Power Rankings

Power Rankings: In 2017-18, some All-Star combinations will work -- and some won't

Superteams are everywhere these days.

We already had them in Oakland and Cleveland. But now we have James Harden and Chris Paul joining forces in Houston; Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Kyrie Irving teaming up in Boston; Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook getting together in Oklahoma City; Jimmy Butler joining a couple of No. 1 picks in Minnesota; and Paul Millsap forming a talented frontline with Nikola Jokic in Denver.

We also can’t forget DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, who played just 17 games together last season, getting their first extended run in New Orleans. And eventually, we’ll get Isaiah Thomas joining LeBron James and Kevin Love in Cleveland.

So, are all of these super teams going to be super? Probably not. Some of these pairs and trios will make each other better. Some won’t.

It happens. It doesn’t mean that the team will be terrible, just that it won’t be as good when all the stars are on the floor than it is when one of them is on the bench, replaced by a more complementary player.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni knows a little bit about star combinations not living up to expectations. He had Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire with the Knicks, as well as Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard with the Lakers. The latter group was hindered by injuries, but the New York pairing was clearly a bad fit. Even the year the Knicks won 54 games under Mike Woodson, the team was outscored when Anthony and Stoudemire were on the floor together.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into it,” D’Antoni said last week about the success or failure of star combinations, making it clear that he wasn’t talking about anybody in particular. “Do their skills complement each other instead of overlap? Are they both ball-stoppers instead of ball-movers?

“Golden State has four All-Stars, but they all complement each other and they’re all willing to give up a part of their game. They’re all willing to adjust and just do whatever it takes to win on the floor. It’s an easy thing to [talk about], but a lot of times it’s a hard thing to do.

“But the biggest thing is that their games complement each other.”

D’Antoni now has a new star combination in Houston, making his team look like the biggest threat to Golden State’s four All-Stars, who they’ll visit on the first night of the season. We’ll find out soon enough just how well all these new combinations work together.

  • Hero team of the preseason: Portland (5-1) — The Blazers’ only loss came as a result of garbage time of their first game. Jusuf Nurkic picked up where he left off at the end of last season.
  • Zero team of the preseason: New York (0-5) — The Knicks were the only NBA team that didn’t win a game in the preseason, their defense was dreadful, and they trailed their two games against Brooklyn by 18 and 38 points.
  • High jumps of the preseason: Orlando (+6), Portland (+4), Cleveland (+2), Memphis (+2)
  • Free falls of the preseason: New York (-4), Charlotte (-3), Four teams (-2)
  • Team to watch in Week 1: Minnesota –The Wolves start the regular season against the Spurs, Jazz and Thunder, a week that will tell us a lot more about where they stand than their three-game preseason did.

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Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)

OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)

DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)

NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league averaged 98.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 106.2 points scored per 100 possessions last season.

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NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.

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Last Week:1

2016-17: 67-15

Pace: 102.2 (4) OffRtg: 113.2 (1) DefRtg: 101.1 (2) NetRtg: +12.1 (1)

Here's a carrot of sorts for the Warriors over the next six months: Don't have such a drop-off offensively when Stephen Curry goes to the bench. Last season, the champs scored more points per 100 possessions (113.2) than any team of the last 40 years. But they scored just 102.4, a rate which would have ranked 26th in the league, when Curry was off the floor. They're probably going to win their third title in four years either way and may never budge from this No. 1 spot all season, but being a little less dependent on Curry on offense (and even a little less dependent on Draymond Green on defense) would be some good insurance.

One Team, One Stat: The passing champs

Week 1: vs. HOU, @ NOP, @ MEM

Last Week:2

2016-17: 55-27

Pace: 102.5 (3) OffRtg: 111.8 (2) DefRtg: 106.4 (18) NetRtg: +5.4 (3)

Not breaking news: The Rockets are going to shoot a lot of 3-pointers. After setting another record for 3-point attempts (527 more than any other team has ever taken) in 2016-17, Houston saw the league's third biggest increase in the percentage of their shots that came from beyond the arc from last season (46 percent) to this preseason (61 percent!). Even Chris Paul got into the act, taking 20 threes and not a single shot from mid-range in his three preseason games. Opening night in Oakland gives Mike D'Antoni an early opportunity to try out his new roster's versatility.

