NBA power rankings, week 1: Pistons surprise; Rockets struggle

Posted: November 2, 2015 in basketball, nba, power rankings, sports, utah jazz
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There have been some shocking results during the first week of the season. Teams like the Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Pelicans that are expected to contend have been awful while some teams with low expectations have performed well. Some of the biggest surprises to this point have been in the East where the Pistons are on top after three impressive wins while the Knicks aren’t too far behind.

Here are my NBA power rankings after week 1.

30. Philadelphia 76ers 

Record: 0-2

The 76ers started out by getting thumped by the Boston Celtics and the Utah Jazz. On the bright side, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel have played well together. Okafor is averaging 18 points and 6.5 rebounds while Noel is chipping in with 11 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

29. Brooklyn Nets 

Record: 0-3

The Nets backcourt has struggled no matter who has been in the lineup and it has led to three terrible outings. In fact, Brooklyn has lost all three of its games by double-digits, including a 27-point setback against the San Antonio Spurs.

One of the lone positives has been the play of Brook Lopez who is averaging 18.3 points on 51.3 percent shooting with 6.7 rebounds.

28. Los Angeles Lakers

Record: 0-3

The Lakers have been a nightmare on the defensive end of the floor as the dropped their first games. The guard-play also leaves something to be desired as Kobe Bryant, Lou Williams and D’Angelo Russell are all shooting less than 38 percent from the floor.

27. Houston Rockets

Record: 0-3

The Rockets have been a disaster on both ends of the floor since the season started. They have lost all three games by at least 20 points, including an embarrassing home loss to the Denver Nuggets. James Harden has been the worst of the group shooting just 9.4 percent from beyond the arc in 10.7 attempts

26. New Orleans Pelicans

Record: 0-3

Injuries and bad defense have left the Pelicans winless after three games. Not even the skills of one of the best players in the league will help a team win when they give up 119 points a night.

25. Indiana Pacers

Record: 0-3

As long as Monta Ellis and Paul George aren’t making shots, the Pacers won’t win games. Ellis is shooting 29.7 percent from the floor, including 14.3 percent from beyond the arc while George isn’t much better making just 34.9 percent of his attempts from the field.

24. Orlando Magic

Record: 0-3

The Magic are young and fun, but haven’t been able to close out close games. They have lost three games by a combined nine points, including a heartbreaking 139-136 double-overtime affair with Oklahoma City.

23. Charlotte Hornets

Record: 0-3

You can’t expect to win many games when you shoot 39.1 percent from the floor as a team. What makes matters worse is that none of the three point guards who gets minutes is shooting better than 35 percent from the floor.

22. Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 0-3

While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe have played well, the Bucks have been a mess to start the season. They have lost three straight games, including a 25-point loss to the Knicks.

21. Denver Nuggets

Record: 1-2

The Nuggets handed the ball over to rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay to run the offense and he turned it over to the other team. If Denver expects to do anything this year, he will need to cut his 6.3 turnovers a game way down.

20. Portland Trail Blazers

Record: 1-2

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are fun to watch on offense, but they won’t stop anyone on the other end of the floor. After a big win over New Orleans to start the season, the Phoenix Suns handed the Blazers two losses.

19. Sacramento Kings

Record: 1-2

The only things we have learned about the Kings is that they will play fast and they can’t hang with the Clippers. Rajon Rondo has fit in well next to DeMarcus Cousins averaging 15.3 points, 6.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 27.3 minutes.

18. Boston Celtics 

Record: 1-2

The Celtics have a bunch of very talented frontcourt players who never get to shoot the ball. If they can’t find some offensive balance, it will be a long season.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves

Record: 2-0

The balance of old and young has worked out well as the Timberwolves started out with two wins over bad teams. Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio are both averaging a double-double. To be able to complete with some better competition, they will need help from Andrew Wiggins who has struggled to find his role so far.

16. New York Knicks 

Record: 2-1

The Knicks came out of the gate strong with a huge win over Milwaukee. They have had the most success on the offensive end where they are averaging 113 points a game behind the scoring of Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Williams.

15. Dallas Mavericks

Record: 2-1

The Mavericks started out the year with a two wins on a three-game road trip, including a nice win in Phoenix. Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams have led the balanced-attack as nine players are averaging at least 8.5 poits a game.

14. Phoenix Suns

Record: 2-1

The Suns backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight have come together nicely and led the team to back-to-back wins over the Portland Trail Blazers. They have combined for 42.7 points, 8.3 assists and 8.0 rebounds in three games.

13. Utah Jazz

Record: 2-1

After a tough loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Jazz bounced back with road wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and the Indian Pacers. Derrick Favors has led the way on the offensive end with 21.3 points on 52.1 percent shooting while Rudy Gobert has dominated on defense with 13.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks.

12. Washington Wizards

Record: 2-1

The Wizards started out the season with road wins over the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks before falling at home to the New York Knicks. Bradley Beal has been impressive with 25.3 points a night on 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

11. Atlanta Hawks

Record: 3-1

The Hawks have rolled off three straight wins following an opening loss to the Detroit Pistons behind some excellent play from Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Dennis Schroder has also made some big contributions off the bench with 13.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

10. Detroit Pistons

Record: 3-0

The Pistons started the season in fine form with three wins over good teams. The new look frontcourt has come together nicely led by Andre Drummond who is averaging 18.7 points, 16.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Marcus Morris has also made some nice contributions with 19.3 points and 7.7 rebounds.

9. Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 2-1

After they got slapped by the Cleveland Cavaliers to open the season, Memphis responded with back-to-back wins over the Indiana Pacers and the Brooklyn Nets. Mike Conley has been the catalyst with 14.3 points and 8.0 assists while Zach Randolph has chipped in with 12.7 points and 9.7 rebounds.

8. Toronto Raptors

Record: 3-0

The Raptors got off to a fast start with three wins over Eastern Conference foes. Their balanced offensive attack has four players averaging at least 15.3 points, including free agent DeMarre Carroll who is averaging 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

7. Chicago Bulls 

Record: 3-1

The Bulls managed three wins in four games, including a 97-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic are carrying the load on the offensive end under new coach Fred Hoiberg.

6. Miami Heat 

Record: 2-1

The Heat won home games over the Charlotte Hornets and Houston Rockets, but lost on the road to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dwyane Wade has led the way with 21.7 points on 44.7 percent shooting to go along with 5.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 2-1

The Cavaliers followed up a loss to Chicago Bulls with wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Miami Heat. They have been great at moving the basketball with 26.7 assists per game with just 13.3 turnovers. Kevin Love has returned from injury in a big way, averaging 19.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

4. San Antonio Spurs

Record: 2-1

While the Spurs are loaded with talent, there will be some growing pains as they try to incorporate LaMarcus Aldridge. They lost the season opener to the Oklahoma City before knocking off the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

Record: 3-0

DeAndre Jordan showed why the Clippers needed him to return as they won their first three games. He dominated the paint with 15 rebounds and 5.0 blocks while adding 9.7 points on 78.6 percent shooting in a win over the Dallas Mavericks and to wins over the Kings.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Record: 3-0

The return of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka has been a flawless one for the Thunder who won their first three contests of the year. The offense has been clicking on all cylinders, averaging 122.7 points a game, including 32 points a night from Russell Westbrook and 30 from Durant.

1. Golden State Warriors

Record: 3-0

Stephen Curry silenced all of the people who said he didn’t deserve the MVP with three huge games as the Warriors started right where they left off. Curry is averaging 39.3 points on 58.8 percent shooting from the floor with 7.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds in three huge wins.

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