Skyhook NBA Power Rankings: Week 2

Nov 4, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) before the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

The Knicks, Timberwolves and to some degree, the Grizzlies have all exceeded expectations and are pushing up the rankings. The Thunder, Lakers and Nuggets bounced back. Meanwhile, the Wizards and Pistons are battling to avoid the basement.

Welcome to The Skyook’s NBA Power Rankings, where any given week, things can change faster than a James Harden trade to Houston.

Previous weeks: Preseason | Week 1

Week 3 – November 12th, 2012

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com1. San Antonio Spurs | 6-1 | Last week: 2

The “old men” just keep on winning. Tim Duncan with another vintage week and now leads the team (by a wide margin) in Points (18.9), Rebounds (9.7) and Blocks (2.4). It’s also the typical Spurs to be leading the NBA in Assists, whcih they do, at 25 per game.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com2. Miami Heat | 5-2 | Last week: 1

The Heat’s two losses came at the hands of the 5-1 Grizzlies and 4-0 Knicks, so timing is everything. While LeBron averages a double double (21.9 pts, 10.0 rebs), Chris Bosh is quietly having a solid start to the season with his 20.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com3. Oklahoma City Thunder | 5-2 | Last week: 3

With Kevin Martin averaging almost 18 off the bench, the Thunder don’t miss Harden that much do they? They’ve put together a nice little 4 game win streak and look angry doing it. Looks like Serge Ibaka may have polished his offense in the offseason, now up to 14.6 points (a career high).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com4. Memphis Grizzlies | 5-1 | Last week: 9

The Grizz are not messing around. During their 5-game win streak, their winning margin is at 12.6 points per game, including an 18-point drubbing of the Heat last night. Z-Bo has had a double double in every game so far and leading the league at 14.5 rebounds per.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com5. Los Angeles Clippers | 5-2 | Last week: 6

Many great things happening on the red side of the Staples Center: Crawford’s relentlessness, the rise of Bledsoe, Paul’s assists, DeAndre’s defense. But am I wrong in thinking there’s something wrong with Blake? Doesn’t look right. Neither does the team’s rebounding (26th).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com6. New York Knicks | 4-0 | Last week: 12

Hard to argue the impressive start. 4-0. 2nd in points scored (104.5). 1st in points against (87.5). 1st in 3-point makes (12.8). 2nd in 3-point percentage (.436%). 1st in point differential (+17). Wins over Heat, Mavs and Sixers (2). Can they sustain offense without relying on such “hot shooting?”

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com7. Los Angeles Lakers | 3-4 | Last week: 4

What a gift to be able to beat up on peons like the Warriors and Kings after a 1-4 start. And now, there’s a NEW sheriff coming to down by the name of Mike D’Antoni. Don’t expect the Run N’ Gun Suns from years ago, but this team will be better with him at the helm. Ask Steve Nash.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com8. Denver Nuggets | 4-3 | Last week: 8

What a turnaround for the Nugs. After an 0-3 start, they posted a 4-0 week last week. The offense has risen to 8th (99.o PPG) and if Danilo Gallinari can figure out his shooting stroke (only 30% from the field), they’ll crack the Top 5 in no time. Kenneth Faried truly is the “Manimal.”

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com9. Boston Celtics | 3-3 | Last week: 5

Can’t be satisfying when 2 of Boston’s 3 wins are against the Wiz. After only 6 games, we’re really starting to see the lack of size on this roster with the Celts averaging only 37.8 rebounds per game, second last in the entire league. A slow start is normal for these guys though, so no panic yet.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com10. Philadelphia 76ers | 4-2 | Last week: 10

Have to give them credit, they’re hanging in there without Bynum. They don’t score much (27th), but they don’t give up points either (2nd). Holiday is an absolute legit point guard in this league (18.2 pts, 9.5 asts) and it looks like Turner may have found his groove (12.3 pts, 9.5 rebs, 3.3 asts).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com11. Chicago Bulls | 4-2 | Last week: 14

The 4 Bulls wins have come against the Kings, Cavs, Magic and Wolves, so we’ll really see how they hold up against tougher competition and a 5-game road trip starting this week. The defense is obviously still in tact, holding opponents to only 88.7 points per game (4th overall).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com12. Dallas Mavericks | 4-3 | Last week: 13

While the Mavs have to be happy with 4-3, hanging around until Dirk comes back, all they’re doing is leading the league in scoring (104.7 per game). O.J. Mayo (21.9 ppg) has been fantastic and his backcourt partner Darren Collison has been steady as well.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com13. Brooklyn Nets | 3-2 | Last week: 11

With a 3-2 record, the Nets haven’t been very impressive. Thankfully they’ll welcome back Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks this week to spark the offense. What the heck is up with Joe Johnson? 13.6 points per game on 36% shooting? I don’t think this is what Brooklyn had in mind.

1Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com4. Minnesota Timberwolves | 4-2 | Last week: 22

One of the surprises so far, the Wolves are getting the job done without their two stars. The defense has been top notch, allowing 89.5 points per game, good for 5th overall. AK47 is looking great and worth the money. His line: 11.2 pts, 7.7 rebs, 4.2 asts, 1.7 stls, 2.0 blks.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com15. Indiana Pacers | 3-4 | Last week: 7

The Pacers are a hard team to peg. The Granger injury looks like it’ll hurt them more than originally thought, as the depth is questionable. George Hill (15.1 pts, 5.1 asts) has been worth the money, while Roy Hibbert (8.7 pts, 7.7 rebs, 38% shooting) has not.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com16. Milwaukee Bucks | 3-2 | Last week: 18

A very deceiving record at 3-2. An impressive win in Boston, but then beat the Wizards and needed a Jennings buzzer beater to beat the Cavs at home. How impressive has Larry Sanders been? Averaging 12.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in only 27 minutes.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com17. Utah Jazz | 3-4 | Last week: 17

Home is where the heart is for the Jazz. They are 3-0 at EnergySolutions Arena and 0-4 on the road, though they’ve played some tough teams so far. The Utah frontcourt is in great shape with Jefferson and Millsap, but can Mo Williams keep up this 16.8 point, 6.3 assist per game effort?

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com18. Golden State Warriors | 3-4 | Last week: 15

Stephen Curry and perhaps Klay Thompson have the numbers, but most of us would (should) agree that the MVP of this team through 7 games is Carl Landry. At 16.1 pts, 8.1 rebs and 60% shooting, Landry has been a game changer off the Warrior bench.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com19. Houston Rockets | 3-3 | Last week: 19

It’s still very early, but it sure looks as though the Rockets are going to lack the firepower (no pun intended) to contend for the playoffs in the West. Unless of course they can play the Pistons (who they beat twice) 76 more times. At least they’re 3rd in the league in rebounding (47.5).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com20. Atlanta Hawks | 2-3 | Last week: 16

The Hawks have lost against some tough teams, but their remaining November schedule is very favorable. We’ll see what their record says then. Unfortunately, not all their shooters (Lou Williams 35%, Kyle Korver 32%) are shooting. Josh Smith needs to take over if he wants the BIG contact.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com21. New Orleans Hornets | 3-2 | Last week: 23

The Anthony Davis effect: Hornets are 3rd in points allowed (88.6), 10 in rebounding (43.2) and as soon as he returns from a 2-game absence, they promptly beat the Bobcats. Al-Farouq Aminu quietly having a solid year with 12.8 pts, 8.6 rebs, 2.4 asts and 2.0 steals per game.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com22. Portland Trail Blazers | 2-4 | Last week: 21

Seems like this team should be better than 2-4, but they’ve played the toughest schedule in the league so far (LAL, @OKC, @HOU, @DAL, LAC, SAN). Nicolas Batum (39.5 mins, 19.3 pts, 6.2 rebs, 2.7 stls) is finally breaking out!

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com23. Phoenix Suns | 3-4 | Last week: 26

At this pace, Marcin Gortat should be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year with his 10.7 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game. On a disappointed, unrelated note, P.J. Tucker, Luke Zeller and Diante Garrett are all averaging more points than Wesley Johnson (1.3 ppg).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com24. Toronto Raptors | 1-5 | Last week: 20

The injury bug has ravaged the Raptors so far with Lowry, Fields and now Alan Anderson out. It’s really incredible what a different team this is on both ends of the floor with Lowry leading the way. DeRozan and Bargnani will need to continue to be agressive. Give Jonas V more minutes already!

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com25. Cleveland Cavaliers | 2-5 | Last week: 24

Monday night’s “Kyrie and Dion Upset Show” in Los Angeles seems so far away now that the Cavs have dropped their last three, while giving up 106.3 points in those games. Unfortunately for the Cavs “young and fun” won’t win too many ball games this season with that defense.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com26. Orlando Magic | 2-4 | Last week: 27

I hope Magic fans enjoyed that 2-0 while it lasted. Now they’ll need to get used to this being the regular deal. This roster, the lowest scoring one in the league (87.8 ppg), truly lacks a superstar, something every team needs. I love Big Baby and Afflalo, but they won’t cut it.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com27. Charlotte Bobcats | 2-3 | Last week: 28

The ‘Cats are a surprising 7th overall in scoring (99.8) but a very unsurprising 30th in points allowed (107.2). Kemba Walker with a very solid 18.8 pts, 5.8 assists and 2.8 steals, while shooting an un-Kemba like 43% from the field. MKG is getting noticeably more comfortable now.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com28. Sacramento Kings | 2-5 | Last week: 30

Just when things are going smoothly for DeMarcus Cousins, he has a “run-in” with an announcer? I thought he’d turned the corner. Such a shame. The proof is in the numbers with a team that we believe don’t play together and don’t share the ball: 16.6 assists per game (last in the league).

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com29. Washington Wizards | 0-5 | Last week: 25

The talent-deprived, winless Wizards have one of the puzzling stats so far this season. They rank 29th in scoring at 88.0 points per game, yet rank 4th in assists at 24.0 per game. How does that make sense?  Part of it is A.J. Price averaging 8.0 assists per game.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com30. Detroit Pistons | 0-7 | Last week: 29

Words can’t describe how bad Rodney Stuckey has been. 7.9 points in 31.9 minutes from your “feature” guard. At this point, we have to feel bad for the situation Greg Monroe was drafted into. He’s going to have an All-Star season and are we sure the Pistons will have a win by then?