Rockets Remain on Top, but Warriors in Hot Pursuit
After a week of movers and shakers, the Rockets remain on top, for now. The Warriors absolutely destroyed their opponents this week, trying to make their case for the top spot, but fall just short. We’ll see if that changes after next week. Perhaps the biggest mover was the Milwaukee Bucks, who came into the week at the sixth 6th position, but now sit at 18th after losing three straight and are looking totally dependent on Giannis to produce crazy numbers every night. Other movers include the Timberwolves, who have won five straight, moving up from 13th to 5th, and the Celtics, who have won eight straight, going from 7th to 3rd. Now let’s see where the rest of the league shakes out, as we take a look at our second edition of the NBA Power Rankings. (Power Rankings and records done before 11/6)
30.) Dallas Mavericks (28) (1-10) 29.) Atlanta Hawks (30) (2-8) 28.) Sacramento Kings (25) (1-8) 27.) Chicago Bulls (29) (2-6) 26.) Phoenix Suns (27) (4-6) 25.) Brooklyn Nets (23) (3-6) 24.) Los Angeles Lakers (24) (5-5) 23.) New York Knicks (26) (5-4) 22.) Indiana Pacers (22) (5-5) 21.) Miami Heat (20) (4-5) 20.) Denver Nuggets (18) (5-5) 19.) New Orleans Pelicans (16) (5-5) 18.) Milwaukee Bucks (6) (4-5) 17.) Philadelphia 76ers (21) (5-4) 16.) Charlotte Hornets (19) (5-5) 15.) Oklahoma City Thunder (14) (4-5) 14.) Utah Jazz (17) (5-5) 13.) Orlando Magic (15) (6-4) 12.) Washington Wizards (12) (5-4) 11.) Cleveland Cavaliers (8) (4-6)
10.) Portland Trailblazers (11) (6-4)
The Trailblazers climbed one spot this week to crack the top ten, not because of improved performance, but because the Cleveland Cavaliers have stunk up the joint. Damian Lillard continues to carry this team in the fourth quarter and remains a big reason for their early season success.
9.) Toronto Raptors (9) (5-4)
The Raptors continue to play the Western Conference teams well, and for the most part, have won the games they should win. The Raptors now appear to be fully healthy after Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas missed a few games. Their upcoming schedule contains a matchup with their Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Celtics, which may serve as an early season measuring stick for this squad.
8.) Los Angeles Clippers (5) (5-4)
After the Clippers hot start, they have stumbled as of late, going 1-3 last week beating only the Mavericks, who currently rank last in our rankings. The losses to Golden State and Memphis were to be expected, but losing to the slumping Heat hurts a bit. With another tough week ahead, will we see the Clippers fall further in the rankings?
7.) Detroit Pistons (9) (7-3)
The Pistons continue to play well even with the loss to the struggling Lakers this past week. Andre Drummond continues to be a monster on the boards and is actually hitting his free throws this year (career 38%, 75% this year).
6.) San Antonio Spurs (2) (6-4)
The loss of Kawhi Leonard is starting to become noticeable after their incredibly hot start. They lost four straight after going 4-0 to start the season, and now sit at 6-4 with a matchup against their fellow top-10 team, the Los Angeles Clippers. Perhaps the most encouraging sign in their losses was that Dejounte Murray has shown signs of brilliance in Tony Parker’s absence. Once Kawhi and Parker return, look for the Spurs to regain a few positions in the rankings.
5.) Minnesota Timberwolves (13) (7-3)
The Timberwolves looked absolutely horrendous when Jimmy Butler missed two games with an illness, but have since won five straight and look to be gelling quite nicely. Perhaps the biggest difference maker (besides Butler) has been Jeff Teague, who continues to rack up the double-doubles on a nightly basis. We’ll see what the Timberwolves are really made of, with their matchup against Golden State on Wednesday.
4.) Memphis Grizzlies (4) (6-4)
While the Grizzlies have lost three of their last four games, they’ve been within five points in each loss. The reemergence of Tyreke Evans and Chandler Parsons have given the Grizzlies a great offensive boost to take some of the load off of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. With two top-10 teams in their ledger this week, will they fall in the rankings or continue to prove they are worthy of their early season ranking?
3.) Boston Celtics (7) (8-2)
Despite the injury to Gordon Hayward and losing their first two games of the season, the Celtics have become the hottest team in the league, winning eight-straight games. This is much to do with their top ranked defense and deep bench, who continue to step up night-in and night-out. If Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum continue to progress, and with how bad the Cavs look, could we see a new king out East?
2.) Golden State Warriors (3) (7-3)
After their slow start, the Warriors kicked it into high gear with huge wins over the Clippers, Spurs and Nuggets this past week. The Warriors have caught fire from the field and statistically are shooting better than they did last year. This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the league, and with the Warriors appearing to hit their stride, will this be the start of a huge winning streak?
1.) Houston Rockets (1) (8-3)
The Rockets remain the top team in the rankings for another week despite the recent hot streak of the Warriors. James Harden is certainly making a case for early season MVP, as he most recently scored 56 points on the Utah Jazz. With Chris Paul still sidelined, the Rockets look ahead to another matchup against the Memphis Grizzles this week, who appear to be their kryptonite early in the season (have lost both matchups).