One week into the NBA season and there was already plenty of chaos amongst our NBA Power Rankings.
Did the Los Angeles Lakers lose the top spot to the Brooklyn Nets? How far did the Golden State Warriors fall? Who are some surprise teams that made a big leap?
We have the answer to all of those questions below! Take a look and see where your favourite team ended up following opening week.
10. Atlanta Hawks
This week: vs. DET, at BKN, at BKN, vs. CLE
The Hawks wanted to get the pieces around Trae Young to become a playoff-hopeful team and through the first week of the season, it appears as though they've done a pretty good job of that.
While key contributions from newly acquired Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic, as well as 2018 first-round pick Kevin Huerter, helped Atlanta reach its perfect 2-0 start, it was the All-Star guard Young who quickly reminded us why he's one of the best young players in the league.
Young exploded for 37 points in the team's season opener to pick up a win over the Chicago Bulls. He followed up that performance with 36 points and nine assists, including a couple clutch buckets down the stretch to beat the Memphis Grizzlies.
.@TheTraeYoung did it again last night, dropping 36 points and dishing out 9 assists in Memphis. 🥶#TrueToAtlanta | @KumhoTireUSA pic.twitter.com/3xheC1Cmxa- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) December 27, 2020
The Hawks will really be put to the test this upcoming week with back-to-back games against the new-look Brooklyn Nets.
9. Denver Nuggets
This week: vs. HOU, at SAC, vs. PHX, at MIN
All-Star centre Nikola Jokic didn't waste much time to pick up where he left off from last year's playoff run.
In the very first game of the season against the Sacramento Kings he recorded a triple-double of 29 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists, albeit in a losing effort on a late-game turnover that led to a game-winning bucket. They also fell to the LA Clippers on Christmas, but Jokic was back at it again with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
While the Nuggets season hasn't gotten off to the start they would hope for, the play of their franchise cornerstone Jokic was encouraging after he got out to a slow start last season. As for the other cornerstone Jamal Murray, Denver is going to need him to look more like the player he was in the bubble.
Murray shot 34.5% from the field and 25.0% from 3 over the first two games of the season, which played a huge role in two losses. The Nuggets will hope he snaps out of that quickly heading into their four-game week against four solid Western Conference opponents.
8. Utah Jazz
This week: at OKC, vs. PHX, vs. LAC, at SAS
In his first game after signing a max contract extension, All-Star centre Rudy Gobert proved exactly why he was worth $205 million after going off for a huge double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds in the Jazz's season opening win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
They came up short in a surprising loss to the Timberwolves but Utah appears to be one of the strongest teams in the NBA now that their roster - and in particular, Bojan Bogdanovic - is fully healthy.
It was a lacklustre opening week for All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell who averaged 20.5 points but shot 30.5% from the field and 31.6% from 3, and the Jazz will become that much more intimidating once Mitchell returns to the more efficient version of himself that we saw last season.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
This week: vs. TOR, at ORL, vs. CHA
All-Star centre Joel Embiid came out and made a statement in the opening week of the season, going off for 20-point double-doubles in each of the 76ers first two wins of the season.
.@JoelEmbiid with another solid performance.- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 27, 2020
27 PTS | 10 REB | 1 BLK
📹 presented by @IBX pic.twitter.com/DlvkRU5CAi
New head coach Doc Rivers is off to a good start in trying to make Philly's All-Star tandem work, as Ben Simmons also stuffed the stat sheet through the first week games.
While we stil haven't seen an unlocked version of Tobias Harris just yet, it appears as though the 76ers new additions Seth Curry, Danny Green and Dwight Howard will fit this roster perfectly.
6. Boston Celtics
This week: at IND, vs. MEM, at DET, at DET
The Celtics had as tough of an opening week schedule as any team in the league, facing off against three high-quality teams in the Bucks, Nets and Pacers.
Boston's star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown showed out in a close win on opening night, combining for 63 points to become the first pair of teammates to score 30 points each in a season opener in the history of the franchise. It wasn't just the high scoring affair for the tandem that made headlines either - Tatum's game-winning 3-pointer over Giannis Antetokounmpo started the Celtics season off on a strong win.
