This NBA season has officially kicked off but which teams have already shown some Championship promise?
Welcome to our first NBA power rankings for the 2018/2019 season! It’s never too early to start picking the big hitters for this season. After watching the first game of the season, check out our power rankings for the top ten teams.
10. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers kicked off their NBA season with a strong showing. Soundly defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-83 on Wednesday night, Indiana fans are excited to see their team dominate. This unit definitely has the potential to quickly rise through the power rankings to the top. For the first time, they have some depth on the bench when Victor Oladipo is on the bench. Tyreke Evans joined the game as a jack of all trades. He finished the game with 14 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds to inspire a lot more confidence in this team. However, they did still play Minnesota so they’re ranked tenth for now until we can see them against some tougher opponents.
9. Los Angeles Lakers
Tonight is when the Lakers officially have their season opener against the Houston Rockets. Listen, we’re not naive enough to think Los Angeles will all of a sudden be the best team in the league now that they have Lebron James. However, there’s plenty of young talent on this team (Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram) to keep this team in the mix for the NBA power rankings. At the end of the day, James has scored over sixty points in one game before and could easily keep the Lakers in serious playoff contention. Will that be enough to stop teams like the Rockets and the Warriors? That remains to be seen but he certainly will inspire confidence among his team.
8. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks were just able to squeeze a win past the Charlotte Hornets in last night’s game with a 113-112 victory. It’s hard to figure out Milwaukee because they finished the preseason looking stellar. The first half of this game was the same thing and they cemented a double-digit lead over Charlotte. However, in the second half, everything seemed to fall to the wayside. Turnovers became their greatest weakness and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a handful of fouls as well. It really hindered the team’s playmaking ability and only seemed to frustrate them more as the game went on. Hopefully, we see more first-half Bucks because then this is a team to worried about.
7. Denver Nuggets
Denver silence the Los Angeles Clippers with a 107-98 win last night. Defensively, this team looks great. Mason Plumlee had three extremely well-timed blocks, Paul Millsap had a whopping 16 rebounds, and the team had six steals. This is one of the best defenses in the NBA right now, and while their offense certainly needs a bit of improvement, they’ll be able to frustrate a lot of other teams. If they can get their offense on track expect the Nuggets to rise through the power rankings quickly.
6. Philadelphia 76ers
Let’s face it, the 76ers were stomped on by the Celtics but that doesn’t make them a bad team. A lot of fans are heaving the blame on Markelle Fultz, the young rookie who hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. He had 3 turnovers, 5 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, and a 28.6% field goal percentage. It isn’t great for a guy who just got the starting job over a veteran who secured 16 points, 0 turnovers, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and a 41.2% field goal percentage. While we personally think Fultz has the potential to be a huge asset to Philly, it seems like once Redick is back on the starting offense than this team will be an elite offense.
5. Toronto Raptors
Unlike the rest of the NBA, one of the Raptors’ greatest strengths is its depth on the bench. A lot of teams will have solid starting line-ups but support players who can’t maintain a lead. Of course, it helps to have an all-star like Kawhi Leonard on your roster who can score 24 points and nab 12 rebounds. Rebounding is definitely their weak spot at this point but Toronto looked confident enough out there to be a real contender this year. They defeated the Cavaliers 116-104 so the season is off to a pretty good start.
4. Utah Jazz
While the Utah Jazz might’ve coasted a bit in their victory this week, they have two players that people seem to be ignoring. Alec Burks and Dante Exum are poised to be breakout stars this year in the NBA and Utah is going to be better for it. Even Derrick Favors has been praising his teammates and other members of the league should look out for a strong roster this season. Right now, the starters were disappointing in their win over Sacramento but the bench players really shined and led the team to a win. Once the starters develop their chemistry, this unit will be well-rounded.
3. Boston Celtics
The Celtics absolutely dominated the 76ers in Thursday’s game with a 105-87 victory. With a nine-man rotation, they’re almost impossible to beat once other teams beginning using bench players. Even Charles Barkley thinks this is the only team in the league with a shot at defeating Golden State this year. That starting lineup alone is enough to get any NBA fan excited. Jayson Tatum had a whopping 23 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, and a 52.9% field goal percentage. With Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving also out on the court, there’s a real chance Boston upends the Warriors.
2. Houston Rockets
We’re not entirely convinced the Rockets will perform as poorly this season as they did in their season opener against the Pelicans. Yes, the defense definitely collapsed throughout the game but that wasn’t because of their inability to play. It was misplaced double teams and what appeared to be nerves rattling the entire team. It’s understandable, Houston fans have a lot of expectations on this roster with both James Harden and Chris Paul. We’ll see how they do in their next game and if that will impact their ability to take on some of the tougher teams in the league.
1. Golden State Warriors
Is anyone betting against Golden State? The simple fact is this is the best team in the NBA right now. They won their season opener Oklahoma City Thunder 108-100 and don’t appear like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon. The only way they fall in the power rankings is if one of their key players suffers an injury (like Steph Curry) because they lack the depth on their bench. Curry finished the game with 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists, once again proving why he’s regarded as one of the best in the NBA right now. His team looks to have another Championship victory in 2019 too.
Do you agree with our power rankings? Tell us in the comments below!
Note: This piece was written on 10/18