NBA Power Rankings, Week 2

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The small pattern dimension of the NBA’s opening week often gives an attention-grabbing have a look at the standings. The begin of the 2021-22 season was no completely different.

The Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets, two groups that missed the Eastern Conference playoffs final season, are every off to 3-0 begins. (The latter spoiled the Brooklyn Nets‘ residence opener on Sunday.) Meanwhile, New York Knicks followers have been already calling for a championship run after a season-opening double-overtime win over the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.

In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers lastly notched their first win of the season, overcoming Ja Morant‘s 40-point outburst Sunday night time. And behind Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors are off to a 3-0 begin.

Which groups are rising and falling after the primary week of NBA motion? We’re operating via all 30 groups.

Note: Throughout the common season, our panel (Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk) is rating all 30 groups from high to backside, taking inventory of which groups are taking part in one of the best basketball now and which groups are trying most like title contenders.

1. Milwaukee Bucks
2021-22 report: 2-1
Previous rating: 2

An opening-night win towards the Nets reminded the league why the Bucks are the defending champs. Milwaukee made an announcement in blitzing Brooklyn to start out the season behind 32 factors, 14 rebounds and 7 assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo. (*2*)’ rotation early on, however Jrue Holiday and Rodney Hood each returned Saturday. Brook Lopez (again soreness) will miss not less than Monday’s recreation towards Indiana. — Collier

This week: @IND, MIN, SAS, UTA


2. Utah Jazz
2021-22 report: 2-0
Previous rating: 5

Hassan Whiteside, the previous maximum-contract huge man who joined the Jazz for the minimal, is off to an encouraging begin as Rudy Gobert‘s backup. He had a complete of 14 factors, 19 rebounds and three blocks in 34 minutes within the first two video games, when Utah outscored its opponents by 19 factors with Whiteside on the ground. — MacMahon

This week: DEN, @HOU, @CHI, @MIL


3. Denver Nuggets
2021-22 report: 2-0
Previous rating: 7

Michael Malone needs to be happy with how his group has began the season with out Jamal Murray. The Nuggets haven’t given up greater than 98 factors of their first two video games, each wins over the Suns and Spurs. And reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has picked up the place he left off, averaging 29.5 factors and 14.5 rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. is off to a sluggish begin with simply 22 factors and 7 rebounds in two video games, but it surely should not be lengthy earlier than he surpasses these numbers in a single recreation. — Youngmisuk

This week: CLE, @UTA, DAL, @MIN


4. Brooklyn Nets
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 1

It’s been a sluggish begin to the season for Brooklyn, which not solely is taking part in with out Kyrie Irving however is treating the beginning of the season like an extension of the preseason. Coach Steve Nash has stated as a lot in how he is dealing with his rotations, and James Harden stated after Sunday’s loss to Charlotte that he is nonetheless feeling his method into the season after a protracted offseason layoff recovering from a hamstring harm. — Bontemps

This week: WAS, MIA, IND, DET


5. Golden State Warriors
2021-22 report: 3-0
Previous rating: 11

Everything is clicking early for Stephen Curry‘s group, which heads into the week with a 3-0 report. Curry continues to shine as he begins the search towards his third MVP award. He had 45 points in Thursday’s win over the Clippers and continues to provide confidence to a deeper group that’s getting contributions up and down the roster. Veterans Nemanja Bjelica, Andre Iguodala and Damion Lee have given Steve Kerr good minutes off the bench and third-year guard Jordan Poole continues to raise his recreation offensively. — Friedell

This week: @OKC, MEM, OKC


6. Miami Heat
2021-22 report: 1-1
Previous rating: 6

The Heat began off robust with a demolition of the Bucks to open their season however pale in an additional time loss to the Pacers on Saturday. The excellent news for Miami is that sharpshooter Tyler Herro seems to have discovered his stride once more. He has 57 factors mixed over Miami’s first two video games. — Friedell

This week: ORL, @BKN, CHA, @MEM


7. Philadelphia 76ers
2021-22 report: 2-1
Previous rating: 9

Philadelphia was a horrid last 5 minutes towards Brooklyn away from a 3-0 week to start out the season. Things with the 76ers — even with out Ben Simmons — stay the way in which they’ve at all times been: If Joel Embiid is wholesome and obtainable, Philadelphia will win a lot of video games. — Bontemps

This week: @NYK, DET, ATL


8. Los Angeles Lakers
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 3

What an evening for Carmelo Anthony. The 19-year veteran moved as much as No. 9 on the NBA’s all-time scoring listing in spectacular trend, scoring 28 factors off the bench — together with two free throws to ice it — to beat Memphis for L.A.’s first win of the season. “He didn’t crawl up to that milestone, he blew the doors off of it,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated. — McMenamin

This week: @SAS, @OKC, CLE, HOU


9. Atlanta Hawks
2021-22 report: 1-1
Previous rating: 8

It could also be a small pattern, however Cam Reddish has picked up the place he left off throughout Atlanta’s postseason run. In 4 playoff video games, Reddish shot 9-of-14 from 3-point vary and averaged 12.8 factors per recreation. To begin this season, the third-year participant is 6-for-9 from deep in two video games and is averaging 19.5 factors an evening. — Lopez

