Monday, November 11, 2013

How Far Can the Pacers Go? (Power Rankings, Week 2)

Week 2 is in the books, and we witnessed the Knicks' worst-case scenario realizeda perfect start in Naptown, and a perfect start to Utah's bid for Andrew Wiggins. In this week's Power Rankings, let's take a deeper look at the 7-0 Pacers and the wildly entertaining Minnesota Timberwolves.

Here are the complete Week 2 power rankings:
30. Utah Jazz (0-7)
29. Sacramento Kings (1-5)
28. Denver Nuggets (1-4)
27. Washington Wizards (2-4) 
26. Orlando Magic (3-4) 
25. Milwaukee Bucks (2-3)
24. Los Angeles Lakers (3-5)
23. New York Knicks (2-4)
22. Boston Celtics (3-4)
21. Charlotte Bobcats (3-3)
20. New Orleans Pelicans (3-4)
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4)
18. Toronto Raptors (3-4)
17. Brooklyn Nets (2-4)
16. Detroit Pistons (2-3)
15. Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)
14. Atlanta Hawks (3-3)
13. Memphis Grizzlies (3-3)
12. Portland Trail Blazers (4-2)
11. Dallas Mavericks (4-3)
10. Chicago Bulls (2-3)
9. Phoenix Suns (5-2)
8. Golden State Warriors (4-3)
7. Houston Rockets (4-3)
6. Minnesota TImberwolves (5-2)
5. Miami Heat (4-3)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (4-3)
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1)
2. Indiana Pacers (7-0)
1. San Antonio Spurs (6-1)

Indiana Pacers     

The Pacers landed in New York at 4:30 on Saturday morning after defeating the Raptors on Friday night. That tired Indiana team, playing a fourth game in five nights, was still able to defeat a supposed contender in the Nets.

Indiana is off to the best start in franchise history, and they're aiming for a No. 1 seed. The Pacers went 8-1 at home in the playoffs last year, and their size would give a vulnerable Miami team fits in the playoffs. If Indy can secure homecourt advantage, it might be the favorite to come out of the East.

The Pacers added Luis Scola over the off-season and the big Argentinian has fortified Indiana's already-strong front line. Lance Stephenson has improved his game, as has Paul George, giving the Pacers a bunch of good offensive options.

Having said all that, George isn't an offensive superstar yet. Even though his field goal percentage is up from last season, he displays questionable shot selection at times. He's also not the best ball-handler, as is evidenced by his 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. He threw away a pass in the final minute against Brooklyn, giving the Nets a chance to tie the game. It will be interesting to see if George's offensive game continues to mature as the season progresses. If it does, he and his teammates will have a good chance to bring a championship to basketball-mad Indiana.

Minnesota Timberwolves

What a fun team! Ricky Rubio can't shoot a lick (31.8 FG%), but his court vision is really something to behold. Basketball junkies have been waiting years for the Rubio-Kevin Love partnership, and they've been rewarded for their patience. The Wolves are 5-2 while playing the fastest pace in the NBA.

Sunday night's dismantling of the Lakers is a great example of how how the Wolves have become must-see TV. Minnesota scored 47 points on 76 percent shooting in the first quarter, with Love pouring in 18 points in the quarter.

A year after winning just 31 games, Minnesota has become one of the most entertaining teams in the league. Kevin Martin has added much-needed dead-eye shooting, and Love is a bona fide superstar. Expect the Wolves to make the playoffs comfortably then do some real damage in the postseason.


  1. Not in his defense, but Paul George's turnover issue is mainly a result of his entry passing into the post. Not sure if it's his judgement or technique, but he turns it over at least once a game on his entry pass.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I totally agree. It's so frustrating to watch such a talented player repeatedly screw up the entry pass.