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NBA power rankings: Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors at top

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Each week, Neil Greenberg will give his objective NBA power rankings based on a team’s ability to win games (via the Pythagorean win expectation, modified for the NBA) and Dean Oliver’s “Four Factors of Basketball Success,” which assesses the following:

  • Shooting, as measured by effective field goal percentage.
  • Rebounding, as measured by a team’s offensive and defensive rebounding percentages.
  • Free throw rate, calculated by taking a team’s free throws made divided by their field goals attempted.
  • Turnover rate on a per-possession basis.

Included with each team is their actual record plus their offensive and defensive rating, which is how many points scored/allowed per 100 possessions. The bigger the difference, the better the team is performing.

Here are this week’s power ratings along with each teams . Agree or disagree? Let Neil know on twitter @ngreenberg.

1. Houston Rockets (5-0)
Offensive Rating: 114.4
Defensive Rating: 99.0

The Houston Rockets passed their first big test of the season, defeating the Miami Heat, 108-91, to push their record to 5-0. A lot of it has to do with their style of play, but having James Harden taking the early lead in win shares (1.6) doesn’t hurt either.

2. Golden State Warriors (3-0)
Offensive Rating: 105.1
Defensive Rating: 89.9

The Warriors are 3-0 for the first time in franchise history and have held opponents to 89.9 points per 100 possessions, best in the league.

3. Dallas Mavericks (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 120.0
Defensive Rating: 112.7

4. Memphis Grizzlies (4-0)
Offensive Rating: 99.0
Defensive Rating: 92.0

5. Toronto Raptors (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 112.6
Defensive Rating: 105.4

6. Portland Trail Blazers (2-2)
Offensive Rating: 106.8
Defensive Rating: 100.8

7. Washington Wizards (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 108.4
Defensive Rating: 102.8

The Wizards are winning, but they have faced the fourth weakest schedule so far. Otto Porter Jr. has been a bright spot with his 64.4 percent true shooting percentage and 10.5 points per game off the bench, and John Wall has also been impressive.

8. Miami Heat (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 113.2
Defensive Rating: 108.3

The early returns in Miami are good after LeBron James left. They are a top five team in terms of shooting (54.2 percent effective field goal percentage) and have been solid defensively, grabbing 79.3 percent of available defensive rebounds.

9. Chicago Bulls (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 110.7
Defensive Rating: 103.5

The Bulls beat the Orlando Magic without Derrick Rose and Jakim Noah but will need them both once they no longer have the luxury of playing against the softest teams in the league. Until then, they probably will continue to roll.

10. Brooklyn Nets (2-1)
Offensive Rating: 116.3
Defensive Rating: 106.6

11. New Orleans Pelicans (2-2)
Offensive Rating: 103.0
Defensive Rating: 100.6

12. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2)
Offensive Rating: 107.5
Defensive Rating: 107.2

13. Sacramento Kings (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 100.6
Defensive Rating: 100.1

14. Utah Jazz (1-3)
Offensive Rating: 111.9
Defensive Rating: 114.1

The Jazz has just one win under its belt (Phoenix Suns), but Utah is grabbing rebounds (third highest defensive rebound percentage) and keeping opponents from the free throw line (lowest free throw rate allowed).

15. Phoenix Suns (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 107.7
Defensive Rating: 106.7

16. Charlotte Hornets (1-3)
Offensive Rating: 96.3
Defensive Rating: 99.5

17. Los Angeles Clippers (3-1)
Offensive Rating: 108.9
Defensive Rating: 106.3

18. Milwaukee Bucks (2-2)
Offensive Rating: 98.1
Defensive Rating: 96.9

19. Indiana Pacers (1-3)
Offensive Rating: 100.4
Defensive Rating: 103.7

As expected, the Pacers are struggling. However, there have been glimpses of their signature style of play, ranking fourth in the percentage of defensive rebounds in their favor (78.2 percent).

20. Atlanta Hawks (1-1)
Offensive Rating: 108.4
Defensive Rating: 106.8

21. Boston Celtics (1-2)
Offensive Rating: 108.4
Defensive Rating: 109.4

22. Denver Nuggets (1-2)
Offensive Rating: 96.5
Defensive Rating: 98.5

23. Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2)
Offensive Rating: 103.4
Defensive Rating: 109.9

Yes, this is probably lower than other rankings have LeBron James and the Cavaliers, but most other rankings are basing their position on what they think Cleveland will do, not what they have done thus far. What they have done is go 1-2 against a below average strength of schedule while allowing the sixth most points per 100 possessions (109.9). They are also in the bottom five for effective field goal percentage.

24. San Antonio Spurs (1-1)
Offensive Rating: 105.8
Defensive Rating: 108.1

25. Detroit Pistons (0-3)
Offensive Rating: 94.9
Defensive Rating: 105.1

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-4)
Offensive Rating: 98.4
Defensive Rating: 109.6

27. New York Knicks (2-2)
Offensive Rating: 101.6
Defensive Rating: 110.5

28. Philadelphia 76ers (0-4)
Offensive Rating: 93.2
Defensive Rating: 106.9

29. Orlando Magic (0-4)
Offensive Rating: 98.0
Defensive Rating: 110

30. Los Angeles Lakers (0-5)
Offensive Rating: 105.2
Defensive Rating: 120.5

What’s left to say about the Lakers? They are 0-5 for the first time since since the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers lost their first seven games and can’t even win when Kobe Bryant scores 39 points.