Weekly NBA Rankings Vol. 3

We had some pretty interesting shakeups in the rankings this week. We are truly beginning to see how interesting the season will be. The rankings will definitely fluctuate each week. one minute a team looks like they will tumble a lot, but then a team ahead suffers a bigger loss. Let’s just go to the rankings and see where each team lies.

1. Phoenix Suns (previous ranking: 1) (9-2)- The Suns may have lost to the Lakers, but despite all of that, they still have the best record in the NBA. There was no other team that could take the top spot, especially with the Lakers losing to the Rockets Sunday night, and the Suns thrilling win over Toronto earlier that day.

2. Atlanta Hawks (previous ranking: 5) (8-2)- They simply overmatched the Boston Celtics in the TD Garden, capping off a 3-0 week, and currently have the best record in the Eastern Conference. If you have to question this team still, why try? They are deep in every position, and if they can keep their intensity up, they may be more of a problem than most think.

3. Boston Celtics (previous ranking: 2) (8-3)- It’s one thing to lose the the Hawks, but to the Pacers? The C’s need to maintain their focus and not take all these games for granted. Teams like the Pacers are gunning for them and upset-minded each week. They are lucky enough to still be at 3 after the Pacers’ loss

4. Los Angeles Lakers (previous ranking: 3) (7-3)- So Reggie Miller, how’s that 20-1 prediction going for you? Right. Anyway, the Lakers have received great play from Andrew Bynum, as he has played at the caliber of an All-Star starter, but it’s apparent that this team really needs Pau Gasol.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers (previous ranking: 11) (7-3)- The Cavs have won four straight and seven of eight since starting the season 0-2. They have really found their stride as of late with the victories. The only thing about it though: everyone else in the Central Division is in a good stride as well.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (previous ranking: 12) (8-3) The Blazers faced some of the lower echelon teams in the league this week, making it an easy 4-0 one for them. They get a big test starting Monday night in Atlanta. Maybe they can move up further facing one of the Association’s better teams.

7. Miami Heat (previous ranking: 4) (7-2) Hard to make the Heat fall even three spots, but with Portland’s 4-0 week and a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was only right to drop the Heat three spots. Dwyane Wade had a great week, posterizing Anderson Varaejo, and hitting the game-winning three pointer against the Miami Heat.

8. Denver Nuggets (previous ranking: 6) (7-3) The Nuggets didn’t have a bad week, heck, they blew out the Lakers at home, but they were just a victim of Cleveland and Portland rising in the rankings. They did lose to the Bucks, but the Bucks are rising as well.

9. Orlando Magic (previous ranking: 7) (7-3) The Magic handled business like they were supposed to, beating Charlotte and New Jersey, just like Denver, they were victims of two rising teams in the Cavaliers and Trail Blazers. Their only loss this week came to: Cleveland.

10 (tie). Milwaukee Bucks (previous ranking: 13) (5-2) Why aren’t the Bucks higher than the Nuggets? Although this team is good, and really good, led by Brandon Jennings, lets see if this team can get a significant road win or beat a top-10 team. They are playing the team they are tied with in the rankings, the Dallas Mavericks tonight.

10 (tie). Dallas Mavericks (previous ranking: 9) (7-3) The Mavericks lost to the Spurs, but bounced back with wins over Minnesota and Detroit, which are winnable games anyway. They are tied with Milwaukee due to the Bucks’ winning streak. Hard to put them out the top 10, and not put Milwaukee in the top 10. They are in Milwaukee tonight.

12. Houston Rockets (previous ranking: 8) (6-4) Disappointing losses to Dallas and Sacramento contributed to this downfall, but they Rockets’ saving grace was a 101-91 win over the Lakers. Thank Aaron Brooks and his explosive second half for saving the Rockets to a huge drop.

13. Indiana Pacers (previous ranking: 23) (4-3) Four straight wins… the first three weren’t all impressive, but beating the Boston Celtics at home is a huge deal. This team is really coming together and it looks like Tyler Hansbrough is looking pretty good, averaging 10.3 PPG in just 14.7 MPG.

14. Chicago Bulls (previous ranking: 10) (5-4) Crushing loss at home against Denver and a loss to Toronto contributed to the drop from the Top 10. They need to get it back together, especially going on their west coast road trip starting with the upstart Sacramento Kings.

15. Sacramento Kings (previous ranking: 20) (5-4) It’s been over three years since the Kings even had a winning record, but after four straight wins and five of their last six, this is a team that is really buying into Paul Westphal’s system, and the play of Tyreke Evans is amazing. If they can keep this up when Kevin Martin returns, the Kings just might be a problem in the West.