One Team, One Stat: A clash in shot selection

Week 1: @ GSW, @ SAC, vs. DAL

Last Week:3

2016-17: 61-21

Pace: 96.4 (27) OffRtg: 108.8 (7) DefRtg: 100.9 (1) NetRtg: +7.8 (2)

The Spurs have had the league's best bench over the last few years and are 14-4 in the regular season without Kawhi Leonard over the last two. If he's only on the shelf (with a quad issue) for a few games, no worries. The Spurs don't play one of the other top four teams in the West until the champs visit on Nov. 2. With Leonard out, there's some additional playmaking burden on Dejounte Murray (as they also wait for Tony Parker to get back and Patty Mills retains his role off the bench), though LaMarcus Aldridge had a solid preseason as the go-to guy.

One Team, One Stat: The best bench in basketball

Week 1: vs. MIN, @ CHI

Last Week:6

2016-17: 51-31

Pace: 98.4 (16) OffRtg: 110.9 (3) DefRtg: 108.0 (22) NetRtg: +2.9 (8)

The drama didn't go away when Kyrie Irving was traded, because Dwyane Wade's arrival pushed J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson to the bench and Richard Jefferson out the door (permanently Road Trippin'). It's still all about May and June for these guys, but the early-season Cavs -- and how they function both offensively and defensively -- have become a little more interesting. With LeBron James not 100 percent, they have three back-to-backs in their first seven games, but the second games of those three are against the Orlando, Brooklyn and New York.

One Team, One Stat: Cavs from the corners

Week 1: vs. BOS, @ MIL, vs. ORL

Last Week:4

2016-17: 53-29

Pace: 99.3 (12) OffRtg: 108.6 (8) DefRtg: 105.5 (12) NetRtg: +3.1 (7)

Early returns on Kyrie Irving's integration into the Celtics' offense: He assisted on 29 percent of his preseason possessions, a much higher rate than any in his (regular season) career prior. Even though they'll likely be starting a rookie (Jayson Tatum), the Celtics look more ready for the season than the team they'll be playing on Tuesday. And in case the offense is too pretty for you, they always have Marcus Smart (who actually shot 9-for-17 from outside the paint in the preseason) to get grimy.


One Team, One Stat: Team 4th quarter

Week 1: @ CLE, vs. MIL, @ PHI

Last Week:5

2016-17: 47-35

Pace: 100.5 (8) OffRtg: 105.0 (17) DefRtg: 105.1 (10) NetRtg: -0.2 (17)

In the three preseason games they all played together, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony both averaged more shots and points per 36 minutes than Russell Westbrook, who took 371 more shots and scored 202 more points than any other player in the league last season. Also worth noting from the preseason is that Anthony attempted as many 3-pointers (23) as mid-range shots (23), having never done anything close to that in his regular-season career. He has the highest scoring average among active players against two teams: the Magic (26.2) and the Knicks (29.9). For the first time in almost seven years, he'll face New York on Thursday.


One Team, One Stat: No Russ, big problems

Week 1: vs. NYK, @ UTA, vs. MIN

Last Week:8

2016-17: 49-33

Pace: 99.7 (11) OffRtg: 108.5 (9) DefRtg: 106.9 (20) NetRtg: +1.6 (9)

Markieff Morris (sports hernia) could miss more games at the start of the season than any Wizards starter missed all of last season (when Morris' 76 games were the fewest played by any of their top six guys). But the Wizards were just a few seconds away from an undefeated preseason and Jodie Meeks (who has played just 39 games over the last two years) looked like he could give them some production off the bench. With no back-to-backs in their first 15 games, coach Scott Brooks won't have to go too deep with his rotation early in the season.

One Team, One Stat: Lineup load

Week 1: vs. PHI, vs. DET

Last Week:9

2016-17: 51-31

Pace: 97.1 (23) OffRtg: 109.8 (6) DefRtg: 104.9 (8) NetRtg: +4.9 (4)

It's a new day (Yes, it is!) in Toronto. The Raptors are shooting threes, though it remains to be seen if anyone other than Kyle Lowry or C.J. Miles will be able do so successfully. They took more than half (208/407) of their preseason shots from beyond the arc, a rate only topped by the Rockets. They're relying a lot on the newly-extended Norman Powell to unlock their floor-spacing units with Serge Ibaka at center, though Jonas Valanciunas had himself a pretty good preseason. And of course, it only took a few minutes for rookie OG Anunoby to leapfrog Bruno Caboclo in the depth chart.

