NBA Power Rankings- Week 3


As we head into the third week of the NBA regular season, it is time to take a look at our latest Power Rankings. The first five or six games fr each team has told us a lot about where each team stands early in the season.

As we enter the third week of the regular season, there has been a lot of movement from where things stood on opening night.

Oct 26, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons power forward Andre Drummond (1) saves the ball from going out of bounds during the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at The Palace. Detroit won 104-88. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

With that being said, let’s jump right into our bi-weekly NBA Power Rankings.

30. Detroit Pistons (0-7)- How long will it be until Lawrence Frank joins Mike Brown on the unemployment line? The Pistons aren’t just losing, they are getting crushed, being outscored by an average of 11.4 points per game. Previous Ranking: 28

29. Washington Wizards (0-5)-  Washington has defended pretty well, but they have major issues scoring the ball, averaging only 88 points per game without point guard John Wall in the lineup. Previous Ranking: 24

28. Toronto Raptors (1-5)- Toronto has shown that they aren’t nearly as good a team without Kyle Lowry in the lineup, allowing 108.5 points per game since he’s been sidelined. Previous Ranking: 25

27. Orlando Magic (2-4)- The Magic won a couple of games early and there will be nights on which they compete, but the facts are that this team lost too much talent and didn’t replace it with enough NBA-ready players. The result is the lowest scoring team in the league at 87.8 PPG.  Previous Ranking: 30

26. Charlotte Bobcats (2-3)- The Bobcats have been competitive a couple of nights, but have still allowed 107.9 points per game on the season.  They won’t get better until they learn how to defend. Previous Ranking: 29

25. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-5)- They did upset the Clippers, but teams are scoring at will on the young Cavs. They have some talent offensively  that could win them some games, but their effort on defense will hold this team back. Previous Ranking: 27

24. Sacramento Kings (2-5)- They’ve been competitive even in their losses, which makes their 2-4 start disappointing. DeMarcus Cousins is now suspended for a pair of games which means the Kings could once again find themselves in a big hole to dig themselves out of. Previous Ranking: 22

Nov 8, 2012; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball up court against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-US PRESSWIRE

23. Phoenix Suns (3-4)- Phoenix has three wins, but they have come against Cleveland, Detroit and Charlotte. On most other night’s they haven’t been too competitive, including blowout losses to Orlando, Utah and Miami. Previous Ranking: 23

22. Portland Trail Blazers (2-4)- Rookie Damian Lillard has exceeded all expectations already and the Blazers have a starting five that should be able to compete with most teams in the NBA, but their second unit is hands down the worst in the league. Previous Ranking: 21

21. Golden State Warriors (3-4) – After getting out of the gates rather nicely, the Warriors have dropped two straight to the Lakers and Nuggets. Now we will see how Mark Jackson’s team responds. They may have the best shooting backcourt in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but when the Warriors are going well, it’s the inside game. Sixth man Carl Landry has been a very nice addition. Previous Ranking: 17

20. Indiana Pacers (3-4) – The fact that Danny Granger is out for three months doesn’t help Frank Vogel’s team much. This team can still defend well, but points won’t come in bunches. Previous Ranking: 7

19. Los Angeles Lakers (3-4) – Lakers’ fans can say they are better than their record suggests, but the facts are that they aren’t right now. Until they start playing like their talent suggests, you have to take them for what their numbers say they are and that’s not a very good basketball team. With a new coach in Mike D’Antoni it might not be long before they get things turned around. Previous Ranking: 2

18. Utah Jazz (3-4) – With Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and the rest of the Utah frontcourt, the Jazz can bang with the best of them. The rest of their cast, which includes the likes of Mo Williams, Gordon Heyward, Randy Foye and Marvin Williams will determine if the Jazz are just an average team or if they can take that next step. Previous Ranking: 15

17. Houston Rockets (3-3)- The Rockets backcourt of Jeremy Lin and James Harden can become one of the better ones in the league, but do they have the supporting cast to make the playoffs in a very tough Western Conference? Previous Ranking: 26

16. New Orleans Hornets (3-2)- The Hornets are playing well as a team defensively, allowing only 88.6 points per game. The problem is that they are only scoring 88.2 and managed to score only 62 in a loss to the Sixers.  But they rebounded nicely and put up 107 in a  win over Charlotte. Previous Ranking: 20

Nov 7, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings (3) walks off the court after the Memphia Grizzlies beat the Buck 108-90 at the Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

