30. San Antonio Spurs, 6-15
After starting the season 5-2 the Spurs have gone 1-13 over their past 14 games and have fallen to last in the Western Conference. Keldon Johnson (20.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3PT% of 36.5) and Devin Vassell (20.4 points per game with a 3PT% of 41.9 and a TS% of 57.6) have been the lone bright spots of a Spurs team that has the worst defensive rating of 118.5, 3rd worst offensive rating of 108.3, and worst NET Rating of -10.2 in the entire NBA. Perhaps this is all for the best and the Spurs will wind up with the #1 overall pick in next year’s NBA Draft.
29. Detroit Pistons, 5-17
Bojan Bogdanonvic (20.6 points per game with a 3PT% of 39.5 and a TS% of 63.3) has been the Pistons best player this season and luckily just avoided a serious injury after it was initially feared he would be out for a significant amount of time. With Cade Cunningham already likely out for the season, rookie Jaden Ivey (16.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists with a TS% of 52), who has missed two straight games, will need to step up and take over when he returns to the court for the Pistons to stay in games.
Nonetheless, the Pistons have the 24th ranked offensive rating of 109.9, the 29th ranked defensive rating of 117.6, the 29th ranked team eFG% of 50.1, and the 28th ranked team TS% of 54.9 in the NBA. This team initially thought they’d be competing for a Play-In Tournament spot with Cunningham and the additions of Ivey and Bogdanovic, but that goal turned out to be too farfetched as the Pistons are heading for the lottery yet again.
28. Houston Rockets, 5-14
Jalen Green has been more consistent as of late averaging 22 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds with a TS% over 55 over the past 6 games. Two other bright spots for the Rockets this season have been Kevin Porter Jr. (averaging 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game with a TS% of 52) and Alperen Sengun (15.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists with a TS% of 61.5).
With the 25th ranked offensive rating of 10.6, the 28th defensive rating of 115.2, and the 28th NET Rating of -5.6 in the NBA, the Rockets are heading to the lottery. However, before the season ends, they will want to see better play from prized 3rd overall pick Jabari Smith Jr. (11.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks per game with an atrocious TS% of 47.9).
27. Charlotte Hornets, 6-14
Despite welcoming LaMelo Ball back just a few weeks ago (although he has since missed a lot of games) the Hornets have the worst offensive rating of 106.8, team eFG% of 49.9, and team TS% of 53.1 in basketball. Terry Rozier has been one of the most inefficient players in the NBA this season (20.5 points and 5.6 assists per game with an abysmal TS% of 46.7) and Gordon Hayward (16.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game with a TS% of 54.3) is out indefinitely with a fractured shoulder. The Hornets are going nowhere fast and should have their sights on the NBA lottery rather than rushing LaMelo Ball back to full strength.
26. Orlando Magic, 5-15
The Magic welcomed back Paolo Banchero last week from injury and he did not disappoint putting up 19 and 18 points in his first two games back. Banchero is still getting acclimated back into the pace of the NBA, but should continue to improve as the season progresses. Franz Wagner (19.5 points and 4.2 assists per game with a TS% of 59.2) is continuing his brilliant second year campaign and Bol Bol (13 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game with a 3PT% 40.5 and a TS% of 66.2) has broken out and become one of the best role players in the entire NBA this season.
Despite a lot of positives, this team is still very far away from competing as they have the 25th ranked offensive rating of 109.8, the 28th ranked defensive rating of 115.3, and the 28th ranked NET Rating of -5.6 in the NBA. Nonetheless, this team should be proud of the development of both Banchero and Wagner and the sudden breakout of Bol Bol.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder, 8-12
The Thunder have the 16th ranked offensive rating of 112, the 21st ranked defensive rating of 113.6, and 21st ranked team eFG% of 52.5 and TS% of 55.8 in the NBA. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is continuing his rise to superstardom averaging 31.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game with an unreal TS% of 61.8 and numerous game winners already.
Besides SGA, Lugentz Dort (13.7 points per game with elite defense) and Jalen Williams (9.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game with a TS% of 57.9) the Thunder have had subpar performances from the rest of the team including second year guard Josh Giddey (14.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 3.5 turnovers per game with a 3PT% of 26.4, an eFG% of 49.2, and a TS% of 50.4). Nonetheless, because of SGA turning into one of the NBA’s best players, this Thunder’s team is way ahead of schedule in their rebuild.
