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NBA Power Rankings: The Almighty to Unsightly Edition

On the scale of Almighty to Unsightly, where do the Kobe and the Lakers, without newly fired coach Mike Brown, rank? (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

So far, things have not exactly gone as planned in the NBA season. Expected playoff contenders have struggled mightily (don’t give me that look, Kobe, I like my job), and teams missing their star players have overachieved (kind of in for d rose?). It’s still early of course, but I guess that’s why it’s the SoB Power Rankings. Here we giver order to the chaos each and every week, starting off with the Almighty and downgrading accordingly all the way to the Unsightly.

(And yes, they all rhyme-ish. It’s kind of my thing. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.)


1 (1). Miami Heat (4-1): Can’t downgrade the Heat for losing on the road in front of an emotionally charged MSG crowd following Hurricane Sandy, considering it sounded like Dwyane Wade and company didn’t even think the game should be played.

2 (2). San Antonio Spurs (4-1): Typical.


3 (13). New York Knicks (3-0): Two lopsided wins over the Andrew Bynum-less 76ers don’t impress me much (did I just paraphrase a Faith Hill song?), but who else deserves this spot this early in the season?

4 (6). Los Angeles Clippers (3-2): If DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin can each go for 20-10 every night, say hello to the new kings of L.A.

5 (7): Memphis Grizzlies (3-1): A relatively balanced scoring attack (4 players in double figures) has given the Grizzlies a solid start to the  season.

6 (4). Oklahoma City Thunder (3-2): Trouble, right here in River City! I don’t think the shock of the Harden trade will haunt them for that long (other than keeping them from truly contending, that is).

7 (11). Chicago Bulls (3-2): Even if all their wins have been over mediocre to poor teams, energy and effort should keep them in the playoff race while Derrick Rose is on the shelf.

8 (16). Dallas Mavericks (4-1):  Brandan Wright is averaging 12.5 points per game? No wonder this team inexplicably has 4 wins without Dirk Nowitzki.

9 (17). Milwaukee Bucks (2-1): Year of the Brandon Jennings (18 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds) Contract Revenge?

10 (14). Atlanta Hawks (2-1): A takedown of the Thunder and Pacers bodes well for the new look Hawks, though the injury to Josh Smith doesn’t.

11 (3). Boston Celtics (2-2): Two eeked out wins over the lowly Wizards (missing two starters, no less). Fast forward through the commercials, please.

12 (10). Utah Jazz (2-3): Tough schedule to start, with three straight losses on the road to the upstart Hornets, old-hand Spurs, and adjective-less Grizzlies. But they did beat this next team.


13 (5). Los Angeles Lakers (1-4): I imagined the Lakers would have their growing pains to start the season, but not bad enough to fire Mike Brown after FIVE GAMES. I won’t lie and say I don’t enjoy it immensely, though.


14 (12). Brooklyn Nets (1-2): I know it’s early, but would people really be high on this team if they still played in New Jersey?

15 (8). Indiana Pacers (2-3): Danny Granger is out for three months, which probably seems more devastating than it really is. But they still won’t be as good without him.

16 (9). Denver Nuggets (2-3): Getting back on track after an 0-3 start is easier with George Karl in charge.

17 (19). Houston Rockets (2-2): I have such a Harden right now. And yes, I’m going to use that joke like an old man uses his hanky – repeatedly, and with no mind for how old and stale it has gotten.

18 (18). Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1): No real impressive opponents, but I’m sure they’ll take the wins without their two centerpiece players.

19 (20). Portland Trail Blazers (2-2): Damian Lillard has gone for 19 and 8 in his first four games as a pro. Anthony Davis, you’ve been put on notice.

20 (21). Golden State Warriors (3-2): Who knew “W’s” could actually apply to Golden State outside of their nickname?

21 (15). Philadelphia 76ers (2-2): Held the Hornets to just 62 points, which counts for something, but Bynum’s absence is pretty obvious in two blowout defeats at the hands of the Knicks.

22 (24). New Orleans Hornets (2-2): A 62-point effort mars an otherwise solid start for the Hornets, with wins over the Jazz and Bulls and a close loss to the vaunted Spurs.

23 (25). Cleveland Cavaliers (2-3): Can Dion Waiters keep up with Kyrie Irving to give the Cavs a dynamic backcourt and an outside shot at the eight seed?


24 (22). Toronto Raptors (1-4): Someone throw Kyle Lowry a lifeline; poor guy has to play next to Landry Fields, who is inexplicably making almost $4 million while averaging 2.4 points per game. AND STARTING.

25 (30). Orlando Magic (2-2): I won’t lie and pretend like I didn’t think a team with Glen Davis as its #1 scoring option would be terrible, but they should fall back to earth soon. After all, we Celtics fans are well aware of Big Baby’s hang time.

26 (27). Sacramento Kings (2-3): Tyreke Evans leads the team in assists with 3.2 per game. That pretty much sums up the offensive mindset in Sacramento.

27 (28). Washington Wizards (0-3): Winless yes, but their bench has been rather impressive in two narrow losses to the Celtics – especially considering John Wall and Nene are both inactive, shortening their bench even more.

28 (26). Phoenix Suns (2-3): You don’t get brownie points for wins over Detroit and Charlotte.

29 (29). Charlotte Bobcats (1-2): This team will only be relevant when Michael Jordan sells the team in order to play in their backcourt.

30 (23). Detroit Pistons (0-5): Incidentally, the winless and hapless Pistons represent the Lakers’ only win. I’m going to enjoy this while I can.

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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