This week: DET, @NOP, @WAS, @PHI


10. Chicago Bulls
2021-22 report: 3-0
Previous rating: 19

The new-look Bulls could not have requested for a greater begin. They are 3-0 for the primary time because the 2016-17 season, which can also be the final time they made the playoffs. Their offense has nonetheless had some clunky moments, however Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball have performed thrilling basketball. They’ve been feistier than anticipated defensively, led by Ball and Alex Caruso‘s fixed pestering. The opening portion of their schedule was delicate — they confronted the Pistons twice, who’re with out Cade Cunningham, and the Pelicans, who’re with out Zion Williamson — so harder opponents this week within the Knicks and Jazz ought to present a greater gauge on how good Chicago might actually be. — Collier

This week: @TOR, NYK, UTA


11. New York Knicks
2021-22 report: 2-1
Previous rating: 14

It’s solely three video games, however one pattern to observe for the Knicks is diminishing minutes for Kemba Walker, who went from 36 in New York’s double-overtime win to 22 and 19, respectively, in a pair of video games towards Orlando. He and Derrick Rose will spend time alternating on the level all season. — Bontemps

This week: PHI, @CHI, @NOP


12. Phoenix Suns
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 4

Suns guard Chris Paul grew to become the primary participant in NBA historical past with 20,000 profession factors and 10,000 profession assists when he notched the factors complete towards the Lakers on Friday night time. (Paul grew to become the forty seventh participant in NBA historical past to hit 20,000 factors, whereas he picked up his 10,000th help final season.) — Lopez

This week: SAC, CLE


13. Dallas Mavericks
2021-22 report: 1-1
Previous rating: 10

The Mavs’ offense sputtered for many of the first six quarters of the season as Jason Kidd tried to determine how you can reduce the load on Luka Doncic regardless of Dallas’ failure so as to add one other playmaker this offseason. Dallas scored 58 factors on 52.3% capturing within the second half of Saturday’s win in Toronto with a confirmed strategy: spreading the ground and letting Doncic cook dinner. — MacMahon

This week: HOU, SAS, @DEN, SAC


14. Charlotte Hornets
2021-22 report: 3-0
Previous rating: 17

Charlotte could not have requested for a greater begin — punctuating a 3-0 week with a win over Kevin Durant and the Nets on Sunday. LaMelo Ball has 48 factors, 13 assists, 12 rebounds and 7 steals over the primary three contests. The Hornets have an attention-grabbing showdown with Jimmy Butler and the Heat on Friday, a recreation that must be a pleasant measuring stick for what seems to be a younger group on the rise. — Friedell

This week: BOS, @ORL, @MIA, POR


15. Memphis Grizzlies
2021-22 report: 2-1
Previous rating: 16

Ja Morant has picked up the place he left off in his temporary however good playoff debut, averaging 35 factors and eight assists per recreation within the season’s first week. De’Anthony Melton has additionally impressed, seizing the chance to be Morant’s backcourt accomplice within the Memphis beginning lineup by averaging 18.3 factors whereas capturing 52.4% from the ground and 57.9% from 3-point vary. — MacMahon

This week: @POR, @GSW, MIA


16. Washington Wizards
2021-22 report: 2-0
Previous rating: 21

Don’t look now, however the Wizards are off to a 2-0 begin. And Bradley Beal seems like he has veteran assist round him. General supervisor Tommy Sheppard added depth. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 34 factors and had 9 assists to guide Washington to an additional time win over Indiana with out an injured Beal (hip), whereas Kyle Kuzma has averaged 18.5 factors and 13 rebounds via two video games. The Wizards will look to remain undefeated with a street take a look at in Brooklyn. — Youngmisuk

This week: @BKN, @BOS, ATL, BOS


17. Portland Trail Blazers
2021-22 report: 1-1
Previous rating: 15

The Chauncey Billups period did not get off to the beginning the brand new head coach had envisioned with a season-opening loss to the Kings, however the Blazers bounced again with a 134-105 rout of the defending Western Conference champs. Norman Powell left that recreation with a left knee harm, however ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stories that Powell has prevented severe harm. CJ McCollum is averaging 31 factors via two video games and may need to do much more whereas Powell is out. — Youngmisuk

This week: @LAC, MEM, LAC, @CHA


18. LA Clippers
2021-22 report: 0-2
Previous rating: 12

Paul George is off to a scorching begin — together with a 41-point performance towards the Grizzlies on Saturday — however the Clippers are 0-2 after two hard-fought shut losses to Memphis and Golden State. Eric Bledsoe has been higher than anticipated and the Clippers are going to struggle each night time, however they hope these first two video games aren’t indicative of how issues will go till Kawhi Leonard returns. — Youngmisuk

This week: POR, CLE, @POR


19. Boston Celtics
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 13

Head coach Ime Udoka picked up the primary victory of his profession Sunday over the Rockets, however the greater be aware from the win over Houston was Jaylen Brown‘s absence with tendinopathy in his left knee. Boston shall be hoping Brown, who missed most of coaching camp after testing optimistic for COVID-19, can get again on the court docket rapidly after his 46-point outburst within the season opener towards the Knicks. — Bontemps

This week: @CHA, WAS, @WAS,


20. Minnesota Timberwolves
2021-22 report: 2-0
Previous rating: 22

The Timberwolves are among the many league’s unbeaten after the primary week, taking good care of enterprise with a pair of residence wins towards much less gifted opponents — the Rockets and Pelicans, with out Zion Williamson — behind some stingy protection. The competitors will get stiffer in a rush this week, with video games towards the Bucks and Nuggets. — Collier

This week: NOP, @MIL, DEN


21. Indiana Pacers
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 18

After dropping the primary two video games, the Pacers lastly acquired their first win in additional time towards the Heat to start out 1-2. They must be inspired by the early efficiency of rookie Chris Duarte. He seems like he belongs after his first week, the place he averaged 20.3 factors per recreation whereas capturing 40.4% from the sector (45.8% from 3). — Collier

This week: MIL, @TOR, @BKN, TOR


22. Toronto Raptors
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 20

If he hadn’t already, rookie Scottie Barnes formally arrived together with his 25 factors and 13 rebounds in Toronto’s blowout win over Boston on Friday. While the Raptors’ roster would not have the excessive ceiling this season it has been accustomed to lately, it does permit Toronto to make sure Barnes will get each attainable alternative to develop. — Bontemps

This week: CHI, IND, ORL, @IND


23. Sacramento Kings
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 23

Outside of some Tar Heel diehards satisfied their man was due, who had Harrison Barnes averaging 28.3 factors and 10.3 rebounds per recreation via the primary three video games of the season? His manufacturing has been spectacular, however the Kings dropped two out of their first three to start out issues off. — McMenamin

This week: @PHX, @NOP, @DAL


24. San Antonio Spurs
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 25

San Antonio has had a balanced scoring punch to kick off the brand new season. Three completely different gamers have led the group in scoring in every of its three video games — Devin Vassell (19 within the opener towards Orlando), Keldon Johnson (27 towards Denver on Friday) and Doug McDermott (25 towards Milwaukee on Saturday). Johnson leads the group with 20.7 factors per recreation and is one in all six Spurs averaging not less than 12 factors an evening. — Lopez

This week: LAL, @DAL, @MIL


25. Cleveland Cavaliers
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 26

After beginning the season 0-2 with a pair of 11-point losses to upstarts Memphis and Charlotte, the Cavs acquired within the W column with a powerful win over final season’s shock Eastern Conference finalist, Atlanta. Rookie Evan Mobley (17 factors, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks) is already exhibiting indicators of the promise that prompted Cleveland to take him No. 3. — McMenamin

This week: @DEN, @LAC, @LAL, @PHX


26. Houston Rockets
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 28

No. 2 general decide Jalen Green was held to 9 factors in every of the Rockets’ first two video games, however his explosive scoring capacity was on show throughout his 30-point efficiency in Sunday’s loss to the Celtics. Green was 8-of-10 from 3 in that recreation, ending one made 3 shy of tying the NBA rookie report. — MacMahon

This week: @DAL, UTA, @LAL


27. New Orleans Pelicans
2021-22 report: 0-3
Previous rating: 24

In three losses, New Orleans’ bench struggled to offer its starters with a scoring punch. The bench unit has averaged a paltry 18.3 factors per recreation, by far the worst mark within the league via the primary week — and that included rubbish time minutes within the group’s first two contests. — Lopez

This week: @MIN, ATL, SAC, NYK


28. Orlando Magic
2021-22 report: 1-2
Previous rating: 29

The Magic earned a stunning win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday thanks largely to a powerful efficiency from second-year guard Cole Anthony. The NYC native dropped 29 factors, 16 rebounds and eight assists in a 110-104 win. With Markelle Fultz (ACL rehab) nonetheless out and rookie Jalen Suggs nonetheless looking for a rhythm, Anthony has an opportunity to make his mark within the short-term. — Friedell

This week: @MIA, CHA, @TOR, @DET


29. Detroit Pistons
2021-22 report: 0-2
Previous rating: 27

Without Cade Cunningham (ankle), the Pistons dropped their first two video games of the season — each towards the Bulls — trying aggressive within the first recreation at residence earlier than getting blown out within the second in Chicago. However, Cunningham’s debut may very well be in sight. There’s an opportunity the No.1 general decide might make his debut when the group returns residence this weekend. — Collier

This week: @ATL, @PHI, ORL, @BKN


30. Oklahoma City Thunder
2021-22 report: 0-3
Previous rating: 30

The rebuilding Thunder have misplaced 29 of their previous 32 video games courting to late March. Twenty-two of these losses got here by double-digit margins, together with all three video games this season. Oklahoma City is beginning 4 gamers who’re 23 or youthful. — MacMahon

This week: GSW, LAL, @GSW

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