Danny Green Guarding Kevin Durant

NBA Power Rankings: The Nets are Who We Thought They Were

1. Brooklyn Nets (+4)

Record: 10-4

Since last update: 7-1

In the midst of all the James Harden body slander let’s not let it go unnoticed how amazing Kevin Durant is playing. Over the Net’s last 8 games Durant is shooting 60.4% from the floor, and 47.4% from deep resulting in a cool 30.5 points per game. The Nets 3-point shooting advantage over their opponents is the largest in the league. As a team the Nets hold opponents to 31% from three, while converting 39.3% of their own attempts.

2. Golden State Warriors (+3)

Record: 11-2

Since last update: 6-1

Can you say MVP without mentioning Steph Curry? Absolutely not this season. The Warriors have been dominating opponents. They currently rank 1st in assist per game, steals per game, points per game, three pointers made per game, limiting opponents’ offensive rebounds per game, effective field goal percentage and margin of victory. The list of accolades could go on but when you look at Golden State with Curry on the floor, they outscore opponents by 18 points per 100 possessions. Without Curry they have a -0.51 net rating against opponents.

3. Phoenix Suns (+15)

Record: 9-3

Since Last Update: 7-0

Despite the Ayton absences the Suns have been rolling lately. Having a few easy games against Houston, Sacramento and New Orleans helps but the Suns still took care of business against the Hawks, Grizzles and Blazers. Over their last 7 games Phoenix is winning by an average margin of 13.5 points. At the end of October Phoenix was in the bottom third in the league in both offensive and defensive rating. Now they are 6th in both categories.

4. Denver Nuggets (+/-0)

Record: 9-4

Since Last Update: 5-2

Markieff Morris is not the only one getting body slammed by Nikola Jokic. In November Jokic has averaged 26.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.4 stocks, and just 2.8 turnovers. That has Denver rolling over opponents wining by roughly 7 points per contest this month. Additionally, rookie guard Bones Hyland has come on strong lately, scoring in double figures for the Nuggets’ last three games. It sure looks like Denver found a Murray patch.

5. Miami Heat (-4)

Record: 8-5

Since Last Update: 3-4

The Heat have returned to earth with their defensive rating declining from 4th when we last did these rankings to 9th. They also were without Jimmy Butler for a pair of games so that does not help. What I am more concerned with is the Heat inability to create offensive late in close games. During the fourth quarter of the Clippers game only Kyle Lowry seemed capable of finding a way to score as he rattled off 22 points.

6. Chicago Bulls (-4)

Record: 9-4

Since Last Update: 4-3

Chicago’s big off-season over pay seems to be paying off. In November DeMar DeRozan has averaged 28.1 points on 54% fg%, 41.2% 3P% and 85.7% FT%. It is a little hard to gage the impact of losing Nikola Vucevic. Through the teams first 11 game Vu has been pretty solid defensively maintaining a 101 defensive rating. He also has led the Bulls in assist per game. His replacement Tony Bradley however is a significantly better defender. He may be able to keep the Bulls winning on that end of the court as they are currently 7th in defensive rating.

7. Utah Jazz (-4)

Record: 8-5

Since Last Update: 4-4

Utah still has no answer for when Mike Conley sits. They have been resting the elderly guard on the second nights of back to backs but unless Trent Forrest or Jared Butler really shows something that might not be enough. Without Conley or Mitchell on the court the Jazz are struggling to stop penetration making it harder for Gobert to control the middle. The other Jazz also seem incapable of hitting the best lob target in the league leaving Utah with a -7.8 net rating in just Gobert minutes.

8. Washington Wizards (-2)

Record: 9-3

Since Last Update: 4-2

Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell are averaging a combined 31.7 points per game and 14.3 rebounds per game in the month of November. Neither has been consistent but they have both come through in big moments for the Wizards. Washington continues to win against other Eastern play in teams which could have big implications for their late season’s standings. It may be unsustainable but the Wizards have been closing out to 3-point shooters exceptionally well limiting opponents to 29.5% from deep against them.