24. New York Knicks, 9-11
Despite the 127-123 loss to the Grizzlies, Jalen Brunson (21.8 points and 6.7 assists per game with a TS% of 59.7) was fantastic yet again putting up 30 points and 9 assists. The Knicks have the 16th ranked offensive rating of 112.5, the 26th defensive rating of 114.8, and the 25th ranked NET Rating of -2.3 in the NBA. Despite having a defensive minded coach in Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks don’t make adjustments on defense and actually rely on their offense to win games this season.
The front office upgraded the roster with Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein, but somehow last year’s 11th ranked defense from last season is substantially worse this season with better players. Say what you want about R.J. Barrett and Julius Randle defensively, but there is no excuse for a defensive minded coach in Thibodeau to have this team ranked 26th in defensive rating. Furthermore, as good as Jalen Brunson is, the Knicks will only become a good basketball team if they can be a top 15 defense. Until then, they will continue to be an average basketball team.
23. Washington Wizards, 10-10
After starting the season 10-7, the Wizards have lost three straight games and are now .500 as they have the 23rd ranked offensive rating of 110.1, the 13th ranked defensive rating of 111.8, and the 23rd ranked NET Rating of -1.7 in the NBA. Bradley Beal (23.6 points and 5.6 assists with a TS% of 62) and Kristaps Porzingis (20.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game with a TS% of 57.6) continue to play great basketball, but depth has been the problem of this team.
Besides Beal, Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma, Will Barton, and Monte’ Morris, the team has no one to turn to. Corey Kispert and Rui Hachimura have played fine, but not consistent enough to be relied upon in big moments, and third year forward Deni Avdija simply hasn’t taken the leap the team had hoped for him to take this season. As a result, despite the obvious talent in the starting lineup, the Wizards simply don’t have the depth to hang with the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves, 10-10
The Timberwolves traded for Rudy Gobert to improve their 13th ranked defensive rating of 111.1 last season, but after an embarrassing 138-114 loss at home, their defensive rating has spiraled down the rankings to 110.7 this season, 12th in the NBA. With virtually the same mediocre-slightly above average defense of last season, the Wolves offensive rating of 111.3 ranks 20th in the NBA this season when they had the 7th best offensive rating of 113.8 last season.
As I have mentioned in previous “Power Rankings” articles, Karl Anthony-Towns (21.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game with a TS% of 62.9) and Anthony Edwards (22.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game with a TS% of 56.2) are struggling to get into a rhythm with Rudy Gobert being virtually non-existent on the offensive end of the floor. The floor spacing is messed up and as a result this team is 10-10 and doesn’t look like they will get much better.
21. Miami Heat, 10-11
The Heat are coming off of an impressive 106-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks without Jimmy Butler. Bam Adebayo stepped up and had 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 block, while both Caleb Martin (20 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists) and Max Strus (16 points and 3 rebounds) continued to star in their role and stepped up on the offensive end of the floor.
The Heat have the 23rd ranked offensive rating of 110.1, the 7th ranked defensive rating of 110.6, and the 19th ranked NET Rating of -.5 in the NBA. Despite their top tier defense that has gotten better over the past couple of weeks (was barley top 12 just two weeks ago) the Heat need to shoot better and that starts with Tyler Herro (18.1 points per game with a 3PT% of 33.7, an eFG% of 50.3, and a TS% of 54.3) who has been struggling offensively this season.
20. Brooklyn Nets, 10-11
The Nets are coming off of a good showing against the Trailblazers (without Damian Lillard) as they won 111-97 with Kevin Durant having yet another 30 point game. Durant is averaging 29.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists with a TS% of 64.7 and is consistently showing out every game for the Nets. Kyrie Irving has been excellent scoring over 20 points in four straight games. Still, the Nets look like a mediocre basketball team after a 2-2 week with wins vs. the Blazers and Raptors but losses against the Pacers and 76ers.
The Nets have the 12th ranked offensive rating of 113.3, the 19th ranked defensive rating of 112.8, the 4th ranked team eFG% of 56.6, and the 3rd ranked TS% of 60.1 in the NBA. This Nets team is elite offensively and should continue to get better if Ben Simmons (13.8 points, 7 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 2 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game over the last 5 games) continues his stellar play as of late, but they need to play better defense to win against good basketball teams.
