1) Memphis Grizzlies [ 8-1 ]: A number one spot in the power rankings that is well-deserved. The Oklahoma City Thunder, undefeated Knicks and surging Bobcats all felt the wrath of Grizzlies offensive attack (101.1 points per game, 4th in league) this past week.
2) New York Knicks [ 7-1 ]: Losing to the Grizzlies is nothing to be ashamed of. How much longer can this team keep giving Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace heavy minutes? Age is eventually going to catch up to this roster, but until then, let the good times and J.R Smith three-pointers (15 for 25) roll.
3) Los Angeles Clippers [ 7-2 ]: We’re nine games into a young season and Jamal Crawford is still putting up 20 points a night. A first time selection to the Western Conference all-star team doesn’t appear to be out of the question if this pace keeps up.
4) San Antonio Spurs [ 8-2 ]: Losing Kawhi Leonard for two weeks when the team was starting to build momentum was quite the blow. They’re still playing at a high level, but losses to the Clippers and Knicks have knocked them down a peg.
5) Oklahoma City Thunder [ 8-3 ]: After 391 games in the NBA, Kevin Durant delivered the first triple-double of his career (25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists) in a Thunder victory Sunday night. He’s shown tremendous improvement in his passing and facilitating of the ball since James Harden left town.
6) Miami Heat [ 8-3 ]: Chris Bosh has led the Heat in scoring four out of a possible eleven games thus far. Over the course of a season and a half, Bosh was the leading scorer in just 16 games. With Dwayne Wade still hurting, Chris is going to have to keep his foot on the gas on offense.
7) Brooklyn Nets [ 6-2 ]: The Nets have won five straight and four of five at the new Barclays center. That’s with Joe Johnson shooting just 36% from the field mind you. There five victories have come against lesser opposition (Magic twice, Rondo-less Celtics, Cavaliers and Kings) though. A matchup with the Lakers at Staples Tuesday will be the big test.
8) Milwaukee Bucks [ 6-2 ]: The Bucks are the best team in the league that no one really cares about. An undefeated record on the road (3-0) is nothing to frown at. If Ersan Ilyasova (6.9 points on 31% shooting, 5.1 rebounds) would just show up already, then all would be well in Buck country.
9) Boston Celtics [ 6-5 ]: Was it wrong of coach Rivers to play Rajon Rondo at the end of a blowout loss to the Pistons Sunday, just so he could keep his streak of 10+ assist games alive? Not at all. If anything, keeping Rondo happy should be of the utmost importance.
10) Los Angeles Lakers [ 5-5 ]: The Lakers have won four of five since the team fired coach Mike Brown. Anyone else doubting that decision? They’re back at .500 and the skepticism has died down for now.
11) Philadelphia 76ers [ 6-4 ]: Andrew Bynum is Andrew Bynum’s own worst enemy. In a freak accident (sigh), a bowling trip over the weekend could cost him his entire season after suffering a bone bruise and some swelling in his healthy knee. Red Foreman from “That 70′s show” can just about sum up how all 76ers fans are feeling about Bynum at the moment.
12) Portland Trail Blazers [ 5-5 ]: Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard caused quite the stir after the Blazers 102-94 victory over the Bulls Sunday by dunking the ball at the end of the game. Didn’t Joakim Noah do something similar to long ago?
13) Minnesota Timberwolves [ 5-4 ]: You can add Brandon Roy to the long-list of Wolves players sidelined with injuries. Brandon will have arthroscopic surgery yet again on his right knee. Perhaps his return to the NBA was a tad premature.
14) Dallas Mavericks [ 6-5 ]: Dirk Nowitzki’s rehab seems to be taking longer than expected. A return at the end of December is looking more plausible. Mavericks fans better hope O.J Mayo’s fast start continues because that’s whats keeping the team competitive at this point.
15) Chicago Bulls [ 5-5 ]: The Bulls have lost three of their last four (Blazers, Clippers, Celtics), yet they still find themselves at .500. Their defense is keeping them in ball games (98.7 defensive rating, 9th in NBA), but Chicago is still extremely limited offensively. Still, without Derrick Rose, the Bulls are hanging in there.
