After being demoted to #6 on Opening Night Eve, the Pacers now sit proudly atop Marc Stein's Power Rankings over at ESPN. Currently, the Pacers, as well as, the Rockets, Timberwolves, and Sixers are the only undefeated teams in the league left standing.
How exactly did Stein determine which squad should top his weekly rankings?
According to Stein, he always balances what is happening "in the present (Philly's fairy-tale start) against every team's big-picture projected ceiling (which in the Sixers case is the top of the next spring's lottery)." Therefore, while he rewarded Philly for their heroics against the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls by moving them into the Top 10, he did not go so far as to place them at No. 1.
It is no secret (as reported here on Indy Cornrows) that Stein has been "high on the Pacers." Even amidst news that Danny Granger would miss the first three weeks of the regular season with a strained left calf injury, Stein only downgraded the Pacers four spots from No. 2 to No. 6. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that after starting the season off 3-0 that Stein would vault the Pacers to the top.
Here is Stein's commentary on the Pacers' No. 1 ranking:
"Although I probably should have said something about this earlier, after seeing Paul George just light up American Airlines Center in Indy's final preseason game like he always does when he comes to Dallas, it's obvious to everyone now: PG was ready to start the season. Ready in the extreme."
Ready in the extreme they have been - Paul George and the Indiana Pacers. Even though the Pacers seemingly continue to be plagued by turnovers (20 turnovers/game, 2nd most in the league), they have still found a way to win in their first three match-ups - meaning that Lance Stephenson's goal of starting the season 10-0 is still alive.
That being said, if the Pacers want to remain perfect and stay atop the Power Rankings, they will have their work cut out for them in the coming week with two match-ups against projected Eastern Conference contenders (Chicago 11/6; Brooklyn 11/9) both taking place on the second night of back-to-backs.
What do you think Pacers' fans? Should the Pacers be No.1? Will they be able to hold on at No.1 with a tough week ahead? What are your thoughts on Houston, Minnesota, and Philly? Hop here for more rankings.