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Denver Stiffs Power Rankings: Warriors on Top, Rockets Slide, Jazz Surprise

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Bad teams winning big, there's no moral victories in basketball, and outsourcing tanking takes a bad turn. It's the premiere of Denver Stiffs NBA power rankings.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, here are power rankings after the first week of the NBA season. Much like the snow up in the mountains, these rankings don't have a lot of substance, but there is the promise of more to come throughout the season.

For example, the Minnesota Timberwolves aren't going to be in the top 10, despite having a perfect 2-0 record. Sadly, beating the Nuggets isn't a statement game, and everyone should be able to beat the Lakers at least once this season. If we were going to give out the MVP award, I'd give my imaginary vote to Steph Curry - who won last year, and has somehow been ever better this season.

So here's a batch of Denver Stiffs NBA power rankings, with an eye to the future while considering current results as well.

Rank Team Stiffiness Move (LW)
1 Golden State Warriors The Warriors are really, really good. They've benefited from two games against the Pelicans, who aren't healthy, but they have dominated them. Stephen Curry, as mentioned earlier, is on pace to defend his MVP title. (1)
2 Oklahoma City Thunder The Thunder are also really, really good. Don't be disheartened by the hurt put on the Nuggets by the Thunder, because we just aren't able to stick with players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The win over the Magic was an amazing game. (2)
3 Los Angeles Clippers The Clippers are holding their opponents to 100 points a game, and outscoring them by 9 points on average. Blake Griffin is averaging 32 points, 9 boards and 4 assists while shooting 64 percent on field goal attempts. Radical numbers. (3)
4 Chicago Bulls The Bulls look like a much better offensive team under Fred Hoiberg, and part of that is due to unleashing Nikola Mirotic at power forward next to Pau Gasol in the starting lineup. They've taken the "Gallo at the 4" strategy and gone with it full time, and it's working for them. (4)
5 Cleveland Cavaliers The Cavs did lose a game, falling to the Bulls in the season opener. They turned around and whooped the Grizzlies, then beat the Heat. Kyrie isn't back, and this team already looks like a lock for the Eastern Conference Finals. (5)
6 San Antonio Spurs The Spurs are the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard has been incredible this season, and is quietly one of the best players in the league. They just need those vets - Duncan, Parker, Ginobili - to be healthy in the playoffs. (6)
7 Toronto Raptors The Lithuanian Jonas brother is averaging 15 and 11, DeMarre Carroll is shooting 42 percent on 3-pointers, and Kyle Lowry is looking as fast as ever. Be on the lookout for Masai to make some amazing trade and upgrade the PF position at some point too. (7)
8 Miami Heat Defense looks good, Hassan Whiteside is averaging 3 blocks a game, and Justise Winslow is dunking over three guys. They need more from Goran Dragic, who is making the Phoenix Suns brass look pretty smart at the moment. (8)
9 Atlanta Hawks The jerseys they wore on Sunday were painful on the eyes, but Jeff Teague has been just as easy. The Hawks have struggled in years past with rebounding, and despite adding Tiago Splitter, they still suck at rebounding. (9)
10 Memphis Grizzlies The Grizzlies had a bad game against the Cavaliers, but they did beat the Pacers and the Nets in a convincing enough manner to merit a top-10 Stiffs ranking. They have five players averaging double figures, with Z-Bo and Gasol not playing at full speed yet. They're a top 5 team in the West. (10)
11 Utah Jazz They're limiting opponents to 79 points a game, tops in the league. They keep this winning up, and they're going to make a lot of people (like me) look silly for underestimating them. They'd be crazy not to try to add someone like George Hill, blond hair and all. (11)
12 Washington Wizards John Wall and Bradley Beal are one of the top backcourts in the league. Now they just need to find a third option, because outside of those two, they have nothing going. (12)
13 Detroit Pistons The Pistons are so much fun. If you have the option to watch them play, do so. Andre Drummond is a rebounding force, and Stan Van Gundy knows how to get his team prepared for every game. Lowest-ranked undefeated team here. (13)
