DAR Sports: NBA Power Rankings

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The season is finally underway. We have about 7 or 8 games under our belt as of this writing. The teams that you expected to look good for the most part are certainly not disappointing, and the ones you might have expected to struggle, are struggling. The NBA right now, at this time, looks like it could be a toss up in the West, with the Spurs, the Warriors, Clippers, and Thunder all looking very solid at the moment (Warriors are figuring it out and will have an early bumpy road as expected) and the Cavs once again looking like the East is all but theirs. So, with that being said, where does every team rank so far? Well, let's take a look at the 30 teams and rank them one by one. Who makes no. 1? I'm sure you can tell who that is, but let's get into the power rankings so far.

30. New Orleans Pelicans 

-The worst team in the NBA right now, but they have one reason to account for that: lack of vital players. Anthony Davis has had a few amazing games, but he can't do it all himself of course. Tyreke Evans is out and so is Jrue, so until they come back, this Pelicans team will be limited and largely unsuccessful. They have a few seemingly easy games coming so they could very well get that first win soon.

29. Philadelphia 76ers

-I want the 76ers to be a viable team. They have the pieces, but are missing their no. 1 pick in Ben Simmons. However, Joel Embiid continues to impress and it is likely that this could be a sleeper team by next season as long as they manage to stay healthy, which seems to be the biggest issue. They've competed against some of the toughest teams in the first few games, but just can't close it out. When they learn to close out games, they will be a problem. That first win is coming soon.

28. Washington Wizards 

-Disappointing? Sure. Surprising? No. Bradley Beal was overpaid and hasn't shown any glimpses of holding up his end of the bargain yet, but it is early in the season. The Wizards look out of sync and unable to compete with the best, but they at least managed to get that first win. Now, the challenge is finding the rhythm.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves 

-I wanted so much for the Wolves and while it is too early to count them out, they look like a young yet lost team out there. Thibs hasn't spaced the floor out enough and the team hasn't really seemed to sync yet, but KAT is due for a big season and we could see some improvement from him as the games go on. I'm certain the Wolves will be a playoff contender soon... but judging off this year so far, it doesn't seem like this is the season. Hopefully I'm wrong and they get it together.

26. Dallas Mavericks 

-Harrison Barnes is right now the no. 1 option for the Mavericks. Coming off a career high 34 points performance against the Bucks to lead the Mavs to their first win, this team seems to be finding a small rhythm, but only one can really know how good they can be. With an aging Dirk, production decreasing Deron Williams, and a lackluster bench, the Mavericks will look to have a rough road going forward. They may miss the playoffs if they can't close out games going forward. Harrison Barnes as your no. 1 option is a scary thought, and I don't mean that in a good way, no offense.

25. Brooklyn Nets

-The Nets don't look horrible. They don't look that great either. They look pretty much.... standard. They aren't going to be a playoff team this year, at least I don't think so, and they will eventual falter well into the last 2 or 3 spots in the East territory. If they can manage to withstand the onslaught of teams and pull it together going forward, I will be very shocked.

24. Phoenix Suns

-The Suns are a young team that could be another playoff contender at some point, maybe even this year depending on which team really slips. Devin Booker is looking like a future star in this game and Eric Bledsoe is showing up for the team when he needed, and we've seen a slightly reinvigorated Brandon Knight. Could the Suns make a run at the playoffs this year? I doubt it, but it's not entirely out of the question.

23. New York Knicks 

-The Knicks were supposed to be a super team according to Derrick Rose. They're struggling at the moment. After a blowout loss in game 1 of the season to the Cavs, they've struggled. Melo has had bad shot selection, they've slowed the growth of Porzingis, and although Derrick Rose looks like he's going to have a decent season, none of it is working together to make them a formidable team. The Knicks could creep into a rhythm and make the playoffs, or they could end up missing the playoffs this year. It's really anybody's guess how it will play out.

