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Power Rankings, Week 5: Improving Spurs return to the Top 4

After a couple of shaky weeks, the Spurs are back among the elites thanks to a consistent starting line-up.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With all their starters healthy and chemistry beginning to build, the Spurs are starting to show glimmers of “The Beautiful Game” thanks to more ball movement and a better understanding of each other. If they can keep this up, play a little more inside-out and avoid settling for too many mid-range jumpers, the offense should return to full potency in no time. It will have to, because even if the Spurs are still a top 10 defensive group, they aren’t the force of a bygone era.

John Schuhmann, - 4 (last week: 6)

Because their defense isn't at the same level that it was last season and because they take more mid-range shots than any other team, you can say "it's a make-or-miss league" after a lot of Spurs games. From outside the paint, they have an effective field goal percentage of 52 percent in their 10 wins and 41 percent in their three losses. LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol shot a combined 30-for-53 (57 percent) from mid-range in their three wins last week and Gasol (40-for-79) is the league's only player who has made at least half of his shots from outside the paint (minimum 50 attempts) this season.

David Aldrdige, - 4 (last week: 4)

Gregg Popovich passes Larry Brown for seventh place on the all-time coaches’ victories list Friday, with his 1,099th win with the Spurs.

Marc Stein, ESPN - 4 (last week: 7)

No team in the league is unbeaten at home. The Spurs, by contrast, are a tidy 7-0 on the road and take a five-game win streak overall into Monday night's reunion with their old friends from Dallas. To the Spurs, who've been able to field their first-choice starting five only four times thanks to Danny Green's lengthy absence, it's no accident that the current unbeaten run coincides with a return to the lineup for Tony Parker, still a key steadying hand even with Pop limiting Parker to 25.9 MPG.

Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated - 4 (last week: 5)

This week, it was pretty difficult to pick out anything exceedingly noteworthy about the Spurs. Which is to say, their season’s going great.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports - 4 (last week: 5)

The Spurs have six players playing more than 15 minutes per game shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range. They have a really well-balanced team. Here's an odd one, though. A lot of Kawhi Leonard's defensive metrics are not good. Not just one or two that would make you think it's just a weird fluke thing. Multiple areas. Not proof, and in a small sample size. But very odd.

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports - 4 (last week: 6)

They have won five in a row and remain undefeated on the road at 7-0. San Antonio’s offense is 3.8 per 100 better when Tony Parker is on the court. “Tony knows the offense better than anybody, and he gets us organized in a lot of situations, so he has been really important since he came back from his injury,” said Gregg Popovich.