Every week this season, our panel of Kyle Brandon, Joe Micucci, and Tim Daniel will provide you with their weekly power rankings. Excuse us for the slight delay for week one, but expect rankings to come out every Tuesday afternoon!
1. Milwaukee Bucks
In what seemed to be a matchup of the two best teams on opening night, the Bucks came out in full swing defeating Brooklyn at home 127-104, and despite the bludgeoning in Miami on Thursday night, they still find themselves at the top of our list. They have been a bit banged up due to losing Jrue Holiday & Brooke Lopez early to injury, are down in the doldrums, defensively, and at the moment, Bam Adebayo seems to be the only person in the league that has cracked the Giannis code. However, we expect all of that to regress back to the mean, keeping them at the top to start the season.
2. Golden State Warriors
We don't think there's a team that's gotten out to a more impressive start to the season with wins against the Lakers and Clippers. Steph Curry is already doing Steph Curry things taking 12 threes a game and has reclaimed his title of being must watch TV, but the rest of the offense is humming as well. 6th in PPG, 10th in FG%, and 6th in 3P%. Steph is only 127 threes away from being the all-time leader and at this pace looks to take the record in 27 games, Jordan Poole & Damion Lee are proving to be solid contributors, and Nemanja Bjelica looks like he could be the most underrated signing of this offseason. Most thought that the Warriors would be needing to stay afloat until Klay Thompson and James Wiseman return, but instead are thriving while short-handed.
3. Miami Heat
Sample size is small, but the Heat are one of 2 teams with a top 10 offense and top 10 defense through their first 2 games. While they finished the week 1-1, the win was an absolute smacking of the Bucks, and the loss was in OT against a Pacers team that is slightly better than their 1-2 record suggests. They own a league leading 16 point per game differential, including that impressive 32 point win in South Beach against the reigning champs. Tyler Herro is putting up 23 points off the bench and is in full "snarl mode". The preseason hype was real.
4. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls are a blast to watch so far this season. They are 4-0 for the first time since their 96-97 championship season, behind guard play that has been huge for them showing the ability to score at any time. Alex Caruso and JaVonte Green have been very good coming off the bench, and although Zach LaVine had a tough shooting game Saturday, the Bulls still found a way to score enough to win. If Vuc can get going, and this team can be more careful with the ball, they have huge upside. This team is 3rd in 3p% and have a top 10 defense so why are they not higher? Simply put: strength of schedule. They played Detroit twice this week and the Pelicans once. This week they play the Knicks, Jazz, and Celtics. Three teams that made the playoffs last year. We will have a much better idea of who this team is very shortly.
5. Utah Jazz
Another regular season where the Jazz are at the top of their division and are holding teams to a league low 94 point per game. Rudy Gobert is picking up over 20 rebounds a game with over 5 of those being offensive boards. Wins against the Thunder and Kings don't scream confidence as a Finals contender, but give credit where credit is due...At least until April. They'll get their first real test of the season on Tuesday night when Denver comes to town, so we'll have a bit better read on this team then.
6. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers had a national tv loss to the Nets they let slip away, but they’re the only other team in the NBA with a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense besides the Heat. Even with all the Ben Simmons drama going on you are seeing a 76ers team leave it all on the floor. Seth Curry has gotten off to a nice start for this team and you have seen the depth of this roster. While, yes, they could have used employee number 25's defensive prowess against Brooklyn down the stretch on Friday night, this team is on FIRE behind the arc right now (something employee 25 wouldn't know about). Sixers are 10th in PPG, 5th in FG%, and 2nd in 3P%. Looks like this extra spacing isn't all that bad.
7. Atlanta Hawks
Call it an overreaction, but the depth of this Hawks team is already proving that it will be problem and a half for the Eastern Conference. The offense will come, but until then, the Hawks have the 2nd stingiest defense as well as holding opponents to a league-leading 37.4% shooting. Last season the Hawks made it to the ECF on the back of Trae Young. This year, despite a slight dip in his numbers, the rest of the team has come together. Cam Reddish is showing why he was the #2 prospect in the 2018 class. Hunter's on ball defense has been menacing, and this team looks to be one of the deepest in the league. Once this team fires on all cylinders at the same time, watch out.
8. Brooklyn Nets
A disappointing start to the season for Brooklyn, with really nothing clicking on either ends of the floor. Kevin Durant (who is still an all-world scorer and is currently second in the league in scoring efficiency) and Patty Mills have been the consistent bright spots for them to start the year, while the rule change for shooting fouls has played a huge part in limiting what James Harden is able to produce. Coach Nash has some adjusting to do and some lineups to figure out, but from an outside perspective, it seems they work best with Bruce Brown in the starting rotation. Despite the early issues, it's not time to sound the alarm just yet. This team is still favored to win the title for a reason.
9. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets started with a great win in Phoenix to start the season, but a head scratching loss against the Cavs. Despite the scoring numbers (T-21st in PPG), the Nuggets are shooting it at an outrageous clip right now (52% and yes it leads the league). Mix that in with a top 10 defense, and it's already looking like this team will be able to hold their own just fine without Jamal Murray to start this season. This team still has the reigning MVP, and if Michael Porter Jr. can get gong, that will definitely be enough to keep them going. It's also enough to get them at 9 on this list.
10. Charlotte Hornets
A 3-0 start with a 16-point win over the Nets confirms the Hornets as a must watch League Pass team. LaMelo Ball's MVP-esque start to the season and the consistently great play they are getting from Miles Bridges makes you believe this team might just be a little ahead in their timeline. Bridges currently leads the lead in scoring efficiency and has multiple games this season with more than 20 FGA. It's obvious to see the trust be tween LaMelo and the rest of this team, and he’s proving why they should.
Other teams receiving votes: Minnesota, Memphis, New York, Phoenix