OKKKKKKKKKAAYYYYYY BOYSSSSS! The most anticipated power rankings in a very long time as I have been getting asked about it alot more than usual. I have had time to digest all the teams and I will try and evaluate them as best as possible with the short sample size we have. Some teams may have had injuries or players missing and thus I will try and take that into account as power rankings are usually a mix of how a team is doing currently and also trying to project how they will do the rest of the way (plus taking into account who they have played). If you disagree with your "ranking", make sure you let me know and prove me wrong :). Hopefully you don't think you should be lower...On February 6th we get back on track at playground Durham and it's going to be great to finally get back out there! 

  1. CLIPPERS (1-0): Clippers, champions, clutch, chemistry, cerebral, communication, competitors and Chris (okay it's spelt 'Kris' but for the sake of the C's lets go with it). The Champs have retooled in a big way (addition of Javed, Sugee, Vipu and Suren) so they made sure to address any weaknesses and fill up any holes in the boat for a chance to repeat. The best in transition...the best chemistry...and the best ball movement in the league. Destroyed the Nets in their opener without former MVP Krisoth and this team should have earned everyone's respect. Saying they got a "pandemic ring" or "Clip City, Chip Shitty", doesn't take away from their overall success from start to finish. I mean they literally lost one game in 2 years...sheesh! They might make the number one spot on the power rankings their home for the entire season.        

  2. THUNDER (0-0): Okay, so how does a team that has not played a game this season be ranked number 2 on this list? Pretty easy...let's start with Janath Kumar. Dude is an elite player on both ends of the floor and someone who takes care of his body which means he will be ready to go when their number gets called. He has assembled a cast of high quality players who fit his playing style and that is just a dangerous combo. "A man is only as good as his tools" and this season he is definitely bringing out the heavy machinery. He has snipers (Camren and Arian), a legit big (Richard), bonafide point guard (Tristan), and basketball minds (Sujeevan and Puvi). The potential and ceiling for this team is incredibly high which is why they are this high up on the ranks but let's see if they hype is real and worthy of staying near the top. 

  3. SPURS (1-0): The Spurs have an incredible collection of talent. Loaded with mobile bigs, shooters, defenders, and just flat out mentally tough players. GM Vijay will look to get this team to the finish line and so far they have started off very well. They can play big, can play small and match up pretty much with everyone with arguably the best defence in the league. They have all the right ingredients and oozing with self confidence and I expect them to have an amazing season. The only question I have is who will take charge when adversity hits and in those clutch moments. Having a lot of talent is great but sometimes it is easier knowing exactly who the ball goes to in crunch time. But heck, it's always better to have too many good players and figure it out later.  

  4. ROCKETS (0-0):  Another team that has not played a game but yet find themselves near the top of the rankings. Similar to the Thunder, this team has talent at all positions led by Roshane Roberts. Mr. Ryerson Ram will be a load to handle for any team and then you surround him with high IQ, defensive minded, tough and gritty players which means they are going to be a problem. Mr. Roberts is no slouch on the defensive end either and thus they will be able to get it done on both ends at a high level. We know Thanujaan, Venush, Nash and Toby will bring it defensively but what remains to be seen is how much they will produce on the other end. Can they get their chemistry right? That might be the only thing they need to worry about but they got lots of time to figure it out.  

  5.  HEAT (1-0): GM Witness aka Nitharshan somehow put together this collection of ballers and they haven't dissapointed yet. They took down a tough Pistons team in the opener and showed a lot of determination and hunger which was the difference down the stretch. They have two skilled big men and a bunch of athletic wings who can all guard and do the little things. If we get prime Nidun then this team will be a problem all season. If we get a prime Casper ask Anthony then this team will be in the finals. Their role players will play a huge part but it starts with those 2 first. Chemistry seems on point early on and now let's see if they can keep it rolling.  

  6. PISTONS (0-1): They got size and experience and even though they lost the opener to the Heat, I still believe this team has what it takes to be a legit contender. Starts with their organization and unselfishness. No bad shots are taken and everyone plays as a team even to a fault sometimes (like passing up open shots, or certain guys not taking enough shots). Big Mike is a handful (don't care how old he is lol)...dude can shoot it from deep, put it on the floor, and rebound so teams better have a gameplan for him. Kendell Wilson is athletic and they are going to need him to be big on both ends of the floor for them to make legit noise this season. They got shooters in Adrian and Joseph plus smart bigs in Shaun and Chris which will keep them in it at all times. What they lack in speed and quickness, they make up for in fundamentals and IQ. Motor City will be looking to get their engines going next game. 

