2015-16 NBA Power Rankings: Week 2

Please excuse the delay, this should have posted on Wednesday the 11th and is for all games through November 10. For more updates and content follow me on facebook:https://www.facebook.com/drhhoops/ and on twitter:https://twitter.com/DrHHoops

1. Golden State 8-0 (4-0 this week; +0 from last week)

The hits just keep on coming; other than a close battle against the Clips last Wednesday the Warriors are just steamrolling opponents. They look impossibly deep at the moment, capable of throwing 4 different lineup styles at you and hanging their hats on defense to grit out wins when the threes aren’t falling. Oh who are we kidding, the threes are always falling as well. They have 8 guys averaging around 20+ minutes and just seemingly throw wave after wave of fresh bodies at you, destroying your second units. Take a look at the even distribution of assists and rebounds on the roster

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http://espn.go.com/nba/team/stats… and you can see that they are playing the epitome of team basketball. Find some old fogey to wax poetic about the early 70s Knicks and team basketball then slam Luke Walton’s 2015-16 Golden State Warriors right in their face. Luke Walton 1, Red Holzman 0.


2. San Antonio 5-2 (2-1 this week; +0 from last week)

A buzzer beating loss to the Wizards doesn’t knock the Spurs from this spot yet, not when 3 of their 5 wins have been by 20 points. The schedule has been incredibly kind though with 6 of their first 7 games coming against the dregs of the east and the Kings. This serves to tell us nothing about the Spurs but we think they are really good.


3. Cleveland 7-1 (4-0 this week; +0 from last week)

So much for the offense running through Kevin Love. When LeBron says these strange proclamations is he just trolling the rest of us? He has to know how stupid it sounds and while he cannot properly conjugate verbs he is a genius when it comes to basketball. I am curious as to how long Mo Williams can keep this level of play up. For now, it seems like this team actually fits better with him on the floor than Kyrie which is odd considering at times Kyrie looks like a top 5 talent in the league. You can only put 5 guys on the floor at once and there is only one basketball to share and it seems that some skills can be redundant. It’s similar to when the Lakers were better with Rambis starting even though he was probably the 10th most talented player on that team. He filled the gap and made the collective better.

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4. Los Angeles Clippers 5-2 (1-2 this week; +0 from last week)

Dr. H attended the Clippers versus Rockets game on Saturday night, in a luxury box of course, and managed to take some terribly blurry photos of the premiere level at Staples Center. Here’s one:

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I actually very much enjoyed the wristbands they passed out that light up different colors via radio signal and looked pretty sweet in the crowd. Here is some video of the introductions to illustrate the point:

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I also can’t focus as much on basketball when I am in a luxury suite because I am too busy balling out. Clips lost but they didn’t have Chris Paul so hard to put much stock into that outcome.

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5. Oklahoma City 5-3 (2-2 this week; +0 from last week)

Severe injuries can be a funny thing, especially if you have any doubts mentally. Even if Kevin Durant’s foot may be structurally healed at this point, if it is in his head he is going to subconsciously use his body differently which results in odd pulls and injuries to other parts of the body. Case in point: Durant is out 7-10 games with a hamstring injury. Now it isn’t necessarily because of the foot injury… but it is. UNLEASH PSYCHO RUSS!

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6. Houston 4-3 (3-0 this week; +1 from last week)

As most expected, and more importantly as I predicted last week the Rockets cold start was an aberration and a torrid run by James Harden has them back on track. Watching Harden in person you really start to admire how talented he is at drawing contact and the way he goes to the hole with that as his primary objective. Scoring the basket at times seems to be an afterthought. He is playing the defender, setting them up with an array of moves and a great first step. Once he gets that half step by the defender he doesn’t try to take advantage straight to the basket, instead he almost waits for the defender to try and recover and uses the defenses momentum to draw the contact and get to the line. (this would be an awesome spot to insert a gif illustrating the point but I couldnt find one) It’s ugly because you can see he isn’t trying to score but credit him for taking advantage and getting free shots.

