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NBA Power Rankings – Preseason Week 3
Posted By Moke Hamilton On October 23, 2013 @ 1:20 pm In NBA | No Comments
After three weeks of preseason basketball, aside from the New Orleans Pelicans continuing to surge—they are now 6-0 and have enjoyed a meteoric ascent in our power rankings—it would be wise to remind the masses…
This is just the preseason.
Preseason win-loss records and statistics are two of the many things that should be thrown out the window the moment the regular season begins, but a word to the wise: some things are transferable.
Derrick Rose Seems to be Back
In his continued fight to regain his spot as the Most Valuable Player in the Eastern Conference (and the league, for that matter), Rose has genuinely surprised many NBA onlookers with his performances, thus far. Rose has looked as quick and as explosive as ever, and it seems he’s once again the primary catalyst for the Chicago Bulls, entering play on October 23 at 6-0.
Thus far, he has shown no signs or mental reservations about playing his game and putting his torn ACL behind him, and if that continues—and obviously, if he does not suffer a setback—the Bulls will be serious contenders this coming season.
Even without the currently sidelined Joakim Noah, the Bulls have gotten nice contributions from the rest of their supporting cast and may regain their spot atop the NBA’s Central Division when it is all said and done.
The HEAT and Nets Hate Each Other… Already
The road to the NBA Finals goes through Miami, and the HEAT (4-2), though not playing at full strength, lost a more spirited than usual preseason contest against the Brooklyn Nets (4-1) last Thursday. Paul Pierce’s first quarter shoulder block into LeBron James was the highlight of the night and it underscores the fact that—even in preseason—the former Celtic has no love for James and his gang.
The two teams are set to meet at Barclays Center on November 1, but that one will count.
Still, the Nets have enjoyed crisp ball movement this offseason and despite the fact that Deron Williams has not yet played a preseason game, the team has managed to win and has gotten a nice showing from both the slimmed-down Pierce and center Brook Lopez.
The Rise of the Toronto Raptors
That party is being crashed by the upstart Toronto Raptors, who have found strength in numbers, but are also mauling opponents en route to some victories. The Raptors have amazingly attempted 32.5 free throw attempts per game over the course of the preseason, and they are mostly accomplishing that by attacking the basket with reckless abandon.
Like Rose’s productivity, that is one trend that may prove to be transferable once the regular season begins.
North of the Border, you have our permission to be guardedly optimistic. Thus far, Dwane Casey—a coach that we identified as having the hottest seat in the Eastern Conference—has gotten encouraging signals from his team.
Houston, We (Do Not) Have a Problem
The main thing we did notice, though, was that James Harden was voted as the best shooting guard in the entire league. Talk about meteoric ascent? In one year, Harden has gone from being traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the best shooting guard in the NBA?
That is astounding.
Almost as astounding as Kobe Bryant not receiving the distinction, Achilles injury and all.
So, if you are keeping count, that means that the Rockets (4-1) have the league’s top center and top shooting guard, at least, in the minds of the NBA’s 30 general managers.
So no, Houston, no problem.
And for the rest of us? The positive proclamation to take away for this week’s Power Ranking?
It is the final one of the preseason. By the time HOOPSWORLD’s Weekly Power Rankings drop next week, the regular season will be upon us.
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