TST’s NBA Power Rankings Week 5

The Boston Celtics are off to one of the best offensive starts for a team in NBA history.

We are only four weeks into the NBA season, but teams are starting to seperate themselves from the rest. The Boston Celtics had the best defense in basketball last season, but new coach Joe Mazzulla has changed the narrative implementing a new system that has turned them into an offensive juggernaut. As Kyrie Irving missed his 6th straight game Sunday night, the Brooklyn Nets continued to play good basketball (for the most part) without him as they went 2-1 last week behind superb performances from Kevin Durant. The Milwaukee Bucks suffered a few blows last week for the first time, but that will not deter the best defensive team in the league from continuing to be a a top tier championship contender.

The Los Angeles Lakers looked like the worst team in the NBA for most of the week, but then they turned in a surprisingly dominant 116-103 victory over the red-hot Brooklyn Nets behind a masterclass on both ends of the floor by Anthony Davis. Still, despite a win on Sunday night, the Lakers are 3-10 as their defense has faltered, and their identity has washed away in the Pacific Ocean. Nonetheless, teams that were expected to be in the lottery are piecing together wins against good teams, younger stars such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Desmond Bane, Lauri Markkanen, and Paolo Banchero are developing faster than anyone could have expected, and as a result the NBA is the most competitive from top to bottom it has ever been.

30. Houston Rockets, 2-11

The Houston Rockets are a fun team to watch because of their young core, but they have a slew of issues especially on the defensive end. The Rockets have a defensive rating of 117.2 (ranked 29th in the NBA) and they aren’t much better on the offensive end of the floor either (offensive rating of 109.3, ranked 26th in the NBA). With Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Eric Gordon, and Jabari Smith, this team was supposed to improve offensively, but as Green (50.6 eFG%) and Smith (39.2 eFG%) have struggled to shoot the ball efficiently the offense has fallen short of expectations.

Some games, Jalen Green looks like the second coming of Michael Jordan with an abundance of jaw-dropping moves to score on the offensive end. However, other games he looks like the worst player in the NBA, missing every shot he takes. The Rockets will need to see more consistency out of Green to win basketball games, but they have one of the brighter young cores in the NBA and the future is very promising.

29. Detroit Pistons, 3-11

The Detroit Pistons‘ performance is indicative of Cade Cunningham’s season so far: Inconsistent. Some nights this team pieces together masterful performances against elite NBA teams and other nights this team has blunders against the NBA’s worst teams. Part of this awful start to the season is the Pistons 30th ranked defensive rating of 118.5. Isaiah Livers, Saddiq Bey, Jalen Duren, and Isaiah Stewart were supposed to anchor an improved defense, but no one is stepping up.

I really expected this team to be much better this season, and of course, that was contingent upon Cade Cunningham taking a huge leap, which he has not done yet. Cunningham is averaging 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6 assists per game with an abysmal TS% of 49.2 and 3PT% of 26.7. If Cunningham can shoot the ball more efficiently from the field, then this team will finally start piecing together wins. Until then they are one of the worst teams in the NBA. On the bright side, Jaden Ivey is flourishing as a point guard when given the opportunity.

28. Charlotte Hornets, 3-11

On Saturday night, the Charlotte Hornets welcomed back franchise player LaMelo Ball from the high ankle sprain that he suffered in the preseason. Ball finished with just 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in 28 minutes played and will continue to get into a rhythm in each game. The Hornets also wouldn’t mind being in the NBA lottery and having a shot at Victor Wenbanyama, as the they have the 28th ranked offensive rating of 106.6 in the NBA and aren’t competitive against elite teams.

Terry Rozier has been one of the biggest disappointments in this offense (21.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists per game, but with a TS% of 48 and an eFG% of 45.7). P.J. Washington has cooled down after a hot start and Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre Jr. are too inconsistent to be depended upon on both ends of the floor. Furthermore, despite LaMelo Ball being back, the Hornets will continue to be one of the worst teams in the NBA and could finish as low as last in the Eastern Conference.

27. Los Angeles Lakers, 3-11

The Los Angeles Lakers defensive rating was ranked 2nd in the NBA just two weeks ago and now it is ranked 17th at 111.4. Before picking up a convincing victory over the heavily favored Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night, the Lakers were spiraling out of control with double digit losses to the Jazz and Clippers, and a 6 point loss to the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers looked like a different team against the Nets as their defense looked dominant after not showing up for a week and a half, and they hit enough shots (40.7% from 3, 48.4% from the field in general) to win the game.

