Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NBA POWER RANKINGS - WEEK 1


For the 2009-10 season, we here at Docksquad Sports will be doing a weekly power rankings in collaboration with our friends over at Cavalier Attitude. Starting today, we'll give you our take on all 30 teams in the NBA, and we will rank them every Wednesday as decided by our very own NBA committee.

The committee consists of myself (Vik Chokshi), Suman Vellanki (also from DSS), as well as Amar Panchmatia and Rahul Phanindra from Cavalier Attitude. Teams will be ranked for their performance through last Sunday, and going forward, the previous week's ranking will be listed after these initial rankings.

We have tip-off...

1. Los Angeles Lakers (2-1)

  • The loss to Dallas would have been alarming if it was after the New Year. A loss in October is nothing to get upset about, as the Lakers are still fresh from unwrapping their championship rings and were missing All-Star Pau Gasol. Still the best unless someone else shows flashes of being better. (AP)

2. Boston Celtics (3-0)

  • In my opinion, the Celtics should be ranked 1 after the first week of play. They ended up finishing the week with a 3-0 mark. While the Celts beat two teams they should beat in Charlotte and Chicago, they impressed me with their victory on the road, against the Cavs. In that win vs the Cavs, and in the win vs the Bulls, the Celts looked like the team that won the championship two years ago, with them playing stifling defense, and with all their big guns contributing. I love the Daniels signing too, which I think makes them the favorite in the East. If KG can get back to a 100 percent, watch out. (VC)

3. Orlando Magic (3-0)

  • I see your Boston and raise you my Orlando. Everybody keeps going on about how the loss of Hedo is going to burn the Magic, yada yada, blah blah. C'mon son! With the real VC, Brandon Bass, White Chocolate, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Anderson coming in, we are looking at a team that can literally go 12 deep. Before Game 1 of the ECF last season, would anyone have ever mentioned Hedo Turkoglu in the same breath as a borderline Hall of Famer, Vince Carter? Didn't think so. (RP)

4. Denver Nuggets (3-0)

  • You could easily make a case for the Nuggets being #1. Melo has always had top notch talent, but now he is making that leap into Kobe/LeBron/Wade territory. The Nugs have already disposed of 2 top Western Conference teams in the Jazz and Blazers. (SV)

5. Dallas Mavericks (2-1)

  • An opening night loss to the Washington Wizards derailed the inaugural game for the team Mark Cuban thought was his best ever. But Friday night's tattooing of the Lake Show meant a ton to this squad, even if it didn't mean nearly as much to the Lakers. Shawn Marion is looking more and more like the Matrix of old, and Josh Howard is due back soon. Deep, talented, and for the first time in a long time, well-coached. (AP)

6. Miami Heat (3-0)

  • I won't lie, the Heat being 3-0 really upsets me. I was hoping for the Heat to struggle this year so DWADE would jump ship to Chicago. So far, that isn't working out to well with the Heat starting the season 3-0. If this squad is going to contend in the East, it is going to need not only DWADE, but JO'NEAL to stay healthy. O'NEAL has looked good so far, but can he last the whole season? (VC)

7. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2)

  • With Delonte back, expect Cleveland to soon assume their desired position up top. Uhh. Prior to the season, I predicted the Cavs to finish with the second-best in the East, but to reach the Finals before bowing out to the Lakers. They have a ways to go before catching up with the Celts and Magic, who came out of the gates scorching. Perhaps more important than attaining the #1 seed, is ensuring that you aren't stuck at #3 facing an uphill battle in the stacked East. (RP)

8. Atlanta Hawks (2-1)

  • The Hawks played well in a loss at Staples. A balanced team with 6 players averaging double figures in the young season. Jeff Teague looks like a he's going to be a solid backup pg this year. A lot to like about the Hawks in what is looking like basketball's toughest division. (SV)

9. San Antonio Spurs (2-1)

  • We were told all offseason that this was going to be a deeper and tougher Spurs team that would take no prisoners. But at Chicago on the second night of a back-to-back, they looked like the same over-the-hill and outdated Spurs that were unceremoniously ushered out of the first round by Dallas last spring. However, the biggest reason for San Antonio falling this far in our power rankings has to do with the fact that their big offseason pickup, Richard Jefferson, has been pedestrian so far with 11.7 points a game (down from 19.6 and 22.7 in each of the last two years, respectively). (AP)

10. Phoenix Suns (3-0)

  • I don't know about you guys, but I hated watching the Suns change their style last year for Shaq. Now that Shaq is gone, the run and gun Suns are back and off to a fast 3-0 start, and I'm loving it. How do you not love a 117 pts. a game and Steve Nash still being capable of dropping 20 dimes in one night? (VC)

11. Philadelphia 76ers

  • Philly is a nice little team that has some depth and guys that can put the ball in the basket. Lou Williams, Iguodala, Brand, Speights and Thaddeus Young isn't bad for a relatively young nucleus. I expect these guys to be in the scrum for the 4/5/6 spots in the East. I'm sure Philly fans would be thrilled with a trip to the Eastern Semis, if they can stay healthy. (RP)

12. Washington Wizards (2-1)

  • Right now I would rate the Wiz over the 2 previous teams on this list. Phoenix's wins have come over the Almond Joy of the NBA bag of chocolate (I always used to throw my Almond Joys out because they sucked) . The 76ers have failed to impress defensively. Meanwhile, Gilbert Arenas is starting to look like himself from 3 years ago. Is there a more unique and potentially dangerous team in the NBA? (SV)

13. Portland Trail Blazers (2-2)

  • This was supposed to be the year the Blazers took the leap into the league's elite, right? They have to get past Denver in their own division first, and last Thursday's loss to the Nuggets was alarming in several ways. One, it was at home; two, the Blazers lost despite having 20 more field goal attempts; three, the Blazers lost despite going +8 on the boards and +9 on the offensive boards. They're not even in Denver's class yet, let alone the level of the Lakers, Celtics, and Magic (AP).

