NBA Power Rankings – Saturday, November 17

Nov 15, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives against San Antonio Spurs forward Stephen Jackson (3) during the second half at the AT


Welcome to the Week 2 of the 2012-13 Dunking with Wolves Power Rankings. JJ Glenn & Ben Beecken break down every NBA team with their insight for this young NBA season.
This WeekLast WeekTeamNotes
13New York KnicksJJIt has been a great start to the season for the Knicks. Everything has seemingly gone about as perfect as it can go. This team has flaws; it is 27th in the NBA in assists per game. This typically shows the style of basketball they play is ISO-ball. Everyone knows that Melo style ISO-ball hasn’t been a winning offensive formula in the past.
BenThe Knicks are playing extraordinarily well. The rate at which they are avoiding turning the ball over will increase soon, and their record will reflect that. Still, they are a very good, deep team that will make a lot of noise come playoff time if they stay healthy.
22San AntonioJJThis team once again is the epitome of depth, fundamentals, good players and great coaching. As is typically the case the Spurs will be towards the top of the rankings all season long. Any questions about the Spurs will be what this team can do when the post season starts.
BenTim Duncan is turning back the clock, and it’s only a matter of time before Manu Ginobili starts to produce like his normal self. Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the league, and the Spurs will have home court advantage in the West come playoff time yet again.
31HeatJJTough losses against Memphis and the Clippers showed some flaws in this squad. We all know this team wasn’t going to go 82-0. So that means this is a stretch of a couple losses right? A dominant win against Denver got them another ‘W’ and showed some of their flaws to be back under wraps.
BenThe Heat are fantastic, and as long as Dwayne Wade eventually gets healthier and is consistently on the court, the Heat should finish with the best record in the entire NBA. The verdict is still out on whether or not Lebron James is in fact a human being.
410MemphisJJThe Grizz have always been a solid defensive team.  It is seeing their offensive game come alive so far this season.  They are 5th in the NBA in scoring offense and top 10 in defense. This team will be battling for home court come playoff time, they may even be battling for a top spot.
BenIn beating the Thunder relatively easy in Oklahoma City this week (including a near fistfight between massive human beings Zach Randolph and Kendrick Perkins), the Grizzlies asserted themselves as a challenger, at the very least, for home court advantage in the Western Conference.
513L.A. ClippersJJThe Clippers have won 4 straight and just got done beating the Heat. With DeAndre Jordan shooting 71% and this team is hitting shots from the outside, they have shown to be a very tough opponent for any team. With their deep bench, this team will have the advantage every time the second unit is on the floor, which is great for the regualr season, but isn’t the main key in the post season.
BenJamal Crawford will eventually slow down to his inefficient, turnover-prone self, and it will hurt the Clippers more than they realize. This team is relatively deep, but it is also a somewhat of an old and injury-prone roster. If they stay healthy, they could rise above the middle-of-the-pack in the West at the end of the season.
67Oklahoma CityJJWith Durant and Westbrook on the roster we know this team will be towards the top of the power rankings all season long. Losing to Memphis shows how this team can get dominated in the half court.  After a Z-Bo and Perk confrontation the Grizz and Thunder would be a great series to watch. Kevin Martin also came alive and if he continues to score at a high rate, Oklahoma City fans may say, James who?
BenLosing Harden’s defense and ability to get to the rim from the second unit has hurt the Thunder thus far, and Kevin Martin has shot the ball extremely efficiently. Once the substitution patterns and rotation shakes out in a more consistent way, the Thunder will be just fine.
75MilwaukeeJJThey started off 2-0; it had to be too good to be true, right? Well this team is now 5-2 and more impressive is the Bucks 3-0 record on the road. The sudden emergence of Larry Sanders has really helped the front court and shored up a big need. They are tops in the NBA in assists per game, with Jennings and Ellis that is victory enough.
BenObviously, the jury is still out on the Bucks as much as anyone. The backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis can simply outscore pretty much every backcourt in the league, and so far that has been enough to start the season at 5-2.
89BostonJJThe Celtics still have offensive production so far this season. It is the defense that has been missing so far. As Doc gets more time with this group they will continue to keep getting better and will be contending in the East come the end of the year.
BenMaybe Rondo missing some time with a sprained ankle will help get Jason Terry on track. He hasn’t played great to this point in a Celtics uniform, and when he gets going, the Celtics will be even harder to beat.
920BrooklynJJThe Nets need some time to mesh together, and are still without Gerald Wallace. This team shook off a tough start and has won 4 straight. The Nets have shown glimpses of why people have such high expectations for them this season, but are also 22nd in the NBA in assists per game and have a minus in FG%, 3PT% and FT%.  The Nets still have some work to do if they want to be the super team Mikhail Prokhorov said they would be this season.