9. Cleveland Cavaliers (+4)

Record: 9-5

Since Last Update: 6-1

The Cleveland Cavaliers are must see TV. In a growing sample size, the quartet of Rubio, Garland, Allen and Mobley are continuing to stretch out leads over opponents. In 104 possessions they are outscoring opponents by 15.72 points per 100 possessions. Bickerstaff wanted Spanish National team Rubio and he got him. Against the Knicks Rubio dropped 37 points on 8 for 9 from three while also dishing out 10 assists.

10. Los Angeles Clippers (+14)

Record: 8-5

Since Last Update: 7-1

Playing Minnesota three times and Oklahoma City once is bound to improve anyone’s record, but the Clippers have started to look much better. In their win against the Miami Heat, the Clippers showed their veteran chops coming back from a significant defecate. The Heat were missing Jimmy Butler but this is exactly what the clippers need. They need to catch a few early breaks and remain in the playoff picture in case of Kawhi returning.

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11. Dallas Mavericks (+11)

Record: 8-4

Since Last Update: 5-2

Dallas’s offensive rating has grown by leaps and bounds from being 98.1 per 100 possessions on 10/31 to 106.6 per 100 possessions now. Where you see it most is in the Mavs lack of Turnovers. They are currently leading the league with the fewest turnovers per game at just 12.7. Luka is still averaging over 4 a game but their other high usage guards and wings, Hardaway Jr, Finney-Smith, and Brunson combine for just 3.2 turnovers per game.

12. Charlotte Hornets (-3)

Record: 8-7

Since Last Update: 4-5

After a few questioning words from James Borrego about LaMelo’s performance against the Lakers, Ball has responded strong. First against Memphis the sophomore put up 25 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. Against New York he did the dirty work picking off 5 steals to go along with 17 boards and 9 dimes. Then again against Golden State he put up large albeit inefficient numbers with 24 points and 10 assists. If these games continue expect LaMelo to be an all-star this season.

13. Indiana Pacers (+12)

Record: 6-8

Since Last Update: 5-2

Indiana is progressing toward being fully healthy. Against Philadelphia they were able to play 4 of their 5 established fringe all-star players together for just the second time all season. There remains no definitive time table for Warrens return but the quartet of Turner, Sabonis, LeVert and Brogdon has been magnificent on the court together in 29 minutes of action they outscored their opponents by 28.57 points per 100 possessions.

14. Milwaukee Bucks (-6)

Record: 6-8

Since Last Update: 3-5

Milwaukee is trying their best to tread water right now. They have been without Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez all month and only just got Jrue Holiday back on the 5th. As a team the Bucks have been off to a pour start but individually Giannis is looking almost up to his norm, averaging 26.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6 assists per game. The Bucks get to play Orlando twice as well as the Thunder and in Pistons in their next 5 games. Expect them to surge back a little.

15. Los Angeles Lakers (+/-0)

Record: 8-6

Since Last Update: 5-3

The Lakers have squeaked out wins over the Rockets, Hornets, Heat and Spurs this month. Hardly a murders row but also not completely tanking fodder. It is clear the Lakers still need to gel and figure out how to play together the only question is can they? For all the love Carmelo received for a few hot games LAL is still negative with him on the court and his hot games are quickly followed by abysmal ones. Like when he shot 7 for 10 from three against Charlotte then followed that up by going 1-5 against Miami and 1-8 against Minnesota.

16. Toronto Raptors (-5)

Record: 7-7

Since Last Update: 3-4

The Raptors are 0-3 with Pascal back in the line up and the play has been problematic. Thus far Pascal has played the majority of his minutes at the center position leaving Toronto very small up front. They are leading the league in deflections per game and give up the second fewest rebounds to opponents but if you can get a shot off near the basket it’s likely going in.

