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2015-16 NBA Power Rankings Watch — Week 2: A Little Slide

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rankings Roundup

Outlet Ranker Ranking Change Comment
ESPN Marc Stein 7 -2 As aggrieved as the CP3-less Clips were by the errant goaltend call, it's a loss James Harden and Dwight Howard pinned on them as much as anything. They're the first duo since Dominique Wilkins and Kevin Willis in March 1993 in which one of the guys scored at least 45 points while the other totaled at least 20 points and 20 boards.
CBS Sports Matt Moore 4 -1 A two-game losing streak would hurt most teams more, but they hung right with Golden State, and were a missed goaltend from that Rockets win. However, it would be nice if Doc Rivers focused more on internal factors sometimes. Although I do enjoy his completely baffled faces after controversial calls. David Aldridge 5 -3 Remember when I said last week that the Clippers' bench could very well be a difference maker by season's end? Well, forget I said that. John Schuhmann 5 -1 Chris Paul got hurt and the Clippers lost two games, but it was a somewhat encouraging week, in that they made a big run against the champs with Paul on the bench and might have beat the Rockets without him if the refs didn't miss the goaltending call on Dwight Howard. Blake Griffin has been the league's second best finisher and is shooting like Dirk Nowitzki (47 percent) from mid-range.
Sports Illustrated Jeremy Woo 6 -1 L.A. went O-fer in statement opportunities this week, partiaully fueled by Chris Paul's strained groin and a missed goaltending call against the Rockets. And while their bench has been beefed up, the Clips remain devoid of a ballhanding distributor with Paul sidelined.
NBC Sports Kurt Helin 6 -3 Blake Griffin is not getting enough credit for a ridiculously good start to the season. He’s averaging 29.3 points per game with a true shooting percentage of 64.1 percent, he’s grabbing 9.7 boards a game, dishing out 4.2 assists, and has a PER of 32.8. He was amazing in the playoffs last season and has carried that over.
Average 5.5 -1.8

Two losses (even if both came to elite teams, with caveats) last week certainly did not impress the national rankers, who unanimously dropped the Clippers this week. Perhaps this is also a bit of an overcorrection for the Clippers not necessarily looking dominant this week, even in wins. This is a big week for the Clippers to start making statements, with games against Memphis, Dallas, Phoenix, and Detroit all coming in the next five days. Their performance over the next four games will reveal a lot about this team (although there's only so much to be learned in November).

National Top Ten

Rank Team ESPN CBS DA NBA SI NBC Average
1 Golden State Warriors 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
2 Cleveland Cavaliers 2 2 2 2 2 2 2.0
3 Atlanta Hawks 3 3 3 4 4 3 3.3
4 San Antonio Spurs 4 6 4 7 3 5 4.8
5 Los Angeles Clippers 7 4 5 5 6 6 5.5
6 Oklahoma City Thunder 8 5 9 6 5 11 7.3
7 Detroit Pistons 5 10 11 3 12 4 7.5
8 Toronto Raptors 6 8 10 8 9 8 8.2
9 Houston Rockets 10 7 7 10 7 9 8.3
10 Utah Jazz 11 11 6 9 11 7 9.2

Houston's bounced back nicely from that miserable early-season start, vaulting back into every outlet's top 10. Meanwhile, the way San Antonio and Oklahoma City are being ranked is interesting. The Spurs have been consistently good but not great, while OKC has shown flashes of something more but also suffer from a woefully underachieving defense (thus far). Outlets are still hesitant to recognize Detroit despite only one loss so far.

Metrics Watch

Metric Number Ranking
Win Percentage .667 T-6th
Margin of Victory +4.3 9th
Net Efficiency +6.0 8th
Expected Winning Percentage .664 9th
Simple Rating System 4.39 11th
Relative Percent Index .534 T-11th

The two losses have bumped the Clippers back in a lot of these metrics. The outlier stats from last week have normalized somewhat as more games have been played (so no more unreal 30+ SRS).