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NBA Power Rankings 2016-17: What Happened to the Warriors?

Fox Sports

Fox Sports

After one week we have only six unbeatable teams: Clevaland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers.

Check the latest NBA Power Ranking 2016/17.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs started of the season strong, looking like the champions they are. They are 3-0 with wins over the Knicks, Raptors, and Magic. LeBron looks like himself, Kyrie is still impossible to guard, and Kevin Love seems to have found his groove in the paint and on the perimeter. The team looks virtually unstoppable at this point, and there is no reason for them not to be ranked at the top.

2. San Antonio Spurs

Spurs started off the season with an incredible 29-point blowout of the Warriors in Golden State, and then beat the Kings and Pelicans later in the week. The team is firing on all cylinders right now. Kawhi Leonard already looks as though he will repeat as DPOY, and will be high in MVP voting again after his great start. The team’s bench still is great even with departures of several players, and Pau Gasol has slid into the Tim Duncan role very well. The team looks to compete for another title this season.

3. Golden State Warriors

The Warriors looked confused at times against the Spurs, and the final score showed it. Expect this team to go through some growing pains at the beginning of the season because Durant, Curry, and Thompson are yet to figure out where all the shots are going to be. But they are still going to be title contenders because they have Durant, Curry, and Thompson. It will be a surprise if they aren’t the top seed at the end of the season, but I couldn’t rank them ahead of the Spurs after the 29-point loss to them.

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4. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers looked good in their opener against the Blazers. The bench has become a lot better than most teams in the league, and with an already amazing starting lineup, the team is looking great. The Clippers only problem may be giving away late leads, as they did against the Blazers, but ultimately held on. The team is looking great though and looks to be one of the best in the league.

5. Boston Celtics

Celtics started the season with a solid win over the Nets, lost to the Bulls, and then beat a good Hornets team. The addition of Al Horford looks to put the team at another level, and Jaylen Brown will provide a fair amount of energy off the bench as a rookie. The team looks to be very good so far, and it will continue to show on the court throughout the season.

6. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors started the season with a good 18-point victory over the Pistons, and a close loss to the Cavs. The team’s centerpieces have looked good, as DeRozan had 40 without a three-pointer and Valanciunas had 32 (and a poster dunk on Boban) against the Pistons. Lowry’s early shooting struggles have been surprising, but he should snap out of it quickly. The team still looks as though it is one of the best in the east.

7. Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard is looking like an MVP right now. He has willed the team to wins against the Jazz and Nuggets and almost did the same in a close loss to the Clippers. The makeup of the team is improved from last season, and the Blazers look to build on what they accomplished last year. If Dame can keep his scoring output up, this team will be very dangerous.

8. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have had two double-digit wins to start the season against the Wizards and Sixers. Dwight Howard looked great in the opener, posting 11 points and 19 rebounds. The team looks a lot better than I imagined them to be, and a 2-0 start moved them up from their preseason rank because of that.

9. Utah Jazz

I have high expectations for the Jazz this season, and a good start has made me happy. The team lost a close game to the Blazers and beat the Lakers this week without their best player, Gordon Hayward, who won’t be back for a significant time. The team has a tough schedule this week, playing the Spurs twice, so don’t expect them to come out with a good record, but they will still be one of the better teams in the league. The defensive length will win them many games even while Hayward is out, and when he comes back, the team will be very dangerous.

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10. New York Knicks

The Knicks looked bad against the Cavs in their opener. Like, really bad. There was little ball movement on offense, something that the players have been talking about was a big improvement from last year. Luckily, they played the Grizzlies in their next game and ball movement was a lot better and helped them win the game. It may take a minute for the team to gel as the opener against the Cavs was the first game the starting five had played together. If Melo and Rose stay healthy, the Knicks can be a very good team.

11. Houston Rockets

James Harden looked unstoppable at point guard in the opener with 34 points and a career-high 17 assists. Too bad it was against a bad defensive Lakers team and they lost. Luckily the team bounced back with a good win against the Mavs two days later, but Harden looked more mortal than in the opener. The Rockets likely won’t have a great defense, and numbers won’t help them, but with Mike D’Antoni at the helm, the team will score a lot of points and teams will have a lot of trouble stopping them. The Rockets will win a lot of games and look to make another playoff push.

12. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have surprised me with a 2-0 start with wins over the Pacers and the Celtics. I thought they would lose both games because of no floor spacing but Dwyane Wade seems to have become a three-point shooter somehow. If Wade can continue shooting well from downtown, the team can be very good this year. But if he doesn’t floor spacing will become a major issue for the Bulls, and they may have trouble scoring at times. The team looks good as of now, but it is yet to be seen if they will be a playoff team (I think they will but you never know).

13. Memphis Grizzlies

The team looked strong in a win against the Wolves in their opener, but not as strong in a loss to the Knicks. Although they almost came back against the Knicks, they were down by almost 20 at one point in the game. With Chandler Parsons yet to make his debut, the team still looks good without him, and can only get better from here. The Grizz look to make another good playoff run, and hopefully Gasol and Conely don’t get injured right before them like last year.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have had a good start at 2-0 but stay down in the rankings because they barely beat two of the worst teams in the league in the Suns and Sixers plus Los Angeles Lakers last night. Victor Oladipo looked terrible against the Sixers, unable to make any shots, and not much better against the Suns. The team will be good just because they have a superstar, but I’m not sure how many games Westbrook will be able to win them. I wouldn’t be surprised if this team misses the playoffs, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they get in and Westbrook wins MVP.

15. Indiana Pacers

Pacers have started the season slow with an overtime win over the Mavs and losses to the Nets and Bulls. They still have a good team and will be good eventually but I figure they will have some trouble gelling in the first few weeks. Jeff Teague is still learning his teammates but will get them eventually. The team has a very good roster, and will most likely be a solid playoff team.

16. Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets looked good in wins over the Bucks and Heat and in a close loss to a good Celtics team. Kemba Walker continues to score the ball well and lead this team, but defense may be an issue for them. Against the Celtics, they let up five threes to start the game and saw Avery Bradley hit eight against them. If they can tune up the defense, the Hornets will be very good and finish the season well.

17. Detroit Pistons

The Pistons lost in a blowout against a very good Raptors team, but turned around and had a good blowout win against the Magic. With Drummond being a force in the paint, and Reggie Jackson looking to come back in late November, the team can be very good. Additions to the bench will help a lot as they look to push into the playoffs again.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves started the season slow with two close losses to the Kings and Grizzlies by a combined 7 points. The young core has looked very good, and KAT has become unstoppable. GM’s voted that they would start franchises with him. The Wolves talent will win them many games, but their youth will likely lose them many games. The team will make a big improvement over last season, but I find it unlikely that they make the playoffs.

19. Sacramento Kings

The Kings have played well to start the season and own a 2-1 record because of it. The team beat the Suns and Wolves and lost a close game at home to the Spurs. Cousins continues to be unstoppable in the paint, but the Kings have yet to surround him with other pieces. Rudy Gay is likely to be traded at some point in the season, and the amount of talent on the team is subpar besides Cousins. The team won’t make the playoffs, but Cousins will have a good season.

20. Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers looked good in a win over the Rockets, putting up 120 points, but it was against a Mike D’Antoni coached team so that doesn’t mean much. They struggled scoring at times in their next game against the Jazz, putting up only 89 points. The youth on this team has a lot of talent, and with veteran additions of Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, they will be able to win more games than they did last year. Inconsistent play from their young players will ultimately lose them many games, and though they will be better than last year, there is almost no chance at being close to the playoff picture.

21. Washington Wizards

It’s hard to judge how good this team will be, as they only have played one game so far, which was a loss to the Hawks. The Wiz have John Wall and Bradley Beal, so they will be good, but can they put it together and make it back to the playoffs after missing them last year in a disappointing season? The talent level of the team can definitely get them there, but they have to play together or they could have a repeat of last season.

22. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs returned almost all their players and signed Harrison Barnes, but still might not be a great team. They started the season with losses to the Pacers and Rockets. The team has the talent level to get into the playoffs if Harrison Barnes can become the star that Dallas signed him to be, but may not get there if he doesn’t. The veteran leadership on the team will win them many games, but the talent isn’t there as much as it is on some of the younger teams.

23. Miami Heat

The Heat have a modest 1-1 record with a win over the Magic and a close loss to the Hornets. The team looks to build around Hassan Whiteside in the paint and Justice Winslow on the wing after the departure of Dwyane Wade. With Chris Bosh not playing for them anymore, the team will be lucky to get into the playoffs as there just isn’t much talent left for them to work with. The team will likely have a solid season but miss out on the postseason.

24. Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks are looking to get back into the playoffs but have had a major setback with the injury to Khris Middleton. The team likely won’t get there without him because of their inability to space the floor without him. They currently are 1-1 with a loss to the Hornets and a win over the Nets thanks to a buzzer-beating tip-in. With Giannis playing well at the point, the team will play well most nights but defense in the middle may be a problem with Greg Monroe.

25. Orlando Magic

The Magic have played poorly to start the season with losses to the Heat, Pistons, and Cavs. The team may have trouble with their large amount of big men looking for playing time. The team has young talent and traded for a somewhat veteran in Serge Ibaka in the offseason to help them out. The team won’t make the playoffs again but is headed in the right direction and will be better than they were last season.

26. New Orleans Pelicans

The Brow is a beast. Nobody can stop him. But the Pelicans don’t have anyone else to stop so they sit at 0-3. With losses to two of the best teams in the league in the Warriors and Spurs and a close loss to the Nuggets, they look to bounce back and get a win this week. The team is looking to get back to the playoffs after missing out last season because of Davis’ injuries, and they can get there if he stays healthy. His talent will win them many games, and he’ll be at the top of the league in scoring, but if the team can’t put some pieces around Davis, they might be on the outside looking in when the postseason comes.

27. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets sit at 1-1 with a win over the Pelicans and a loss to the Blazers after blowing a big lead late in the game. The team has some good players and Emmanuel Mudiay looks to improve a lot in his second season, but they don’t have a lot of talent compared to other teams. They will likely not be much better than last season, which is why they are ranked so low. Look for them to win a measly amount of games and miss the playoffs again.

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28. Phoenix Suns

The Suns young core can be very good, and Devin Booker looks as though he has become a star in the league. Too bad that their bench is terrible and PJ Tucker is a starter on the team. They sit at 0-3 with a loss a big loss to the Kings, OT loss to the Thunder and the Warriors last night. The schedule to start the year isn’t great for this team as they might not get a win until their sixth or seventh game when they play the Pelicans and Lakers. The Suns have a lot of young talent, but they won’t win many games because they are young and inexperienced.

29. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets look to continue to be bad this season. They somehow beat the Pacers, but have also lost to the Celtics and the Bucks. They are slightly better than last season after several low-end free agent signings but are still bad. They won’t make the playoffs, and they won’t compete against the better teams in the league. Look for them to lose a lot of games and get a lottery pick that might give them hope for the future.

30. Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers still suck even with Joel Embiid playing very well. The rotation of Saric, Embiid, Okafor, and Noel is a very solid lineup of bigs for the league, but they have nobody else good. The guards are subpar, and they won’t get 1st overall pick Ben Simmons back until the new year. The team is going to lose a lot of games again, but won’t be as bad as they have been the past few years.

*Updated before games on Sunday (except Suns, Warriors, Thunder and Lakers)