One Team, One Stat: Off-the-dribble Raps

Week 1: vs. CHI, vs. PHI

Last Week:7

2016-17: 31-51

Pace: 97.1 (22) OffRtg: 108.1 (10) DefRtg: 109.1 (26) NetRtg: -1.0 (20)

When the Wolves open their season in San Antonio on Wednesday, it will be 10 days since they last played a game. The other end of the floor holds the bigger questions, but their offensive cohesion will be tested as they play nine of their first 14 games (including all three in Week 1) against teams that ranked in the top 10 defensively last season. Spacing will be an issue (they ranked last in the preseason in the percentage of their shots that were from 3-point range), but it's somewhat encouraging that more than half (10/17) of Andrew Wiggins' preseason buckets (up from 47 percent last season) were assisted.

One Team, One Stat: Easing the burden

Week 1: @ SAS, vs. UTA, @ OKC

Last Week:10

2016-17: 51-31

Pace: 98.2 (17) OffRtg: 110.3 (4) DefRtg: 105.8 (13) NetRtg: +4.5 (6)

To remind us how fragile their outlook is, the Clippers had three starters -- Austin Rivers (strained glute), Danilo Gallinari (sprained foot) and Patrick Beverley (sore knee) -- go down in the preseason. Blake Griffin (8-for-17 from 3-point range) escaped unscathed and more Milos Teodosic would be great for those of us who enjoy his delightful dime-dropping, but their new-found depth is already being challenged. They play just one of their first nine games away from Staples Center.


One Team, One Stat: Bench issues in L.A.

Week 1: @ LAL, vs. PHX

Last Week:11

2016-17: 40-42

Pace: 100.7 (7) OffRtg: 110.0 (5) DefRtg: 110.5 (29) NetRtg: -0.5 (18)

With a four-year, $84 million extension, the Nuggets are committed long-term to Gary Harris. You can't say the same for the guy they drafted with the No. 7 pick a year after they got Harris at 19. Emmanuel Mudiay got a couple of starts, but was back to being the Nuggets' third-string point guard in their final preseason game on Tuesday, when Kenneth Faried was also on the outside of the rotation, looking in. Nikola Jokic was a plus-24 in about 69 preseason minutes with Paul Millsap also on the floor and a minus-25 in about 22 minutes otherwise.

One Team, One Stat: A new offense

Week 1: vs. @ UTA, vs. SAC

Last Week:13

2016-17: 51-31

Pace: 93.6 (30) OffRtg: 107.4 (12) DefRtg: 102.7 (3) NetRtg: +4.7 (5)

The Jazz went 5-0 in the preseason and scored rather efficiently ... against two non-NBA teams, the Suns (x 2) and the Lakers. So the first week of the season (with what could be a couple of really important games) will tell us a lot more than the last two weeks did. They will continue to start Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert together, but will sub for Favors early and play plenty of floor-spacing lineups with Joe Johnson or Joe Ingles at the four. Another Dante Exum injury is rough, but a healthy Alec Burks brings some much needed speed on the wings.

One Team, One Stat: Time to pick up the pace?

Week 1: vs. DEN, @ MIN, vs. OKC

Last Week:17

2016-17: 41-41

Pace: 99.1 (14) OffRtg: 107.8 (11) DefRtg: 107.8 (21) NetRtg: -0.0 (15)

If Evan Turner's preseason (15-for-25 shooting, plus-62 in 77 minutes) is an indication of things to come, the Blazers are going to be great. Winning their last five preseason games is a good sign, because they need to get off to a strong start, having one of the league's easiest schedules over the first five weeks. Pat Connaughton will take Allen Crabbe's spot in the rotation and may start on Wednesday with C.J. McCollum serving a one-game suspension.