BenThe Nets will be fine until their lack of depth starts to weigh on them later in the season. Their starting lineup is as good 1 through 5 as any in the East
104ChicagoJJThe Bulls continue to win through great defense (4th) and an overall team effort (2nd in assists per game). As long as this team continues to play solid defense and team offense it will be in great position to earn a solid playoff spot as they await the return of Derrick Rose.
BenThe Bulls have been squeaking out some tough wins. Given their roster makeup and coach, the Bulls are likely to play a lot of close games this year, but look for the point differential to remain small and eventually, playing a number of close games will catch up to them.
116DallasJJThe Mavs miss Dirk; there is no question about that. However, they’ve found a very nice surprise in OJ Mayo. Mayo is the 7th leading scorer in the NBA. He is also shooting 49% from the floor and a staggering 56% from beyond the arc. Once Dirk returns and this team has a chance to mesh it will be interesting to see the development of this team.
BenCount me as someone who believes that O.J. Mayo will eventually regress to his former self. Dirk Nowitzki coming back from injury should help mitigate those losses, but Dallas will eventually come back to earth a little bit, especially given their patchwork roster.
1216DenverJJAfter a very bad start (0-3) the Nuggets rattled off 4 straight W’s. Then they ran into a buzz saw known as the Miami Heat. The Nuggets schedule doesn’t get any easier this week with both the Spurs and Grizzlies on a back to back.
BenDenver will be just fine over the course of the long NBA season due to their depth, but they will need Danilo Gallinari to pick up his game, and George Karl will need to give Kenneth Faried more consistent minutes. He is a monster.
1315PhiladephiaJJPhilly has managed a slightly over .500 record with out their key off season acquisition of Andrew Bynum.  Bad news is Bynum is out indefinitely and there is no word on how much longer he may be out. This team will need to find offense if they will succeed this season. Right now they are -2 on point difference per game
BenWith the news that Andrew Bynum’s left knee has swelled and become bruised due to compensating while rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee, the Sixers are seeing their worst fears with Bynum being realized already.
1419Golden StateJJThe Warriors are over .500 so far, but if you look at their record you see they could easily be 7-2. They lost in OT to Denver and by 2 to Sacramento. They still don’t have Bogut (who knows when he will be able to play for whatever reason). This team has done it with defense as they are 10th in the league in scoring defense.
BenIf David Lee evntually starts playing like the Warriors expected him to when they signed him to a monster contract, Stephen Curry stays relatively healthy, and Andrew Bogut eventually returns and stays on the court, the Warriors have the potential to be a solid playoff team. But those are three pretty big “ifs”.
1511MinnesotaJJThese Wolves aren’t the Wolves we are use too. This group has been beat up, yet they held on to win against a tough Dallas team, they showed more resilience in the games against the Bobcats and Warriors then we’ve seen for years. They have a 4 day break which will be much needed rest for this team and should show the return of Roy, JJ and Pek.
BenRubio. Roy. Budinger. Love. Pekovic. Barea. That’s a pretty good starting lineup and sixth man that is still sidelined for the Wolves. If Kevin Love returns in two weeks and the team is still above or at .500, they’ll be very, very pleased.
1622L.A. LakersJJWill they be better, probably, but right now they are 4-5. D’Antoni will get this group to score points, the real question is how much running will those old legs be able to handle? With no bench to give the starting 5 a break, I question how much they’ll be able to run.
BenLack of depth, lack of depth, lack of depth. It will be interesting to see if the Lakers will manage to stay healthy and be able to hold up well enough over the course of an 82-game season to be able to truly contend for a championship by the end of the season.
178AtlantaJJIt’s been a tough week for the Hawks as they lost back to back against the Clippers and the Heat. They are 3 games into a 4 game road trip where they are 1-2. This team has been playing solid basketball, they have a + in point diff, FG%, FT% and assist per game.
BenThe Hawks should be able to make the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference, unless they follow through in trading Josh Smith’s expiring contract at some point during the season.
1818HoustonJJThe Rockets are now 4-5, don’t get too excited though, their 4 wins are twice against Detroit, New Orleans and Atlanta. This team has nice pieces, but as opponents get film on the Rockets this team is going to struggle even more.
BenJames Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Jeremy Lin are all useful pieces moving forward and Marcus Morris has been a revelation so far this year, but Daryl Morey still has his work cut out for him in turning a roster full of young players and rookies into a contender.
