San Antonio Spurs News

NBA Power Rankings, Week 4: Spurs nosedive, Warriors soar

San Antonio Spurs Derrick White, Dejounte Murray
San Antonio Spurs Derrick White, Dejounte Murray / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers / Harry How/GettyImages

24. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-6)

After starting the season with four straight losses, the Oklahoma City Thunder came back from down double-digits in their last three victories, a part of three wins in five games. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has continued his meteoric rise to stardom this season, helping more on the glass while scoring 22.4 points per game and turning the ball over fewer times than he did last season. He's must-see TV on a rebuilding team, as his 56 points combined in the two victories over the Lakers showed.

Coming off a home win over the Spurs, the Thunder are starting to see more consistency from guys like Darius Bazley, which should help take a little bit of pressure off their budding star.

Next for Oklahoma City: Pelicans, Kings, Nets

23. Atlanta Hawks (4-7)

After somewhat overperfoming last season, the Atlanta Hawks have had an underwhelming start this year. Losing six of seven looks bad on paper, but to their credit, they've faced a tough stretch of teams that included a back-to-back against the Nets and Jazz.

The biggest problem in Atlanta early on has been the fact that defense has largely appeared optional. Allowing 111.5 points per game and 46% shooting (both 26th in the NBA), they've made some otherwise offensively challenged teams look like the Showtime Lakers. 

The good news for the Hawks is they still had success last season despite finishing 18th in defensive rating. Unfortunately, teams will now be better prepared for them given what they accomplished last year, and the element of surprise no longer factors in. 

One thing to monitor, Trae Young's free throw attempts. After averaging nine per game over the last two seasons, he's down to 5.5 per game. That could increase as officials adapt to the over-correcting they've been doing with guys like Young and James Harden.

Next for Atlanta: Jazz, Nuggets, Bucks