NBA Power Rankings: Warriors not in Top 5
From 30 to 1...
It’s early, yes, but that won’t keep us from forming a few instant opinions.
30) Magic (0-3)
Can’t score. Can’t defend. It’s tough to miss Indy, but coach Frank Vogel probably does. The good news: His team still is very young and the next game is at Philly.
29) 76ers (0-2)
Oh. Did we mention Philly, which has spent years trying to retire the No. 30 spot on our list? The Sixers would be there again this week, except Joel Embiid has taken immense strides in proving he is not a myth.
28) Pelicans (0-3)
Playing in missing men formation, as usual, and it’ll be that way for a few more weeks. We love AD and he is a beast. But it’s gonna be a loooong season in the Big Easy.
27) Suns (0-3)
They’re going to be pretty good. Someday. For now, they’re just a bunch of athletes, mostly young, trying to muscle their way to respectability. Waiting on Devin Booker.
26) Wizards (0-2)
New coach (Scotty Brooks), but the same results. These guys are kind of fun to watch, but horrible to root for because they are determined to disappoint.
25) Mavericks (0-3)
Should we go easy on them because Dirk has a tummy bug and a sore Achilles? Nope. There’s no pity in the NBA, and making good guy Harrison B your new franchise player means you don’t deserve any.
24) Lakers (1-2)
Lakers win! Lakers win! Lakers win! Three sentences we didn’t expect to hear until November. They are ahead of anticipated pace. We see you Luke, and we know what you’re facing. Good luck.
23) Timberwolves (0-2)
The NBA’s Next Great Team (according to some) is in that awkward phase where they stay close but can’t finish. This will be a problem as long as Ricky Rubio is the primary point guard.
22) Jazz (1-2)
A trendy pick to make the playoffs this season, they’ve stumbled early. It’s no coincidence that their best player (Gordon Hayward) is out and won’t be back for at least two weeks.
21) Pacers (1-2)
A most disappointing start for coach Nate McMillan. Adding Jeff Teague at the point has done wonders for the ball movement, but this won’t get better until the defense shows up.
20) Nets (1-2)
Both losses were close, so maybe the Frets are onto something. But, hey, what’s up with resting a player (center Brook Lopez) in the second game of the season?
19) Bucks (1-2)
They can D it up when so desired, but shooting is a concept with which these guys are unfamiliar. We’ll say this, though: Long, tall Giannis seems as if he’s ready to take The Jump.
18) Nuggets (1-1)
We love Nurkic. Or is it Jokic. Check that. It’s Nurkic. We do not love Manny Mudiay, as much as we want to. Until he’s ready, the Nuggets won’t be.
17) Heat (1-2)
We don’t expect much from the team formerly known as “The Heatles.” If taking a fourth-quarter lead against the Spurs is an indication, though, we may be in for a surprise.
16) Knicks (1-1)
On a team with Melo, D-Rose and KP6, the most efficient players, so far, are Ron Baker and Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Any questions?
15) Kings (2-1)
Are they really trying to tell us the missing piece was ... wait for it . . . Matt Barnes? Or was it Golden 1 Center? Enjoy it while you can, Sactown, because last this will not.
14) Raptors (1-1)
DeMar DeRozan signed the big contract and DeCided to be DeNastiest scorer in DeEast. Big Jonas is bringing it, too. Yo, Kyle, where you at?
13) Grizzlies (2-1)
We like new coach David Fizdale, a former Warriors assistant, who has introduced the notion of actual scoring. We also like Big Zach coming off the bench. We’re not sold, though.
12) Hornets (2-1)
So, this is where Roy Hibbert is trying to revive his career. And he’s splitting time with Frank Kaminsky. And Marvin Williams is making $14 mil a year? Thank you for being there, Kemba.
11) Rockets (2-1)
Never thought we’d see a Mike D’Antoni team attempt to play D. We also never thought we’d see The Beard average more assists than made field goals. We do not recognize this team.
10) Pistons (2-1)
Lose to the Raptors, beat the Bucks and the Magic. Snooze. Shouting Stan’s D is customarily stingy, but so is the O. Ish Smith has his moments, but he’s no Reggie Jackson.
9) Hawks (2-0)
We’re always afraid to buy into this team, even if it’s undefeated. Oh, that’s right. The wins were over the 76ers and at home against the Wizards.
8) Celtics (2-1)
If Isaiah T’s sidekick, Avery Bradley, is going to shoot 8-of-11 from deep, as he did Saturday, this team is destined to give opponents the wicked fits.
7) Warriors (2-1)
The NBA’s most impressive laboratory cyborg is doing OK despite puncturing its hard-earned reputation for playing big-time D. It’ll get better. It will. Is it possible to be patient while holding your nose?
6) Blazers (2-1)
Oaktown Dame opens the season with a message to All-Star Game voters: Snub this. Stop it, Dame. Just stop it.
5) Bulls (2-0)
Fred Hoiberg is the coach, but Dwyane Wade is the Hoops Boss of Chicago right now. We love you D-Wade, but we’re not buying “out of body experience” for the throat-slash gesture.
4) OKC (3-0)
In Russ they trust, and he is on a mission. He has two triple-doubles in three games, and he’s a virtual lock to become the first player in the modern era (post-1980) to post more than 20.
3 Clippers (2-0)
Beat Dame and the Blazers, then smoke the Jazz in Salt Lake, a tough trip. Clips are not pretty, at least not yet, but Blake is doing fine and so is Doc’s boy. Wait until CP3 wakes up.
2) Spurs (4-0)
Tim who? Pop’s squad is solid, LMA no longer looks confused and Kawhi is part of a four-way tie (AD, Dame, Russ) for our Player of the Month for October. And, uh-oh, it appears Pau is going to help after all.
1) Cavaliers (3-0)
First of all, they are the defending champs. Second, LeBron is playing angry. And, third, Kyrie is balling, and reminding everyone he’s a 2-guard with occasional point-guard skills.