14 Houston Rockets Top-7 in the West without a single win? They've lost every game by 20 points so far - I think it's just an early season oddity. Dwight Howard has played 22 minutes, and this team is nearly identical to the team that made the Western Conference Finals last season. Ty Lawson has a PER of 7.5 and hasn't looked good at all. (14)
15 Phoenix Suns If this was a "can you beat Portland" rankings, they'd be in first, with two wins over the Trail Blazers. Tyson Chandler is already making a difference, with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight playing well. They'll be a litmus test this year - if you're a playoff team, you'll beat them. If you're not, they'll probably beat you. (15)
16 New York Knicks Sigh. If you want to outsource tanking, a healthy Carmelo Anthony sure isn't helping. Playing the Cavaliers and the Spurs ought to bump them back down the rankings next week. (16)
17 Boston Celtics The Celtics only have two games this week, against the Pacers and Wizards, but so far they look like a team with a bunch of guards and power forwards, but they don't know what to do with all them. They move the ball as well as anyone in the league, and Isaiah Thomas is lightning in a bottle. (17)
18 Milwaukee Bucks This team is a work in progress, with injured players making their way back. Greg Monroe looks great on offense at center for the Bucks, who can build their defense back up to last season's standard once everyone is back. Giannis is averaging 23/9, in case you hadn't noticed. (18)
19 Dallas Mavericks Dirk! Wes Matthews! Chandler Parsons! Raymond Felton? Somehow, Rick Carlisle has this team winning games, with a nice win against Phoenix. (19)
20 New Orleans Pelicans You could flip the Pellies and Mavericks here. The difference was that the Mavericks are fielding a MASH unit, and pulling Anthony Davis away from the rim hasn't been as much fun as pundits expected. Don't disrespect rebounding! (20)
21 Minnesota Timberwolves If the Rookie of the Year award went out after two games, Karl-Anthony Towns would be the clear-cut winner. That dude can ball, and Ricky Rubio is surprising everyone that wasn't paying attention. They're going to be really good next season. (21)
22 Sacramento Kings The Kings lead the league in pace after three games. Oh hey, that IS George Karl coaching them! They have four games in five nights this week, and it's a murderers row: away at Phoenix and at home against Houston, Golden State and Memphis. If they win one of those games, I won't drop them. (22)
23 Orlando Magic The leader going into the second week in moral victories. Their largest margin of defeat is five points to the Bulls, with a one point loss to Washington and a three point loss to Oklahoma City. Aaron Gordon is going to produce whenever he gets minutes. (23)
24 Indiana Pacers A bad team that doesn't quite realize that they aren't good. Moving to a small-ball strategy is a good long-term strategy, but they're probably a few years away from competing like they used to. George Hill will be a trade target for teams needing a point guard. (24)
25 Portland Trail Blazers The Trail Blazers remind me of a Cinderella-NCAA tournament team. They could string together a few wins in part to outstanding performances from someone on their team - McCollum, Lillard, Ed Davis - but the odds are they'll lose a ton of games. They do seem to recognize their current situation though, and that helps. (25)
26 Denver Nuggets They beat Houston by 20 points in the opener! WOOO! That optimism was rejected as powerfully as a Karl-Anthony Towns block the next game though. The future is bright, but that future is not this year. Nuggets still lack elite talent, and are not a playoff team. (26)
27 Charlotte Hornets This team stinks. If you need a laugh, watch this possession. This is the best of the worst tier of Eastern Conference teams. The seat is hot for Steve Clifford, because sometimes you just need to make a change. (27)
28 Brooklyn Nets This is a really bad team, but Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are better than what the 76ers have. An ugly team with no hope coming in the draft. (28)
29 Philadelphia 76ers Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are quite good. The process may be taking longer than anticipated, but those two guys are studs. Nerlens Noel is one of my favorite young players in the league. (29)
30 Los Angeles Lakers Bad, bad, bad. One of the worst lineups in the league, and one of the worst coaches. The Lakers are cellar-dwellers and will be bottom-five all season. They are also at full health - this is the best their team will get! (30)