17. Boston Celtics (+3)

Record: 6-7

Since Last Update: 4-3

I think we all expected to see Boston go small more this season playing both Schroder and Smart along side Brown and Tatum with on of the bigs. Thus far we have only seen those four shares the court for 61 minutes and guess what? It’s incredibly effective. Even without Brown who is likely to miss another week it’s still very effective. Boston will look to close out the month strong with a few easy games against the Thunder, Spurs and Rockets but they will be tested by Cleveland, Toronto, and Brooklyn.

18. Philadelphia 76ers (-2)

Record: 8-6

Since Last Update: 4-4

Philadelphia really needed Embiid during this last stretch going 0-4 against the Knicks, Bucks, Raptors and Pacers while Joel is absent for health and safety protocols. What is surprising is how competitive each of those games were without Embiid for all 4, Harris for 2 and Curry for 1. Tyrese Maxey has stepped up averaging 26 points on 51.9% shooting from the floor, 50% shooting from three, and 92.9% from the line. If this leap sustains itself, Philly might be able to accept less for Simmons and still be contenders.

19. Memphis Grizzlies (-7)

Record: 6-7

Since Last Update: 3-4

After averaging 28.7 points per game in October Ja Morant is down to 24.0 in November and just like that the Grizzlies have fallen back to Earth. Their defensive is failing to disrupt anyone’s offense. They are 29th in defensive rating, 29th in opponents 3-point percentage and give up the most assists per game to opponents. Memphis gives a fair amount of time to Adams and Tillman without Jackson Jr and these lineups are among the worst defensively. Adams without JJJ gives up 122.96 points per 100 possessions while Tillman without JJJ gives up 119.54.

20. New York Knicks (-13)

Record: 7-6

Since Last Update: 2-5

After a magical first year in New York for Thibs the honeymoon seems like it is over. Coach Thibodeau recently benched his starters for the fourth quarter. A rare move for a coach who is known for never giving players a break. However, when the Rose Gibson duo is outscoring opponents by 13 points per 100 possessions and the Walker Randle duo is getting outscored by 14 points per 100 possessions its pretty clear something needs to change.

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21. Oklahoma City Thunder (+7)

Record: 5-7

Since Last Update: 4-2

It might not be much but Oklahoma City’s 4 game win streak was already larger than any they had last season. The Thunder are putting a tremendous amount of pressure on defenses with their steady driving attack. Oklahoma currently leads the league 12.2 more drives than the second-place team. That is the same difference between the number of drives the 2nd highest drive team, the Kings and 17th highest drive team have. Only problem is they average 7 fewer points and a lower assist percentage than the Kings off of drives.

22. Atlanta Hawks (-3)

Record: 5-9

Since Last Update: 2-6

Let’s not overreact to how bad the Hawks have been. The Hawks are currently 28th in defensive rating while forcing the fewest turnovers per game in the league this season. However, they are still top 10 in offense. Trae Young is matching or improved on all his numbers from last season and the Hawks recent 6 game losing streak contained 5 road games and match ups with the Nets, Suns, Warriors, Nuggets and two against the Jazz. With the Magic, Thunder and Spurs on the horizon this ship could get righted quickly.

23. Portland Trailblazers (-6)

Record: 6-8

Since Last Update: 3-6

News out of Portland keeps getting worse for the Blazers. Damian Lillard’s early season struggles may have been from an abdominal injury which has now reached the point where he will need to sit out. This may help Portland as the typically great scorer has been unable to score efficiently posting a 48.3% true shooting percentage, the lowest of his career, and attempting just 3.4 free throws per game, also the lowest of his career. Portland is looking at a tougher schedule to end the month. Do not be surprised to see them go 3-5 to close November.

