Our weekly NBA Power Rankings, where nothing confuses us more than the Suns playing at the 20th fastest pace in the league.
1. Lakers (3-0). Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol have been the best front line in basketball through the first week. Kobe’s knee isn’t right, but it hasn’t mattered yet. Oh, and we told you Steve Blake was a huge pickup for them.
2. Celtics (2-1). They beat the Heat opening night… and you can’t read much into that. Not that Boston isn’t well built to give Miami problems, but the first game of the season is no time to make playoff assertions.
3. Heat (2-1). Along the same lines as the Celtics note, Heat fans should not just write off Orlando after one regular season game (Orlando was on a back-to-back and won’t shoot that poorly again). The overwhelming of a lesser New Jersey team, that you will see again.
4. Blazers (3-0). They said they wanted to reclaim their place as the young, up-and-coming team in the West. So far, so good. They are playing well at both ends of the floor.
5. Hawks (3-0). Hawks are killing it on offense, and that has been enough so far. But they killed it on offense last season, if the defense doesn’t improve it will catch up with them.
6. Mavericks (2-1). All that depth and some Jason Kidd three-quarter court shots has it looking like this could be a very good regular season for the Mavericks.
7. Magic (1-1). That loss to the Heat came on the second night of a back-to-back, when tired legs can turn good shooting teams into bad ones (and the Heat defense deserves some credit). The bad-shooting Magic will turn it around this week.
8. Hornets (3-0). New Orleans is the poster child for the preseason not mattering. They looked terrible in preseason, then Chris Paul flips the switch and they are undefeated first week in.
9. Spurs (1-1). In an era of rebuilding for superstar teams, the Spurs have remained loyal. Their big three will be together for another few years. Can those players reward management for that loyalty is the question?
10. Thunder (2-1). Oklahoma City is shooting just 39.9 percent from the field and just 20.7 percent from three. But they are winning because they are still attacking the rim, getting fouled and getting to the line. When they didn’t do that the Jazz blew them out. The shooting woes will turn around.
11. Nuggets (2-1). What Carmelo Anthony distraction? Have no idea what you’re talking about, they are playing just fine considering the front line is so banged up.
12. Grizzlies (2-1). Zach Randolph is out with a sore tailbone, but Marc Gasol is back from a sprained ankle. Memphis will need both of them to keep this up.
13. Bulls (1-1). It is the Derrick Rose show, they have nobody else who can create offense like him (until Boozer returns). That is a very entertaining show, by the way.
14. Jazz (1-2). It’s taking them some time to find their footing on offense with the new personnel, but they found it Sunday and blew out the Thunder. Was that an aberration or have they started to get it?
15. Kings (2-1). They’d be 3-0 if it were not for a total collapse in New Jersey. The Kings offense is fast and fun to watch, but the defense is going to improve or hold them back.
16. Bucks (1-2). Their offense and defense will get better, you have to think. Right now they are pretty average.
17. Warriors (2-1). Another from the really good on offense, really bad on defense category. But if you take away Stephen Curry and put Ron Artest on Monta Ellis, things don’t go so well.
18. Suns (1-2). It’s three games in, but the Suns are 20th in the league in pace. What happened to the team from last season? Can we blame Hedo for this too?
19. Pacers (2-1). Roy Hibbert has 11 assists versus just 2 turnovers in the Pacers two wins — the ball is not sticking with him and letting the defense adjust. That’s a big step forward for this team.
20. Nets (2-1). Come from behind wins against the Pistons and Kings — they would not have done that last year.
21. Knicks (1-2). Raymond Felton is still not comfortable just attacking off the pick-and-roll, and I drafted Danilo Gallinari on my fantasy team so I should have warned all of you he would turn to ice because of it. Still, better than last year.
22. Bobcats (0-3). Last season the Bobcats made the playoffs because they had one of the best defenses in the league. Three games in, they are 29th in defensive efficiency. If that keeps up, it will get ugly fast.
23. Rockets (0-3). Who are the Rockets? Their guards dominate and they should run more, but when Yao is in the team just looks lost and never really adjusts to the half court. The transition of Yao back into the rotation has been painful.
24. Pistons (0-3). Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey have been kept the offense going and the team does attack. But three heartbreaking losses? Either they fight through and win a few in a row, or this could become a season-long pattern.
25. Raptors (1-1). The Raptors are playing good defense. Yes, we believe this to be a mirage.
26. Timberwolves (1-2). Michael Beasley said they had to be the worst team in the NBA after they got blown out by Memphis. If Beasley says you’re the worst team in the league…
27. Cavaliers (1-2). Do you think the win over the Celtics was the real Cavaliers, or the two ugly losses? We lean toward the latter right now.
28. Wizards (0-2). Orlando then Atlanta is a tough way to open the season. We’ll get a better feel for just where the Wizards really stand in the next couple weeks.
29. Sixers (0-3). This team is worse than we thought. It’s worse than Doug Collins thought. But apparently the people of Philadelphia understood and are now solely focused on the Eagles.
30. Clippers (0-3). Blake Griffin is just flat out fun to watch. More Eric Gordon and Bledsoe will help in the backcourt. But this team is being out scored by 15.8 points per 100 possessions so far, worst in the NBA. So they get the bottom spot.