Tuesday, January 25 2022

NBA Power Rankings: Bulls crack the top 10 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Week two of the NBA season is in the books and the standings are all over the place.

Six teams have a 5-1 record, some of which weren’t expected to get off to such strong starts, while others who were thought to be feared are in the middle of the pack

It’s hard to tell what is real and what is just early season luck at this point, but let’s do our best to see through it all. Here’s where each team stands after two weeks.

30. Orlando Magic (1-6): The Magic are having trouble finding lineups to rely on, especially down the stretch.

29. Detroit Pistons (1-5): Cade Cunningham made his NBA debut Saturday, the same night the Pistons got their first win of the season. But besides that, not much is going right for Detroit.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-5): Make no mistake, the Thunder are still struggling immensely. But their lone win came against the Los Angeles Lakers, and they were able to make the Warriors sweat a bit in their first matchup, so that deserves a pat on the back.

27. New Orleans Pelicans (1-6): The Pelicans closed out their week without their two best players as Zion Williamson is still out with a right foot fracture and Brandom Ingram missed a game with a right hip contusion. New Orleans will struggle to make any headway without those two.

26. Houston Rockets (1-5): The Rockets have fully embraced this being a developmental year. So far, Jalen Green has been up and down, but he’s working out the kinks and is getting acclimated to the NBA.

25. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4): The Cavs got two upset wins against the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers last week, showing signs of progress.

24. San Antonio Spurs (2-4): After a 1-4 start, the Spurs got a good win over the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks. Plus, their young core is starting to show reasons for optimism in the future.

23. Indiana Pacers (1-6): It has been a rough start to the beginning of the Rick Carlisle era in Indiana. They had a tough schedule last week, and it won’t get any easier in the next few.

22. Toronto Raptors (4-3): The Raptors are riding a three-game winning streak, and while those wins have come against teams the Raptors should be beating, it’s a good cushion to have as they enter a tough week.

21. Washington Wizards (5-1): Who would have thought the Wizards would be third in the East with a chance of becoming No. 1? Not I. But, here we are. There still is a long way to go, though, before we can truly call the Wizards a contender.

20. Sacramento Kings (3-3): The Kings could be onto something this season. Harrison Barnes is a reliable veteran and Richaun Holmes and Tyrese Haliburton are playing well early on. This team should not be glossed over.

19. Los Angeles Clippers (1-4): Paul George scored 42 against Portland, but his teammates failed to give him the help needed to get the win. Sure, we knew they would struggle without Kawhi Leonard, but their lack of depth is showing more and more.

18. Portland Trail Blazers (3-3): CJ McCollum has been balling all season, and now Damian Lillard looks like he could be ready to join him after putting together his best game so far against the Clippers.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2): The Timberwolves have put together a strong start, including a win over the defending champs. Their defense looks improved from last season, but can they get more from Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell?

16. Boston Celtics (2-4): The duo of Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown can’t ever be counted out, but back-to-back losses to the Wizards have to make the Celtics scratch their heads.

15. Dallas Mavericks (4-2): Kristaps Porzingis missed all three games last week, so the Mavericks are still putting all of their hope on Luka Doncic’s shoulders. So far, they’re OK, but he’ll need help sooner than later.

14. Memphis Grizzlies (3-3): Ja Morant is the real deal, and the Grizzlies are proving they could be a threat. There are still some kinks to iron out, but Memphis is a team to watch.

13. Charlotte Hornets (5-2): The Hornets are offering plenty of reason for optimism. Their offseason additions are fitting in, Miles Bridges earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week, their young guys are developing, and LaMelo Ball is becoming a better shooter. Look out for Charlotte.

12. Phoenix Suns (2-3): The Suns have had a rocky start, highlighted by two blowout losses to Denver and Portland. Even in their wins, they haven’t been fully dominant.

11. Los Angeles Lakers (4-3): Growing pains were expected in L.A. this season, but they’ve gotten off to a slower start than we thought they would. Russell Westbrook has gotten better, but it’s been without LeBron James for a few games, and their bench needs help.

10. New York Knicks (5-1): The New York Knicks continue to roll — and against some good teams — and they don’t show any obvious signs of slowing down quite yet. They look legit.

9. Chicago Bulls (5-1): The Bulls took advantage of their lighter schedule to get off to a hot start and show that they have potential. The real test will begin for the Bulls this week.

8. Denver Nuggets (4-2): Having the MVP on your team is always helpful, especially as the Nuggets await Jamal Murray’s return. But, Michael Porter Jr. hasn’t given Nikola Jokic as much help as they’d like, and their bench has underperformed.

7. Atlanta Hawks (3-3): This Hawks team is as deep as they get, which is a major bonus for a team that dealt with health issues last season. Cam Reddish has been the ultimate difference-maker off the bench.

6. Philadelphia 76ers (4-2): Seth Curry and Joel Embiid are rolling and the 76ers have been taking care of business, falling to just the two New York teams.

5. Brooklyn Nets (4-3): Kevin Durant has been brilliant so far. But, the Nets’ current issues run deeper than Kyrie Irving’s absence. James Harden hasn’t looked like himself.

4. Milwaukee Bucks (3-4): The Bucks are the defending champs for a reason and don’t let anyone tell you differently. But injuries have forced the Bucks to start eight different players so far and caused them to drop a few games to middle-tier teams.

3. Golden State Warriors (5-1): Steph Curry is in MVP form, Draymond Green has been more aggressive, and the Warriors’ depth is supporting them nicely. Now, if they can just clean up the turnovers and not beat themselves, the Warriors will be back to being a true contender.

2. Miami Heat (5-1): Let’s be real: the Heat being as good as they are is a little surprising. But they are. Kyle Lowry walked into Miami and made this his team, and his tandem with Jimmy Butler will be — and already is — lethal.

1. Utah Jazz (5-1): Rudy Gobert has recorded five straight double-doubles while making a strong early campaign for DPOY. The league’s final undefeated team until their loss Saturday, the Jazz are reminding us all why they ended last season with the best regular-season record.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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