  7. KINGS (1-0): The Kings are another team with a nice team on paper. Lots of experience mixed with young talent is usually a good combination. A guard lineup of Duzan, Arun and Nishan will be fun to watch and they should do well but there is only one basketball. Who will play the facilitator role and can they adapt to different situations when they present themselves. They got decent size but not great...decent shooting but not amazing...decent cardio but not incredible. They have big names and big talent but I am not sold on the fit just yet. They gotta define roles and responsibilites and then implement them in the game. Let's see how they look at full strength. 

  8.  GRIZZLIES (1-0): Ben is back and he made sure he let everyone know it in the opener. Besides almost ending someone's life with a dunk attempt last game...he was just incredible all around and he gives this team a legit chance to take home the crown. They were missing some key contributors in Vishnu and Rogan but still managed to make quick work of their opponent. Jesse was solid and Abdul will be good and if the rest of the guys can chip in then we got something brewing. Looking forward to seeing them at full strength and being able to fully evaluate their ceiling. 

  9. BOBCATS (0-0): The Cats have an interesting team to say the least. They got arguably the best player in the league in Christian Casimier and he is a big man who is going to affect the game everytime he is out there. The rest of the cast looks pretty decent but without seeing them on the court after a very long time...it is hard to say where they are at in terms of game shape, rust, and cardio. GM Omar wants his team to have fun and compete and I think they certainly will but how good they will be is not very clear at the moment. Just by looking at Christian's resume it would warrant them a spot in the top 10 but it is going to come down to the other pieces to determine how far they will go. 

  10. SUNS (1-0): The Nuggets underwent a name change and are now the Suns. They have a franchise player in Dakoda Lewis and he will put up some gaudy numbers this season. The rest of the team has a mix of veterans and young guys who all have a specific skillset. Are they ready to play as a team and follow through with game plans? Can Jesse and Reshean provide the complementary scoring? Who will be the pointguard and get everyone involved? Will they scout other teams and be fully prepared? It takes alot to win a chip in ETBL and I am not fully sold on whether they can answer all the questions right away in order to do so.

  11. JAZZ (1-0): Great mix of talent and skill. They are vocal, they play hard, and they can make big plays when called upon. They didn't play up to their standards in the opener but still got the job done. GM Brett will have to find a rotation that works and be able to adjust on the fly. It's going to come down to matchups and being able to know other teams weaknesses and strengths. If they come prepared then this team will be one to look out for come playoff time. Alex, Tristan and Jovan will need to be special this season if they wanna go all the way.

  12. SONICS (0-1): Nice squad assembled by GM VJ and I expect them to outperform this ranking on the next one but they will need to find their rhythm sooner than later. The killer Z's in Zaid and Zoobee is always a problem and then you got high IQ bigs (VJ, Harman, Shakti) so they should be in it every game. Shabeeh and Justin will make an immediate impact on the team and it might be as simple as getting everyone at the game. 

  13. WOLVES (1-0): The Wolves played sloppy in their opener but they definitely have alot of ballers and if they focus/concentrate...it could be a great season for them. Walshak is the focal point and he can be a problem for all the bigs in the league. The most impressive part is the passing ability and if his teammates can run the floor consistently and get to open spots he will find them. GM Gelo has lots of experience and he will be counted on to get this team ramped up throughout the season. Michael and Danniel will be the x-factors for this squad as well as Josh who is suppose to be the quarterback. Can they raise their intensity to the next level when it matters the most? We will find out soon.

  14. HAWKS (1-0): These kids are fast...like really fast...gonna need an oxygen machine to keep up with them. They ran the Warriors out the building in the opener and they will look to do so during the regular season. Aakgash, Roheel, and Mithun will be relied upon heavily and if they can make enough outside shots to keep the defence honest then the sky is the limit. They had the highest 3 point percentage after the opening games and that will be a big stat for them all season in my opinion. We know what they can do in transition especially with their small ball lineup with either Ganen/Matt/Austin playing the 5 spot. Now it's just a matter of hitting timely outside shots and making freethrows. Can they do that plus rebound enough to get them over the hump? That remains to be seen.

