The NBA season is now under way & we have a lot of big story lines coming into the season. Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State in hopes of getting a ring & we see 3 legends retire in Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, & Kevin Garnett. So far in the first week of NBA action we’ve seen some amazing performances from the elite players in the NBA. Here are my power rankings in the NBA so far:
- Cleveland Cavaliers (3-0): The Cavs look ready to defend their championship starting 3-0 in the first week. The Cavs have beaten the Knicks, Raptors, & the Magic & are 5th in the NBA with a plus minus in points of 12.7 through 3 games. The Cavs also have the 3rd best defense allowing just 92.7 points per game so far. The Cavs sit atop my rankings for the first week.
- San Antonio Spurs (4-0): It seems like people always like to count the Spurs out every year but they always end up deep in the playoffs. Plus the Spurs have added versatile big man Pau Gasol & Kawhi Leonard is playing at a MVP level scoring 28 points per game in their first 4 games. It looks like Leonard’s offseason workouts with Kobe are paying off.
- Los Angeles Clippers (3-0): Yes, I believe the Clippers have played better than the Warriors but it’s only the first week so that can change. The Clippers look good so far having a plus minus of 13 points in their first 3 games & their bench has been outstanding scoring 41.3 points per game.
- Golden State Warriors (2-1): The Warriors haven’t shown much dominance with their lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, & Pachulia but I think they’ll need some time to figure everything out. If there’s any weaknesses on this Warriors team it’s their rim protection & lack of a bench. Golden State has allowed 52 points per game in the paint & have only gotten 18.7 points per game from their bench so far.
- Chicago Bulls (3-0): The issue the Bulls had coming into this season was who was going to be able to stretch the floor with 3 point shooting with Rondo, Wade, Butler, Gibson & Lopez. So far they’ve been one of the best 3 point shooting teams shooting 42,5%. They also seem to have great chemistry between their big 3 of Rondo, Wade, & Butler.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (3-0): The Westbrook led Thunder are standing at 3-0 so far without Kevin Durant. I don’t see the Thunder having a great roster but Westbrook is playing at a high level leading the NBA scoring 38.7 points per game so far. With a roster of Westbrook, Oladipo, Roberson, Ilyasova, Adams & a thin bench I don’t know if Thunder stay as a top 10 team but so far they sit at #6 for me.
- Atlanta Hawks (3-0): The Hawks are surprisingly 3-0 to start the season after trading Jeff Teague & losing Al Horford to free agency. The Hawks have the best plus minus so far this season with a plus minus of 19.3. It is now the Dennis Schroder era in Atlanta especially after the Hawks recently signed him to a 4 year/&70 million extension.
- Memphis Grizzlies (2-1): The Grizzlies fell apart last year after their whole roster pretty much got hurt. This year they have Mike Conley & Marc Gasol back healthy & their impact has shown so far this season. The Grizzlies added Chandler Parsons in the offseason & he’s been unable to play yet but I believe he’ll be big for this team. Under new head coach David Fizdale the Grizzlies are looking to keep their grittiness & tough play.
- Portland Trailblazers (2-1): Damian Lillard last year proved to people that he’s one of the best PGs in the NBA & this year he’s going for the MVP. Through 3 games he has 35 points, 8 rebounds, & 5.3 assists per game. Portland could be a dangerous team in the West with the offensive firepower they have in Lillard & C.J McCollum.
- Toronto Raptors (2-1): The Raptors are looking to improve from their season last year where they were the 2nd best East team behind the Cavs & lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors are playing this season to prove that last season was just the beginning for them. Demar Derozan has looked impressive so far scoring 35 points per game.
- Boston Celtics (2-1): The Celtics went out & added Al Horford in the offseason to try & improve their offense. While Horford has helped their offense he’s kind of hurt their defense. The Celtics are scoring 108.3 points per game but have also allowed 106.7 points per game which isn’t great.
- Houston Rockets (2-1): The Rockets are a whole new team this season with Mike D’Antoni as head coach, James Harden as the point guard, they signed Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, & Nene. The Rockets offense looks pretty good with Harden running it but they don’t have anyone in their starting lineup that’s great on defense.
