The first week of the 2019-20 NBA season is behind us and there were some shocking results that shuffled our weekly Power Rankings!
First edition of 2019-20 #NBA season rankings from @TheCarlanGay and @KyleIrv_- NBA Soundsystem (@nbasoundsystem) October 29, 2019
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Everything is taken into consideration in ordering these teams: results, quality of the opponent, winning streaks and losing streaks, and even where the team was ranked in the previous week's rankings.
After one week of the season, we saw teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets move up in the top-10 while the Golden State Warriors dropped out of the top-10. Other teams like the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns made sizeable leaps while the likes of the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans went for a slide after struggling to pick up wins.
Where does your favourite team rank in our Week 1 Power Rankings?
In this week's edition of our Power Rankings, our NBA.com Staff each handled one takeaway from every team's first game of the season.
10. Dallas Mavericks
Last week's ranking: 16
Past week: 2-1 (win vs. WAS, win at NOP, loss vs. POR)
Next week: at DEN, vs. LAL, at CLE
All it took was one game for Luka Doncic to flirt with his career-high of 35 points. That could be the start of a monster season for the Slovenian sophomore.
Sophomore year is off to a great start🙌@luka7doncic scores 34 points in his regular season debut! #MFFL pic.twitter.com/Ad0pCSnLSx- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 24, 2019
9. Boston Celtics
Last week's ranking: 10
Past week: 2-1 (loss at PHI, win vs. TOR, win vs. NYK)
Next week: vs. MIL, vs. NYK
The Celtics lack of frontcourt depth has been their biggest concern heading into the 2019-20 season and it only took one game for that weakness to shine through. Boston was out-rebounded 62-41 in their opening night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers and while Philly is one of the biggest teams in the league, it still proves the Celtics may struggle to defend down low and keep opponents off the glass.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
Last week's ranking: 9
Past week: 2-1 (loss vs. DEN, win at SAC, win at DAL)
Next week: at SAS, at OKC, vs. PHI
The Blazers were edged by the Nuggets on their home court, dropping their first home opener since 2001. Damian Lillard went for 32 points in the loss, but Portland needed more from C.J. McCollum who only scored 12 points shooting 5-for-18 from the field.
The one thing to take away from this game was the play of Hassan Whiteside, who the Blazers traded for this offseason to assume the starting centre position until Jusuf Nurkic returns. Whiteside did everything he was asked of in more in his first game with Portland, going for a double-double of 16 points and 19 rebounds with two blocks. If he can play at that level all season, that trade will work out heavily in the Blazers favour.
7. Utah Jazz
Last week's ranking: 7
Past week: 2-1 (win vs. OKC, loss at LAL, win vs. SAC)
Next week: at PHX, vs. LAC, at SAC, at LAC
While his backcourt mate struggled to get going in his debut, Donovan Mitchell looked ready to take the All-Star leap as he scored an efficient 32 points (on 14-18 shooting) to go along with 12 boards in Utah's opening night win.
6. Houston Rockets
Last week's ranking: 5
Past week: 1-1 (loss at MIL, win vs. NOP)
Next week: vs. OKC, at WAS, at BKN, at MIA
The Rockets scored 27 fastbreak points in their season opening loss to the Bucks. They averaged 12.0 fastbreak points per game last season, the 11th lowest mark in the league. Even though it came in a loss, Russell Westbrook is already making his presence felt.
5. Los Angeles Lakers
Last week's ranking: 2
Past week: 2-1 (loss at LAC, win vs. UTA, win vs. CHA)
Next week: vs. MEM, at DAL, at SAS
Anthony Davis and LeBron James will be fine. The biggest uncertaintly with the Lakers is everyone else, particularly the bench. That proved to be the case right from the jump as the Lakers bench was outscored 60-19 on a combined 7-21 shooting.
4. Milwaukee Bucks
Last week's ranking: 3
Past week: 1-1 (win vs. HOU, loss vs. MIA)
Next week: vs. CLE, at BOS, at ORL, vs. TOR
The biggest question facing Milwaukee is the supporting cast around the reigning MVP. That group passed its first test on the road against Houston as they were able to hang on after Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Beating the Rockets on a night Antetokounmpo played just 28 minutes due to foul trouble is a great early sign for the Bucks.
