NBA Power Rankings, Nov. 1: How High Have Hawks Risen After Fine Start?
It's Monday, so it's time for another edition of the weekly NBA Power Rankings. Last week, the Lakers debuted first in the rankings and during the first week, they lived up to the hype.
There have been some surprises so far, and some teams have gotten off to disappointing starts. Only one team is undefeated in the Eastern Conference. Has that team moved up from their previous spot?
Find out where all of your teams stand in this week's rankings.
Bottom Of The Barrel: Teams Ranked 30-26
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The following are the 10 worst teams in the league. There's not that much of a difference between last week and this week, mostly because the bad teams are not going to improve. Here's your bottom of the barrel.
30. Los Angeles Clippers (Last week: 26)
The Clippers are 0-3 to start the season and have only averaged a little over 87 points per game. Blake Griffin is off to a good start, but the defense isn't there. For a team that many picked to surprise with their rookie sensation, it isn't looking good early on.
29. Toronto Raptors (Last week: 30)
The defense for the Raptors in the first two games has been impressive, but they haven't faced great competition yet, going 1-1. They lost to the Knicks and then beat the LeBron-less Cavaliers. Right now, there isn't any feel on this team yet and thanks to the Clippers, they move up a spot.
28. Charlotte Bobcats (Last week: 18)
Why have the Bobcats already fallen 10 spots on the list? Well, they're 0-3 in a weak conference, for a team that has talent and made the playoffs last season. They lost their home opener to the less-than-stellar Pacers after dominating in their own arena all of last season. The Bobcats have to start winning games, and they'll have a challenge this week facing the talented Nets on the road.
27. Minnesota Timberwolves (Last week: 28)
The Wolves have lost two of their first three games but they have impressed in the rebounding department. They lead the NBA after the first week in rebounds per game with 55, but are now in for a brutal stretch of games. They travel to Miami and Orlando before coming home against the Hawks. They could easily drop to 1-5 on the season. This stretch will either increase or decrease their ranking.
26. Detroit Pistons (Last week: 25)
It's not too surprising to see the Detroit Pistons at 0-3. They're not the worst team in the league, but they don't have what it takes to be competitive. They now have to face Boston and Atlanta, so don't expect much improvement from them. This is exactly why the Eastern conference is weak—a lot of teams that are already having tough seasons, although anything could happen being it's only week two.
Bottom of The Barrel Continued: Teams Ranked 25-21
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25. Cleveland Cavaliers (Last week: 29)
So far, the post-LeBron era in Cleveland hasn't been awful. They opened up the season with a shocking win over the Celtics at home, reminding people of the Cavs of the past. The problem is, they followed it up with losses to the lowly Raptors and Kings. Daniel Gibson leads the team in scoring at 15 points per game, and that's obviously a far cry from the 25 given nightly by you know who.
24. Philadelphia 76ers (Last week: 21)
Who didn't see this coming? The 76ers are off to an 0-3 start and it's not going to get any better. This team is just an odd bunch, led by Andre Iguodala and—Lou Williams? Williams' production has gone up in each game and perhaps the Sixers can find something there. But if anyone had plans on this team sneaking into the playoffs—think again.
23. Washington Wizards (Last week: 24)
How's John Wall doing? It's all anyone around the Wizards wants to know. So far, not bad. The rookie is just about averaging a double-double in his first two games (21 points, 9 assists). The team, though, hasn't won either of those two games, losing to the better teams in the league in the Magic and Hawks. Besides Wall and Al Thornton, there's not much left for Washington to count on.
22. Sacramento Kings (Last week: 23)
It's all good for the Kings. The team is young and energetic and they're scoring points. 108 per game is good for third in the league and their young starts are producing. Reigning Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans is scoring almost 20 a night and this year's rookie, DeMarcus Cousins is helping out. But before you take them for real, let's see wins against the better teams. They haven't accomplished that just yet.
21. New Jersey Nets (Last week: 22)
The Nets and Kings are almost similar. Both teams are 2-1 with good young talent, but haven't beaten good teams yet. The Nets, though, have the ability to be good this season. They have Brook Lopez on their team, and he has been on fire. He's averaging nearly 25 points per game, and with Devin Harris feeding him, along with helping him score, this team could play well all season. What's helped them is they haven't played a road game yet. They'll play their fourth straight at home to begin the season on Wednesday.
20. Golden State Warriors (Last Week: 20)
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The Warriors lead the NBA in dishing with 28 assists per game. Monta Ellis has gotten off to a great start along with Stephen Curry and just like with the Knicks, David Lee is averaging 10 rebounds.
I said last week they could be a dark horse in the West and they are off to a 2-1 start. After winning their first two games, they ran into the Lakers but that shouldn't bother any team.
They do have a tough five-game East coast trip coming up soon.
