FanHouse NBA Power Rankings: It's the Lakers and Everybody Else

This season, FanHouse will attempt to take a weekly look at the NBA's Power Rankings. This is an inexact science which will rotate between the NBA experts here in the 'House. As such, each of us might have a very different view of what these are supposed to be. And as always, feel free to light us up in the comments if you disagree.

In our first edition of this season's Power Rankings, I thought I'd give you my definition of how these should shake out, at least when I'm the one putting them together. It would be straight boring to see the Celtics and Lakers at the one and two spots every week, so, at least for me, this will not be a projection of who is likely to play in the NBA Finals. Instead, it will be more of a who's hot and who's not ranking based on the teams' performance in the previous week.

What does this mean? For one, since the Celtics got rolled by Indiana and teams like the Pistons and Raptors started off 3-0, they'll be ranked ahead of Boston this week. Now, do I think that the Celtics are any less likely to win the East because they lost one of their first three games? Of course not. But again, no one wants to read the Vegas odds for winning the title each week. So without further ado, let the ranking begin.

1. L.A. Lakers:
A perfect 3-0 to start the season, winning by an average margin of over 21 points per game. Strong side zone defense has been especially impressive.

2. New Orleans: Haven't lost since Game 7 of last season's playoffs, and beat the Suns and Cavs without Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic. If the Lakers hadn't been so impressive, these guys would be number one.


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3. Houston: 3-0 start, winning by double digits each time. Ron Artest is fitting in nicely, and will not allow his teammates to be [messed] with. Big game tonight against the Celtics.

4. Detroit: Undefeated so far, and just made the blockbuster deal for Iverson. WIll they have a better chance to overtake Boston with AI instead of Chauncey? Time will tell, but either way they'll have a ton of cap space heading into next season.

5. Toronto: Opened the season with a big win in Philly, and are off to a 3-0 start. Next up is the Pistons on Wednesday, possibly with Allen Iverson in the starting lineup.

6. Boston: Looked pretty good in their first two home wins, then went to Indiana and scored just 79 points and lost by 16. It'll be interesting to see how they play with a target on their backs all season.

7. Phoenix: The Suns dropped their home opener to New Orleans, but looked sharp in wins at San Antonio and versus Portland. If they can limit their turnovers as the season goes on, they have the potential to finish as high as third in the West.

8. Utah: Sure they only beat Denver and the Clippers. But the fact is that they haven't lost a game, and Deron Williams hasn't even played yet.

9. Philadelphia: Yes, they blew a 23-point lead in Atlanta. But when they win, they win big: they beat the Kings by 34 and the Knicks by 29.

10. Orlando: Won two straight after dropping their first two. We'll see if they've truly righted the ship when they play the Sixers this Thursday.

11. Atlanta: 2-0 with wins over the Magic and Sixers, two teams most predicted to finish in the top five in the Eastern Conference. It's early, but I want to believe.

12. Chicago: 2-2 record and have been competitive in all but a blowout loss to the Celtics. If Derrick Rose continues to find his way quickly, this could be a .500 team ... which in the East, means playoffs.

13. Cleveland: Tough early schedule playing Boston, New Orleans, and Dallas on the road, but emerged with a 2-2 record. Oh, and that LeBron guy is pretty good too.

14. Indiana: Danny Granger signed a contract extension, then played so hard that he lost his teeth in a win over Boston.

15. Milwaukee: Their two wins came against two of the league's worst in Oklahoma City and the Knicks, but wins are wins and they were competitive against the Raptors. We'll have to see how long Redd's injury will keep him out, but right now the team looks, um, not terrible.

16. Portland: A Michael Finley jump shot away from being 0-3, sure. But they still beat the Spurs and battled with the Suns after getting rolled by the Lakers in the opener. Talented team, just may take a while for them to figure it out.

17. New Jersey: The Nets have a young, promising roster, with rookies Brook Lopez and CDR in the fold. But they need their more experienced players to carry them until those guys are ready, and Devin Harris and VC have been up and down in the team's first two games.

18. Charlotte: If the team can get more nights from Gerald Wallace, J-Rich, and Okafor like they did in the team's win over Miami, they'll be tough to deal with. Unfortunately, those three have been held in check in the Bobcats' two losses.

19. Denver: Played their first two games without Carmelo Anthony, and now they've traded Allen Iverson. If George Karl can get the team to buy in defensively with their new pieces, Denver could compete for a playoff spot.

20. Dallas: Tough start for these guys, with J-Kidd leading the team in rebounds through their first two games. Then let a tie game in the fourth quarter at home against the Cavs get completely out of hand last night.

21. Memphis: Would you believe they have a two game lead on the Spurs in the Southwest Division?

22: Miami: The Olympic version of Dwyane Wade has yet to make an appearance this season. Is he too tired from all that work over the summer? Who knows, but Wade's shooting just 21-51 from the field to start the season.

23. New York: Stephon Marbury is inactive, and Mike D'Antoni is staking his claim to this team. But right now, Quentin Richardson is the club's leading scorer, and they've dropped games to the Bucks and Sixers. It'll be a while before this team competes, unless they can get somebody that can play in exchange for Marbury.

24. Oklahoma City: You've been ... THUNDER STRUCK! Okay, not yet. But rookie Russell Westbrook is going to be better than advertised, and the team has been fairly strong (at least defensively) through their first three games.

25. Golden State: After close losses at New Orleans and Toronto, they beat New Jersey before losing in Memphis. Al Harrington is playing 30+ minutes a night, despite having asked to be traded. We Believe!

26. Minnesota: Barely beat Sacramento (who everyone else has blown out) and dropped games to Dallas and OKC. They're supposed to be fun to watch, but aren't just yet.

27. San Antonio Spurs: Sure, they were a Michael Finley jumper from beating the Blazers in Portland. But they didn't. And per 100 possessions, this is the worst defensive team in the league, folks.

28. Washington Wizards: Just ... yuck. The team has never played a second of defense under Eddie Jordan, and with Brendan Haywood injured, the team is forced to go small, which might be why the Pistons out-rebounded them by 25 in their last meeting.

29. Sacramento Kings: I thought they'd be more competitive than this, but early on, the Kings are just getting blown out night after night.

30. L.A. Clippers: Baron Davis and Marcus Camby played together for the first time this season ... and lost by 16 at home to a Jazz team playing without Deron Williams.

FanHouse NBA Power Rankings: It's the Lakers and Everybody Else originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Tue, 04 Nov 2008 12:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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