- Detroit Pistons (2-1): The Detroit Pistons made a huge leap last year making the playoffs but were knocked out in the 1st round by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Under Stan Van Gundy the Pistons have been a great defensive team & have carried that into this season. The Pistons through 3 games have allowed just 91.3 points per game.
- Charlotte Hornets (2-1): The Hornets have played pretty good to start this season. Their defense has been pretty solid allowing 97 points per game. Kemba Walker is leading the team in scoring with 23.3 points per game. I think it was big for the Hornets to keep Nicolas Batum in the offseason but with a thin bench & an average roster I don’t know how good this roster could be.
- New York Knicks (1-1): The Knicks added a few pieces to try & help Carmelo Anthony & the unicorn Kristaps Porzingis. Newly added PG Derrick Rose called the Knicks a “superteam” but I don’t see them as that. Rose has looked good, Joakim Noah has helped defensively but their bench isn’t that good & their offense can become stagnant at times.
- Sacramento Kings (2-2): I don’t see the Kings staying in my top 20 for much longer but here they are for the first week. The Kings have a new head coach in Dave Joerger & they still have the best center in the NBA in Demarcus Cousins. Rudy Gay & Cousins are carrying this team but Gay will most likely be traded at some point this season.
- Milwaukee Bucks (1-2): The Bucks were expected to make a jump this season with the talented & lengthy roster they have but have struggled a bit to start the season. I still like this team with Giannis Antetokounmpo running the offense & Jabari Parker healthy but until they get Khris Middleton back from injury they might struggle to shoot the ball.
- Utah Jazz (1-2): The Jazz have a pretty talented team with George Hill, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, & Rudy Gobert but Hayward & Alec Burks have been hurt a bit to start this season. The Jazz also added Joe Johnson to help their bench & i wouldn’t be surprised if Jazz climb my power rankings throughout the season.
- Indiana Pacers (1-2): The Pacers have a few new pieces on their team like Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, & Al Jefferson. The Pacers though are still led by Paul George who’s averaging 22.3 points per game so far this season. The Pacers are probably 1-2 because they’ve allowed 114 points per game which is the 2nd worst in the NBA.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (0-2): I place the young Timberwolves at #20 only because they’ve played only 2 games & I believe this is a really talented team that’s coached by Tom Thibodeau. Andrew Wiggins is leading the team in scoring with 27 points & Karl Anthony Towns has started slow averaging 18 points, 5 rebounds, & 4 assists.
- Miami Heat (1-2): I know, it’s the Heat how can they be so low? This isn’t your typical Heat team led by Dwyane Wade anymore. This is a team built around Hassan Whiteside & Justice Winslow & have a lot of other young unproven players. It’s hard to see an Erik Spoelstra led team be disappointing so they could easily climb my rankings. Whiteside has started hot averaging 21.7 points & 14.7 rebounds per game.
- Los Angeles Lakers (1-2): Lakers fans have to be excited with all of the young talent that they have on this team. D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, & Julius Randle all have bright futures & I believe new head coach Luke Walton will get all he can out of them. The Lakers looked very good offensively against the Rockets in their 1 win this season.
- Washington Wizards (0-2): The Wizards have a solid starting lineup & a great backcourt but their bench is weak. John Wall & Bradley Beal are one of the best backcourts when Beal is healthy but they just haven’t seemed to put everything together. Maybe the Wizards can improve but the way they’ve been for a while it might not be likely. Wall has put up 17 points & 11.5 assists per game this season.
- Denver Nuggets (1-2): Nuggets are a team not many people know the players from. Their starting lineup consists of Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Danillo Gallinari, Nikola Jokic, & Jusuf Nurkic. They have a few young players with potential but I think it’ll be a while until we see if they work out.
- Dallas Mavericks (0-3): The Mavericks are no longer a team that will rely on Dirk Nowitzki to be their leading scorer. Now the Mavs have added Harrison Barnes to take that load. Barnes is leading the team in scoring with 20 points per game. I believe this team can improve but their bench is pretty weak.
- Brooklyn Nets (1-3): The only reason I have Nets above the last 4 teams is because they have a win but Nets could easily be the 3rd or 2nd worst team with the roster they have. The Nets have Jeremy Lin starting at PG & Brook Lopez at center but besides that they don’t have much. The Nets have allowed 111 points per game.