19. Memphis Grizzlies (Last Week: 19)
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What's impressive about the 2-1 Grizzlies? They have five guys averaging double-digits in scoring. Rudy Gay leads the way at a little over 22 points per game and Marc Gasol is averaging a double-double.
Still, the team is only 11th in the league in scoring which is kind of strange, but there's a bunch of talent here.
They do have a good win at the Mavericks and they could make some noise in the West, as they came close to the playoffs last season.
18. Houston Rockets (Last Week: 15)
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People knocked me last week when I called the Rockets "overrated" and a bunch of "also-beens." So far, I was right.
This "great" team from the West is 0-3 and that's even with the great play of Luis Scola. He put up 36 points on the Warriors and is averaging 14 rebounds.
The defense, though, has been atrocious. They're the worst in the league, allowing 117 points per game. Doesn't that only happen in All-Star games? 117 points allowed? I guess dropping them three spots is being generous.
17. New York Knicks (Last Week: 16)
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The Knicks have been a strange team so far. They're 1-2, but could be 3-0. They won their first game in Toronto and then blew two big leads to follow.
They blew an early nine point lead to the Celtics, which isn't a big deal, but then inexplicably blew a nine point lead in the final six minutes in their home opener to the Blazers.
They've played better defense than they're known for—allowing under 100 points per game—but A'mare Stoudemire hasn't been great yet. They look like they'll at least be competitive this season.
16. Indiana Pacers (Last Week: 27)
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The Pacers are 2-1 to start the season and Danny Granger is stealing the show. He's averaged 27 points per game and the Pacers have five guys scoring in double-digits.
There's some talent on this team and right now, they've gotten off to a good start against mediocre teams. Their upcoming schedule remains soft but in the East, any team could get in to the playoffs.
Indiana is seventh in the league in scoring early on and we'll just have to see if they continue to win once they start facing better teams.
15. San Antonio Spurs (Last Week: 13)
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The Spurs have split their first two games of the season, crushing the Pacers and then losing to the undefeated Hornets. In their win they scored 122 points, and in their loss they scored 90.
What's weird to see is that of all people, Manu Ginobili leads the team in scoring. Everyone is contributing on the offensive end and right now, they look good.
You can't really make anything out of the teams who've only played two games. They drop three spots because there have been some surprises.
14. Utah Jazz (Last Week: 12)
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The Jazz looked a little off in their first two games, losing both, but then turned it around in their last game. After giving up 110 points to both Denver and Phoenix, the Jazz impressed by going into Oklahoma City and crushing the Thunder.
That's hard to do, especially on the road, and that at least gets Utah back on track. Deron Williams is off to a fine start and it was only a matter of time before the Jazz got back to being the good team that they are.
13. Milwaukee Bucks (Last Week: 11)
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The Bucks are going to have a great season, don't jump off the bandwagon just yet. Those non-brand name teams that get off to rocky starts usually lose respect.
Right now, they're 1-2 and have a bad loss at the Timberwolves but they rebounded against the Bobcats in their home opener.
They're playing good defense and getting great play from Brandon Jennings, who's averaging nearly a double-double. Their schedule won't get easy, but as it evens out, they'll win their share of games.
12. Dallas Mavericks (Last Week: 9)
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Who else would be leading this Mavericks team other than Dirk Nowitzki? He's at it again, averaging almost 24 points per game along with nine rebounds, and Dallas is their city's last hope.
With the Texas Rangers about to lose the World Series and with the Cowboys sputtering, the Mavericks have started out well.
Their next two games are both against the Nuggets in a home and home series and if they can stop Carmelo, they could be off to a very fine start.
11. Phoenix Suns (Last Week: 8)
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The loss of A'mare Stoudemire hasn't crushed the Suns, but their defense must improve. While they're 10th in the league in points scored, they're 24th in points allowed.
Proof that they must improve defensively is that they lost two of their first three games, although five guys have scored in double-digits. The big scorer for Steve Nash so far—replacing Stoudemire—has been Jason Richardson.
If Phoenix can stop teams from scoring close to 105 points per game, they could have another good run in the West.
10. Chicago Bulls (Last Week: 7)
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They've only played two games so far, and the new-look Bulls are 1-1. Derrick Rose, though, is off to a flying start, scoring 28 and 39 points respectively. Joakim Noah is scoring and rebounding and the Bulls are in for a good season.
They've done what you'd figure so far, losing in Oklahoma City to start the season, but then coming home to beat the Pistons. Let's see how they do against Portland and New York at home over their next two games.
9. Portland Trail Blazers (Last Week: 14)
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The Blazers move into the top 10 this week and they deserve it. They are 3-0, having trailed late in the fourth quarter in all three of their games.
They beat the solid Suns to begin the season and after a win at the Clippers, came back down nine in New York in their last game. It's hard for a Western team to win across the coast, and to be down nine with six minutes left and comeback is even more impressive.
Speaking of impressive, Brandon Roy has been just that. He's averaged 25 points per game and LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging nearly a double-double. The Blazers are a really good team that needs to stay healthy.
8. Denver Nuggets (Last Week: 6)
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Weekly Carmelo Watch: Rumors have calmed down and Anthony is on fire in Denver. The Nuggets are 2-1 to start their controversial, rumor-filled season and Carmelo is averaging nearly 24 points per game.
They're playing good offense and good defense and now have a couple of games against Dallas coming up.
The much-hyped Carmelo vs. CP3 matchup—two guys rumored to be leaving their respective teams—had Chris Paul and the Hornets winning. Other than that, the Nuggets have been fine.
7. New Orleans Hornets (Last Week: 17)
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Chris Paul is back to being healthy and with his contributions, the Hornets are off to a rather surprising 3-0 start.
Paul is averaging 20 points per game and David West is averaging 19. They already have a couple of good wins against the Nuggets and Spurs and their defense is sixth-best in the league.
Not a whole lot was expected from the Hornets this season, but with Paul back from his injury and with other guys helping him out, this could be a pretty good team.
It'll be hard to compete with the Lakers, but at least right now there's another 3-0 team out West.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last Week: 5)
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The Thunder, in my opinion, are still the only team in the West who can knock off the Lakers. Right now, they drop a spot, having gotten blown out at home.
They beat the Bulls on opening night and then eked out a win at the buzzer in Detroit. They then came home, though, and lost 120-99 to the Jazz. The Jazz aren't bad but a team of the Thunder's caliber can't suffer than kind of loss, especially at home.
Taking a look at who's leading the team, well who else would it be? Kevin Durant is getting the job done again, averaging a little over 29 points per game.
The Thunder should win their next game at the 0-3 Clippers. A nice matchup awaits, though, with Durant going up against Blake Griffin.
5. Atlanta Hawks (Last Week: 10)
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As I said last week, just because the Hawks started out 10th didn't mean they were going to stay there. With the start they're off to, they're already moving up. Fifth is where they now stand, and they are the lone undefeated team in the East.
Joe Johnson, who the Hawks signed to a hefty contract to return, has averaged 23 points per game, and the team is scoring at the fifth-highest rate in the league. They score, they rebound, and they play hard, and that's why they shouldn't be as underrated as they always are.
People are paying attention to Miami, Boston, and Orlando in the East and the Hawks may be the best of them all. They could move up again by next week.
4. Orlando Magic (Last Week: 4)
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The Magic have played two games and already Dwight "Superman" Howard is doing everything. The big center has averaged 21 points per game and 8.5 rebounds but the team isn't scoring as a whole.
After scoring 112 points in a win over the Wizards, they scored all but 70 in a blowout loss to the Heat. Their schedule gets very soft looking ahead, starting with the Knicks on Tuesday. That's followed by games against the Timberwolves, Nets, and Bobcats.
The defense has been good, but so far through two games, the Magic have been average.
3. Boston Celtics (Last Week: 2)
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The Celtics are 2-1 in their first three games, but they've had a weird opening week. They stunned everyone by knocking off the "Big Three" and the Heat to start the season. They then went to Cleveland and lost to the lowly Cavaliers, before coming home and nearly blowing a late lead to the Knicks.
Paul Pierce is off to a fast start, averaging 19 points per game and as usual, the Celtics are playing good defense. Their offense isn't flowing yet, though, but they are rebounding and dishing well enough.
If they could start to be more consistent in the scoring department, they could have their normal 50-win, playoff-bound season.
2. Miami Heat (Last Week: 3)
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Here we go with your weekly Heat watch. This week, they move up one spot from three to two. Why? Well they are 3-1 to start the season, having won three in a row after their opening night loss to the Celtics.
Really, did anyone see this team turning out to be a bust? I personally don't think they're winning a championship this season, but they're pretty darn good.
They have the best defense in the league so far, allowing a league-best 80.8 points per game. That's legitimate, as they're the only team in the league to have played four games so far.
Dwyane Wade leads the race for points scored on the team with 21.5, followed by LeBron who's at 20.5. If you're wondering, Bosh is at 13 with 6.5 rebounds.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (Last Week: 1)
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The Lakers are on top for the second straight week and there's no reason they wouldn't be. They haven't even lost a game yet at 3-0 and look like the best team in the league.
They lead the league in scoring with 111 points per game and remember talks of Kobe being injured? Forget about it. He's just fine, averaging 24 points per game and when he's on, there's no stopping the Lakers.
He, though, believe it or not, doesn't even lead his team in scoring. Pau Gasol is doing that, at 25.3 a night.
Everything is going right for the Lakers and their upcoming schedule is a joke. They have the Grizzlies, Kings, Raptors, and after the Blazers, the Timberwolves. As long as they win, they'll be on top of these rankings.