Anthony Davis had his best game of the season putting up 37 points and 18 rebounds (10 of which were offensive boards, a career high for him) while LeBron James was sidelined yet again. Russell Westbrook only shot 4-15 from the floor but played good defense and dished out 12 assists and Lonnie Walker IV showed up yet again last night scoring 25 points on 4/5 from 3PT range.

Still, even with a nice highlight to end the week, the Lakers haven’t shown enough consistency to be considered anything but a bottom 5 basketball team. They are still 3-10 and need to go on a serious win streak to get their season back on track. In the meantime, the Lakers will be tasked with improving their 29th ranked offensive rating of 105.4, their 17th ranked defensive rating of 111.4, and their 28th and 29th ranked team eFG% and TS% of 50.3 and 54.3 respectively.

26. Orlando Magic, 4-9

The Orlando Magic are better than anyone expected thanks to Paolo Banchero having one of the best rookie seasons of all time (23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game with a TS% of 55.6). Banchero is already running away with the Rookie Of the Year award and we are barley one month into the NBA season. The Magic have also seen second year forward Franz Wagner (18.3 points, 4.5 assists per game, 55.7 TS%) turn into their second best player.

Wagner is not only more efficient as a scorer this season, but is playing at a higher level defensively as well. The Magic have the 22nd ranked offensive rating of 110.4, the 16th ranked defensive rating of 112.4, and the 20th ranked NET rating at -2 in the NBA. The Magic were supposed to be one of the five worst teams in the NBA, but could be heading toward a possible play-in tournament berth if they continue to play like this.

25. San Antonio Spurs, 6-7

The San Antonio Spurs are starting to revert to the mean after losing 5 of their last 6 games (only win last week against the Bucks). The Spurs have the 28th ranked defensive rating of 115.5 and the 21st ranked offensive rating of 110.4, but are also 1st in team Assists Per Game (29.3) and Assist/Turnover ratio in the NBA. This shouldn’t be surprising considering most Gregg Popovich teams have some of the best ball movement in the NBA, but their defense is losing them games.

On the bright side, Keldon Johnson has taken the reigns from Dejounte Murray as the Spurs best player, averaging 23.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game with a 3PT% of 41.9 and a TS% of 60.4. Johnson has become one of the most efficient high-level scorers in the NBA and is turning into one of the best young stars in the NBA right in front of our eyes.

24. Minnesota Timberwolves, 6-8

The Rudy Gobert trade is simply not working out. Despite an impressive 129-124 win over the Cavaliers Sunday night, the spacing on offense is usually disrupted by Gobert’s lack of offensive ability and having two centers on the floor at the same time. Anthony Edwards scored a lot of his points last season by getting to the hoop and dishing the ball out to open shooters if covered, but with a virtually non-existent offensive player on the floor, there is one less shooter for Edwards and others to pass to if they aren’t open.

The Minnesota Timberwolves thrived with Karl Anthony-Towns at the 5 last season as his 3PT shooting helped space the floor and the team finished with the 7th best offensive rating of 113.8 last season. Now with Towns at the 4, and Gobert at the 5, the Timberwolves have just the 19th ranked offensive rating of 111.6. Rudy Gobert was supposed to improve their defense, but the Timberwolves have the 21st ranked defensive rating of 113.5, much worse than last year’s team (who had a defensive rating of 111, 13th in the NBA). The Timberwolves are also 0-6 against .500 teams this season and D’Angelo Russell has played like one of the worst players in the NBA this season, averaging just 14.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game with an eFG% of 48.9 and a TS% of 52.2. At this point, the Timberwolves are heading toward the lottery.

23. New York Knicks, 6-7

The New York Knicks have seen too much inconsistency from R.J. Barrett this season (averaging 18.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with a TS% of 52.6) as he is coming off of a 4 point, 2-10 from the field performance following four straight 16+ point games. Jalen Brunson has been the most consistent player on the team (19.5 points and 6.8 assists per game with a TS% of 58.8), but Brunson can’t win the Knicks games singlehandedly and Tom Thibodeau is struggling with the rotations.

Cam Reddish and Immaunel Quickley have been difference makers when given more minutes, but a lot of the time Thibodeau has them on the bench in crucial moments of the game. The same goes for Obi Toppin, who is averaging 22.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per 40 minutes with a TS% of 60.7. The Knicks are an average basketball team that could become well below average soon if they don’t figure out their rotations and defensive scheme (113.8 defensive rating, 22nd in NBA).

