Welcome to the toughest Monday of the season so far for the NBA Power Rankings committee (of one).
You could make a case for any one of the three teams to occupy the top spot this week: Indiana, Portland or Oklahoma City. Yet it was ultimately decided that the Pacers, entering Tuesday’s first showdown of the season with their old friends from Miami, simply didn't deserve to be dropped when their losses to both the Blazers and the Thunder came on the second night of a back-to-back on the road.
The Pacers also recorded impressive wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs on the same trip and undeniably rank, by any objective measure, as the team of the season so far through the first quarter of the schedule. So No. 1 it is for Indy for the fourth time in a span of six weeks.
The Blazers just had the best week of any team, to be fair, with impressive home wins over Indy and OKC to offset Saturday’s loss at the buzzer to the Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder, meanwhile, are 10-0 at home after ringing up 118 points on the Pacers in the final stop of Indy’s five-game Western Conference swing ... which is akin to scoring about 150 points against anyone else.
In the end, though, we decided that the drama in this rankings batch would be limited to Detroit’s unexpected eight-spot leap to a heady No. 12 and Boston’s 10-slot jump to No. 17. Into the toughest possible home game to start off with after a long trip, Indiana will rightfully bring the No. 1 ranking for the two-time champs to shoot at.
The latest rankings, as always, were compiled by the committee with Chris Paul-esque dishing from ESPN Stats & Information and the Elias Sports Bureau. You can click here to rank the teams yourself until we return next Monday with a fresh 1-to-30 pulse take of the league.