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NBA Power Rankings: NBA parity evident through 3 weeks

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NBA Power Rankings: NBA parity evident through 3 weeks

Three unofficial weeks are in the books on the NBA's regular season, and the usual suspects head the top of the power rankings. Golden State hasn't lost, Cleveland is rolling and soon will get a 23-year-old All-Star back and Russell Westbrook is doing Russell Westbrook things.

But one glance at the NBA standings and it's clear there's a healthy parity this season. Nineteen of the 30 teams are .500 or better, and 17 teams are between 6-4 and 4-6. On this date last season only 14 teams were at or above .500 and six teams were 3-7 or worse; in 2015 there are only four such teams. They're small differences and may or may not make a difference by season's end, but regardless it shows the talent gap getting a smidgen closer as younger teams begin to see their futures make progress on the court.

On to the power rankings.

Previous power rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (11-0) It's beginning to seem a little less crazy to consider this team flirting with 72 wins. Steph Curry: Still ridiculous.
(2) (8-2) All that offseason talk of LeBron pacing himself? He's averaging 27.0 PPG on 50.5 percent shooting. Third in NBA in FGA.
(3) (7-2)  After a slow two-game start, LaMarcus Aldridge has averaged 17.9 points and 10.4 rebounds in his last seven.
4 (8) (6-4)  Russell Westbrook among point guards: 2nd in points (25.2), 1st in rebounds (8.6), first in assists (10.9), 4th in steals (2.1). Simply incredible.
5 (11) (6-3)  Chris Bosh is balling. The Heat power forward is averaging 19.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.
6 (9) (7-4)  The Raptors are averaging a league-best 30.7 free throw attempts per game. Kyle Lowry has the Toronto offense humming. 
7 (12) (6-3)  Pau Gasol is averaging a double-double (16.0 points, 10.4 rebounds) since his opening-night dud against Cleveland. 
8 (4) (8-4)  Al Horford and Paul Millsap have quietly turned in spectacular seasons early on. If the former stays healthy, Hawks will remain dangerous in the East.
9 (14) (6-3)  Wins over the Clippers and Rockets (and Lakers) this week. Zaza Pachulia and Dwight Powell have played really well inside post-DeAndre fiasco.
10 (16) (6-4)   They've shaken off an 0-3 start and won six of seven. Paul George (24.3/8.8/4.6) has returned with a vengeance.
11 (6)   (6-4)  Difficult week with Chris Paul (groin) in and out of the lineup but they're still the third most efficient offense behind Blake Griffin's MVP-like start.
12 (10)   (4-3)  Tough sledding on a four-game road trip without Rudy Gobert for two nights, but they finished the week with a nice win over the Hawks.
13 (13)   (4-4)  Always scary seeing Bradley Beal on the injury report. Wizards will need him healthy if they want to contend in the East.
14 (5)   (4-6)  Will the real Rockets please stand up? Losses to Brooklyn, Dallas and Denver this week. James Harden can only do so much.
15 (18)   (5-4)  Jae Crowder leads the NBA in steals per game for the Celtics, who have won four of five after a slow start.
16 (7)   (5-5)  They've lost four straight to end their six-game West Coast trip. Awaiting them at home? A Tuesday matchup with LeBron and the Cavs.
17 (21)   (5-4)  Eric Bledsoe averaged 28.0/8.5/6.5 and 2.0 steals in an important 2-0 week for the Suns to get them back over .500.
18 (24)   (5-4)  They've won five of their last seven, and Nicolas Batum is heating up, averaging 23.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in his last three games.
19 (15)   (5-6)  They pick up two wins before facing this upcoming gauntlet: vs. OKC, vs. HOU, @ SA, vs. DAL, @ HOU, vs. ATL. Godspeed.
20 (19)   (5-6)  Evan Fournier is looking like an early candidate for Most Improved Player. He's averaging 18.8 points in 38.0 minutes per game.
21 (22)   (5-6)  His outside shot still isn't falling - though his near-buzzer beater in Charlotte was pure as it gets - but he's still looking like the steal of the 2015 draft class.
22 (17)   (5-5)  Jabari Parker had a few highlight reel dunks in Milwaukee's 2OT win over the Cavs. Milwaukee adds another dimension once he's back to full-speed.
23 (25)   (5-5)  Emmanuel Mudiay is averaging 9.2 assists in the Nuggets' five wins. In their five losses, he's averaging just 3.2 dimes.
24 (26)   (4-7)  Boogie Cousins making a strong case for first team All-NBA honors. Averaging 26.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and is shooting 43.5 percent from deep.
25 (20) (4-7)  They've now lost five straight since a 4-2 start, and the road doesn't get any easier this week (@SA, @HOU, vs. LAC).
26 (23) (4-6)  Rough five-game week in which they went 1-4. Oddly enough, the T-Wolves are 0-5 at home and 4-1 on the road.
27 (28) (1-8)  Jordan Clarkson's continued improvement is helping hide DeAngelo Russell's invisible rookie season. Lakers have to find a way to get him going.
28 (27) (1-9)  Worth mentioning again this week that the Pelicans are the NBA's least efficient defense by a wide margin. Unfathomable with Anthony Davis in the middle.
29 (30) (1-9)  Going toe-to-toe with the Warriors in Golden State is no small feat. Brook Lopez's missed bunny at the buzzer was crushing.
30 (29) (0-10)  They're the last winless team, and the first in NBA history to begin two straight years 0-10. Trust the process, I guess?

