NBA Power Rankings: Warriors not in Top 2; Kings rise
From 30 to 1
James Ham stacks up all 30 teams...
30. Grizzlies (7-15)
Hard to imagine this team was 7-4 to start the season. Now they’ve lost 11 straight, fired their coach and allowed their dirty laundry out in the open air. You reap what you sow.
29. Bulls (3-18)
Starting over from scratch. Chicago is in full rebuild mode and the cupboard is pretty bare. Lauri Markkanen shows flashes and Kris Dunn looks like an NBA player after a disastrous rookie season. It’s going to be a cold winter in Chicago.
28. Mavs (6-16)
Congrats to Rick Carlisle for picking up win number 700. He might not reach 715 this season. Dennis Smith gives the franchise a glimmer of hope, but it’s time for a Texas size roster purge in Dallas.
27. Hawks (5-17)
This team is missing that big frontline star. Plenty of nice role players in ATL, but losing a roster of All-Stars has left this team in an awkward spot.
26. Nets (8-14)
Brooklyn was in one of the worst positions imaginable over the last few seasons - no picks, no talent and not a lot of cap space. Now they are running and gunning with a bunch of no-namers, scoring nearly 110 points per game. Boring and bad is not good for business. Bad, but fun is working well for the Nets.
25. Suns (8-16)
They’ve moved past the Eric Bledsoe era and into the Devin Booker era. Phoenix plays an uptempo style, choosing quantity of shots over quality. This team was a hot mess a few weeks ago, now they’re just a young group that plays sloppy and shoots a low percentage.
24. Lakers (8-15)
After starting 5-5, the Lakers are 3-10 over their last 13 and they’ve lost five straight. They play fast. They play defense. But they are the worst 3-point shooting team in the league and they turn the ball over 17.5 times per game.
23. Kings (7-16)
Dave Joerger has his team playing hard. After a 1-8 start to the season, Sacramento has bounced back with quality wins over OKC, Philly, Portland and Golden State. They have the highest scoring bench in the NBA and rookies De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Frank Mason III are finding their sea legs.
22. Hornets (8-13)
Charlotte’s circling the drain. They’ve lost 10 of their last 13 and All-Star Kemba Walker is nursing a shoulder issue. Nic Batum has been a shell of his former self since returning from injury.
21. Clippers (8-14)
The injury bug hit early, then it decided to hang out in the warm California sun. Losing Blake Griffin for an extended period of time might force the Clippers to reassess their plans for this season and the next three or four.
20. Magic (10-14)
Smoke and mirrors only work so far. Orlando has dropped 10-of-11, but seven of those losses came on the road and all 10 were against teams currently above .500. Aaron Gordon is developing in year four and the young core isn’t bad.
19. Thunder (10-12)
The Thunder’s petition to the league to play with three basketballs at a time was denied. It’s hard to win when three guys take 53 of the team’s 86 shots each night, especially when they knock down a combined 41.5 percent. Maybe they just need more time?
18. Heat (11-12)
Losing Hassan Whiteside to injury did this team no favors. Spoelstra needs his young core of Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson to step up if the Heat are going to remain relevant this season.
17. Knicks (11-11)
If they only had a point guard.... The Knicks passed on Dennis Smith with the eighth overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. It’s a decision they’ll likely regret for the next decade. It’s okay, they have Jarrett Jack, Ramon Sessions and Frank Ntilikina...
16. Pacers (12-11)
Hot and cold. The Pacers have been streaky early in the season. They have solid roster and a chance to hang in the race in the East. They might even be buyers at the deadline with all of their moveable pieces.
15. Jazz (12-11)
Utah’s won five straight, despite missing their anchor in the middle. Rudy Gobert is on the mend and in the meantime, rookie Donovan Mitchell has taken over. The 21-year-old dropped a career-best 41 on the Pelicans this week and is averaging 26.3 points per game over his previous four.
14. Pelicans (12-11)
AD is on the shelf again, leaving DeMarcus Cousins alone on the frontline. They’ll need more 38 point games from the Big Cuz if they hope keep pace while Davis heals up.
13. Wizards (12-10)
Underachievers. There’s always one or two teams early in the season that play well below their talent level and for the 2017-18 campaign, it’s Washington and OKC. They went all in on this roster during the offseason after winning 49 games last year. They might regret that when the tax bill comes due.
12. Philly (13-9)
Brett Brown has somehow made it through four years of stink and filth to come out a winner. He has a loaded roster of babies. It won’t be long until this is one of the most feared teams in the league.
11. Bucks (12-9)
The legend of Giannis Antetokounmpo grows. He might be the most difficult cover in the game today and at 22, he’s only getting started. The Bucks should be better than 12-9. They have elite length and the acquisition of Eric Bledsoe is already paying dividends.
10. Nuggets (13-9)
Paul Millsap’s injury is a gut punch for an up and coming Nuggets team. Denver has depth at the four, but the schedule gets tougher from here on out. Who knew that Gary Harris and Will Barton would be better than Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay?
9. Trail Blazers (13-10)
Portland paid a mint to put a supporting cast around Lillard and McCollum. Outside of the star backcourt tandem and big man Jusuf Nurkic, the rest of the roster is grossly underperforming.
8. Timberwolves (14-10)
Thibodeau is running all five of his starters out there for 32 minutes or more and rightfully so. He needs to develop a bench, but he has a balanced lineup of young studs and veterans in their prime.
7. Raptors (14-7)
No respect. We The North continues to compete in obscurity. They have the Eastern Conference’s third best record and even we rate them as the fourth best team in the East.
6. Pistons (14-8)
Stan Van Gundy is getting production out of his entire roster. The addition of Avery Bradley was brilliant. Andre Drummond is dominating the glass. Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson are providing the firepower.
5. Spurs (15-8)
Tony Parker is back and Kawhi Leonard is on his way. Hat tip to LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay for keeping the Spurs in the race for the first six weeks of the season. Expect another 50 wins for Pop.
4. Cavs (16-7)
11 straight wins is a quick way to quiet the skeptics. LeBron James is playing like an MVP. Isaiah Thomas is scheduled to return to the floor around Jan. 1, making the Cavs that much more interesting.
3. Warriors (18-6)
Bored. Minor injuries and a general malaise have the Warriors sauntering through their early season schedule. A loss to the Kings doesn’t mean much in November. 58 more games until the Warriors push for a repeat begins.
2. Rockets (18-4)
Houston is second in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating. Whatever Mike D’Antoni is selling to James Harden is working. Once Chris Paul is fully integrated into the system, this will be as scary a team as there is in the NBA.
1. Celtics (20-4)
Brad Stevens is a star. The head coach of the Celtics is developing young talent, while keeping his team at the top of the NBA. Second-year wing Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum are both playing over 30 minutes a night for a team that might win more than 60 games.