So listen, don’t get worked into a frenzy over you team being out of the power rankings. You hear me, Lakers Nation? Don’t overreact, as I’m not saying the Lakers will end the season where I have them ranked. At 1-3, even the most ardent of fans would acknowledge the issues…if they’re being honest with themselves. Put simply, this will be a progressive list that will likely have major changes to reflect uncertainty of the first few weeks of the season. Once teams settle in, the Top-10 will likely be filled with more familiar organizations…but in the meantime, here are the current Top-10:
#1 San Antonio Spurs (4-0): What can you say? The Spurs remain a dominant force, and are the first team to reach 4-0. The next seven days have the Kings and Blazers sandwiched by both Los Angeles teams. let’s see where they are at that point.
#2 Miami Heat (3-1): Got smacked by the Knicks on the road, but responded well by winning a tough one vs the Nuggets, and destroying the Suns. One last home game vs. the new-look Brooklyn Nets before heading out for the next six on the road.
#3 New York Knicks (3-0): No, you haven’t come across as error. The Knicks, to this point, have come to play. They may be sans Amar’e, but Melo has this group clicking on all cylinders. Doesn’t hurt to catch a Bynum-less Philly squad on back-to-back nights, but we’ll see where they are in a few weeks. As for now, your New York Knicks are in the mix. Spike Lee must be in a state of euphoria. Somewhere, Reggie Miller just gave a hopeful “choke symbol” out of habit.
4# Dallas Mavericks (3-1): No Dirk, no problem…for now. Free agent pick-up O.J. Mayo has put up back-to-back 30 point (30, 32) games. Will be interesting to see how long this group can keep things up in Nowitzki’s absence. Friday, Jason Kidd and his new team (Knicks) host the Mavs for the first time since Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban blasted Kidd publicly.
#5 Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2): Yes, they are 1-2. Yes, they are without the services of James Harden. No, they are not in danger of falling out of contention. They’ll have to develop chemistry (again), but the team is far too talented to keep out of these rankings. Four very winnable games on this week’s schedule, and it ends with Kyrie Irving’s Cleveland Cavaliers. What type of leader is Kevin Durant? I guess, we’ll see.
#6 Los Angeles Clippers (2-2): Lob City started the year with impressive wins with a win over their 2012 playoff foes (Memphis) and their building-mate Los Angeles Lakers. On the flipside, they allowed a hobbled Golden State team and a Dion Waiters-led (28 points) Cavalier team beat them over the next two. The next 12 days have San Antonio (twice), Miami and OKC on the agenda. We will see where we truly stand.
#7 Memphis Grizzlies (2-1): Started off with a loss to the Clippers, but Zach Randolph’s 16 rebounds per game are tough to deny. The Bucks, Rockets, and Heat are coming up this week. Not to beat a dead horse, but Rudy Gay’s 19 ppg on 19 shots per game may prove to be an issue moving forward. Will be interesting to see if he and Randolph go on co-existing throughout the season.
#8 Milwaukee Bucks (2-0): Very early, but an impressive start shouldn’t go unnoticed. Any time you can get a road victory in Boston to start your season, you’ve got my attention. Will be interesting to see how Jennings and Ellis work throughout the season. After Memphis and Washington, Boston gets another shot in Milwaukee on Saturday.
#9 Minnesota Timberwolves (2-1): Without Ricky Rubio (knee), and Kevin Love (hand) the Wolves have still managed to beat the Kings and Nets by double digits. Not sure how long it will last, but Orlando, Indiana, and Chicago should be good tests this week.
#10 Los Angeles Lakers (1-3): As stated earlier, Lakers fans need not overreact. Truth is, you are fortunate to be in these rankings as of now. The manner by which they destroyed Detroit was far more significant/relevant than anything else. Initially, Nash was expected to be out for about 7 days. Now, the rumor is potentially 3-4 weeks. Can Steve Blake pick up the slack, or does GM Mitch Kupchak have to pull off some additional magic?