Here they come again, sneaking up the Week 4 NBA Power Rankings. Just when it looks safe to pronounce the Miami Heat DOA, you find them on a five-game winning streak here in November, including three road wins.
Granted, the competition was not stiff, but the Heat have been dealing with significant injuries and, entering the year, they were supposed to be the ones who were not considered particularly stiff competition, remember? Tyler Herro is out for about two weeks with an ankle injury, and Caleb Martin is out with a knee problem.
Yet the Miami Heat are still the Miami Heat.
Three factors have helped ensure that. The first is Bam Adebayo, who is playing the best basketball of his career (23.2 points, 10.4 rebounds). The second is the team’s depth, which has been a surprising strength. Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. has, as projected, been an immediate contributor, Haywood Highsmith has been solid as a starter and Duncan Robinson (12.8 points) has been useful.
Finally, there’s Erik Spoelstra, the best coach in the NBA, putting it all together.
That is why the Heat have gone from No. 17 up to the Top 10 in the Week 4 NBA Power Rankings. Let’s get to it.
Week 4 NBA Power Rankings Top 10: Miami Heat Surging
- Boston Celtics, (8-2). Kristaps Porzingis is now averaging 22.0 points and 6.7 rebounds on 62.9% shooting vs. his former teams.
- Philadelphia 76ers, (8-1). Nic Batum has been a plus-51 in the four games he’s played since he got into the 76ers rotation.
- Denver Nuggets, (8-2). Michael Malone gets a well-deserved contract extension. Despite losing to the Rockets the previous night.
- Dallas Mavericks, (8-2). Grant Williams (11.4 points, 50% & 50%) is quietly, at least by his standards, proving to be one of the most valuable offseason pickups in the league.
- Minnesota Timberwolves, (7-2). Are they legit? Well, they’ve beaten the Celtics, Nuggets and now, the Warriors this season. Nothing fake about those seven wins.
- Miami Heat, (6-4). Jaime Jaquez Jr. is averaging 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 30.6 minutes, making 50% of his shots and 40% of his 3-pointers in three games since Tyler Herro was injured.
- Milwaukee Bucks, (6-4). Fourth-quarter woes continue to haunt them. The Bucks are 23rd in the NBA in fourth-quarter plus/minus, at minus-1.1.
- Houston Rockets, (6-3). We will have to take back all the ridicule we heaped onto the Rockets when they were 0-3. Jalen Green is averaging 19.7 points on 45.5% 3-point shooting during the six-game win streak.
- Oklahoma City Thunder, (6-4). Jalen Williams is backing up his impressive play from last year, putting up 17.9 points on 52.4% shooting this season.
- Golden State Warriors, (6-5). Losses to Cleveland and Minnesota to open this six-game homestand was not in the plan for the Dubs. Looking for revenge tonight vs. the Timberwolves.
Week 4 NBA Power Rankings: Lakers & Suns Disappoint
Kevin Durant and LeBron James put forth a classic one-on-one duel on Saturday night in Phoenix, with the Lakers holding off the Suns late. The game was entertaining but also a reminder that the Suns’ depth issues are already hurting them and the Lakers chemistry forged at last year’s trade deadline has been difficult to recapture. We still have both teams, maybe generously, just outside the Top 10.
- Indiana Pacers, (6-4).
- New York Knicks, (5-5).
- Los Angeles Lakers, (5-5).
- Sacramento Kings, (5-4).
- Phoenix Suns, (4-6).
- Orlando Magic, (5-4).
- Atlanta Hawks, (5-4).
- Brooklyn Nets, (5-5).
- Toronto Raptors, (5-5).
- Cleveland Cavaliers, (4-6).
Finally, 21-30: Wemby Falls
For a brief time there, it appeared that Victor Wembanyama’s brilliance would be enough to carry the day for the short-staffed Spurs. But then you get a dud like the 14-point, 4-for-14 showing against the Knicks in his Madison Square Garden debut last week, and you’re reminded that he is 19 and the players around him simply are not good enough. After a 3-2 start, the Spurs have lost five straight, most recently to a shorthanded Miami Heat squad.
- L.A. Clippers, (3-6).
- Chicago Bulls, (4-7).
- Portland Trail Blazers, (3-6).
- New Orleans Pelicans, (4-6).
- Charlotte Hornets, (3-6).
- San Antonio Spurs, (3-7).
- Utah Jazz, (3-7).
- Memphis Grizzlies, (2-8).
- Washington Wizards, (2-8).
- Detroit Pistons, (2-9).