Offenses are ruling the day. While the Pacers retain the top spot this week -- we're allowing for one off night on the road -- and the Warriors and Spurs have been surprising on defense so far, the Timberwolves, Thunder, Clippers, Blazers and Mavericks are all offensively focused.
That puts bad offensive teams at the bottom. Utah, Cleveland, Milwaukee and the Celtics are unable to keep pace. You can be bad defensively and outgun your opponent. Being decent defensively with no offense just won't carry you right now.
So what's the key? Elite teams make the difference with balance. The Wolves have been shockingly good on defense to go along with their scoring punch. The defensive-minded Pacers actually have scored adequately, and the Spurs and Warriors have exceptional offensive systems. Yet none of these clubs has a top-five offense. The Warriors are the closest at No. 6 in points per possession.
It will be interesting to see what turns into the dominant trend this season -- lockdown defense or scoring efficiency.
However, we have a handle on what will not be dominant: Whatever the hell it is those New York teams are doing right now.