NBA Power Rankings Week 2: Houston Leads The Charge

With a week into the 2017-18 campaign, the league has been in a total frenzy. Golden State joins Oklahoma City with a losing record while Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Lin are both out for the season. Not quite the predicted opening week, unexpected to continue. Let’s look at the breakdown.

Best Mover: Orlando +13

Biggest Drop: Boston -11

1] +5 (3-0)

An upset win over the Golden State Warriors, ruining the ring ceremony was followed by a close win over Sacramento prior to a routing of Dallas. Houston will be without Chris Paul, their marquee addition, for a month, a loss that doesn’t seem as severe early on according to advanced statistics. James Harden MVP campaign may be alive. Houston hosts Memphis before trips to Philadelphia, Charlotte and Memphis for the week.

2] +3 (2-0)

LaMarcus Aldridge was on the trade block all summer, then signs an extension. Two games into the season, Aldridge has earned it, putting up 25 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Minnesota and 28 points and 10 rebounds in Chicago. San Antonio is still without the services of Kawhi Leonard, unsure when he will debut as they embark on a four game East Coast swing after hosting Toronto Monday, with stops in Miami, Orlando, Indiana and Boston.

3] +1 (2-1)

Cleveland was already without Isaiah Thomas, and now, Derrick Rose will be missing some time, leading to Jose Calderon starting at the point for the Cavaliers. After a close win over Boston and a convincing one in Milwaukee, the Cavs got shellacked by Orlando, but have a favorable schedule to make it up with a home date against Chicago, going to Brooklyn and New Orleans before hosting New York to cap the week off.

4] -3 (1-2)

It has been nearly five years since the Warriors were under .500, even this early on in the season. A close victory in New Orleans sandwiches in between losses to Houston and Memphis, as the Warriors are relying on more isolation basketball than the ball movement we have come to know. A trip to Dallas on Monday is followed by home dates against Toronto, Washington and Detroit.

5] +7 (2-1)

Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken his game to another level, scoring 37, 34 and 44, a career high, to start off the year as the Bucks held off Boston and Portland with the loss to Cleveland sandwiched in. Games against Charlotte, Boston and in Atlanta are on deck.

6] +3 (2-0)

Schedule makers were nice to the Clippers, who have started their A.C. campaign with solid success, winning both games by a combined 58 points. Yes, it was just the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, but Blake Griffin has his MVP Campaign in full swing, scoring 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in just 30.5 minutes of action. Hes also hitting 52.8% of his field goals and 54.5% of his threes, putting up an absurd 1.611 points per shot. Clippers host Utah, visit Portland and host Detroit to cap off the week.

7] +1 (2-0)

Toronto got off to a nice start, two convincing wins over Chicago and Philadelphia as they get ready to embark on a six game West-Coast swing, which includes stops in San Antonio, Golden State and the Lakers for Week 2. DeMar DeRozan is putting up 20.5 points through two games and has only attempted one shot from behind the arc. Amazing efficency.

8] -1 (2-0)

Victories over Detroit and Philadelphia have the Wizards feeling good about themselves as they hope to cement themselves as the East’s second best team with the Celtics Hayward loss. Otto Porter Jr. is showing why he received the contract he did while Kelly Oubre is having a quiet, solid year. John Wall and Bradley Beal are averaging 52 points an outing, which Washington needs as they head off to face Denver, the Lakers, Golden State and Sacramento over the second week.

9] -7 (1-2)

Chemistry is quite underrated in this day and age, which the Oklahoma City Thunder showed during the initial week of NBA action, with losses in Utah and a nail biter versus the Wolves. Westbrook is still putting up a near triple double with 19.3 points, 11.7 assists and 9.3 rebounds while Carmelo leads the way with just under 24 and Paul George is at 21.3 with 3.3 steals a night. Indiana comes to town before the Thunder get a chance at revenge in Minnesota then a trip to Chicago.

10] +1 (2-1)

Andrew Wiggins buried a game winner to top the Thunder and cap off a 27-point evening, helping Minnesota climb to 2-1 on the young season. Putting up 24.7 points a night, Wiggins (and Karl-Anthony Towns putting up 21.7) are benefiting from Jimmy Butler’s defensive effort. Oh and Jamal Crawford is still ageless, putting up 10 points off the bench in under 20 minutes. Wolves will host Indiana before they visit Detroit and come back home for the Thunder.

11] +5 (2-0)

Memphis is sitting at a pretty 2-0, with quality wins over Utah and Golden State behind Marc Gasol’s 24 points and 12.5 rebounds a night. Dillon Brooks is giving quality minutes, as the second round pick is scoring 14 points to go with 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks thus far in 31 minutes of action. A home-and-home against Dallas is in-between a trip to Houston and versus Houston.

12] +1 (2-1)

If it weren’t for a career night by the Greek Freak, Portland could be sitting at 3-0 after blowing out Phoenix and Indiana to start off the year. With home dates against New Orleans, the Clippers and Phoenix, Portland could build some nice momentum.

13] +5 (2-1)

A three point loss in Minnesota is the lone blemish thus far as the Jazz took care of Denver and Oklahoma City at home. Not a single member of the Jazz roster is averaging 15 points a night, though three players (Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert) are at 14.7 and Derrick Facvors is at 14.3 Throw in Rodney Hood’s 13 points in 20.5 minutes, and the Jazz are the epitome of team ball. Visiting the Clippers and Suns on back to back nights before hosting the Lakers, Utah has a good chance to cement itself as a legit playoff contender.