19. Los Angeles Lakers, 7-11
Anthony Davis has been a top 5 player in the NBA over his past 5 games (33.4 points, 17.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game with a TS% of over 65 in that span) and the Lakers have now won 5 of their last 6. With Anthony Davis sitting on Saturday night to due a calf contusion, LeBron James stepped up and had his best game of the year so far (39 points, 11 rebounds, 7-12 from 3PT range and 3 assists) as the Lakers won their 2nd straight game against the Spurs 143-138. Still, the Lakers defense has been inconsistent as indicative of the last two game scores (Lakers gave up just 94 points to the Spurs Friday, then a whopping 138 points the next day).
Obviously the defense is ten times better with Anthony Davis in the lineup, which he wasn’t when they gave up 138 points, but their defensive rating of 110.9 (10th in the NBA) is still a little bit of a concern. The Lakers only have the 27th ranked offensive rating of 108.7, and have the 23rd ranked team eFG% of 52.1 in the NBA.
Granted, these offensive numbers are vastly improving week by week (as they ranked close to last in every offensive metric just two weeks ago) and if the defense can become more consistent, this team could become very good. If this version of Anthony Davis is here to stay and if LeBron James’ play on Saturday night is an indication of what is to come from him, perhaps the team needs to move Russell Westbrook for one of the coveted trade options they have been looking over since the start of the season.
18. Chicago Bulls, 8-11
Behind DeMar Derozan’s slew of superb performances (33.8 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game with a TS% close to 60 over his past 4 games) the Bulls finished last week 2-1 with wins over the two best teams in the Eastern Conference (Celtics and Bucks) and an overtime loss to the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
The Bulls have the 20th ranked offensive rating of 111.1, the 12th ranked defensive rating of 111.2, and the 17th NET Rating of -.1 in the NBA. Zach Lavine has returned to form over the past 3 games (22.3 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists with a TS% of over 55) and Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams have been playing elite defense despite their offensive limitations. The Bulls will need more out of Nikola Vucevic (15.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists per game with a TS% of 57.1) to reach another level and continue to hang with the Eastern Conference’s elite, but they are moving in the right direction.
17. Dallas Mavericks, 9-10
The Mavericks are coming off of a disappointing week losing all three of their games and continuing their now 4 game losing streak. They have 12th ranked defensive rating of 113.5, the 11th ranked offensive rating of 111.7, and the 9th ranked NET Rating of 1.8 in the NBA. The Mavericks have yet to win a game this year when Luka Doncic fails to score 30 points and that happened yet again vs. the Bucks on Sunday where Doncic finished with 27 points and 12 assists in a 124-115 loss. Doncic (33.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 8.4 assists with a TS% of 60.5) continues to be fantastic, but hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates in recent games.
Spencer Dinwiddie (17.1 points and 4.9 assists per game with a TS% of 60.7) needs to score 20+ points on most nights to take pressure off of Doncic and has only scored 20+ points once in the last five games. Christian Wood (17.1 points and 7.6 rebounds with a TS% of 65.4) has been fantastic when given a lot of minutes but hasn’t played enough down the stretch of games to get into a rhythm with his teammates. Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Reggie Bullock are supposed to be knockdown shooters but are only shooting 33.7%, 29.4%, and 28% from 3PT range respectively this season. Doncic is going to need more from his knockdown shooters for the Mavericks to go on a win streak and become one of the Western Conference’s elite teams.
16. Toronto Raptors, 10-9
The Raptors have the 10th ranked offensive rating of 113.8 in the NBA without having Pascal Siakam over the past three weeks. OG Anunoby has stepped up as the Raptors best player averaging 18.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.4 steals with a TS% of 56 while playing arguably the best defense in the entire NBA. Gary Trent Jr. (16.3 points per game with a TS% of 51.4) was called out by Nick Nurse for not playing defense and picked up 4 steals in the Raptors win over the Mavericks on Saturday, while Fred VanVleet (19.1 points, 6.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game with a TS% of 54) returned from a one game absence and put up 26 points and 7 assists in the win on Saturday as well.
Though Scottie Barnes (14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game with a TS% of 50.7) has missed the past two games, he put together his best game of the season against the Hawks on November 19th finishing with 28 points, 9 assists ,11 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Once Pascal Siakam returns next week the Raptors will be one of the four best teams in the Eastern Conference…mark my words.
15. Portland Trailblazers, 11-9
The Trailblazers have the 13th ranked offensive rating of 112.8, the 19th ranked defensive rating of 112.7, the 16th ranked NET Rating of .1, the 15th ranked team eFG% of 53.9 and the 12th ranked team TS% of 58.1 in the NBA. Jerami Grant (21.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game with a tremendous 3PT% of 48 and TS% of 62.2) is playing at an All-Star level and is coming off of a 44 point game where he made 21 free throws and played solid defense.
