NBA Power Rankings Week 1

By: Justin Girshon

(Written before the start of games played on Monday, October 28th).

1. Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers have started the season off hot! After a big offseason acquiring Josh Richardson and Al Horford, the 76ers have so far lived up to the hype. The Sixers started the year off strong by defeating the Celtics and Pistons en route to a 2-0 record. So far, Tobias Harris is the teams leading scorer at 22 points per game, Ben Simmons is the teams top passer at 9.5 assists per game, and Joel Embiid 13 rebounds per game (only played one game due to ankle injury).

2. Denver Nuggets

After being eliminated in the Western Conference Semi-Finals in the 2019 playoffs, the Nuggets retained their main core of players for the 2019-2020 NBA season. So far, the Nuggets have started off strong by defeating the Trail Blazers and Suns leading them to a 2-0 record. To start off the season, Nikola Jokic has looked like an MVP. Jokic is the Nuggets leading scorer with 21.5 points per game, top passer at 7 assists per game and top rebounder at 13.5 rebounds per game.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

After a HUGE offseason acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers immediately became Finals contenders. Although Paul George is currently out until at least some point until November, the Clippers are still very well built around Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers started the year strong with a statement win against LeBron and the Lakers. The Clippers then proceeded to beat the reigning Western Conference Champion, Golden State Warriors. Although the Clippers started off the year strong, the team unexpectedly lost to the Suns who are nowhere near as good as them. Kawhi leonard hasn’t skipped a beat since winning NBA Finals MVP starting the 2019-2020 NBA season at an MVP level. So far, Kawhi Leonard leads the team in scoring at 26 points per game, Kawhi Leonard is the teams top passer at 8 assists per game, and Patrick Beaverly is the teams top rebounder at 7 rebounds per game.

4. Milwaukee Bucks

After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2019 Playoffs, the Bucks resigned Khris Middelton and Brook Lopez. The Bucks defeated the Rockets in their first game of the season but then blew a 21 point lead in a loss to the Heat. Although the Bucks are only 1-1, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has been playing at an MVP level. Giannis is so far averaging a triple double with 29.5 points per game, 10 assists per game, and 15 rebounds per game. Giannis leads the team in scoring, assists, and rebounding.

5. Los Angeles Lakers

After a blockbuster offseason trade to acquire Anthony Davis and LeBron James returning to full health, the Lakers are primed to make an NBA Finals run. Although the Lakers dropped their first game of the season to the Clippers, they responded with wins against the Jazz and Hornets. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have played well together averaging a combined 48.8 points per game, 13.3 assists per game, and 17.7 rebounds per game. Anthony Davis leads all scorers at 25 points per game and rebounders at 10 rebounds per game. LeBron James is the team leader in assists at 10 assists per game.

6. Utah Jazz

After acquiring Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Jazz made it clear that they will be NBA Finals contenders. The Jazz have started the season 2-1 defeating the Thunder and Kings and losing to the Lakers (Bogdanovic didn’t play due to injury). The Jazz currently have the best defense in the NBA and will certainly take pride in their defense all season long. To start the season, Donovan Mitchell is the leading scorer at 23.7 points per game, Mike Conley is the assist leader at 5.3 assists per game, and Rudy Gobert leads the team in rebounding at 9.7 rebounds per game.

7. Portland Trail Blazers

After being swept in the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 playoffs, the Trail Blazers have a chip on their shoulder. The Trail Blazers acquired tenacious rebounder Hassan Whiteside this past offseason while retaining their main core of players. After an opening night loss, the Trail Blazers have responded well with two straight wins. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have proved themselves as a dynamic backcourt by averaging 53.7 points per game. Lillard leads the team in scoring and assists with 31.7 points and 6 assists per game. Hassan Whiteside leads the team in rebounding at 14 rebounds per game

8. Boston Celtics

In a crazy offseason, the Celtics have still put together a good enough roster to contend in the Eastern Conference. Although Kyrie Irving and Al Horford walked in free agency, the Celtics were able to retain their young core while adding Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter. The Celtics started the season off on the wrong foot by getting destroyed by the 76ers but have responded well with two straight wins. Kemba Walker has led the team in scoring with 22 points per game. Marcus Smart leads the team with 5 assists per game. Jayson Tatum leads the team in rebounds with 9.3 rebounds per game.

9. Toronto Raptors

After winning the 2019 NBA Finals, the Raptors will look to defend their title during the 2019-2020 season. Although Kawhi Leonard departed during free agency, the Raptors still have a solid core built around Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet and company. The Raptors are 2-1 with a close loss to the Celtics. Fred VanVleet is continuing to stay hot from the Finals as he’s averaging 19.3 points per game. Pascal Siakam currently leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 28.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Kyle Lowry leads the team in assists with 7 assists per game.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have started the year an unexpected 3-0. The Timberwolves are playing extremely well thanks to franchise player, Karl-Anthony Towns. In their first three games, the Timberwolves have defeated the Nets, Hornets, and Heat. The team is so far being led by Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and their defense. Towns and Wiggins are averaging a combined 52.7 points and 19.3 rebounds per game. Towns is leading the team in scoring and rebounding with 32 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. Shabazz Napier currently leads the team with 6 assists per game.

