the league with 105 per game.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (4-2) previous rank : 10
The Blazers probably won’t end the season ranked this high, but so far this season they haven’t really had a terrible loss. The lost to the Rockets and Suns. The Suns loss would’ve looked bad before the season, but they have been pretty impressive so far this season. The Blazers also got a big win against the Spurs by 10. They rank in the top 10 of the NBA in points per game and assists per game, while LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 23.3 points per game.
6. Phoenix Suns (5-2) previous rank : 15
I might get some grief for this, but the Suns have not looked like a team that is tanking this season. The Suns went 3-1 this week and there only loss was to the Spurs by 3 points in San Antonio. Eric Bledsoe is proving that he is definitely a starting point guard in this league, as he leads the Suns in points (20.3), assists (7.5), and steals (2.0). The Suns are scoring 100.2 points per game and rank in the top 10 in rebounding.
7. Miami Heat (4-3) previous rank : 7
The Heat went 2-1 this week. The loss was a heartbreaking 3 point shot at the buzzer at the hands of the Celtics. Lebron James is averaging 24.4 points, 8.0 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game so far. As a team, the Heat rank in the top 5 in the league in points per game and assists per game.
8. Los Angeles Clippers (4-3) previous rank : 6
The Clips had a couple tough losses this week before putting another thumping on the Rockets. If the Clips have a “big 3″, then stat wise it would be Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan. The 3 are all averaging a double-double so far this season. Paul is averaging 21.3 points and 12.6 assists per game. Griffin is averaging 21.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Jordan is averaging 11.0 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. The Clips also lead the league in scoring at 110.0 per game.
9. Golden State Warriors (4-3) previous rank : 8
The Warriors had a tough loss this week. Steph Curry went down with a bruised left foot and has been listed as day-to-day. Since Curry went down, the Warriors have lost 2 straight. Curry only missed 1 of those games, however. The Warriors are ranked #10 in the league in points per game and points allowed per game, while also ranking #6 in assists. Klay Thompson can flat out shoot the ball, leading the team in scoring at 20.4 points per game.
10. Houston Rockets (4-3) previous rank : 2
After starting the season off 3-0, the Rockets went 1-3 this week. Twice getting thumped by the Clippers, and the other was a loss at home to the Lakers. The Rockets are scoring the ball, 105.6 points per game, but there defense has been sub-par. James Harden is leading the team in scoring at 24.7 per game. Dwight Howard’s rebounding, 13.6 per game, is helping the Rockets rank #2 in the league.
11. Dallas Mavericks (4-3) previous rank : 12
The Mavs are scoring the ball better than I suspected before the season started. The Mavs rank 2nd in the NBA at 107 points per game. Monta Ellis looks to be enjoying his new team, leading the team in scoring at 23 per game. Defensively, the Mavs, like the Rockets, have been sub-par, giving up 104 points per game.
12. Philadelphia 76ers (4-3) previous rank : 4
After starting the season undefeated, the 76ers dropped 3 games this week. The first loss of the season came in a blowout loss to the Warriors. The other two losses came to the Wizards and the Cavs. The 76ers lost 3 games this week, but they still rank in the top 10 in the league in points per game, rebounds per game, and assists per game. Michael Carter-Williams is averaging 18.7 points, 8.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game so far this season. Not bad for a rookie point guard.
13. Atlanta Hawks (3-3) previous rank : 23
The Hawks have a few things that are going really good for them right now. One of those things is Jeff Teague. Scoring 17.7 points per game, but the biggest help is his average of 9.8 assists per game. That has helped the Hawks to be the #1 team in the NBA is assists per game. The other thing has been the play of their big men. Paul Millsap has look fantastic playing alongside Al Horford. Combined, the 2 are putting up 38.2 points, 18.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 4 steals per game.
14. Memphis Grizzlies (3-3) previous rank : 17
The Grizzlies got an impressive win over the Warriors. They also finished the week with a record of 2-1. The Grizzlies don’t have any player on their team that is averaging a double-double. Mike Conley is leading the way, scoring 20.3 points per game. They have a tough test coming up Monday night though, as they face the undefeated Pacers.
15. Detroit Pistons (2-3) previous rank : 14
The Pistons have had all 3 of their losses be close losses. 2 of those losses were to the Pacers and the Thunder. Brandon Jennings has played great so far on the year, averaging 17.7 points, 7 assists, and 3.3 steals per game. The Pistons are starting a 4 game road trip this week where so far they are 0-1 on the road.
16. Orlando Magic (3-4) previous rank : 18
The Magic got another big win this week as they took down the Clippers.That gives them victories now over the Clippers, Pelicans, and Nets. They keep themselves in games thank to their #1 rebounding ranking. They have been good at home, but have yet to win a game on the road.