16) Atlanta Hawks [ 4-4 ]: The Hawks are 3-2 on the road, but just 1-2 at home. Five of their next six games are against the Magic, Wizards, Bobcats and Cavaliers. Expect Atlanta to move up these power rankings in a big way next week.
17) Golden State Warriors [ 5-5 ]: Will we ever see Andrew Bogut on the court for Golden State? The team said last week that the Aussie would be out seven to ten days, but it appears now that he could be missing even more time to rehab his surgically repaired left ankle.
18) Utah Jazz [ 5-6 ]: A 5-6 record is respectable, but the Jazz have yet to defeat a team with a record above .500. With the Rockets and two games against the Kings on tap this week, that trend may continue. Does anyone else feel that Derrick Favors (9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds) is withering away on the Jazz bench?
19) Houston Rockets [ 4-6 ]: The Rockets rank just 23rd in the league in three-point shooting (31.8%), but number one in attempts from behind the arc (28 a game). Can you blame them? Omer Asik is a stud on defense, but neither him or Patrick Patterson will ever be mistaken for an offensive powerhouse in the paint.
20) Denver Nuggets [ 4-6 ]: Everyone’s sleeper/dark horse pick in the Western Conference has underachieved greatly to start the year. The defense hasn’t been up to par (103.2 defensive rating, 24th in NBA) and Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala have both shown signs of regression. With 10 of their next 13 on the road, George Karl better come up with a solution, and fast.
21) Charlotte Bobcats [ 4-4 ]: The Bobcats are beginning to show signs improvement for the first time in what seems like forever and a half. They still can’t hit a long-range shot to save their life (29.1% from three-point range), but the resurgence of Kemba Walker and the play of rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist must have Charlotte fans feeling giddy.
22) Indiana Pacers [ 4-7 ]: Indiana is shooting just 40.1% from the field through 11 games. Their team defense has been outstanding (95.8 rating, best in the league), but with Danny Granger still out for the foreseeable future and with Roy Hibbert/Paul George both shooting less than 40% respectively, this team is going to be hard-pressed to win games over the next few months, even with that defense.
23) New Orleans Hornets [ 3-5 ]: Wasn’t Anthony Davis supposed to improve the Hornets on defense? With “the unibrow” on the court, New Orleans is allowing 118 points per 100 possessions. Austin Rivers still can’t find the bottom of the net, as he continues to shoot under 30% from the field on the year.
24) Phoenix Suns [ 4-7 ]: Giving up 104.1 points a game (worst in the NBA) isn’t going to help matters when the team itself is just scoring 98.3. Michael Beasley is the closest thing the Suns have to a #1 option on offense, but he’s only hitting 36.3% of his field-goal attempts.
25) Toronto Raptors [ 3-7 ]: Injuries to Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields have derailed what could have been a promising start to the Raptors season. Two ugly wins over the Pacers and Magic this week were much needed, especially with a long and grueling road trip still on the horizon.
26) Orlando Magic [ 3-6 ]: Glen Davis has had his shots blocked more times (21) than he’s had free-throw attempts from the charity stripe (19). With the lack of talent on the Magic (and trust me, this roster is a barren wasteland of talent), those numbers aren’t going to suffice from arguably the teams best player (yes, really).
27) Cleveland Cavaliers [ 2-8 ]: The Cavaliers are giving up 102.7 points a game, which is second-worst in the NBA, just ahead of the pitiful Phoenix Suns defense. Even with Anderson Varejao having a career-start to his season (14.3 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists), Cleveland still can’t find ways to stop their opponents.
28) Detroit Pistons [ 2-9 ]: I can look past the fact that the Pistons are such a god-awful team to truly admire the talents of one Greg Monroe (16.8 points on 49% shooting, 9.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists). If Detroit was anything but what they are at the moment, he would surely be an all-star. A lopsided victory over the Celtics keeps the Pistons out of the power rankings cellar.
29) Sacramento Kings [ 2-8 ]: Talk about your disappointing teams. The roster is loaded with talent, yet we’re still just 10 games into the year and the Kings are losing games by 16 and 17 points and already holding players-only meetings.
30) Washington Wizards [ 0-8 ]: The Wizards remain the only team in the league with no wins. Games against the struggling Pacers and Bobcats could help their luck, but with the way they’re playing as of late (Offensive rating 90.9, dead last), nothing is a gimme.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports
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