22. Golden State Warriors, 5-8

The Golden State Warriors have witnessed Stephen Curry‘s best start to any season of his career (32.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists per game with a 3PT% of 43.4, and the best eFG% and TS% in the NBA for a point guard of 64.9 and TS% of 69.4 respectively). However, even Curry’s hot start couldn’t save the Warriors from starting 5-8.

The Warriors have only the 14th best offensive rating in the NBA at 112.4 despite Curry’s greatness, and are even worse defensively (115.3 defensive rating, 27th in the NBA). To put this in perspective, the Warriors won the championship last season thanks to a 106.6 defensive rating, which was the second-best mark in the NBA. All of a sudden the Warriors can’t play defense and if that continues, they may not even make the playoffs. However, knowing the Warriors, they always find a way and Steve Kerr should be able to make adjusments to increase their defensive efficiency in the coming weeks.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder, 6-7

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is becoming a top 10 NBA player with the way he has played to start the year (31.1 points, 5.7 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game with an incredible TS% of 63.4). Arguably the MVP of the entire NBA to start the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder are much farther along in their rebuild process than anyone could have expected because of SGA.

The Thunder have the 12th-best defensive rating of 111.3 in the NBA, and sport the 17th ranked NET Rating of 0.3 as well. Once the role players (Mike Muscala, Kenrich Williams, Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley and others) step up their game offensively, their offensive rating of 111.6 (19th in the NBA) should only increase and move up the ranks. Oklahoma City has a new superstar in SGA and it’s raised their ceiling for this season already.

20. Sacramento Kings, 6-6

The Sacramento Kings are coming off of a week where they lost to the Warriors in overtime on Monday and then won three straight games against the Cavaliers, Lakers, and Warriors to end the week. A lot of the Kings’ newfound success under Mike Brown is because of their high powered offense (the Kings offensive rating of 114.9 rank 7th in the NBA). De’Aaron Fox has been fantastic this season averaging 25.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game with a remarkable TS% of 63.8, all while leading the NBA in clutch points scored.

Domantas Sabonis is also playing very well averaging 17.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game with a TS% of 61.5. The 6.3 assists per game is the second highest average of Sabonis’ young career as the Kings are moving the ball at a high level. The Kings’ defensive rating of 114.8 is somewhat concerning, but if they continue to produce the way they are offensively, teams are going to have a tough time beating them.

19. Miami Heat, 6-7

The Miami Heat have had an up and down season so far, and they are only staying afloat because of Jimmy Butler. Butler is averaging 22.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 2.2 steals per game with a TS% of 62 and has taken over in the 4th quarter in almost every single Heat win this season. Tyler Herro (19.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with a 3PT% of 41.4 and a TS% of 58.5) and Bam Adebayo as of late (18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1 steal per game with an eFG% of 53.6 and a TS% of 58.6) are playing great to solidify a big 3 in Miami, but it is sharpshooter Max Strus‘ production (15.5 points per game with a TS% of 61.5 and a 3PT% of 38.7 on 8.2 3PT attempts per game) that has stood out the most.

Strus introduced us to his elite 3PT shooting last season, but he is even better this year and as a result can raise the Heat’s ceiling on offense, which has been a big problem so far (19th ranked offensive rating of 111.2). However, even though their defense is better than their offense, their defensive rating of 111 (ranked 16th in the NBA) is extremely concerning considering the Heat have had playoff success because of their defense. Last season, the Heat had the 4th best defensive rating in basketball at 108.4, and if they can’t turn a corner defensively this year, the Heat may be in for a disappointing season in a tough Eastern Conference.

18. Indiana Pacers, 6-6

The Indiana Pacers are coming off of a week where they beat two projected playoff teams, the Pelicans and Raptors, and are continuing to see growth from one of the best young players in the NBA, Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton is averaging 20.5 points, 10.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game with a TS% of 62 and a 3PT% of 38.5.

Myles Turner has been playing amazing since he returned from an injury averaging 17.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game, and Buddy Hield and Bennedict Mathurin are knocking down shots at a high rate. Despite being 6-6 the Pacers have the 6th best offensive rating in the NBA of 114.9 and are 2nd in assists per game at 28.8. Their defense needs to improve, but they could be over .500 for the whole season if they keep it up offensively.