As Damian Lillard has missed time over the past week and a half, Grant and Anfernee Simons (23.6 points and 4.2 assists per game with a 3PT% of 36.7 and a TS% of 57) have stepped up and taken over for this team offensively. However, the Blazers simply do not have enough depth to hang with the best teams in the NBA without Damian Lillard. Until Lillard returns this is at best a barley above average basketball team.
14. Indiana Pacers, 11-8
The Pacers are coming off of a 114-100 loss the Clippers, but they have gone 2-2 in their last 4 games and have continued to stay in the top 5 of the Eastern Conference standings. The Pacers have the 9th best offensive rating of 113.9, the 16th ranked defensive rating of 112.5, the 11th best NET Rating of 1.4 in the NBA.
The Pacers also dish out the 3rd most assists in the NBA (28 APG), mostly thanks to Tyrese Haliburton (19.6 points, 11.1 assists, and 1.8 steals per game with a TS% 60.1) who has been spectacular this season. Myles Turner (18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game with a 3PT% of 43.1 and a TS% of 68.8) is playing the best basketball of his career and rookie Bennedict Mathurin (18.8 points per game with a 3PT% of 42.1 and a TS% of 59.5) continues to be excellent on the offensive end of the floor. As a result, the Pacers should continue to play good basketball and could make the playoffs if they keep up this kind of offensive production.
13. Utah Jazz, 12-10
After being first in the Western Conference with a 12-6 record (and 2nd in my “Power Rankings” last week) the Jazz have lost 4 games in a row and have the 27th ranked defensive rating of 114.6 in the NBA. Despite having the 5th best offensive rating of 116.2, the 7th best team eFG% of 55.2, and the 8th best team TS% of 58.4, the wheels are falling off of this Jazz team because of their defense.
Lauri Markkanen is still playing like an NBA All Star (21.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game with a 3PT% of 36.6 and a TS% of 63) and Jordan Clarkson (19.6 points and 4.7 assists per game with a 3PT% of 36.3 and a TS% of 55.6) can take over games offensively by himself, but this team is coming back to earth. They have some talent and a great offensive scheme, but they don’t play good enough defense to come out on top against good basketball teams. Now 8th in the Western Conference, the Jazz have the red hot Bulls, Clippers, Pacers, and Trailblazers this week to try and get back on track.
12. Atlanta Hawks, 11-9
The Hawks lost to the Miami Heat without Jimmy Butler 106-98 as Trae Young had 22 points and 14 assists but only shot 4-16 from the field. Efficiency has been a serious problem for Young this season as he’s averaging 28.2 points and 9.4 assists per game with a 3PT% of 31.4 and an abysmal eFG% of 45.7. Young only has a TS% of 54.2 because of his elite free throw shooting (89.9%) and he turns the ball over 3.5 times a game on average.
Dejounte Murray (20.8 points, 6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game with a TS% of 52.2) had 39 points in the loss against the Rockets on Friday but has been ineffective offensively in 4 of the Hawks last 5 games. The Hawks have the 17th ranked offensive rating of 111.5, the 13th ranked defensive rating of 111.8, the 27th ranked NET Rating of -.2, and the 24th ranked team eFG% and TS% of 51.4 and 55.5 in the NBA respectively. The Hawks have the roster to become a very good basketball team, but they need more offensive production from their two stars to thrive and reach their potential.
11. Philadelphia 76ers, 11-9
The 76ers defeated the Magic by 30 points on Sunday without their three best players. Tobias Harris (16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds with a TS% of 56.9) had 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals and Shake Milton stepped up and had 29 points and 7 assists. With Tyrese Maxey and James Harden out for a substantial amount of time, Joel Embiid (32.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game with a TS% of 63.2) has played like an MVP yet again and the 76ers have won 3 of their last 4 games.
With an elite defense (defensive rating of 108.8, 3rd in the NBA) and a superstar in Embiid, this team can win on any given night. Their offensive rating of 112.6 (ranked 14th in the NBA) should improve when Maxey and Harden return and until then, Embiid, Harris, De’Anthony Melton, and Milton will need to keep this team afloat in the meantime.
