NBA Power Rankings: Warriors unable to snag No. 1 spot
From 30 to 1
Monte Poole stacks up all 30 teams...
They’ve won only twice since opening night, and one was against the Kings. We’ve seen Travis Schlenk’s roster, and it’s not nearly as good or interesting as his draft board in anticipation of the lottery.
Lauri Markkanen has been better than we expected, but that doesn’t mean the Bulls are going anywhere. These guys couldn’t score if you let them operate the scoreboard and told them cheating is allowed.
Anybody seen Nerlens lately? He played three minutes Saturday and six on Friday. This being Texas and all, we imagine his doghouse has three floors and about 8,000 square feet. Bow-wow.
Their only road victory came in Week 1 at Dallas, which means it barely counts. Especially when three weeks later, they lose by 40-freaking-6 in the ATL. Scoring only 80 points against the Hawks ought to be a felony.
Here we find Greg Monroe, also known affectionately as “Moose,” which suggests he won’t thrive in the desert. At least his “defense” will fit right in with a team that gives up nearly 117 points per game.
It’s the second month of the season, but Coach Kenny’s boys play as if contracts are on the line. Won’t matter much if Allen Crabbe’s shooting percentage can’t climb above the 40-percent line.
24) Clippers (5-10)
How’s that new look working? Yes, injuries are an issue, but Doc’s bunch owns the league’s longest losing streak, now at eight. Can’t blame CP3 anymore. Pit bull Pat Beverley is returning soon, and boy is he needed.
That 40-point win at Orlando notwithstanding, this team is waiting for Gobert. Thanks to a dirty dive by Miami’s Dion Waiters, Big Rudy will miss at least three more weeks, which will seem like four months in Utah.
Tough schedule last week, and the Celtics are up next. It’s ugly on South Beach, and it’s not going to get much better until Dion “The Ego” Waiters starts carrying his weight.
We hope Zo doesn’t change his shot, for it isn’t the real problem. Confidence in the fishbowl is the issue. His comes and goes. And, still, he has two triple-doubles in his first 16 NBA games. Let the dude ball.
How does a mediocre squad snap a six-game losing streak? Invite the reeling Clippers into the hive and cover them with three parts Kemba and a sprinkle of Good Dwight. Do not try this against real teams.
19) Grizzlies (7-8)
Welcome back JaMychal, but big, big blow losing Mike Conley. And it explains the four-game losing streak. Coach Fiz will get the most out of what he has, but right now he has Big Spain and a bunch of tapas.
18) Magic (8-8)
Remember when they were 6-2 and shooting the lights out? The lights are on again, and it’s not pretty. They’ve lost four straight, averaging 97.5 points. We wish we were shocked.
KP6 is doing work and so is our man Enes. Frankie Ntilikina ain’t scurrrrred of LeBron. Fifteen games into the season, they’re above .500. Hoops may be returning to the Big Apple after all.
Hey, Rondo is back! Let’s see how well the savvy vet can utilize Boogie and The Brow. With the Thunder and Spurs coming into the Bayou this week, things could get interesting.
Oladipo, D-Collison and Young Sabonis have done a marvelous job of avoiding the embarrassments we thought would be natural outcomes with this roster. We did not see this coming. Shout-out to Coach Nate!
14-Trail Blazers (9-7)
Being dead last in assists is partly the result of having guards as the only real scoring threats. They’re afraid to trust the others. But being dead last in fast-break points is just plain bizarre.
13) 76ers (8-7)
Robert Covington got paid, deservingly, and the Process co-stars are balling out. The Sixers are, for now, new and noisy, with just enough good stuff to make most but not all games interesting.
If the playoffs began today, they’d be watching from their living rooms. In late-game situations they look like five strangers staggering about in a dark basement. They’ll get better, but we have an idea when. Neither do they.
Lots of talent, lots of bluster and a small mountain of mediocrity. The Wizzies have only one quality victory since the first week of the season. This is the most bewildering team in the NBA.
They’ve won six of nine because the ball is moving and the defense looks like resistance. And now Mr. Millsap has a bum wrist. If he’s out for long, there will be a drop. For now, they deserve to fill out our Top 10.
J-Kidd’s crew is 4-1 since Eric Bledsoe arrived and began opening up the offense. Giannis continues to excel while growing. There are some results that boggle the mind, though, such as losing by 32 at Dallas. What...was that?
They’re starting to get it. They were always going to score, but now they’re starting to grasp that “defense” thing Dr. Thibs is always talking about. We smell playoffs in their future.
7) Spurs (10-6)
They’ve had a home-heavy schedule the past couple weeks, and that has to help. Still, Pop has his crew winning the games they should win and some that maybe they should not. Props go to LaMarcus for carrying the weight.
Adding Avery Bradley was one of the best low-key acquisitions of the summer because he’s putting the D in Detroit. Shooting 45 percent from deep, too? C’mon AB. He is an essential component of their success thus far.
5) Cavaliers (9-7)
Four in a row means they have risen from purgatory, but for how long? And how high will they go? Yes, LeBron has been an absolute beast. He also leads the league in minutes per game. This is not sustainable.
4) Raptors (11-5)
A four game win streak, all against teams playing at least .500 ball, ought to raise eyebrows. We’ve long known the Raps are capable of doing this. We know the fall is coming, but they should enjoy the high ride for now.
3) Rockets (13-4)
Averaging 37.4 points and 10.6 assists over the last eight games, James Harden has locked up the Player of the Half Month award. That the Rockets are 8-1 so far kind of helps his cause.
Word around the NBA is that the Warriors will allow opponents to get back into the game. It’s a dangerous tendency, and it cost them in Boston. Most of the time, though, they’re good enough to get away with it.
1) Celtics (15-2)
They’ve won 15 straight, they’re No. 1 defense, they’re bottom-10 in offense and Kyrie is just warming up. Coach Bradley K. Stevens is running away with the Coach of the Year race.