14] -11 (1-2)

It took six minutes for the Celtics baloon to deflate due to Hayward’s injury, but Boston still has plenty of time to turn it around and remain among the East’s elite. A home game versus New York is followed by games in Milwaukee and Miami.

15] -5 (1-1)

Denver did well to bounce back from an opening night loss in Utah, but they need Nikola Jokic to start playing the way he was expected to. The big man is struggling thus far, shooting just 23% from the field for his 3.5 points, negatived by the 3.5 turnovers. A home game against Washington preceeds games in Charlotte, Atlanta and Brooklyn.

16] +3 (2-1)

Stan van Gundy has the Pistons playing well, with wins over Charlotte and New York. Lone blemish being a four point loss in Washington. Games against Philadelphia and Minnesota proceed a trip to Los Angeles and Golden State, as Detroit hopes to get back into the postseason.

17]

+ 11 (2-1)

Bouncing back from a tough loss in Brooklyn, the Magic went into Cleveland and walked out with a 21-point victory, stunning the basketball world. A team projected to be in the bottom of the league have started out well, with a win against Miami as well. With Brooklyn coming into town on Tuesday, Orlando can get some payback prior to a date against San Antonio and trip to Charlotte.

18] -4 (1-2)

If it weren’t for coaching mistakes by Luke Walton, the Pelicans would be sitting at 0-3 right now, with losses to Memphis, Golden State and the Lakers. Anthony Davis has been amazing on the boards, grabbing 50 through three contests and the Pels will need that as they head off to face Portland and Sacramento before coming home for Cleveland.

19] -3 (1-1)

Dwight has been a pleasent surprise for the Hornets, averaging 15 points and 15 rebounds a night while Kemba does the bulk of the scoring with 25 points per contest.A trip to Milwaukee proceeds a three game home stand against Denver, Houston and Orlando.

20] -3 (1-1)

Miami dropped a game to Orlando, despite Hassan Whiteside exploding for 26 points and 22 rebounds and erased those memories with a four point victory over Indiana. Home dates against Atlanta, San Antonio and Boston are on slate.

21] +1 (1-2)

The Kings were a bad call away from beating Houston and sitting at 2-1. Things don’t work out as they should, at times, and they got a win against Dallas. With a trip to the Eric Bledsoe-less Suns on Monday night, Sacramento needs to build momentum before hosting New Orleans & Washington.

22] +4 (2-1)

A high scoring loss to Indiana to start off the year, the Nets responded well with home wins against Orlando and Atlanta. Jeremy Lin is out for the year, so D’Angelo Russell and Allen Crabbe will need to step up if they want to prevent the Cavaliers from getting a high pick. Upcoming slate: @ Orlando, vs Cleveland, @ New York, vs Denver

23] — (1-2)

Coaching decisions held the Lakers from a comeback win over New Orleans, dropping the purple and gold to 1-2. Outside of a win in Phoenix, which was nearly lost, Luke Walton’s side hasn’t looked very good. Lonzo Ball is averaging a near triple double with 13.3 points, 8.7 assists and 9.3 rebounds. However, he’s shooting just 34.8% from the field, 29.4% from three, turning it over 3.7 times a night and has an abysmal +/- of -37. Upcoming week: vs Washington, vs Toronto, @ Utah

24] +3 (1-2)

With Paul George out of the picture, the Pacers are getting good contribution from Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo. A high scoring win against Brooklyn started the campaign off well before losses to Portland and Miami, without Turner. Next Week: @ Minnesota, @ Oklahoma City, vs San Antonio

25] -1 (0-3)

Trusting the process will take a bit longer, as Philadelphia has laid a goose egg in the win column thus far. Granted, they had a tough schedule with games in Washington and Toronto while Boston came to town. It doesn’t get much easier with a game to Detroit, home to Houston and a trip to Dallas coming up.

26] -5 (0-3)

Dirk Nowitzki’s farewell tour doesn’t seem like it’s going to be very fruitful, as Dallas has dropped every game thus far. It doesn’t get much easier with Golden State coming to town before a home-and-home against Memphis. Philadelphia ends the week and that may be what Dallas needs.

27] -2 (0-2)

The Mecca of Basketball is in for a long season. At least they have Kristaps Porzingis to provide entertainment. Next Week: @ Boston, vs Brooklyn, @ Cleveland

28] (1-2)

Schroeder’s injury stings Atlanta’s slim playoff hopes, but helps them improve their chances at DeAndre Ayton or Luka Doncic. Next Week: @ Miami, @ Chicago, vs Denver, vs Milwaukee.

29] -9 (0-2)

Chicago fought hard against San Antonio, only losing by 10, and the growing pains won’t get much easier. Next Week: @ Cleveland, vs Atlanta, vs Oklahoma City.

30] -2 (0-3)

The Sun has set in Phoenix and it doesn’t seem like it’ll change. Next Week: vs Sacramento, vs Utah, @ Portland

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About MikeK520

Avid sports fan looking to share opinions and thoughts. Fan of the NBA (Los Angeles Clippers), Soccer/Football (Armenian National Team, United States National Team, Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Tucson), College Sports (UCLA Basketball/Football, Cal State Northridge Basketball), NFL (Green Bay Packers), NHL (Detroit Red Wings), MLB (Atlanta Braves).
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