NBA Power Rankings: Why L.A. rivals are headed in opposite directionson November 9, 2022 at 1:09 pm

The Utah Jazz have the best record in the Western Conference, and that is only one of many surprises that have percolated throughout the first month of the 2022 NBA season.

The ascending 8-2 Cleveland Cavaliers had a chance at a 9-1 start and a share of first place in the Eastern Conference before blowing a 13-point lead to the LA Clippers. The Clippers are starting to find their own groove after a rough return for a now-sidelined Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. They could soon be an early favorite in the wide-open West, especially when Leonard returns.

The Atlanta Hawks made an early statement by handing the previously undefeated Milwaukee Bucks their first loss, and they pulled it off without star point guard Trae Young. Once Young is back on the court, the Hawks could be good enough to challenge Milwaukee or Cleveland in the East.

Luka Doncic is looking like an early-season front-runner for MVP with a historic stat line for any player over the first nine games. The Dallas Mavericks haven’t faced any of the other expected contenders in the West but, with Doncic playing at his current level, they could prove to be trouble for any team.

Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk) is ranking all 30 teams from top to bottom, taking stock of which teams are playing the best basketball now and which teams are looking most like title contenders.

Previous rankings: Week 1 Week 2

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