16. Oklahoma City Thunder (previous ranking: 14) (5-5) The Thunder split four games this week, including two with the Clippers, but the most impressive win this week had to be a ROAD win at San Antonio. The Thunder. Big wins at the elite teams can go a long way.

17. San Antonio Spurs (previous ranking: 18) (4-4) They lost to the Thunder at home, but at least this team has Tim Duncan and Tony Parker back. It’s just a matter of time before we see the Spurs back at the top of the list again. The season is still early.

18. Detroit Pistons (previous ranking: 19) (5-5) The Pistons are still a tough team to figure out, but at least you can say that they are winning the games they are supposed to (Charlotte, and Washington before losing to Dallas)

19. Toronto Raptors (previous ranking: 16) (5-5) Still waiting for this team to explode, but now is it really time to question if Jay Triano is the right head coach for this team. They have a big time player in Hedo Turkoglu, a top pick in Andrea Bargnani, and of course, Chris Bosh. Too much talent on this team to be mediocre.

20. Utah Jazz (previous ranking: 22) (4-6) The Jazz still have a way to go to be among the top of the Association, but they did have two wins on the road at New York and Philadelphia, but two losses at Boston and at Cleveland helps them move up, just not much.

21. Philadelphia 76ers (previous ranking: 17) (4-6) Just like last week, this team went 1-2, with the only win going against the winless Nets. It’s going to be even tougher with Mareese Speights being out six to eight weeks due to a knee injury. Where is Elton Brand in all of this? He needs to step up, immediately

22. Los Angeles Clippers (previous ranking: 22) (4-7) The Clippers went 1-3 this week, with the only win coming against Oklahoma City. The Clippers got a huge break from a major drop since the rest of the Association is just plain bad. Even though it is Oklahoma City, this can be the start of something. After all, it just takes one win to get things going.

23. Charlotte Bobcats (previous ranking: 15) The talks of the ‘Cats having an offense dissipated quickly with three lackluster performances in all three games this week. They did get a scorer today in Stephen Jackson from Golden State, along with Acie Law. They had to sacrifice giving up Raja Bell, but the Bobcats need scoring. Desperately.

24. Golden State Warriors (previous ranking: 26) (3-6) The Warriors finally got rid of Stephen Jackson. Maybe this can be the start of something new. The move was made early, so maybe the Warriors can put a reset button on the season. They do need Andris Biedrins to heal so he can be a factor in the post. Don Nelson’s job is safe so it’s time for this team to right the ship, they have a good defender acquired in Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic should be a good three point specialist.

25. New Orleans Hornets (previous ranking: 24) (3-8) If the rest of the NBA was not atrocious, the Hornets would definitely be lower than what they are. Bad move in firing Byron Scott, and now without Chris Paul for three to four weeks. Long season ahead in NOLA. And why bring Tim Floyd back after being dissatisfied with him after one season in any capacity.

26. Washington Wizards (previous ranking: 25) (2-7) Not a good start for the Wizards, mainly b/c the injury bug is back in the District. The question for this team has to be: When is Antawn Jamison coming back to the lineup. The Wizards need ALL three of their players healthy apparently for this team to have any kind of relevance. Still early enough for them to turn it around.

27. Memphis Grizzlies (previous ranking: 28) (2-8) The Grizz got their second win of the season, and are 2-4 without Allen Iverson in the line up. Iverson will be 0-4 in his career in a Grizzlies uniform since he ended up leaving the team and being released today. It’s a shame since he was on the verge of starting. Sucks for Memphis fans and for Michael Heisley who needed a box office attraction. Iverson has plenty of days left in his career, just don’t see it in the NBA anymore.

28. New York Knicks (previous ranking: 29) (1-9) How bad are the Knicks? Apparently so bad that they can LOSE six straight and move UP a spot. Looking at them on SportsCenter really makes you wonder if LeBron would REALLY want to associate himself with a bad franchise like this team. Only time will tell in that regard.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (previous ranking: 27) (1-10) The Timberwolves have lost 10 straight games, matching the team that they beat on opening night, the New Jersey Nets. In fairness to Minnesota, they don’t have all of their weapons, with Kevin Love out, and Al Jefferson not fully 100 percent. This team will go up a little bit once they come back.

30. New Jersey Nets (previous ranking: 30) (0-10) So no change at the top, and no change at the bottom. Even if the Nets win, they need more wins than Minnesota to get out of this cellar. Like Minnesota, New Jersey doesn’t have everyone on the floor due to injury. Lawrence Frank luckily was not the first coaching casualty, but his leash is VERY short at this point.

Well that’s this week’s edition of the NBA rankings, check back next Monday for next week’s edition.

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