The NBA is fun. Boston may be without Gordon Hayward but they’ve won five in a row. The Magic and Grizzlies are … good? So, we forgot a day but we’re back. Oklahoma City has slipped in our rankings once again. We’ll see if they can string together some wins to move up.
Without anymore hesitation, here we go:
Weeks: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27
Biggest rise: Orlando — 19 spots
Biggest drop: Cleveland — 13 spots
1. Orlando Magic (5-2) (LW: 19)
I had to. The Magic have earned this as they’ve won four of their last five. Orlando’s offense is second in the NBA in scoring and their three-point defense is holding opponents under 30 percent from beyond the arc. That’s a recipe for success. It doesn’t hurt when Aaron Gordon drops 47 in a win over Brooklyn.
2. Toronto Raptors (4-2) (LW: 4)
Toronto has the largest net point differential in the NBA (+10.8). That’s large in part to what Dwayne Casey has these Raptors doing on defense. Opponents are only shooting 30.5 percent from beyond three-point range against Toronto.
3. Washington Wizards (4-2) (LW: 3)
Bradley Beal got ejected but and the Wizards took the L against the Warriors. This Wizards team though, has a real shot at winning the whole thing.
4. Milwaukee Bucks (4-2) (LW: 6)
Giannis Antetokounmpo is an absolute monster. Antetokounmpo is leading Milwaukee in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Oh, he probably is a pretty good chef. So, he leads in that department, too.
5. Boston Celtics (5-2) (LW: 15)
Remember when Gordon Hayward went down and we thought the season was over for Boston? I do, but this team is still really talented. They’re the hottest team in the NBA as they’ve won five in a row.
6. Golden State Warriors (5-3) (LW: 10)
Warriors continue to climb as they’re showing mortal signs. However, a trouncing of the Clippers last night may show the champs are back.
7. Houston Rockets (5-3) (LW: 1)
Back-to-back losses for most might send smoke signals of larger issues but the Rockets are fine. One was without Eric Gordon and the other was by a really decent Memphis team.
8. L.A. Clippers (4-2) (LW: 5)
Despite the trouncing to the Warriors, this Clips team is pretty solid. However, back-to-back losses sends this team tumbling in the rankings. Dallas comes to town on Wednesday to help those losing blues.
9. San Antonio Spurs (4-3) (LW: 2)
San Antonio hasn’t won a game in almost a week. Life is tough on the riverwalk. Most likely will catch their fourth straight loss as they play the Warriors but Charlotte and Phoenix come up, too.
10. Detroit Pistons (5-2) (LW: 14)
When you sweep the Clippers and the Warriors, the league takes notice. They get to beat up on the Lakers and the Kings this week. Expect the Pistons to rise again.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-3) (LW: 8)
This team is a little harder to predict than I expected. Much like Oklahoma City, they’re gelling. However, losing Jimmy Butler to sickness for two games doesn’t help. Minnesota has Dallas and Charlotte to ease their pains this week.
12. Utah Jazz (4-3) (LW: 9)
When you lose to the Suns, you should drop even more. However, dominating wins over Dallas and Los Angeles correct some of that.
13. Portland Trail Blazers (4-3) (LW: 12)
The Blazers are only 1-2 in the last week. Their lone win was a beating of the Phoenix Suns. It doesn’t get any easier as they have Utah and Oklahoma City on their schedule this week.
14. Memphis Grizzlies (5-2) (LW: 17)
This one may get me assaulted a bit. Memphis is good but I’m sure a lot of it was beginner’s luck. Losses to Dallas and Charlotte have warning signs for this team.
15. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3) (LW: 11)
I’d love to rank the Thunder much higher but they are 0-3 vs. team above .500. However, they’re only allowing 96.5 points per game. So, there are good things to see.
16. Indiana Pacers (3-3) (LW: 26)
The Victor Oladipo show came to Indy and has partied ever since. He’s having a phenomenal season and he was just named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 28.7 points per game on 60.4 percent shooting in Week 2.
17. Denver Nuggets (3-4) (LW: 13)
Denver has a tough schedule coming up with Miami, Toronto and Golden State, yikes.
18. Charlotte Hornets (4-3) (LW: 20)
Dwight Howard has been re-energized in Charlotte. He’s averaging 13.3 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. In return, Charlotte is 3-1 in their last four.
19. New Orleans Pelicans (3-4) (LW: 21)
Anthony Davis had 39 points and 10 rebounds but the Pelicans have no defense. The Mavericks and the Hawks are on the schedule, should be a couple of wins for the Pelicans this week.
20. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4) (LW: 7)
The Cavs lost three straight this week. That’s why the big drop. They’re going to climb the ranking but for now, they deserve to be down here.
21. Brooklyn Nets (2-4) (LW: 18)
The Nets are coming back down to earth as they’ve lost two games this week but they can still score a lot of points. Look at D’Angelo Russell, he’s averaging almost 20 points a game as the Nets are third in total scoring at 114.7 points per game.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (3-4) (LW: 24)
After starting 0-3, Philadelphia is starting to find their legs. Weirdly enough, the 76ers are 0-2 at home but 3-2 away from their home venue. With Atlanta and Indiana, this is a good chance to get near .500 again for Philly.
23. Miami Heat (2-4) (LW: 16)
The Heatles are no more. This Miami team has played a brutal schedule lately with San Antonio, Boston and Minnesota. It doesn’t get any easier as the Clippers and the Warriors are this week.
24. New York Knicks (3-3) (LW: 29)
The Knicks beat the pants off the Cleveland Cavaliers and I am impressed. They’re figuring some things out. They have the second biggest win streak in the NBA. Weird.
25. Phoenix Suns (2-4) (LW: 30)
Firing your coach works? I guess. Gone is Earl Watson and Eric Bledsoe is at the hair salon but the Suns went 2-1 this week. So fire your coach.
26. Dallas Mavericks (1-7) (LW: 27)
Dallas may have the worst record in basketball but five of their seven losses are by six points or less. They’re right there.
27. Los Angeles Lakers (2-4) (LW: 23)
The Lakers with Ball on the court are bad. They’re 11.3 points per 100 possessions with him off the court and they’re -13.0 with him on the court. That’s very telling.
28. Sacramento Kings (1-5) (LW: 22)
I thought the Kings were going to be on the up-and-up but I was wrong. Three losses this week, including a 28-point loss to Washington gives the Kings a headache.
29. Chicago Bulls (1-4) (LW: 28)
A 32-point loss for the Bulls on Saturday night might not be the worst point of the season for the Bulls. They’re without way too many people and it’s going to be tough to win games.
30. Atlanta Hawks (1-6) (LW: 25)
Atlanta without Dennis Schroder out, the Hawks are floundering. They’ve lost six in a row and have allowed 100 points in every game but one.
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