On the Bubble:
Charlotte Hornets (6-7)
New York Knicks (7-5)
It's hard to leave the defending NBA Champions out of the first edition of the Big Shots NBA Power Rankings. They've won two games in a row and currently sit at .500 on the season as they look to pick up where they left off last year. One big thing to notice here: the Bucs are currently 1-4 at home on the season. That will change soon for them.
If Scottie Barnes isn't your early favorite for Rookie of the Year, think again. Barnes leads all rookies in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounds (8.5 rpg) and fits right in with the Toronto Raptors game plan. He's also shooting 52.7 percent from the field. Look for their rank to improve once Pascal Siakam returns.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have cooled off a bit as they sit at fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. It's worth noting, they're a 6-2 squad with one day of rest but 1-4 in all other circumstances when looking at this young squad. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Ricky Rubio are quite the lineup when they're on the floor together.
The Miami Heat have lost three-straight games and are 3-4 on the road so far on the young season. In their five losses, they're scoring 98.2 ppg, a huge differential from their 119.4 ppg at home as an offense. They'll need to find their identity on the road before it's too late.
The Philadelphia 76ers are on a skid of their own, as they've lost their last three games to find themselves at fourth in the first edition of Big Shots NBA Power Rankings. They've yet to solve the Ben Simmons Saga but they've managed to remain competitive in the East. Tyrese Maxey fits in well at the starting point guard role for what it's worth. He's posted 17.1 ppg, 4.7 apg and 3.8 rpg through their first 13 games, shooting 50.6 percent from the field.
Even without Kyrie Irving, it's been smooth sailing for Kevin Durant and James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets, so-to-speak. They're still third in the standings and Durant ranks first in the league in scoring (29.5 ppg) while shooting 58.5 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from behind the arc, very MVP-like numbers.
The Chicago Bulls are on a two-game win streak and currently sit at second atop the East standings. The trio of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball is proving to be a match made in heaven as the Bulls are playing extremely well and three players are averaging over 4.0 apg. They also rank third in the league in scoring defense, allowing 102.4 ppg.
The Washington Wizards have probably been the biggest surprise in the Eastern Conference this season next to the Bulls. They've won three games in a row and counting and boast a 7-3 record over teams in the East currently. Bradley Beal has plenty of help so far with Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrel and Kyle Kuzma playing well and all averaging double-figures.
On the Bubble:
Portland Trail Blazers (5-7)
Sacramento Kings (5-7)
Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies are on a mission as they hold onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings, for now. Morant has proclaimed himself to be a Top 5 Point Guard in the league and so far, it's held up. He's averaging 26.5 ppg, 7.3 apg, 5.7 rpg and 1.7 spg while shooting 48.5 percent from the field. As they look to get Jaren Jackson Jr. on the same track, look for things to improve in Memphis.
The Los Angeles Lakers have strung together two wins and are enjoying the emergence of fourth-year guard Malik Monk with a 7-5 record. Despite their record, the Lakers rank third in the league as a scoring offense (112.3 ppg) and Monk exploded for season-best 27 points on (10-of-13) shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point land all off the bench as the Lakers got a 3-point victory. Look for their position to rise soon.
The Denver Nuggets are still without Jamal Murray, who's out indefinitely after suffering a torn ACL during the 2020-21 regular season but they're still in the hunt for a playoff spot in the early going. Will Barton's return has certainly helped Nikola Jokic's progress. Barton has posted 17.5 ppg while shooting 43.3 percent from behind the arc and dished out 4.4 apg. They're a solid group that ranks first in the NBA in points allowed at 98.5 ppg.
Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are right in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference under first-year head coach Jason Kidd. While the Mavericks aren't exactly outscoring their opponents, they boast the 12th-ranked scoring defense in the league, allowing just 105.8 ppg. They're in need of a defined second-option on offense between Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. if they want to find success.
The Los Angeles Clippers are currently streaking as they sit at sixth in the overall standings. Since starting 1-4, the Clippers have reeled off six-straight wins including a comeback victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday night. Paul George is quietly having the best year of his career as he averages 26.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 5.4 apg and 2.5 spg on 45.6 percent shooting from the field and 36.1 percent shooting from the floor. He finished with 27 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals in last night's 3-point victory.
The Phoenix Suns are currently one of three teams in the Western Conference riding a six-game winning streak. They got off to a 1-3 start before finding their stride as a unit. They rank fourth in the NBA in scoring (111.0 ppg) behind Devin Booker's 22.6 ppg and Mikal Bridges (14.8 ppg) and Deandre Ayton (14.2 ppg). With games coming up against the Memphis Grizzlies (Nov. 12), Houston Rockets (Nov. 14) and Minnesota Timberwolves (No.v 15) look for them to extend their winning streak.
The Utah Jazz have seemed to figure things out between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, or so it seems. They're currently 8-4 and sit at third among the standings in the Western Conference. Mitchell leads the team in scoring with 25.9 ppg on 44 percent shooting from the field while Gobert is averaging 15.0 ppg and a league-best 15.5 rpg along with 1.8 bpg. Through 12 games, they're in good shape so far though they lost to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.
The Golden State Warriors boast the NBA’s best record with just one loss so far on the young season. They're riding a six-game winning streak on the heels of a 50-point, 10-assists, seven-rebound performance in a victory over the Atlanta Hawks back on Monday night. They're a talented, deep and eager bunch and lead the league in biggest point-differential at +13.6 in the scoring margin through the first 11 games of the season.