Blakely's NBA Power Rankings: Can't slow the Grizzlies
Blakely's NBA Power Rankings: Can't slow the Griz
BOSTON — The top of the NBA standings is starting to have a Standing Room Only look about it with a number of teams toting impressive records to date.
And there are others like the Denver Nuggets who have shown signs of life after appearing dead on arrival to start the season.
It all adds up to a season where subplots and storylines are slowly but surely beginning to unfold.
And with that, here's this week's power rankings.
BACK OF THE PACK
30. Philadelphia (Record: 0-14: Last week 30) - They're better than Kentucky people, but against D-League all-stars? That could be interesting.
29. Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 3-11: Last week 29) - A bad Lakers team just got worse with Xavier Henry out for the season with an Achilles' Tendon tear.
28. Oklahoma City (Record: 3-12: Last week 24) - Superman, Batman, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook. It doesn't matter who walks through that door. This team isn't going anywhere this year.
27. Detroit (Record: 3-10: Last week 26) - Not enough shots in practice, says Brandon Jennings. If only Detroit's problems were that simple.
26. Minnesota (Record: 3-9. Last week 28) - These are the growing pains of a young team, losers in seven of their last eight games.
25. New York (Record: 4-11. Last week 27) - The Knicks' next win over a team with a winning record will be their first of the season.
TRAILING THE PACK
24. Charlotte (Record: 4-11. Last week 21) - The Hornets, losers of six straight, have not lost this many in a row since the 2012-2013 club that won just 21 games all season.
23. Utah (Record: 5-10. Last week 18) - Rank in the bottom-10 in points scored (96.5, No. 22) and points allowed (101.1, No. 23). Hard to win many games that way.
22. Boston (Record: 3-6. Last week 25) - Rough going for the Celtics at home, losing five of seven there. Won't get any easier with Chicago and San Antonio coming up next.
21. Orlando (Record: 6-10. Last week 22) - A strong case could be made that Nikola Vucevic is the best center in the East, averaging 19.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
20. Brooklyn (Record: 5-8. Last week 19) - Losers of six of their last seven, no need to fear. The Sixers will get you back on a winning track on Wednesday.
19. Denver (Record: 6-7. Last week 23) - Riding four-game winning streak fueled by stronger play defensively. The Nuggets are giving up 97 points per game during streak, nearly eight points less than their season average allowed.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
18. Indiana (Record: 6-8. Last week 20) − With all the injuries this team has had, keeping this team in the playoff picture has been an impressive coaching job by Frank Vogel.
17. Cleveland (Record: 6-7. Last week 13) - Nice blowout win over Orlando, but as Anderson Varejao said after the game, the Cavs have "a lot of work to do."
16. Milwaukee (Record: 7-7. Last week 15) - Have dropped two straight, but with games against Detroit (twice) and Minnesota, Bucks should get back to winning soon.
15. New Orleans (Record: 7-5. Last week 16) - As dominant as Anthony Davis has been this season, it's no surprise the Pelicans are averaging a league-best 48.1 points in the paint this season.
14. Atlanta (Record: 6-5. Last week 17) - Good stretch coming up to see where the Hawks are at with games against Washington, Toronto and New Orleans.
13. Sacramento (Record: 8-5. Last week 12) - DeMarcus Cousins will be an All-Star this year, but it's point guard Darren Collison whose play gives the Kings a legit shot at the playoffs this year.
RUNNING WITH THE PACK
12. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 8-5. Last week 10) - You can bet that Doc Rivers will be looking long and hard for an impact small forward between now and the February trade deadline.
11. Phoenix (Record: 9-6. Last week 11) - Winners in four of last five games, Suns quietly creeping their way up to the front of the pack out West.
10. Dallas (Record: 10-5. Last week 8) - The starting five is strong, but Brandon Wright (10.7 points in 19 minutes per game) is a game-changer for them off the bench.
9. Miami (Record: 8-6. Last week 14) - Life without LeBron hasn't been so bad after all for the Heat who remain one of the better teams in the East.
8. San Antonio (Record: 9-4. Last week 9) - Four straight wins with two more (Indiana and Sacramento) likely coming at home this week.
7. Washington (Record: 9-3. Last week 7) - Bradley Beal's return will only strengthen a Wizards team that stands out as one of the best in the Eastern Conference.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
6. Houston (Record: 11-3, Last week 5) - Are showing they can beat quality clubs (Dallas), with or without their main man in the middle, Dwight Howard.
5. Chicago (Record: 9-5, Last week 4) - Excellent road team, have 7-2 record with wins at Toronto, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah which is always a tough venue to play in.
4. Golden State (Record: 10-2. Last week 2) - Warriors 2-0 against the East, we'll see if they can keep it going with four straight out-of-conference matchups coming up.
3. Portland (Record: 11-3, Last week 6) - If they keep rolling like this, it won't just be the Portland faithful chanting "M-V-P!" for LaMarcus Aldridge.
2. Toronto (Record: 12-2. Last week 2) - Four of next five against Western Conference teams. They're up for the challenge, evident by their 3-0 record vs West this season.
1. Memphis (Record: 12-2. Last week 1) - Without five players and nearly beat the best team in the East (Toronto) in their own building? This team is deeper than many thought.