The first week of the NBA did not disappoint and it further proved that this league is very balanced and very competitive. Every NBA season there will be some surprise teams and some disappointing teams and this year is no different. Here are where all 30 teams stand after a full week of the NBA season.
The Charlotte Hornets were known to be one of the worst teams entering this season and so far the results have not been pretty. They have put up a fight in almost every game for about three quarters, but as most know, there are four quarters in an NBA game. Devonte’ Graham has been a great surprise for them this year averaging 18.7 PPG. Terry Rozier continues to shoot poorly (40% from the field), Nicolas Batum will be out for a while with a finger injury, and Malik Monk has been a huge disappointment thus far. They won their first game of the season, but have lost their last three by a combined 56 points. It will be a long year for the Hornets, but if Graham, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges continue to play well, at least Hornets fans will have some hope for the future.
29. New York Knicks (25)
I was one of the few people out there who gave the Knicks some hope and boy was I wrong. They have started the season 1-3 and have not looked that great. They are 25th in Net Rating and Offensive rating which is a recipe for failure. Taj Gibson and Dennis Smith Jr have not contributed anything to this team and Julius Randle has not been as good as most would think after coming off a career year. There have been some positives though. RJ Barrett is looking like he could be a future star, and Bobby Portis led the Knicks to their first win against the Bulls on Monday. The Knicks lost their first two games by a combined 13 points before getting blown out against the Celtics. While there is still hope, it looks like this might be another lottery bound season for the Knicks.
The Chicago Bulls were supposed to be in the fight for the 8th seed, but so far they have lost to the Hornets, and Knicks. Tomas Satoransky and Kris Dunn have a combined 10.6 PPG, Otto Porter is averaging less than 10 PPG, and they are 22nd in overall net rating. They are also the second worst 3 point shooting team in the entire league in terms of shooting percentage (27.5%) Some positives are that they are 16th in defensive rating which is way better than last year and their young core of Zach Lavine, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr, and Lauri Markkanen have all looked pretty good thus far. It is the Eastern conference, so their playoff hopes are alive, but they can no longer lose to opponents such as the Knicks and the Hornets.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (29)
Tristan Thompson has been very good so far for the Cavaliers this season. He is averaging 19.3 PPG and 12.3 RPG. Darius Garland has not been that spectacular, Kevin Love has taken a step back, but Collin Sexton is looking like the point guard of the future in Cleveland. They lost to the Magic and Bucks, but beat the Pacers behind Thompson’s 25 points. Defense was supposed to be an issue for the Cavs, but so far they rank 15th in defensive rating. This should still end up being a long season for Cleveland as they do still rank 23rd in overall net rating. There could be some fun losses though if Thompson continues to play at this rate and Sexton continues to ball out.
26. Sacramento Kings (15)
The Kings were supposed to be on of the competitive teams in a loaded Western Conference, but so far they have been extremely disappointing. They are dead last in net rating (-19), 2nd to last in offensive rating, and 27th in defensive rating. Yikes. That is a recipe for disaster. They lost by double digits in three out of their four games this year. Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon have contributed next to nothing on this team. Their two best players. Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox, are both shooting below 40% on the season. Harrison Barnes, who they signed to a 4 year $85 Million dollar deal, is averaging 11 points. The only positive for the Kings thus far has been Richaun Holmes who is putting up 10.3 PPG on 63% shooting. Marvin Bagley III is out for the next 4-6 weeks which is a huge blow to this team. Sorry Kings fans, it looks like you might go back to being the laughing stock of the league yet again.
25. Memphis Grizzlies (28)
Ja Morant looks like the Rookie of the Year favorite and Jae Crowder hit a nice game winning three in overtime against the Nets on Sunday night. Besides that, the Grizzlies have not been that good. They are 26th in Net Rating, 25th in offensive rating, and 22nd in defensive rating. The young core of Jaren Jackson Jr, Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, and Dillon Brooks look like they could be a very nice group to build around. They need some more production from Jonas Valanciunas, Tyus Jones, and Kyle Anderson who earn a combined $33 Million and have produced nothing close to those numbers. The Grizzlies however will not be an easy opponent and you expect them to put up a fight every night and they could also be a league pass favorite due to Ja Morant’s excellence.
