NBA Power Rankings - Week 2

Welcome to my first stab at NBA Power Rankings. Baring unpleasant surprises in my schedule, I’ll publish new rankings every Monday around noonish. Please flip me some Comments – who have I slighted, and who is over-rated? Also, I’m interested in your thoughts about the format.

RANK

TEAM

Last Week

Rank & [Rec.].

SEASON

COMMENTS & NEXT WEEK’S FORECAST

1

 Indiana Pacers n/a  [4-0] 7-0 The only undefeated team, and it’s no fluke. Wins over Nets & Bulls confirm elite status. Paul George is stepping into limelight (25 PPG), & Pacer defense rules. Grizz, Bucks, Bulls – could be 10-0?

2

 San Antonio Spurs  n/a  [4-0]  6-1  The epitome of team ball; top scorer is Tony Parker with 19. Coach Pop gets contributions from everyone, with little burnout & minimal injuries. Lots of ball movement leads to many assists. 76ers, Wiz, Jazz – 3 easy wins.

3

 Oklahoma City Thunder  n/a  [3-0]  5-1  Russell Westbrook is back, & scoring like it’s mid-season. Kevin Durant is pushing 30 PPG. No wonder all 3 wins saw them over a century. Giving up a lot of points, though. Serge Ibaka’s blocks are down, but rookie Steven Adams is making presence felt. Road trip to Clips, Warriors, Bucks – tough week.

4

 Miami Heat  n/a  [3-1]  4-3  Choppy start to season is reminiscent of last year. I’ll wager LeBron won’t let teammates forget careless loss to Celtics (watch it!). Can they pile up wins with poor frontcourt? Bucks, Mavs, Bobcats – 3 wins as Heat finds its groove.

5

 Minnesota Timberwolves  n/a  [2-2]  5-2  Off to dandy start, as Kevin Love returns healthy to provide crazy rebounding & scoring numbers. If Ricky Rubio could shoot he’d be scary. Getting points & not much else from Kevin Martin. Will they burn out starters? Clips, Cavs, Nuggs, Celts – too many game in November.

6

 Los Angeles Clippers  n/a [2-2]  4-3  Throw out loss to Magic & they are lookin’ good. Piling up the points; J.J. Redick getting open looks off Chris Paul passes – Heaven for a shooting guard. Jamal Crawford provides big scoring off bench, & Blake Griffin is double-double factory. T’wolves, Thunder, Nets – go 2-1 & I’ll bump them next week.

7

   Phoenix Suns  n/a [3-2]  5-2   One of two tankers (Philly is other) whose players didn’t get the memo. Eric Bledsoe has been all they’d hoped for, but I think this is only week they will be this high. Enjoy the view, Suns fans. Blazers, Nets – back to earth.

8

 Houston Rockets  n/a  [1-3]  4-3  This may be too high (2 losses to Clips isn’t good at all), but there’s too much talent here to think they will start scuffling. Dwight Howard scoring (17.6 PPG) is positive sign, though he’s still pitiful at charity stripe. James Harden is great. Raps, 76ers, Knicks, Nuggets – could run the table this week.

9

 Dallas Mavericks  n/a  [2-2]  4-3  They can score, but I still don’t believe in them. Jose Calderon seems to have settled in nicely, & Dirk is great, but Sam Dalembert looks like he’s punching the clock. Wiz, Heat, Magic – will probably stay in upper ranks.

10

 Philadelphia 76ers  n/a  [1-3]  4-3  I put them here, for the novelty of being in Top Ten. They are likely to drop like a rock, but they are enjoying play of fine rookie Michael Carter-Williams (18+ PPG) & Evan Turner. Spurs, Rox, Hawks, Pelicans – very tough.

11

 Chicago Bulls  n/a  [1-1]  2-3  Derrick Rose is still finding his sea legs after so much time away. His scoring will spike, & Bulls will be on move. Carlos Boozer has been fine, but Mike Dunleavy is worse from inside arc than outside. Early season stumbles will soon end. Cavs, Raps, Pacers – a good test week. 

12

 Portland Trail Blazers  n/a  [2-1]  4-2  The only squad to beat the Spurs; ended week by handling Kings twice. Blazers are rounding into mid-season form quickly; LaMarcus Aldridge & Damian Lillard are scoring as expected, and they’re getting major points from Wesley Mathews. I love teams with a balanced offense. Their bench has improved, which isn’t saying much. Pistons, Suns, Celts – could make big move upwards.

13

 Golden State Warriors  n/a  [2-2]  4-3 Klay Thompson is becoming a star (20.4 PPG) & both he and Steph Curry are shooting over 44% from 3. Andrew Bogut is lacking on offense, but helping in other ways. Pistons, Thunder, Jazz – Ws will be in Top 10 soon

14

  Detroit Pistons  n/a  [1-2]  2-3  Healthy balance of scoring should help this team avoid slumps. Getting 13+ PPG from Rodney Stuckey off bench is pleasant surprise. Too many minutes for Greg Monroe & Josh Smith? Road trip – Blazers, Warriors, Kings; can they grab 2?

