Wednesday 24th July 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Terribly Terrible Rockets for Real?

NBA Power Rankings Rockets Falling

It seems that someone forgot to tell the Houston Rockets that the NBA’s 2015-16 regular season is underway.

The early part of 2015-16 has no doubt been weird. Some of the usual juggernauts are juggernauting, but this year’s landscape is rife with early-season underachievers, the fast-plummeting Rockets being among them.

Can Houston regain its 2014-15 footing anytime soon, or even at all? Are the Memphis Grizzlies ready to bust out of a rut they’ve seem fated to enter for the last three years? Do the Washington Wizards remember how to defend? Are the New Orleans Pelicans trying to pair Anthony Davis with Ben Simmons?

Questions abound as we try to make sense of a power structure that, well, relative to preseason predictions, doesn’t make sense. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and, yes, Boston Celtics are all balling. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks need to stop screwing around. The Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns are making the most of easy schedules.

It’s all happening, everywhere, to everyone, at the same time. Let’s roll with it.

***For a week by week list of all our NBA Power Rankings this season, please visit this page.

NBA Power Rankings



Golden State Warriors

Yet another real prediction that is really real: Assuming health, the still undefeated Warriors will break the 1995-96 Bulls’ record 72 wins. Chew on that.

Last Week (1)


San Antonio Spurs

There is still so much work to be done in San Antonio, it’s not even funny. Well, maybe it’s a little bit funny because, despite being a work in progress, THE SPURS ARE THE SECOND-BEST TEAM IN THE NBA.


Last Week (3)


Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert need to come back soon. Otherwise, the Cavaliers will continue to lord over the rest of the Eastern Conference while clawing their way through tightly contested games that don’t afford LeBron James any sort of rest.

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Last Week (2)


Los Angeles Clippers


Consider this a gift. The Clippers haven’t been playing well, and they’re complaining about everything ranks as even more insufferable than usual. Still, the Mavericks and Suns are enjoying easy schedules, and the Clippers are, admittedly, battling injuries.

Last Week (4)


Miami Heat

Remember when I said, repeatedly, that the Heat were one of the most overrated teams in basketball? This is me, admitting I may have been wrong, while actually being too stubborn to admit I’m totally wrong less than 20 games into the season.


Last Week (9)


Atlanta Hawks

Paul Millsap and Al Horford are the business, Kent Bazemore is still fun, and the Hawks need to start winning more games.

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Last Week (5)


Chicago Bulls

Have the Bulls ever thought about dangling one of Taj Gibson and Joakim in hopes of trading for another starting point guard? Just some food for thought.


Last Week (10)


Boston Celtics

The Celtics beat the Thunder and upended the shitty Rockets back-to-back. This team is super deep, its rotations are weird, its offense is disjointed and, most importantly, it’s fucking awesome.


Last Week (17)



Dallas Mavericks

Enjoy this reflexive rise up the rankings now, Mavericks fans. Dallas’ schedule has been super easy, so logic would dictate this placement won’t last for long. Then again, who am I to doubt Zaza Pachulia?


Last Week (20)


Oklahoma City Thunder

This whole “Kevin Durant being injured” thing better not become an Oklahoma City staple. Russell Westbrook unchained is a sight to see, but the Thunder need KD healthy and on the floor if they’re to reclaim contender status.

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Last Week (6)



Utah Jazz

Someone, anyone needs to fix the Utah Jazz’s offense. Their spacing is mostly bad, they don’t have enough shooters and the absence of a playmaking point guard will curb what should be an incredibly high ceiling all year.

Last Week (11)


Phoenix Suns

Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are balling. If the Rockets and Pelicans keep sucking, it looks like the Suns will be a playoff team after all.


Last Week (19)



Toronto Raptors

The Raptors defense is soooooooooooo much better than it was last season. But their offense really needs a boost.

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Last Week (12)


Indiana Pacers

George Hill is shooting better than 60 percent on spot-up threes, according to Let’s talk about that.


Last Week (16)


Memphis Grizzlies

Life is being breathed into Memphis. The Grizzlies have regained some of their beautifully ugly swagger, even showing, at times, that they can hang with faster-paced systems.


Last Week (22)



Charlotte Hornets

Talk about exceeding expectations. The Hornets are so much worse defensively without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but their offense is hitting its stride, Jeremy Lamb is playing like an NBA player, and the team is winning games.


Last Week (23)


Detroit Pistons

Much like the Jazz, the Pistons need help on the offensive end. More shooters is a must, as is better play from Reggie Jackson.

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Last Week (7)


New York Knicks

I will not call Kristaps Porzingis a future Hall of Famer.

I will not call Kristaps Porzingis a future Hall of Famer.

I will not call Kristaps Porzingis a future Hall of Famer.

I will not call Kristaps Porzingis a future Hall of Famer.

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Last Week (14)



Washington Wizards

Was really high on the Wizards entering this season. Now, after watching their mediocre showings on both ends of the floor, I’m starting to think I may have been force-fed stupid pills.

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Last Week (18)


Milwaukee Bucks

Greg Monroe has fixed the Bucks offense!*


*Just kidding.


Last Week (21)


Minnesota Timberwolves

Well, the Timberwolves couldn’t play like a postseason squad forever, right? Here’s to Sam Mitchell fighting the currently prevailing impulse to play his old heads more than his young guns.

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Last Week (15)



Orlando Magic

If nothing else, the Magic can be fun to watch. And, whatya know, with no discernible identity, there is nothing else.


Last Week (25)


Sacramento Kings

DeMarcus Cousins, still good.

Sacramento Kings, still bad, but a little less bad after winning three straight.


Last Week (26)


Denver Nuggets

Will Barton fever is making its way through Denver. Don’t bother inoculating yourself against its ubiquity. It’s not at all dangerous to your health—unless you hate fun.

Last Week (24)



Houston Rockets

[Insert flaming poo emoji.]

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Last Week (8)


Portland Trail Blazers

Portland’s early-season Cinderella run was fun while it lasted.

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Last Week (13)


Los Angeles Lakers

“We’ve got to man up,” -Lakers coach Byron Scott on basketball, solving global warming, finding life on other planets, and everything else ever.


Last Week (28)



New Orleans Pelicans

Sad Pelicans are sad.

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Last Week (27)



Brooklyn Nets

The crowning achievement of Brooklyn’s 2015-16 season will be almost, but not actually, beating the Warriors.


Last Week (30)


Philadelphia 76ers


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Last Week (29)

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