At 33-2, the Golden State Warriors are still on pace to break the NBA record for wins in a season. But despite their impressive start, San Antonio isn’t far behind in the Western Conference with a 31-6 record. And with Steph Curry dealing with a leg injury right now, the Warriors need to scrap to keep their lead over the Spurs. Nevertheless, Golden State still tops our first 2016 NBA power rankings, which you can see below along with how other teams rank.
1. Golden State Warriors (33-2) – Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have stepped their games up while Curry nurses a left leg injury.
2. San Antonio Spurs (31-6) – San Antonio is 21-0 so far this year. Golden State would do well to keep the West’s top seed.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-9) – Kyrie Irving is getting his legs back under him, which relieves some pressure from LeBron James.
4. Oklahoma Thunder (25-11) – OKC is sneaking up on the league’s elite. They’re 14-3 in their last 17 contests.
5. Chicago Bulls (22-12) – With Bobby Portis’ rise in the Chicago lineup, could the Bulls look to trade Joakim Noah or Taj Gibson?
7. LA Clippers (23-13) – Riding a seven-game win streak, the Clippers are starting to play like the contender everybody thought they’d be.
8. Toronto Raptors (22-15) – DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry will have to carry more of the load for a while, with DeMare Carroll out indefinitely following knee surgery.
9. Atlanta Hawks (22-15) – Atlanta’s 5-1 mark against the Southeast Division trails only the Spurs and Warriors, who are undefeated against their divisions.
10. Indiana Pacers (20-15) – Indiana is just 4-6 in their last 10 games. Can they rebound in January?
11. Dallas Mavericks (21-15) – Dallas should be given plenty of credit for being only the second team to beat Golden State, even if Curry was out.
12. Detroit Pistons (20-16) – Will both Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond make the All-Star team? If they continue winning games, it certainly won’t hurt their chances.
13. Orlando Magic (19-17) – Just a week ago, the young Magic were the darlings of the Eastern Conference. Now they’ve lost four straight and have fallen to the eighth seed.
15. Boston Celtics (19-17) – Boston has an easy schedule ahead of them in January and February. But they can’t lose to the Lakers and expect to make the playoffs in the East.
16. New York Knicks (18-19) – New York has gotten back into playoff contention by putting together a three-game winning streak.
17. Houston Rockets (18-19) – Beating Utah in back-to-back games was a good way for the Rockets to get over their four-game skid.
18. Charlotte Hornets (17-18) – Charlotte’s four-game trip out west is off to a bad start, with two losses and Nicolas Batum dealing with a toe problem.
19. Washington Wizards (15-18) – If the Wizards can finally keep their roster healthy, they have a chance to make a run at the postseason.
20. Sacramento Kings (15-21) – Sacramento has played winning basketball since starting 1-8, and now they’re just a half game out of the West’s eighth seed.
21. Utah Jazz (15-20) – Utah still holds the eighth seed, but their grip on it is much slimmer after two straight losses to the Rockets.
22. Portland Trailblazers (15-23) – It certainly didn’t help Portland that C.J. McCollum had to sit out a 109-98 loss to the Clippers due to a lineup mistake.
23. Milwaukee Bucks (14-23) – Despite being the only team to beat the Warriors at full strength, the Bucks’ season has not gone according to plan.
24. Denver Nuggets (13-23) – The Nuggets have dropped 8 of their last 10 games and are just 5-11 at home this year.
25. New Orleans Pelicans (11-23) – It’s amazing that Anthony Davis leads the league with 30-point, 10-rebound games, yet his team hasn’t even won a third of their contests.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-24) – Minnesota will have their hands full trying to snap a four-game losing streak against the Cavs tonight.
27. Phoenix Suns (13-25) – A talent-stricken roster certainly won’t help Jeff Hornacek’s chances of retaining his coaching position.
28. Brooklyn Nets (10-25) – While Brooklyn has been bad this year, they have had highlights such as sweeping Houston and almost beating the Warriors.
29. L.A. Lakers (8-29) – Hopefully Stephen Jackson’s advice about not listening to Byron Scott doesn’t affect Julius Randle’ and D’Angelo Russell’s attitudes.
30. Philadelphia 76ers (4-34) – Ish Smith has definitely helped the Sixers play better, given that they’re 3-4 since his arrival. That said, it looks like they might avoid the worst record of all time.