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

What’s Next for the Magic?

By Payton Beasley

 

 

This very same question is asked at least 10,000 times per year by an Orlando Magic fan. That could be due to the team is nearly always finishing at the bottom of the league. This year just so happen to be a different case. You could credit the GM, John Hammon, as he was assigned as the GM in 2017, and has made 2 crucial draft picks.

Mo Bamba and Jonathan Issac

Most would say Hammond is a fantastic GM. Both Mo Bamba and J two draft picks were very bold but also beneficial. Besides those two, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic… there isn’t much else! The teams’ bench play has shown to be an absolute atrocity. Now, without further holdup, lets look into how the Magic can fix EVERYTHING.

Find Key Players in Free Agency

This year’s free agency class is HUGE, and with names such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, you MUST, and I mean MUST, grab at least one key asset. Here is who the Magic must acquire for the team to become competitive again:

SF/PF Kevin Durant: 4 yrs/ 145m

I know.. I know, this is a LOT of money. If anybody could potentially afford this, it would be the magic. With this signing, there would not be a whole lot of cap space left.. But do the Magic need that? They already have Mo Bamba at center, Johnathan Issac as forward, positionless Aaron Gordon (will be explained), and not a great SG. That’s where their remaining cap comes from..

SG Eric Bledsoe 3yrs/75m

Eric Bledsoe is such a hit-or-miss player it’s not even funny. I love the guy, but man, he puts up 9 points and then explodes for 32… but whatever. He has been what it has taken for the Bucks to be good. Giannis has done tons, but Bledsoe has been his Robin. Now with this, a starting five of Bamba, Durant, Bledsoe, Gordon, and Issac. Stay tuned.

#2: The Draft…

The season has yet to even conclude yet but am I high on some prospects. The one I have the most remarks on is Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson from Kentucky. Standing at 6’6 while being a shooting guard could develop into a huge scorer… but a bust also. He tends to score from his brain instead of his physics, which could be a potential issue. The jumper on this dude is unheard of. Reminds me of a poor man’s Curry.

#3: Cut The Contracts!

Evan Fournier, SG

Fournier is a great player, don’t get me wrong. He is just so boom-or-bust it’s not even funny. The team should either trade away Fournier or waive him. Either way, that $17 million salary is just unbelievable for a player of his quality.

Terrance Ross, SG

Ross has proven to be not worth the $10 million we owe him. Cut him or trade him away. In my opinion, The Magic should not look to be keeping this guy around.

Timofey Mozgov, C

The best plan for the Magic is to either trade or cut Mozgov, because there is no way a 32-year-old center should be garnering $16 million a year for a player I have never heard of. Next.

DJ Augustin, PG

30 years old and seven million we can gain back by trading or releasing him sounds like a done deal.

Now, you may say, who would we sign back in place of these four?

Here are Four Cheaper Players the Magic Should Pursue:

Kent Bazemore, ATL

Although Bazemore does have an unconventional jumper, he does have the chance to be a great lockdown defender like Patrick Beverley. Speaking of Beverley…

Patrick Beverley, LAC

Beverley is a great lockdown defender, and if anything the Magic need, it is some form of defense. We can get him and Bazemore in return for half of what we are paying for Ross and Fournier.

Marshon Brooks, CHI

A actually great bench player, Brooks has the skillset to excel on a weak Magic bench. Him in Chiraq did not seem to get along because he never got time. In Orlando, the time for him on the bench is his to lose..

Allen Crabbe, BKN

Crabbe is a great player. He is one of piece of Brooklyn and he could be a benfical piece in Orlando. Next..

Luol Deng, MIN

Deng is very old, yes, but he is averaging 15 points a game for Minnesota! I mean, we could bring him back for a cheap contract to Orlando, and he could be a great replacement.

Jamychal Green, LAC

Green is a intriguing prospect. Not because he isn’t good, but because he 29 and we could grab him and have him put up 10 points a game off the bench consistently.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, BKN

Another Nets member, Hollis-Jefferson is a very great player for the Nets. The games I watch of the Nets (not many) he is very good. A intrguing player for ORL if we pay him.

Jake Layman, POR

I’ve heard about this guy. He has been sensational for Portland their last few games and maybe he could be great for us as well.

Enes Kanter, POR

Another Portland player, Kanter is a very good center we can grab. He is very weird… but thats okay. As long as we can maintain him and help him as a team, its good.

Greg Monroe, BKN

Monroe is a reliable bench player who can be brought to the Magic on a relatively cheap contract. Will we get him? Only time will tell.

Nene,HOU

Now now, I know, Nene is 37. But whatever dude. Nene is a BEAST. The man is putting up 12 points a game at 37. Get this man here however you can Orlando.

Nikola Vucveic, ORL

I know, this does not REALLY count. But it would be nice if we could retain him.

 

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