3. Denver Nuggets
Last week's ranking: 6
Past week: 2-0 (win at POR, win vs. PHX)
Next week: at SAC, vs. DAL, at NOP, at ORL
They shot just 42.0% from the field, committed 19 turnovers and Nikola Jokic played just 24 minutes due to foul trouble, yet the Nuggets earned a gritty eight-point road win over the Blazers. Beating tough teams despite not playing your best is something scary, scary teams do.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
Last week's ranking: 4
Past week: 2-0 (win vs. BOS, win at DET)
Next week: at ATL, vs. MIN, at POR
It's going to be a chore for teams playing the 76ers all season long as Boston found out first hand in the season opener. The 76ers blocked seven shots and held the Celtics to just 37 percent shooting including 46 percent inside the paint. All three of those defensive figures would have led the league last season. Expect Philadelphia to hold many teams far below their usual offensive output all season long.
1. LA Clippers
Last week's ranking: 1
Past week: 2-1 (win vs. LAL, win at GSW, loss at PHX)
Next week: vs. CHA, at UTA, vs. SAS, vs. UTA
Kawhi Leonard picked up right where he left off as he outplayed both LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the Clippers' resounding win over the Lakers. Following a postseason run for the ages in which he seemingly took on the mantle as best player in the NBA, Leonard doesn't appear to be loosening his grip on that title any time soon.
Rest of the NBA
11. San Antonio Spurs
Business as usual. A majority of the time, the Spurs handle their business and win the games they are expected to win because they rarely beat themselves. Despite committing 21 turnovers, the Spurs eventually cruised to a comfortable win over the Knicks. The biggest and probably the only talking point from this game for the Spurs? Dejounte Murray's performance in his return - 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in 24 minutes.
12. Toronto Raptors
It's Pascal Siakam's team now and he passed the first test with flying colors as he finished with 34 points, 18 rebounds and five assists. Siakam certainly won't do that every time out but if he's able to play at an All-Star level consistenty, the Raptors will not be a pushover for the Bucks or 76ers, widely considered the heavy favourites in the Eastern Conference.
Just the beginning.- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 23, 2019
34P | 18R | 5A@pskills43 | #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/wlJEIpuvoL
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Kyrie Irving might've grabbed all the headlines but the Timberwolves were the ones who came out victorious in their opening night overtime battle with the Nets. Karl-Anthony Towns was a monster, posting a massive double-double of 36 points and 14 rebounds while also adding three assists, three blocks and three steals to the stat sheet. Towns picked up right where he left off toward the back end of last season but this season, will he continue to translate these stat sheet-stuffing games into wins for Minnesota?
This is @KarlTowns.- Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 24, 2019
Yesterday, Karl became the youngest center in @NBA history to hit 400 threes...
and he's just getting started. pic.twitter.com/tkJqNRXvcO
14. Miami Heat
Early returns from South Beach suggest the Heat are going to be far more than just Jimmy Butler who missed the season opener due to personal reasons. The Heat didn't skip a beat without Butler, riding Justise Winslow and Kendrick Nunn as they combined for 51 points in the 19-point win over the Grizzlies. Each of them scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring Memphis's entire team 22-17.
15. Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young looks ready to compete for an All-Star spot as the second-year point guard lit up the Pistons for 38 points and nine assists. Just as impressive as the deep 3s? 12 free throw attempts, more than he had in all but four games last season.
.@TheTraeYoung had himself a NIGHT!- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 25, 2019
3⃣8⃣ points | 9⃣ assists
📽️ Presented by @KumhoTireUSA pic.twitter.com/2XTlmsNLdY
16. Brooklyn Nets
No player in NBA history has scored more points in a team debut than Kyrie Irving who poured in 50 points in his first game with the Nets. Although he missed the potential game-winner at the buzzer in overtime, Irving sent a message in his first game that he's in line for a monster season under the bright lights of New York.
Not the result we wanted, but a historic Nets debut from @KyrieIrving.- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 24, 2019
📼 Highlights from his record-setting 50-point night 📼 pic.twitter.com/uGfKV9x6B8
17. Golden State Warriors
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 141 points the Warriors allowed in their season opener to the Clippers was the most a team has scored against them in the Steve Kerr era, both regular season and playoffs. The Warriors can only hope that's not a sign of what's to come this season.
18. Phoenix Suns
Down by five at the half to the Kings, the Suns then trounced Sacramento 70-36 in the second half to pull away with a stunning first win. The good vibes were expected to ultimately be short-lived as it was soon followed up with the news that Deandre Ayton will be suspended for 25 games after testing positive for a banned substance (diuretic), but they responded with a tough overtime loss to the Nuggets and a stunning win over the Clippers.
19. Orlando Magic
Markelle Fultz is looking like he can add another dynamic to this team. In his first NBA action in nearly a year, he finished with 12 points, six assists and one monster slam.
20. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons got the season started with an impressive win against the Pacers thanks to a monster 32-point, 23-rebound double-double from Andre Drummond, but they came back down to earth the next night against the Hawks. Can Drummond keep this team afloat until Blake Griffin comes back, whenever that may be?
21. Indiana Pacers
During the preseason, coach Nate McMillan believed reboundig was an aspect the Pacers needed to work on. That's exactly where they got outplayed in the season opener, giving up 23 to Andre Drummond alone and an overall 45 to the Pistons.
22. Sacramento Kings
It was a frustrating season opener for the Kings who were dealt a 29-point loss to the Suns. Sacramento turned the ball over 27 times - the most by a team in an NBA game since 2010 - resulting in 35 points for Phoenix the other way. The Kings' defence was transparent as the Suns scored 68 points in the paint while Sacramento shot 39.1% from the field. In a snowball effect, the Kings will also be without starting centre Marvin Bagley III for 4-6 weeks after fracturing his thumb in the contest.
23. Oklahoma City Thunder
The boatload of draft picks acquired this offseason may have set the team up for years to come, but trade acquisition Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is looking like every bit of a franchise cornerstone of the future as he scored a career-high 26 points in OKC's season opener.
24. New Orleans Pelicans
The Zion Williamson-less Pelicans used a balanced scoring attack to keep up with the defending champion Raptors but ran out of firepower in overtime. It was an odd game for New Orleans, who went 12 guys deep into their rotation. Brandon Ingram's 22 points on a team-high 19 field goal attempts would suggest he'll take over the majority of looks that Zion would have originally gotten, but it was also an uncharacteristically quiet night from Jrue Holiday. It appears head coach Alvin Gentry is still trying to figure out his rotations as this roster tries to get accustomed to playing with one-another.
25. Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal couldn't get things going on opening night for the Wizards as their superstar went 1-for-11 from beyond the arc in a close loss to the Mavericks. There were two bright spots to takeaway from the loss, though - their young frontcourt duo of Thomas Bryant and rookie Rui Hachimura each notched double-doubles.
Bryant finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Hachimura went for 14 points and 10 boards in his debut. Beal is going to need all the help he can get and a promising performance from that tandem is a good sign moving forward.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers rebuild is centered around their young backcourt. Colin Sexton and Darius Garland (combined for 24 points on 8-24 shooting and 7 assists) weren't exactly impressive in their first game together. Even though we know it's a rebuild, it would be difficult to be competitive if a multiple time All-Star like Kevin Love plays 36 minutes and only attempts 9 shots (that's how many he tossed up vs. the Magic).
27. Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markannen was a force in Chicago's season opener, going for 35 points and 17 rebounds. And yet, it wasn't enough to take down the ... Hornets? This team can't afford many losses like that this season if they are going to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
28. Charlotte Hornets
One game in and P.J. Washington looks like the steal of the draft. Even if the forward from Kentucky comes back down to earth, it's impossible not to be impressed by the seven 3-pointers he drilled in Charlotte's season-opening win, the most in NBA history in a career debut.
29. Memphis Grizzlies
An average debut for No. 2 pick Ja Morant and Summer League MVP Brandon Clarke. Jaren Jackson Jr. didn't necessarily put on a show. The team only trailed by one against an experienced Heat team in Miami before they got outscored by 20 in the final period. Also, you can't win or even compete when the team only makes five 3-pointers.
30. New York Knicks
Game 1 in San Antonio was a loss for the Knicks but a couple of key positives - Julius Randle's impressive all-round game and RJ Barrett had himself a great NBA debut (21p/5r/2a/2s on 9-13 FG's). They were tied with the Spurs at 99 until they were outscored 23-14 in the last 6:31 of the game.
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