Power Rankings: Sixers early surprise at No. 1 while Heat go cruising

by | NBA Writer

Before you even get started, the Power Rankings are supposed to be fun to read and argue about. My job is to identify how each team is playing this week, factoring not only their record this week and since the start of the season, but who they beat and how. Quality of opponent, win margin, rest status, all of this.

So the Philadelphia 76ers being No. 1 is no joke. They beat the defending champion Miami Heat, the much-ballyhooed (who could use a little less bally and a little more hooed) Bulls and a Wizards team that was supposed to be pretty good. They've done it with high-level execution, great energy and surprising contributions from young players.

They have the best résumé at 3-0.

And record isn't always the measure. The Warriors land at No. 2 despite losing to the Clippers because they have looked like absolute machine gun monsters. Losing impressively counts about the same and sometimes more than a soft win. The Nets' two losses were gross and their win, even over Miami, was unconvincing.

Speaking of the Heat, if I know they're going to be a dominant team and I know they're coasting, why did they plummet to 11? Because they lost to the Sixers and the Nets. It's that simple. Wins over the Bulls and Wizards keep them afloat along with their credit on file, but even those look soft early on. Don't play well, get punished in the rankings to various degrees.

So there will be chaos for a little while, as there always is at the start of a season. The rankings aren't reflective of these teams' title chances, but their current power. And with an unstable sample to work from, you're going to see some wild things.

So have fun with it. Philly is.


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