One of the more exciting features of the early days of the NBA season is how quickly records change. Ten teams are two games away from the high spot in the Western Conference, all hovering between 1 and 4 games above the .500 record. In the East, three teams are precisely 9-9. With few games played, a modest winning streak, in one way or another, can significantly change the perception of how a team plays.
For example, the most significant move up in the power rankings this week was the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were 8-6 last week. Suddenly, a four-game winning streak took them from a nearly mediocre team to a 12-6 record into the top of the Eastern Conference. However, more is needed to catch the Boston Celtics, performing at historic levels en route to the league’s best record.
On the other side of the Cavaliers, we have the Portland Trail Blazers, who have lost three games this week due to another injury to Damian Lillard. As a result, they went from 10-5 to 10-8, dropping 11 spots in the rankings for the week. It’s harsh, to be sure, but that’s the nature of the beast at this point in the season.
Then there’s the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who started the year hovering near the bottom of the standings but gradually started to look like the successful team we saw last June. They moved six spots this week and show signs of a steady climb in the coming weeks.