The Cleveland Cavaliers and their never-ending string of injuries finally came to a halt this week, as they were able to win 2 out of 3 games. The Philadelphia 76ers continue their dominance in the East after winning against the Washington Wizards. We also have some surprises such as LaMarcus Aldridge’s new team which looks like it was formed just for him.
The “nba power rankings week 3” is a weekly ranking of the National Basketball Association teams. It was released on October 7, 2018 and has been updated every Sunday since then.
The NBA’s first week always gives an intriguing look at the standings due to the tiny sample size. It was the same at the start of the 2021-22 season.
The Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets are both 3-0 after missing out on the Eastern Conference playoffs last season. (On Sunday, the latter marred the Brooklyn Nets’ home opening.) Meanwhile, following a season-opening double-overtime triumph over the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks supporters were already pushing for a championship run.
The Los Angeles Lakers won their first game of the season in the Western Conference, overcoming Ja Morant’s 40-point performance on Sunday night. The Golden State Warriors have a 3-0 record behind Stephen Curry.
After the first week of NBA activity, which clubs are on the rise and which are on the decline? We’re going over each of the 30 teams one by one.
Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin, and Ohm Youngmisuk) will rank all 30 teams from top to bottom, determining which teams are currently playing the best basketball and which teams are most likely to win the championship.
Milwaukee Bucks 2021-22 record: 2-1 Previous ranking: 2 Milwaukee Bucks 2021-22 record: 2-1
The Bucks reminded the NBA why they are the reigning champions with a victory against the Nets on opening night. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 32 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists led Milwaukee to a rout of Brooklyn to open the season. The Bucks’ rotation was reduced early on due to injuries, but Jrue Holiday and Rodney Hood both returned on Saturday. Brook Lopez (back pain) will miss the game against Indiana on Monday at the very least. Collier’s
@IND, MIN, SAS, and UTA are the teams to watch this week.
2. Utah Jazz: 2-0 in 2021-22; previous ranking: 5.
As Rudy Gobert’s backup, Hassan Whiteside, a former maximum-contract big man who joined the Jazz for the minimum, is off to a promising start. In the first two games, Whiteside had 14 points, 19 rebounds, and three blocks in 34 minutes, allowing Utah to outscore its opponents by 19 points. MacMahon (MacMahon)
DEN, @HOU, @CHI, and @MIL are the teams to watch this week.
3. Denver Nuggets 2-0 record in 2021-22; previous ranking: 7
Without Jamal Murray, Michael Malone must be delighted with how his club has begun the season. In their first two games, the Nuggets haven’t allowed more than 98 points in each of their victories against the Suns and Spurs. Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, has continued his stellar play, averaging 29.5 points and 14.5 rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. has just 22 points and seven rebounds in two games, but it won’t be long until he exceeds those marks in a single game. Youngmisuk’s remark
CLE, @UTA, DAL, and @MIN are the teams to watch this week.
4. The Brooklyn Nets have a 1-2 record in 2021-22. 1st place previously
Brooklyn has had a poor start to the season, not just because it is missing Kyrie Irving, but also because it is approaching the regular season as an extension of the preseason. Coach Steve Nash has said that he is still feeling his way into the season after a lengthy summer layoff recuperating from a hamstring ailment, while James Harden remarked after Sunday’s defeat to Charlotte that he is still feeling his way into the season. — Best wishes
This week’s theme: WAS, MIA, IND, DET, WAS, MIA, MIA, MIA, MIA, MIA
5. The Golden State Warriors have a 3-0 record in the 2021-22 season. Previous position: 11
Stephen Curry’s team is off to a strong start, with a 3-0 record heading into the week. Curry continues to flourish as he embarks on his third MVP campaign. In Thursday’s victory against the Clippers, he scored 45 points and continues to inspire a deeper bunch that is generating contributions from all around the roster. Steve Kerr has received valuable minutes off the bench from veterans Nemanja Bjelica, Andre Iguodala, and Damian Lee, while third-year guard Jordan Poole continues to improve his offensive game. Friedell’s words
This week’s highlights include @OKC, MEM, and OKC.