The Best of the Rest

https://www.inquirer.com/sixers/philadelphia-sixers-atlanta-hawks-trae-young-ben-simmons-20191027.html

11. Houston Rockets

12. San Antonio Spurs

13. Miami Heat

14. Atlanta Hawks

15. Dallas Mavericks

16. Phoenix Suns

17. Brooklyn Nets

18. Orlando Magic

19. Golden State Warriors

20. Oklahoma City Thunder

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/bulls/ct-chicago-bulls-memphis-grizzlies-20191026-ljhzvbafrrgspgnmqdwaqdkk4e-story.html

21. Memphis Grizzlies

22. New Orleans Pelicans

23. Detroit Pistons

24. Chicago Bulls

25. Washington Wizards

26. Sacramento Kings

27. Indiana Pacers

28. Cleveland Cavaliers

29. Charlotte Hornets

30. New York Knicks

Check back next week for NBA Power Rankings Week 2!

https://www.skysports.com/nba/news/36244/11836028/luka-doncic-and-kristaps-porzingis-fire-as-dallas-mavericks-thrash-oklahoma-city-thunder

The Boston Celtics Turn Adversity into NBA Finals Certainty

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics
May 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) celebrates after a score against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first quarter of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

We’re getting to the finals, no question about it.”

This quote from the Celtics young star, Jaylen Brown, displays the tremendous amount of confidence Celtics players and fans immediately gained after coming 1 game short of reaching the NBA Finals.  The ensuing offseason did nothing but reassure their confidence with Lebron’s reign as “The King” of the East over as he headed to the bright lights of Hollywood.  Not only was their main threat GONE but the Celtics have their two-star players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, returning to the lineup for a full season. Las Vegas Odds forecasted the Celtics as the FAVORITE to win the East along with the 2nd best odds to win the NBA Title.

The obvious assumption was that with the return of their stars they would easily rise to the next level and compete for a championship, and with these odds, the Celtics felt invincible.

Boston Celtics Media Day
CANTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 24: From left Jayson Tatum #0, Jaylen Brown #7, Kyrie Irving #11, Gordon Hayward #20 and Al Horford #42 pose together for a photo during Boston Celtics Media Day in Canton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Not so fast my friends, not so fast.

The Celtics started out the season with a disappointing 10-10 record, sending Celtics fans everywhere whimpering into their closets.  This team was lacking patience, effort, and were getting straight-up outplayed night in and night out. The Celtics were experimenting with many different lineups in an attempt to maximize the immense talent this roster had, but this led to a season full of extreme highs and extreme lows.  Then, the experimenting finally started to yield much-anticipated results with the Celtics winning 9 of their next 11.  Veteran Celtics leader Al Horford said, “I think going through this has made us stronger because if we were winning, all of the underlying issues would still be there, but now they have been addressed thoroughly”.  Little did he know, this was only the beginning of their roller-coaster season.

AAAAAAAACELTICS.jpeg

INCONSISTENCY

This word has been the storm looming behind the hills for the Celtics all season long.  As the calenders turned from 2018 to 2019 the same inconsistencies continued to plague this team.  They go on stretches with beating the leagues best team on great shooting and ball movement to losing to the leagues bottom feeders (sorry Knicks fans) with horrendous defense and no energy.  Not knowing which Celtics team you were going to get on a nightly basis took its toll on the team.

The NBA’s new Television show: Keeping Up With Kyrie Irving

ACAMERA

NBA media sources always look for drama around the league, and with the Celtics struggling, they turned to Kyrie Irving for the answers. 

The only issue?  He didn’t have the answers. 

As NBA fans, we all expect the leader to help get their team through struggles and adversity, so when he blamed their struggles on his young teammates the media had an absolute field day with him.  Kyrie said,”  Playing with the expectation that every day you have to be great.  These are some of the things that some of my teammates haven’t faced.  If they think it’s hard now, what will happen when we’re trying to get to the Finals?”  Although he is looking out for the benefit of his team, the media twisted and turned his words to create false headlines such as “Kyrie Irving Isolates Himself From The Team”.  Turning a group of men into a team is already such a difficult job, and with the media continuing to pile up on their issues the Celtics season looked as if it was spiraling towards the dumpster. 

Anew
Celtics headed into the All-Star Break a disappointing 37-25

For the next month, the Celtics suffered losing streak after losing streak, and things would only take a turn for the worse.  The fact that Kyrie Irving’s name kept surfacing in reports of leaving the Celtics didn’t help their struggles at all.  Not only were they struggling but everyone around the league started to make the consensus that the Celtics were better off without Kyrie on the floor.  All of this drama made the life of the Celtics absolutely miserable.  

AASMART

There are always two sides to every story.

The media will always, ALWAYS post a more controversial, negative story that creates drama than a positive story about team chemistry.  Ever since the rumors about Kyrie leaving the Celtics, the team has made tremendous progress to create a family atmosphere.  The Celtics consistently have enjoyable 3 point shooting competitions at the end of their practices to finish off hours of hard work they put in. 

AAAPLANE
March 4, 2019- The Boston Celtics beat the Golden State Warriors 128-95 on the heels of a 12-hour plane ride.  The plane ride was widely acknowledged to help the team chemistry.

Celtics Hit Their Stride At the Perfect Time

The Celtics traveled to California preparing to take on the NBA’s number one team, the Warriors.  The Celtics would go on that night to demolish the Warriors with a score 128-95, but what will be lost in the sea of NBA news is the plane ride to the Oakland.  Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, and Gordon Hayward all agreed that the plane ride helped the team relax and forget about all of the outside drama.  Little moments like these are the type that has completely changed the mindsets of this youthful team.

This Celtics are regaining their confidence at the perfect time with the playoffs looming.  The Eastern Conference is loaded with talented rosters but this Celtics roster is good enough to defeat any team in this league in a seven-game series.  With all of this said, this seasons success rests on the back of not one sole player, but this team as a whole.

This team has taken baby steps towards achieving their goal of an NBA Title, but it’s time to grow up, put on their big boy pants and eat with the men.  Once they do, good luck stopping them.

Follow my Instagram @alameda_views and twitter @danielalameda11 for more!!!

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