Blakely's NBA Power Rankings: Grit, grind, Griz
Blakely's NBA Power Rankings: Grit, grind, Griz
BOSTON — The NBA season is just two weeks old, but there are some hard, cold facts that probably won't change much, if at all, in the coming months.
Philadelphia stinks, and will make a run towards being the worst team ever in NBA history.
Nobody has the "strategic rest" game down to a science, like San Antonio.
Miami has become this year's Toronto Raptors - a good team that'll win a lot of games that nobody is paying attention to.
There are plenty more storylines that'll emerge this season for sure.
They will have an impact on how teams play and where they stack up compared to their NBA brethren.
And with that, here's a look at this week's power rankings that for these first few weeks, will see plenty of changes near the top.
BACK OF THE PACK
30. PHILADELPHIA (Record: 0-7: Last week 29) - Getting crushed at an arena near you, five of Sixers seven losses by double figures.
29. LOS ANGELES LAKERS (Record: 1-5: Last week 30) - It will only get worst this week for the Lakers with Memphis, New Orleans, San Antonio and Golden State up next.
28. DETROIT (Record: 2-5. Last week 28) - Misspelling of Andre Drummond's last name on his jersey was just one of several mistakes the Pistons have made this season.
27. DENVER (Record: 1-5: Last week 19) - The Nuggets are a defensive hot mess, giving up 108 points per game.
26. NEW YORK (Record: 2-6: Last week 15) - New York's struggles stem from a lack of talent, not understanding the Triangle offense.
25. ORLANDO (Record: 2-5: Last week 27) - Elfrid Payton has shown tremendous promise, averaging 30.2 minutes per game which is tops among all rookies.
TRAILING THE PACK
24. MINNESOTA (Record: 2-4: Last week 21) - Even without Kevin Love, Timberwolves still rank among league's best rebounding clubs at 45 per game (No. 9 in the NBA).
23. INDIANA (Record: 2-6: Last week 18) - Chris Copeland (who?) is their top scorer this season. That is all.
22. OKLAHOMA CITY (Record: 2-5: Last week 23) - For a player in a contract year, no one should benefit more from O-K-C injuries than Reggie Jackson.
21. MILWAUKEE (Record: 3-4: Last week 25) - It's great to see Larry Sanders making headlines for his play, not his problems off the court.
20. CHARLOTTE (Record: 3-4: Last week 20) - Lance Stephenson hasn't had the kind of immediate impact he and the Hornets were looking for, but 8.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game isn't too shabby, either.
19. UTAH (Record: 3-5: Last week 26) - Gordon Hayward is doing exactly what a franchise player is supposed to, which is to put up big numbers and lead his team to victory.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
18. NEW ORLEANS (Record: 3-3: Last week 24) - Anthony Davis off to an MVP-like start, averaging 24.8 points, 13 rebounds, 4.2 blocks and 2.5 steals per game.
17. ATLANTA (Record: 3-3: Last week 16) - Have a solid half court game, evident by ranking 20th in fast break points but No. 2 in assists per game.
16. BOSTON (Record: 3-3. Last week 22) - Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger creating major matchup problems for foes with their ability to score from long range and around the basket.
15. CLEVELAND (Record: 3-3. Last week 13) - At this point in LeBron's first year in Miami, the Heat was 4-2, one more win than he has now in Cleveland. R-E-L-A-X.
14. DALLAS (Record: 4-3. Last week 6) - Mavericks have cooled a bit, dropping two of their last three.
13. BROOKLYN (Record: 4-2. Last week 12) - Getting it done down the stretch, limiting opponents to 22.5 points in the fourth quarter which ranks fifth among fewest points allowed in the fourth.
RUNNING WITH THE PACK
12. PHOENIX (Record: 4-3 . Last week 14) - They beat you by beating you up and down the floor, evident by their 16.6 fast break points which ranks No. 3 in the NBA.
11. SACRAMENTO (Record: 5-2. Last week 11) - It's way early, but at what point can we seriously talk about DeMarcus Cousins as an MVP candidate.
10. PORTLAND (Record: 4-3. Last week 17 ) - Should move up next week with four of next five games at home.
9. SAN ANTONIO (Record: 3-3. Last week 10) - Their 89-85 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers is a reminder of how tough they are when fully engaged.
8. WASHINGTON (Record: 5-2. Last week 11) − Interior defense very under-rated, limiting opponents to 37.1 points in the paint, the fourth-lowest mark in the league.
7. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (Record: 4-3. Last week 5) - Jamal Crawford starting. Clippers barely above .500. Let's see how quickly Doc Rivers can get the Clippers back on track.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
6. MIAMI (Record 5-2. Last week 4) - Fast starts have been huge for them, ranking sixth and third in first-quarter and second-quarter scoring, respectively, this season.
5. CHICAGO (Record: 5-2, Last week 7) - Brutal stretch on the horizon with eight of next nine on the road.
4. HOUSTON (Record: 6-1, Last week 2) - The schedule gets real soft this week with games against Minnesota (in Mexico City), Philadelphia and Oklahoma City.
3. TORONTO (Record 6-1, Last week 9) - Getting it done at both ends of the floor, Raptors top scoring team at 107.4 points per game, No. 8 scoring defense giving up 95.9 points per game.
2. GOLDEN STATE (Record: 6-1, Last week 1) - Good to see the defensive foundation laid down by Mark Jackson, is being built upon and not torn apart with the Golden State a top-10 defense.
1. MEMPHIS (Record 6-1, Last week 3) - Sorry OKC, but even with a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Grizzlies are the best small market team in the league now.