What a difference a week makes, eh? In the first edition of the NBA Power Rankings, recent lottery teams like the Charlotte Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves were in the top 10. This time around, not so much.
There are no undefeated teams remaining in the league, but things are starting to look a bit more like the predictions, with the preseason championship favorite Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets both putting up 3-0 weeks. The top spot in the rankings, however, wasn't up for much debate.
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The Miami Heat were clearly the best team of the week, absolutely smashing opponents and looking good doing it. They edged out the surprise Philadelphia 76ers, who managed a 4-0 week despite the absence of key players in addition to Ben Simmons. They were the biggest riser this week, followed closely by the Toronto Raptors, who have won five games in a row after a 1-3 start to the season.
There are bound to be some ups and downs across the standings as the next few weeks progress, but things are definitely starting to look a little more like we expected. Here are the NBA Power Rankings after the second week of the season.
*Please keep in mind that our Power Rankings are based on the team's performance the previous week, not the entire season.
|You know you've had a decent week when you've outscored opponents by 19 points per 100 possessions. Miami looks like the class of the Eastern Conference thus far, making three pretty good teams -- the Hornets, Grizzlies and Mavericks -- look dreadfully inferior this week. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro all averaged 24 points or more this week, while Duncan Robinson finally started to find his 3-point stroke. The Heat have certainly earned their No. 1 spot this week.||3||53-29|
|The Sixers have played inspiring basketball of late, rattling off four straight wins this week, including one without Joel Embiid and two without Tobias Harris. That's partly thanks to Seth Curry, who averaged 18 points on 60/45/100 shooting splits for the week, and Georges Niang stepping up in Harris' absence. Philadelphia has the second-best offensive rating in the league and the 10th-best defense during its 6-2 start.||15||51-31|
|Golden State suffered its first loss of the season in overtime against the Grizzlies, but bounced back with wins over the Thunder and Hornets. The Warriors still look like one of the best teams in the league thus far, and they've been winning despite relatively pedestrian performances from Steph Curry, who averaged 23.7 points on 35 percent 3-point shooting this week. Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II, of all people, were the stars of Wednesday's win over Charlotte, and the team's league-best defense has been stingy all season.||1||53-29|
|Utah lost its first game of the season to the Bulls, but rebounded to beat the Bucks and Kings. Donovan Mitchell has taken off after a relatively slow start to the season, averaging 27.3 points over four games this week, while Mike Conley put up a season-high 30 points in the win over Sacramento. Eric Paschall and Hassan Whiteside have fit in nicely off the bench, but other than that it's been business as usual for one of the most consistent teams in the league.||3||49-33|
|The Nets had a couple of get-right wins over the Pacers and Pistons before putting on an impressive showing in Wednesday's victory over the Hawks. James Harden looks much more comfortable, averaging 21 points, 10.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds this week while going 12 for 24 from 3-point range, while Kevin Durant remains in MVP form. LaMarcus Aldridge has provided a big boost off the bench, putting up 15.7 points and five rebounds in just 22 minutes per game this week.||13||44-38|
|Don't look now, but that's five wins in a row for the Raptors, including four this week. They were also able to pick up their last two road wins in New York and Washington without rookie Scottie Barnes, who's averaging 18 points per game. Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. carried the offense while the defense has remained stout.||13||48-34|
|The Grizzlies picked up three big wins this week, first coming back to beat the Warriors in overtime, then defeating the Nuggets in consecutive games at home. Sandwiched in between was a blowout loss to the Heat, but everyone's losing to the Heat these days. Ja Morant cooled off a bit from 3-point range, but still put up 23.5 points, 6.5 assists and six rebounds per game this week. Desmond Bane continues to fill in admirably for the injured Dillon Brooks, who appears to be close to a return, which will make the Grizzlies even more formidable.||7||56-26|
|The Bulls suffered their first loss of the year to the Knicks, but followed that up with impressive wins over the Jazz and Celtics before dropping a winnable game against the short-handed 76ers. DeMar DeRozan has been simply incredible, averaging 31.5 points this week on 59/40/93 shooting splits. Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine both struggled from 3-point range, however, and Chicago certainly misses Patrick Williams on the defensive end.||5||46-36|
