Monday, November 3, 2014

2014-15 NBA Power Rankings: Week 2

The post-LeBron James era in Miami has gotten off to an excellent start as the Heat have won their first three games of the season and average 109.3 points per game, which is second only to the Dallas Mavericks. Along with Golden State and Houston, they are the only three teams with an average point differential in double digits (+11.7).

Heat power forward Chris Bosh took a back seat to LeBron and Dwyane Wade over the past four seasons, but Bosh has stepped up his production big time with the LeBron's departure.

Bosh is averaging 25.7 points per game, seventh in the league, and 11.3 rebounds per game, eighth-best, through the first week of the season. Both of those averages would be career highs for Bosh, who is in his 12th NBA season. In addition, Bosh is averaging 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game, which would also be career highs as well.

With 0.7 win shares already through three games, Bosh is averaging .303 win shares per 48 minutes. His previous career high was .200 in 2007-08 with the Raptors.

The Heat have scored at least 107 points in each of their first three wins (over Wizards, Sixers and Raptors) and they will face Dwight Howard, James Harden and the 3-0 Rockets on Tuesday.

Some other notes:
  • With the pressure of returning home, LeBron and the Cavs stumbled in their opener against the Knicks. James had eight turnovers and converted on only five of his 15 field goal attempts, but they bounced back in the second game with an overtime win against the Bulls. James scored a game-high 36 points on 14-of-30 shooting and added eight rebounds, four assists and four steals with three turnovers.
  • It's been a dominant start to the 2014-15 season for Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis. Through Sunday's games, Davis ranks second in scoring (28.5 per game), first in rebounding (16.0) and first in blocks (6.0). Along with Omer Asik (13.5 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 2.5 BPG), the Pelicans have one of the league's best 1-2 tandems down low.
  • Golden State's Klay Thompson scored 19 points on 4-of-14 shooting on opening night, but he has 41 and 29 points in his other two games and shot a combined 25-of-40 in those two games. Early in the season, Thompson leads the league in scoring (29.7 PPG). The Warriors will host the Clippers in a Pacific division showdown on Wednesday.
  • Sacramento is off to a 2-1 start and Rudy Gay is coming off two big games in wins over the Blazers (40 points, eight rebounds) and Clippers (25 points, seven boards, six assists). In addition, DeMarcus Cousins had a relatively slow start in his first two games (18.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 33.3 FG%), but he had a massive 34/17 line against the Clips on Sunday.
  • The Lakers will give the Sixers a run for their money as the worst team in the league. Losing Julius Randle for the season was a tough blow in the opener, but Kobe Bryant could lead the league in scoring (and perhaps technical fouls). That said, they won't be able to stop anyone and are currently allowing a league-worst 118.0 PPG. (Brooklyn is second-worst in that category at 105.5.)
  • The Atlanta Hawks are shooting an incredible 47.6 percent from behind the arc through two games. Only seven teams (including the Hawks) have a better field goal percentage (for all field goals) so far this season. The other 23 teams all have a field-goal percentage lower than 47.6 percent and the Nuggets rank last in the league at 39.4 percent.
  • Not only will the Thunder have to deal with the injury to Kevin Durant (foot), but they will be without Russell Westbrook (hand) for roughly a month. Especially considering the talent of the Western Conference, it's another devastating blow.
Here are my Week 2 NBA Power Rankings:

1. Golden State Warriors (Record: 3-0, Last Week: 7)
2. San Antonio Spurs (Record: 1-1, Last Week: 2)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (Record: 1-1, Last Week: 1)
4. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 6)
5. Chicago Bulls (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 3)
6. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 3-0, Last Week: 8)
7. Houston Rockets (Record: 3-0, Last Week: 12)
8. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 4)
9. Miami Heat (Record: 3-0, Last Week: 16)
10. Phoenix Suns (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 14)
11. Washington Wizards (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 10)
12. Toronto Raptors (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 11)
13. New Orleans Pelicans (Record: 1-1, Last Week: 13)
14. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 1-2, Last Week: 9)
15. Sacramento Kings (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 23)
16. New York Knicks (Record: 2-1, Last Week: 24)
17. Denver Nuggets (Record: 1-1, Last Week: 17)
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (Record: 1-2, Last Week: 5)
19. Charlotte Bobcats (Record: 1-2, Last Week: 15)
20. Atlanta Hawks (Record: 1-1, Last Week: 19)
21. Brooklyn Nets (Record: 1-1, Last Week: 18)
22. Indiana Pacers (Record: 1-2, Last Week: 21)
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (Record: 1-2, Last Week: 25)
24. Boston Celtics (Record: 1-1, Last Week: 27)
25. Utah Jazz (Record: 1-2, Last Week: 26)
26. Detroit Pistons (Record: 0-3, Last Week: 20)
27. Milwaukee Bucks (Record: 1-2, Last Week: 28)
28. Orlando Magic (Record: 0-3, Last Week: 29)
29. Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 0-4, Last Week: 22)
30. Philadelphia 76ers (Record: 0-4, Last Week: 30)

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