[Editor’s note: The season has been underway for an entire week and a lot has changed. The New York Knicks, having debuted at 20th last week, jumped up 17 spots. The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile, won their first four games to earn the No. 1 spot this week.]
David Aldridge of NBA.com (1): Would imagine Pop is pretty happy with wins over New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Utah. Wait.
Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk (2): The Spurs are very good in the regular season. Again. Shocking. And they got Manu Ginobili back on Saturday, so they should start to play better. Just don’t call them happy.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com (3): Breaking news: The Spurs and that Tim Duncan guy are still very good. The execution on Tony Parker’s game-winner was sharp, but maybe more encouraging was that they were able to win ugly against the Thunder offense, which they couldn’t stop in the last four games of the conference finals. Just don’t ask Gregg Popovich if he’s happy with his team’s defense. Happy?
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (2): Tony Parker’s buzzer-beater gave the Spurs a nice win over Oklahoma City. Victory over Utah didn’t come easy either.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com (2): The best record you’ll find in the standings is sufficiently eye-catching, especially since Manu sat out the first two wins with a bad back and then someone points out what Duncan did in Week 1. Timmy’s averaging 21 and 10 and 3 blocks? Those are turn-back-the-clock numbers.
Average Spurs ranking: 2nd
Air Alamo power rankings (last week in parenthesis)
1. San Antonio Spurs (3): Dating back to the franchise’s inception, the Spurs have never began the season 4-0.2. Miami Heat (1): Through four games, Miami is scoring a league-high 117.4 points per 100 possessions.3. New York Knicks (20): The Knicks — ranking 20th in last week’s power rankings — have proven the naysayers wrong. They are, at this juncture, the most balanced team in the league, finishing second in offensive and defensive efficiency.4. Oklahoma City Thunder (4): The Thunder offense has yet to produce at last year’s offensive efficiency. It’s early but Oklahoma City has been especially ineffective without Kevin Martin, scoring 91.1 points per 100 possessions.5. Dallas Mavericks (13): Not only are the Mavericks shooting 3-pointer frequently (20.5 per game) but they have made them at a 51.2 percent clip.6. Milwaukee Bucks (18): The Bucks are one of four undefeated teams, primarily because of their third-ranked defense. Though this is encouraging, they have not been nearly as stingy with their dynamic backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings on the floor.7. Los Angeles Clippers (9): Without a strong defensive unit, the Clippers have forged an effective offense, albeit one that has generated an excess amount of turnovers and hasn’t created many extra possessions.8. Memphis Grizzlies (7): The duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph is averaging 36.3 points and 23 rebounds per game.9. Los Angeles Lakers (2): Even though the 34-year-old Bryant is declining athletically, his presence is still important. For reference, the Lakers are 51.4 points per 100 possessions better with Bryant on the floor according to NBA.com/Stats.10. Chicago Bulls (16): Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has his team first in the defensive rankings — again.11. Brooklyn Nets (10)12. New Orleans Hornets (22)13. Boston Celtics (5)14. Atlanta Hawks (11)15. Houston Rockets (19)16. Minnesota Timberwolves (14)17. Orlando Magic (29)18. Indiana Pacers (8)19. Philadelphia 76ers (15)20. Utah Jazz (12)21. Denver Nuggets (6)22. Golden State Warriors (17)23. Portland Trail Blazers (24)24. Toronto Raptors (21)25. Cleveland Cavaliers (25)26. Phoenix Suns (23)27. Charlotte Bobcats (30)28. Sacramento Kings (27)29. Washington Wizards (26)30. Detroit Pistons (28)