|The Knicks got off to a 5-1 start, but dropped consecutive games to the Raptors and Pacers to close out the week. The offense has stayed sharp, but New York has been uncharacteristically poor defensively over the last three games. RJ Barrett had an incredible week, averaging 26.3 points and 5.5 rebounds on 56 percent 3-point shooting.||3||37-45|
|The Lakers haven't exactly looked like world-beaters, but they'll take their wins however they come. They beat a much-improved Cavs team and then the Rockets twice, though Tuesday's narrow win didn't exactly inspire confidence. LeBron James has returned to add stability to the lineup, leading the team with 23.7 points and 8.7 assists per game this week. Russell Westbrook also appears to have gotten his turnover issues under control for the time being, while Anthony Davis has started the last two games at center. Certainly something to keep an eye on.||10||33-49|
|The Wizards continued their hot start with two more wins this week, including a double-overtime victory over the Celtics that was one of the most entertaining games of the year so far. They followed that up, however, with losses to the Hawks and Raptors to end the week. Bradley Beal has found the scoring touch after a slow start, averaging 28 points this week in four games, while Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Spencer Dinwiddie and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all averaged double figures.||1||35-47|
|Denver beat the Mavs and Wolves to start the week before dropping consecutive games to the Grizzlies, with Nikola Jokic leading the way with 23.5 points, 13.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. Michael Porter Jr. has continued his disappointing start to the season, shooting a dismal 1 for 18 from 3-point range this week, which made it tough for the Nuggets to generate offense despite being solid on the defensive end.||3||48-34|
|Without the services of Kristaps Porzingis this week, the Mavericks went 3-2 with convincing losses to the Nuggets and Heat. Jalen Brunson stepped up in Porzingis' absence, averaging 17.4 points and 5.8 rebounds over the five games. Jason Kidd's offense has been stuck in mud to start the season, as the Mavs scored just 102 points per 100 possessions this week, partly due to Luka Doncic's continued struggles from long range. All things considered, Dallas should be happy sitting at 5-3 with the way it's played.||3||52-30|
|The Suns only had two games this week, beating the Cavs and Pelicans at home. The offense still hasn't quite found its stride, but the defense dominated in the two wins. Chris Paul averaged 15 points and 14 assists for the week, while Devin Booker led the team with 22.5 points per game, though he's still struggling from 3-point range.||10||64-18|
|Cleveland lost to the Lakers and Suns to start the week, but finished on a high note with wins over the Hornets and Blazers despite being without Kevin Love, Lauri Markkanen and Isaac Okoro. Big man Jarrett Allen has stepped up with the extra opportunity, averaging 24 points and 16.5 rebounds in the two wins to close out the week.||4||44-38|
|The Bucks aren't exactly clicking on all cylinders right now, but they've been without Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez and now Khris Middleton. Giannis Antetokounmpo is only one man, and you have to imagine that when they get their key components back that the Bucks will look like defending champs once again. As of now, however, home losses to the Spurs and Jazz drop them in this week's rankings.||7||51-31|
|The Hornets have waned after a hot start, and coach James Borrego blames a lack of defensive consistency. Terry Rozier returned to the lineup this week but has yet to find his shooting stroke, while Miles Bridges, LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward carry the offensive load. Bridges has nearly doubled his scoring average from last season, but has also made strides as a playmaker, averaging five assists in four games this week.||12||43-39|
|If we learned one thing this week, it's that the Kings are better than the Pelicans. They beat New Orleans twice, while losing to the Jazz and Mavericks. Harrison Barnes continues to play well, averaging nearly 20 points per game this week on 41 percent 3-point shooting. Richaun Holmes has also been rock steady in the middle, averaging 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds on 64 percent shooting while De'Aaron Fox finds his offensive footing.||6||30-52|
|The Hawks have hit a rough stretch, splitting with the Wizards this week while also dropping games to the Sixers and Nets. The defense allowed at least 111 points in each of Atlanta's four games this week, and the offense simply couldn't keep up. It doesn't help that Trae Young is mired in a shooting slump, hitting just 34 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range this week.||12||43-39|
