Rauf’s Week 4 NBA Power Rankings: Warriors Still At Top, Thunder Fall Without KD

The NBA regular season is nearly a month old already, and we've already seen several surprising teams this year while other would-be contenders might be destined for the lottery this year. How do all of the teams project to stack up against each other as we head into the new year? Here's our initial 2015-16 NBA Power Rankings:

1) Golden State Warriors (12-0)

The Warriors' 12-0 start is tied with the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls for the second-best start by a defending champion, trailing just the 1957-58 Boston Celtics' 14-0 start. The 1948-49 Washington Capitols and 1993-94 Houston Rockets hold the record for the best start to a season in NBA history with 15-0 marks.

2) San Antonio Spurs (9-2)

The Spurs just keep rolling along, flying under the radar with six straight wins.

3) Cleveland Cavaliers (8-3)

Cleveland has lost two games in a row since their eight-game win streak, and while they're still the best team in the East, they're clearly behind the Warriors and Spurs

4) Chicago Bulls (8-3)

Chicago is now tied with the Cavs at the top of the Eastern Conference thanks to five wins in their last six games and the outstanding play of Jimmy Butler.

5) Los Angeles Clippers (6-4)

LA has struggled, losing four of their past six games, but they're playing with starting guards Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

6) Atlanta Hawks (9-5)

Atlanta has won just one of their past four games, and that came against the Kings. However, their seven-game win streak earlier this seasons shows they're among the best teams in the league.

7) Miami Heat (6-4)

Miami has won three of their last four games, but they have yet to show they can compete with teams like the Cavs, Bulls, and Hawks (0-2 in those games).

8) Boston Celtics (6-5)

The Celts also have won three of their last four, impressively beating the Hawks, Thunder, and Rockets over that stretch. Now, they just have to beat those kind of teams consistently.

9) Toronto Raptors (7-6)

Toronto should have a better record this after close losses to the Jazz and Warriors, but have struggled since starting the season 5-0.

10) Dallas Mavericks (8-4)

The Mavs have seemingly found their stride, winning five in a row and six of their last seven - and suddenly look like contenders.

11) Oklahoma City Thunder (7-5)

OKC has struggled again with Kevin Durant despite the play of Russell Westbrook, showing that the supporting cast on this team simply isn't that good.

12) Utah Jazz (6-5)

Utah has won two games in a row and own impressive victories over the Raptors, Hawks, and Grizzlies. Again, consistency is the issue for this team.

13) Indiana Pacers (7-5)

Indiana has won seven of their last nine games after an 0-3 start, putting themselves firmly in the mix in the Eastern Conference.

14) Washington Wizards (5-4)

Washington has rebounded from three straight losses to win two in a row, and look like a potential contender when Bradley Beal's in the lineup.

15) Memphis Grizzlies (6-6)

Memphis has rebounded from their nearly catastrophic start, winning three straight games, all over Western Conference teams.

16) Milwaukee Bucks (5-6)

Milwaukee's 0-3 start was concerning, then their 4-0 stretch against Atlantic division teams seemed to get them right, only to be 1-3 since then. We know the talent is there for Milwaukee - they just have to put it together on a nightly basis.

17) Detroit Pistons (6-5)

Detroit's 5-1 start was very surprising, but they've lost four of their last five games and are trending in the wrong direction.

18) Phoenix Suns (6-5)

Phoenix limped out of the gate, but they have won three of their past four games to put them over .500 on the season.

19) New York Knicks (6-6)

The Knicks have won two in a row and four of their last six, led by the outstanding play of rookie Kristaps Porzingis. It's clear this team will be fighting for a playoff spot all season.

20) Charlotte Hornets (6-6)

Charlotte has managed to rebound nicely from a 0-3 start with a 6-3 stretch thanks to a much improved offense.

21) Denver Nuggets (6-6)

The fourth of the five .500 teams in the league, Denver looks like a young team on the rise thanks to two wins over the Rockets and one over the Bucks.

22) Orlando Magic (6-6)

Orlando has had a very tough schedule to this point, but have not beaten anyone they weren't supposed to.

23) Houston Rockets (5-7)

The Rockets fired head coach Kevin McHale, and this talented team just looks to be in a complete tailspin right now after losing four of their last five games.

24) Minnesota Timberwolves (5-7)

Minnesota has tapered off since their promising start, losing five of their last six games. 

25) Sacramento Kings (4-8)

Sacramento seems to have figured something out, winning three of their last four games, but we're not ready to move them higher until they do it over a longer stretch.

26) Portland Trail Blazers (4-9)

Portland's 4-2 start has been met by seven straight losses, putting them near the bottom of the conference.

27) Brooklyn Nets (2-10)

Brooklyn has shown much more fight of late and nearly beat the Warriors, but they're still just a two-win team.

28) Los Angeles Lakers (2-9)

We knew the Lakers would be bad, but this is REALLY bad. They're getting blown out more often than not and have lost five of their last six games.

29) New Orleans Pelicans (1-11)

New Orleans was the last Western Conference team to pick up a win this season, and they've vastly disappointed after last year's playoff appearance. Injuries to five key players, including MVP-candidate Anthony Davis, has them in a total freefall.

30) Philadelphia 76ers (0-12)

The Sixers have just as bad as you would expect (if not worse), though rookie Jahlil Okafor is playing relatively well.

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