Now that we're in Week 2, getting into the meat and potatoes of the regular season, we're going to start taking hard looks at the NBA power rankings from around the interwebz, where it's mainly all about the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Lakers and their unblemished early records.
So far, everyone seems to be pretty in love with the New Orleans Hornets. Look, I get it: they're undefeated and were not expected to come charging into the new season, what with the coaching and GM changes, Chris Paul's belly-aching and a series of somewhat underwhelming offfseason personnel moves. So their start is kind of surprising and welcome in a basketball world in which the Lakers and Heat are the sexy clear-cut favorites.
The most surprising thing about the Hornets is the level of competition they've left in their wake. Five of the six teams they've vanquished (Bucks (beaten twice), Heat, Spurs, Rockets and Nuggets) finished over .500 last year, and the NBA Jam-esque Heat were anticipated to go 94-0 this year. Despite that, I expect the Hornets will eventually hit their ceiling and probably soon. Paul's awesome, but has spent the last couple of years mired in injury and he no longer has Darren Collison there to excel in his absence. They're a deeper team than in years past, but the quality of depth remains sketchy outside of yesteryear rookie sensation Marcus Thornton, who's having a pretty blase start.
As for other early season surprises, the suckitude of the Rockets is odd. They were a scrap-a-licious nigh-playoff team last season without franchise center Yao Ming or any other player of note. Now, with Ming back, they've only been able to scrap their way to a handful of almost-wins. Unfortunately for them, Aaron Brooks, point guard and last year's Most Improved Player, is out for four-to-six weeks with a sprained ankle. And it's only a matter of time before Ming goes down again. Things aren't look swell in Houston thus far.
And the Clippers, despite having a talented roster that some thought might make them a surprise playoff team, continue to wallow in mediocrity and ineptitude. Blake Griffin, of course, has been killing it, but fat Baron Davis and his $13+ million salary have been
benched injured in favor of rookie Eric Bledsoe and the Clips have Vinny Del Negro as their coach, so, taking cliches into account, they better hope they don't encounter any paper bags.
All else appears to be (mostly) right with the NBA. Most teams are chugging right along the paths they should be. Except in Miami -- they've lost three games so far. I'm pretty sure I read that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are now planning a tragic, yet romantic group suicide to escape their pained existence. And Mike Miller, you were not invited, so take your weird ponytail elsewhere.
NBA Power Rankings from around the web:
SBNation.com | NBA Power Rankings, Week 2: The Lakers Dominate, And The Hornets Rise
The season is still young, but we do know that the Lakers are a juggernaut and the Hornets are at least interesting. Otherwise, what do we really know?
NBA.com | Lakers, Celtics not holding anything back in early going
The lesson that the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers taught us last year -- that great teams can pace themselves in the regular season and flip the switch once the playoffs begin -- has apparently been forgotten by the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.
ESPN.com | NBA Basketball Power Rankings
We're down to just two unbeaten teams in the NBA, and that has given your trusty committee (of one) its first serious quandary of the season.
SI.com | Lakers No, 1, Hornets jump to No. 2 of NBA Power Rankings
It seems like every year an overachiever comes along to remind us that a well-coached team that plays hard and adheres to roles can ambush pundits and fans alike with a magical season. Last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder were that team. In 2007-08, the New Orleans Hornets were that team. Early in 2010-11, the Hornets appear to be at it again.
AOL FanHouse | NBA Power Rankings: Ruthless Lakers
Now that we've had a couple of weeks to get a decent look around the league, we present you with our first edition of the NBA Power Rankings. The Hornets are much higher than anyone would have expected to start the season, and the Heat are a little lower than most would expect. But perhaps the most surprising start to the season belongs to the 7-0 Lakers, who look as much like champions now as they did last June.
ProBasketballTalk.com | NBA Power Rankings, where the Hornets are all the buzz
Our weekly NBA Power Rankings, where we are starting to believe in the Hornets but not the Hawks. Oh, and just bench Baron Davis.
FOX Sports | NBA Power Rankings - Top 30 NBA Basketball Teams
Sorry LeBron, it's not the Heat's world yet. The only thing Miami proved in the first week is that it belongs in the "best team" conversation. The Lakers' excellence and the Celtics' big opening-night win over the Heat prove these traditional rivals still are The Big Two.
Dime Magazine (dimemag.com) | Dime NBA Power Ranking: Celtics fall out of Top 5
Ranking the NBA from worst to first …