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The “nba power rankings” is a website that publishes an updated ranking of the NBA teams every week. The rankings are based on how well the teams have been playing recently.
The NBA has completed around 2.8 percent of its 1,230-game schedule as of Oct. 23. That implies we still don’t know more than 97% of what’s coming. There are teams off to slow beginnings, quick starts, and in-between starts when looking at the sights, sounds, and figures from the first five days of the regular season. There have also been a few clubs that have been fantastic or disastrous. Keep in mind that the preseason NBA power rankings were based on our best guesses at the time.
These rankings, however, are based on facts. By their very nature, data-based rankings will be quite unpredictable early in the season. Teams will fall into the levels to which they belong as more data accumulates. But what about right now? Small sample sizes lead to sloppy judgments. Enjoy the view from the top if you’re a supporter of a hot club early in the season. Relax if your squad is a contender that is struggling to get off the ground. More than 97 percent of the season has yet to be completed.
Magic, Thunder, Pelicans, Celtics, and Cavaliers are the ping-pong ball chasers.
Orlando is number 30. (0-2, preseason 29th) Oklahoma City is ranked 29th (0-2, 30th) New Orleans is number 28. (0-3, 19th) Boston is number 27. (0-2, 12th) Cleveland is number 26. (1-2, 26th)
A few things have gone according to plan. The Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder have sunk to the bottom of the NBA’s ocean like big stones. Orlando is allowing opponents to score at a rate of more over 60% effective field-goal percentage, in part due to their poor defensive rebounding. Thunder can’t toss a rock into a lake and expect it to strike the water.
The team without Zion Williamson The New Orleans Pelicans have more turnovers than any other team in the NBA, and their defense has been porous. The Boston Celtics were defeated by the New York Knicks in a double-overtime battle on the road before being thrashed by Toronto in their home opener. The honor goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers for being precisely where we expected them to be.
Pistons, Suns, Mavericks, Clippers, and Lakers are all looking for lottery luck.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ 0-6 preseason record and two defeats to begin the NBA regular season were not what LeBron James had hoped for. Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian
25. The city of Detroit (0-2, preseason 27th) Phoenix is number 24. (1-2, 5th) Dallas is number 23. (1-1, 8th) 22. Los Angeles Clippers (0-2, 13th) 21. Los Angeles Lakers (0-2, 4th)
To be fair, the Detroit Pistons are still unblemished against any NBA club that isn’t the Chicago Bulls. They are among the top ten defensively. It’s the offensive, which is rated 30th, that has to be improved. Phoenix defeated the fighting Lakers (hey, guys, that’s what you’re supposed to do), but was thrashed by Denver and Portland. The Mavericks defeat the Raptors to avenge their bloodletting at the hands of the Hawks.
Then we arrive in Hollywood. The Clippers have fallen twice despite Paul George’s heroics. And those Lakers, oh those Lakers. They were without Trevor Ariza and Talon Horton-Tucker at the start of the season, and now they’ve lost Kendrick Nunn. For fun, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard had a peaceful, friendly timeout talk during which they pushed and shoved each other. Could the Lakers’ performance in the first two games have been any worse? It’s absolutely feasible, but it’s difficult to envision.
Bucks, Nets, Kings, Raptors, and Rockets are all on the outside looking in.
Milwaukee is number twenty-first (2-1, 2nd preseason) Brooklyn, no. 19 (1-1, 1st) Sacramento is number eighteen (1-1, 22nd) 17. The city of Toronto (1-2, 23rd) Houston is number sixteen (1-1, 28th)
This is maybe the oddest tier of them all. It’s a matchup between two of the favorites and three of the expected lottery teams. The Bucks looked amazing against the Nets, terrible against the Heat, and decent against the Spurs. They’ve already been without Bobby Portis and Dante DiVincenzo, as well as Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez.
In case you missed it, Brooklyn started the season sans Kyrie Irving. No team induces less turnovers on defense, which doesn’t improve the margin of error much. Sacramento has won in Portland and lost at home to the Jazz, but they have shown that they are capable. In Sactown, that’s progress. The Raptors have been up and down and all over the place, but despite having the least efficient shooting in the NBA thus far, they won by a landslide. Houston is going to be a lot of fun, but a young team’s characteristics are mistakes and fouls.
Pacers, Spurs, Wizards, Nuggets, and Warriors are at the bottom of the bracket.
Keldon Johnson, an Olympian who is scoring more than 20 points per game for the San Antonio Spurs, might be an early contender for the NBA Most Improved Player Award. | Getty Images/Jamie Schwaberow
Indiana is number 15 on the list (1-2. 17th preseason) San Antonio is number 14 on the list (1-2, 25th) Washington, D.C. (2-0, 21st) Denver is number twelve (2-0, 9th) Golden State (#11) (2-0, 7th)
The Pacers are riding high after a double-digit victory against the Heat and a pair of one-point defeats. It’s difficult to fathom a team with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis battling for defensive rebounds, but that’s exactly what we have. So far, San Antonio has been tenacious, losing to the Nuggets and Bucks after thrashing Orlando.