17. Washington Wizards, 8-6

The Washington Wizards are “overachieving” according to their advanced metrics. They have just the 25th ranked offensive rating in the NBA of 109.8, the 20th NET Rating of -1.3, and the 11th ranked ranked defensive rating of 111.1 yet have an 8-6 record. Thankfully for the Wizards, both Ja Morant and Desmond Bane sat out against them on Sunday allowing for a relatively easy victory which helped their defensive rating rise from 19th before the game.

With an abysmal offense, it’s hard to believe this team is 8-6 despite great seasons from Kristaps Porzingis (20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game with a TS% of 61.4) and Bradley Beal (21.6 points and 5.7 assists per game with a TS% of 61.1).

16. Chicago Bulls, 6-8

The Chicago Bulls have depth issues. Besides DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic, the team lacks talent immensely. Patrick Williams (8.3 points and 1.1 block per game with a TS% of 53.9) and Coby White (8.1 points and 1.7 assists per game with a TS% of 48.8) haven’t developed into the players the team had hoped, and even Ayo Donsunmu (12.1 points per game, TS% of 60) is struggling beyond the arc (only 31.7% from 3).

Regardless of their depth issues that still need to be addressed, the Bulls have an elite defense (109.5 defensive rating, ranked 5th in the NBA) even without Lonzo Ball. The big 3 are playing the best defense of their lives, and Alex Caruso and Javonte Green have been the stoppers the team had envisioned for them to become. Despite being 6-8, their dominant defense is an indicator of better things to come.

15. Toronto Raptors, 7-7

The Toronto Raptors are just trying to tread water without their best player Pascal Siakam and they are doing exactly that. Despite underwhelming losses to the Pacers, Thunder, and Bulls last week, the Raptors continued to see OG Anunoby flourish as the frontrunner for Defensive Player Of the Year. Anunoby already has 53 blocks + steals this season, 10 more than anyone else in the NBA and he is scoring at the highest rate of his career (17.2 points per game with a TS% of 57.7).

The Raptors have the 11th ranked offensive rating of 114.2, which is surprising considering they haven’t had Siakam for over a week now. The Raptors also have the 9th-best NET Rating in the NBA at 2.4, and their 15th ranked defensive rating of 111.7 will slide into the top 10 once Pascal Siakam returns to help anchor this defense with Anunoby. The Raptors are a much better team than their record indicates and they will be contenders in the Eastern Conference.

14. Brooklyn Nets, 6-8

A loss to the Lakers to end the week really hurt, especially since the Brooklyn Nets had just been hitting their stride without Kyrie Irving going 4-2 in the 6 games he has missed so far. Kevin Durant has been exceptional, averaging 30.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game with a TS% of 64.9 while playing the best defense he has played since his Warriors days.

Royce O’ Neal is anchoring this defense alongside Nic Claxton, Ben Simmons, and Durant as the Nets have vastly improved their defensive rating to 111.2 (13th in the NBA) over the course of this season already. With the 13th ranked NET Rating of 1.4 and and a solid offensive rating of 112.6 (12th in the NBA), the Nets are a very balanced basketball team. However, they still have a lot to figure out to compete in the Eastern Conference.

13. Los Angeles Clippers, 7-6

Paul George has been on a tear as of late averaging 27.6 points and 5 rebounds per game over his last five games and the Los Angeles Clippers have gone 3-2 over that span. After impressive wins against the Cavaliers and Lakers to start the week, the Clippers couldn’t stop Kevin Durant and the Nets as they lost 110-95 on Saturday night.

Despite the 15 point loss to the Nets, the Clippers have played much better as of late and a lot of that is attributed to their 3rd ranked defensive rating of 108.5. They still have a lot to fix on offense and players not named Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. need to step up and shoot better but, the Clippers are in a much better place now than at the beginning of last week.

12. Philadelphia 76ers, 7-7

Last night Joel Embiid had one of the best performances in NBA history scoring 59 points, pulling in 11 rebounds, dishing out 8 assists, and blocking 7 shots. Embiid also became the first player in NBA history with 55 points and 5+ blocks since blocks became recored in 1973. Overall the 76ers have the 5th overall defensive rating of 109.9 in the NBA and that number has skyrocketed ever since Joel Embiid came back last week.

The 76ers have won 3 of their last 4 games and are starting to heat up even without James Harden. Tyrese Maxey is averaging 22.8 points and 4.4 assists per game with a TS% of 55.5 and has become a perfect compliment to Joel Embiid. When James Harden comes back he needs to be primarily a playmaker and get Embiid and Maxey open looks because this offense needs to run through them.