24. Indiana Pacers (9)
The Pacers entered the 2019-20 season as a team that most believed would be competitive, but so far they are the exact opposite. Entering Tuesday, The Pacers are dead last in the Eastern conference. They are 25th in Net rating, 24th in defensive rating, 22nd in offensive rating and 30th in rebounds per game. Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner are all living up to their contracts so far, but TJ Warren and Jeremy Lamb are both shooting under 40% on their new teams. Victor Oladipo is still hurt and will definitely make this team a whole lot better, but the Pacers need to stay around .500 before he returns in order for them to have a shot to be competitive in the East.
23. Pelicans (14)
I was very high on the Pelicans entering the season even after the fact that Zion got hurt. So far, they are 0-4 and continue to struggle closing out games. Brandon Ingram has played extremely well for them so far and so has Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. Jrue Holiday has extremely struggled thus far and JJ Redick and Derrick Favors have not been living up to their expectations. They rank 24th in Net Rating and 29th in defensive rating, but their offense is 5th in the league in points per game. If Jrue Holiday can go back to being his star self and JJ Redick can knock down shots at a better rate than 31%, this team can start to creep back into 8th seed contention.
22. Oklahoma City Thunder (21)
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been more competitive so far this season than most expected. They are the 5th best defensive team in terms of defensive rating in the whole NBA, however they are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has shown a huge improvement in his game (23.8 PPG), Danilo Gallinari continues to do Danilo Gallinari things, and Dennis Schroder has played very good as well. On the negative side however, Chris Paul, Steven Adams, and Terrance Ferguson have all been disappointing. The Thunder have been close in almost every game this season, but a lottery finish seems like the most likely finish for them. Shai’s development is a very good sign for the Thunder who may have found their Point guard of the future.
21. Orlando Magic (22)
The Orlando Magic have been close in every game thus far and the reemergence of Markelle Fultz is very good news. Nikola Vucevic has not been good thus far in his first season of his 4 year $100M contract, Terrance Ross is shooting under 30%, Al-Farouq Aminu has provided next to nothing, and Aaron Gordon is averaging 7 PPG. Those are not ingrediants to make the playoffs again. The good news for the Magic is that amidst all of those struggles, they have made every game close so far. Evan Fournier has by far been the best player so far and Jonathan Isaac has been very solid. They have the second best defense in the league in terms of defensive rating, but are dead last in offensive rating. If Vucevic, Ross, Gordon, and Aminu can duplicate their performances from last year and keep up this incredible defense, the playoffs will not seem that far fetched.
20. Washington Wizards (27)
Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards were supposed to be near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but so far they have been kind of good. Beal is struggling so far, averaging 20 PPG on 30% shooting from the field. Rui Hachimura is looking like a promising piece for the future for the Wizards and Isaiah Thomas looked very good in his Wizards debut. The role players have played pretty good too as Moritz Wagner, Thomas Bryant, Davis Bertans, and Ish Smith are all averaging above 10 PPG on decent shooting percentages. This team is young and full of role players so I do not expect them to be this good all year long, but so far they are in the middle in almost every category.
19. Golden State Warriors (7)
Stephen Curry and company were supposed to be in the midst of the Western conference, but so far they have been a complete disaster. They are 28th in net rating, 30th in defensive rating, and 25th in field goal percentage. Stephen Curry is still playing pretty good, D’Angelo Russell is seeing his numbers drop from last year, and Jordan Poole has not been efficient whatsoever. Draymond Green does Draymond Green things, but he also said that his team sucked and Steve Kerr said after a blowout loss to the Clippers that this is the new realty for the Warriors. Klay Thompson will most likely not return this season and it has become a real possibility that the Warriors will miss the playoffs for the first time under Steve Kerr.
