#NBA2015: Power Rankings: Week 4

While LeBron and the Cavs are struggling in Cleveland and the Bulls are encountering early injury woes, the Raptors and Wizards have taken full advantage to sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. Both Toronto and Washington were projected to be playoff teams but not a lot (including me) thought they would be #1 and #2 this early. Of course, there's still a lot of games to be played so the Cavs and Bulls can easily overtake them during the course of the season.  

Meanwhile in the West, the Grizzlies and Warriors are tied in the loss column but the slight edge goes to Memphis due to having more wins. The Blazers and Rockets are also in the thick of things in the ultra-competitive West.    

The standings are current up to November 26, 2014 (Manila time).

The rankings from Last Week refer to Week 3.

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Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors are the best team in the East
(Image from: USA Today Sports)
1. Memphis Grizzlies | 12-2 | Last Week: 1 | Same
The Grizzlies manhandled the Clippers with Marc Gasol leading the way with 30 points and 12 boards. Gasol looks lighter and faster. He is averaging a career-high 20 ppg and is one of the early candidates for MVP. 

2. Golden State Warriors | 10-2 | Last Week: 2 | Same
GSW has won 5 straight and only trails the Grizz in the win column. A positive impact of David Lee missing games was the emergence of Marreese Speights who is averaging 17 ppg over his last 5 games.

3. Toronto Raptors | 12-2 | Last Week: 3 | Same
The Raps have the best record in the East and have beaten the Suns, Cavs and Grizzlies over the past week. Kudos to Lou Williams who was sizzling hot in his last 5 games, averaging 20 ppg and was named Player of the Week.

4. Portland Trailblazers | 11-3 | Last Week: 6 | +2
Portland has won 8 straight including a game without Aldridge vs the Nets. Veteran addition Chris Kaman has played well so far. He is averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds in under 20 minutes. Robin Lopez, the starter is also getting 12 ppg and 7 rpg. 

5. San Antonio Spurs | 9-4 | Last Week: 8 | +3
The Spurs have won 4 straight and are starting to warm up. Pop is managing their minutes well with no one playing over 33 mpg. Kawhi Leonard appears to be back to normal. He is 2nd in team scoring and rebounds. 

6. Houston Rockets | 11-3 | Last Week: 7 | -1
The Rockets have been okay without Dwight Howard. They are 2-2 without him in the lineup. It also feels good to beat their rivals from Dallas who took Chandler Parsons away from them. As a consolation, Trevor Ariza is playing better than Parsons.

7. Washington Wizards | 9-3 | Last Week: 9 | +2
Paul Pierce and the Wizards smothered LBJ and the Cavs to solidify their spot as the 2nd best Eastern team. Bradley Beal has played 3 games and all of that as a sixth man. So far, that strategy has worked, Wiz are 2-1 in that span.

8. Dallas Mavericks | 10-5 | Last Week: 5 | -3
As good as their offense is (1st), their defense has been mediocre (15th). That has cost them winnable games especially against teams they should beat like the Pacers who scored 110 points. The Pacers only average 92 per game.

9. Chicago Bulls | 9-5 | Last Week: 4 | -5
Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol are back in action and they delivered vs the Jazz in a win. That was a solid win since they are in the midst of a 7-game road trip. After 4 games, they are 2-2 with the last 3 games against sub-500 teams.

10. Los Angeles Clippers | 8-5 | Last Week: 10 | Same
The Clippers have been very inconsistent. In their past 6 games where they are 4 and 2, they either win big or lose big. While Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have been steady, the rest of the team cannot find their collective rhythms yet. 

11. New Orleans Pelicans | 7-5 | Last Week: 11 | Same
Anthony Davis delivered a masterful 43 points and 14 boards vs the Jazz. His team also toppled the Kings in a crucial game vs DMC. Both guys are playing at elite levels and they are the only 2 players averaging 20 and 10.

12. Sacramento Kings | 8-5 | Last Week: 14 | +2
Cousins is wrecking havoc around the NBA. He is 1st in rebounds and 5th in scoring. More importantly, the Kings are winning because of him. Their next 5 games are against excellent teams including showdowns vs elite big guys (Duncan, Gasol, Davis). 

13. Phoenix Suns | 9-6 | Last Week: 12 | -1
The Suns have won 4 of 5 and their last loss was on the road vs the Raptors. They have a well-balanced team that can boast of 5 players scoring at least 14 ppg. Eric Bledsoe is having a solid season with 14, 5 and 5.