24. Orlando Magic (-6)

Record: 3-10

Since Last Update: 2-4

Orlando has the statically best starting 5 in basketball. Bamba, Carter, Anthony, Suggs and Wagner are outscoring opponents by 15.18 points per 100 possessions then hitting that post game interview with the swagger of a playoff team. Only problem is the minute one of those guys comes off they crumble. Without Wagner their net rating drops to -13.81, without Suggs -16.28, and without Cole Anthony -48.39.

25. San Antonio Spurs (-2)

Record: 4-9

Since Last Update: 2-5

Although we here at Temple have as much respect for coach Pop as anyone, we really wish someone else was coaching the Spurs if for no other reason than to try super small ball. San Antonio is without Jakob Poeltl and Zach Collins. They are even without rookie Jock Landale but are still insistent on playing Drew Eubanks as their starting traditional 5. We want nothing more than a Murrey, White, Walker, Johnson, Vassell line up. Is that line up all 6’5” or smaller? Yes, but what do the Spurs have to lose? Another game to the Thunder.

26. Sacramento Kings (-5)

Record: 5-8

Since Last Update: 2-6

Sacramento remains too guard heavy to have consistent minutes for anyone. Which is worse, the Kings most played line up has just 93 minutes together or that they have a negative 2.5-point differential per 100 possessions? Sham is now reporting that Walton could be on the hot seat, a much-anticipated move but you have to have some sympathy for him Holmes fouled out in 18 minutes against the Spurs. Leaving Walton to try and patch the center spot together with Alex Len, Tristan Thompson and Damian Jones.

27. Detroit Pistons (+1)

Record: 3-9

Since Last Update: 2-5

Cade Cunningham has joined the Pistons on the court at least physically. Mentally it appears he is still letting things play out. Cade has appeared very passive, often giving the up-lead play making duties to Killian Hayes. He shows some solid flashes of play making and shot creation and it is clear he is very cerebral. Cade very well may just be evaluating who he wants to see on the team next season.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (-14)

Record: 4-8

Since Last Update: 1-6

Easy come, easy go. The Wolves looked so great to start this year playing two solid defenders next to their big(?) three. If the early hesitancy from officials to call fouls harmed Trae Young and James Harden it benefited the Wolves. With the officiating starting to regress to the mean the Wolves fouling propensity leaps off the page. They foul opponents 22.4 times per game. By comparison the league leading Cavs only foul opponents 15.8 times per game. Jaden McDaniels who started strong as a stopper averaged 4.9 fouls per game November.

29. New Orleans Pelicans (-3)

Record: 2-12

Since Last Update: 1-6

Missing Zion is devastating. Missing Zion and Brandon Ingram is inspiring for all the wrong reasons. Without Ingram the Pelicans dropped 7 straights. Is it too early to talk about shutting everyone down? Probably the Pelicans have been getting great performances from Jonas Valanciunas who has averaged 19.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per game since October, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker who has scored over 15 points in 5 of the Pelicans last 6.

30. Houston Rockets (-3)

Record: 1-12

Since Last Update: 0-8

Going 0-8 is brutal, extending it out to their current 11 game losing streak is worse. However, it is not as if the Rockets lost to a lot of sub.500 teams. Aside from Detroit the other 10 losses came against quality opponents who are expected to at least challenge for the second round of the playoffs. What is worrisome to see is Jalen Green has really struggled. He is shooting 35.6% from the floor, 23.5% from three and racking up 4 turnovers per game over Houston’s last 8.

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NBA Power Rankings: 10/31/21 Update

1. Miami Heat

Record: 5-1

There are only two teams with top 5 offensive and defensive ratings. Miami is 4th offensively putting up 112.2 points per 100 possessions but they are crushing teams on defense. On the blue collar side of the court Miami is limiting opponents including Milwaukee and Brooklyn to 95.5 points per 100 possessions.

2. Chicago Bulls

Record: 5-1

Chicago’s defense may be real. Lonzo, Caruso and Javonte Green have been bringing a ton of pressure on opposing guards and wings. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan have been keeping up with their man and not being sieves. However, the biggest shocker is Nikola Vucevic. Donovan has got Vu sliding, staying straight up when contesting and staying back. Chicago has enough length to go over screens and chase shooters in. If Vu stands at the rim Brook Lopez style he just might be a positive defender.

3. Utah Jazz

Record: 4-1

Despite having a top 5 offense and defense, is anyone else starting to be a little worry about Quinn Snyder’s rotations? Utah’s one loss came against the Chicago Bulls without Mike Conley in the lineup, and still Snyder staggered Gobert and Mitchell almost the entire game. There are a lot of sub replacement level players playing a solid number of minutes for Utah.

4. Denver Nuggets

Record: 4-2

Nikola Jokic has meant everything to Denver early on. Building off his MVP year the 62-year-old Serbian is scoring more efficiently than ever while pulling in an extra 4 rebounds per game more than his 2020-21 averages. Michael porter Jr has struggled to find his shot leaving Aaron Gordon as the Nuggets secondary offensive creator. With Jokic and Porter taking the size and the length of opponents Defenses, Gordon has been looking to exploit smaller match ups in the post or take slower match ups off the dribble.

5. Golden State Warriors

Record: 5-1

The Warriors came to play. The motion offense is back and looking good. Even in an off-night Curry has shown his value being a cutter, distracting the defense to give Damion Lee open looks. Jordan Poole hype has died down a bit but he has looked like a solid rotation piece who is trying to do too much. New comer Bjelica has seemed to have found the right spot. Playing the back up 5 role, Nemanja looks a little like San Antonio Spurs Era Boris Diaw out there dishing rebounding and scoring.

6. Washington Wizards

Record: 5-1

Washington is by far having the best start to their season they could hope for. Picking up wins against Toronto, Indiana, Atlanta and a pair against Boston sets Washington up to great in potentially avoiding the play in round. More over the way the have been winning looks sustainable. Dinwiddie and Beal have been making great work using Harrell in the pick and roll. Washington has seemed comfortable playing small since the Gafford injury Bertans has been acting as a back up 5.

7. New York Knicks

Record: 5-1

New York is letting it fly from deep and there is no reason to stop them. Attempts have come down since the first week of the season when they were attempting more 3s than 2s but the percentages are still league leading. As a team the Knickerbockers are hitting 40.7% of their 3s. Kemba walker has been especially on fire converting 57.9% of his deep shots which more than makes up for the loss of sharp shooter Reggie Bullock.

8. Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 3-3

Milwaukee has been going through it with a number of key rotational players on the sideline. They were forced into starting two Antetokounmpo recently and sadly the second one was not a Giannis clone. When everyone was healthy against Brooklyn Milwaukee looked great. They appear deeper and more poised coming off a championship.

9. Charlotte Hornets

Record: 4-2

The Terry Rozier injury may have been a blessing in disguise. Charlotte’s starting line up of LaMelo, Bridges, Hayward, Oubre, and Plumlee offered 4 switchable defenders who can guard 1-4 and a solid team defender who protects the basket. That line up also more than makes up for their lack of top end speed by having some brilliant passing. Once Ball or Hayward gets the ball they put it ahead so quickly it puts a ton of pressure on opposing teams to get back after a shot.

10. Brooklyn Nets

Record: 3-3

Changing the foul rules has seemed to really affect James Harden. The three-time scoring champion is now 42nd in points per game. Harden’s struggle to the to the line under the new rules has resulted in him not getting into his normal shooting rhyme. Harden is hitting just 37.1% of his shots from the floor. Not since his rookie tear has Harden hit less than 43% from the floor.

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11. Toronto Raptors

Record: 4-3

The limbs in Toronto are enough to take anyone out of their element. Gary Trent Jr and Fred VanVleet are two of the best guards at getting deflections or tipping the ball loose. The combo forwards OG and Scottie are able to switch and defend anyone on the floor most games. Precious is still raw but has added a three pointer and the confidence to dribble coast to coast.

12. Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 3-3

Ja Morant is in the top 5 in points in the paint. He simply cannot be stopped. The way he burned Anthony Davis off switches made some wonder if Davis is nursing an injury. The spacing from Melton and Bane has been crucial as the two have combined for 30 threes in the Grizzlies first 6 games. One player who cannot space, Steven Adams has had a huge impact following Ja into the lane. Adams is pulling in 4.7 offensive rebounds per game due to Ja’s distraction.

13. Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 3-4

Bring back the bigs! We at Temple are all for a three 7’er line up. Mobley is bound to make a few rookie mistakes but against the Lakers he went toe to toe with Davis a number of times and came out the victor. Lauri may not have the fastest feet but Allen and Mobley do a nice job having one of them stepping up to help while the other protects the paint.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves

Record: 3-2

A lot can be said about the offensive fire power of Towns, Russell and Edwards but the bigger surprise has been the defense for Minnesota. Jared Vanderbilt Josh Okogie, and Jaden McDaniels have been phenomenal on that end of the floor. McDaniels started off the season by swatting a pair of shots and racking up 4 steals. If they can continue this play Minnesota will shock a lot of people.

15. Los Angeles Lakers

Record: 3-3

The Lakers are living and dying on whether Carmelo Anthony has a good game or not. Los Angeles has no spacing when Westbrook plays next to Dwight, Jordan or Rondo. Vogel has begun tampering with the starters. Mayne that will help. They have an incredibly easy schedule up coming so do not be surprised to see them rattle off wins in 5 of their next 8 games.

16. Philadelphia 76ers

Record: 2-3

Philadelphia desperately needs a ball handling distributor. It is not that players are being selfish. The ball just sticks. It is not being swung side to side. No one is gathering the team up to run an offense or feed the big man. Only Tobias Harris averages more than 4 assists and the 76ers are 28th in the league in assist per game. It is no surprise that Joel Embiid has gotten off to a slow start averaging the fewest points since his rookie season.

17. Portland Trailblazers

Record: 3-2

Similar to last season CJ McCollum has gotten off to a very hot starts and is seemingly carrying Portland. Also similar to last season, Portland seems to be a middle of the pack playoff team. Larry Nance Jr has had a smaller than expected role. Little and Simons have yet to break out. Even lasts season’s big acquisition Norm Powell has off to a slow start missing a few games.

18. Phoenix Suns

Record: 2-3

This has not been the start Phoenix was hoping for after their Finals run. It is worth mentioning that Booker did not have much of an off season jettisoning from the Finals to the Olympics but he is really struggling. The normally sharper shooter is hitting just 28.6% of his threes. Phoenix’s starters which were one of the better 5 man units last season have posted a negative 9.3 points per 100 possessions this season.

19. Atlanta Hawks

Record: 3-3

Among those most affected by the rule reinterpretations is Trae Young. After averaging 8.7 free throw attempts per game lasts season Young is attempting just 4.3 this season. Cam Reddish has helped picking up the slack but his emergence has come at the cost of Kevin Huerter. For those expecting big things from Atlanta in Nate McMillan’s first full year as a head coach you may have to keep waiting. Their next few games are all against top teams.

20. Boston Celtics

Record: 2-4

Can we make “bing Bong” official slang for beating someone in double overtime? As in the Knicks bing bonged Boston, or “the Wizards bing bonged Boston.” Boston has been holding game close but is struggling to close. Their offense seems to have stalled into a stagnated your turn my turn between Brown and Tatum. Ime Udoku has his work cut out for him getting that to change.

21. Sacramento Kings

Record: 3-2

With so many teams going deep into their roster early Sacramento’s rotation looks a bit funny. Walton must be coaching for his job because he is keeping the rotation very tight. Only 7 guys have played in all 5 games, only 10 players have played in more than 2 games. Keep an eye on the Kings for a mid-season trade. They have so many rotations level guards but no bigs and it shows. Opponents are averaging 49.8 rebounds against the Kings, 5th most this season.