18. Detroit Pistons (17)
All two wins for the Pistons this season have come against the Pacers and their two losses have been against the Hawks and 76ers who have both been playing really well to start the season. Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond have been terrific so far and Luke Kennard continues his growth into the shooting guard of the future for the Pistons. They are the second best three point shooting team and they are 21st in net rating and defensive rating, and 14th in offensive rating. Reggie Jackson and Thon Maker have been huge disappointments so far, averaging a combined 6.8 PPG which is awful. Blake Griffin is still out, which is a huge blow, but when he comes back and Rose, Drummond, and Kennard play like they have, the Pistons could finish as a top 4 seed in the East.
17. Phoenix Suns (26)
Every year it is almost written in stone that the Suns will be bad and miss the playoffs, but this year the Suns are completely different. Under the guidance of new head coach Monty Williams, this Suns team looks like they could fight for a playoff spot and give the opponent a run for their money every night. They are 3rd in net rating, 6th in defensive rating, and 5th in free throw %. Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre Jr have been their best two players so far and Aron Baynes, Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky, Jevon Carter, and Ricky Rubio have all been very good. The bad news for Suns fan though is Deandre Ayton being suspended 25 games due to testing positive to a banned substance. This Suns team is one of the best that they have fielded in years, and finally Suns fans will have a reason to tune in to games every night.
16. Brooklyn Nets (13)
Kyrie Irving has been off to an absolutely incredible start, but there is no I in team. Kyrie and Caris Levert have been the stars so far for Brooklyn, but outside of them, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Taurean Prince, there is a huge drop off. Kyrie averages 26.3 field goals attempted per game which is prime Kobe numbers. They are 16th in net rating, 18th in defensive rating, and 8th in offensive rating. DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen have produced next to nothing and Dinwiddie and Prince are both shooting under 40% so far. Kyrie has been spectacular so far, but with losses to the Grizzlies and Timberwolves and a narrow win over the Knicks, he is going to need to rely on his teammates in order to finish in the top 5 in the East.
15. Atlanta Hawks (20)
Trae Young has emerged as a star so far and he is leading his team to a very impressive start to the season. Some viewed the Hawks as a team that could surprise people, but so far they look like a legit team. Trae is averaging 34 PPG and John Collins is only averaging 14 PPG, but he is shooting an effective 54% from the field. Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, and Alex Len have all struggled so far this season, but Jabari Parker, Deandre’ Bembry, De’Andre Hunter, and Bruno Fernando have all played well. The Hawks are 9th in net rating and 8th in defensive rating which is very impressive. They won’t win the championship, but this team is very fun to watch and will be the team to beat in a couple years.
14. Miami Heat (19)
Kendrick Nunn has lead the Heat to a 2-1 start. That is not a sentence anyone was expecting to say. Nunn was an undrafted free agent who is making every team who passed on him look foolish. Goran Dragic, Justice Winslow, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Derrick Jones Jr have all been very good and have played their roles very well. They are 11th in net rating, 10th in defensive rating, and 13th in offensive rating. All of this has happened without their star Jimmy Butler who has been out due to the birth of his daughter. This Miami team is scary good and could prove a lot of doubters, including me, wrong.
13. Dallas Mavericks (18)
Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic have proved that they are a dominant duo now and will probably be the best duo in the future. Their supporting cast has been decent, but Tim Hardaway Jr has been very disappointing averaging 7.7 PPG on 27.3% shooting. Delon Wright, Seth Curry, Jalen Brunson, and Maxi Kleber have all played their roles very well. The Mavs are 4th in offensive rating, 14th in net rating, and 19th in defensive rating. They are one of the worst 3 point shooting teams however, but as long as Doncic and Porzingis are in a Mavericks uniform, they will be a threat every night. The duo has a combined 55.6 PPG which is the highest in the NBA.