|The Clippers lost to the Blazers before Paul George took over late to help avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss to the Thunder at home. They also closed out the week with a solid victory in Minnesota, thanks in part to 29 points and eight assists from Reggie Jackson. George was outstanding this week, averaging 35.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists on 60 percent 3-point shooting.||2||42-40|
|The Pacers desperately needed a win, and they got two of them to close out the week, including an impressive victory over the Knicks on Wednesday. Caris LeVert also made his season debut this week, averaging 17.3 points and 4.7 assists in three games, while Myles Turner averaged a double-double of 15.8 points and 10.3 rebounds to go along with 3.3 blocks per game. Malcolm Brogdon made his return after a three-game absence, putting the Pacers somewhere close to full strength for the first time all season, though they're still awaiting the return of TJ Warren.||2||25-57|
|You never want to hear the dreaded phrase, "players-only meeting," this early in the season, but the Celtics needed to address comments from Marcus Smart about his role on the team and his teammates' unwillingness to pass the ball. It remains to be seen whether the effects of the meeting were positive, but Boston was able to hold the Magic to 79 points in a win to close out the week following a double-overtime loss to the Wizards and an epic collapse against the Bulls. Jaylen Brown led the way this week by averaging 30 points per game on 38 percent 3-point shooting, while Jayson Tatum went just 2 for 15 from 3-point range.||1||51-31|
|Damian Lillard reaffirmed his commitment to Portland this week, but things have not gone well lately. After beating the Clippers, the Blazers lost to the Hornets, the 76ers without Joel Embiid and the Cavs without a few key players. The defense has let them down, and Lillard hasn't been able to play hero late, averaging 21.3 points on 29 percent 3-point shooting.||10||27-55|
|The Wolves had a promising start to the season, but teams hoping to make the playoffs can't lose by 18 to the Magic at home. The Minnesota defense, which Anthony Edwards recently called the best in the league, has reverted of late, and the offense has sputtered amid a D'Angelo Russell injury. Karl-Anthony Towns has been his usual, efficient self offensively, but he took fewer than 15 shots per game in the three losses this week. He may need to be more aggressive, particularly if Russell remains out.||16||46-36|
|San Antonio's only win of the week came against a short-handed Bucks team, with losses to the Pacers and twice to the Mavericks. The Spurs lost Jakob Poeltl, who has played well to start the season, to health and safety protocols, leaving Drew Eubanks and Thaddeus Young to fill in the center minutes. Dejounte Murray had a strong week, averaging 21.3 points, 7.8 assists and 6.5 rebounds on 45 percent 3-point shooting.||--||34-48|
|The Magic picked up their second win of the year in convincing fashion in Minnesota, but also dropped games to the Raptors, Pistons and Celtics. Rookie Franz Wagner has been one of the headline stories of Orlando's early season, averaging 16.5 points this week on 42 percent 3-point shooting. The other major bright spot has been Cole Anthony, who continued his strong play with 20.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and five assists per game this week on 50 percent 3-point shooting.||3||22-60|
|Some good news for Detroit: Not only did it pick up its first win of the season by beating the Magic, but it also got No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham onto the court for his first NBA action. He hasn't exactly sparkled, shooting 3 for 22, including 0 for 14 from 3-point range in his first two games. He was able to average 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, though, and things will surely go up from here.||3||23-59|
|The Rockets went 0-3 this week, playing the Lakers close twice after being blown out by the Jazz. The offense was abysmal, putting up a modest 93.3 points per 100 possessions in the three games. Christian Wood averaged 19.3 points and 12 rebounds per game, but has developed a slight case of the yips from the free throw line, making just 2 of his last 12 attempts.||2||20-62|
|OKC failed to capitalize on the momentum from its comeback win over the Lakers, losing to the Warriors and Clippers this week. The offense has been atrocious, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey the only significant bright spots. The team competes, but until it gets a little more offensive punch, the wins are going to be few and far between.||1||24-58|
|The Pelicans hold the dubious distinction of being the league's first team to lose eight games, including all four this week. The good new is, the offense got better this week with 107.3 points per 100 possessions, even with Brandon Ingram out for three of the four games. The bad news is that the defense was the second-worst in the NBA during the four losses. Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte' Graham have been carrying the offense, but things look bleak at the moment in New Orleans with Zion Williamson still a ways from getting back on the court.||3||36-46|