The Los Angeles Lakers are quickly establishing themselves as the best team in the NBA.

NBA power rankings: Week 3

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

As the NBA enters Week 3 of the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers are quickly establishing themselves as the best team in the NBA, while the Philadelphia 76ers remain the top of the East.

1. Los Angeles Lakers Record 5-1

Last week, LeBron James recorded two impressive triple-doubles while helping the Los Angeles Lakers ride a five-game winning streak into Week 3. In a win over the Dallas Maverick on Friday, James recorded 39 points, 16 assists, and 12 rebounds. Two nights later, he recorded 21 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.

2. Philadelphia 76ers Record 5-1

The 76ers were the last undefeated team to start the season after receiving their first loss of the year in a 114-109 defeat to the Phoenix Suns Monday night. Philadelphia is proven to be the team to beat in the East, finishing the week on a 3-1 record on the West coast. Their most impressing win came in a 129-128 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night.

3. Miami Heat Record 5-1

The Miami Heat are quickly establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the league. They have won five of their first six games, which includes a 129-100 victory over the Houston Rockets. More importantly, every player has chipped in their early-season success, with Kendrick Nunn leading the Heat in scoring, averaging 19.2 points per game.

4. LA Clippers Record 5-2

Last week, the Clippers went 2-1, but their lone loss came in a game where MVP candidate, Kawhi Leonard, did not play due to rest. Leonard helped the Clippers bounced back in a 103-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, where he scored 30 points in the win.

5. Boston Celtics Record 4-1

The Boston Celtics are starting to surprise everyone behind their All-Star point guard, Kemba Walker. He led the Celtics to a perfect 3-0 week, averaging 32.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. It also helps that Jason Tatum is coming into his own following a game-winner over the New York Knicks.

6. Milwaukee Bucks Record 5-2

The Milwaukee Bucks entered the season with high championship aspirations, but they cannot afford to lose games against the Boston Celtics. However, they did finish Week 2 with wins over the Raptors, Timberwolves and Magic.

7. San Antonio Spurs Record 4-2

If it was not for the play of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs would still be undefeated heading into Week 3 of the regular season. Rising star Dejounte Murry has looked great as he works his way back from an ACL injury, as he recorded 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block Sunday, in a loss to the Lakers.

8. Toronto Raptors Record 4-2

After starting the season with four straight wins, the defending NBA champions dropped their first game of the season in a hard-fought loss to the Bucks. Standing at 4-2 on the season, the Toronto Raptors have started the season better than many have expected following the departure of Kawhi Leonard.

9. Dallas Mavericks Record 4-2 

Luke Doncic has proved that the Dallas Mavericks are a focus to be reckoned with in the West. The Mavericks picked up a huge victory over the Denver Nuggets and put on a show in a loss to the Lakers on Friday. Sunday, Doncic recorded his second straight double-double with 29 points, 15 assists, and 14 rebounds in a win over the Cavaliers.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves Record 4-2

The Minnesota Timberwolves has had a fairly easy schedule to start the season but dropped two statement games against the 76ers and Bucks. They get a pass due to the fact that both games were played with their All-Star center, Karl Anthony-Towns, who was suspended following his fight with Joel Embiid.

11. Phoenix Suns Record 5-2

The Phoenix Suns closed out the week with a huge victory over the 76ers, and are currently riding a three-game win streak entering Week 3 of the regular season. One of the NBA's biggest surprises.

12. Denver Nuggets Record 4-2 

The Nuggets have not lived up to their preseason expectations following a loss to the Mavericks and the Pelicans last week. Standing 4-2, it's been a slow start for the Nuggets.

13. Utah Jazz Record 4-3

The Utah Jazz had a sub-par week splitting two games with the Clippers, losing the one game Kawhi Leonard played and handing the Sacramento Kings their first win of the season. Utah will look to recover following a 1-2 week.

14. Houston Rockets Record 4-3 

The Houston Rockets picked up a much-needed victory to close out the week with a 107-100 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Sadly, it's not enough to make up for losing by 29 points to the Heat on Sunday and blowing a 15-point lead to the Nets.

15. Indiana Pacers Record 3-3

The Indiana Pacers are entering Week 3 of the season riding a three-game winning streak defeating the Nets, Cavs, and Bulls. Although they have yet to beat a top tear team, must respect for the Pacers standing at .500 still waiting for the return of Victor Oladipo.

16. Portland Trail Blazers Record 3-4

The week started well for the Trail Blazers with a win over the Thunder, but Portland enters Week 3 of the regular season on a two-game skid, following losses to the 76ers and depleted Warriors team.

17. Brooklyn Nets Record 3-4 

The Nets went 2-1 the previous week but picked up an impressing win against the Houston Rockets. Kyrie Irving is doing all he can to lead the Nets to wins, averaging 32.0 points on 47.2% shooting from the field.

18. Detroit Pistons Record 3-5

With losses to the Bulls, Wizards and Raptors, the Pistons had a rough week going 1-3 heading into Week 3 of the season. ESPN reported on Monday that Blake Griffin is close to making his season debut after battling knee, and hamstring injuries.

19. Atlanta Hawks Record 2-3

The Hawks drop both of their games last week in a home-and-home against the Miami heat. Much was expected for a team who is missing their best player in Trae Young, who missed all of last week with an ankle injury.

