The NBA: 2012 Power Rankings: Week 2

The only undefeated team is the New York Knicks at 5-0. Did anyone here anticipate this amazing start to the season, including the Knicks' fans? The Knicks have had a favorable schedule playing 5 games in 2 weeks but they have delivered by winning all of them by double digits. The Heat is doing okayMeanwhile, 2 teams are still winless (Pistons, Wizards) which dont play each other until December 21 and 22 for a home-and-home series. It's quite possible that both teams will be winless until that point. The coaching drama in Lakerland over the weekend was a complete shocker. The Lakers dominated the headlines while the Clippers, Grizzlies and Spurs kept winning. In Sacramento, suspensions have hurt their team while injuries have decimated the Timberwolves and Warriors.

The standings are current up to November 14. The rankings from last week refer to Week 1.

Melo and the Knicks have played only 5 games in
 2 weeks but all have been wins
(Photo by: New York Daily News)

1. New York Knicks | 5-0 | Last Week: 2 | +1
The Knicks have won all of their games by double digits. They still have the highest scoring differential at +15.6 and they are doing it with defense and outside shooting. Carmelo is leading the league in scoring and he seems more active on the defensive side. How long can this streak last? The Knicks will have a tougher week ahead with a back-to-back versus the Spurs and Grizzlies.

2. San Antonio Spurs | 7-1 | Last Week: 1 | -1
The Spurs lost to the Clippers in a blowout but they bounced back and won 3 games including a thriller against the Lakers. Tim Duncan is still delivering 19 and 10 while Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have been impressive this year. Manu Ginobili has struggled in 6 games, averaging 8 points in 21 minutes.

3. Miami Heat | 6-2 | Last Week: 3 | Same
The Heat offense looks good as they continue to lead the NBA in scoring. LeBron James has 7 double-doubles in 8 games. Their defense is a work in progress and they have lost 2 games by blowouts on the road. Dwyane Wade is struggling defensively, leaving his guy open often. Opponents have also pounded them on the boards and killed them on threes.

4. Memphis Grizzlies | 5-1 | Last Week: 5 | +1
After losing their first game to the Clippers, the Grizzlies have won 5 straight, making them tied with the Thunder and Knicks as the hottest teams in the NBA. Zach Randolph continues to be a force in the paint as he leads the league in rebounding. Their bench has been fantastic so far with Wayne Ellington pouring a career-high against Wade and the Heat. If the Grizz continue to make perimeter shots, everything becomes easier in the paint for Gasol and Randolph.

5. Los Angeles Clippers | 5-2 | Last Week: 10 | +5
DeAndre Jordan had an amazing 2-game stretch versus the Spurs and Blazers getting 20 and 10, both of them wins. Jamal Crawford leads the team in PPG at 20.3 in 29 minutes of action coming from the bench. They have a balanced scoring attack with 6 players averaging double figures. Who would have imagined that Vinny Del Negro would outlast Mike Brown?

6. Oklahoma City Thunder | 6-2 | Last Week: 15 | +9
The Thunder have won 5 straight and they are ahead of the Rockets in the standings. Kevin Martin has provided ample scoring (17.1) off the bench and he has better shooting percentages compared to Harden. Kevin Durant leads the team in points (not surprising even if Westbrook takes more shots) and rebounds (surprising since Ibaka gets only 6.6 a game).

7. Minnesota Timberwolves | 5-2 | Last Week: 13 | +6
The injuries keep on piling up for the T'wolves. They still dont have Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio plus Brandon Roy and JJ Barea have missed games due to injuries. Even the big bruiser, Nikola Pekovic who leads them in scoring injured his ankle on their last game. Now, Chase Budinger will be out 3 months or more but the T'wolves keep on winning. Alexey Shved has provided good support as PG in the last 5 games with 10 ppg and 5 apg.