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

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USA TODAY

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

After much discussion over whether or not the NBA should impose harsher penalties on teams for breaking the anti-tampering rules, an official decision has been made. The NBA Board of Governors passed a much more strict set of rules that will force teams to be compliant with the anti-tampering rules.

Among the new measures, the league will be selecting five teams per year that will undergo a "random audit", the maximum amount for a fine related to tampering has been raised to $10 million and team officials are required to save communications with agents for one full year.

The league will also retain the right to take the communication devices of owners if it is deemed necessary in investigations, though it has been stated that it is not something that Adam Silver wants to rely on moving forward. 

Though concrete details have not been released, possible punishments for tampering will reportedly include taking away draft picks, the voiding of contracts and more.

This is all in an attempt to create a more "even playing field" amid the belief that small-market teams are at a disadvantage when it comes to player movement. The new rules sound great but there is already fear among NBA GMs when it comes to how their privacy will be affected with this being a clear area of focus for the league. 

Along with the new, harsher tampering penalties, the league also announced that they have changed the language regarding traveling calls to "address the uncertainty around traveling." Another new rule announced was that teams are now required to announce their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes, in an effort to "increase transparency for teams, media and fans." Teams will still be allowed to change their lineups up to the last minute if a player gets hurt in pregame warmups. 

All of the new anti-tampering rules approved by the league on Friday were a response to this wild NBA offseason we just experienced. There were many deals agreed to right at the start of free agency, such as the Bulls with Thaddeus Young, and the timing of those deals had many owners wanting the league to make tampering a greater focus. To a greater extent, moves like Anthony Davis forcing his way to the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard orchestrating he and Paul George's move to the Clippers are what got this package of anti-tampering measures passed.

Adam Silver has picked up a reputation as an NBA Commissioner who is very willing to listen to new ideas and make changes, and Friday's events support that reputation as he and the league continue to look for the best ways to get NBA teams to be in compliance with the anti-tampering rules. 

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

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USA TODAY

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

The Jonas Brothers are in Chicago for concerts that are taking place on Thursday and Friday night, and they have enjoyed quite a week. This week the trio has enjoyed a nice golf outing at Village Links in Glen Ellyn, had some quality BBQ at Bub City and even got the amazing opportunity to play a touch football game at Soldier Field. But one particular Bulls guard is looking to add another fun experience to their Chicago trip.

The Bulls organization welcomed the Jonas Brothers to the city with a set of custom jerseys for the trio and their significant others and that's when Ryan Arcidiacono chimed in with his offer. 

Since the Jonas Brothers have already got to play some football on the actual Soldier Field grass, Arci figured they might as well keep the Chicago sports-themed fun going and shoot some hoops with him. 

Now, Arcidiacono didn't make it clear whether or not he was offering for the Jonas Brother to get some shots up with him at the United Center, where their shows take place on Thursday and Friday night. But, either way, his time is running out as they will be moving on to Jackson County, MO for their next stop on tour on September 21.

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