22. Miami Heat 

-The Heat are doing okay so far in their first season without Dwyane Wade in 13 years, but I suspect that won't hold up for the rest of the year. The Heat have to continue rebuilding and when faced against better opponents, I can't see them pulling out the victory. I'd like to think the Heat will finish around that 9th or 10th seed this year, competitive at times, but not enough for the playoffs.

21. Sacramento Kings 

-The Kings aren't doing terrible. They aren't doing well either. They look sloppy, and Boogie is still a bit whiny overall, but I must say that Rudy Gay has been a surprise so far this year. Granted we are only 8 games in at the time of this, but he's been very solid and effective. Cousins is still able to put up 30 points and 12 rebounds at will, but can it equal wins? That seems to be the biggest challenge going forward for the Kings.

20. Denver Nuggets

-The Nuggets look decent this season. They look slightly more competitive than last year, but not quite enough to become a formidable playoff team just yet. They've managed some decent wins and some crushing losses, but have shown that they can stay in the game all 4 quarters at least. Once they manage to start closing out games and finding the consistently hot shooters in the final moments, they'll be a viable team. Right now, they look decent, but not quite good enough.

19. Memphis Grizzlies 

-The Grizzlies look a bit disappointing, but they'll get it together soon. Marc Gasol is draining threes consistently, an added component of his game that is making them an even deadlier option when the season REALLY kicks into gear in the coming months. The Grizzlies aren't going to struggle the entire season of course, but they will have their down moments. I still predict a playoff run for them soon enough.

18. Orlando Magic 

-I expected the Magic to be at the bottom of the East and I still do. The season is young and they haven't really been tested as much yet. By game 50 of the season, I don't expect to see the Magic in contention for the playoffs at all. They had a small restructuring of the team that works wonders for rim protection and rebounding, which will be key, but I don't see them making a big push going forward. I could be wrong.

17. Indiana Pacers

-I expected the Pacers to struggle some. Their lineup and a  new coach literally spelled out their fortune from jump. They won't really have to work too hard in the East to maintain a playoff spot, at least I don't think so, and once they get their play and ball movement more together, they will end up as a top 4 or 5 team in the East as the season nears the close. As of now, they look decent, but they haven't found the consistency yet.

16. Boston Celtics 

-The Celtics are not shocking me with their subpar record, but I'm not going to count them out by any stretch. They have been trying to figure it out the first 6 or 7 games this year and they will. Injuries cost them a little early on so far, but when the team is healthy and pacing the floor like they need to be, they will claim their spot in the East in the 3 or 4 seeds. Guarantee that.

15. Houston Rockets 

-Harden is going to be worn out by the end of the season. He's killing it right now with his numbers, but those numbers will have to equal wins. Can the Rockets pull it off? It's hard to say. Harden needs to work on defense and maintaining leads, and getting the rest of the team involved. He's shown flashes of that here and there, but the one thing I see being a hindrance to the Rockets is consistency. It's shown so far that they struggle with consistency on the floor.

14. Chicago Bulls

-The Bulls look good. They've worked on the jump shots, Wade looks like he's damn near in his 2nd prime, Butler looks like he's developed his game, but the issue lies within a few things: one, Rondo is still Rondo and though in the first 3 wins, he didn't mess up as much, in the losses they've had so far as of this writing, he hasn't been as effective either. They need to keep the rest of the team working and involved as well, because Wade and Butler can carry the load, but not the entire game. They'll be tired and ran down by the end of the season if they have to do that.

13. Milwaukee Bucks

-The Bucks are one team to watch out for in the East. They haven't quite figured it out yet, but when they do? Trust me, they will be a problem for the defenses to handle, and a consistent team. They have some stars in the making with Jabari Parker and Giannis, and giving them the freedom to go out there and go hard will only benefit the team in the long run.

12. Utah Jazz

-They just got their best player back, they have a great defensive player who can provide rim protection, and George Hill is focused. The Jazz is one of the sleeper teams to watch out for in the West. They could very well become a top 5 or 6 team in the Conference with ease. They looked pretty good so far, dealing the mighty Spurs a heavy loss as well. The Jazz is a team to be on the look out for.