14. Miami Heat | 8-6 | Last Week: 13 | -1
Dwyane Wade has missed their last 6 games but here comes Mario Chalmers to the rescue. Super Mario has averaged close to 20 points as a starter. Meanwhile, Luol Deng has picked up his scoring as well.

15. Cleveland Cavaliers | 6-7 | Last Week: 15 | Same
Their defense is a mess and they are barely getting anything from their bench. They sit near the bottom when it comes to production from the bench. Anyway, that loss to the Raptors after being ahead by 18 points was a total embarrassment.

16. Atlanta Hawks | 6-5 | Last Week: 17 | +1
Awful losses to the Cavs and Lakers prevented the Hawks to move up the standings. Next, they will be tested by the Raps and Wiz. Did you know that Paul Millsap is 4th in steals per game and Kyle Korver is shooting a ridiculous 57% from three?

17. Milwaukee Bucks | 7-7 | Last Week: 16 | -1
Being even at this point of the season is a major accomplishment for them. They managed to beat teams that are so-so while losing to the upper echelon of the East. Brandon Knight has been superb but an injury could sideline him.

18. Denver Nuggets | 6-7 | Last Week: 24 | +6 
The Nuggets have won 4 straight to quickly jump up the standings. Ty Lawson has started to pick up his scoring but Kenneth Faried is still not delivering terrific numbers. Faried is scoring and rebounding less.

19. Indiana Pacers | 6-8 | Last Week: 20 | +1
The Pacers continue to be competitive due to their elite defense (4th) and rebounding (2nd) despite David West not playing yet. West is expected to make his season debut next week. Recent pickup, AJ Price has been solid with 10 ppg. 

20. Brooklyn Nets | 5-8 | Last Week: 22 | +2
Brook Lopez is playing and that's a good thing but his numbers have decreased compared to last season. Good thing that Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic have picked up the slack by combining for 22 points and 8 boards. 

21. Orlando Magic | 6-10 | Last Week: 21 | Same
Nic Vucevic loves playing vs Miami. He notched a career-high 33 points to go with his 17 boards. Unfortunately, Orlando lost that game. Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo is starting to get his rhythm back and Evan Fournier continues to play very well.

22. Utah Jazz | 5-10 | Last Week: 19 | -3
The Jazz lost a tough game to the Bulls which gave them their 3rd straight loss. Hayward is averaging only 14 points over the last 5 games. Rookie Dante Exum isn't showing much on the floor and his number of minutes (18 mpg) ain't helping either. 

23. Boston Celtics | 4-8 | Last Week: 23 | Same
The Celtics aren't winning a lot of games but they are getting solid performances from Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green. However, rookie Marcus Smart has struggled and his current injury has derailed his season so far. 

24. New York Knicks | 4-11 | Last Week: 28 | +4
Andrea Bargnani received an injury setback in his bid to play his first game of the season. No return date has been announced. Carmelo Anthony also hurt his back vs the Rockets. On the bright side, Jose Calderon made his debut and got away healthy. 

25. Charlotte Hornets | 4-11 | Last Week: 18 | -7
The Hornets have dropped 6 straight and there are 4 more tough games ahead (Blazers, Dubs, Bulls, Hawks) which could stretch this to 10 straight. Kemba Walker and Lance Stephenson are both shooting under 40%. 

26. Los Angeles Lakers | 3-11 | Last Week: 26 | Same
Kobe Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring and in shot attempts at 24 per game. The Lakers are probably headed to their worst season in a long time. They continue to get injury problems with the latest casualty being Xavier Henry who is out for the year.  

27. Minnesota Timberwolves | 3-9 | Last Week: 25 | -2
Andrew Wiggins scored a career-high 29 vs the Kings and the Twolves lost as usual. They are being decimated by injuries left and right. Kevin Martin, Nic Pekovic and Ricky Rubio are all hurt. That's 3 of their starters. 

28. Detroit Pistons | 3-10| Last Week: 27 | -1
The Pistons have lost 4 straight and Andre Drummond continues to struggle. His points and rebounds are down from last year plus to make things worse, his shooting percentage is below 40% and his FT% is at 44%. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder | 3-12 | Last Week: 29 | Same
They have lost 6 straight and are floundering near the bottom of the West. However, they are only 6 games away from the 8th spot. Some good news though, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are practicing again.

30. Philadelphia 76ers | 0-14 | Last Week: 30 | Same
The record for the worst start of the season belongs to the Nets from 2009-10. That abysmal number is 18 straight defeats. The Sixers aren't that far away but 2 (Brooklyn, Minny) of their next 4 games are possibly winnable. 

Biggest Jump of the Week: Nuggets +6

Biggest Drop of the Week: Hornets -7

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