Big time players make big time shots ☘️ #BleedGreen pic.twitter.com/GHNcsfT3Sl- Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 24, 2020
Christmas Day didn't go exactly as planned with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving erupting in the TD Garden, but through just one week of the new season - even without seeing All-Star guard Kemba Walker suit up - you can see that Boston will be competing for a top spot in the East yet again.
5. Miami Heat
This week: vs. MIL, vs. MIL, at DAL
We got a taste of the Heat squad that made an improbable run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season when they routed the New Orleans Pelicans on Christmas Day.
When Jimmy Butler went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter, Miami's depth flexed its muscles with six different players chipping in double figures, led by sharpshooter Duncan Robinson's 23 points on seven 3-pointers.
Just your average afternoon for @D_Bo20- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 25, 2020
23 Pts / 7 👌's / 5 Rebs pic.twitter.com/6IHTJd1xSJ
We'll get to see two rematches of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals this upcoming week when the Milwaukee Bucks get two chances at revenge against the team that bounced them from the playoffs.
4. LA Clippers
This week: vs. MIN, vs. POR, at UTA, at PHX
The Clippers early exit from the playoffs last season caught everyone by surprise but this team came out with a purpose to kick off the new season.
While they didn't get a chance to take a crack at the eventual champion-Los Angeles Lakers in the Conference Finals last year, they made up for that lack of an opportunity by defeating their in-town foes on ring night with Paul George going off for 33 points.
33 PTS / 13-18 FG / 6 REB / 3 AST@Yg_Trece was dialed in on Opening Night. pic.twitter.com/6nX5pcQ9oh- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) December 23, 2020
Then getting revenge against the Nuggets on Christmas Day, the Clippers were able to get even on their two most sought-after opponents to jump out to a 2-0 start. It wasn't until the last game of the week where the Kawhi Leonard-less squad were handed one of the worst losses in NBA history, falling to the Mavericks by 51 points. The blip in the radar isn't pretty, but an end-of-week contest without their star player wasn't enough to alter their power rankings standings due to a pair of quality wins to start the week.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
This week: at MIA, at MIA, vs. CHI
A bank 3-pointer from Jayson Tatum and a missed free throw from Giannis Antetokounmpo prevented an opening night win for the Bucks.
The addition of Jrue Holiday looks like a perfect fit so far, giving Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton a viable third scoring option to distract opposing defences from the team's two All-Stars. 2018 first-round pick Donte DiVincenzo has also been solid in his new role as a starter, another encouraging sign for Milwaukee.
While Antetokounmpo looked like his usual self during opening week, it was Middleton's Christmas Day performance that stole the show. In the 39-point victory over the Warriors, Middleton led the way with 31 points while shooting a blistering 6-for-8 from beyond the arc to make life easy for his MVP teammate.
31 points in 26 minutes on Khrismas!! pic.twitter.com/9Q7n4yiIY8- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 26, 2020
A disappointing loss to the Knicks to close out the week leaves Milwaukee with a sub-.500 record but they still stand in at No. 3 because teams behind them didn't do much to warrant a promotion.
2. Brooklyn Nets
This week: vs. MEM, vs. ATL, vs. ATL, vs. WAS
If opening week taught us anything, it was that the Nets were worth the wait.
After missing out on an entire season of Kevin Durant and only seeing 20 games of Kyrie Irving in their first year in Brooklyn, the duo has proved that it will be nearly impossible to stop them.
Destroying the Warriors on opening night, Durant made scoring 22 points look easy in just 25 minutes of play. The same could be said for Irving, who tallied 26 points in just 25 minutes. Next up was Irving's highly anticipated return to Boston on Christmas Day where he'd torch his former team for 37 points, eight assists and six rebounds while shooting a lights-out 7-for-10 from 3. In that same contest, Durant was right there with Irving, going for 29 points in the blowout win.
37 POINTS.@kyrieirving went off and set a new Christmas day franchise scoring record 📼 pic.twitter.com/4ooebCwUtG- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 26, 2020
Although they came up short against the Hornets to close the week - which cost them to top spot in the power rankings - the Nets are every bit of the terror we expected them to be.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
This week: vs. POR, at SAS, at SAS, at MEM
The Lakers dropped opening night against the Clippers but the defending champions didn't appear to be all that invested in picking up the early-season win. With Anthony Davis only playing 31 minutes and LeBron James only playing 28 minutes, Los Angeles hoped that new additions Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrell had enough juice in their first game with the franchise to get the job done.