1921New OrleansJJThis Hornets squad will fight every game that is for sure. They are 3rd overall in points allowed. They are lacking offense however as they are 26th in scoring.
BenAnthony Davis is the real deal. Austin Rivers is not. They are not nearly as bad as they have been post-Chris Paul, but will struggle until the front office makes some shrewd moves to surround The Brow with legitimate talent.
2027CharlotteJJThis is strictly a record thing. This team is 4-3. They’ve won as many games this season as they did through the first 30 games last season. This won’t last Cats fans, so enjoy it while you can.
BenThe Bobcats haven’t exactly beaten a murderer’s row of teams, and they haven’t won by a whole lot of points, either. Mike Dunlap still has his team’s attention, but that could very well change if the Bobcats stop winning those close games.
2117UtahJJFrankly, Utah had big expectations. Push for the playoffs. They will need to turn things around if they are to get things going into the right direction. Part of the problem is they have lost 6 of 7 road games. If this team has playoff aspirations they will have to start winning on the road.
BenUtah’s lack of wing depth will haunt them all season long, but their stacked frontcourt will keep them in a lot of games. Depending on injuries to some of the other middle-of-the-pack teams in the West, they’ll have a shot at the playoffs.
2212IndianaJJThe Pacers are not the same team without Danny Granger. They are last in the NBA in scoring and 3rd in points allowed. The problem is they are scoring 3 less points than they are allowing. It doesn’t matter what team it is, if you give up more than you score, you’re not going to win games.
BenThe Pacers are in trouble. Roy Hibbert has been awful, and Danny Granger’s return is being measured in months, not weeks. They’ll still have an opportunity to make the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference, but this is not at all what Pacers’ fans had in mind for this season.
2314PortlandJJThe Blazers just flat out aren’t stopping anyone. They are allowing 102.67 points a game. Simply, they are scoring less than they are giving up. They also are 6th worse in assist per game.
BenDamian Lillard is fantastic, but I’m sure Portland brass wasn’t thrilled to see LaMarcus Aldridge admit to the media that he’s already lost a step, at the ripe old age of 27. Their bench is non-existent, and they will struggle most nights.
2424OrlandoJJIt’s pretty safe to say coming into this season there wasn’t much that was expected of the Magic, and so far they haven’t disappointed.
BenLook for a number of teams to make a play for J.J. Redick as the February trade deadline nears. He is easily the Magic’s most tradable and valuable asset.
2526PhoenixJJThe Suns record so far is a surprise (if you consider 4 wins a surprise). Once you dig into the schedule you see it really has been a pretty easy schedule so far. 3 of the teams wins are Charlotte, Detroit, Cleveland and Denver. As the schedule toughens up the win loss will be more in line with preseason predictions.
BenLuis Scola has played well, but Michael Beasley’s uneven play and the lack of depth on this roster beyond Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat will leave them at the bottom of the conference all season long.
2625TorontoJJWith no Kyle Lowery in the lineup this team is not good. The Raptors have 1 win since he went down. Until Lowery returns this team is going to struggle to win.
BenJose Calderon has played exactly how Toronto has needed him to in Kyle Lowry’s absence. They’ll need Jonas Valanciunas to play up to his potential if they want to have a shot at the playoffs this season.
2723ClevelandJJThe Cavs have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA; with the youth come some growing pains. The biggest pain the Cavs have is the amount of points they are giving up a game. The Cavs are giving up 7 more points a game than they score.
BenAnderson Varejao had a career high 35 points and 18 rebounds in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets this past week. Kyrie Irving is a wonderful, wonderful basketball player. But that’s about it that can be said in a positive light about the Cavs so far this season.
2829SacramentoJJThe Kings may have some nice players, these players are undisciplined. With no discipline on these young players this team once again is going to remain in the bottom portion of the NBA Power Rankings all season long.
BenThe Kings’ only two wins have been a pair of two point victories over Golden State and Detroit. Beyond those two close games, they have been awful
2930DetroitJJThe Pistons are not good, but they have 1 win. For that they are not the worst team in the league right now, which means something, right?
BenDetroit played the Thunder close until the end of the game, so that felt like a moral victory. Poor Lawrence Frank. There just isn’t much to work with in the Motor City.
3028Washington D.CJJThe Wizards still have a 0 in the Win column. They are the only team in the NBA that has yet to win a game. This team needs John Wall and Nene back, once those 2 are back they should start recording some wins.
BenCoach Randy Wittman came out this week and complained about his team not getting any respect from the referees. There isn’t much else to say about this year’s edition of the Washington Wizards.