12. Portland Trail Blazers (10)
After a 2-2 start, The Trail Blazers already find themselves 10th in the West. Their two losses came against the Nuggets and Spurs who are both still undefeated and their two wins came against the Kings (who aren’t that great), and Mavericks (after a controversial call near the end of the game). Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are still among the best back courts in the entire NBA, Hassan Whiteside has been very good so far, and Rodney Hood has played solid. Kent Bazemore has struggled a lot, and Anthony Tolliver is delivering next to nothing. The Blazers are 17th in net rating and defensive rating, and 12th in offensive rating. So far they have been an average team and not a team that could make the Western Conference Finals for the 2nd straight year.
11. San Antonio Spurs (16)
Never count out a Greg Poppovich led team. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge continue to lead the way for the Spurs, but they have gotten huge contributions form Bryn Forbes, Dejoiunte Murray, and Derrick White. The Spurs bench has been pretty decent as well, besides Marco Bellineli and Trey Lyles who haven’t really been game changers. The Spurs are 10th in net rating, 2nd in offensive rating, but 20th in defensive rating. Still, the Spurs are 3-0 and they look like they are on their way to yet another playoff appearance.
10. Houston Rockets (8)
The James Harden and Russel Westbrook experiment has delivered interesting results. They are 2-1 on the season with narrow wins over the Thunder and Pelicans. James Harden is shooting 28.6%, but Westbrook is shooting 50%. Harden is struggling so far, but Westbrook has been amazing. PJ Tucker, Clint Capela, and Danuel House have been really good, while Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, Thabo Sefolosha, Tyson Chandler, and Ben Mclemore have been struggling. It is good news for Rockets fans that they are winning even though Harden is really struggling. The Rockets are 19th in net rating, 23rd in defensive rating, and 7th in offensive rating. If the Rockets can improve on the defensive end and get Eric Gordon back to his 6th man of the year self, the Rockets can be put back in the convo for best in the West.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves (23)
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been one of the best teams in basketball. That is not something i expected to say in the preseason. Karl-Anthony Towns is playing out of his mind, Andrew Wiggins is not playing terrible and even lead them to a win against the Heat on Sunday. Jeff Teague, Robert Covington, Josh Okogie, Jake Layman, and Treveon Graham have all been very good contributors. Shabazz Napier and Jarrett Culver have both struggled, but not enough to affect the team negatively. The Timberwolves are 3-0 and 2nd in net rating, 12th in defensive rating, and 3rd in offensive rating which proves that this start is no fluke. The team has bought into Ryan Saunders and it will be interesting to see how good this team can become especially if Andrew Wiggins starts playing up to his potential.
8. Toronto Raptors (12)
No Kawhi Leonard? No Problem. Pascal Siakam has taken over the role as star of the Raptors and the back court of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have been spectacular so far. Serge Ibaka is striving in his 6th man role, OG Anunoby has filled the starting small forward spot perfectly, but Marc Gasol is struggling and only putting up 5.5 PPG. The Raptors are 3-1 on the season and are 5th in net rating, 3rd in defensive rating, but 18th in offensive rating. Lowry, Siakam, VanVleet, Ibaka, and Anunoby have been great on offense, but after them the next highest scorer is at 5.8 PPG. The Raptors will need more scoring from people outside of those 5 and they will find themselves near the top of the East yet again.
7. Boston Celtics (11)
After losing to the 76ers due to an awful shooting performance some wondered if the Celtics were really gonna be good after all. They started off slow against the reigning champs until Kemba Walker took over and won the game for the Celtics. They demolished the Knicks on Saturday and you can see this Celtics team really likes one another. The main scoring options for the Celtics have been what you would expect, but Enes Kanter got hurt and the Celtics have used a different starting center in every game so far. The Celtics bench is a little inconsistent on the offensive end, but rookie Grant Williams has really impressed on the defensive end. The Celtics are 2-1 and are 12th in net rating, 7th in defensive rating, and 17th in offensive rating. Their defense has been really good and if they keep it up, the Celtics could find themselves at the top of the East.