While Schröder was awesome, nearly tallying a triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and Harrell recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 boards, the Lakers still came up short.
They'd bounce back with a win on Christmas Day as LeBron and AD looked to have a little more pep in their step, combining for 50 points.
That @KingJames fadeaway is a thing of beauty.- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 26, 2020
(📺: ABC & ESPN) pic.twitter.com/eopiGUbpGc
The rest of the NBA
11. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers can thank CJ McCollum for knocking on the door of the top 10 in this week's power rankings. In an effort to avoid starting the season 0-2, McCollum stepped up with 44 points and a game-winning shot to defeat the Rockets in overtime.
𝐀 𝐁𝐔𝐂𝐊𝐄𝐓@CJMcCollum | #RipCity pic.twitter.com/a1CvGtvRr5- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) December 27, 2020
We'll learn a lot about this version of the Blazers this upcoming week with matchups against the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors.
12. Indiana Pacers
13. Phoenix Suns
14. San Antonio Spurs
15. Houston Rockets
As if the Rockets didn't have enough chaos to start the season, a first-game cancellation due to COVID-19 protocols made things even more difficult. However, they did return to play their second game as scheduled and All-Star guard James Harden was available to suit up.
Despite all the noise surrounding Harden this offseason, he looked like the scoring force we all know, even without seeing a lot of training camp or preseason action. His efforts came in a loss, but Harden tallied 44 points and 17 assists in his debut to try and silence the critics.
A career-tying 17ast along with 44pts for @JHarden13!- Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 27, 2020
Highlights ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/augUaRbFNI
16. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks started the season with two losses but they made up for it in a big way to close the week, defeating the Clippers by 51 points to make a statement. Luka Doncic led the way with a near-triple-double of 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as Dallas got out to the first-ever 50-point lead at the half in NBA history.
with the biggest halftime lead in NBA history........... 😳#Lexus pic.twitter.com/AjSW4L32nW- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) December 27, 2020
No, that is not a typo on that graphic.
17. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors defence has let them down through the first two games of the season, allowing opponents to shoot 49.4% from the field and 43.4% from 3, the 26th and 27th-worst marks in the league, respectively.
Toronto has started the season 0-2 for the first time since the 2012-13 season - the last season where it had missed the playoffs.
One bright note of the Raptors opening week, though: reserve centre Chris Boucher, who had a strong outing against the Spurs with 22 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks.
Slimm Block Party pic.twitter.com/a622I2bWMW- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 27, 2020
18. Orlando Magic
19. Sacramento Kings
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
21. New Orleans Pelicans
22. Cleveland Cavaliers
23. Golden State Warriors
It was a less-than-ideal start to the season for the Warriors, who lost to the Nets by 26 points on opening night then followed that performance by losing to the Bucks by 39 points on Christmas Day.
It's clear that this team missed it's defensive motor Draymond Green, who should return this upcoming week after nursing a foot injury. Stephen Curry was one of the few players that displayed a decent production, whereas Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. got their new seasons off to a brutal start, shooting 29.4% and 16.7% from the field, respectively.
Rookie James Wiseman was a huge positive note from the week, going for 18 points in his debut and 19 points on Christmas, and with the announcement of centre Marquese Chriss being out for season with a broken leg, we'll be seeing plenty of the No. 2 overall pick the rest of the way.
Most points through the first two games of a career by a Warriors' rook since Rick Barry.@BigTicket_JW || #DubNation pic.twitter.com/sivU46GatP- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 26, 2020
But the team closed out the week with a win, battling their way to victory over the Chicago Bulls courtesy of a Damion Lee game-winning 3:
Game. Set. Match.@Dami0nLee || #DubNation pic.twitter.com/9nhH3JNVHg- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 28, 2020
24. Memphis Grizzlies
25. Charlotte Hornets
26. Washington Wizards
27. Oklahoma City Thunder
28. Chicago Bulls
29. New York Knicks
30. Detroit Pistons
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