- Orlando Magic (0-3): The Magic have a pretty young team with guys like Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja, Elfrid Payton & Aaron Gordon. Then they also still have Nikola Vucevic & they traded for Serge Ibaka during the offseason. The Magic have a plus minus of -14.7 which is the 2nd worst so far this season.
- New Orleans Pelicans (0-3): It’s sad to see an Anthony Davis led team be so bad. The Pelicans don’t have much talent around Davis & it’s clearly shown to start this season. Anthony Davis though has been nothing short of amazing averaging 37.7 points & 12.7 rebounds. Hopefully Buddy Hield can start to get more minutes so there’s a possibility of Davis getting help.
- Phoenix Suns (0-4): The Suns have been disappointing to start the season, They have a pretty talented roster with Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, T.J Warren, Jared Dudley, & Tyson Chandler with Brandon Knight off the bench. Warren is currently leading the team in scoring 21.3 points & also has 6 rebounds per game.
- Philadelphia 76ers (0-2): 76er fans were finally able to see Joel Embiid play & he looks very talented. Embiid has 17 points & 4.5 rebounds so far on limited minutes while the Sixers try to work him in. The Sixers are struggling mightily trying to score averaging just 84.5 points per game & are allowing 103.5 points per game. The Sixers will be without Ben Simmons for at least a couple months it seems with a foot injury.
Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).
Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.
According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.
Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.
Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.
Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.
“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.
The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”
Mavs’ Kristaps Porzingis Accused of Rape in New York
Dallas Mavericks big man and former New York Knick Kristaps Porzingis is being investigated back New York for an alleged rape that a woman told police took place sometime last year, according to the New York Post.
The woman, who informed police about the alleged rape on Thursday, says that she waited more than a year to come forward regarding the incident because she had discussed receiving $68,000 from Porzingis to keep quiet.
Roland G. Riopelle, the attorney for Porzingis, has since denied the allegations and has said they had previously referred the case to federal authorities due to the “accuser’s extortionate demands.”
“We are aware of the complaint that was made against Mr. Porzingis on Friday and unequivocally deny the allegations,” Riopelle said. “We made a formal referral to federal law enforcement on Dec. 20, 2018, based on the accuser’s extortionate demands. We also alerted the National Basketball Association months ago, and they are aware of the ongoing investigation of the accuser by federal law enforcement. We cannot comment further on an ongoing federal investigation. Please refer any questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Basketball Association.”
The woman alleges that the incident took place on February 7th, 2018, at the Sky building in New York, where Porzingis lived, just hours following Porzingis suffering a torn ACL, the injury that has kept him off the court for more than a year.
An NBA spokesman said the league is aware of the situation while the Knicks’ team spokesperson said; “This is Kristaps’ personal matter and not related to the Knicks.” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated that the team is aware of the situation but “we have been instructed by federal authorities not to comment.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks had informed the Mavericks of the pending Porzingis rape allegations during a trade call with NBA headquarters, that took place on January 31st, that finalized the deal that sent Porzingis to the Mavericks.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department issued the following: “The NYPD takes sexual assault and all rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors.”
Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins Says Fans Have Called Him ‘N—-r’, Says He’s Reported it to League
Golden State Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins is speaking out about how NBA fans treat players, revealing that fans have called him the N-word during games and stating that he had reported the incidents to the league.
Cousins discussed the incidents during an interview with Chris Haynes on the ‘Posted Up’ podcast:
“Oh, I’ve been called n—-r, and it’s crazy because this has happened to me on a few occasions. I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back, and I was still punished for it. But obviously it became a bigger issue when it was Russ [Westbrook] and he was still fined for it. I don’t really understand it. We’re the product. We push this league. So, I don’t understand. When does our safety, when does, it become important?”
While Cousins spoke candidly about his experiences, he did not specific which cities in which he heard the racial slurs.
“I don’t really want to, because I’m not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base” Cousins said when discussing which cities he heard the slurs. T”here are ignorant individuals in every city. I’ll just put it like that. [NBA] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be. But how many times am I supposed to ignore that? Me coming from where I come from [Mobile, Alabama]. They lucky all they got was a response.”
While Cousins did not mention any cities or teams, Haynes reported that one city was Sacramento, where Cousins spent the majority of his career playing for the Kings.
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