17. Brooklyn Nets (2-4) previous rank : 13
This Nets team has not gotten off to the start that they, or any of the national media expected. They have been really good at home so far, beating the Heat, steamrolling past the Jazz, and losing a close one to the Pacers. However, they have been bad on the road so far. The 3 road losses came to the Cavs, Magic, and Wizards. You got to think that a starting unit of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez will get it together sooner, rather than later.
18. Chicago Bulls (2-3) previous rank : 11
The Bulls rank 2nd in points allowed per game, but rank 28th in scoring. Derrick Rose hasn’t returned to form yet, averaging 14.4 points, 4 assists, and 2.8 rebounds. He also has a PER of 5.3. Not quite the Derrick Rose of old.
19. New Orleans Pelicans (3-4) previous rank : 22
The Pelicans rank 5th in defense so far this season. That 5th ranked defense has made their losses close ones. Anthony Davis is playing like a beast so far this season, averaging 23 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game. The Brow is only in his 2nd season, too.
20. Toronto Raptors (3-4) previous rank : 20
The Raptors put a thumping on our Jazz the other night. They rank in the top 10 in both rebounds per game and points allowed per game. Rudy Gay is leading the way with 17.9 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4) previous rank : 21
Kyrie Irving went nuts in an overtime win against the 76ers this week, scoring 39 points. Irving is leading the team with 19.9 points and 8 assists per game. 3 out of the 4 games this week for the Cavs are on the road, where so far they are 0-4.
22. Boston Celtics (3-4) previous rank : 30
After starting 0-3, the Celtics went 3-1 this week. They beat the Jazz, beat a Magic team that is good at home, then went and shocked the Heat in Miami. You wouldn’t suspect that they can possibly keep this up, but they’re ranked 6th in the NBA in points allowed. With the C’s on a 3 game winning streak, and their next 3 games at home, who knows what can happen.
23. Los Angeles Lakers (3-5) previous rank : 19
I don’t have anything to say about the Lakers.
24. Milwaukee Bucks (2-3) previous rank : 28
The Bucks rank in the top 10 in points allowed per game. They have a tough week ahead of them this week, with games @ Miami, @ Orlando, @ Indiana, then home against the Thunder.
25. Washington Wizards (2-4) previous rank : 25
The Wizards played well this week, going 2-1. They beat the 76ers and then beat the Nets in overtime. Their only loss on the week came on a missed layup at the buzzer in overtime in Oklahoma City, 106-105. This week they are @ Dallas, @ San Antonio, then home for Cleveland.
26. Charlotte Bobcats (3-3) previous rank : 26
The 3-3 record for the Bobcats is pretty impressive. The Bobcats rank 23rd in rebounding, 29th in points per game, and 30th in assists. Kemba Walker is leading the team with 17.3 points, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. The Bobcats are still waiting for Al Jefferson to return from ankle injury.
27. New York Knicks (2-4) previous rank : 16
The Knicks looked flat out awful this week. The Knicks don’t have Tyson Chandler for a little while. They went 1-2 this week, most recently, losing on Sunday afternoon by 31 points at home to the Spurs. The Knicks play Atlanta (twice), and Houston this week.
28. Denver Nuggets (1-4) previous rank : 29
They got their first win of the season over a pretty good Atlanta team, but other than that, the Nuggets have looked pretty bad. They play the Jazz on Monday night on national TV.
29. Sacramento Kings (1-5) previous rank : 24
They lost a close one at home to Atlanta and then got beat up twice by the Blazers. Demarcus Cousins is playing well though to start the season, leading the team in nearly every statistical category. Cousins is averaging 23.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game.
30. Utah Jazz (0-7) previous rank : 27
I absolutely hate to do this, but the Jazz have played awful this week. Heading into the 4 game road trip, based on the schedule, you would assume the Jazz had a good shot at going 2-2. You assumed the Jazz would lose to the Nets, beat the Celtics, lose to the Bulls, and have a good shot at beating the Raptors. Instead, the Jazz got blown out in nearly every game. All 4 games, the Jazz trailed by 20 or more points. It is extremely obvious that this team needs Trey Burke back as soon as possible. Burke will be re-evaluated on Monday regarding his status with his broken finger. The only bright spot so far this season has been Gordon Hayward. Hayward is putting up solid numbers with 19.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Enes Kanter has scored the ball well and has been great on the offensive glass, but Kanter can not seem to grab any defensive rebounds. The first win of the season needs to come sooner, rather than later. The Jazz face the Nuggets (1-4), the Pelicans (3-4), the Spurs (6-1), and the Warriors (4-3) this week. 3 of those 4 games are at home where the Jazz play much better than they do on the road.
It has been quite the struggle for the Jazz to start the season, but things could possibly get better when Trey Burke comes back. Hopefully this team can keep their heads up until that point. To me, the ranking is justified with the way they have played up to this point in the season. Let me know if you agree or disagree below. As always, Go Jazz!!!