6. Utah Jazz (4)
Mike Conley began his Jazz career on a really bad shooting slump and he is still only shooting 20% from the field which is terrible. Donavan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic have led the team in scoring, but after them the next highest scorer is at 10 PPG. That is a huge dropoff. However the Jazz are 3-1 and 4th in net rating, 1st in defensive rating, but 27th in offensive rating. The fact they are still 3-1 and they are 27th in offensive rating just shows how good their defense is. If/when the offense comes along, the Jazz will be a huge threat in the West, but for now they slide down in the rankings a bit.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (5)
The Lakers began the year with a loss to the Clippers and many criticized LeBron and how much effort he gave. The next night he goes for 32, 7, 10. Anthony Davis has played well, but not as well as he should be playing and same goes with LeBron. Danny Green, Troy Daniels, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley have all proved to be quality signings. On the other end though. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee have not been their usual selves. The Lakers are 2-1 and are 7th in net rating, 11th in defensive rating, and 10th in offensive rating. It is a long season and I do expect the Lakers to be near the top, but LeBron and AD need to play like the power duo many thought they would be.
4. Milwaukee Bucks (3)
Giannis Antetokounmpo and company made a huge comeback on opening night on the road, but then lost a 21 point lead to the Heat, without Jimmy Butler, at home. Giannis has fouled out in 2 of the 3 games so far which is not good news for the Bucks. The supporting cast on the Bucks is a lot better than people getting them credit for and the free agent signing the Bucks made are looking like great fits. They would be ranked higher if they did not lose that game against the Heat. The Bucks are 2-1 on the season and are 8th in net rating, 14th in defensive rating, and 6th in offensive rating. Eric Bledsoe needs to play a little bit better and Giannis needs to stay out of foul trouble and the Bucks will find themselves as the team to beat in the NBA relatively soon.
3. Denver Nuggets (6)
Nikola Jokic has not been as good as he should be, yet the Nuggets are 3-0 which is a very scary sign for the rest of the league. Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee, and Monte Morris have all been pretty disappointing so far. The rest of the team is pretty even in scoring with Jamal Murray leading the way with 19.7 PPG. The Nuggets are 3-0 and are 13th in net rating, 9th in defensive rating, and 16th in offensive rating. Jokic needs to play near an MVP level and Millsap need to put up at least 10 PPG and the Nuggets should be back on top of the west.
2. Philadelphia 76ers (2)
The 76ers have started off the 2019-20 campaign with 3 straight impressive wins. They beat the Celtics, Hawks, and the Pistons (without Embiid). The starting lineup has done most of the heavy lifting and their bench continues to be a weak spot for them. The 76ers are 3-0 on the year and are 6th in net rating, 4th in defensive rating, and 20th in offensive rating. Rookie Matisse Thybulle has been spectacular for the 76ers on defense. The 76ers need to have someone off the bench who can give them double figure scoring per night and they will be the team to beat in the East.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (1)
The Clippers have not failed anyone’s expectations and they have been pretty dominant so far. Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell are all averaging 20+ PPG and have been unstoppable. The Williams/ Harrell combo off the bench is by far the best in the league. Patrick Beverley continues to annoy every opponent and be one of the best defenders in the league. The Clippers have built the perfect team and the difference from the starting unit to the bench unit is very slim. The Clippers are 3-1 and 1st in net rating and offensive rating, but are 26th in defensive rating. If the Clippers can clean it up on the defensive end, this team will be unstoppable. For now, they will jjust continue to be Finals favorites.
All of my stats were taken from nba.com
Jose has written for Bleacher Report, Clipperholics, OC Weekly and wrote a series of articles covering the 2010 NBA Finals for the LA Times. He lives in Southern California and is excited to watch thePeachBasket grow!