NBA Power Rankings: Week 1

By Bryan Power - Covers Expert

LeBron and the Cavs begin the season as the top dogs in the Power Rankings, but the defending champs aren't too far behind.

NBA Power Rankings

Current Rank Last Week Change Team W-L
Power Rating Team Comments
1 same 0-0
-14.8 Cleveland
No this is not an overreaction to LeBron James' return, but rather a proper reaction to it. Oh by the way, they also added Kevin Love. With holdover Kyrie Irving, they now have three of the top 20 players in the league. Offensively, this team could be all-time great.
2 same 0-0
-14.5 San Antonio
Don't take this ranking as a slight, Spurs' fans. Remember that I had you in the No. 1 spot going into last year's playoffs.
3 same 0-0
-14.4 L.A. Clippers
I said at this time last season that the Clips could challenge for the best record in the West. They fell short, but that won't stop me from saying the same thing again now. Although, Blake Griffin (not Chris Paul) is now their best player.
4 same 0-0
-13.7 Chicago
This is the one legit contender to Cleveland in the East. Their ceiling depends almost entirely on Derrick Rose, which is actually no different from past seasons.
5 same 0-0
-13 Oklahoma City
The loss of Kevin Durant for the first 20 games or so drops the Thunder one spot from where I would have had them originally. Expect another division title to come with relative ease.
6 same 0-0
-12.9 Golden State
I'm still not sure I understand the firing of Mark Jackson, but the Warriors should be even better this season as they go for their first division title since Rick Barry was still playing.
7 same 0-0
-12 Dallas
Expect the Mavs to move up the pecking order in a very tough Western Conference. It's easy to forget they took San Antonio to seven games in Round 1 of the playoffs last April. This year's team looks better on paper.
8 same 0-0
-11.9 Houston
Because they have James Harden and Dwight Howard, the Rockets can only fall so far. But I really don't see this as a team that can compete for an NBA Championship.
9 same 0-0
-11.8 Portland
There's probably some regression in store for a Blazers team that jumped up 21 games in the standings a year ago. But their own All-Star duo (Aldridge and Lillard) make them a contender for 50 wins yet again.
10 same 0-0
-11.5 Memphis
I know that on Steamwire, I placed the Grizzlies ahead of Portland. But on second thought, I changed my mind. The two teams figure to flip-flop right around this range all season.
11 same 0-0
-10.5 Toronto
Hey, finally we have another team from the Eastern Conference! If they get improved play from Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors are a LOCK to win the Atlantic. Mark it down.
12 same 0-0
-10.3 Washington
There's high hopes in the Nation's Capital this year as the Wiz look to win a wide open Southeast Division, led by the self-proclaimed best backcourt in the league (Wall and Beal).
13 same 0-0
-9.5 New Orleans
I really wish that this team was in the East. If any of the contenders in the West slip (due to injury, etc), look for the Pelicans to "steal" a playoff spot. Anthony Davis may be the third best player in the league (LeBron, Durant).
14 same 0-0
-9 Charlotte
A more hands-off approach from Michael Jordan can only be a good thing as Charlotte hasn't looked this good coming into a season since the last time we were able to call them the Hornets.
15 same 0-0
-8.9 Miami
The drop off post-LeBron will not be as severe here in South Beach as it was in Cleveland. But there will be a drop-off. And it's largely up to Chris Bosh to carry things because I think Dwyane Wade simply isn't able to anymore.
16 same 0-0
-8.5 Phoenix
The poor Suns. They won 48 games last year and didn't even make the playoffs. The loss of Channing Frye means they'll probably regress towards .500 this season.
17 same 0-0
-8 Atlanta
Wanna guess where the Hawks end up in the rankings? Of course, it's in the middle again. They own the East's longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances, yet have absolutely nothing to show for it. Except a messy ownership situation.
18 same 0-0
-7.5 Brooklyn
I'm not a fan of this team, especially beyond this season. If they do make the playoffs, it likely won't be a long stay. If Brook Lopez can't stay healthy, then what?
19 same 0-0
-7 New York
Phil Jackson must be smoking something if he thinks this team is a contender. Again, like the team in the other borough (see above), the Knicks will be lucky if they even make the playoffs.
20 same 0-0
-6.5 Denver
I tend to always give the Nuggets a bit of a nudge in the rankings because of home court, but that advantage simply wasn't there last season as they plummeted under the direction of Brian Shaw.
21 same 0-0
-5.7 Detroit
This is going to be my sleeper pick to get the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Look for new head coach Stan Van Gundy to be a difference maker.
22 same 0-0
-5 Indiana
How the mighty have fallen! The Pacers and Cavs basically just traded spots in the Eastern Conference pecking order. It would be in Indiana's best interest to tank, but they probably will refrain from doing so.
23 same 0-0
-3.5 Sacramento
The Kings remain a mish-mash of pieces that don't fit very well together. This is where we get to the teams that will win 30 games or fewer.
24 same 0-0
-3 L.A. Lakers
I'll start the Lakers here, but make no mistake about it. Kobe Bryant being back cannot change the fact that this will possibly be a last place team in the division, and possibly conference. Kobe's competitiveness may actually hurt the club because they need to hold on to a Top 5 protected Lottery pick (Suns).
25 same 0-0
-2.5 Minnesota
After frustrating me all of last season, the T'wolves are starting over. I know there's a lot of potential here, but this will be a bad team in 2014-15.
26 same 0-0
-2 Orlando
Three seasons removed from Dwight Howard leaving and the Magic are not close to being a playoff contender.
27 same 0-0
-1.9 Boston
Brad Stevens took this job knowing that success would not come early. After this year, he'll clearly still be waiting. What to do with Rajon Rondo?
28 same 0-0
-1.5 Utah
This was the worst team in the Western Conference last year and they actually might look worse on paper coming into this season.
29 same 0-0
-0.5 Milwaukee
It's okay to tank Milwaukee, really. Just don't look down at the team below you.
30 same 0-0
1 Philadelphia
When a team clearly isn't even trying to be competitive, where else can they be but at the bottom?

Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.