A wild opening week that featured upsets, injuries, and more has caused quite a change up in our rankings from last week. Some teams have fallen, many have risen, and some are right about where we thought they would be. Regardless, here’s our take on who sits where after the first week of action in the NBA.
- Houston Rockets (3-0): Houston is the only 3-0 team in the league, how could they not be number 1? Even with Chris Paul out for awhile, this team is dangerous.
- San Antonio Spurs (2-0): The Spurs have been led by LaMarcus Aldridge thus far, and he is doing just fine carrying the team while Leonard is out.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1): I decided to put a one loss Cleveland team in the top 3 due to their offensive fire power. Blowing one game to Orlando doesn’t change my opinion of this team.
- Toronto Raptors (2-0): Toronto looks like they can compete with the best in the NBA. It will be interesting to see them battle Cleveland for the top seed in the East.
- Washington Wizards (2-0): I was high on the Wizards during pre-season, and I’m liking them even more now. Don’t sleep on John Wall this season.
- Memphis Grizzlies (2-0): Memphis had a way better start to the season than I expected. A win over the Warriors in week one earns them a spot in my top 10.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (2-1): The young lineup of the Timberwolves will cause problems this season. The Thunder learned that first hand on Sunday.
- Milwaukee Bucks (2-1): I think the Bucks are going to surprise a lot of people this year. They’ve got to be feeling confident after beating the Trailblazers in week one.
- Portland Trailblazers (2-1): Portland is a young team with tons of potential. They haven’t figured out how to win in recent years, but this could be the year that things change.
- Charlotte Hornets (1-1): Kemba Walker continues his dominant career this year averaging 25 points per game. They have a tough test against the Bucks coming up that will show just how good they are.
- Houston Rockets (3-0): As much as I hate to admit it, the Rockets have been the best team through the first week. After knocking off the Warriors in Oakland on opening night, they handled the Kings and the Mavericks just fine. Things might be rough moving forward with Chris Paul out due to injury, though.
- San Antonio Spurs (2-0): The Spurs move up this week simply for taking care of business, especially considering that Kawhi Leonard still out with a leg injury. They beat a solid Timberwolves squad and struggled a little with the Bulls, but they won all the same.
- Toronto Raptors (2-0): The Raptors have yet to be challenged, but they absolutely destroyed Philadelphia and handled Chicago with ease. I’m not sure how good Toronto is going to be this season, but they’re off to a great start.
- Washington Wizards (2-0): I’m just not sure about the Wizards. A lot of experts have them pegged as a top team in the East, but they were a little underwhelming to start the season with close wings against the 76ers and the Pistons.
- Memphis Grizzlies (2-0): A week ago, I wasn’t even sure the Grizzlies would make the playoffs this season, but after a hot start, who knows. Beating up on the Pelicans by double-digits was solid, but knocking off the Warriors in dramatic fashion was nothing short of impressive.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (2-1): I’ve got the Timberwolves a little high, and part of that is because of how they handled the Thunder last night. Oklahoma City had no business losing that game, but Minnesota was in control for almost all four quarters, so they earned my respect.
- Utah Jazz (2-1): After losing Gordon Hayward, I wasn’t quite sure how well things would go for the Jazz, but they handled the Nuggets and Thunder just fine, and just narrowly lost to Minnesota. They’re making a believer out of me.
- Los Angeles Clippers (2-0): Talk about surprises. With the departure of Chris Paul, I figured things could go south quickly for the Clippers. Through two games, the opposition has not exactly been stout, but dominating the Lakers and then destroying the Suns was enough to get my attention.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1): This team is going to be weird all season long. Knock off the Celtics on opening night, dominate the young Bucks a few days later, and then get destroyed at home by the Orlando Magic? I don’t get it.
- Milwaukee Bucks (2-1): I’m a big fan of this young squad. For a couple of years now, they have fought to lose that “first round exit” image, and with Giannis Antetokounmpo playing out of his mind, who knows how far they will go.
3 To Watch
- Los Angeles Clippers (2-0): I know the Clippers are undefeated, but I’m not sold on them after beating two of the worst teams in the league. If they continue to win, I’ll have to put them in my top 10.
- Golden State Warriors (1-2): I’m not sure anyone expected the Warriors to start 1-2 on the season. There’s no need to panic yet, they’ll likely be in the top 5 for next week.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2): The Thunder are in the same situation as the Warriors. Definitely a top 5 team, just not playing to their potential yet.
- Golden State Warriors (1-2): This is almost a joke. Dropping the Warriors out of the top 10 is laughable, but they’re just not getting the job done right now. Not only are they losing games, but they seem to be losing composure in high-stress situations. I suspect they’ll correct some issues sooner rather than later.
- Portland Trailblazers (2-1): Portland is teetering on the edge of good and great right now. They dominated the Suns and the Pacers, but lost a close one to a solid Bucks squad. I’ve got my eye on Portland right now.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2): Chemistry takes times, and rhythm is not automatic, but the last two games for this team have been nothing short of disappointing. Improvements are coming, and it’s early, but issues need to be solved quickly.
- New York Knicks (0-2): The Knicks have only one superstar, and Porzingis has never had to play in that role before. Things won’t get any easier when they play Boston next.
- Chicago Bulls (0-2): The Bulls are a disaster right now. Losing players due to injury in a fight in practice is worse than starting off the season without any wins.
- Philadelphia 76ers (0-3): I thought this would be the year that the “process” finally pays off. However, it isn’t looking good for those loyal fans who bought in on it.
- Phoenix Suns (0-3): The Suns simply can’t do anything on either offense of defense. Devin Booker will need to find a way to score for this team to find success.
- Dallas Mavericks (0-3): The Mavericks have started off the season 0-3, and they play the Warriors next. Poor Dirk may not have the best final season in the NBA.
- Phoenix Suns (0-3): Good grief. After the worst opening loss in NBA history, things just continued to stay bad. The Suns have already fired their head Coach (and former Thunder point guard) Earl Watson, and Eric Bledsoe is on his way out. At least it can’t get worse for Phoenix.
- Philadelphia 76ers (0-3): It’s hard to trust the process when no progress seems to be being made. This is not the start the 76ers had in mind.
- Chicago Bulls (0-2): We all knew it would be bad, but it could definitely be worse. Maybe the Bulls will be able to scrape together some wins, but they have a tough week ahead with Cleveland and Oklahoma City on the schedule.
- Dallas Mavericks (0-3): Time flies in the NBA, and the 2011 Finals Champions are living at the bottom of the NBA barrel right now. Losing to the Rockets is understandable, but dropping games to Atlanta and Sacramento is not a good sign for this young squad.
- New York Knicks (0-2): After getting destroyed by the Thunder in their season opener, they played the Pistons close, but still lost. Maybe they’ll break out of the bottom five next week.
Article written by Craig Hofeld and Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.