Every Monday it seems like the major sites like to release their power rankings, and since By made his list of top QB’s I figured I should do some rankings myself. I rarely agree with the ones that are on the major sites, so I thought I’d throw up my top 16 teams through the first three weeks of the season…
#1 Los Angeles Lakers (8-2) – It’s nice to see some of those 72 win season talks die down. I didn’t see it happening, and after them losing two straight it’ll thankfully keep it out of the press for a bit. The Lakers have had a pretty easy early schedule with a lot of home games so far. That being said it doesn’t really matter how many games they end up winning, we know they will be in the Western Conference finals regardless… I’m sure those back to back losses are the exception more than the rule.
#2 New Orleans Hornets (8-0) – Wow, I didn’t see them coming on this strong. I guess I should’ve though. They were the #2 seed in the West two short years ago, and now that CP3 is healthy again we remember why we called him the best PG in the league. They look like they are trying to prove that they weren’t just a fluke in 2008. If Okefor can avoid jumping onto the injury report, this team has a chance to do some great things this season.
#3 Boston Celtics (8-2) – Rondo is ridiculous, they are huge on the interior, and they have great outside shooting. What’s that all add up to? The best team in the east! If this team was assembled five years ago when all their former all-stars were in their prime (Jermaine, Shaq, KG, Allen, Pierce) I’d pick this team to win 72 games. When Perkins comes back this team is going to make everyone a jump shooting team (if that wasn’t the case already).
#4 Utah Jazz (7-3) – I’m easily swayed by what I just saw, and I saw two of the Jazz road comebacks. I’m loving the way Millsap is playing, and you have to figure they will only improve when Jefferson gets comfortable in the offense. I’m not positive that they can really keep this up, but after this recent road trip I’m sure nobody will take the Jazz lightly.
#5 San Antonio Spurs (8-1) – Their only loss is to New Orleans, but other than that game they really haven’t played a tough schedule with only three road games in the mix. They are good, but I’d be chocolate wasted if I put them much higher than here. Plus, I can’t see Jefferson playing like he has so far all season long.
#6 Dallas Mavericks (6-2) – Are the Mavs really playing defense this year? They are currently 3rd in the league in points allowed at 91.3 per game. If this trend continues, they might actually be a contender. Putting the Mavs at six might be a little high, but just look at how good that Southwest division is. Three of the top six teams in my rankings, WOW!
#7 Miami Heat (6-4) – It took awhile to get a second Eastern Conference team on the rankings, but seven feel right for the Heat. Sure, they only beat bad teams, but they do that rather convincingly at least. Should they try to trade Bosh for a duo or trio of players that would probably serve them better? I’ll say yes, but I don’t see anyone wanting to help out the Heat.
#8 Orlando Magic (6-3) – Not sure what happened to them in Toronto or in their collapse against the Jazz, but they look just as solid as last year. Jameer and Vince seem like they are trying to put last year’s underwhelming seasons in the rear view mirror, but will that happen? I think they both fight through their hangnail injuries this year, and have good seasons.
#9 Golden State Warriors (6-4) – Maybe too high to put them in the top ten, but a little bias always shows up in these kinds of rankings somewhere. They did okay on their road trip for a team that doesn’t win on the road much getting two out of five isn’t bad. Over the past two games without David Lee in the lineup, you can clearly notice the difference in their rebounding, and second chance points. Hopefully he can make his early return Friday, and get them back on track.
#10 Phoenix Suns (5-4) – I’m putting them at ten after watching them beat the Lakers last night with the best three point display I’ve ever seen. Usually a couple of guys get rolling on their team from downtown, but last night everyone was rolling. They were making threes like layups! I’m not sure how good this team is without Amare, but they do look much better than I gave them credit for. The lesson, I should never underestimate Nash.
#11 Denver Nuggets (5-4) – Yeah, they beat the Lakers, but they seem to only show up every couple of nights. It’s almost the same way Melo plays. He shows up sometimes to throw down a monster game, but then disappears in the next game. I think they are good, but just not consistent enough. That 500 pound elephant in the rumor mill needs to get cleared up before this team makes any real impacts.
#12 Milwaukee Bucks (5-5) – I really like this Bucks team. They are heading the right way after starting the year shooting terribly from the field. They are now picking it up in that department, and the best part about them is that they are second in the league in defense. They held the Knicks and Warriors to 80 or under which is a feat in itself. Their added parts should improve this team offensively as well. Jennings is highly under-rated in my book.
#13 Chicago Bulls (5-3) – They should probably be higher in the rankings after winning their last three in a row, but there’s something I’m just not sold on with the Bulls. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s not D-Rose. Rose is stepping his game up this year, and proving that he’s not just a great player, but he can fantasy worthy as well. It’s going to be interesting to see how they work Boozer back into the mix.
#14 Seattle Supersonics (5-4) – Maybe I was a little presumptuous putting the Sonics atop the West in our predictions. I think there are a lot of teams now gunning for them after Durant announced to the world that he may just be the best player in the league. Don’t get me wrong they are going to be a great team for years to come, but maybe we expected too much too soon. Or maybe they just need someone besides Westbrook and Durant to step up.
#15 Atlanta Hawks (7-4) – Is there a harder team to figure out? I don’t think so. They played crappy teams for the first six games, which is why they went 6-0 imho. Their next four losses were all against teams above them in my rankings, which makes them a good fit for the #15 spot. One thing I really like about this team is the Horford-Smith combo. If both these guys are playing the way they can, they should win a lot of games. Unfortunately, you never know when they will both put in that quality work…
#16 Portland Trailblazers (6-5) – I think the Blazers have the most fragile team in the league. Their injury report usually looks like it could play against their starting unit. Brandon Roy’s knee problems might keep his promising career from flourishing sadly. Camby is only a game or two away from missing a few. Pryzbylla and Oden never play. Come to think of it, I’m actually surprised they’ve won six games thus far!