One Team, One Stat: Nurkic-fueled turnaround

Week 1: @ PHX, @ IND, @ MIL

Last Week:12

2016-17: 42-40

Pace: 96.7 (26) OffRtg: 106.9 (13) DefRtg: 106.4 (19) NetRtg: +0.5 (11)

Could another second-round pick who played four years in college be a key for the Bucks? Sterling Brown isn't going to win Kia Rookie of the Year, but he could earn minutes as one of the first guys off what looks like a very thin bench (though Richard Jefferson would help). The Bucks' starting lineup that was so successful at the end of last season got just one preseason game together, but was a plus-15 in a little over nine minutes against Detroit on Friday.

One Team, One Stat: Paint dependency

Week 1: @ BOS, vs. CLE, vs. POR

Last Week:14

2016-17: 41-41

Pace: 97.6 (21) OffRtg: 105.2 (16) DefRtg: 104.1 (5) NetRtg: +1.0 (10)

James Johnson's Kia Sixth Man of the Year candidacy might be back in play with Kelly Olynyk moving into the starting lineup after the Heat's first two preseason games. But Erik Spoelstra has to find a new starting small forward with Rodney McGruder (stress fracture) out, because the guy who started on Friday (DeAndre Liggins) was waived a few hours later. With Goran Dragic playing only two preseason games, were reminded that the Heat have neither a real small forward (McGruder is 6-foot-5) nor a real back-up point guard. But Dion Waiters got to play the point and averaged 5.6 assists and 5.9 turnovers per 36 minutes. The Heat's longest homestand of the season (six games) starts Saturday.

One Team, One Stat: A tale of two seasons

Week 1: @ ORL, vs. IND

Last Week:18

2016-17: 43-39

Pace: 94.7 (28) OffRtg: 104.7 (19) DefRtg: 104.5 (7) NetRtg: +0.1 (13)

With the departures of "Grit-n-Grind", the Grizzlies look like they're finally going to pick up the pace. No team saw a greater increase in possessions per 48 minutes from last season to the preseason than Memphis (and it's style-of-play numbers that are most legitimate in the preseason). They're also going to try out Chandler Parsons as a stretch four off the bench, though in order for the "stretch" part of that designation to apply, he'll have to shoot better than 1-for-11 from outside the restricted area, as he did in the preseason. Maybe Jarell Martin (10.4 points on 56 percent shooting in 16.6 minutes per game) can be the guy that gives the Grizzlies some much-needed dynamism on the wing.


One Team, One Stat: The hacking Grizz

Week 1: vs. NOP, vs. GSW

Last Week:16

2016-17: 34-48

Pace: 100.1 (9) OffRtg: 103.3 (26) DefRtg: 104.9 (9) NetRtg: -1.6 (21)

Well, the Pelicans are banged up again. Solomon Hill will miss (at least) most of the season with a hamstring tear and Rajon Rondo's hernia surgery (he's out at least the first three weeks) has moved Jrue Holiday back to point guard. Of course, DeMarcus Cousins, who led the team with 6.8 assists per 36 minutes in the preseason, gets to play point center whenever he gets a defensive rebound. Even without Rondo, Holiday was aggressive in looking for his shot, leading the team with 19.0 field goal attempts per 36 (though Anthony Davis' ridiculous free throw rate -- 34 FTA, 33 FGA -- needs to be taken into account there). The Pelicans' first game of the regular season is against the team that thumped them in their final game of the preseason.

One Team, One Stat: Defense! Finally.

Week 1: @ MEM, vs. GSW, @ LAL

Last Week:15

2016-17: 36-46

Pace: 97.8 (19) OffRtg: 106.4 (14) DefRtg: 106.1 (14) NetRtg: +0.3 (12)

The first seven weeks (21 games) is the Hornets' toughest quarter of the season, so they could be in a hole when Nicolas Batum (ligament tear in his left elbow) eventually returns. With Batum out, the Hornets are sizing up, using Cody Zeller and Dwight Howard together for a few minutes here or there and moving Marvin Williams to the three. Rookie Malik Monk will still get opportunities and he'll try to make the most of them. His 18.9 shots per 36 minutes led the team in the preseason and he had his moments.


