NBA Western Power Rankings Week 5: Thunder thrive, Grizzlies rise

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Nov 18, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) embraces teammate Kawhi Leonard (2) after a three pointer against the Denver Nuggets during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

2nd: San Antonio Spurs (42 points)

By Tom West

Record: 14-4

Record last week: 4-0

The Spurs are hitting their stride and finding consistency, which is quite frankly what they always do under the leadership of Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. They’ve won eight of their last 10 games, and hold onto 2nd place in the West with three more wins than the Thunder. They haven’t had the toughest schedule so far, but had more respectable opponents last week in wins over the Suns, Mavericks and Hawks.

Now, as their elders age and their minutes decline, Kawhi Leonard has emerged at the forefront of the Spurs’ new campaign.

As the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, we’d expect Leonard to be shutting down players all over the court this season. That much was a given, and his 1.9 steals and 1.3 blocks per game are no surprise. However, the way in which he continues to expand his offensive game and up his production at that end of the floor is taking him from star to superstar status. With a 47.1 percent three point shot, a post game and more aggression to score, he’s becoming an all-around force by leaping to a career-high 22.2 points per game.

As the Spurs aim for a run at a championship before their veterans reach the end, the emergence of Leonard and the fit of LaMarcus Aldridge are the key factors to watch.

Next: Golden State Warriors