NBA Power Rankings 11/19/2015 (from The Midweek Exception)

Every week, The Midweek Exception releases their NBA Power Rankings. Over the next few weeks, we intend to make this page look nicer as it goes along.

Another week has been logged in the NBA books, which means it’s time for yet another NBA Power Ranking. Jon and Grant carefully looked at each teams record between now and the previous power ranking, to determine where they rest in this weeks installment of our power rankings.

  1. Golden State Warriors (12-0): The Golden State Warriors stand at 12-0 and must be stopped…the only problem is, nobody knows who will be able to do it. The Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets put up the best competition against the Warriors thus far this season, but ultimately both teams didn’t have enough to overcome outstanding performances from Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. (Previously: #1)
  2. San Antonio Spurs (9-2): Since our previous installment of our power rankings, the San Antonio Spurs have gone 4-0 and continued to look really sharp. As always, they are playing into Gregg Popovich’s system beautifully and each member of the team is contributing well in their own way. Kawhi Leonard continues to be my (Jon’s) low-key potential MVP candidate, as he has proven to have one of the most well rounded games in the NBA. (Previously: #3)
  3. Chicago Bulls  (8-3): This move up for the Bulls might be viewed as being a bit controversial, due to the fact that the team is still showing signs of their previous season problems. They’ve allowed teams that they “should be able to beat” to come back and make games relatively close or tie the games up, but ultimately it’s hard to ignore that the Bulls are on a 4 game winning streak. A sign of concern is Derrick Rose currently being out with an ankle injury (although he should be back for Friday’s contest against the Golden State Warriors), and Nikola Mirotic being in a bit of a slump. (Previously: #10)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-3): The Cleveland Cavaliers enter this weeks installment going through a 2 game losing streak, dropping a game to the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks, two teams that are on the rise in the Eastern Conference this season. LeBron James continues to lead the team in scoring, but Kevin Love has contributed nicely as well, averaging 17.4 points-per-game and 11 rebounds. (Previously: #2)
  5. Dallas Mavericks (8-4): I feel guilty for ever doubting Dirk Nowitzki’s ability to be able to produce quality numbers this season. The Dallas Mavericks have looked surprisingly good early this season, as they have won 5 games in a row as of today. Chandler Parsons has returned to their lineup and will now be able to play quality minutes, which only adds yet another offensive threat to this Mavericks roster. Their level of production is bound to slow down eventually, but if they can maintain anything close to this, they could be playoff bound later in the season. (Previously: #19)
  6. Los Angeles Clippers (6-4): Chris Paul has sat out the last two games (and soon to be three, as he plans to sit out in their next game against the Golden State Warriors), but the Los Angeles Clippers have found a way into our top 6 teams in this weeks power rankings. Blake Griffin has managed to carry the offensive load in Chris Paul’s absence, as he bounced back from poor outing against the Phoenix Suns, to only then drop 34 points on the Detroit Pistons. (Previously: #5)
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder (7-5): In the absence of Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder continue to look like a threatening team in the Western Conference due to how absolutely insane Russell Westbrook looks. He remains as a player who can truly dominate a game and carry a depleted team to the finish line in some regular season games. With Kevin Durant back in the lineup, we can only assume the Thunder move up in our rankings. (Previously: #14)
  8. Miami Heat (6-4): Despite having dropped a game to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Miami Heat continue to look like a solid team in the Eastern Conference. All that Heat fans can hope for, currently, is that Dwayne Wade remains healthy throughout the season and that Goran Dragic is able to perform a bit better on the court. Of note, Hassan Whiteside managed to pick up a triple-double against the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Previously: #13)
  9. Washington Wizards (5-4): The Washington Wizards managed to bounce back from a three game slump and beat the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks. Rebounding has become an obvious issue for this Wizards team, however. They currently have the worst amount of rebounds per game in the NBA. (Previously: #18)
  10. Atlanta Hawks (9-5): The Atlanta Hawks continue to be a team that confuses me. Going into this season, many predicted they’d fall off a bit and not look nearly as dominant as they did the previous season. They managed to hit a three game losing streak, losing a game to the 2-10 Brooklyn Nets during this stretch, but then have also managed to beat some quality opponents so far this season. The Hawks have the potential to be a top 5 team in the NBA, but not until they tighten some of the screws and play in a style similar to last season. (Previously: #6)
  11. Boston Celtics (6-5): Entering this weeks power rankings, the Boston Celtics were one of the hottest teams to talk about. During a rough 3 game stretch against the Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the…questionable Houston Rockets, the Celtics managed to go 3-0. We’ll see if they can continue to take down some of the (in theory) best teams in the NBA. (Previously: #20)
  12. Toronto Raptors (7-6): The Raptors record doesn’t really show how well they have played, as they are only one game above .500 as of writing this. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry continue to look like one of the best back courts in the NBA, but this team needs to resolve some of their late game issues as both Lowry and DeRozan began to resort to hero ball towards the end against the Warriors, which absolutely hurt their ability to battle back and win. (Previously: #12)
  13. Phoenix Suns (6-5): The Phoenix Suns are proving everyone wrong and showing that they are an incredibly competent basketball team that can battle for a playoff spot. Brandon Knight picked up his first career triple-double this week, and has worked incredibly well in-tandem with Eric Bledsoe. (Previously: #22)
