The Warriors and Jazz are at the top of the Western Conference standings and ESNY’s power rankings
We are over one week into the 2021-22 NBA season and there are already surprises left and right. The Nets, Bucks, and Lakers are all under .500 as a few teams remain undefeated.
Let’s take a look at all 30 NBA teams with ESNY’s NBA Power Rankings.
30. Detroit Pistons (Record: 0-3, Movement: -5)
The Pistons are stumbling out of the gate without No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham due to an ankle sprain. This team has young talent, but we need to see it on the floor before we know more about Detroit.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-4, -1)
Oklahoma City is another roster with young talent, but they are in full-on tank mode this year. Sam Presti is trying to get more draft picks than the Thunder have wins this year. With that said, OKC came back from down 26 on Wednesday to beat the LeBron James-less Lakers.
28. Orlando Magic (1-4, +1)
The Orlando Magic looked good in Madison Square Garden on Sunday, but this is going to be a tough year for the youngest team in the NBA.
27. Houston Rockets (1-3, 0)
We are sensing a theme here with these cellar-dwellers. The Rockets are going to let young guys like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. learn on the fly.
26. New Orleans Pelicans (1-4, -3)
The Pelicans are going to have a tough time in the Western Conference without Zion Williamson. With no real timeline for Williamson’s return to the court, it’s tough to be optimistic about New Orleans.
25. San Antonio Spurs (1-3, -1)
As someone who grew up watching Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker, it’s bizarre putting the Spurs this low on any list. However, this San Antonio team is going nowhere fast in the West.
24. Indiana Pacers (1-4, -6)
The Pacers have one win sandwiched between two pairs of losses. Indiana lost their first two games by a single point in each contest. Unfortunately, their last two losses were both by double digits.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1, +7)
The Timberwolves make a massive jump from last to 23rd. Anthony Edwards looks like the real deal so far and he could be the reason why Minnesota continues to climb in our power rankings.
22. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-2, +4)
Let’s be honest, a starting lineup containing Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Lauri Markkanen looks weird, but it’s working. The Cavs are off to a strong start in 2021-22.
21. Toronto Raptors (2-3, +1)
The Raptors are in the middle of a transition year, but they are still playing hard. They might not make the playoffs (or play-in tournament), but they won’t be an easy game for anyone.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (2-2, -4)
Shockingly, the Trail Blazers don’t look much different after tinkering with the roster in the offseason. Portland has been running it back with largely the same roster around Damian Lillard for years. It hasn’t worked yet.
19. Philadelphia 76ers (2-2, -4)
The 76ers might be the most dysfunctional team in the NBA right now. Ben Simmons is working through issues on his own and Joel Embiid looks like a shell of himself on the court. Embiid is dealing with a knee injury, but regardless, the Sixers look shaky so far.
18. Sacramento Kings (2-2, +3)
The schedule makers did the Kings absolutely no favors to start the season, but they somehow still have their heads above water.
17. Los Angeles Clippers (1-3, -5)
The Clippers are still searching for an identity without Kawhi Leonard. They are going to have to figure that out sooner rather than later to avoid falling behind in the competitive Western Conference.
16. Boston Celtics (2-3, -4)
The Boston Celtics haven’t looked bad to start the year, but they don’t look great either. There aren’t any more easy tickets into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
15. Washington Wizards (3-1, +5)
So far, so good in D.C. After sweeping changes in the offseason, Washington’s core of Bradley Beal, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Kyle Kuzma is off to a strong start.
14. Charlotte Hornets (4-1, +5)
The Charlotte Hornets might not be the best team in the NBA, but they could be the most exciting. Eastern Conference Player of the Week Miles Bridges and second-year star LaMelo Ball are electric on the court together.
13. Dallas Mavericks (2-1, -6)
What the hell is going on in Dallas? Mavericks coach Jason Kidd is playing a 15-man rotation at the request of the team’s leadership council. What?
12. Phoenix Suns (1-3, -4)
The Suns are off to a slow start after going all the way to the NBA Finals a few months ago. It is far too early to call this year a “Finals Hangover Year.” With that said, the Suns have looked out of sync for the first few games.
11. Miami Heat (3-1, +1)
The Miami Heat went into Brooklyn and took the Nets out on Wednesday night. James Harden and Kevin Durant couldn’t muster up enough offense against that suffocating Miami defense. The Heat are the Heat again this year.
10. Memphis Grizzlies (2-2, 0)
The Grizzlies are sitting at .500, but it’s hard not to be excited about this roster. Ja Morant is flirting with superstardom as the rest of the team fills in around him.
9. Chicago Bulls (4-0, +7)
The Bulls are one of three undefeated teams left standing. The offseason additions are paying early dividends, but they will have their toughest test of the season on Thursday night.
8. New York Knicks (3-1, +2)
That tough test for Chicago will be the Knicks. New York dropped a stinker at home against the Magic on Sunday, but they have looked great in every other game this year. Tom Thibodeau coaches every game like it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and it shows.
7. Denver Nuggets (2-2, -3)
Nikola Jokic avoided a serious injury on Tuesday night and now everyone in Denver can take a deep breath. As long as he is healthy, Denver will be a top-10 team.
6. Atlanta Hawks (3-1, +3)
The playoffs helped Trae Young make the leap from “nice young player” to “bonafide star.” He is off to an incredible start, averaging 26.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (2-3, -2)
These next three teams are below .500, but we aren’t panicking about it yet. The Lakers are experiencing some growing pains with injuries and new lineups. Still, we don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button.
4. Brooklyn Nets (2-3, -2)
Outside of their win over Washington and five minutes against Philly, the Nets have looked downright bad this year. James Harden looks out of whack and they have no physical presence on the inside. With all that said, they have the talent to outweigh any flaws.
3. Milwaukee Bucks (2-3, -2)
The Bucks are off to a slow start after winning the NBA Finals. We are not going to worry about Giannis Antetokounmpo or Milwaukee. Not at all.
2. Utah Jazz (3-0, +3)
The Utah Jazz appear poised to make another run at the top spot in the Western Conference. Rudy Gobert is still the best defender in the world, Donovan Mitchell is a flat-out star, and the duo of Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson might be the best bench unit in the NBA.
1. Golden State Warriors (4-0, +5)
Stephen Curry is going full Stephen Curry flamethrower mode through four games. After two disappointing seasons, it looks like the Warriors are back to being a true championship contender.