One Team, One Stat: Taking care of the ball

Week 1: @ DET, vs. ATL

Last Week:19

2016-17: 37-45

Pace: 97.1 (24) OffRtg: 103.3 (25) DefRtg: 105.3 (11) NetRtg: -2.0 (22)

The Pistons' five starters didn't get to play together in any of their five preseason games, though that's not much of an excuse for Reggie Jackson's brutal minus-49 in 74 preseason minutes. So give Ish Smith a bump in your fantasy rankings. The good news in regard to the Pistons' two highest paid players is that Andre Drummond averaged 16 points and a league-best 16 rebounds, while making 16 of his 20 free throws, in his three games. If the Eastern Conference playoff fringe is what we think it is, Detroit has two important games in their first four, hosting the Hornets on Wednesday and the Sixers next Monday.

One Team, One Stat: A bad combination

Week 1: vs. CHA, @ WAS, @ NYK

Last Week:20

2016-17: 28-54

Pace: 100.9 (5) OffRtg: 100.7 (30) DefRtg: 106.4 (17) NetRtg: -5.7 (27)

Joel Embiid's preseason was very Joel Embiid. It was only 29 minutes, but what a 29 minutes it was. He scored 27 points, attempted 22 free throws, and was a plus-28 against the helpless Nets and Heat. OK, he shot 5-for-16, but the lack of turnovers (he had just one) balanced that out. Just like J.J. Redick's 12-for-14 on threes balanced out Ben Simmons' 9-for-22 from the line. The Sixers play 10 of their first 14 games on the road and 12 of their first 16 against teams that had winning records last season (though two of those are against the Hawks and Pacers).

One Team, One Stat: The effect of Embiid

Week 1: @ WAS, vs. BOS, @ TOR

Last Week:21

2016-17: 33-49

Pace: 94.2 (29) OffRtg: 103.7 (23) DefRtg: 106.3 (15) NetRtg: -2.6 (23)

Last season, the Mavs lost 13 of their first 15 games and reality could set in early again this year. They play 22 of their first 30 against teams that had winning records last season, and four of the other eight against teams (Minnesota and Denver) that added All-Stars this summer. Their guards (both young and old) will still be fun to watch and we obviously have to cherish another year of Dirk Nowitzki, who played just four of his 85 preseason minutes alongside Nerlens Noel.

One Team, One Stat: Not enough in the paint

Week 1: vs. ATL, vs. SAC, @ HOU

Last Week:22

2016-17: 26-56

Pace: 100.8 (6) OffRtg: 103.4 (24) DefRtg: 110.6 (30) NetRtg: -7.1 (30)

We all knew that a Lakers rookie was going to be the big sensation in preseason, and Kyle Kuzma didn't disappoint, leading the team in scoring in four of their six games, shooting 29-for-39 inside the arc, and making Luke Walton's task of managing minutes at the forward spots more difficult. Larry Nance Jr. could start over Julius Randle at the four, whether or not Randle is ready to play after suffering a strained muscle in his ribs in Friday's preseason finale.

One Team, One Stat: Bad defense starts in transition

Week 1: vs. LAC, @ PHX, vs. NOP

Last Week:29

2016-17: 29-53

Pace: 99.1 (13) OffRtg: 101.2 (29) DefRtg: 108.0 (24) NetRtg: -6.8 (29)

Update: Aaron Gordon is still a much better fit at the four than at the three. He averaged 27.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per 36 minutes in the preseason, scoring in a myriad of ways: as a floor-spacer, as a ball-handler, as a roll man, on the break, and on the glass. And of course, the Magic are a lot more fun to watch with Gordon at the four, and with unbridled athleticism of Jonathon Simmons and Jonathan Isaac on their second unit. You might not remember that this is a Frank Vogel team.

One Team, One Stat: Bad shooting, inside and out

Week 1: vs. MIA, @ BKN, @ CLE

Last Week:25

2016-17: 20-62

Pace: 103.6 (1) OffRtg: 101.9 (28) DefRtg: 108.0 (23) NetRtg: -6.1 (28)

The Nets were having a pretty good preseason until the Sixers declared Joel Embiid healthy enough to play last Wednesday. Brooklyn has cornered the market on interesting, non-All-Star guards/wings who can both shoot and dribble (to varying degrees of success). If they can cut down on turnovers and shoot better on open threes (only the Rockets attempted more last season), they be dangerous from night to night. The opportunity is there to get off to a good start, with eight of their first 10 games against teams unlikely to sniff the playoffs.

