NBA Power Rankings Second Edition: The Suns Are Sliding

Christian Petersen

No Marcin, it is not all thumbs up after last week. The Suns are setting and sliding in the Power Rankings proving their pundits right and putting the pressure on the coaching staff to correct the issues at hand.

1. Memphis Grizzlies (8-1) If you want the blueprint on how to build a great, balanced, team that lacks a clear cut superstar, the Grizzlies are it. So far this season the Grizzlies have the most impressive wins knocking off the previously undefeated Knicks, the Heat, and the Thunder early on in the season.

2. San Antonio Spurs (8-2) The elder statesman of the NBA is playing great on both ends of the floor as Tim Duncan who has turned back the clock having his best season the 2006-2007 season, which by the way was the last time the Spurs won an NBA Championship.

3. New York Knicks (7-1) Are all the "haters" wrong about the Knicks at this point, sort of, but let's not set this team up for failure down the line. Carmelo Anthony is playing great basketball at this point while being backed by the leagues best defense in terms of points per game. The veterans are paying their dividends, but generally older players fade as the season chugs along.

4. Miami Heat (8-3) This is the best team in the NBA, period. Early on they have slipped to the Grizzlies, Knicks, and Clippers so they cannot be the best team in a Power Ranking in November, which will have no bearing in June and July.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder (8-3) Right now the battle for the best team in the Western Conference is as heated as any race in recent memory. The Grizzlies are not going away and the Thunder are playing as good as they did last year at this point despite losing a star and supposedly their ability to be a great team.

6. Los Angeles Clippers (7-2) Chris Paul is proving the value of having a pure, pass first point guard leading a collection of elite athletes. This Clippers team is gritty, tough, and is playing with a very high level of confidence no matter the opponent. The bench has been great keeping the starters fresh.

7. Milwaukee Bucks (6-2) The young Bucks are playing at a high level behind their potential All-Star point guard Brandon Jennings and a supporting cast that is performing above expectations.

8. Brooklyn Nets (6-2) The Nets are one of five teams to play only eight games this season, but have played a solid brand of basketball pushing them towards the top half of the Eastern Conference.

9. Philadelphia 76ers (6-4) if the 76ers can stay away from the Knicks they might be one of the elite teams in the NBA at this point. They are 0-2 against them and 6-2 against the rest.

10. Boston Celtics (6-5) The Celtics are in the bottom 15 in defense and the top 15 in offense, say that ten times fast. It is certainly a culture shock as the new face of the franchise, Rajon Rondo, is creating his team identity.

11. Los Angeles Lakers (5-5) Hey look at that the Lakers solved their problems internally, without Phil Jackson, Mike D'Antoni, and Mike Brown on the sideline. This is a very good team that is older, less athletic, and adjusting to new faces that are all unhealthy right now. Patience folks.

12. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-4) Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Nikola Pekovic, and J.J. Barea are all on the mend with injuries, who is next?

13. Atlanta Hawks (4-4) They are struggling to get over the hump as a top team in the Eastern Conference as they are adjusting to a superstar-less team.

14. Dallas Mavericks (6-5) The Mavs have come back down to earth, but are getting really solid play from O.J. Mayo and the reserves in anticipation of a Dirk Nowitzki return.

15. Golden State Warriors (5-5) The young Warriors are going through the growing pains of playing consistent on both ends of the floor as their rookie star Harrison Barnes is starting to find his rhythm.

16. Chicago Bulls (5-5) It is tough for a team to win those close games or beat the elite teams without a superstar, but the Bulls are playing good team basketball despite that.

17. Portland Trail Blazers (5-5) They rely on their starters almost more than any team in the league, but the good thing for them is that their starters are playing about as well as anyone in the league.

18. Denver Nuggets (4-6) One of the great mysteries of the season has to be how this Nuggets team is not winning games. They are in the middle of the pack on offense, at the bottom on defense, and cluster their wins (and their losses) giving them no consistency as a team.

19. Utah Jazz (5-6) The Jazz are the prototype for an average team. Some nights they impose themselves on teams that highlight their strengths and other nights there weaknesses' are exposed.

20. Charlotte Bobcats (4-4) I am not sure if the Bobcats can sustain this, but they are clearly better than advertised and as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said the team is, "changing the culture."

21. Houston Rockets (4-6) The honeymoon is not over for James Harden and the Rockets, but the play has seemed to level off and the overall talent is deciding games.

22. New Orleans Hornets (3-5) It was fun while it lasted, but the time of the Hornets being above .500 seems to be over and the youth is settling in for a long, energizing season at the bottom of the standings.

23. Indiana Pacers (4-7) You cannot fully judge a team through 11 games, but then again 13% of the season is complete and the Pacers are the disappointment of the year so far.

24. Phoenix Suns (4-7) After finally clawing their way back to .500 for the season in dramatic fashion the Suns have fallen back to reality losing four out of five games. The team is in the midst of their most critical point in the season as they are talking about making changes to the rotation that could define the season.

25. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-8) It has been a rough start to the season as the young talent is mixing and the schedule has been especially grueling. This might be the teams last year in the lottery adding another piece to the puzzle.

26. Orlando Magic (3-6) Was it last year the Magic started 2-0? Man, it wasn't, but it sure feels like it.

27. Toronto Raptors (3-7) Who are the Raptors? Are they the fun, exciting underachieving team that Kyle Lowry was running despite the losses or the gritty team that has been on display the past week?

28. Sacramento Kings (2-8) Despite all the talent on the roster something is not meshing as the Kings find themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference rankings as expected.

29. Detroit Pistons (2-9) The Pistons have taken the Thunder to the wire and beaten the Celtics, but have also lost the most games in the NBA so far.

30. Washington Wizards (0-8) In the last five years the Wizards have started a collective 8-40 (this year included seeing two coaches get fired due to slow starts. Is it a lack of talent? Hard to say yes with four Top 20 picks in that same time span that are on the current roster.

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