The Week in the NBA
by Strike Point Sports - 11/09/2006
A lot of people, including us, predicted the Phoenix Suns would win this year's NBA title. While the season is young, certainly a 1-4 start doesn't help the cause. The Suns are an offensive juggernaut with back-to-back MVP Steve Nash leading the charge. Amare is healthy but slowly being brought back to get his endurance and knee strength at top form. However in this league scoring only takes you so far. Through the first week and a half the Suns are allowing a league worst 110.2 points each game and that is flat out awful. It's fine if the Suns were dropping 115 as they did several years back, but anything less and they are flirting with disaster. The one bright spot for this team is that all losses have come against likely playoff teams. Phoenix is 2-3 ATS through its first five games and has hit the over on four of its five totals posted.
While the Suns opened out of the gate slow, the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Hornets have done well to get off to fast starts. Atlanta is 3-1 and atop the Southeast division. They have won three in a row after a bad loss on the road to Philly to start the year. Just the same, the Hawks are 3-1 against the number this season. The success so far can be attributed to forward Joe Johnson, averaging 20 points and 6.5 assists per game and being the go-to-guy when the game is on the line.
Meanwhile in the West, New Orleans is the only perfect team remaining in the association. Posting a 4-0 start to 2006, balance is the key for this team while its leader is also the man that runs the show. Second year sensation Chris Paul has developed into one of the league's best point guards in less than two years and is second to Steve Nash in assists at 10.8 while contributing 17.5 points and 1.5 steals each game.
Top Five Power Rankings
Every so often we'll dab into who is playing the best. It's a long season but why not have some fun and throw around praise to the teams that deserve it.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (4-1, 3-2 ATS): As balanced as any team and has already knocked off Dallas and Phoenix in convincing fashion.
2. New Orleans Hornets (4-0, 3-1 ATS): Paul and West are future All-Stars. This team goes ten deep every game.
3. San Antonio Spurs (4-1, 3-2 ATS): Big three continue to produce. However lack of bench and supplemental scoring could be downfall.
4. Utah Jazz (4-1, 3-2 ATS): Best frontcourt in the NBA in Okur, Boozer and Kirilenko. Team is missing true perimeter playmaker.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (4-2, 2-3-1): Without Kobe they showed they could win at home. Now with their star they need to prove they can win on the road.
When it become necessary we'll point out a few first year players that have put on a show during a given week. This will be the best draft class since LBJ, Wade and Melo came into the league. Here are a few names why:
1. Brandon Roy | Portland Trailblazers: In his first four games he has shown tremendous playmaking potential, including the ability to run the point in clutch situations. 14.5 points, 4.3 assist and 3.5 rebounds prove he's an all-around gem.
2. Adam Morrison | Charlotte Bobcats: Certainly his no facial hair and buzzed sophomore haircut at Gonzaga look is more suave but not necessarily more marketable. Playing the most of any rookie, Morrison has put up 15 a game including higher than 35 percent from downtown for those who said he couldn't shoot at the pro level.
3. Rudy Gay | Memphis Grizzles: Soon enough the Rockets will be kicking themselves for trading this young star for Shane Battier. Gay has been very consistent off the bench for the Grizz and his 11.3 points rank third among rookies behind the previous two. He is, however, playing around ten minutes less per game.