NBA Basketball

30 Words for 30 Teams: Warriors assume rightful perch in NBA Power Rankings

Welcome to theScore’s biweekly NBA power rankings, where you’ll find roughly 30 words on all 30 teams every other Tuesday throughout the season.

1. Golden State Warriors

Stats in which the Warriors lead the NBA: Net rating (+14.4), offensive rating (116.2), 3-point percentage (41.3), true shooting percentage (63.2), assists per game (31.3), blocks per game (8.7). – John Chick

2. Houston Rockets

Houston hasn’t missed a beat with Chris Paul out, and has seen Clint Capela‘s star rise in the early going. The rest of their November includes games against the Suns, Knicks, Nets, and Pacers. – Chick

3. Boston Celtics

Among the many takeaways from the Celtics’ incredible 12-game win streak: they’re stone-cold closers. Six of those 12 wins have come by seven points or less, and they’ve trailed in the fourth quarter in five of them. – Joe Wolfond

4. Detroit Pistons

The 10-3 Pistons are the only East team to rank top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and Andre Drummond is canning free throws. Fun times. – Joseph Casciaro

5. San Antonio Spurs

Courtesy: Getty Images

The Spurs have been fine while they wait for Kawhi Leonard, and their upcoming schedule isn’t exactly a murderer’s row, but they’ve lost five of eight since a 4-0 start. – Casciaro

6. Washington Wizards

In recent years, no team has had as disproportionate a ratio of tall talk to results, but the Wizards say they’re ready to let their play speak for itself. Their past three games have been dominant. – Wolfond

7. Toronto Raptors

For a team still trying to figure out its identity, the Raptors have been pretty steady, without too many high highs or low lows. They’re still searching for consistent effort from their starters, and a statement win. – Wolfond

8. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota gets the short-handed Spurs on Wednesday, with that game and a relatively easy stretch beyond representing a chance for them to prove they belong among the West’s elite. – Chick

9. Orlando Magic

The Magic are expectedly coming back to Earth, but their own little Big 3 of Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier should be more than enough to keep them in the playoff picture. – Chick

10. Milwaukee Bucks

Courtesy: Getty Images

Milwaukee’s won three straight, and while Eric Bledsoe hasn’t shot great, his slashing ability has taken some pressure off the best player in the NBA right now. Bucks fans have visions of the team’s first conference finals appearance since 2001. – Chick

11. Memphis Grizzlies

Losses to the Bucks and Rockets hurt, but weren’t shocking. Memphis has an up-and-down schedule over the next week but is still running with a top-10 defense. – Chick

12. Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard‘s playmaking continues to evolve and C.J. McCollum continues to rain fire from deep, but Portland’s third-ranked defense has been its most pleasantly surprising development. They also rebound like maniacs. – Wolfond

13. New Orleans Pelicans

Perpetual conundrum for the top-heavy Pels: They need to stagger Anthony Davis‘ and DeMarcus Cousins‘ minutes, but the team only approaches greatness when the two share the floor. – Wolfond

14. Denver Nuggets

Denver’s 7-3 in their last 10, and Nikola Jokic is flirting with 50-40-90. Fourteen of their last 22 games of 2017 take place away from the mile-high environs of home, however. – Chick

15. Oklahoma City Thunder

Courtesy: Getty Images

OKC’s finally entrusting a large portion of its offense to Paul George, and reaping the rewards. Their underwhelming record reflects their curiously poor crunch-time defense more than it does their true ability. – Wolfond

16. Philadelphia 76ers

The absurd two-way potential of Philadelphia’s EmbiidSimmonsCovington core was on full display Monday in L.A., where the trio combined for 85 points, 34 rebounds, 10 assists, five steals, and two blocks on 63 percent shooting. – Casciaro

17. Cleveland Cavaliers

The defense remains a catastrophe, and LeBron‘s probably being overworked (38.1 minutes per game), but as long as the Cavs’ shooters start finding their strokes, this team can outscore the rest of the East. – Wolfond

18. New York Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis is unguardable, Frank Ntilikina is impenetrable, and the Knicks’ role players are making a consistent impact. Good riddance to the old fella. – Wolfond

19. Miami Heat

The Heat are still looking to find that spark that propelled them to a 30-11 finish last season. The offense just hasn’t flowed as seamlessly, and their 3-point shooting has been a weakness. – Wolfond

20. Los Angeles Clippers

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Injuries have hammered the Clippers, their defense has cratered, and the shine has come all the way off their 4-0 start. They’ve lost six straight, and find themselves looking up at the Lakers in the standings. – Wolfond

21. Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte’s 5-7 record doesn’t seem so bad when you consider they’re about to get Nicolas Batum back and played the East’s second-toughest schedule without him. – Casciaro

22. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers’ porous defense has been their undoing more often than not, but their offense continues to impress, with playmaking, 3-point shooting, and speed from every position. – Wolfond

23. Los Angeles Lakers

The young Lakers boasting a top-four defense after a last-place finish on that end of the court last year is one of the opening month’s legitimate shockers. – Casciaro

24. Utah Jazz

Utah’s officially in trouble. Their offense resembles a car stuck in quicksand, and defensive savior Rudy Gobert is out four to six weeks with a bruised knee. – Chick

25. Brooklyn Nets

Courtesy: Action Images

Brooklyn already has 20 percent of its consensus over/under for wins this season. In other words, things aren’t so bad. Or maybe they are: D’Angelo Russell is out indefinitely with a knee injury. – Chick

26. Phoenix Suns

Interim coach Jay Triano is prioritizing effort and engagement from the team’s young prospects. That’s where the Suns are, and the lottery awaits. – Chick

27. Sacramento Kings

Sacramento’s plan to combine youth and veteran guidance hasn’t been without issues. George Hill looks washed and Vince Carter has kidney stones. Best turn this project over to De’Aaron Fox now. – Chick

28. Dallas Mavericks

Nerlens Noel has played 42 total minutes in Dallas’ last six games – inexcusable given the Mavs’ dearth of young talent, and rather curious given the big man’s contractual status. – Casciaro

29. Chicago Bulls

The Windy City gong show just got worse – or better, depending on your interpretation of entertainment. Nikola Mirotic is back in the same locker room as Bobby Portis, and they aren’t talking. – Chick

30. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have looked frisky during a tough stretch of schedule. Rookie forward John Collins – a bright light in an otherwise dim year – should probably be playing more than 21 minutes a game. – Wolfond

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