Oct 30, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill (3) celebrates with power forward David West (21) after hitting a three point basket over New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday (not pictured) during the fourth quarter of a game at New Orleans Arena. The Pacers defeated the Pelicans 95-90. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN NBA Power Rankings: Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers rise

 

 

The NBA season is underway, and the latest ESPN NBA Power Rankings are out, and the Indiana Pacers have climbed to the No. 1 spot. Even more surprising is the Philadelphia 76ers, who after being projected as one of the two or three worst teams in the NBA this year, are off to a 3-0 start with a win over the defending NBA champion Miami Heat already in their back pocket.

Here are the Top-10, courtesy of ESPN:

2013-14 Power Rankings: Week 1
RANK TEAM / RECORD TRENDING COMMENTS
1
Indiana
3-0

5
Last Week: 6

Although I probably should have said something about this earlier, after seeing Paul George just light up American Airlines Center in Indy’s final preseason game like he always does when he comes to Dallas, it’s obvious to everyone now: PG was ready to start the season. Ready in the extreme.
2
Houston
3-0

3
Last Week: 5

They were supposed to be good, so there’s little Philly-style shock value in the Rockets’ 3-0 launch. Yet you have to say that Saturday night’s big rally in Utah was impressive. Ditto for the Dwight-led defense in general that has Houston on the brink of its first 4-0 mark since way back in 1996-97.
3
Minnesota
3-0

9
Last Week: 12

No one was going to deny the Sixers their highly improbable Team of the Week honors, but the Wolves showed us glimpses of the potential we’ve been talking about for ages by clamping down on Durant and Melo to secure the best start in ‘Sota since a KG-led pack of Wolves opened up 6-0.
4
San Antonio
2-1

1
Last Week: 3

We’ve been spoiled for a l-o-n-g time: Tim Duncan’s absence from the Spurs’ win over the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers in L.A., thanks to a chest contusion, marked the first meeting between the teams with neither Kobe nor TD on the floor since Nov. 22, 1996 … back when I was still on the Laker beat.
5
Miami
2-2

4
Last Week: 1

The Heat managed to beat Washington and avoid their first three-game losing streak since January 2012 in Year 1 of the LeBron Era. Didn’t take long, though, for all that preseason talk about how focused they were for the long season ahead to evaporate amid a rash of punchless first quarters.
6
Oklahoma City
2-1

4
Last Week: 10

Question: What can bump you up the charts instantly after you just went to Minnesota and got drilled by 19 points in the club’s worst defeat in more than two seasons? Answer: The thunderbolt news that Russell Westbrook is back in the lineup about a month earlier than anyone expected.
7
Los Angeles
2-1

5
Last Week: 2

The Clippers’ bandwagon has certainly emptied some after that inexplicable crash on Opening Night against the Kobe-less Lakers. They’ve rebounded reasonably well, though, setting up a rather interesting Monday night duel at Staples pitting the new (?) DeAndre Jordan against Dwight Howard.
8
Golden State
2-1

Last Week: 8

If you like the sort of wild (borderline irresponsible) stat projections that crop up with the small sample sizes we’re working with at this point, you’ll love this one: Steph Curry is on pace to splash home 437 triples this season based on what we’ve seen so far … after an all-time record 272 last season.
9
Chicago
1-2

5
Last Week: 4

Don’t want to overreact to three games. Especially when D-Rose is harder on himself than anyone early in his comeback. But all the stuff Charles Barkley said on TNT about the Bulls not having enough scoring … that’s why I came into the season saying Indy is the East’s bigger threat to Miami.
10
Philadelphia
3-0

20
Last Week: 30

The madness continues when the Warriors visit town Monday. Philly will be going for its first 4-0 start since the Allen Iverson-led team that made the Finals went 10-0 in 2000-01 and the MCW/Steph matchup brings together two of only five players averaging at least 20 points and nine dimes.

 

 

Tags: ESPN Indiana Pacers NBA NBA Power Rankings Philadelphia 76ers

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