One Team, One Stat: Cleaning up mistakes

Week 1: @ IND, vs. ORL, vs. ATL

Last Week:23

2016-17: 32-50

Pace: 97.1 (25) OffRtg: 104.6 (20) DefRtg: 109.1 (27) NetRtg: -4.5 (25)

Frank Mason III was taken 29 picks after De'Aaron Fox, but, as a four-year college guy, may be more ready to run the Kings' offense than Fox is. Of course, the 5-foot-11 Mason will probably get sent back to the end of the line if both Fox and George Hill are healthy come Wednesday. How Dave Joerger manages the minutes of his vets and young guys (some of whom are competing with each other for playing time) will be fascinating. He used five different starting lineups in the preseason.

One Team, One Stat: 11 years of futility

Week 1: vs. HOU, @ DAL, @ DEN

Last Week:27

2016-17: 42-40

Pace: 98.1 (18) OffRtg: 106.2 (15) DefRtg: 106.3 (16) NetRtg: -0.1 (16)

Glenn Robinson III's ankle injury (he's out 3-4 months) hampers the Pacers' ability to surround Myles Turner with shooting, and their bottom-three rank in the percentage of their shots that were threes in the preseason is not encouraging in regard to their offense. But we should get plenty of Lance Stephenson off the bench, and that's always fun. Maybe we also see a lot of rookie T.J. Leaf after a solid preseason. After playing their first two games at home, the Pacers will be on the road (where they were 13-28 last season) for 11 of their next 16.

One Team, One Stat: Quality and low quantity

Week 1: vs. BKN, vs. POR, @ MIA

Last Week:26

2016-17: 24-58

Pace: 102.9 (2) OffRtg: 103.9 (22) DefRtg: 109.3 (28) NetRtg: -5.4 (26)

Josh Jackson, who scored 22 points against Portland last week, has been added to the mix of young Suns that are more interesting as individuals than as a group. Devin Booker did see an increase in assist rate from last season to the preseason, but it remains to be seen if the ball will move better this year. Either way, the Suns seem likely to make a deal or two before the deadline and add another top-five pick next year. Given the strength of the West, better basketball might not result in more wins.

One Team, One Stat: A dip in threes

Week 1: vs. POR, vs. LAL, @ LAC

Last Week:24

2016-17: 31-51

Pace: 98.6 (15) OffRtg: 104.7 (18) DefRtg: 108.8 (25) NetRtg: -4.1 (24)

Coach Jeff Hornacek wants to run more this season, but that will be difficult if the Knicks defend as poorly as they did in the preseason, when they allowed their opponents to shoot 49 percent and score a league-high 109 points per 100 possessions. Through Summer League and preseason, Frank Ntilikina has played a grand total of 17 minutes and 40 seconds, while guys taken after him have got their teams' fans legitimately excited about what they can do as rookies and beyond. Hold onto that 2018 pick.

One Team, One Stat: 16 years of bad defense

Week 1: @ OKC, vs. DET

Last Week:30

2016-17: 43-39

Pace: 99.8 (10) OffRtg: 102.3 (27) DefRtg: 103.1 (4) NetRtg: -0.8 (19)

Dewayne Dedmon will defend, John Collins will dunk, and Taurean Prince might emerge as one of the league's next great versatile forwards. But the Hawks are really relying on their guards for offense. It's the Dennis Schroder Show and Kent Bazemore (who had more turnovers than assists in the preseason) will have a little more responsibility handling the ball. It probably won't be pretty, but maybe they can stay in some games with their defense.

One Team, One Stat: Atlanta anemia

Week 1: @ DAL, @ CHA, @ BKN

Last Week:28

2016-17: 41-41

Pace: 97.7 (20) OffRtg: 104.6 (21) DefRtg: 104.5 (6) NetRtg: +0.1 (14)

After missing the first three preseason games and shooting 1-for-9 in his debut, Lauri Markkanen looked pretty good in scoring 31 points against Cleveland and Toronto last week. With Justin Holiday (19-for-36 from 3-point range in the preseason) and Markkanen shooting more threes than guys at their position last season, there will be more variance in the Bulls' offense. Only Toronto saw a bigger increase in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range from last season to the preseason.

One Team, One Stat: Shooting: bad.

Week 1: @ TOR, vs. SAS

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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