Monday, January 9, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 3

The Miami Heat are still the unanimous No. 1 team in our NBA Power Rankings by all four of our rankers.

While the top three teams in our power rankings remain unchanged (Miami, Oklahoma City and Chicago), the Thunder and Bulls are no longer the unanimous No. 2 and No. 3 teams, respectively.

At the bottom of our rankings, the Wizards are still the league's worst team and it's unanimous. Washington remain the league's only team yet to win a game this season.

Although the Kings were the first team to fire their head coach this season, it may not be long for the Wizards fire coach Flip Saunders, especially in light of comments by Andray Blatche.

"Flip is definitely doing his job," Blatche said, per Ken Berger of CBS Sports. "I just don't feel like guys are listening and following behind what he says and what he wants us to do."

"Guys want to try to do it their own way, and it's not working," Blatche said. "The record shows that. I feel like everybody should go home and focus and think and take consideration for what Flip is saying, because it can't hurt. It damn sure ain't helping us our way."

Here are some stats about this week's NBA Consensus Power Rankings:

- Biggest jump from last week: Utah Jazz (+10.0)
- Biggest drop from last week: Golden State Warriors (-7.5)
- Team with widest difference between high and low ranker: Indiana Pacers (9)

[See our full NBA Consensus Power Rankings.]

Each week, we respond to one roundtable question and here's this week's question:

The Sixers have finished first in the Atlantic Division only once (2000-01) since they did in the 1989-90 season. Where will they finish in 2011-12?

Will the Sixers Win the Atlantic?
Where will the 76ers finish in the Atlantic Division this season?

4th or 5th

view results

John (follow on Twitter):
Early in the season, the Sixers are off to a good start. At 6-2, they're on top of the division and hold a two-game lead over the Celtics and Knicks. With New Jersey unable to land another big name to go along with Deron Williams in the offseason and Toronto not expected to be very good this year, it looks like a three-team race. The Celtics are aging and already injury-plagued, while the Knicks still don't play a shred of defense. The division appears to be wide open, and with a solid young team in Philadelphia, some are predicting them to win the East. While I do think they will make the playoffs, I expect the Knicks to buckle down a bit defensively and win the division. I think the Sixers will finish second.

Sean (follow on Twitter): I think they finish third in the Atlantic division behind the Knicks and Celtics. The Knicks aren't playing too well right now, but I think Tyson Chandler is the difference. We have already seen what the loss of Chandler has done to the Mavericks this year. Philly will end up with the No. 5 seed and I think will win their first-round playoff series versus the Celtics, and then fall short to the Heat in the Eastern Semis. The 76ers have one of the deepest teams in the league in my opinion, and that will come into play this season especially with so many games jam packed together.

Dan (follow on Twitter): The 76ers have been a great story so far, as they have a great infusion of youth and inspired play by Andre Iguodala, and the dual point guards of Lou Williams and Jrue Holliday. The 76ers have been spreading the ball around, as they are fourth in the league in points per game; however, Lou Williams leads the team with 17.6 PPG. I don't think they will win the division though. I think they will finish second in the division to the Knicks, yet ahead of the Celtics, and put them in the No. 6 seed for the weak Eastern Conference playoffs.

Kevin (follow on Twitter): As a Sixers fan, I think it's fair to say that I'm partially biased. But the stats also speak a bit for themselves: Philadelphia ranks first in the NBA in scoring differential (+15.3). The only other team in the league to have a double-digit differential is Miami (+11.7). Philadelphia currently ranks first in the NBA in team defense (85.6 points per game allowed) and opposition field goal percentage (39.5 percent). In addition, they have good depth as eight players are averaging at least 23 minutes per game with their young and athletic nucleus. Although I'm used to suffering as a Sixers' fan, they will win the Atlantic this season and finish as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference after Miami and Chicago.

To see where all 30 teams fall in our power rankings going into Week 3, click here.

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Related: Our End-of-season NFL Consensus Power Rankings

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