  14. Indiana Pacers (7-5): I question how much of the rough start for the Indiana Pacers was due to Monta Ellis being uncertain about his role in the teams starting five. The Pacers have looked relatively solid over their last few games, as they managed to go on a bit of a winning streak until the Chicago Bulls defeated them. Paul George is continuing his campaign to look like a potential MVP candidate. (Previously: #16)
  15. Detroit Pistons (6-5): Andre Drummond has manged to establish himself as one of the elite bigs in the NBA currently, as his rebounding numbers are off the charts. The question remains: is this teams success only as deep as Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond allow it to be? The Detroit Pistons started off the season incredibly hot, but managed to cool down a bit over their last few games. A few decisive wins against the best teams in the NBA will surely raise them in next weeks installment. (Previously: #4)
  16. Memphis Grizzlies (6-6): The Memphis Grizzlies have manged to battle their way back into sitting at .500, but that isn’t enough to move them up into a top 15 NBA team currently. They will need to develop some consistency over their next few games if they want to look like playoff contenders. The talk of David Joerger being on the hot seat has cooled down quite a bit, which is good news for this team. (Previously: #23)
  17. Denver Nuggets (6-6): This Denver Nuggets team is by no means going to be a contender for the playoffs this year, but Emmanuel Mudiay has already looked pretty sharp for them, and everyone is enjoying a (so far) healthy scene from Danilo Gallinari, shooting 41% from deep and averaging 18 points-per-game. (Previously: #25)
  18. Utah Jazz (6-5): The top 5 defensive team Utah Jazz have fallen quite a bit from our previous weeks rank, but they’re still a potential bottom two playoff seed team in the West. The team is definitely looking for more contribution from Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert, especially on the offensive end. (Previously: #7)
  19. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-7): For many, it’s a surprise to see the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 5-7 record currently. Ricky Rubio just returned from an injury, so his contributions on both ends of the floor should be immediately apparent for this young Timberwolves team. Something positive of note, Andrew Wiggins has appeared to have broken out of his early season slump and has looked relatively dominant on offense. (Previously: #9)
  20. New York Knicks (6-6): It’s insane how great Kristaps Porzingis has managed to looked for the New York Knicks, but the team as a whole needs to perform better if they want to make any noise in the playoffs this season. However, the bar was relatively low going into this year for the Knicks, so a playoff berth in itself could be huge for this team. (Previously: #17)
  21. Portland Trail Blazers (4-9): A team that started off surprising everyone has managed to cool of as of late, hence their ten rank drop in our power rankings. Trail Blazer fans are due for a bit of a rough season, with a few bright spots in watching Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. (Previously: #11)
  22. Sacramento Kings (4-8): The Sacramento Kings have been off to a…turbulent start for this season. With talks of George Karl being fired and DeMarcus Cousins apparently going on a swearing tirade, one would suspect the Kings would have a worse record than they currently do. The Kings managed to go on a brief three game winning streak, showing some signs of life in a squad that was believed to be able to make the bottom seeds in the West. (Previously #26)
  23. Orlando Magic (6-6): To me, it’s incredible that the Orlando Magic are even at .500 right now. While I don’t believe they have a chance at making the post-season this year, they are starting to look like a really solid team that plays well off of one another. Credit needs to be given to Evan Fournier for his performance thus far into the season. (Previously: #21)
  24. Milwaukee Bucks (5-6): The Milwaukee Bucks lost starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams for a stretch of a few games, but regardless of his absence didn’t play much better or worse than previously seen. There will be some growing pains early for this team, but they’re due to move back up soon enough. A bright point in recent days was beating the Cleveland Cavaliers.(Previously: #15)
  25. Houston Rockets (5-7): James Harden has looked absolutely lost and frankly, horrible, at points during this season which has truly effected the Houston Rockets ability to compete. Kevin McHale just lost his position as head coach for this team, so Houston is bound for plenty of rocky games over the next few days, as they try to sort things out. (Previously: #8)
  26. Charlotte Hornets (6-6): The Charlotte Hornets remain a team that I’m uncertain of their direction moving forward, and their showing so far this season shows this. They’re hanging in at .500 right now, but their record is due to get worse as the season goes on. (Previously: #24)
  27. Los Angeles Lakers (2-9): The Lakers are bound to be stuck in this ranking throughout the regular season, as there isn’t much to say about them. Kobe continues to play out the rest of his career which alone is selling seats…even though we’re not seeing a form of Kobe that many want to see. (Previously #28)
  28. Brooklyn Nets (2-10): 2 wins! The Brooklyn Nets still remain a team that is due to have one of the bottom records in the entire NBA, but it appears they are slowly starting to get things together. Still, Nets fans can only hope that the front office decides to make some trades to gain some assets and draft picks, as it would appear they’re doomed for the next few years. (Previously #30)
  29. New Orleans Pelicans (1-11): The terrible start for the New Orleans Pelicans continues, as questions about Anthony Davis’ health linger. As we’ve already said many times, a start this bad in the West is absolutely going to effect a teams chances making the post-season. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Pelicans miss it all together this season. It was known going into this year that learning a new system under Alvin Gentry would be a challenge, but no one saw it being this terrible. (Previously: #27)
  30. Philadelphia 76ers (0-12): The tank rolls on. The Philadelphia 76ers players continue to play out their heart every night and show flashes of brilliance that is to come (primarily in Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor), but watching an entire 76ers game can be brutal, as they seek their first win of the season. (Previously: #29)

Jonathan Slusar

Jonathan Slusar is a podcaster, NBA analyst, and post-game writer for the Chicago Bulls on MultipleSources.net. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in English, and is an avid opponent to radio jingles.

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