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7. Atlanta 7-2 (3-1 this week; +4 from last week)

Yawn. They just keep winning games. This is the worst team going back to last year that I have ever seen consistently win NBA games that I can remember. Well, all the way back to that Houston Rockets team than ran off something like 20 straight even after they lost Yao Ming. I think that someone should do a 30 for 30 about how the hell that thing happened. They essentially swapped out DeMarre Carroll for Tiago Splitter and are the same team. Splitter is only playing 18 minutes a game and a mildly effective 18 minutes at that but the Hawks haven’t seemed to miss a beat without a guy the Raptors paid $16mm a year for. And he was already 29! I don’t get you Toronto but hey you are in the East so you can win 50 games and trick your fan base into thinking you are a legit team. Kinda like the Hawks do to their fans.

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8. Dallas 3-4 (1-2 this week; +0 from last week)

How terrible is Deron Williams? Probably bad enough to make this my worst ranking of the week. He is infuriating to watch play, a guy with as much talent as anyone in the league and as little heart as anyone in the league. Paul Pierce’s thoughts on the emotionally diminutive point guard are well known but you were thinking to yourself that maybe, just maybe, going back to his hometown of Dallas would be the change of scenery he needed to get back to his old self and start playing with a fire burning again. Nope. We are seeing more of the soulless corpse we witnessed during a dismal Brooklyn stint. I can clearly remember that not that long ago there was a very legitimate Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams debate and when Chris Paul went down with his knee injury a good number of people were squarely in the Deron Williams camp on that argument. Seems impossible to believe that was true. Remember when he got Jerry Sloan run out of town / sapped Jerry’s will to live in Utah? Turns out that no coach before or since has gotten anywhere the same sort of production out of Deron. This is what analytics, while superb in helping understand the game, can’t tell you. Namely, Deron isn’t a great self-motivator and doesn’t have the inner fire to be a great. He needs a coach that will push that out of him like Jerry Sloan and he lacks the self-awareness (or is just too lazy) to put up with it. Also, wtf is up with that hair?

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9. Memphis 3-5 (0-3 this week; -3 from last week)

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The Grizzlies look… old. And that’s for good reason, because they are old. 5th oldest team in the league by average age. But that stat is actually deceiving as they are even older than that in terms of the guys who are getting minutes. Excuse the list but in order of minutes played- Conley 28 years old, Z-Bo 34, Gasol 30, Courtney Lee 30, Jeff Green 29 (Jeff Green is already 29! Jesus.), Tony Allen 33, Matt Barnes 35, Brandon Wright 28, Vince Carter 38, Beno Udrih 33. Good god there is not a speck of youth amongst their top 10 rotation players. The average age of anyone that actually plays is 32 years old. Poor old man LeBron James who can’t take all those hard minutes is only 30. This is okay if you are the Spurs and are trying to keep that title window open as contenders but even their best player is still just 24. The Grizzle have no one fitting that description and the window they are trying to keep open is for 4th seed in the West. I need to move on because I like the Griz and this is getting downright depressing.


10. Miami 5-3 (3-1 this week; +0 from last week)

Wow coach Spo, play some defense why don’t ya? Miami is currently holding opponents to an NBA second best 90.1 points per game. They also got rid of Mario Chalmers which means that everyone on the team will have to find someone new to yell at so that should keep things interesting.

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11. Toronto 5-3 (1-3 this week; -2 from last week)

What a terrible week for the dinosaurs. After a blistering 5-0 start with huge road wins in Dallas and OKC the wheels seem to have come off. Maybe all those rumblings about their mental toughness have legs and they couldn’t handle their success. Putting up a pathetic 87 points in Orlando could be seen as a blip but then they lost at home to the Knicks a few days later. I find it hilarious that certain NBA commentators like Bill Simmons are declaring the East as “back”. No. That’s not only premature, it’s flat out idiotic.