15

 Toronto Raptors  n/a [1-3]  3-4  About where we all expected our guys to be; neither in tank nor championship hunt. Someone needs to seize backup point guard job. When starters play well, Raps can compete, but second unit is shaky at best. Rox, Grizz, Bulls – tough week; Raps dealt bad schedule early, but must tread water.

16

 Atlanta Hawks  n/a  [2-2]  3-3  Paul Millsap certainly doesn’t miss Utah (20+ PPG) & Kyle Korver has made more 3s than he’s missed. Too bad otherwise useful Jeff Teague has no range. Bobcats, Knicks, 76ers, Knicks – chance for perfect week?

17

 Charlotte Bobcats  n/a  [2-1]  3-3  Bismack Biyombo & Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are getting the floor time needed to figure it out. Kemba Walker isn’t shooting well, but he will. Gerald Henderson enjoying a bounceback season. Hawks, Celts, Cavs, Heat – tough week; can they hang in there?

18

 Cleveland Cavaliers  n/a  [2-2]  3-4  Anthony Bennett is 1 for 21 from floor? Oh dear. But Kyrie Irving is still brilliant, Tristan Thompson is hitting the boards, & Jarrett Jack is providing spark off bench. I think this team will be moving up all year. Bulls, T’wolves, Bobcats, Wiz – split for week would be good.

19

 Orlando Magic  n/a  [2-2]  3-4  Solid victories over Nets, Clips, but no magic vs. weaker Celts, Hawks. Andrew Nicholson is helping off bench, & Victor Oladipo is popular Rookie of Year candidate. A team which could improve dramatically. Celts, Bucks, Mavs – can they make a move?

20

 New Orleans Pelicans  n/a  [2-2]  3-4  Anthony Davis is turning into the star everyone predicted he’d be. Eric Gordon was worth waiting for, & Jrue Holiday is picking up from last year. However, their roster is still too thin to move up rankings. Lakers, Jazz, 76ers – make a move, NOLA!

21

 Memphis Grizzlies  n/a  [2-1]  3-3  Getting outscored slightly per game, which does not bode well for team that needs big numbers to win. Mike Conley & the “other Gasol”, Marc, are solid, but their bench isn’t. Pacers, Raps, Lakers – not easy.

22

 Boston Celtics  n/a  [3-1]  3-4  Riding 3-game winning streak after poor  start, which was expected. Jeff Green is serious trade bait; if they don’t improve once Rajon Rondo is back, watch for those two to get moved for kids & draft picks. Magic, Bobcats, Blazers, T’Wolves – streak ends.

23

 Brooklyn Nets  n/a  [1-3]  2-4  Only win last week against out-of-tune Jazz. How long can they keep Kevin Garnett as starter when he’s averaging 6 PPG? Joe Johnson isn’t lighting it up either, but Deron Williams is rounding into form. Road trip to Kings, Suns, Clips – they need to grab 2 Ws.

24

 Washington Wizards  n/a  [2-2]  2-4  Not the start they were hoping for, but they can score. Too bad about defense, but should improve once Gortat gets comfortable. Mavs, Spurs, Cavs – could be rough week.

25

 Milwaukee Bucks  n/a  [1-1]  2-3  Trying lots of line-ups, which will pay off down road, but hurting now. Larry Sanders has disappointed, but it’s early. They need to find some scoring; 94 PPG as a team means basement. Caron Butler has 12+ PPG? That won’t last. Heat, Magic, Pacers, Thunder – going 2-2 would be huge.

26

  Los Angeles Lakers  n/a  [2-2]  3-5  Patching & bailing until Kobe returns. Steve Blake has started all 8 games, which is sign of big weakness. Pau Gasol is struggling with his shot. T’wolves, Pelicans, Nuggets, Grizzlies – another busy week; I think they will drop.

27

 New York Knicks  n/a  [1-3 ]  2-4  Tyson Chandler is out until Xmas, Carmelo Anthony isn’t getting much offensive help, Amar’e Stoudemire is limping & Andrea Bargnani is boring. Another season of underachieving Knicks b-ball takes shape. Hawks X 2, Rox – better find some wins.

28

 Denver Nuggets  n/a  [1-2]  1-4  A team with little clue of defense. 105 PPG against? Ouch. Ty Lawson can’t be top scorer, but he is. Ergo, more losses on the way, & roster turmoil. JaVale McGee has take step back. Jazz, Lakers, T’Wolves, Rox – need to split week, or coach will be on hot seat.

29

 Sacramento Kings  n/a  [0-3]  1-5  Getting outscored badly. Coach is playing everyone, but only Isaiah Thomas has been pleasant surprise. Time to rescue Jimmer Fredette – no 3s? He needs to go somewhere else & start over. Nets, Pistons – they better start winning now, while schedule is light.

30

 Utah Jazz  n/a  [0-4]  0-7  Top tankers at the moment, & maybe for season. Looked ghastly against Raps. No offense, no defense. Their coach, Ty Corbin, won’t last, but he doesn’t bring in the players. Nuggs, Pelicans, Spurs, Warriors – misery continues.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada. Remember, for the best deals on Toronto Raptors tickets for any game on the 2013-14 NBA schedule, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.

Tags: NBA Power Rankings

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