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2015-16 NBA Power Rankings Watch — Week 3: Confuddle Me This

No one's really agreeing on where the Clippers stand, and which direction they're trending in. But they're not agreeing on anything else, either.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rankings Roundup

Outlet Ranker Ranking Change Comment
ESPN Marc Stein 6 +1 With Chris Paul and J.J. Redick ailing and a recent 1-4 skid to cope with, Blake Griffin's ridiculous start continues to be undercovered. Steph Curry (35.54) and Blake (31.11) are the only players in the league with a PER over 30, while Griffin is quietly shooting 76.1 percent at the FT line as he continues his Mailman-esque improvement at the stripe.
CBS Sports Matt Moore 6 -2 They're in a bind with injuries to Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. They also should've won the Mavericks game anyway, and keep throwing themselves in front of a train trying to get officials to call the game how they want. Newsflash, guys: your constant complaints are not working. David Aldridge 6 -1 Get major rest -- four days off before playing Golden State at Staples Thursday -- at just the right time, with Chris Paul and J.J. Redick both on the shelf with injuries. John Schuhmann 5 A big second half from Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford helped the Clippers get a win over Detroit on Saturday while keeping Chris Paul and J.J. Redick on the shelf until (at least) Thursday's rematch with the champs. But defense has been an issue, especially in the second half of games. They gave up 125 points after halftime in Dallas and Phoenix last week and face three top-10 offenses this week.
Sports Illustrated Jeremy Woo 9 -3 These guys are dinged up and could really use Chris Paul and J.J. Redick back for Thursday’s grudge match with the Warriors. Luckily they’ve got three off days to recover, because it’s not often Jamal Crawford scores more points (37) than years he’s lived (35) as he did Saturday against Detroit.
NBC Sports Kurt Helin 4 +2 That they split a couple games without Chris Paul and J.J. Redick on the floor is a bit of a testament to their improved depth, but mostly it’s a testament to how well Blake Griffin is playing. Big showdown Thursday night against Golden State, that will be must watch.
Average 6.0 -0.5

You can probably tell what Clippers games each ranker saw last week. That the Clippers held steady or improved in three of six rankings is fairly surprising, although it helps that not many other teams have played well enough to definitively snatch a spot from them. In some cases, the injuries to Paul and Redick have been taken into account (and the Phoenix game probably wouldn't have been an embarrassing blowout with Griffin playing the second half). It's still hard to pass judgment on the team at this point in the season.

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 3 3 2 2 2 2 2.3
3 San Antonio Spurs 2 2 3 3 3 3 2.7
4 Los Angeles Clippers 6 6 6 5 9 4 6.0
5 Atlanta Hawks 5 7 5 8 5 8 6.3
6 Miami Heat 4 5 10 11 4 6 6.7
7 Oklahoma City Thunder 8 14 4 4 6 5 6.8
8 Chicago Bulls 7 4 8 10 8 9 7.7
9 Toronto Raptors 10 13 9 9 7 7 9.2
T-10 Boston Celtics 9 11 14 6 13 11 10.7
T-10 Indiana Pacers 12 12 12 7 11 10 10.7

After Golden State, Cleveland, and San Antonio, there's no consensus on the next tier. Somehow, the Clippers still average the fourth-best ranking, as no other team has really separated themselves so far. The Eastern Conference is getting a lot of love in the top ten, although let's wait till January before screaming about how the East has improved so much this year.

Metrics Watch

Metric Number Ranking
Win Percentage .600 T-9th
Margin of Victory +0.9 T-13th
Net Efficiency +1.9 12th
Strength of Schedule .540 T-4th
Expected Winning Percentage .535 14th
Simple Rating System +0.59 15th
Relative Percent Index .555 5th

Although the Clippers have played tougher opposition so far (according to ESPN's SOS), it doesn't fully explain their poor showing in differential stats. The defense and rebounding issues will have to be corrected before the team returns to the ranks of the elite. They haven't had a single impressive win this year apart from their first game against the Mavericks (with no other victory coming by more than seven points). An upcoming homestand will hopefully see the team make some inroads into addressing that.