NBA Power Rankings: The Hawks Take Flight

Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks are one of just two undefeated teams through a week of play. How much of a bump did they get in our power rankings?

With just over a week of the 2020-21 NBA regular season in the books, it's time to take a look at numberFire's power rankings and see what teams saw the most movement since the preseason.

Teams will be ranked in terms of nERD, which is our efficiency metric based on in-game data. These ratings allow us to understand which teams and players are performing best. nERD is indicative of a team's expected winning percentage, so an average team will have a nERD score of 50.0.

Here's a look at how each team stacks up.

The Bottom 10

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
30Chicago Bulls1-328.829-1
29Cleveland Cavaliers3-132.130+1
28New York Knicks2-233.5280
27Detroit Pistons0-433.625-2
26Washington Wizards1-235.024-2
25Charlotte Hornets2-235.627+2
T23Minnesota Timberwolves2-237.326+3
T23Golden State Warriors1-239.811-12
22Oklahoma City Thunder1-242.823+1
21Memphis Grizzlies1-244.020-1

- The Detroit Pistons have failed to register a win despite matchups with three bottom-tier teams and the Atlanta Hawks. Not great, Bob! It'll be a real nail-biter to see if they can pick up a victory before the Lions play their 2020 season-opener in nine months.

- One of the teams to beat Detroit was the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota started out with consecutive wins before losing to the two Los Angeles teams by 35 and 23.

- Through three games, the Golden State Warriors have the second-worst net rating, fifth-worst offensive rating, and sixth-worst defensive rating. The Warriors did manage wins over the Chicago Bulls and Pistons, so that's...something.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
20Houston Rockets0-246.517-3
19San Antonio Spurs2-146.621+2
18Sacramento Kings3-147.1180
17Portland Trail Blazers2-147.313-3
T15Orlando Magic4-049.322+7
T15Boston Celtics2-249.39-6
14New Orleans Pelicans2-250.1140
13Toronto Raptors0-351.55-8
12Phoenix Suns3-152.015+3
11Miami Heat1-252.110-1

- The Houston Rockets' season got off to a delayed start because, through no fault of his own, James Harden found himself attending a "private indoor party" at a strip club. Houston's next win will be their first of the season.

- While the bubble may have ended, the Orlando Magic are still enjoying a fairy tale start to their season. Orlando has the seventh-best net rating through four games and are currently the league's only four-win team.

- The Boston Celtics are bottom-10 in both net and defensive rating to start the season. The Celtics are also in the lower tier in true shooting percentage and assist percentage, so their offense isn't humming along, either.

- An 0-3 started has resulted in the Toronto Raptors dropping eight spots since the preseason. With one week passed, Toronto has the league's worst offensive rating and fifth-worst net rating. The Raptors are also bottom-five in rebounding percentage, effective field goal percentage, true shooting percentage, and scoring. They're about as cold as a mid-January night in Winnipeg.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
10Atlanta Hawks3-053.019+9
9Denver Nuggets1-353.68-1
8Indiana Pacers3-154.416+8
T6Los Angeles Clippers3-156.54-2
T6Utah Jazz2-156.511+5
5Dallas Mavericks1-257.87+2
4Philadelphia 76ers3-157.96+2
3Milwaukee Bucks2-269.82-1
2Brooklyn Nets2-270.93+1
1Los Angeles Lakers2-271.210

- Somehow, the Atlanta Hawks are just one of two teams that have not lost a game yet -- that makes them deserving of their nine-slot bump. With the fantastically small sample size of three games, Atlanta is second in the league with a net rating of 12.2. Atlanta has hit 41.6% of their shots from outside the arc -- regression is coming.

- Led by a Victor Oladipo resurgence, the Indiana Pacers find themselves rising in our rankings. Indiana's 51.8% field goal percentage is tops in the league.

- Despite a 3-1 start, the Los Angeles Clippers drop two spots in our rankings and deservedly so. You can't go down 50 at halftime of a professional basketball game and pretend like it didn't happen.

- Speaking of bad losses, the Milwaukee Bucks crapped the bed against the New York Knicks of all teams, losing by 20 in a game that was never close. Milwaukee then turned around and trounced the Miami Heat by 47 points the very next time out. Basketball is a weird sport, man.