22. Dallas Mavericks

Record: 3-2

It is one thing to be a player friendly coach. It is another thing to steal from Jim Boylen and have a leadership council of player, who have been granted the authority to pick Dwight Powell as a starter and have all 15 players play. This is not elementary basketball when you want to play every player so their parents get a chance to cheer for them. Jason Kidd needs to take the reigns or hand them off to actual coach soon before the Mavs waste a year of Doncic’s career.

23. San Antonio Spurs

Record: 2-4

The Spurs have the ball clicking around the court. Currently they are 2nd in team assist per game in large part due to Murray’s development distributing the ball. Offensively 6 games in and they have 6 players averaging double figures. With so many high performing younger players the Spurs seem poised for a big trade should Philly be willing to take back less than and all-star for Ben Simmons. That is if the Spurs even want him.

24. Los Angeles Clippers

Record: 1-4

It is clear we are not going to get the season of playoff Terrance Mann and Reggie Jackson. Mann has almost regressed and Jackson cannot find the basket. Throwing up 9.6 three-point attempts per game and making just 29.2% of them is for sure making Clippers fans want to throw up too. Still Los Angeles has had a hard opening start. With games against the Thunder and Timberwolves next week we will see hope Los Angeles rebounds.

25. Indiana Pacers

Record: 1-6

In one sense the Pacers’ record is not as bad as you might think. Indiana feels destine to drop close games. The Pacers with a 1-6 have a -4.2-point differential on the season. By comparison the Brooklyn Nets are 3-3 with a -4.3-point differential. In another sense their record is far worse. All 6 losses came against Eastern Conference teams including Charlotte, Washington and two against Toronto, all teams which Indiana hope to be in a pack with come play in time.

26. New Orleans Pelicans

Record: 1-6

CopyRemember when Griffin tried to gaslight on media day saying that everyone was going to make a big deal about Zion Williamson having off season surgery? It seems like it is a big deal now. The off-season acquisitions aside from Valanciunas have not been great. Satoransky and Temple are hardly in the rotation. Devonte Graham is chucking the 11th most threes per game while making just 36% of them.

27. Houston Rockets

Record: 1-4

It has been a rougher welcome to the NBA than anyone saw coming for Jalen Green. Aside from a 30-point outing against Boston the prized rookie has scored 41 points in his other 4 appearances with absolutely horrendous shooting splits. He went 0-8 from three against Utah in his last outing. Still, you have to admire his aggression and Christian Wood has been filling out the stat sheet.

28. Detroit Pistons

Record: 1-4

Is Kelly Olynyk arguably the best Piston? Probably not but the fact that it is an arguable point does not fill anyone with hope. The Pistons offense is dead last in the league at this point and they are 24th in turnover frequency. Number 1 draft pick Cade Cunningham had an underwhelming first game. If the plan was to be bad and try to add another top 3 pick then everything is going to plan.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder

Record: 1-6

Aside from that giddy feeling Thunder fans have from watching their latest top 10 pick there is not too much excitement in Oklahoma City. Pokusevski and Bazley have not improved form last year. Dort cannot seem to find the basket this season. All that to say Oklahoma is right on pace for a lot of ping pong balls.

30. Orlando Magic

Record: 1-6

For being bad, Orlando has some fun in their rotation. Starting both Wendell Carter and Mo Bama harkens back to the poorest possible version of twin towers lines. Still, it is fun to see the two of them share the court without being overly clunky. Cole Anthony commands the floor and puts pressure on the defense better than expected thus far. If he continues to develop he could be an above average starter.

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Podcast host for Hoops Temple and blogger for Temple Entertainment and Media. Studied Kinesiology with an emphasis on sports psychology and coaching basketball at Michigan State University. Coached at the High School level for 8 seasons.

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