Power Rankings: What's the buzz? Hornets are No. 1
How can a team with no collective playoff success as a group -- a team that no one picked to win the championship -- sit atop ESPN.com's NBA Power Rankings?
The better question, given how the New Orleans Hornets are playing and what's happening in the league, is how can they not be No. 1?
In a season of surprises that suddenly finds the mighty West with 10 playoff-worthy teams and no clear-cut favorite, Chris Paul's Hornets have forced their way to the top of our weekly poll for the first team since the Stein Line committee (of one) began ranking teams weekly in the 2002-03 season. They got there with the best road (16-5) and overall (31-12) records in the conference as of Monday morning, punctuated by a 24-point road rout of the defending champs from San Antonio on Saturday to extend the league's longest active winning streak to eight games.
Boston slips to No. 2 after a two-loss week that also featured Kevin Garnett's first injury as a Celtic. LeBron James has powered Cleveland back into the top seven. And Minnesota -- with unexpected wins over Golden State and Phoenix and a near upset in the Wolves' first-ever game against Garnett -- makes a stunning (if temporary) climb to a season-high No. 21. Call it an unofficial reward for Minnesota's Team of the Week status.
Tune into "NBA Fastbreak" on ESPN to see this week's Army Power Rankings.