6. Miami Heat: 1-1 in 2021-22. Previous ranking: 6.
The Heat had a terrific start to the season with a rout of the Bucks, but faltered in an overtime defeat to the Pacers on Saturday. The good news for Miami is that sharpshooter Tyler Herro seems to have rediscovered his rhythm. Over Miami’s first two games, he has 57 points. Friedell’s words
ORL, @BKN, CHA, and @MEM are the stocks to watch this week.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a 2-1 record in 2021-22, which is a step up from their previous status of #9.
Philadelphia was one bad final five minutes away from a 3-0 start to the season versus Brooklyn. Even without Ben Simmons, things with the 76ers remain the same: if Joel Embiid is healthy and available, Philadelphia will win a lot of games. — Best wishes
@NYK, DET, and ATL are the teams to watch this week.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a 1-2 record in 2021-22. 3rd place before.
Carmelo Anthony had an incredible night. The 19-year veteran climbed up to No. 9 on the NBA’s all-time scoring record after scoring 28 points off the bench in L.A.’s first victory of the season, including two free throws to seal the deal. Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated, “He didn’t creep up to that milestone, he blasted the doors off of it.” McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
This week’s games include @SAS, @OKC, CLE, and HOU.
The Atlanta Hawks have a 1-1 record in 2021-22. They were ranked 8th last year.
Cam Reddish has started up where he left off during Atlanta’s playoff run, despite the limited sample size. Reddish scored 12.8 points per game in four postseason games, shooting 9-of-14 from 3-point range. The third-year player has gone 6-for-9 from three-point range in two games this season, averaging 19.5 points per night. Lopez’s words
DET, @NOP, @WAS, and @PHI are the teams to watch this week.
The Chicago Bulls have a 3-0 record in 2021-22. They were ranked 19th last year.
The Bulls’ new appearance couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. They’ve gone 3-0 for the first time since the 2016-17 season, when they also reached the playoffs. Although their offense has had some hiccups, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball have all played fascinating basketball. They’ve been more tenacious defensively than anticipated, thanks to Ball and Alex Caruso’s persistent nagging. The Pistons, who are missing Cade Cunningham, and the Pelicans, who are without Zion Williamson, were their first two opponents, so tougher opponents this week in the Knicks and Jazz should offer a better indication of how good Chicago can really be. Collier’s
@TOR, NYK, and UTA are the teams to watch this week.
The New York Knicks are ranked 11th in the NBA with a 2-1 record in 2021-22.
It’s just three games, but one trend to keep an eye on for the Knicks is Kemba Walker’s decreasing minutes, which have dropped from 36 in New York’s double-overtime triumph to 22 and 19 in a pair of victories against Orlando. Throughout the season, he and Derrick Rose will alternate at the point. — Best wishes
PHI, @CHI, and @NOP this week.
The Phoenix Suns have a 1-2 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 4
When Suns guard Chris Paul scored 20,000 points and 10,000 assists against the Lakers on Friday night, he became the first player in NBA history to do it. (Last season, Paul became the 47th player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points, while also recording his 10,000th assist.) Lopez’s words
SAC and CLE are the teams to watch this week.
The Dallas Mavericks are ranked 13th in the NBA with a 1-1 record in 2021-22.
Despite Dallas’ inability to recruit another playmaker this offseason, the Mavs’ offense stalled for much of the first six quarters of the season as Jason Kidd struggled to find out how to alleviate the burden on Luka Doncic. In the second half of Saturday’s triumph in Toronto, Dallas scored 58 points on 52.3 percent shooting by spreading the floor and letting Doncic do his thing. MacMahon (MacMahon)
This week’s games are HOU, SAS, @DEN, and SAC.
The Charlotte Hornets have a 3-0 record in 2021-22. They were ranked 17th last season.
