Editor’s Note: These rankings are decided on this week’s win/loss record and where Chris thinks the teams will ultimately end up. Feel free to voice your comment below or Tweet Chris @cwmwrites.
Finally basketball is back we can begin to, at least in the early stages, see how teams will take shape this season. Out West, two teams have really stood out in Week 1: The Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets. The T-Wolves have started off 2-0, with one of those wins coming against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets, meanwhile, also started off 2-0 in Dwight Howard’s first two games inn Houston. Granted, I can’t see either of these (or the 2-0 Phoenix Suns) hanging around at the top of the West, but it’s a good start for two teams I have pegged to make the playoffs.
1. San Antonio Spurs – Current Record: 2-0
The Spurs are still undefeated, with wins coming against Memphis and the Los Angeles Lakers. Old reliable keeps their top spot – for now.
2. Los Angeles Clippers – Current Record: 2-1
Despite a loss to the Lakers on opening night, I was very impressed with Los Angles this week. The manhandle the Clippers and look kike a new team under Doc Rivers. Lob City is refined, and with some fine tuning, I think they are headed in the right direction.
3. Houston Rockets – Current Record: 2-0
What is not to like about this Houston team? They lead the league in rebounding with 52.5 rebounds per game and are seventh in the league is allowing only 94.0 points a game. They’ve also scored over 100 in two consecutive games. I’m buying high on this Rockets team, even if the point guard position has been muddled by Patrick Beverly’s injury.
4. Golden State Warriors – Current Record: 1-1
They lost to the Clippers, but ran the Lakers off the floor. They are who we thought they would be – score first, then worry about the defense. I’m interested to see how the hold up over the course of a season.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder – Current Record: 1-1
Expect the Thunder to rise up the list after Russell Westbrook make his return, but for now, there are red flags surrounding this team. It’s pretty clear that they can’t score without Kevin Durant being able to get in a groove. Can they win enough games until Westbrook comes back?
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – 2-0
I’m fully in on this T-Wolves team. The trio of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic is a solid core and their surrounding pieces compliment them well. I can’t wait to see if they can improve.
7. Memphis Grizzlies – Current Record: 1-2
Memphis has struggled thus far. They even had a game where Tony Allen(!!!!) lead them in scoring. However, expect them to figure it out sooner rather than later. The grittiest team in the NBA is all but a lock to make the playoffs.
8. Portland Trail Blazers – Current Record: 1-1
Portland has been up and down thus far. They were trounced by Phoenix, but handled Denver their next time out. When they even out, their one-two of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge should be able to carry them.
9. Dallas Mavericks – Current Record – 2 -1
I honestly do not know what to make of Dallas. They are scoring in bunches and have wins over two solid teams (Dallas and Memphis) but also were handled by the Rockets. It appears to me that they will need to score a lot to make any sort of run. Can they do it?
10. Los Angeles Lakers – Current Record – 1-2
This Lakers team is fun. They beat the Clippers on opening night, Steve Nash has played fairly well and Paul Gasol looks rejuvenated. Plus, it appears we may not be too far away from the Kobe Bryant – Nick Young shootapalooza becoming a reality. There are definite flaws, but it should be exciting at least for a little while.
11. New Orleans Pelicans – Current Record – 1-2
I haven’t like what I have seen so far in New Orleans. Outside of Anthony Davis, no one has played well. Jrue Holiday has yet to really find his bearings and is getting far too deep into the lane off pick and rolls. Behind Davis, I think they will figure it all out, but their season could easily go the other way. Plus, Pierre the Pelican is scary.
12. Sacramento Kings – Current Record – 1-1
DeMarcus Cousins looks good so far, even if he got a technical foul only he would get called for. Isaiah Thomas has played well, giving hope that maybe this is the year they can show improvement. Put emphasis on maybe.
13. Phoenix Suns – Current Record – 2-0
The Suns, while 2-0 are not for real. They have some nice building blocks, but in all reality, are going to tailspin in the near future. Unless the basketball Gods have decided to troll all of the tanking franchises and book a Philadelphia-Phoenix NBA Finals.
14. Utah Jazz – Current Record – 0-2
The Jazz, still without Trey Burke, should expect to struggle a lot this season. Young bigs Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter still need to even out and there isn’t a ton else to like on this roster outside of Gordon Hayward. They are well on their way to the lottery.
15. Denver Nuggets – Current Record – 0-2
They Nuggets have several major problems right now. JaVale McGee doesn’t look like he’s improved in any facet of the game, and without Danilo Gallinari, they don’t have a legitimate scorer on the wing. Expect them to rise in the coming weeks, but the team that existed just season is nothing more than a distant memory.