8. Milwaukee Bucks | 4-2 | Last Week: 8 | Same
Brandon Jennings no longer leads the league in assists. He had a dud of a game versus the Celtics in a loss but he followed that up with 33 pts, 8 assts and 4 steals in a win versus the Sixers. Larry Sanders has been a pleasant surprise leading the team in rebounds at 9.2 and scoring at 10 per game.

9. Boston Celtics | 4-3 | Last Week: 16 | +7
Rajon Rondo leads the NBA in assists. He has posted 31 straight games with 10+ assists. Pierce and Garnett are slowly getting back into form. Their defense is not where it is used to be (top 5). Courtney Lee has been a disappointing starter (4.9 ppg) and was replaced by Terry. Jeff Green has struggled in his 7 games after missing a year.

10. Chicago Bulls | 4-3 | Last Week: 7 | -3
The Bulls have slipped a little bit on defense since last week, they dropped to 5th from 2nd in least points allowed. Kirk Hinrich has struggled with his shot (33%) and with minor ailments. Good thing that Nate Robinson has picked up the slack scoring 11 ppg. Guess who the 2nd best scorer is after Deng? Joakim Noah.

11. Philadelphia 76ers | 4-3 | Last Week: 22 | +11

The Sixers have recovered from the Knicks' two defeats by having quality wins in New Orleans, Boston and Toronto. The Sixers held the Raptors to 7 points in the 2nd quarter. Andrew Bynum is projected to miss games until January and his knees are problematic. Evan Turner is still shooting poorly (38%) but he leads the team in rebounding (8.7).

12. Brooklyn Nets | 4-2 | Last Week: 21 | +9
The Nets have a modest 3-game winning streak feeding on the Magic twice and the Cavs once without Gerald Wallace and MarShoon Brooks. Joe Johnson is shooting better overall and Brook Lopez is scoring well while Humphries does the dirty work. The Nets have a crucial game against the Celtics on Thursday.

13. Utah Jazz | 4-4 | Last Week: 24 | +11
The Jazz love playing in overtime. They just endured a triple OT in Toronto and last year they had multiple OT games (7). Mo Williams continues to lead them in scoring but Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are gaining on him. Millsap has somewhat extended his shooting range to threes while Big Al made a three to force OT in Toronto (1-25 in career).

14. Denver Nuggets | 4-4 | Last Week: 25 | +11
The Nuggets won 4 straight before losing to the Suns. They have an abundance of games on the road so the slow start is understandable. Kenneth Faried was just named Western Conference Player of the Week. Faried averaged 16 and 12 in his last 5 games (4-1 record). Gallinari is still shooting an abysmal 31.1% from the field.

15. Los Angeles Lakers | 3-5 | Last Week: 17 | +2
The Lakers were a game-winning shot away from being 4-4. Coach D'Antoni will make his debut on Friday against the Suns. Steve Nash could make his comeback from injury on that same night. The Lakers are still lacking in bench production. They had Artest playing point guard versus the Spurs. If D'Antoni doesnt win games quickly, how many games will he last before being fired?

16. Dallas Mavericks | 4-4 | Last Week: 4 | -12
Losing to the Bobcats hurt. The Mavs have lost 3 straight but they can be back on track with a win versus the Wizards. If they lose that, another tumble in the Rankings will be coming. OJ Mayo has been sizzling hot as he leads the team in scoring. Meanwhile, Elton Brand is shooting poorly at 36% and averaging 6.4 ppg. The injury to Marion was a big blow to their defense with opposing wings abusing Carter and Crowder on defense.

17. Atlanta Hawks | 3-3 | Last Week: 20 | +3
Josh Smith has yet to learn which shots are good or bad. He is 1-7 from threes and he is horrible at the line 3-15 in 5 games. Jeff Teague has been playing well of late with 14 ppg and 7 apg on 52% shooting. Kyle Korver has started to heat up in the last 3 games from deep (11-19).

18. Phoenix Suns | 4-4 | Last Week: 26 | +8
The comeback win from a 21-point deficit in Cleveland was nice but the win from the Nuggets was better. Marcin Gortat has been a strong candidate for defensive player of the year this early with his 12 ppg, 11 rpg and 3.6 blocks. Shannon Brown has been a gem off the bench (14.4 ppg).

