The start of this year’s NBA season has been nothing short of madness, and this last week proved that time and time again. Every team has at least one win and one loss, the Spurs have lost two in a row, the Warriors lost ANOTHER game at home, and if the playoffs started today, the Thunder would be out. Let’s take a look at where we’ve ranked teams for this week.
- Memphis Grizzlies (5-1): The grizzlies have quietly worked their way to the top of my power rankings. I’m not sure how long it’ll last, but with the best record in the NBA I had to put them there.
- Los Angeles Clippers (4-1): The Clippers are off to the most surprising start out of any team for me. I’ve been hesitant to put them in my top 10, but after two weeks they look like an elite team.
- Houston Rockets (5-2): Even without Chris Paul the Rockets are hanging in there. James Harden and Eric Gordon seem impossible to stop.
- San Antonio Spurs (4-2): The Spurs have been doing pretty well without Kawhi Leonard. However, after their loss to the Pacers they can’t wait to get him back.
- Detroit Pistons (5-2): Reggie Jackson is finally leading the way for the Pistons in Detroit. After a win against the Warriors, I might be sold on this team.
- Portland Trail Blazers (4-2): Vegan diet or not, Damian Lillard is still one of the best in the league. This might be the year that Portland causes some problems late in the post season.
- Toronto Raptors (3-2): The young guard play of the Raptors combined with Serge Ibaka on the inside looks really nice. Keep an eye on Toronto in the East.
- Boston Celtics (4-2): I think Kyrie Irving is doing a lot better in Boston than many people thought. Even without Gordon Hayward, this team is finding ways to win games.
- Milwaukee Bucks (4-2): The Bucks are another team in the East with a lot of talent. The “Greek Freak” may be in the lead for MVP at the moment.
- Golden State Warriors (4-3): As I said last week, the Warriors will probably find their way to the top soon. As for now, they’ve got some defensive problems to figure out.
- Memphis Grizzlies (5-1): This probably won’t last for long, but the Grizzlies look like the best team in the NBA right now. They’ve knocked off both the Warriors and the Rockets (twice) and after losing to the Mavericks in Dallas, they turned around and beat them in Memphis. This team is hot right now.
- Houston Rockets (5-2): Despite losing two games in one week to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Rockets are still solid right now. They’re also playing without Chris Paul, who should be back soon.
- Detroit Pistons (5-2): After going 2-2 to start the season, the Pistons knocked off the Timberwolves at home and then the Clippers and Warriors in back-to-back road games. I wasn’t even sure the Pistons would make the playoffs, but right now, they look like one of the league’s hottest teams.
- Los Angeles Clippers (4-1): I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: after losing Chris Paul, this team’s potential seemingly dropped. That has not been the case so far. The Clippers started the season with the best three-game point differential to start a season since the 1983 Sonics, winning all three by a combined point total of 76 points.
- San Antonio Spurs (4-2): The Spurs started off 4-0 before dropping their last two to the Magic and the Pacers, but they’re dealing with injuries, and somehow making things work. As soon as Kawhi Leonard gets back, there’s no telling what the ceiling for this team is.
- Washington Wizards (4-2): What a wild week for the Wizards. They nearly beat the Warriors, but a scuffle between Bradley Beal and Draymond Green hurt Washington more than it did Golden State. They lost a narrow one to the Lakers, but they beat the Nuggets in Denver and destroyed the Kings in Sacramento, so don’t sleep on this team.
- Boston Celtics (4-2): After losing Gordon Hayward on opening and dropping their first two games, the Celtics looked lost. Now they’ve won four straight, including one against the Bucks, who they lost to in their second game. Boston has a lot of young potential, and they’re finding out just how good they really are now.
- Milwaukee Bucks (4-2): The Bucks only have two losses, and they’re both to quality teams, while Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to put up numbers that have him in early MVP talks. Milwaukee is the dark horse to win the East, so keep an eye on them.
- Orlando Magic (4-2): It’s nothing short of a magic trick (see what I did there?) that Orlando is playing this well right now. They were one of the league’s worst teams a season ago, but after racking up wins against the Cavs and the Spurs, the Magic might be much better than expected.
- Portland Trailblazers (4-2): In a stacked Western Conference, the Trailblazers were considered questionable in terms of playoff talks early in the season, but they have proven themselves as worthy foes so far. Their four wins aren’t particularly impressive, defeating the Suns twice along with the Pacers and the Pelicans, but their losses to the Bucks and the Clippers have each been by one possession.
3 To Watch
- Orlando Magic (4-2): I’m not completely sold on the Magic’s 4-2 start. I’ll keep them on my watch list and see about moving them up next week.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3): The Thunder can’t seem to get ahead on the winning side of the record. Currently at 3-3, it’ll be interesting to see what they do this week.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4): The Cavs are another team currently struggling. There’s no need to worry just yet, LeBron will figure things out with this team.
- Golden State Warriors (4-3): It’s so weird having the Warriors outside of the top 10 for the second consecutive week, but Golden State dropped another game at home, this time to the Pistons. They’re clearly dealing with some composure issues, as put on display during the scuffle in Washington, but they’ll pick it up before long.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (3-3): The Timberwolves are experiencing some growing pains early, but Jimmy Butler missed two games, both of which ended in losses, due to an upper respiratory infection. Two wins over the Thunder look good, and Minnesota will undoubtedly be a team to watch this season.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3): Just like Minnesota, the Thunder are having to figure out rhythm and chemistry early this season, but things should get better sooner rather later. Aside from dropping two close losses to the Timberwolves within a week of one another, Oklahoma City has been dominant against lesser opponent, defeating the Pacers by 18 and the Bulls by 32.
Chicago Bulls (1-4): Someone said to me last week, “How do the Bulls even have a team?” It’s going to be a long season for the Chicago faithful.
Atlanta Hawks (1-6): The 1-6 start for the Hawks is kind of surprising to me. They don’t have a superstar, but I figured they could piece together some wins.
Dallas Mavericks (1-6): Looks like another long year for the Mavericks. It seems like it’s been awhile since they were on top of the league.
Sacramento Kings (1-5): I really bought into the Kings this year. They have a lot of young talent. It may take a lot longer than people thought for this team to come together
LA Lakers (2-4): There are a lot of teams I could’ve considered for this final spot. I chose the Lakers due to their poor 1-3 record at home.
- Dallas Mavericks (1-6): Wow. Aside from somehow beating the Grizzlies at home, the Mavs have dropped games to the Kings, Hawks, and the 76ers, none of which have a winning record. Dallas is not who they used to be.
- Sacramento Kings (1-5): The Kings were expected to be bad, but I don’t know if it was supposed to be this bad. Sacramento lost a close one to the Suns in Phoenix, if that says anything.
- Atlanta Hawks (1-6): Gone are the days of being a consistent playoff team. The Hawks are off to their worst start since going 0-9 in the 2005-06 season, and their one win was against the Mavericks in their opening game.
- Chicago Bulls (1-4): The Bulls are bad, but at their four losses have been against playoff-quality squads. Their one win comes against the Hawks, though, which is not great. There is trouble in Chi-town.
- Phoenix Suns (2-4): The Suns aren’t as bad as they started off, but they’re still bad. Since benching Eric Bledsoe, they have won two out of three, so maybe they will surprise us all.
Article written by Craig Hofeld and Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.