10. Sacramento Kings, 10-8
The Kings have the 3rd best offensive rating of 116.5 and the 2nd best team eFG% and TS% of 57.1 and 60.8 in the NBA respectively. The team had won 7 games in a row before losses to the Hawks and Celtics last weekend. Kevin Huerter has been arguably the best shooter in basketball this season (15.9 points per game with a 3PT% of 47.3 and a TS% of 65.9) and is one of the big reasons why this team is so good offensively.
However, De’Aaron Fox (25.1 points, 6.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game with a TS% of 62.8) didn’t play well over the 2 game losing streak and Domantas Sabonis (16.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game with a TS% of 64.2) couldn’t do enough with Fox off his game to will the Kings to victory. Defensively, this Kings team has the 25th ranked defensive rating of 114.6 (which has actually improved from the 28th ranked defensive rating just over a week ago) but what this team has showed is that if Fox and Sabonis have off games, they simply don’t have the depth to win games.
9. Los Angeles Clippers, 12-9
Ivica Zubac (10.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game with a TS% of 63.5) had the game of his life in the Clippers 114-100 win over the Pacers on Sunday finishing with 31 points, 29 rebounds, and 3 blocks and it seems like a different player for the Clippers steps up every night. One night it’s Terance Mann, the next night it’s Norman Powell, then the next night it’s Reggie Jackson. Maybe that is a testament to Head Coach Ty Lue and the culture he has created with hard nosed-tenacious players and elite defense.
The Clippers have the 2nd best defensive rating of 108.5 in the NBA and if they score over 100 points in a game it is very likely they will win. On the downside, the Clippers offensive rating of 108.1 ranks 29th in the NBA despite their team eFG% of 53.1 (ranked 11th) and team TS% of 56.4 (ranked 14th). Furthermore, if the Clippers can find a way to score more points with stellar play from their two stars (Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who have missed a lot of games this season) they will be in the mix as contenders come May.
8. New Orleans Pelicans, 11-8
Despite a blowout loss the the Memphis Grizzlies, the Pelicans finished last week 2-1 with wins over the Warriors (without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) and Spurs. Zion Williamson (22.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists with a TS% of 61.9) and Brandon Ingram (20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists) have looked amazing in the games that they have played, but C.J. McCollum (18.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game with an abysmal TS% of 49.1) has been one of the most inefficient offensive players in basketball this season.
The Pelicans have the 6th ranked offensive rating of 116.1, the 7th ranked defensive rating of 110.6, and the 4th ranked NET Rating of 5.5. The Pelicans are one of the only teams in the NBA to have both a top 10 offensive and defensive rating and if C.J. McCollum can shoot better from the field there is no telling how far this team could go. They have all of the pieces necessary to make a deep run in the playoffs.
7. Memphis Grizzlies, 12-8
The Grizzlies have won 2 out of their last 3 games since Ja Morant (28.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game with a TS% of 57) returned from an ankle injury and are a very tough team to beat on a nightly basis with the 8th ranked offensive rating of 114.6. Until Desmond Bane comes back from injury, Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke need to continue to step up in his place. Obviously Bane’s mix of great perimeter defense and elite 3PT shooting are unmatched, but Brooks and Clarke can provide solid defense and timely shooting.
Their 18th ranked defensive rating of 113.2 has improved from the 22nd ranked defense just over two weeks ago thanks to Jaren Jackson’s Jr.’s return. One of the best interior defenders in the NBA and a perennial DPOY candidate, Jackson Jr. (19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game with a TS% of 57.4) raises the ceiling of this team immensely. Furthermore, the Grizzlies will continue to be a great basketball team for the rest of the season, and will become title contenders once Bane is back and at full strength.
6. Golden State Warriors, 11-10
The record doesn’t signify how dominant the Warriors have looked over the past two weeks. After starting the season 3-7, the Warriors now are one game over .500 and have seen Klay Thompson take his game to another level after being called out for his poor performance to start the season (25 points per game on 60% shooting from 3PT range over the past 4 games including a 41 point performance).
Just over a week ago the Warriors had the 27th ranked defensive rating in the NBA, and now their defensive rating of 113.8 ranks 22nd in the NBA. After three straight dominant victories including an elite offensive showing where they put up 138 points against the Timberwolves on Sunday, the Warriors now have the 9th best offensive rating of 114.2, the best APG (assists per game) mark in the NBA at 29.9, the 3rd best team eFG% of 56.9, and 4th best team TS% of 59.8 in the NBA. With both the offense and defense clicking on all cylinders I wouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors win all 3 of their games next week and continue to make a push to the top of the conference.