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12. Chicago 5-3 (2-1 this week; +1 from last week)

Let’s stop subjectively arguing about the value of Derrick (spelling?) Rose because after he had one game scoring 20 on something like 21 shots there were thousands of complete morons praising Rose on high. Let’s play a fun game that is based in fact and reality:

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Player A- 12.9 pts, 3.4 reb, 5.8 ast, 37% fg, 6% 3pt, 9.58 PER.

Player B- 16.5 pts, 3.5 reb, 2.7 ast, 32% fg, 21% 3pt, 12.64 PER.

Who would you rather have? The answer is easy- neither. I guess if we had to choose though Player B is a little more efficient so lets go that way. Who is Player B? The awful terrible no good washed up 37 year-old Kobe Bryant coming off of 2 years of injury and not shooting for 9 months. Player A? In his prime 27 year-old Derrick Rose who is single handedly trying to destroy the Bulls season. He is so super stoked about that 2017 free agent money though guys. He has been focused all summer on it.


13. Utah 4-3 (2-2 this week; +1 from last week)

Are the Jazz a playoff team in the West? I say they are still a year out but there is no question that they are a better team without having to force feed minutes to Dante Exum. Speaking of Aussies, I’m very excited to see Ben Simmons take the court for LSU. My guess is that if Exum had played a year of NCAA slave ball he would have been drafted in the late first round.


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14. Detroit 5-2 (2-1 this week; +2 from last week)

Can’t stop won’t stop. Reggie Jackson is balling. The good Morris twin was a hugely underrated pickup. Andre Drummond is averaging a ho-hum 19 and 19. This team is surprising everyone thus far and they seem to be playing united, inspired ball. That’s all because of the third member of the holy coaching triumvirate of Walton, Popovich and… Stan Van Gundy. You know what? I bet Stan Van Gundy has some game himself. Dude can probably embarrass you. I wonder if any tape of his skills exist out there…

COACH VAN HANDLES


15. Washington 3-4 (1-3 this week; +0 from last week)

Oh boy, that was a doozy of the week for the Bullets Wizards. Save for a buzzer beater by Beal and they would be losers of 5 straight. Outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal they don’t have one other player playing good basketball. Their bigs specifically are playing almost as bad as Randy Whitman coaches. Nene is making $13 mil to give them 6 and 5, no one else is doing much better statistically and that doesn’t even tell the story as the defensive end is where the real problems lie. This doesn’t look like a team with a ton of continuity and they are playing the worst defense in the NBA. Another month or two of this and Whitman may be replaced with an upgraded coach, like a half-eaten bag of peanut M&M’s or Javaris Crittenton’s cousin.

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16. New Orleans 1-6 (1-2 this week; -4 from last week)

I keep hearing everyone say “Oh gosh poor Alvin Gentry. If he had only stayed in Golden State he would be undefeated instead of 1-6”. Poppycock. No way would Golden State be undefeated without Luke Walton. Also I don’t want to make excuses for a team that has underperformed by every possible measure but they are without Tyreke Evans and now Anthony Davis and their schedule has been brutal. Not giving up on them. I probably should but I believe they can turn this baby around.

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17. Phoenix 3-4 (1-2 this week; +0 from last week)

So far they beat the bad teams and lose to the good teams. If they are going to contend for a playoff spot they need to do better in the Western Conference. A nice little 4 game home stand provides the opportunity for them to do just that. If they don’t go at least 3-1 over that stretch it may be time to sound some alarms because 9 of their next 11 after that are o the road.

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18. Milwaukee 4-4 (3-1 this week; +1 from last week)

It was a nice bounce back week for the Bucks although I’m not buying into it meaning much of anything. They are playing worse basketball than any team around .500 with all 4 of their wins coming against the worst teams in the league. Close wins at that and they are getting put away in many of their losses. If this team was in the Western Conference they would be the Pelicans so I am not going to overrate them based upon their week schedule.

