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NBA Power Rankings: Sixers go from worst to first

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

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Michael Carter-Williams (No. 1) and Evan Turner (No. 12) have given the Sixers a lift. (Getty Images)

Philadelphia
1. Philadelphia 76ers (3-0; last week's ranking: 30): After entering the season with what was considered the league's weakest roster, the Sixers and rookie Michael Carter-Williams beat reigning champion Miami, Washington (on the road) and Chicago. Reality could hit soon, but, for now, the Sixers can enjoy the top spot.


Indiana
2. Indiana Pacers (3-0; last week's ranking: 3): Guard Paul George opened the season in spectacular fashion with game averages of 25.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 5.7 free throws made and 3.3 made 3-pointers.


Houston
3. Houston Rockets (3-0; last week's ranking: 6): Dwight Howard returns to Los Angeles on Monday night, albeit to play the Los Angeles Clippers, not his old Lakers. Lakers play at Houston on Thursday, albeit without Kobe Bryant.


Minnesota
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-0; last week's ranking: 13): The undefeated Wolves showed strong signs that they're capable of making the postseason for the first time since 2004. Kevin Love is healthy and averaging 29.6 points and 14.6 rebounds.


Miami
5. Miami Heat (2-2; last week's ranking: 1): The Heat got back to .500 by defeating the Wizards on Sunday. Miami entered the game 1-2, only the second time LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh took the court with a losing record since they joined forces.


San Antonio
6. San Antonio Spurs (2-1; last week's ranking: 2): After a subpar NBA Finals, Manu Ginobili opened the season strong, averaging 14.3 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the field. The Spurs play host to the Golden State Warriors on Friday.


Oklahoma City
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (60-22 last season): Oklahoma City Thunder (2-1; last week's ranking: 8): Russell Westbrook's season debut after a quick return from right knee surgery was a success: He had 21 points and seven assists against Phoenix on Sunday. Expect the Thunder to make a big jump in the rankings soon.


Los Angeles
8. Los Angeles Clippers (2-1; last week's ranking: 5): Center DeAndre Jordan is averaging a double-double of 11.3 points and 12 rebounds as well as two blocks and two steals. Dwight Howard will give him a great challenge Monday night at Staples Center.


Golden State
9. Golden State Warriors (2-1; last week's ranking: 7): Golden State's game at Philadelphia on Monday is suddenly a big deal. It will be interesting to see if 6-foot-6 Michael Carter-Williams can give Stephen Curry any trouble.


Detroit
10. Detroit Pistons (2-1; last week's ranking: 17): Brandon Jennings had 14 points, four assists and four steals while wearing a protective mask in his Pistons debut against Boston. Indiana and Oklahoma City are up next.


Chicago
11. Chicago Bulls (1-2; last week's ranking: 4): Despite playing in the preseason, Derrick Rose has looked rusty in his return from his knee injury, averaging 14.3 points on 28.8 percent shooting from the field and 4.3 assists on 5.7 turnovers per game.


Memphis
12. Memphis Grizzlies (1-2; last week's ranking: 9): The Grizzlies dropped two of their first three games under new head coach Dave Joerger, including a surprising 12-point loss to Dallas on Saturday. Memphis' fortune could change with three straight games at home.


Portland
13. Portland Trail Blazers (2-1; last week's ranking: 19): Forward Nicolas Batum called his 3-pointer at the buzzer of a win over San Antonio on Saturday – a shot that gave him a triple-double – "the worst thing he's ever done in his career."


Dallas
14. Dallas Mavericks (2-1; last week's ranking: 20): The Mavs off to an impressive start that included a close loss to the Rockets. Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis are both averaging 23.3 points per game. The Lakers are up next.


Brooklyn
15. Brooklyn Nets (1-2; last week's ranking: 11): Jason Kidd's coaching debut was one to forget after Brooklyn lost by 21 points to Orlando. Kevin Garnett has yet to score in double figures. The Nets did beat Miami.


New York
16. New York Knicks (1-2; last week's ranking: 10): Carmelo Anthony hasn't shot well, making 37.5 percent of his attempts from the field. Newcomer Andrea Bargnani is averaging just 9.6 points. Knicks fans are already booing at home.


Los Angeles
17. Los Angeles Lakers (2-2; last week's ranking: 18): The Lakers have to be pleased with their start without injured star Kobe Bryant. Xavier Henry has earned the starting small forward job and is an early candidate for Most Improved Player.


Phoenix
18. Phoenix Suns (2-1; last week's ranking: 29): Kudos to the Suns for an impressive start after being projected to contend for the league's worst record. Eric Bledsoe has played strong despite not being offered a contract extension.


Toronto
19. Toronto Raptors (2-1; last week's ranking: 21): The Raptors are off to a quality start, but have yet to play anyone of note. That changes on Tuesday when the Heat visit Toronto. Rudy Gay is shooting only 32.7 percent from the field so far.


Orlando
20. Orlando Magic (2-2; last week's ranking: 27): With Sunday's victory over Brooklyn, Orlando has won back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 19, 2012. Rookie guard Victor Oladipo scored 19 points versus the Nets, but also had seven turnovers.


New Orleans
21. New Orleans Pelicans (1-2; last week's ranking: 15): Second-year center Anthony Davis had great first week with averages of 23.7 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. The Pelicans also unveiled the NBA's scariest-looking mascot.


Cleveland
22. Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2; last week's ranking: 16): It will be interesting to see the reception former Sixers center Andrew Bynum – who never played in his lone season with the Sixers – receives when the Cavs play at Philadelphia on Friday.


Charlotte
23. Charlotte Bobcats (1-2; last week's ranking: 22): The Bobcats' leading scorer so far is Kemba Walker, who is averaging 16.3 points. Keep an eye on center Al Jefferson's ankle issues after he missed the past two games.


Atlanta
24. Atlanta Hawks (1-2; last week's ranking: 23): Point guard Jeff Teague is off to a good start averaging 18.3 points and 8.3 assists. Center Al Horford, however, has scored less than 13 points in two of the first three games. The Hawks miss Josh Smith.


Sacramento
25. Sacramento Kings (1-2; last week's ranking: 24): After averaging 27 points the first two games, DeMarcus Cousins was held to eight points in a loss to Golden State on Saturday. Guard Isaiah Thomas is averaging 19 points, 4.7 assists and three rebounds.


Milwaukee
26. Milwaukee Bucks (1-2; last week's ranking: 26): So who's the Bucks leader in points and rebounds right now? Center Zaza Pachulia, who is averaging 13 points and 7.7 rebounds. The Bucks have seven players averaging at least nine points per game.


Denver
27. Denver Nuggets (0-2; last week's ranking: 12): Mascot Rocky said on Twitter he is "feeling much better," and could be back Tuesday against San Antonio. Rocky gave the fans a scare after he was motionless on the floor prior to Friday's contest after getting the wind knocked out of him. The Nuggets are winless.


Washington
28. Washington Wizards (0-3; last week's ranking: 14): The Wizards entered the season talking playoffs. Getting a win would help their cause. Washington's next five games: Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Oklahoma City, Dallas and San Antonio.


Utah
29. Utah Jazz (0-3; last week's ranking: 25) The winless Jazz go on a four-game trip to face Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago and Toronto. The Jazz and Celtics could both be winless by the time they meet Wednesday. Utah desperately needs a quality point guard.


Boston
30. Boston Celtics (0-3; last week's ranking: 28): When will new Celtics coach Brad Stevens get his first NBA victory? The Celtics play the Magic twice, and Utah and Charlotte in the next six games. Boston also has road games at Memphis and Miami.

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