19. New Orleans Hornets | 3-2 | Last Week: 19 | Same
Anthony Davis is back from his concussion and is leading the team in scoring in his 3 games so far. Ryan Anderson is coming off the bench and that has been a positive. Austin Rivers continues to struggle only scoring 5.5 a game and shooting at 22% from the field. 

20. Houston Rockets | 3-4 | Last Week: 6 | -14
James Harden has slowed down significantly. Teams are now focusing on him more. He still scores 26 a night but is shooting less efficiently (43%). More importantly, the Rockets are losing more. Omer Asik has been a notable acquisition with 11 ppg and 13 rpg while Jeremy Lin will be remembered for airballing a three in a clutch situation against the Heat.

21. Golden State Warriors | 3-4 | Last Week: 14 | -7
Andrew Bogut was shut down for 10 days or more. Bad timing since the Warriors are on a difficult stretch with games versus the Nets, Thunder, Mavs and Nuggets. Carl Landry has played great in his 27 minutes off the bench (16 and 8) but Harrison Barnes has yet to produce in his starter role.

22. Charlotte Bobcats | 3-3 | Last Week: 27 | +5
The Bobcats have surprised most people (including me) with their 3 wins this early. Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions are combining for 35 points and 10 assists per game. Center Byron Mullens is doing a decent job with 11 and 8 while MKG is building some steam with 12 and 8.

23. Indiana Pacers | 3-5 | Last Week: 11 | -12
Danny Granger will be out for 3 months. The Pacers miss him already since they are in the bottom 5 in offensive production. The Pacers only have 3 guys in double figures (West, George and Hill) while Roy Hibbert has struggled on both ends of the floor. 

24. Portland Trailblazers | 3-5 | Last Week: 12 | -12
Their bench is killing the Blazers. All their starters are playing heavy minutes. Their starting five scores about 85% of their points. The most points coming from their bench is Meyers Leonard at 3.8 ppg. Lillard continues to play strong and JJ Hickson has held his own against the bigger centers in the West.

25. Orlando Magic | 2-5 | Last Week: 9 | -16
The Magic has fallen back to earth with a 5-game losing streak. Glen Davis has significantly slowed down his scoring (15 ppg down from 25) while JJ Redick has cooled down. Jameer Nelson has only played 1 game and it seems that they need him ASAP.

26. Toronto Raptors | 2-6 | Last Week: 23 | -3
Kyle Lowry has been out with an injury and the Raptors have struggled offensively without their best player. They scored 7 pts in the 2nd quarter versus the Sixers in a loss while they managed only 5 points in the 4th quarter against the Pacers in a win.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers | 2-6 | Last Week: 18 | -9
The Cavs had an exciting win over the Clippers last week where Irving and Waiters were great. They followed that up with a 4-game losing streak. Waiters has cooled down in the last 2 games only averaging 8 ppg and shooting 6-22. Andy Varejao continues to be a monster with his 16 and 14.

28. Sacramento Kings | 2-6 | Last Week: 28 | Same
DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for approaching a TV analyst while rookie Thomas Robinson was suspended for throwing an elbow (both 2 games). The Kings are having headaches on and off the floor. Tyreke Evans has continued to struggle with 11 ppg and 38% shooting.

29. Washington Wizards | 0-6 | Last Week: 29 | Same
No John Wall and no Nene, thus no wins for the Wizard. They are last in the league in points scored as a team. They only have 2 players averaging over 10 points: Beal at 12.2 and AJ Price at 10.

30. Detroit Pistons | 0-8 | Last Week: 30 | Same
Unlike the Wizards who have injuries as a valid excuse for being winless, the same cannot be said for the Pistons. The Pistons are scoring but they also give up a tremendous amount of points. Their losing margin is at -10.3 a game.

Biggest Rise: Sixers, Jazz, Nuggets +11
Biggest Fall: Orlando Magic -16

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