DAR Sports: Top 10 NBA Power Rankings

By @TrueGodImmortal

We've reached the quarter mark of the season, and honestly after about 24-25 games, we have an understanding of what some teams are and what some of them aren't. For every team that has a positive identity, there are some gaining a negative identity as always. With that being said, today I wanted to take a look at the teams so far this season and give you my top 10 power rankings. Who are the top 3 teams in the league? Who are the top 5? Let's take a look at the top 10 NBA Power Rankings this season so far.

10. Utah Jazz

-Out of nowhere, the Jazz went from being a bottom 5 team in the West to a possible playoff team and currently are the 7th seed. While they don't have a better record than Minnesota or Denver or Portland, currently, they're on an upward swing in many ways, and what's more impressive is that they have done this without their best player, Rudy Gobert. Donovan Mitchell has stepped up in his role and as a rookie, he is exceeding all expectations. Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors have also been important to the success of the team, and as a unit, they've been playing some of the best basketball of just about any team. They are a top 10 defensive team as well, which says a lot about what they are doing on both ends of the floor. While the Jazz wouldn't be considered to be a true contender, they look better than expected.

9. Milwaukee Bucks

-A team on the rise, the Bucks could end up being a true contender with the way they are structured. With the addition of Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks seem more dangerous as Khris Middleton, Giannis, and Malcolm Brogdon make for a formidable offensive and defensive threat. There are rumors that the Bucks could be adding another piece via trade and if this ends up being the case, they could become a real contender. Still, since Bledsoe has joined the team, the Bucks look more focused and defensively better for the most part. Can this team make some noise as the season continues on? That remains to be seen, but their potential is promising.

8. Detroit Pistons

-The Pistons are having a small struggle but they still seem like a formidable team with solid defense and a good offense. The fact of the matter is, the Pistons are a surprise this year, as Andre Drummond has seemed focused, Tobias Harris has been a big component of the success, and the addition of Avery Bradley has worked very well for the team. Will the Pistons make noise in the playoffs? That isn't likely, but after barely missing the playoffs last season, it has to feel good to still be in the top 4 of the East. If they can continue to keep that going, the Pistons will return to the playoff scene and finish in the top 4 in the East.

7. Philadelphia 76ers

-This is the team that stands in the way of the Pistons finishing in the top 4 of the East. This team has so much potential and they don't even have Markelle Fultz playing, which shows just how good Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are. Ben Simmons is the easy winner of the Rookie Of The Year so far and Joel Embiid has to be an All Star this year. Add in some good work from Robert Covington, J.J. Redick, Dario Saric, and the rest of their solid roster and the 76ers could end up being a special playoff team going forward. Their potential is riding on the shoulders of Embiid and Simmons, but they seem poised to become an amazing duo that has a lot of success in the future.  The 76ers are a problem, and they could eventually move up in the rankings as the season goes on.

6. Toronto Raptors

-I am surprised to see the Raptors having the success they have so far. It's not that they aren't a good team, it's the level that they played at so far which is the most impressive part of their success. They've defeated the Rockets in Houston, pushed the Golden State Warriors to the limit, and have managed to challenge every team they've faced. They have showcased roster depth and of course, the duo of Lowry and Derozan have worked together to help them obtain victories. Will we see the Raptors become a real contender and threat in the East? That is unlikely, but seeing them play as hard as they have is a great sign. Only time will tell if they can live up to their potential.

5. San Antonio Spurs

-Kawhi Leonard is on his way back and the Spurs are in a much better position than I expected in a way. With Tony Parker now back in the lineup as well and LaMarcus Aldridge playing very well for the team, the Spurs could be a problem in the West once again. The consistent organization has depth and a mix of youth to go with their older veterans. Health will be the biggest key for the Spurs this year, but overall they have a great chance to make a lot of noise in the West. Will Kawhi be back to his normal self? One would hope so, but regardless, the Spurs will be alright. They have enough talent to coast to the 3rd seed in the West with their eyes closed, which is why Pop and his system are so important. The Spurs show no signs of falling off anytime soon.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers

-So, the Cavs have finally got it together, but the issues they had last season and early this year are still there. They are still a bottom 5 defense in the NBA even with a huge 11 game winning streak, but they've struggled all year with younger teams who weren't that good. The Bulls, the Hawks, the Nets, and more have pushed the Cavs, while they've had some easy wins against the Pistons and 76ers. They've had two tough hard fought victories against the Bucks, and took a tough loss to the Rockets, but overall, they've been solid offensively and a little bit better defensively. As usual, the Cavs go on a winning streak or a successful stretch like they do every season, and right now they look pretty good. Will that change as the season wears on? Probably. For now, LeBron James is a top MVP candidate, Dwyane Wade has the 2nd unit looking solid for a change, and the Cavs are rolling.

3. Golden State Warriors

-If not for the drunken hangover that the Warriors seemed to have in their first 6 or 7 games, they would likely be at 22-2 or 21-3 right now and easily atop the NBA and the Western Conference. However, for now, they are firmly sitting at 18-6 with the third best record in the NBA, which considering how tough their schedule has been, it's a testament to what many feel is coming: another championship. When you look at their battles, they've faced the Pistons, the 76ers, the Rockets, the Spurs, the Thunder, the Raptors, the Wolves, the Wizards, and Celtics, and as you see, a number of those names are on this list. With such a tough schedule early, the Warriors are in a great position and due to go on a LONG winning streak if they can stay healthy. By the time 2018 starts, the Warriors could be no. 1 on the power rankings, but for now, they'll rest comfortably in the 3rd spot..... for now.

2. Houston Rockets

-I will be honest: I still haven't seen much from the Rockets that lead me to believe they can win a championship. Here's why I say that. While Harden, Eric Gordon, and Chris Paul seem to be working well at the moment, they've had a relatively easy schedule so far. Of the team in the top 10 power rankings, the Rockets have had close games against two of them, one of which is still currently a bottom 5 defense in the Cavs. They lost to the 76ers once and should have lost the other game if not for some questionable referee calling as well. Since their opening night victory over the Warriors, the Rockets have lived and died by the three and much like last season, it's paying off well. Still, they've had the benefit of a very easy schedule and tons of rest in between games over the last month, where literally none of the other teams on this list have had that advantage. However, they've been impressive offensively, and they have improved defensively from last season. They are currently no. 1 in the West and it seems that partnership of CP3 and Harden has effortlessly flowed together. When their schedule gets tougher, I expect them to struggle a little bit then, but for the regular season, they are on pace to win above 60 games and if that happens, many feel Harden will win MVP. With his numbers hopefully staying as efficient as they are, I think it's a no brainer that he will secure the MVP award deservedly. The Rockets are currently the top team in the West, but only time will tell if they can hold onto that spot. 

1. Boston Celtics

-The Celtics are the no. 1 team in the NBA. Period. It's as simple as that. They aren't the no. 1 offensive team and probably won't be, but they are the no. 1 defensive team and have been since pretty much the beginning of the season. They've held defeated a number of top tier teams from the 76ers, the Raptors, the Warriors, the Thunder, and more, earning the best record in the NBA against a pretty tough schedule. The Celtics are the most impressive team so far, as their primary scoring option is Kyrie, yet Brad Stevens has the entire team following well offensively enough to win games. The fact that they are doing this without Gordon Hayward makes this even more impressive and if they keep this pace up, they could win 60 games this season, which could end up being a huge feat for a team that lost their 2nd best player (arguably their best) and have managed to become no. 1 in the entire league. The success of the Celtics is the biggest story of the season so far and I hope they continue to be successful.



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