Power Rankings: Lakers, Celtics, Pacers and Mavs must avoid panicking

by | Senior NBA Blogger
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Can new coach Mike D'Antoni turn around the Lakers' poor play on defense? (Getty Images)  
Can new coach Mike D'Antoni turn around the Lakers' poor play on defense? (Getty Images)  

The big conversation right now is about resisting panic. The Lakers, the Celtics, the Bulls, the Pacers, and the Mavericks have all started off much worse than expected, and none any higher than No. 12 in this week's Power Rankings for a reason.

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The Lakers are of course the biggest topic, as they have been since August when they traded for Dwight Howard. But now the topic of conversation is centered around how 8-9 isn't that bad, and how other teams have started off badly, and how they'll likely turn it around. And they probably will.

But like the Celtics, Pacers and Mavericks, the truth is that the Lakers aren't playing very well. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the Lakers' defensive rotations are slow and out of position, or that the Celtics' interior defense is a barn door left wide open.

The Pacers' offense is like watching a kite try to fly on a windless day, and the Mavericks have no stable identity without Dirk Nowitzki.

But there's plenty of time to correct course. While our top teams obviously have little to worry about and our bottom teams would be wise to abandon all hope now, everyone in the middle can move up or down dramatically with a week's worth of play.

So, no, there's no reason to panic. But to deny things have been bad and to assume they'll just work themselves out, that can be just as dangerous as any overreaction under the sun. With that, let's get to the Power Rankings.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)
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