5. Denver Nuggets, 12-7
The Nuggets have won 3 of their last 4 games and Nikola Jokic has taken his game to another level in that span (24.3 points, 9.8 assists, and 9.5 rebounds) despite promising second year guard, Bones Hyland, and the Nuggets 3rd best player, Michael Porter Jr., missing pivotal games this week. The Nuggets have the 7th best offensive rating of 115.3, the 26th ranked defensive rating of 114.6, the 5th best team eFG% of 56.3, and the 6th best team TS% of 59.3 in the NBA.
Obviously, their defense needs to improve as the season progresses, but the Nuggets are a clear offensive juggernaut so far. Another reason the Nuggets are playing good basketball is that Jamaal Murray is looking more like himself (18.8 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.5 rebounds over the past 4 games) and Bruce Brown Jr. (10.9 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game with a TS% of 55.8) has been one of the most underrated players in the NBA this season. With fantastic depth and clear star-power at full strength, the Nuggets are going to be one of the most feared teams come playoff time.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers, 13-7
The Cavaliers have won 3 of their last 4 games and sport the 6th ranked offensive rating of 115.8, the 4th ranked defensive rating of 108.9, the 3rd best NET Rating of 6.9, the 7th best team eFG% of 55.2, and the 5th best TS% of 59.3 in the NBA. Donovan Mitchell (30.1 points and 5.2 assists per game with a TS% of 63.3) and Darius Garland (23.3 points and 7.9 assists per game with a TS% of 57.1) are spectacular and arguably the best backcourt in basketball this season (although Ja Morant and Desmond Bane would tell you otherwise).
Evan Mobley (14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game with a TS% of 58.5) and Jarrett Allen (13.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game with a TS% of 62.6) are the best interior tandem in the NBA and the Cavaliers arguably have the best starting 5 in the NBA once Caris LeVert (11.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists with an abysmal TS% of 48.2) starts looking like himself again. This Cavaliers team is going places this season and are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.
3. Milwaukee Bucks, 14-5
Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1 block per game with a TS% of 57.7) has been his usual MVP self coming off of a 30 point-11 rebound effort in a win over the Mavericks on Sunday. In fact, Antetokounmpo has had 4 straight 30+ point games and the Bucks have won 3 of those 4 games. The Bucks have the best defense in basketball (107 defensive rating, 1st in NBA) and have been steadily improving their offense (111.9 offensive rating, 18th in the NBA after being 23rd just a few weeks ago).
Brook Lopez (15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game with a 3PT% of 41.1 and a TS% of 63.3) is one of the leading candidate’s for DPOY and has been shooting the ball lights out, and Bobby Portis (13.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game with a 3PT% of 32.4 and a TS% of 54.9) has been playing great defense and knocking down shots at a high rate recently. As I have mentioned in previous “Power Rankings” articles, we won’t know how good the Bucks can be until Khris Middleton is back. Until then, they are the 3rd best team in the NBA.
2. Phoenix Suns, 13-6
The Suns have won four games in a row without Chris Paul. Devin Booker (27.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists per game with a TS% of 57.2) continues to propel the Suns to victory alongside stellar play from Mikal Bridges (16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals per game with a tremendous 3PT% of 46.9 and TS% of 64.2) who is taking his offensive game to another level this season.
The Suns have the 2nd best offensive rating of 117, the 5th best defensive rating of 110, and the top NET Rating of 7 in the NBA. Despite the injuries of Cameron Johnson and Chris Paul that could have derailed this team, the Suns are as good as ever with role players Cameron Payne, Torrey Craig, and Damion Lee all stepping up and producing at a high level.
1. Boston Celtics, 16-4
The Boston Celtics are by far the best team in the NBA this season since no one can match their offensive dominance (120.5 offensive rating, 58.5 team eFG%, 62.5 team TS%, all ranked 1st in the NBA) and star power with Jayson Tatum (30.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game with a TS% of 62.5) and Jaylen Brown (26.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game with a TS% of 60.4) being the best duo in basketball.
As I have mentioned in previous “Power Rankings” articles, the Celtics’ 20th ranked defensive rating of 113.5 (which has actually improved from the 26th ranked defensive rating earlier this season) will get better when Robert Williams III returns around January or February. Once that happens the Celtics could become unbeatable.
Note: Advanced Statistics used in this article are gathered from Statmuse.com and NBA.com and are updated as of Monday, November 28th, 2022.