With two victories following a 0–4 practice in uniforms record, the Wizards have demonstrated that the preseason doesn’t matter. Except for the nine turnovers, Nikola Joki has looked like an MVP thus far. Almost one out of every five possessions in Denver results in a turnover. That isn’t going to help. To begin, the Warriors have beaten both LA teams, and Stephen Curry seems to be from another planet.
The 76ers, Hornets, Hawks, Trail Blazers, and Grizzlies are all sneaky contenders.
Philadelphia is number ten (1-1. 6th preseason) Charlotte is number nine (2-0, 20th) 8. Athens (1-1, 11th) Portland is ranked number seven (1-1, 14th) 6. The city of Memphis (2-0, 18th)
Even though there hasn’t been much news regarding Ben Simmons’ status seeping to the public, the 76ers are still without a point guard. LaMelo Ball has been outstanding in a couple of victories to start the season, and Charlotte may have something in the works. The Hawks thrashed the Mavericks in their first game before losing in Cleveland.
Portland bounced back from a home defeat to the Kings with a rout of the Suns. The latter aided them in climbing the leaderboard, but this may not persist. The Grizzlies, on the other side, defeated the Clippers in Los Angeles and will attempt a Sunset sweep of the Lakers (who have proven the preseason does matter). So far, Ja Morant has 65 points and 14 assists. He has the potential to be very excellent.
Miami Heat, No. 5
The Miami Heat were swept out of the NBA Playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks last season, but they thrashed the reigning champs in their home opener. | Getty Images/Michael Reaves
(1-1 in preseason, 10th overall)
Miami looked fantastic as they defeated the reigning champions by 42 points. Following that, he seemed practically uninterested in a jumbled attempt at Indiana. In general, teams win when they keep opponents to 39.2 percent overall shooting and 25.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Heat, on the other hand, only made 38.5 percent and 27.3 percent of their shots, respectively, and turned the ball over 22 times.
When the attack is just offensive, even the best defense may be undone. The Heat offense was out of sync without Kyle Lowry, who was sidelined with a sprained ankle for the Pacers game. Indiana won despite shooting 2-for-7 in overtime and committing three turnovers.
4. The Bulls of Chicago
(16th preseason, 3-0)
Michael Jordan was pleased with his previous team’s summer accomplishments. In two victories against the Pistons, their defense has looked strong, and their offense has been on fire versus New Orleans. However, it was Detroit and the Pelicans twice. With home games against the Knicks and Jazz this week, the level of challenge increases.
However, Zach LaVine seems to be a player who will be paid in big letters next summer, and Lonzo Ball has been decent on offense and out-of-this-world on defense. If Nikola Vuevi can rediscover his shooting stroke, Chicago has a chance to be frighteningly excellent.
Minnesota Timberwolves, No. 3
Early in the NBA season, Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves have flashed their strength. | Harrison Barden/Getty Images
(24th preseason, 2-0)
It’s victories over the Rockets and Pelicans, to be sure. Minnesota’s defense, on the other hand, has been outstanding for what feels like the first time since Kevin Garnett was named MVP. Early in, Karl-Anthony Towns is 6-of-10 from 3-point range, but the fact that Anthony Edwards is the team’s top rebounder is concerning. The Timberwolves are the team with the most offensive boards surrendered.
Except for Towns, Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell, no one else is scoring. The timetable will become more difficult. Minnesota seems to be in the “enjoy the vista while it lasts” category.
New York Knicks, No. 2
(15th preseason, 2-0)
Evan Fournier has been outstanding in New York’s opening two games. Is a 45.5 percent 3-point shooting percentage on 11 tries a game unsustainable? Maybe. In their first two wins, Julius Randle has averaged 28 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists, while Mitchell Robinson is snatching every rebound he can get his hands on.
So far, no team has shot more effectively than the Knicks, even with Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose shooting poorly. Madison Square Garden is in desperate need of a champion, and they may have found one.
Utah Jazz, No. 1
Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz are back at the top of the NBA, where they were at the conclusion of last season. | Getty Images/Thearon W. Henderson
(3rd preseason, 2-0)
Last season, Utah had the best record in the NBA, and they’re off to a good start this year. In Sacramento, the Jazz shut down the Kings in the fourth quarter to pull away, going on a crucial 15–6 run in the last five minutes to put the game out of reach.
Rudy Gobert has already racked up 41 rebounds in only two games, and Utah’s defense has been smothering. It’s a safe bet to expect Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley to shoot better than 35.7 percent and 37.5 percent, respectively. When the Jazz face Denver on Oct. 26, they will face their first true test.
Cleaning the Glass and NBA.com provided the statistics.
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