20. Charlotte Hornets Record 3-3

With a record over .500, the Charlotte Hornets have been the league's most pleasant surprises over the first two weeks of the season. Last week, the Hornets picked up an impressing victory over the Kings in a hard-fought victory.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder Record 2-4

The Thunder went 1-1 last week with their only win coming against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder has been a respectable team with Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul leading the way.

22. Cleveland Cavaliers Record 2-4 

Not much is expected from the Cavs, but they did pick up an impressing win over the Bulls last week. Despite the losing, Kevin Love is returning to his all-star form, averaging 19.2 points and 15.3 rebounds thus far this season.

23. Orlando Magic Record 2-4

The Magic has been one of the most disappointing teams to start the season, and last week was the same after 1-2 record. the only bright spot for the Magic has been the arrival of Markelle Fultz, who started his first game with Orlando in a loss to the Nuggets.

24. Chicago Bulls Record 2-5 

The Chicago Bulls said they have enough talent to make the playoff in 2020. Yet the Bulls found a way to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers and post a 1-2 record last week.

Washington Wizards Record 2-4

Despite the lack of talent, the Wizards have stayed competitive against the Rockets and Spurs. Washington ended the end on a high note with a win over the Pistons.

26. Sacramento Kings Record 2-5

After losing their first five games of the season, the Kings are riding a two-game winning streak heading into Week 3. They gained a huge victory over the Jazz and followed it up with an encore against the Knicks.

27. Golden State Warriors Record 2-5

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. For five straight seasons, the Warriors have sat atop of the NBA. Now, they are nearly the worst team in the league. Not sure how, but the Warriors picked up one win in a 127-118 victory over the Trail Blazers.

28. Memphis Grizzlies Record 1-5

Young and inexperienced, the Grizzlies put up a good fight against the Rockets and Suns despite going 0-3 (Lakers) in Week 2.

29. New Orleans Pelicans Record 1-6

In all except for one game, the Pelicans have put up a good fight. Behind rising star Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans picked up their first win of the season against the Jazz but dropped their final two games of the week against the Thunder and Nets. Unfortunately, New Orleans' record does not reflect how great this team has played so far this season.

30. New York Knicks Record 1-6

It's the Knicks, enough said.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Willson Contreras could give the Astros some extra pop in the lineup. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

“The Hot Stove League” is the nickname given to Major League Baseball's offseason. In particular, the free agent signing period in late November/early December. Trades are also made during this period. Now that Astros' owner Jim Crane has ousted all opposition to his idea of how things should be run, he's free to do things the way he sees fit.

He opened it by not hiring a general manager to replace James Click. Instead, he opted for a committee of assistant GMs. Those guys are assisted by some special advisors, like former Astros great Jeff Bagwell. Crane likes and wants to take a big swing at things. He'd probably hit about .250 with 30-plus home runs every season. Can't leave out his guaranteed 80-100 strikeouts. Typical power hitter. It's all or nothing, except Crane has been making great contact and knocking some things out of the park.

Signing Jose Abreu was an example. Yuli Gurriel looked as if he was losing the battle with “Father Time” during the regular season. This was an insurance policy at first, and designated hitter. Another prime example is their reported interest in C/DH/LF Willson Contreras. His bat would be a major upgrade over past Astro catchers. Although Martin Maldonado may not be going anywhere, having a quality bat to relieve him is key. Add the fact that he plays some outfield, and he's almost a “two birds with one stone” type of signing.

Abreu may be 35 years old, but he's coming off a year hitting .304 with 15 home runs. Contreras may be the younger of the two at 30, but his .243 average hurts the fact that he hit 22 home runs. Both sport an OPS above .800 for their careers. Bagwell said he wants Yordan Alvarez to play left field 45% of the time. The other 55% can be Contreras, Chas McCormick (assuming Jake Meyers is still in the mix for center field), and whoever else they sign or bring up from Sugar Land. When Contreras isn't in left, he needs to be behind the plate or hitting DH. I'd really love the idea of him sitting under Maldonado's learning tree for a year and taking over catcher long-term. Not many can be the catcher "Machete" is, but hitting 50 points better than him has its advantages.

Then there's the reported interest other teams have in Justin Verlander. Supposedly, the Mets have met with him via Zoom. The Dodgers are interested and are seemingly the leaders in the clubhouse to sign him. However, I wouldn't count Crane and crew out. He may come to JV last minute and offer him something comparable in order to keep him around. He strikes me as the type of guy who'll keep his plays close to the vest, then make a Godfather type of offer. He negotiated Verlander's last deal with the team himself. Coming off a World Series win, Cy Young win, and opting out of said deal, Verlander is most likely looking to get one final payday that'll also land him on a contender.

Having a winner is one thing. Having a winner committed to winning long-term is another. Crane wants to strike while the iron is hot. Sure, he wants his franchise to be sustainable. But he also wants to keep the World Series window open as long as possible. Kyle Tucker's next deal will be one to watch. Having an embarrassment of riches on the pitching staff means you have trade bait. Keep an eye on old Jimmy Crane. I think he might be the best thing to hit Houston sports in quite some time.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome