NBA Week 2 Power Rankings: First impressions for new players on every team

Week 1 of the NBA was an exciting one to watch As with every other week, this power ranking isn’t just a ranking of the teams. This will feature one new player on every team and whether or not they’ve made a good, bad, or “mixed bag” first impression on their new team.

Stats and Records include all games prior to Monday, Oct. 28

1. Los Angeles Clippers
Previous: 1
Record: 2-1

Despite a surprising loss Saturday night to the inferior Phoenix Suns, the Clippers started the season well by beating the Lakers on opening night. Kawhi Leonard has been everything the Clippers hoped for with 78 points, 24 assists, and five steals through three games. 

Good: Kawhi Leonard

2. Milwaukee Bucks
Previous: 2
Record: 1-1

Milwaukee had a comeback win against the Rockets on Thursday before they dropped a game in overtime against the Miami Heat on Saturday. Wesley Matthews seems to fit in well with the Bucks system, and he’s done a solid job replacing Malcolm Brogdon so far.

Good: Wesley Matthews

3. Philadelphia 76ers
Previous: 3
Record: 2-0

The Sixers have several new players on their roster, but the guy who has stood out the most is Al Horford. On Saturday against Detroit, Horford came alive in the fourth quarter with a stretch of 11 straight points and a back-breaking three to help his team get the win. 

Good: Al Horford

4. Denver Nuggets
Previous: 5
Record: 2-0

The only player not on last year’s roster who has played this season for Denver is Jerami Grant. Grant has contributed good minutes off the bench in relief of Paul Millsap and threw down this insane dunk against the Suns on Friday. 

Good: Jerami Grant

5. Utah Jazz
Previous: 4
Record: 2-1

While this isn’t to say he’ll be bad for the whole season, Mike Conley hasn’t had the start he envisioned in his first year with the Jazz. He shot an abysmal one of 16 from the field Wednesday night and is shooting just 23.7% from the field and 17.6% from three so far this season. 

Bad: Mike Conley

6. Los Angeles Lakers
Previous: 6
Record: 2-1

While Dwight Howard is another candidate for discussion after his strong performance Sunday night, Anthony Davis has been everything the Lakers were hoping for so far. Through three games, AD is averaging 25.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 3.3 BPG.

Good: Anthony Davis

7. Portland Trail Blazers
Previous: 9
Record: 2-1

Hassan Whiteside is someone whom I had to make a tough decision to leave out of my top 100. However, so far, he looks to be proving doubters wrong, as he has done an excellent job at the center position in the absence of Jusuf Nurkic.

Good: Hassan Whiteside

8. Boston Celtics
Previous: 8
Record: 2-1

I’m giving Kemba the mixed bag because he’s had one lousy game, one decent game, and one excellent game. He got shut down by the 76ers on opening night but came alive against the Knicks on Saturday with 32 points and 11-for-17 shooting from the field.   

Mixed Bag: Kemba Walker

9. Houston Rockets
Previous: 10
Record: 1-1

For as much as I bash Westbrook, I have to give him props as he’s had a solid start to the season. James Harden often attracts opposing teams’ best defenders, which creates more opportunities for Westbrook.

Good: Russell Westbrook

10. San Antonio Spurs
Previous: 13
Record: 2-0

While Murray isn’t new to the Spurs, I’m giving him the nomination here because he didn’t play last year, and the Spurs’ only other new player is Trey Lyles, who hasn’t done anything notable. Murray appears to have made significant improvements as the Spurs have gotten off to a solid start.  

Good: Dejounte Murray

11. Toronto Raptors
Previous: 14
Record: 2-1

The Raptors have one of the worst benches in the NBA, and Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, who was signed in the offseason, has only seen four minutes through three games for this team. Their lack of bench production is why I say Toronto should take a flier on Carmelo Anthony.

Bad: Rondae-Hollis Jefferson

12. Golden State Warriors
Previous: 7
Record: 0-2

The Warriors have had an awful start to the season, getting blown out by the Clippers and the Thunder. D’Angelo Russell hasn’t made a huge impact so far, and got himself ejected from the game on Sunday.

Bad: D’Angelo Russell

13.Brooklyn Nets
Previous: 11
Record: 1-2

All three Nets games have been exciting so far, with Brooklyn losing two in OT and winning one on a cold-blooded game-winner from Kyrie. If Irving can keep up this level of play for the whole season, and the Nets get a high playoff seed, he’ll be in the MVP conversation. 

Good: Kyrie Irving

14. Miami Heat
Previous: 16
Record: 2-1

As I wrote in a separate piece, Kendrick Nunn has come out of nowhere and performed very well in the absence of Jimmy Butler. It will be interesting to see how his role changes when Butler returns. 