11. Atlanta Hawks, 8-5

Last season, the Atlanta Hawks had the 26th ranked defensive rating of 113.7, but this year they have the 9th ranked defensive rating of 110.8. On the down side, their offensive rating of 115.4 last season ranked 2nd but this year’s offensive rating of 112.3 only ranks 16th in the NBA. Dejounte Murray has definitely improved the teams perimeter defense, but Trae Young’s efficiency and turnover rate is proving costly.

Trae Young is averaging 27.4 points and 9.3 assists per game but with an atrocious eFG% of 43 and 3PT% of 30.4. Young is also turning the ball over 3.8 times per game (bottom 5 in the NBA) which is hindering this team from reaching its peak offensively. Dejounte Murray is also shooting just 20% from 3 with an eFG% of 50.3. The Hawks could be a dangerous team, but they’ll only go as far as their two lead guards take them.

10. New Orleans Pelicans, 7-6

The New Orleans Pelicans have seen Zion Williamson increase his efficiency as of late as he’s averaged 25.8 points per game on 66% from the field in that span. Despite losses to the Pacers and Trailblazers this week, the Pelicans are a much better team than their record indicates with the 7th best offensive rating of 114.9, 15th best defensive rating of 111.5, and 7th best NET Rating of 3.4 in basketball.

The only thing thats keeping this team from being considered elite is C.J. McCollum as he has one of the worst TS%’s in basketball at 46.3. McCollum is attempting 18.3 field goals per game and only making 7.2 of them on average, the worst mark since his rookie season. All of a sudden McCollum is also shooting just 65.2% from the free throw line and only 24.3% from 3PT range. Once McCollum starts finding his groove offensively, this team could become unstoppable.

9. Portland Trailblazers, 9-4

The Portland Trailblazers defeated the Heat, Hornets, and Pelicans this week but fell to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. It took Luka Doncic to score 42 points to beat them and the Blazers are benefiting from Jerami Grant more than they could have imagined. Grant is averaging 20.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game with a TS% of 63.

Grant is coming off of a 37 point game in the loss against the Mavericks and when Damian Lillard has been out, Grant has stepped up and kept this team afloat. He also hit a game winner in a big game against the Suns two weeks ago as well. Furthermore, with the 14th ranked offensive rating of 112.5, the 7th ranked defensive rating of 110.5, and the 12th-best NET Rating of 2, the Blazers will need to continue to rely on Grant’s production to hang with the Western Conference’s elite teams.

8. Dallas Mavericks, 7-5

The Dallas Mavericks are coming off of a 117-112 win over the Trailblazers where Luka Doncic had a 42 point triple double. Doncic is averaging 34.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 8.1 assists, and 2 steals per game with a TS% of 60, all while playing the best defense of his caree. Spencer Dinwiddie has increased his scoring over the past three games averaging 27.3 points in that span, which has really taken pressure off of Doncic offensively.

Christian Wood has cooled off after a hot start (13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game over his past 8 games) and Dinwiddie has done a nice job stepping up as the second option on this Mavericks team over Wood. The Mavericks have the 6th best NET Rating in the NBA of 3.5 and both the 9th ranked offensive and defensive rating in the NBA of 114.4 and 111 respectively. This team has picked up right where it left off in the NBA playoffs and will continue to be a force in the Western Conference.

7. Memphis Grizzlies, 9-6

The Memphis Grizzlies lost to the Wizards yesterday because they sat Ja Morant and Desmond Bane, who have been the best backcourt duo in basketball this season. Morant is averaging 28.8 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists with a vastly improved 3PT% of 41 and a very good TS% of 58.4, while Bane is averaging 24.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game with a TS% of 62.2 and a 3PT% of 45.1 on 8.5 3PT attempts per game.

The Grizzlies advanced metrics don’t jump off of the charts as they have the 11th best offensive rating of 114.1, the 20th best defensive rating of 112.7, and just the 14th best NET Rating of 1.3 in the NBA. None of those metrics indicate that the Grizzlies are an elite team yet, but all basketball fans know that if Ja Morant is hitting 40+% of his three’s while Desmond Bane is scoring at the rate he is scoring at, this team is going to be tough to beat in a playoff series.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers, 8-5

The Cleveland Cavaliers started off the NBA season 8-1 but have since been 0-4, falling to the Clippers, Kings, Warriors, and Timberwolves this week. All of those games were decided within 7 points and the Cavaliers still sport the 2nd best NET Rating of 7.1, the 4th best defensive rating of 109.6, and the 2nd best offensive rating of 116.7 in the NBA despite being 8-5.

