Welcome to another week of Power Rankings! After two weeks, teams around the league are sending out all kinds of false positives. Here is where we stand after a super small sample size.
30) Cavs (0-6): There is always one team that implodes early. So far, the Cavs are stealing the show as the biggest dumpster fire. There is no smoldering here, it’s a four-alarm burn. Ty Lue is gone. Clearly it was all his fault that LeBron James left. It had nothing to do with ownership. At all ...
29) Suns (1-5): Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza were brought in to provide leadership and perimeter shooting. So far they are a combined 16 for 57 (28 percent) from long range. Maybe the Suns should have started the season with a point guard? Paging Ty Ulis. Ty Ulis to the courtesy phone.
28) Knicks (1-5): Tim Hardaway Jr. is averaging 24.3 points per game. Someone has to score, even on a bad team. Even a unicorn couldn’t help this club. #FreeKevinKnox
27) Wizards (1-5): Let the finger-pointing commence. John Wall and Bradley Beal went off script in the first week of the season. “Everybody is on their own agenda,” Wall said. “We suck right now,” Beal added. These are not good statements coming from a luxury-tax team. Probably time to start a fire sale.
26) Nets (2-4): Caris Levert is ready to ball. The third-year wing is taking huge leap for Brooklyn, posting 21 points a game through the first six games. The Nets play hard, but they are still a few years away from competing. I blame Jay-Z.
25) Magic (2-4): Nikola Vucevic is playing well early in the season, but is it at the expense of developing Mo Bamba? Jonathan Isaac has shown potential, but he’s at least a year away from being a year away.
24) Mavs (2-4): Luka Doncic is a keeper. The 19-year-old Slovenian is posting huge numbers in his first week as an NBA player. Wes Matthews is having a resurgence and DeAndre Jordan was a nice addition. The Mavs still aren’t a playoff team.
23) Thunder (1-4): This team can’t be this bad. It’s hard to imagine a team with Russell Westbrook and Paul George sitting near the bottom in scoring. They’ll pick it up eventually, but this is an unexpectedly rough start to the season. If only they still had Carmelo ...
22) Bulls (2-4): Plenty of folks mocked the Kings for extending Zach LaVine a huge offer sheet. Who’s laughing now. The 23-year-old shooting guard has come out on fire, posting nearly 30 points per game early in the season for Chicago. How would he look in Sacramento’s uptempo style?
21) Hawks (2-3): Trae Young is a mad chucker. The combo of Young, Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince is fun. Now, they just need another six or seven players. Vince Carter continues to spit in the face of Father Time.
20) Grizzlies (3-2): Memphis has playoff aspirations in the West. That’s a tall task, even with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. returning to full health. Grit-and-grind is so 2014-15.
19) Lakers (2-4): Contrary to common belief, LeBron James cannot win a game all by himself. An odd collection of young players and veteran misfits, the Lakers are a mess early on. They may still win 45 games, but they are a long ways from being a sure thing.
18) Kings (3-3): The Kings are young, exciting, and can really put up points. They’re struggling on the defensive end, but De’Aaron Fox looks like a star. They could easily sit a few spots higher in the rankings, but they’re embarking on a four-game east coast road trip starting Monday. Baby steps, Kings fans, baby steps. Mad props to coach Dave Joerger for being adaptable.
17) Timberwolves (2-4): This team came into the season besieged by drama. Thibs won out on the Jimmy Butler front in the short-term, but it’s hard to see thing holding together through an 82-game schedule. After burning out his starters last season, Thibodeau is running an 11-man rotation. Zebra with spots sighted in Minneapolis.
16) Rockets (1-4): Houston is this high in the rankings solely out of respect, and they really should be a lot lower than this. The Rockets' moves in the offseason are not paying off early. They miss Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson, but they have plenty of time to find a rhythm.
15) Hornets (3-4): Kemba and ... Kemba and ... ?
14) Heat (3-2): Pat Riley is looking like Tom Hanks in The Terminal. He’s been waiting at the airport for Jimmy Butler to arrive for weeks now while living on bottled water and Chili’s baby back ribs. It’s an ugly scene.
13) Clippers (4-2): Doc Rivers watched his new front office trade his own son away for the Polish Hammer. That’s a tough pill to swallow. They are better than expected early on. Just ask the Wizards.
12) 76ers (3-3): Brett Brown is the NBA’s Andy Dufresne. “All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock-hammer damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through a wall with it. Old Andy (Brett) did it in less than twenty (five)." The Process = Zihuatanejo.
11) Trail Blazers (3-2:) Terry Stotts has turned a group of the Kings' near-misses and cast-offs into a winner. Dame Lillard? C.J. McCollum and Zach Collins? Nik Stauskas averaging double-figures? Where is Georgios Papagiannis? Start etching the Coach of the Year trophy now.
10) Spurs (3-2): Gregg Popovich is the greatest living coach. He’ll do it without David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. #PopovichKerr2020.
9) Jazz (4-2): Play defense. Run the pick-and-roll. Utah Jazz basketball is alive and well. Jerry Sloan would be proud. Gobert, Mitchell and Jingles are the future.
8) Pacers (4-2): Nate McMillan’s crew runs 10-deep of versatile NBA players. Victor Oladipo is the leader, but this is a well-rounded group. They currently rank fifth in offensive rating and 10th in defensive rating, per NBA.com. They look like a strong three- or four-seed in the East.
7) Celtics (4-2): Integrating major pieces like Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back into the rotation is no small task. Boston has struggled to find the bottom of the basket early in the season, but the Celtics are still winning games. When this team hits their stride, they might be the only team that can challenge the Warriors for a ring.
6) Pistons (4-1): The combination of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond is working well for Dwane Casey. Detroit is banking on a few players with a history of injury issues, but so far they look like a strong contender in the East.
5) Pelicans (4-1): Nikola Mirotic is proving to be an incredible fit next to Anthony Davis. The Pelicans are running teams off the floor with a high-powered offense. The additions of Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton are also paying off early.
4. Nuggets (4-1): Coach Michael Malone has his team playing at a different level early in the season. The loss of Will Barton for an extended period will hurt, but this team is deadly on the offensive end and they are ranked third in defensive rating early in the season.
3) Warriors (6-1): It’s hard to stay engaged for a full 82 games. That will be the challenge this season for Golden State. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are on fire. DeMarcus Cousins is setting a new standard for how to pick up technical fouls.
2) Bucks (6-0): Is this the moment when Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes a transcendent player? He has his team off and rolling. Khris Middleton is becoming a very solid No. 2. 82-0 is totally in play.
1. Raptors (6-0): The Raptors gambled on themselves when they traded for Kawhi Leonard. So far, it’s paying off. If they can get him to stick around long-term, they might have something to build around.