Good: Kendrick Nunn

15. Indiana Pacers
Previous: 12
Record: 0-2

Brogdon has been a massive bonus for this Indiana team, as he is putting up 26.0 PPG and 10.5 APG so far this season.  

Good: Malcolm Brogdon

16. Dallas Mavericks
Previous: 19
Record: 2-1

The two-man combo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is off to an incredible start, as the two are averaging 55.6 PPG combined. If they keep it up, Doncic and Porzingis may carry the Mavericks to a playoff spot in the West. 

Good: Kristaps Porzingis

17. Atlanta Hawks
Previous: 20
Record: 2-0

This isn’t to say Cam Reddish can’t turn it around, but so far, he hasn’t looked good. He is shooting just 3-for-15 from the field, and zero of eight behind the arc.

Bad: Cam Reddish

18. Orlando Magic
Previous: 17
Record: 1-1 

Markelle Fultz has certainly looked better than he did during his first two seasons in Philly, but he’s also had some rough moments where he’s looked lost on the court. Production from Fultz will go a long away for this Orlando team with hopes of making the playoffs. 

Mixed Bag: Markelle Fultz

19. Oklahoma City Thunder
Previous: 22
Record: 1-2

While it’s yet to be seen what Paul George can bring to the Clippers, the Thunder appear to have gotten a fair price from that trade. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has carried the Thunder through a trio of games, averaging 24.3 PPG and shooting 51.9% from the field.

Good: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

20. Detroit Pistons
Previous: 23
Record: 1-2

As a team, the Detroit Pistons have been very unwatchable the past few years, but having Derrick Rose completely changes that. Having put up 25.3 PPG through three games, Rose is an early favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year as long as he can stay healthy. 

Good: Derrick Rose

21. Chicago Bulls
Previous: 21
Record: 1-2

Just three games into his NBA career, Coby White is already showing his elite ability to drive to the rim and make plays. With Zion Williamson out for a while, Coby White has an off chance at winning Rookie of the Year. 

Good: Coby White

22. Minnesota Timberwolves
Previous: 25
Record: 3-0

Similar to Cam Reddish, this isn’t to say that Jarrett Culver will be a bust. However, so far, he’s been disappointing, as he’s been invisible on the court with just six points in 41 minutes. Still, it’s a small sample size for a young player.  

Bad: Jarrett Culver

23. Phoenix Suns
Previous: 27
Record: 2-1

The Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers, and that was without Deandre Ayton. Therefore, I’m giving the nod to head coach Alvin Gentry here for rallying the team. Maybe the Suns won’t be the laughing stock of the NBA this season after all. 

Good: Alvin Gentry

24. New Orleans Pelicans
Previous: 15
Record: 0-3

There are several players to choose from since nearly the entire Pelicans team is new. Brandon Ingram has been having a breakout season so far, putting up 27.3 PPG and 9.3 RPG through three contests. 

Good: Brandon Ingram

25. Memphis Grizzlies
Previous: 26
Record: 1-2

Ja Morant showed what he could do Sunday when he scored the game-tying layup, and then blocked Kyrie Irving to send the game into overtime. Memphis ultimately won that game off a buzzer-beater from Jae Crowder. 

Good: Ja Morant

26. Sacramento Kings
Previous: 18
Record: 0-3

What a disastrous start for Luke Walton and the Kings. The Kings have been outscored by 71 points through three games, and while the season is still young, this is not what they were hoping for. 

Bad: HC Luke Walton

27. Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous: 28
Record: 1-1

Darius Garland has had his moments through the first week of his career, but his play has also been sloppy at times, leading to turnovers. Personally, I believe that if the Cavaliers want Garland to develop, they’ll need Collin Sexton to take a lesser role. 

Mixed Bag: Darius Garland

28. New York Knicks
Previous: 24
Record: 0-3

Despite the Knicks’ 0-3 start, R.J. Barrett has shown some promise as he is putting up 21.0 PPG on 51.0% shooting from the field and 53.8% from behind the arc. Through one week, he gets my pick for Rookie of the Year. 

Good: R.J. Barrett

29. Washington Wizards
Previous: 29
Record: 1-2

The mixed bag is because Isaiah Thomas had to miss the Wizards’ first two games with an injury, something that has been a significant concern for him the past few seasons. In the one game he’s played, Thomas looked solid, putting up 16 points and five assists off the bench.

Mixed Bag: Isaiah Thomas

30. Charlotte Hornets
Previous: 30
Record: 1-2

The Hornets were able to get an opening night win, due in large part to rookie P.J. Washington, who put up 27 points. With the Hornets in a rebuild, Washington will continue to get opportunities to develop. 

Good: P.J. Washington


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