Old School Power Rankings 2017-18 Season Debut
FILE - OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers blocks a shot by Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by John Mabanglo/Pool/Getty Images)
By Scott Wraight, NBA.com
Here at the OSPR headquarters, we're all about inclusion. That's why this season, we're opening our doors to all those 32-year-old NBAers.
So for 2017-18, chances are fairly good that our list will see a healthy dose of a King, a gritty point guard in Houston, a seven-foot Spaniard, a hoodie in OKC and an L-Train.
As for the past kings of the mountain, does Dwyane Wade (last season's champion) or Pau Gasol (champ in 2015-16) have enough in the tank to be legitimate threats? Let the season-long battle begin.
- Season statistics are through games of Nov. 2 (Nov. 3, PHL time)
- Any player who turns 32 during the regular season can be added to the rankings.
1. LeBron James (32), Cleveland Cavaliers
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 25.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 8.9 apg
Season stats: 25.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 8.9 apg
Admit it: you are truly surprised at who is holding down the top spot to begin the 2017-18 season, right? In all honesty, it could be a while before someone bumps James from this perch. In addition to the main stats listed above, LBJ added 1.3 steals, 58.8 shooting from the field and double-digit assists in three of seven games. Of course if we're nitpicking, he did have eight turnovers in two games.
2. LaMarcus Aldridge (32), San Antonio Spurs
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 23.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.6 apg
Season stats: 23.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.9 apg
With Kawhi Leonard injured to start the season, Aldridge has been forced to be more aggressive -- and more offensive. So far, the results have been positive, with the big man going for 20-plus points in six of seven games. He's also showing range, connecting on six three-pointers already after hitting just 23 all of last season.
3. Marc Gasol (32), Memphis Grizzlies
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 21.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.6 apg
Season stats: 20.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.8 apg
Gasol has gotten off to a nice start at both ends of the court. Brushing aside Saturday's (Sunday, PHL time) six-point showing in which he shot just 1-for-8, the seven-footer has gone over 20 points in five of the first seven while averaging 1.7 blocks. In fact, Gasol already has three games with 25-plus points and 10-plus rebounds. He only had two such games all of last season.
4. Carmelo Anthony (33), Oklahoma City Thunder
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 23.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.7 apg
Season stats: 22.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.6 apg
Anthony has taken to his new surroundings quite nicely, pouring in 20 or more points in six of his first seven games with the Thunder. He's also been remarkably consistent no matter the amount of rest: 22.0 points on 45.7 FG% in back-to-back games; 24.5 points on 48.8 FG% on one day of rest; 22.5 points on 48.4 FG% on two days of rest.
5. Paul Millsap (32), Denver Nuggets
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 14.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
Season stats: 14.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.4 apg
When it comes to Millsap, it's not about style points but rather solid production. The numbers don't make you look twice, but you know what you're getting from the four-time All-Star. One thing we have taken notice of is the improvement from beyond the arc, already connecting on 9-for-23 three's, putting him on pace for more than 80, which would be a career high.
6. J.J. Barea (33), Dallas Mavericks
Last weeks' stats: 8 games, 12.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.4 apg
Season stats: 12.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.4 apg
The good: Barea has connected on three or more three's in 5-of-9 games while also eclipsing double-digit scoring in six contests. The bad: the veteran guard is shooting just 39.8 from the field. The ugly: Barea is averaging 2.2 turnovers, his highest since 2011-12. The cool: His 41.3 clip from deep would be a career best.
7. Dirk Nowitzki (39), Dallas Mavericks
Last weeks' stats: 8 games, 11.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.1 apg
Season stats: 11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.9 apg
What can we realistically expect this season from the big German? After all, he's no longer the go-to-guy in Dallas, averaging just 10.5 FGA through the first nine games. He has, however, hit at least two treys in five games and is shooting 44.8 from deep this season. We don't openly root for players, but we're pulling for Nowitzki to do enough this season to be a fixture on our list.
8. Taj Gibson (32), Minnesota Timberwolves
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 8.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.4 apg
Season stats: 8.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 apg
With the firepower surrounding him this season in Minnesota, Gibson won't be a big scoring threat. But that's never been his calling card. Averaging just under 30 minutes, Gibson shot 62.2 from the field and went for double-digit scoring and two steals in three games. He's also done something twice this season he didn't do once in '16-17: manage a double-double.
9. Kyle Korver (36), Cleveland Cavaliers
Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 11.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.7 apg
Season stats: 9.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.6 apg
Like last season, and the season before that, we have a good idea what we're going to get with Korver. There will be good games in which his long-range stroke is on (i.e. 17 points in 19 minutes on Oct. 21, PHL time) followed by ugly performances (i.e. two points on 1-for-5 shooting on Oct. 22, PHL time). He followed that up four nights later with a 22-point outing. It should a roller-coaster ride all season.
10. Zach Randolph (36), Sacramento Kings
Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 10.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.2 apg
Season stats: 10.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.2 apg
The big 20-point, 15-rebound games are probably in the rear-view mirrow, but Z-Bo will still provide a handful of solid performances before the season comes to an end. In six games during the first two weeks, Randolph scored in double digits five times. He also managed to pull down five or more rebounds during that span.
Just missed the cut: Marcin Gortat, Pau Gasol, JJ Redick, Jamal Crawford
Will turn 32 this season: Dwight Howard (Dec. 8), Gerald Green (Jan. 26), Rajon Rondo (Feb. 22), Corey Brewer (March 5), Kyle Lowry (March 25), Marco Belinelli (March 25).
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