Charlotte couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, winning over Kevin Durant and the Nets on Sunday to cap off a perfect week. Over the first three games, LaMelo Ball has 48 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, and seven steals. On Friday, the Hornets face Jimmy Butler and the Heat in an intriguing matchup that could serve as a good litmus test for what seems to be a youthful squad on the rise. Friedell’s words
BOS, @ORL, @MIA, and POR are the teams to watch this week.
Hawks at Pelicans, 7:30 p.m.; Grizzlies at Blazers, 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27
Hornets at Heat, 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 29 10 p.m., Mavericks against. Nuggets
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
Memphis Grizzlies are ranked 15th in the NBA with a 2-1 record in 2021-22.
Ja Morant has continued his strong performance from his short but impressive playoff debut, averaging 35 points and eight assists in the opening week of the season. De’Anthony Melton has also impressed, averaging 18.3 points while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from 3-point range in his first season as a starter for the Memphis Grizzlies. MacMahon (MacMahon)
This week’s tweets are from @POR, @GSW, and MIA.
The Washington Wizards are ranked 16th in the NBA with a 2-0 record in 2021-22.
Don’t look now, but the Wizards are 2-0 in their first two games. And Bradley Beal seems to be surrounded by seasoned pros. Tommy Sheppard, the general manager, gave depth to the team. Without an injured Beal (hip), Spencer Dinwiddie scored 34 points and had nine assists to lead Washington to an overtime victory against Indiana, while Kyle Kuzma has averaging 18.5 points and 13 rebounds through two games. With a road test in Brooklyn, the Wizards will try to keep their perfect record intact. Youngmisuk’s remark
@BKN, @BOS, ATL, BOS this week
The Portland Trail Blazers are ranked 17th in the NBA with a 1-1 record in 2021-22.
With a season-opening defeat to the Kings, the Chauncey Billups era didn’t get off to the best start for the Blazers’ new coach, but they came back with a 134-105 demolition of the Suns. Norman Powell departed the game with a left knee injury, but it isn’t severe, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. CJ McCollum has scored 31 points per game in his first two games, and he may have to do much more while Powell is out. Youngmisuk’s remark
@LAC, MEM, LAC, @CHA this week
The Los Angeles Clippers have a 0-2 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 12
Paul George has had a great start to the season, including a 41-point outburst against the Grizzlies on Saturday, but the Clippers are 0-2 after two tight defeats to Memphis and Golden State. The Clippers are going to fight every night, and Eric Bledsoe has been better than anticipated, but they’re hoping these first two games aren’t representative of how things will go until Kawhi Leonard returns. Youngmisuk’s remark
POR, CLE, and @POR are the teams to watch this week.
The Boston Celtics have a 1-2 record in 2021-22. They were ranked 13th last year.
Coach Ime Udoka won his first game as a head coach against the Rockets on Sunday, but the larger story was Jaylen Brown’s absence due to tendinopathy in his left knee. Brown, who missed most of training camp after testing positive for COVID-19, will be hoping to return to the floor soon following his 46-point performance against the Knicks in the season opener. — Best wishes
This week: @CHA, WAS, WAS, WAS, WAS, WAS, WAS, WAS, WAS, WAS,
Previous ranking: 22. Minnesota Timberwolves 2021-22 record: 2-0
The Timberwolves are one of the league’s undefeated teams following a pair of home victories against less skilled opponents — the Rockets and the Pelicans (without Zion Williamson) — thanks to some tight defense. With games against the Bucks and Nuggets this week, the competition heats up quickly. Collier’s
NOP, @MIL, and DEN this week.
The Indiana Pacers have a 1-2 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 18
The Pacers finally scored their first victory in overtime against the Heat after loosing the first two games. They are now 1-2. They must be heartened by youngster Chris Duarte’s early performance. After averaging 20.3 points per game and shooting 40.4 percent from the field (45.8 percent from three) in his debut week, he looks like he belongs. Collier’s
MIL, @TOR, @BKN, TOR, MIL, MIL, MIL, MIL, MIL, MIL, MIL, MIL, M
The Toronto Raptors are ranked 22nd in the NBA with a 1-2 record in 2021-22.