11. Los Angeles Lakers

-Who would have thought? The Lakers look absolutely great right now consider this is a very young team and one that was one of the worst in the league. D'Angelo Russell is playing well, Nick Young is focused once again (looks like that Iggy breakup helped him immensely), and Lou Williams is starting off pretty damn well also. Luke Walton has this team competing with the best and they just blew out the Warriors the other night. This team is on a three game winning streak and a force to be reckoned with. See the difference a good coach can make?

10. Toronto Raptors

-The Raptors are looking pretty good and they would be higher if they didn't just lose to the Kings. Regardless, DeMar Derozan is playing like a man possessed, setting records and leading the team this year. I'd say that his time with the Olympic team must have reinvigorated him and got him ready for a leader role in Toronto. Kyle Lowry isn't looking as great comparably, but he's still solid and able to be effective for the game. I hope to see this team be a force in the playoffs.

9. Portland Trail Blazers

-Dame and CJ are a solid backcourt and they will definitely help lead the Blazers to the playoffs I'm sure. However, my concern is them possibly being burnt out and not being able to keep up the pace all season. Right now, despite a blowout loss to the Warriors, the Blazers have looked pretty good and seem to be set for a pretty nice season. I just hope no injuries come to Dame or CJ because that might do this team in, if so.

8. Atlanta Hawks

-The Hawks have Dwight looking like the old Dwight so far and they seem like a viable option in the East. Too early to call them a top contender, but they have some great chances to compete in the East. Will the momentum they have so far fall off as the season continues? Time will tell.

7. Detroit Pistons

-The Pistons look very good so far and have shocked me to be honest. I see them as a top contender in the East and after the struggle last year to get into the playoffs, I see them as a possible 5th or 6th seed this year unless someone gets injured.

6. Charlotte Hornets

-The Hornets look pretty good right now. Are they going to keep up this pace all season? I doubt it. They have the tools to go further however and if they are able to keep up this pace, they could even be a sleeper pick to compete with the Cavs for the East supremacy. Not likely, but they are certainly capable.

5. Los Angeles Clippers 

-They are technically the 2nd ranked team in the West right now, but I'm never convinced of the Clippers and their stability. However, 6-7 games in? They're looking great as expected. I expect the Spurs, Warriors, and possibly the Thunder to surpass them as the season continues, but the Clippers will always be a top tier Western Conference team every year. This year looks no different.

4. Golden State Warriors 

-The team who is considered the super team has struggled in a majority of these games. Yes, the Warriors are expected to struggle, but offensively they look great in a majority of their games, except of course their losses. After two blowout losses to the Spurs and Lakers, the Warriors still are one of the best teams and one of the 3 deadliest starting lineups in the NBA. But with a new system having to be put in place and chemistry having to click, they will likely have struggles until around game 15 or so, then it should really pick up for them going forward. Steph, KD, Klay, and Draymond will be deadly when they get rolling..... they've already shown glimpses of that.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

-Russell Westbrook is going to carry the Thunder to playoffs. This much is known. Whether or not he keeps up this pace he has is not really a question, because Russ isn't human. He's a beast. However, can that pace equal wins? That remains to be seen. So far, so good, but I have my doubts about the longevity of this team once we hit the later half of this season. We shall see.

2. San Antonio Spurs 

-The Spurs look great so far. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus look to be working well as a duo, and the Spurs are the best team in the West right now IMO. They will definitely be one of the best teams in the West in general this year as usual, and the chemistry is there as well amongst the entire team. It also helps to have one of the greatest coaches ever there leading the charge as well.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers 

-The defending champions are riding that high wave that most defending champions do the next year early on. The Cavs don't look unbeatable or unstoppable, but they look great so far. Will that pace hold for the rest of the season? Who knows. I think Kyrie is about to have a breakout season, LeBron will coast as usual, and the rest of the team will do their part, along with Kevin Love getting involved more and feeling integrated in the team. The Cavs have a bullseye on their back. Rightfully so.



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