December 9, 2022 | 8:17 am
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NBA Power Rankings: Looking at the association one month in

One month and change into the NBA season and we have various story lines that shaping up the league. Some teams are playing as expected but most have surprised us one way or another and that is the beauty of this game.

The Cavs haven’t been the juggernauts many expected but could there be a more disappointing team than the Charlotte Hornets? Meanwhile out west the competition is stiff but the Grizzlies and Warriors are making things look easy while the Spurs and yes even the Thunder loom ever so dangerously.

We run through the association 1-30 with a quick take and look at each team as the calendar turns to December.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies: Winning and grinding. Marc Gasol is looking like a MVP candidate as this team has fabulous chemistry with a top-10 offense and defense.

  2. Golden State Warriors: With the best defense rating in the league and two of the best shooters the Dubs are rolling. The bench has been great too. So much for the Mark Jackson hangover.

  3. San Antonio Spurs: Quietly winning and resting when Pop deems it necessary. Can they stay focused during the long regular season?

  4. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge started slow (for them) but both are in a groove now. Chris Kaman has been what they’ve needed off the bench and there is defense being played in Rip City.

  5. Dallas Mavericks: The offense has been scary good and Chandler Parsons isn’t comfortable yet…yikes!  Oh and welcome back Tyson Chandler, he is officially resurgent.

  6. Los Angeles Clippers: After a 6-1 road trip where they bonded it seems like the Clippers are as good as advertised they could still use a small forward though.

  7. Toronto Raptors: Stomping all over the Eastern Conference but the DeMar DeRozan injury is troublesome. Lou Williams is back to his old ways which makes this team extremely dangerous down the road.

  8. Houston Rockets: Early statistics say the Rockets are playing defense and the offense has regressed but they may take that trade off if the W’s continue to mount. Dwight Howard‘s knee better not be a serious issue however.

  9. Chicago Bulls: If they didn’t have to hold their starting lineup together with gauze and medical tape they could be higher. Nevertheless, what a year Jimmy Butler is having… way to bet on yourself kid 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists so far.

  10. Washington Wizards: They did a great job holding things down while Beal was out and holding serve while Nene does his regular injury thing. John Wall is a leader!

  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: Early struggles have led to LeBron ditching the chalk toss as this teams tries to focus and find a way to compete on the defensive end. Get your licks in now if you are the 29 other teams.

  12. Phoenix Suns: Five guys on this team average double figures and two of them don’t start (Thomas and Green). The balance is remarkable with all five players averaging between 14.4-15.5 points per game but will the lack of a true leader hurt them later?

  13. Miami Heat: Wade has found a way to continue his efficiency (and injuries) while Bosh has been almost as good as expected but the offense lacks movement and the defense isn’t consistent.

  14. Atlanta Hawks: Forever in the middle of the pack, not too bad not too great. They are holding serve while Al Horford rediscovers his mojo, so they have to look forward to.

  15. Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins has officially arrived and so have the Kings in the early going. Darren Collison is proving to be an excellent addition and Sacto has some nice quality wins to begin the season. They might be a year or two ahead of schedule.

  16. Denver Nuggets: After an abysmal start that had many call for the head of Brian Shaw, the Nuggets are the quality team we thought they’d be. Ty Lawson has been a fabulous playmaker powering their recent surge at just over 10 dimes per game on the season.

  17. Milwaukee Bucks: How they are over 500 with an ever changing rotation is beyond our comprehension but Jason Kidd is doing something right and he may make a lot of people eat crow if this continues.

  18. Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook is back, Kevin Durant is on the way and hope springs eternal again for the Thunder. Can the dynamic duo lead this team to an improbable playoff berth after such a woeful start? Stay tuned.

  19. New Orleans Pelicans: The Unibrow is not human but even with other word-like stats the Pelicans aren’t able to fly high enough in the loaded West just yet.

  20. Indiana Pacers: Nobody told the Pacers they were supposed to suck and they’ve held their own despite significant injuries. Back are David West and C.J. Watson and they’ve brought the Pacers hopes for a low seed in the East with them.

  21. Orlando Magic: Vucevic and Harris have been stellar while Victor Oladipo is struggling to find his groove. Still this young core has room to grow and should this season…too bad about Aaron Gordon though.

  22. Brooklyn Nets: So Lionel Hollins hates the fact that Brook Lopez can’t rebound, Andrei Kirilenko hates the fact that Hollins doesn’t play him while Joe Johnson thinks the team is selfish. Hello Brooklyn!

  23. Utah Jazz: This team is very Orlando-like in terms of young pieces trying to grow together. Gordon Hayward is proving to be worth the money to some degree and new head coach Quinn Snyder seems to have the ears of his pups.

  24. Minnesota Timberwolves: They have been ravaged by injuries to Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic but probably wouldn’t be much higher if they were healthy. In the meantime Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine can develop on the fast track… that’s the glass half full approach.

  25. Boston Celtics: Somehow this team is one of the better ones in the league offensively, at least for 3 quarters anyway. Steven’s is still tinkering with rotations and the roster’s ‘evenness’ has not been a positive in any way. The bottom may fall out soon which could finally send Rajon Rondo on his merry way.

  26. New York Knicks: With Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Jose Calderon this team should be better but the triangle has been a disaster in the Big Apple. Amar’e Stoudemire has been serviceable but that might be because he is due a new contract next summer.

  27. Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant with all his basketball knowledge had to know this was coming despite what he says publicly. Byron Scott is demanding more from the roster but there isn’t much juice to the squeeze especially if he wants them to play defense.

  28. Charlotte Hornets: Welp…rumors about Lance Stephenson being shopped have already surfaced as he and Kemba Walker don’t seem to be able to play together. Somebody needs to turn the Hornets back into the Bobcats pronto.

  29. Detroit Pistons: Stan Van Gundy can’t seem to push the right buttons early in the season. Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Jennings have all taken turns being abysmal at some point already. Monroe will now be the sixth man as originally planned as Van Gundy looks for anything that will spark their sluggish start.

  30. Philadelphia 76ers: One of the few teams living up to every expectation that was placed on them. Or would that be living down to expectations? They can’t possibly go 0-82 can they?

This was fun, let’s do this again in a few weeks. Here’s a reward for checking in today:

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