If he hadn’t before, rookie Scottie Barnes made his presence felt by scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in Toronto’s rout of Boston on Friday. While the Raptors’ roster this season does not have the lofty potential that it had in prior years, it still allows Toronto to give Barnes every chance to flourish. — Best wishes
CHI, IND, ORL, and @IND are the teams to watch this week.
Sacramento Kings have a 1-2 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 23
Who had Harrison Barnes averaging 28.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game through the first three games of the season, outside a few Tar Heels die-hards certain their man was due? His output has been excellent, but the Kings have already fallen two of their first three games. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
This week’s theme: @PHX, @NOP, @DAL PHX, NOP, DAL PHX, NOP, DAL
San Antonio Spurs are ranked 24th in the NBA with a 1-2 record in 2021-22.
To begin the new season, San Antonio has enjoyed a balanced scoring punch. Devin Vassell (19 points in the opener against Orlando), Keldon Johnson (27 points against Denver on Friday), and Doug McDermott have all led the squad in scoring in each of the team’s three games (25 against Milwaukee on Saturday). Johnson, who averages 20.7 points per game, is one of six Spurs who score at least 12 points a game. Lopez’s words
LAL, @DAL, and @MIL this week
The Cleveland Cavaliers are ranked 25th in the NBA with a 1-2 record in 2021-22.
Following a pair of 11-point defeats to upstarts Memphis and Charlotte to open the season, the Cavs grabbed their first win with a stunning victory against last season’s surprise Eastern Conference finalist, Atlanta. Evan Mobley (17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks) is already demonstrating the potential that drew Cleveland to choose him third overall. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
This week’s theme: @DEN, @LAC, @LAL, @PHX DEN, LAC, LAL, PHX DEN, LAC, LAL,
Previous ranking: 28. Houston Rockets 2021-22 record: 1-2
The number two overall selection Jalen Green had been confined to nine points in each of the Rockets’ first two games, but his explosive scoring talent was on show in Sunday’s defeat to the Celtics, when he scored 30 points. Green shot 8-of-10 from three-point range in that game, one made three short of matching the NBA rookie record. MacMahon (MacMahon)
This week’s tweets: @DAL, @UTA, and @LAL
The New Orleans Pelicans have a 0-3 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 24
In three games, New Orleans’ bench failed to give scoring punch to its starters. The bench has averaged only 18.3 points per game during the first week, far and by the poorest number in the league — and that includes garbage time minutes in the team’s first two games. Lopez’s words
@MIN, ATL, SAC, and NYK are the teams to watch this week.
The Orlando Magic are ranked 28th in the NBA with a 1-2 record in 2021-22.
The Magic stunned the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, owing in large part to second-year guard Cole Anthony’s outstanding effort. In a 110-104 triumph, the New York City native had 29 points, 16 rebounds, and eight assists. Anthony has an opportunity to make an impact in the near term with Markelle Fultz (ACL rehab) still sidelined and youngster Jalen Suggs still attempting to find his footing. Friedell’s words
@MIA, CHA, @TOR, and @DET are the teams to watch this week.
Previous ranking: 27. Detroit Pistons 2021-22 record: 0-2
The Pistons lost their first two games of the season, both against the Bulls, without Cade Cunningham (ankle), appearing competitive in the first game at home before being blasted out in the second in Chicago. Cunningham’s debut, on the other hand, may be imminent. When the team comes home this weekend, there’s a possibility the No. 1 overall selection may play his first game. Collier’s
This week’s tweets are from @ATL, @PHI, ORL, and @BKN.
Oklahoma City Thunder, 30th, with a 0-3 record in the 2021-22 season. 30th in the previous ranking
Reconstruction is underway. Since late March, the Thunder have dropped 29 of their last 32 games. Twenty-two of the defeats were by double digits, including each of the season’s three games. Oklahoma City has four players in the starting lineup who are under the age of 23. MacMahon (MacMahon)
GSW, LAL, and @GSW this week
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