|As Spencer Hawes pulls the rebounding load, Andre Iguodala is the one driving the Sixers. (US Presswire)|
Updated Jan. 10
With a few weeks under our belts, the Power Rankings are starting to get some stability, which is as reassuring as your favorite coffee place being open every morning.
And just like your favorite coffee place, every now and then the Power Rankings are going to ruin that chai mocha double-whip iced macchiato.
Throughout the week, the top teams have been consistently good, the bad teams consistently bad and everything in the middle has been wildly inconsistent. But it's the No. 4 and No. 5 teams that are most surprising, and interesting.
The Blazers were supposed to be good, but not this good. Not best-team-in-the-West good. And it's not a product of the schedule either. Portland has faced down the Nuggets, Lakers, 76ers and Thunder. They're defending well; they're getting out and running offensively; Gerald Wallace is one of the most complete players in the league so far; and LaMarcus Aldridge is an All-Star.
At the same time, Philadelphia has the best defense in the league (a 92.4 defensive efficiency, or points per 100 possessions). Not Chicago, not Miami. Philadelphia. That's largely because of what Doug Collins has done with time.
Also, the Sixers know one another and can communicate effectively. Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes (!!) have all taken steps forward. But Andre Iguodala's play has been what has really made this team go. He's not even shooting that well, but it's the plays he's consistently making that have helped the Sixers be this good this early.