2020-21 NBA Eastern Conference Power Rankings: Week 3

2020-21 NBA Eastern Conference Power Rankings: Week 3

by January 12, 2021 1 comment

Three weeks of the NBA season are already in the books. It’s time to look at how things are breaking down in the Eastern Conference with another edition of weekly power rankinngs.

Check back every week to take see how the rankings change.

15. Washington Wizards

2020-21 record: 3-8

The Wizards have struggled all season thus far, and to add further salt to the wound, one of their only positives of the season, Thomas Bryant, will miss the rest of the campaign due to an ACL injury. Bradley Beal can only do so much, and Russell Westbrook, who was supposed to be the catalyst that changed this team, has struggled. Something must change, and it needs to happen fast.

14. Chicago Bulls

2020-21 record: 4-7

The Bulls have been hit hard with COVID-19 as Chandler Hutchison, Tomáš Satoranský, Lauri Markkanen, and Ryan Arcidiacono have been unable to play since late December. Once they’re fit and available, this Bulls team will be in much better shape.

13. Detroit Pistons

2020-21 record: 2-7

The Pistons the edge over the Wizards only because they’ve played two fewer games. A win against the Suns should bolster their spirits, but the fact of the matter is that they’ve lost several games that they could (and should) have won, which is never a good sign. One positive comes from Jerami Grant, who has silenced critics en route to being the Pistons’ shining star. Grant extended his career-high streak to nine games with 20-plus points.

12. Toronto Raptors

2020-21 record: 2-8

So far, the Raptors have taken one step forward and two steps back this season. After a dreadful start, a win against Sacramento seemed to show positive signs with confident Pascal Siakam and a fantastic Fred VanVleet shining in place of Kyle Lowry. However, an ugly loss against the Warriors (106-105) will be difficult to come back from.

11. Atlanta Hawks

2020-21 record: 5-5

Atlanta’s three losses this week left a lot to be desired. Issues both on and off the court are clearly affecting players, with injuries, arguments, and reports of high egos leading to poor form after showing a lot of promise and potential at the beginning of the season.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers

2020-21 record: 5-6

Cleveland had an impressive start to the season, only for it to be decimated by injuries to Darius Garland (shoulder) and Collin Sexton (ankle). Though both should be back soon, the Cavs miss them immensely. They’ve managed well defensively without their two guards, but when they come back, the team will be much better offensively as the movement on the ball severely lacks at the moment.

9. Orlando Magic

2020-21 record: 6-5

Orlando started the season 4-0, which came as a bit of a shock, and while they were able to beat Cleveland twice this week, they’ve been hit with plenty of injuries. Their form will likely dip even further, especially with upcoming games against the Brooklyn Nets. In the coming weeks, a lot rides on the form of Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross.

8. Charlotte Hornets

2020-21 record: 6-5

LaMelo Ball has proven to be worth all the initial hype as he has led the Hornets on an impressive three-win streak, beating the Hawks twice and New Orleans once. Ball became the youngest player in the league’s history to record a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists in their first game against the Atlanta Hawks. The Hornets do lack a proper big which will give them problems in the future.

7. New York Knicks

2020-21 record: 5-6

Losses against the Thunder and Nuggets don’t fully erase how good this Knicks team has been. They may not have a roster of all-stars, but Tom Thibodeau has been able to get the best out of his players, and he’s building a team-based identity. One of their games this week is against the Nets, and it’ll be fun to see how the Knicks approach one of the best teams in the East in this historical rivalry matchup.

6. Miami Heat

2020-21 record: 4-4

Miami has been meeting expectations so far this season. They possess a well-balanced and cohesive team that will likely make another good playoff run barring any extreme circumstances. This upcoming week, they have an interesting set of fixtures with games against the Celtics, 76ers, and Pistons. While they’ll likely beat the Pistons, the other two teams will pose a challenge for them.

5. Philadelphia 76ers

2020-21 record: 7-4

What started as a strong season led to frustrating back-to-back losses against the Nets and Nuggets. Against Denver, they only had seven players available, four of them being newbies, and many were even left wondering why the NBA decided not to postpone the game. Their upcoming matches, regardless of the opponent, will be tough due to their decimated squad.

4. Brooklyn Nets

2020-21 record: 5-6

The Nets have proven that they don’t solely rely on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this week as the former missed three games this week and the latter missed two. Other players were able to step up, which saw wins against the Jazz and 76ers. The losses to Washington and Memphis, two teams they should’ve comfortably beaten, showcased that Steve Nash is still using trial and error to figure out his best team.

3. Indiana Pacers

2020-21 record: 6-4

The Pacers have excelled with Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon leading them offensively to heights little expected from them at the beginning of the season. They’ve done so well that T.J. Warren, who is out due to a foot injury, has hardly been missed. Their big matchup against the Warriors this week will showcase how far they’ve really come.

2.Milwaukeee Bucks

2020-21 record: 7-4

The Bucks feel like they are better than their 6-4 record, with Giannis Antetokounmpo proving why he’s one of the best this week (not that he still needs to). He didn’t feature versus Cleavland, and they still managed an impressive win. The Bucks are performing better than in previous years, especially offensively. It becomes a question of whether they can do it for the whole season.

1. Boston Celtics

2020-21 record: 7-3

The Celtics won all four matches this week as their entire roster has been able to step up. They should comfortably beat Orlando and Chicago this week, so their clash to watch comes against Miami. Jayson Tatum has tested positive for COVID-19, so it’ll be exciting to see how they fare while the young star waits in quarantine.

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