15. Atlanta Hawks (2-3)- The Hawks have lost two straight, but those defeats came at the hands of the Heat and Clippers. This Hawks team has two legitimate stars in Al Horford and Josh Smith and more depth than it has had in a very long time, led by Lou Williams. In addition, this team can shoot the ball as they have shooters everywhere. Previous Ranking: 18

14. Milwaukee Bucks (3-2)- The Bucks came out of the gates hot and have proven they can function well offensively. They have split with the Celtics and much of their hot start can be attributed to Brandon Jennings, who may take the next step and put himself among the elite point guards in the league. Previous Ranking: 19

13. Boston Celtics (3-3)- The 2012-13 season is just like any other Celtics season- a slow starting one. The Celtics as a team really haven’t been impressive although Rajon Rondo has been playing out of his mind. Previous Ranking: 4

12. Brooklyn Nets (3-2)- This could be a little generous for Brooklyn,  who look more like the New Jersey Nets on some nights, but they are getting better defensively (90.4 PPG), which should lead to a lot more wins. Previous Ranking: 11

11. Dallas Mavericks (4-3)- The Mavs have lost back-to-back contest, but have been competitive early on even without the services of Dirk Nowitzki. Behind O.J. Mayo’s 21.9 points per game, the Mavs are the second highest scoring team in the NBA (104.7). That’s the good news. The bad news is that they are allowing over 100 points per game so they need every bit of that offense. Previous Ranking: 14

10. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2)- No Kevin Love. No Ricky Rubio. No problem for the Timberwolves, who have got off to a great start without their stars. They are winning with defense, allowing less than 90 points per game, but must find some additional scoring to keep it up. Previous Ranking: 16

Nov 10, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng (9) drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half at the United Center. The Bulls beat the Timberwolves 87-80. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

9. Philadelphia 76ers (4-2)- Six games into the season and there is absolutely no doubt that the Sixers are the ugliest team to watch in the NBA. But despite losing back-to-back games against the Knicks, the Sixers are 4-0 against the league, even without Andrew Bynum in the lineup. Previous Ranking: 9

8. Chicago Bulls (4-2)- Luol Deng and Joakim Noah have stepped up as leaders and the Bulls are still getting it done on the defensive end. The only question here is whether or not Deng can handle being a closer in Derrick Rose’s absence. Previous Ranking: 13

7. Denver Nuggets (4-3)- They got off to a slow start but since then have proven that they could be the best  rebounding team in the league, especially on the offensive glass. That rebounding has got the Nuggets on a four-game tear. Previous Ranking: 12

6. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-2)- The Thunder are a top seven team in both scoring offense and scoring defense and game-by-game they are getting more comfortable learning to play without Harden. Kevin martin averaging 18 points per game is making that easier to deal with. Previous Ranking: 3

5. Los Angeles Clippers (5-2)- Watching this Clippers team defeat the likes of the Spurs, Lakers and Grizzlies, it makes you wonder how they lost to the Cavaliers and Warriors. Chris Paul has this team playing at a great pace and Jamal Crawford has provided the perimeter scoring they didn’t have a season ago. Previous Ranking: 5

4. Miami Heat (5-2)- LeBron James is playing like LeBron is expected to and the Heat offense has been rolling, averaging an NBA-best 107.7 PPG until they got slowed down by the Grizzlies on Sunday. With the talent on this team, there’s no reason to think they will slow down too often this season. Previous Ranking: 1

Nov 5, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) reacts to a call during the first half against the indiana Pacers at the AT

3. Memphis Grizzlies (5-1)- The Grizzlies have won five straight and are doing so by an average of 12.6 points per game and looked especially impressive in taking apart the Heat by 18. Having Zach Randolph (15.8 PPG, 15.0 RPG)healthy for an entire season makes a ton of difference for the Grizzlies and their core of Randolph, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley look great together. Previous Ranking: 8

2. San Antonio Spurs (6-1)- Manu Ginobili is averaging only 8.8 points per game, but Gregg Popovich’s Spurs keep getting it done. It’s the same unselfish style as San Antonio leads the NBA in assists and Tim Duncan is off to a “vintage” start to the season, averaging 18.9 points  and 9.7 rebounds. Previous Ranking: 6

1. New York Knicks (4-0)- The only undefeated team remaining in the league gets the top spot. They’ve defeated the Heat by 20, the 76ers by margins of 16 and 22 points and the Mavericks by 10. New York has scored 104.7 points per game (third in NBA), exceeding the 100-point mark in every game and have allowed a league-best 87.5 points per game. They get better as the game goes as well as no team has scored more than 40 points in the second half against them yet. Mike Woodson’s team is deep and talented and the Knicks are for real, even if it is only four games into the season. Previous Ranking: 10