Darius Garland had been playing inconsistently before erupting for 51 points and 6 assists against the Timberwolves on Sunday night. Donovan Mitchell is still playing like an MVP candidate as he’s averaging 31.6 points and 6.1 assists per game with a 3PT% of 41.2 and a TS% of 64.9 and Evan Mobley is still anchoring the defense despite not taking the leap offensively many GM’s and scouts expected him to take. The Cavaliers will get back on track this week and remind the NBA that they are to be feared come April and May.

5. Utah Jazz, 10-5

The Utah Jazz fell to the Washington Wizards on Saturday and then to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, but they still are one of the five best teams in the NBA at the moment. The Jazz have the 5th ranked offensive rating of 115.2, the 11th ranked defensive rating of 111.1, the 5th ranked Assists Per Game mark with 27.7 per game, and the 5th-best NET Rating of 4.1 in the NBA.

Lauri Markkanen is continuing his hot start to the season (21.8 point and 8.6 rebounds per game with a TS% of 63.1), and Jordan Clarkson is stepping up as the team’s secondary option (18.1 points and 4.7 assists per game with a 3PT% of 39.3 and a TS% of 55.2). This team will continue to flourish if their offense can keep it up.

4. Denver Nuggets, 9-4

Most of the time when we think of the Denver Nuggets we think of Nikola Jokic, and rightfully so as he is the two-time reigning MVP. However, Michael Porter Jr. could be changing that narrative with his stellar play. Obviously Jokic is still the team’s and arguably the NBA’s best player (20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game with a TS% of 68.1) but Porter Jr. is the best 3PT shooter in the NBA at 6-10 (48.3% from 3 on 7.4 attempts per game) and is averaging 18 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with a TS% of 65.1 as well.

As a result, the Nuggets have the 3rd best offensive rating of 116.3 in the NBA and are 1st in team eFG% with a 57.9% mark. However, the Nuggets have only the 23rd ranked defensive rating of 114 in the NBA, but that shouldn’t deter them from continuing to rack up wins and dominating in the Western Conference.

3. Phoenix Suns, 8-4

Devin Booker is averaging 26.7 points and 5.6 assists per game with a 3PT% of 38.4 and a TS% of 58.9 and the Phoenix Suns continue to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Mikal Bridges is knocking down 44.1% of his 3-pointers and is arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, while Cameron Payne has stepped up in the absence of Cam Johnson shooting 41.3% from 3 and averaging over 12 points per game.

The Suns have the 4th best offensive rating of 115.6, the 2nd best defensive rating of 108.4, and the best NET Rating of 7.2 in the entire NBA. From an advanced metrics perspective, the Suns have been the best team in the NBA this season, but I want to see more from Deandre Ayton (14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds with a TS% of 58.8) before they move up to 2nd or 1st in these rankings.

2. Milwaukee Bucks, 10-2

The Milwaukee Bucks still have the best defense in the NBA (defensive rating of 104.2), but their offense is continuing to be a problem (offensive rating of 110.2, ranked 24th in the NBA). Besides Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game with a TS% of 59.9) and Jrue Holiday (19.6 points, 7.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game with a TS% of 54.3), the rest of the team is struggling to get going offensively.

Bobby Portis was one of the best 3PT shooters in basketball last year, but is shooting just 34.8% from 3 with a TS% of 52.7 this season. This Bucks team hasn’t even scratched the surface of its potential (since Khris Middleton still isn’t back yet) but the role players need. to step up and take pressure off of Antetokounmpo and Holiday in the meantime.

1. Boston Celtics, 10-3

The Boston Celtics have the best offensive rating in basketball (120.2), and despite having only the 24th ranked defensive rating of 114.2, it hasn’t really affected their dominance. The Celtics have won six straight games and Jayson Tatum could win his first MVP award this season (32.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game with a TS% of 65.3).

Jaylen Brown is yet again thriving as the team’s second option (25.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game with a TS% of 58.5) and once Robert Williams III comes back, the defense will kick into another gear and if they can continue to be the offensive juggernaut they have been when that happens, this team will be difficult to beat in a playoff series.

NOTE: Advanced Statistics used in this article are gathered from and and are updated as of Monday November 14th

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