Gordon Who? In all seriousness, through three weeks of the 2017 NBA basketball season, the biggest surprise may be the Boston Celtics, who lost an All-Star in Gordon Heyward on opening night yet nevertheless have gone a neat 10-0 run. And how about those Minnesota Timberwolves…? Alex Golden’s weekly NBA Power Rankings follow…
1. Boston Celtics – They have won ten in a row. This is something that can’t be overlooked.
2. Golden State Warriors – The Warriors are now 9-3 and are looking like the Warriors many anticipated they would be.
3. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have started off the season hot. James Harden’s 56-point effort on the Jazz puts him back in the MVP conversation once again.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves – say what you want about the Timberwolves issues, but this team is clicking early in the season. Winners of 5 in a row before getting dismantled by the Warriors Wednesday night. Still, this team is in a good state.
5. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs have won three in a row and they are back to their winning ways. Aldridge has played well, but the Manu Ginobili led bench helped them end their losing streak. The man is ageless.
6. Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies are still winning close games and Mike Conley Jr. is playing solid basketball once again this season. Still the most underrated point guard in the league, the Grizzlies’ are reaping the benefits of having a blue-collar point guard and an All-Star center.
7. Detroit Pistons – Whether this hot start will be cooled off soon, the Pistons are worthy of this high praise. Drummond is shooting 75% from the free-throw line as well.
8. Toronto Raptors – I am still trying to figure out this years’ Toronto Raptors. They are well coached and have a talented backcourt. Rookie OG Anunoby has been solid this season and center Jonas Valanciunas is adapting to the new role on the team.
9. Portland Trailblazers – Portland is playing good basketball. They lost by 14-points to the Raptors at home but have been competitive in every other game they have lost. Dame and CJ are good.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Watch out league, Ben Simmons is on a tear. Simmons is the hands-down favorite to win Rookie of the Year and the Sixers are playing terrific basketball as of late. They have won *five* in a row!
11. Cleveland Cavaliers – No the Cavaliers are not good defensively, but they’ll figure it out. LeBron scored 57-points to beat the Wizards Friday and Kevin Love came back to life against the Bucks. Their biggest problem right now is Derrick Rose’s -8.5 BPM. Rose is no longer a ‘good’ basketball player.
12. New York Knicks – Someone please start building Porzingis a statue outside of Madison Square Garden. The man is averaging 30.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and is netting a 29.21 Player Efficiency Rating. The Knicks are playing their best basketball since they lost to Indiana in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – DeMarcus Cousins has been on fire all season long. Anthony Davis came back to the lineup and now both are dominating. In their win Tuesday over the Pacers, the ‘Boogie Brow’ combined for 69 points, 27 rebounds and 10 assists. They will need to figure out their small forward position though because Dante Cunningham is atrocious.
14. Denver Nuggets – Denver is starting to play better basketball. Tuesday evening, Nikola Jokic put on a show with 41-points, 12-rebounds, 5-assists and 2-steals. While there are still point guard questions, this team is talented enough to get into the playoffs.
15. Washington Wizards – I am a little concerned because Washington has lost three of their last four games. In those three losses, they have lost to the Suns, Mavericks and Cavaliers. While the Cavaliers lost is understandable, the Suns and Mavericks are a combined 6-17.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder – The Thunder have some serious issues and it might start with head coach Billy Donovan. I don’t believe the hiring of Donovan every worked out the way the Thunder had hoped it would and now it’s hurting them more than ever. Not to mention, Carmelo Anthony hasn’t been the biggest of helps the Thunder hoped he’d be.
17. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers will be mediocre for most of the season. They will find ways to win tight ball games, but they will also lose tight ball games. I don’t really have a feel for this team yet, but they do have talent.
18. Milwaukee Bucks – After trading for Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks might be one of the biggest threats in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee hasn’t been playing well at all recently, but with the addition of Bledsoe, Giannis finally gets the point guard the Bucks have needed.
19. Utah Jazz – My biggest concern with the Jazz this season is Derek Favors. He has been nonexistent. The way Ricky Rubio has been playing of late makes me happy to see the Jazz upgraded at point guard from last season’s injury-prone George Hill.
20. Charlotte Hornets – Charlotte has lost three in a row. They are a lousy 1-5 on the road. This team must learn to win on the road first.
21. Indiana Pacers – I have been highly disappointed with Myles Turner. Domantas Sabonis has made a huge difference for the Pacers in the paint. Myles is still a perimeter shooter and refuses to bang. Since returning to the starting lineup, Turner has been outrebounded 52-22 and outscored 55-44. Small sample size yet, but Turner has struggled.
22. Orlando Magic – The Magic lost two in a row to the Celtics and the Bulls. Yes, the Bulls. They beat a Kristaps Porzingis – less Knicks team. I am done investing my stock in the Magic for now.
23. Los Angeles Lakers – Are you a big baller? Well your ‘saviors’ brother is. He is playing basketball like you expect a pee-wee student to play for.
24. Miami Heat – The Heat are ONE game away from being .500. They handled the Suns and are looking for another victory over Utah. I believe in this team, but they need Whiteside back.
25. Brooklyn Nets – Brooklyn has lost 5 of its’ last 6 games. D’Angelo Russell is playing the way we expected him, but the Nets are just missing a few pieces.
26. Phoenix Suns – Now that Eric Bledsoe is off their hands, we can move forward. They have yet to decide on the future of Monroe. The Suns don’t need another slow, big-man.
27. Sacramento Kings – The Kings looked terrible for the majority of the season, but they had a nice win over the Thunder Tuesday evening. There is still a reason to be concerned with this team as they decipher between Hill and Fox for starting point-guard position.
28. Dallas Mavericks – The Mavericks had a beautiful win over the Wizards Tuesday night. Dallas has talent, but I am not sure what they’re trying to do. Harrison Barnes could be a huge trade asset come the Trade Deadline or Off-Season.
29. Chicago Bulls – The Bulls and the Hawks are two of the worst teams in the NBA. I am sure that the Bulls are wanting to win against the Pacers who have been struggling to complete 4-quarters per game.
30. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks did beat the Cavaliers on Sunday. However, Atlanta has to celebrate this win for days, because wins won’t be coming very often. Also, the Hawks play their next three games on the road.
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