2020-21 NBA Western Conference Power Rankings: Week 3

2020-21 NBA Western 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 Western Conference with another edition of weekly power rankings.

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

15. Minnesota Timberwolves

2020-21 record: 3-7

Minnesota did have some momentum going right before Karl-Anthony Towns injured his wrist. However, he has recovered sooner rather than later, and that should lead to positive signs for the Wolves. Their team is quite young and inexperienced, and it’s expected that fans be patient this season as they’ve greatly struggled both offensively and defensively. It will be interesting to see how the win over a really strong Spurs team changes things.

14. Memphis Grizzlies

2020-21 record: 4-6

The Grizzlies started the season with injuries to Ja Morant (ankle), Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee), and Justice Winslow (hip), who are arguably three of their most important players. Teammates have had to step up in roles that they are not used to playing, which explains their form.

13. Sacramento Kings

2020-21 record: 5-6

Sacramento started off the season strong with a 3-1 record, which included two wins against Denver, but the lack of leadership on the court is apparent. Tyrese Haliburton starred in their early-season wins, but he’s been injured and fans are anxiously awaiting his return ahead of games against the Pacers, the Clippers, and the Knicks.

12. New Orleans Pelicans

2020-21 record: 4-5

Defensively, the Pelicans have been fantastic this season, and the numbers back this up. However, new head coach Stan Van Gundy can’t seem to get it right offensively, and they fail to see out games, putting all that defensive work to waste—a perfect example being their heartbreaking losses to the Pacers and Thunder.

11. Houston Rockets

2020-21 record: 3-5

Whenever the Rockets are playing, all eyes are on James Harden and how he’ll perform. This week, during the team’s two losses and their win against Orlando, he has been fairly average, and if he hasn’t made it clear before, it’s all too obvious that he wants out. It’ll be best for both parties if he leaves, and the sooner it happens, the sooner the team can focus on the players who actually want to play for them.

10. Denver Nuggets

2020-21 record: 4-5

Despite a strong week, Denver is low in the rankings because it was expected that they would beat their opponents. They comfortably defeated the Timberwolves twice before beating the 76ers who have only had seven players available. Nikola Jokic is an early prediction for MVP as his form continues to help Denver.

9. Oklahoma City Thunder

2020-21 record: 5-4

The Thunder’s young players have shined so far this season as Darius Bazley, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Hamidou Diallo have all managed to make their mark, leading to wins versus the Pelicans, Knicks, and Nets. They’ll need all the momentum they can get heading into this week playing Spurs and the Lakers.

8. San Antonio Spurs

2020-21 record: 5-5

Despite having a worse record than the Thunder with the extra loss, the Spurs managed to beat the Clippers, the Lakers, and Timberwolves in overtime. That is why they’re ahead of Oklahoma City in the ranking this week. The veteran trio of DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, and LaMarcus Aldridge all had their moments to shine in the three games, and they finally look like a competitive team again.

7. Dallas Mavericks

2020-21 record: 5-4

After a poor start, Luka Doncic has revitalized this team. He and his teammates have finally been able to learn how to play together, which seemed to be an initial concern. It’ll be interesting to see how they fare against the Bucks in a test that’ll show how ready they are to compete for a playoff spot.

6. Portland Trail Blazers

2020-21 record: 6-4

The good news for Portland fans is that their team is extremely fun to watch. Offensively, they are dynamic, exciting, and innovative. The bad news is that their offense does not make up for their horrible defensive play. Their bench leaves much to be desired, and we’ll likely see them fluctuate in form over the season depending on who they play.

5. Utah Jazz

2020-21 record: 6-4

A huge win against the Bucks showed exactly the type of team that the Jazz can be. Now, they just need to find that consistency. A fairly easy week lies ahead, but it’ll be how they perform against the stronger teams that shows what type of team they are and what they can accomplish this season.

4. Golden State Warriors

2020-21 record: 6-4

This week, Stephen Curry reminded the world why he’s in the conversation as one of the best to play in the NBA. His partnership with Draymond Green carries the Warriors, and while they are an incredible duo, this can be worrying. Relying on these two players will be a problem down the line if the rest of the team is unable to step up.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

2020-21 record: 7-4

The Clippers are the team of inconsistency. They sometimes win big but also lose big, and they’ve let their opponents cut big leads down to single-digits multiple times this season. This has led to unnecessarily close wins or frustrating losses. They do have a lot to prove after their embarrassing bow out of the playoffs last season, and they need to finish games stronger if they don’t want a repeat of last year.

2. Phonix Suns

2020-21 record: 7-4

Despite being second on this list, the Suns dropped the ball this week with a loss in overtime to the Pistons. They bounced back against the Pacers, though, and have been excellent all-round with a well-balanced starting five and fantastic bench options like Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne. They face the Pacers again this week, as well as the Warriors.

1.Los Angeles Lakers

2020-21 record: 8-3

The Lakers continue to cruise by, not only topping the Western Conference Rankings but also the rankings for the whole league. After two wins against the Grizzlies, a small blip against the Spurs didn’t stop them from defeating the Bulls and Rockets. It’s hard to say who can stop them from doing it again this year.

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