NBA Power Rankings: Week 3

Steph Curry

As has become par for the course, the Western Conference has been steamrolling through the East, posting a 27-16 (62.8 percent) record against its opposing conference in interconference games. At the top of the heap are the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies, one of which, is constructed to carry the league’s highest prize, and the other, constructed in a way that might keep the first from doing just that.

1. Golden State Warriors – Behind the league’s undisputed best backcourt, the Warriors are in championship form posting the league’s best Pace (102.2), seventh-best Offensive Rating (107.1), and third-best Defensive Rating (95.5).

2. Memphis Grizzlies – With Courtney Lee‘s heroics, the Grizzlies might be outdoing even our own tempered expectations.

3. Houston Rockets – Blessed with the league’s easiest schedule so far, the Rockets can’t climb much higher for the time being. But, at least it feels good to know that losing out on Chris Bosh and Chandler Parsons might have been a blessing in disguise.

4. Dallas Mavericks – Dirk tops Hakeem as the NBA’s highest-scoring foreign-born player. And the Mavs aren’t staying far behind in their chase for the top.

5. Chicago Bulls – Even sans Rose, the Bulls are looking like a Bulls team that doesn’t treat offense like a last resort. That Rose and Noah are nursing injuries should worry many a fanbase (yes, including that of the Bulls).

6. Toronto Raptors – The Raptors have shown they can hang with the East’s best team, Chicago, but have yet to show they can nab a win from them in a high-stakes affair. Their pace and offense also has them a rung above Washington.

7. Washington Wizards – There’s nothing to say that the Wizards can’t pull off upsets against Chicago, Toronto, or Cleveland come playoff time, but that’ll be up to their subpar offense to decide.

8. Portland Trailblazers – A four-game win streak has Portland looking like it did last year. Problem is: the Western Conference is looking like it has for the past ten years.

9. Sacramento Kings – A tough win against San Antonio verified that the Kings are the real deal. Question is: are this year’s San Antonio Spurs still a litmus test for assessing NBA realness?

10. Los Angeles Clippers – Look, everyone! The Clippers are underachieving yet again!

11. San Antonio Spurs – Bringing the NBA’s best team down a notch helps make San Antonio’s case for a league sleeper. But, are they sleeping giant or just sleeping at the wheel?

12. Cleveland Cavaliers – LeBron’s superteam is finally playing, somewhat, like a superteam.

13. Miami Heat – As expected, the Heat become middle-of-the-road without Wade, and with a struggling Bosh.

14. New Orleans Pelicans – What does the NBA rulebook say about just naming a team after their rising star? Though, the New Orleans Anthony Davises sounds somehow worse than the Pellies do now.

15. Atlanta Hawks – They’ve gotten here before through different means but they just don’t seem to know how to get beyond middle-of-the-pack.

16. Phoenix Suns – Despite a three-guard lineup, the Suns are almost exactly where they were last year: on the precipice of missing the playoffs.

17. Milwaukee Bucks – By golly, the Bucks are looking like the team many expected them to be in a handful of years.

18. Brookyn Nets – Iso Joe isn’t someone to lead you to the Promised Land in a team-oriented sport? Who knew?

19. Boston Celtics –  The C’s have the league’s sixth-best Offensive Rating. But there’s this little thing called “the other end of the floor” where they’re not so hot.

20. Charlotte HornetsLance Stephenson was supposed to raise Charlotte’s offense to a respectable place. At 98.1, their Offensive Rating is ranked 26th which is far closer to deplorable than respectable.

21. Utah Jazz – The young guns look better than last season but not better than 20 other NBA teams unfortunately.

22. Orlando Magic – Being the East’s version of the Jazz speaks to their respective 4-7 start.

23. Indiana Pacers – Despite going 3-1 recently, the Pacers are too brittle to keep up the race against the league’s other best-of-the-bad teams, like the Jazz and Magic.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Ibaka and Jackson doesn’t quite have the ring that Westbrook and Durant does.

25. New York Knicks – Melo can’t quite possibly be regretting his decision not to join the Bulls, right?

26. Detroit Pistons – The cosmetically improved Pistons are having trouble keeping up in a fundamentally improved league? Who would have thunk?

27. Denver Nuggets – If only the Nuggets could hold teams to 59 points over the course of 48 minutes instead of 24.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves – Allowing 270 points over the course of two games works in Minnesota’s quest of becoming the NBA’s version of the Washington Generals but not in chalking up any sort of ranking respect.

29. Los Angeles Lakers The valley the Lakers currently find themselves in drops as deep as Kobe’s rising points total stand high. At this point in time, there might even be some tragic correlation there.

30. Philadelphia 76ers – There’s no denying the sheer awfulness that are the 76ers. In fact, any denial would be an act of faulty arithmetic because they’re the sole team to yet win a game this season.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles