Here are the NBA power rankings through week one:
30. New York Knicks (0-3) – Rookie RJ Barrett has been a shining bright spot for the Knicks, averaging 21 points per game through three games. He may be the only bright spot to highlight for a team that has started off 0-3 for the season. Center Mitchell Robinson has been a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) monster and leads the team with a 36.62 PER, but is only averaging 18 minutes per game due to foul troubles and coming back from an ankle injury that kept him on the sideline for the Knicks regular-season opener.
29. Memphis Grizzlies (1-2) – Jaren Jackson Jr. is off to a solid start in his sophomore season, and rookie guard Ja Morant is coming off a strong game against the Nets in which he blocked Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving towards the end of regulation to send their game into overtime. The Nets were able to win off of a Jae Crowder three-pointer to give them their first win of the season. The Grizzlies will go through growing pains this season but they have a promising future.
28. Cleveland Cavilers (1-1) – The Cavilers were able to give first-year head coach John Beilein his first career win against the Indiana Pacers, but the Cavilers still have a long way to go before they can convince anyone that they are contenders. On a positive note, the Cavilers have held their opponents to 96.5 points per game so far this season, which is good for 4th best in the league as of this writing.
27. Sacramento Kings (0-3) – The Kings lost Marvin Bagley III to a fractured right thumb, which will keep him sidelined for up to 6 weeks. The Kings have looked horrible on defense, allowing the opposing teams to average 119.7 points per game. It’s early, but so far the Kings look lost. Third-year point guard De’Aaron Fox (38.2% from the floor) and shooting guard Buddy Hield (40.9% from the floor) will need to pick up the slack while Bagley is shelved.
26. Charlotte Hornets (1-2) – Terry Rozier is off to a slow start so far, but backup point guard Devonte’ Graham has been a nice surprise, leading the team in scoring with 18.7 points per game. Rookie power forward PJ Washington is averaging 15 points and 6.7 rebounds per game through the first three games. The Hornets will continue to struggle against good teams but could play spoiler towards the end of the season for teams looking to make it to the playoffs if PJ Washington and Devonte’ Graham can improve as the season goes on.
25. New Orleans Pelicans (0-3) – The Pelicans miss prize rookie forward Zion Williamson out there, and their record (0-3) reflects that. To make matters worse, Jrue Holiday is also nursing a knee injury of his own (knee sprain). Point guard Lonzo Ball, shooting guard Josh Hart, and forward Brandon Ingram (all acquired from the Lakers in a blockbuster trade that included Anthony Davis this off-season) have stepped up for the Pelicans but until the Pelicans are fully healthy, it will be hard to watch for fans hoping to win games.
24. Chicago Bulls (1-2) – Otto Porter is on a minutes restriction, which will hopefully keep their forward healthy throughout the season. Chicago only has one win so far this season against Memphis. While it is likely Chicago will win more games as the season goes on, it’s hard to see them winning enough games to be in contention for the eighth spot in the conference standings.
23. Detroit Pistons (1-2) – The Detroit Pistons are losers of two straight games after beating the Indiana Pacers on the road to start the season. While Derrick Rose has been a bright spot for the Pistons, losing Blake Griffin before the season started (hamstring, knee injury) hurts Detroit’s chances of winning games. Detroit needs Blake Griffin healthy.
22. Washington Wizards (1-2) – Bradley Beal is averaging 20.3 points per game with 7.7 assists. The problem is his field-goal percentage, as he is shooting only 30.6% from the floor. Rookie Rui Hachimura has been a pleasant surprise so far averaging 16.3 points per game. Washington will need more support from the rest of the team if they want to make a push for a playoff spot.
21. Phoenix Suns (2-1) – The Suns are off to a solid start, however losing DeAndre Ayton to a 25 game suspension has to be a low blow to the Sun’s chances of making things interesting. Shooting guards Devin Booker and small forward Kelly Oubre have both looked solid to start the season. If they can keep this momentum going without Ayton, the team could surprise us by having a winning record after 25 games.
20. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) – The Thunder were able to beat the defending Western Conference Champions over the weekend, but have lost two of their first three games. Their win against the Warriors looks impressive at first until you notice that the Warriors are winless to start the season. It is only a matter of time before the Thunder look to rest Chris Paul and give Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all of the minutes the second-year point guard can handle.
19. Golden State Warriors (0-2) – The Warriors have looked terrible to start the season. Through two games, the Warriors have had the lead zero times. Losing Kevin Durant to the Nets was already bad enough, but with Klay Thompson also nursing a torn ACL, the Warriors will have to make do with All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and newly acquired D’Angelo Russell, but will need to find a way to improve their supporting cast.
18. Indiana Pacers (0-2) –The Pacers are off to a rocky start, but help is on the way. Victor Oladipo will be back at some point this season, so the Pacers will have to hold off until he returns. Even after a slow start, the Pacers are still expected to make a playoff push.
17. Orlando Magic (1-1) – The Orlando Magic split their first two games of the season, with a win against Cleveland and a loss to Atlanta. Markelle Fultz has a chance to shed the “bust” label he has received by some with a fresh start in Orlando.
16. Dallas Mavericks (2-1) – Kristaps Porziņģis and Luka Dončić are leading the charge for the improved Dallas Mavericks. With averages of over 25 points per game for each of them, Dallas looks to have formed a very solid duo, one that could challenge the other NBA teams for best 1-2 punch this season. As long as they continue to gel, they should be able to compete with any team most nights.
15. Atlanta Hawks (2-0) – Second-year guard Trae Young has gone berserk to start the season, averaging a whopping 38.5 points and nine assists per game. Atlanta is undefeated, and if Trae Young can continue his performance, the Hawks could challenge for a playoff spot as early as this season. Trae Young (so far) looks like the Eastern Conference version of Stephen Curry.
14. Brooklyn Nets (1-2) – The Nets are coming off a tough loss against the Memphis Grizzlies, but Kyrie Irving has been as great as advertised so far. Through three games, Kyrie is averaging 37.7 points per game and looks to be fitting right in on a team that lost All-Star D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors this off-season. Caris LeVert also looks solid (19.7 points per game) if you take away his turnovers (4.3 per game).
13. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-0) – All-Star big man Karl Anthony Towns leads the team in points (32), rebounds (13.3), and blocks (2). The Timberwolves are undefeated and were even able to defeat the Miami Heat, who were also undefeated leading to their matchup. Former number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins played a huge role in keeping the Timberwolves undefeated by outscoring the Heat in the fourth quarter.
12. Toronto Raptors (2-1) – Pascal Siakam won the most improved player of the year award last season but could be in the running to win it again. Through three games so far this season, he leads the team in points (28.7) and rebounds (10.7) per game. He’ll have to beat out teammate Fred VanVleet (19.3 points per game), who is also having a career year so far.
11. Portland Trailblazers (2-1) – Blazers guard CJ McCullum is heating up after a slow start to the season. Damian Lillard picked up where he left off last season and is averaging 31.7 points per game. Portland will need both of them to play like all-stars if they have any hope of repeating the success the team had last season.
10. San Antonio Spurs (2-0) – Spurs guard Dejounte Murray is on a minute’s restriction to start the year off but is still averaging 18.5 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game. Murray has serious potential to have a breakout year after missing last season to nurse a torn ACL. The Spurs will need that to happen if they want to make a post-season run.
9. Miami Heat (2-1) – The Heat have won two of three games so far without All-Star forward Jimmy Butler. Heat big man Bam Adebayo and guard Kendrick Nunn have both been a bright spot for the new-look Heat, and after coming off a win against the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, the Heat will look to continue moving up the standings once Butler returns.
8. Utah Jazz (2-1) – Jazz guard Mike Conley is off to a horrid start, but the Jazz is still early favorites to make the playoffs. The Jazz was looking to improve once they moved on from point guard Ricky Rubio and upgraded to Mike Conley during the off-season. It’s still early so Mike Conley could still improve and show why the Jazz was a sleeper team to win it all.
7. Boston Celtics (2-1) – Jason Tatum is making the leap most of us expected him to make last season, but the Celtics won’t complain as long as he can keep up the early success. Kemba Walker had a bad start in their loss to the 76ers, but has since turned the ship around and is back on track to having another great year for his new team.
6. Houston Rockets (1-1) – Russell Westbrook and James Harden will give a lot of teams fits this season. They were only able to win one of two games, but you can tell this backcourt is going to be a problem for the rest of the league. They have plenty of time to gel and figure out how to play with each other and should have it all together by the time playoffs begin. The real issue is staying out of each other’s way.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (2-1) – Everyone knew Anthony Davis and LeBron James are going to be a problem. They have won two out of three games to start the year but could take another leap forward once Kyle Kuzma returns from his foot injury.
4. Philadelphia 76ers (2-0) – Philadelphia remains undefeated so far, but with Joel Embid nursing an ankle injury, it’s safe to wonder if Embid can really stay healthy for 70+ games.
3. Denver Nuggets (2-0) – Nikola Jokić continues to do it all for the Denver Nuggets, leading the team in scoring (21.5), rebounds (13.5), and seven assists. If there’s anything to nitpick about Nikola’s game, it’s his turnovers (4.5). The Nuggets will continue to be a force in the Western Conference, and nobody is sleeping on them this year after being the dark horse team last season.
2. Milwaukee Bucks (1-1) – The Bucks are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat over the weekend, but that shouldn’t slow them down. They are still a powerhouse and remain favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference. Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading his team in points (29.5), rebounds (15), assists (10) and steals (2).
1. Los Angeles Clippers (2-1) – The Clippers are leading the league in points per game (125) as of this writing. Paul George is still nursing a shoulder injury, but that has not stopped the Clippers from beating their division rivals (Lakers, Warriors). Once Paul George returns, they will be a force on both offense and defense.