14. OKC Thunder (2-1)

  • With pieces in place like Durant, Westbrook, and Green, we already knew this team would be fun to watch. That being said, everyone thought they would need a couple of years before really contending for a playoff spot. Well now it looks like that may not be the case, with the Thunder playing some really good ball. With those three and Krstic and Thabo playing well, they are looking to take the West by Thunderstorm this year! (VC)

15. Milwaukee Bucks (1-1)

  • Man, is Brandon Jennings getting David Stern all hot and bothered or what? If some of these other kids follow his footsteps, the NBA loses some serious free marketing provided to them by the NCAA. A test this week against the Bulls should provide a nice barometer early on for this young squad. (RP)

16. Houston Rockets (3-1)

  • They are somehow playing as good as usual without T-Mac and Yao. Trevor Ariza is making the Lakers look dumb for pulling the trigger on the Artest "trade" and Chase Budinger has replaced Adam Morrison as my favorite white basketball player alive. Eight players (eight!) in double figures against the Jazz showed that everyone is picking up the slack for the missing superstars. (SV)

17. Chicago Bulls (1-2)

  • The pick by many to take the next step in the East, the Bulls need to get off the mat after a humiliating loss at Boston (where the 118-90 score actually made the game seem closer than it was). Loss to Miami shows that the Bulls, although a solid pick to make the playoffs, aren't good enough to be in the East's upper half yet. At least not yet, as a big game at Cleveland on Thursday lies ahead. (AP)

18. Utah Jazz (1-2)

  • This team has so much talent, but they can never put it together. Half of the team is always injured or just doesn't show up to play on certain nights. Okur is hurt, and their defense is struggling right now, but I got faith in Jerry Sloan as a coach and in DWill as a player. They will get things turned around soon. (VC)

19. Toronto Raptors (1-2)

  • Nice win against the Cavaliers for the Canadians, followed by a couple duds against the short-handed Magic and on the road against the Grizz. Not quite sure how a potentially overrated Hedo might work out for them in the long haul. You definitely can't deny the talent, so let's see how they mesh. (RP)

20. Charlotte Bobcats (2-2)

  • At around this point in the rankings we start taking a nosedive in terms of talent and performance. The Bobcats looked pretty terrible in 2 losses to the Celtics and Cavs. But they did manage to beat 2 others who are on equal footing. Gerald Wallace has already thrown up a 24/20, and doesn't Larry Brown pretty much turn every team around that he's involved with? (SV)

21. Detroit Pistons (1-2)

  • Looked like worldbeaters in demolishing Memphis in their opener, but it's Memphis. Since then, the Pistons lost to two teams -- OKC and Milwaukee -- that weren't playoff teams last year. Might take a while to get adjusted to two new core pieces (Gordon and Villanueva) and a new head coach (John Kuester), but they don't look like a playoff team yet. (AP)

22. New Orleans Hornets (1-2)

  • Can these guys please get CP3 some help? They need a trade to get CP3 some help, and a new coach asap. It looks like Byron Scott has lost this team. (VC)

23. Los Angeles Clippers (0-4)

  • Better team than the record indicates (despite being the Clippers). All the loses came against likely playoff teams. Should be in much better shape once Blake Griffin makes his return. (RP)

24. Memphis Grizzlies (1-3)

  • Solid win against Toronto was followed by an instant classic between Mayo and Melo. Mayo's career-high 40 point outburst, even in defeat, showed that the Grizz can compete with the big boys. But there can't be enough shots to go around for Mayo, A.I., Gay, and Zebo in a 48 minute game. Someone is going to have their feelings hurt, and with Gay not able to figure a new deal out before the deadline he may be odd man out. (SV)

25. New York Knicks (1-3)

  • Two heartbreaking (if you can call it that in October) losses, one in 2OT to Charlotte and one in OT to Philadelphia. That means that the New York Expiring Contracts could easily be 3-1 instead of 1-3. Offense is fun to watch under D'Antoni, but they're not escaping the 20's on this list until they can show even a remote semblance of defense. (AP)

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2)

  • Even though they might not win a lot of games this year, this will be a fun team to follow. They got a good young core and are still learning how to play together. Once Al Jefferson gets back to being himself, and Flynn gets it going, they will start winning. (VC)

27. Sacramento Kings (1-3)

  • They have a big-time scorer in Zanesville's Finest, Kevin Martin, and a bunch of talented young guys. Fun team to watch, but their mistakes will make Westphal pull his hair out. I'm just happy Arco is still bumpin' like the glory days. (RP)

28. Golden State Warriors (0-2)

  • You can't like where this team is headed. Their veteran "leader" doesn't really like the coach, gm or team. Their budding "superstar" Anthony Randolph hasn't really done much yet. And they have about 5 guys who play the same position (as Monte Ellis has publicly stated). However, I'll stick them above the rest of the list based on more pure talent. (SV)

29. Indiana Pacers (0-2)

  • Kind of like the Sacramento Kings of the East: a once-proud franchise who had a nice run but refused to address its future a few years ago. Danny Granger is a good player, but you need a transcendent megastar to win in this league (Kobe, KG, Duncan, Wade). Decent pieces on this team, but just not nearly enough to compete with teams that are going places. (AP)

30. New Jersey Nets (0-4)

  • Without Devin Harris, this team doesn't really have a chance to win on a consistent basis. They do have some good young players, but they are definitely playing for the future right now. Can this squad steal LeBron from the CAVS with their new billionaire owner? Only time will tell... (VC)

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