The first week of the 2012-2013 has been more shocking than any one could have been predicted. With a shocking start to their campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers have slipped behind the other elite teams. On the contrary, the New York Knicks strong start have pushed them up in this week’s power rankings.
Atlanta exceeded expectations in their first week. With one of the most spread-out attacks in basketball, Behind 6 players averaging double-figures, the Hawks took down perennial power Oklahoma City Thunder. With newcomer Lou Williams leading the team in scoring, Jeff Teague has been able to become a pass-first player in the Hawks offense. The Hawks up-tempo play is keeping them in their games as of now.
Last Week: 20
James Harden may have given up consistent trips to the NBA finals, but he may lead the NBA in scoring this season. Scoring an average of 35-points a game through 3 games, James Harden is on another level at the start of this season. Not only is he putting up scary stats, Omer Asik is grabbing 14 rebounds a game for Houston. The surprising play of the Rockets have put them right back into the crowded Western Conference playoff picture.
Last Week: 26
After Hurricane Sandy led to the cancellation of their big open in Brooklyn, the Nets beat the Raptors in a shootout that showed signs of an elite team. However, on Monday, the Nets jumped out to a 22-point lead in the late third quarter, and blew the lead to the Timberwolves and lost. At 1-1 the Nets must step it up on the defensive end.
Last Week: 11
You can tell Brandon Jennings wants a new contract this coming offseason—the guy is scoring 17 and dropping 13 dimes en route to the Bucks 2-0 start this season. Do not forget his game-winner against the Cavs or his 4 steals per game so far. Jennings has been playing great, but do not overlook Mike Dunleavy, who is scoring 18 a game and grabbing 9 boards as well in a way to try and rejuvenate his career.
Last Week: 18
The Bulls have looked impressive in their first three games even without Derrick Rose. Joakim Noah is beginning to come into his own in Chicago and take the team for his own. Not allowing a team over 90 points in the opening week proves that the Bulls are still one of the best in the NBA on the defensive side of the ball.
Last Week: 14
The Pacers were a part of a weird week that included victories against the Raptors and Kings, but also dropping games to the Bobcats and a blowout loss to the Spurs. With Danny Granger out, the Pacers have not truly filled his void and must do so to gain their identity.
Last Week: 10
Without Dirk Nowitzki the Mavs have managed to remain very competitive and score at a torrid pace as if Dirk was in the game. O.J Mayo has finally come into his own as a pure scorer and leading Dallas with over 21-points. The veteran Mavericks are playing like a young, fast team that can compete with anyone.
Last Week: 13
The 1-2 record is misleading. The Celtics did lose to the Heat and the Bucks, both teams that used their speed to their advantages and beat the Celtics. As well, their only victory came over the weak Wizards by 3. The pieces are still there for the Celtics, no worries here.
Last Week: 5
One of the most media-covered opening weeks in sports history—the Lakers began 0-3 and Steve Nash was lost to a leg injury that has an unclear timetable of 1-4 weeks. Although LA returned to form in in a big way by beating the Pistons at home by 29. It takes time to build a super team, so this first week will be nothing but a distant memory when the Lakers get a feel for each other.
Last Week: 3
The Grizzlies have played consistent basketball as they have over the past three seasons. A healthy Zach Randolph has been key as he has brought down 16-rebounds through three games, and Marc Gasol continues to develop into a force in the paint. The Grizzlies may be primed to jump into the elite category this season.
Last Week: 9
Jamal Crawford has been worth every penny to the Clippers so far—averaging a gaudy 24-points a game. Chris Paul has healed well from his offseason surgery and is averaging a double double to date. An issue though is the frontcourt, with such size, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to name, the Clippers need to play better defense to win games, for they can not score over 100 points a game every night and need to slow their opponent down.
Last Week: 6
Who needs Amar’e anyway? The Knicks opened up their season with a dominant performance against the defending champion Heat, and have shot ridiculous from beyond the arc, shooting 45% and running their opponents out of the gym. At this pace, Carmelo Anthony better hope Amar’e does not return to the lineup anytime soon, for he is putting up MVP numbers.
Last Week: 12
The Thunder are under .500 for the first time in what seems like a long, long time. Losing to a great Spurs squad, and the rejuvenated Hawks, the Thunder are still one of the best in the league. Kevin Durant is averaging nearly 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists. Look past the record right now, the wins will come in bunches.
Last Week: 2
A great opening game victory over the aging Celtics was followed up with a blowout loss to the Knicks. The Heat followed that up with two wins over the weekend and returned to their dominant form. Ray Allen’s range has added to the big 3 and is making Miami as dangerous as ever.
Last Week: 1
Dominant—the one word to sum up the Spurs first week. They have won in every way, blowout, or tight game, and have beaten the likes of the Thunder who have haunted their dreams all summer. Tim Duncan has played his best ball in the past several years and continue to get better by the day.
Last Week: 4