  15. RAPTORS (0-1): They got punched in the mouth in the opener by the Grizz which they weren't ready for but they got a nice squad that will do some damage once they figure it out. Rebounding will need to be sorted out as well as overall decision making but it is still mad early and they have time to figure it out. GM Gogs will need to be able to handle being an important factor for the team and managing the GM duties which is certainly not easy. Dissapointing start but this is one of the few squads that I expect to turn it around in a big way. 2022 could be the year of the Raps.

  16. KNICKS (0-1):  Top to bottom these guys have capable players that do something well for their team. Finding the right mix might take awhile but if they can sort out who plays best with who then they can definitely make this an interesting season. Ryan has to lead by example and be vocal while they will need consistent contributions from Kapilan and Tevon. They have alot of role players that can make a difference on any given night and the more they step up the better the Knicks chances are this season. I see them making the playoffs (top 16) but it could be a quick exit if they don't start putting in the work right away. 

  17. WARRIORS (0-1): Okay this was a tough one as the names on paper are too good to be this low but they didn't show up at all in the first game. Luckily they got a lot of time to figure things out and get back on the right page. NJ, Donald, Chris and Baki need to be playing at a high level consistently for them to have success and we shall see if GM Wilbert can get his boys rolling. The competition this season is tough and there are alot of good teams and in order for Warriors to get on that level they will need to all be in game shape pretty soon. Their bench is pretty solid and so that should give them a lift throughout the season but everything will come down to their big 4. 

  18. LAKERS (1-0): This might be a suprising ranking considering they pulled out a victory in their first game. But the Lakeshow still made lot of mistakes and played too erratic for my taste. Somi and Lawrence were a calming influence but the rest of the team didn't play at the same pace. I want to see better decision making, taking smarter shots, and moving without the ball. The defence also needs a lot of work especially on the interior (Nissan will provide some of that when he returns). More practice time together will be key and just working on simple plays can get them alot more organized. It is always nice to win while not playing your best but the top teams will not be so gracious. 

  19. BUCKS (0-1): They will get a couple key pieces back when they return to the floor and that will help the Bucks tremendously. They got talent and will suprise alot of teams but not winning the opener might haunt them down the road. They will need to bounce back quickly and get their chemistry on point when everyone is healthy. GM Sarjun will need to scout opponents and have gameplans ready which I believe will be key for this squad. Harrson was great in the opener and they will need more of that throughout the season. Making FIBA 3s will be important but if it is not dropping then the team will need to attack more and use their speed. They can be very good in transition if they can as alot of their players are very active on the defensive end which will lead to alot of opportunities to run. The buck stops here and it's on the players to step up.

  20. BULLS (0-1): Pretty awful start to say the least but hopefully that was the motivation needed to get this team amped up. Shang will have to be rediculously good while the role players do what they can to help him out. Getting in game shape will be the first step and then getting organized will be the next. Rebounding will be an issue against the bigger squads...speed will be an issue against the smaller squads...shooting will just be an issue...period. They gotta reverse the clock and start cooking or the season might get out of hand early. 

  21. NETS (0-1): GM Obaid brought in a big squad (like everyone is a giant) and they struggled in the opener but who doesn't against the Clippers. Can they manage the game better going forward? Spread the ball around and make the defence work? Get enough outside shooting to be effective? Let's see if that is possible first and then evaluate them further. Waqar will be a key cog as well as Khalil Barakzai and they will both need to be big for this team. They can grind out games and use their size to their advantage so I am confident they will be much better going forward. 

  22. HORNETS (0-1): Definitely a tough loss in the opener and that could have changed this ranking by a lot but for now the Hornets are near the bottom of the rankings. I saw a few bright spots and I believe they can be better for sure but how much better remains to be seen. Ball movement was pretty decent and GM Shay was solid like usual but the supporting players will need to step up big time. Not as much talent as some of the other teams but they can make up for it by playing like a team. Their experience will go a long way and now it is just a matter of finding a style of play that suits them. 

  23. BLAZERS (0-1): A young inexperienced squad will have to take some bumps on their way to learning how to be a solid team. If they can put in work behind the scenes...then yes, they can make things happen this season. I can tell they were dissapointed with the opener and they should be alot better than that but it is gonna come down to paying attention to detail and having an organized gameplan. Limit the mistakes, turnovers and bad shots and the Blazers will be able to compete. Nowhere to go but up from here.