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19. Boston 3-3 (2-1 this week; -1 from last week)

I’m very excited to see what happens with the Celtics when they face 4 straight quality opponents next week. That will tell us how real they are. Personally? I am not a believer. I do believe that they are guaranteed a top 5 pick next year courtesy of Brooklyn, probably higher. It would be great to see some better development out of Marcus Smart but so far Jared Sullinger is showing some nice signs of improvement.

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20. Indiana 4-4 (3-1 this week; +0 from last week)

Shaking off the early cobwebs the Pacers have played great ball over the past week. No one more so than Paul George who is averaging 24, 9, 7. There isn’t a PF in the league that can match up with him and his resurgence from the gruesome injury has been nothing short of remarkable. There was some serious doubt in my mind whether he would ever come back to be the player he once was. That doubt has been erased. Let’s watch some highlights:

oops my bad.


21. Minnesota 4-3 (2-2 this week; +3 from last week)

Oh. My. Andrew Wiggins is flashing super-duper star potential and Towns may be even better. Rubio is off to the best start of his career and the Wolves are officially one of the best watches in the NBA. I’m still out on LaVine but in terms of entertainment value he does do something twice a game that sucks the air out of the arena. If LeBron stays in Cleveland (yeah you say wait he would never leave now but cmon how many times before you realize he’s a coward) then GM LeBron may forever rue the day he traded Wiggins for Love when love may be better for 18 months of that exchange and hurt during that same span.

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22. Charlotte 3-4 (2-1 this week; +0 from last week)

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23. Orlando 3-5 (2-2 this week; +0 from last week)

I really find these guys interesting. Did you know that of their 7 leading scorers 5 of them are 23 or younger and one (the beast known as Vucevic) is just 25? That is bananas. If this team can be even somewhat competitive now all you have to do is hold them together 3-4 years and watch out. I might need to do a deeper dive Kirk Goldsberry style research on this for next week but it is entirely possible that Elfrid Payton is the worst shooting guard in the history of basketball, going all the way down to the junior highschool level. He puts up several open jumpers a game that you know the second it leaves his hand there is zero chance of the ball even getting a nice bounce off the rim. He makes Rondo look like Reggie Miller at times.

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24. Denver 3-4 (1-2 this week; +1 from last week)

Tough opening schedule for coach Malone and the Nugs but I believe in Mike Malone. While they aren’t particularly good I think they will be surprisingly competitive in a lot of games. Predicted comeback player of the year Danilo Gallinari is averaging a hearty 18 and 5 so far which I expect will only improve as he gets back into more game action.

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25. New York 4-4 (2-2 this week; +1 from last week)

I am proclaiming myself the Grand Marshall of the Zinger parade. Some hack/personal favorite over at Deadspin stole 90% of what I was going to post here so I’ll just send you over to him for a minute.

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TRUST ME DO IT. And watch the highlights. Zinger is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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26. Sacramento 1-7 (0-4 this week; -5 from last week)

OMG yes it is all happening. Please angels send down a camera crew from heaven to document this Kings team.

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27. Portland 4-4 (2-2 this week; +0 from last week)

Okay I just don’t believe. These hipster soccer moms are playing WAAAAAAAAY over their head. CJ McCollum in particular. To be fair I like CJ McCollum as much as I can like any guard that played all 4 years of college ball but he just isn’t going to keep scoring 20 on 47% shooting. In fact let’s check back next week and see how far that has dipped.

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28. Los Angeles Lakers 1-6 (1-2 this week; +0 from last week)

I’ll be compiling 30 of the worst 23,943 stories from the last couple weeks in a separate post sometime soon. Just try and think about the future Lakers fans and thank our lucky stars that the Kardashians have finally left our team aloooooOH MY GOD WHY

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29. Brooklyn 0-7 (0-3 this week; +0 from last week)

I mean, they lost at home to the fucking Lakers.


30. Philadelphia 0-7 (0-3 this week; +0 from last week)

They don’t deserve a top 5 pick from the Lakers so let’s all collectively hope they don’t get it.

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