NBA power rankings: Where all 30 teams sit after amazing All-Star Game
NBA Power Rankings
The All-Star break is over and it’s time for the stretch run.
Who are the contenders and pretenders? Who will win the battle for the back end of the playoffs? Who is going into tank mode? All of these questions will be answered as we hit the final two weeks of the season.
Here are this week's power rankings.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers (14-40)
Trying to decide whether your head coach is coming back after the All-Star break isn’t usually a good sign.
If John Beilein does return, it won’t help matters. It’s amazing what this franchise looks like with and without LeBron James over the last 17 seasons. They’re either a contender or the worst franchise in the NBA.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-37)
KAT pouts his way to a 16-37 first-half record. The Wolves reward him by going out and trading for his friend. This is how good franchises conduct business.
28. Warriors (12-43)
Maybe I’m in the minority on this one, but I like Andrew Wiggins as a player much more than I like D'Angelo Russell.
Wiggins is a good piece for next season when the real Warriors come back to play. Maybe fresh scenery will help him reach his potential.
27. New York Knicks (17-38)
At least the Knicks got something of value for Marcus Morris. This team is a hot mess from the very top all the way down.
Masai Ujiri would be crazy to leave Toronto and move to the Big Apple.
26. Atlanta Hawks (15-41)
Clint Capela hasn't made his debut just yet after being traded from the Houston Rockets, but the Hawks are in the running for a high draft pick.
25. Charlotte Hornets (18-36)
Trying really hard only gets you so far in the NBA. You also have to have talent.
Nic Batum is making $25.6 million this year to average 3.6 points per game. He also has a player option for next season at $27.1 million. Yikes.
24. Detroit Pistons (19-38)
Clearly Andre Drummond was the problem. The Pistons have lost four straight and 10 of their last 12.
This is a bad team in desperate need of a stick of dynamite.
23. Chicago Bulls (19-36)
More time in the pot hasn’t helped the Bulls become a more cohesive unit. This is a collection of young players that can’t stay healthy and is starting to crack.
22. Washington Wizards (20-33)
Can Bradley Beal will the Wizards into the playoffs in the East? They’re only three games out of the eighth spot with 29 games remaining.
The veteran shooting guard has been fantastic this season, and Davis Bertans has been a nice find as well.
21. Phoenix Suns (22-33)
On paper, this team should be better. They have some nice high-end talent in Booker and Oubre. Ayton is growing into a player, and they have solid vets.
They aren’t out of the race, but Booker needs to earn that All-Star nod down the stretch if they are going to compete for a postseason spot.
20. Kings (21-33)
We might know the final outcome of the season in the first game out of the All-Star break when the Kings host the Grizzlies. If the Kings win, they'd be within six games of the eighth seed with 27 to go. If they lose, it’s all downhill from there.
Can Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes get healthy? Can Jabari Parker make an impact? This team has a lot to figure out before the end of the season.
19. New Orleans Pelicans (23-32)
Zion is tearing it up through his first 10 games, but the league will make adjustments. Can he counter in year one, or are we a year or two away?
New Orleans is still in the race for the eighth spot. A forward pairing of Williamson and Brandon Ingram should scare teams.
18. San Antonio Spurs (23-31)
We say it every year, but don’t count out the Spurs.
They finally look ready for a rebuild, but the Portland Trail Blazers are injured and the Memphis Grizzlies are inexperienced. Yes, there still is a chance they extend their incredible 22-year postseason run.
17. Orlando Magic (24-31)
Aaron Gordon was robbed at the Slam Dunk contest. The Magic need him to harness that anger and become a much better player in the second half of the season.
16. Portland Trail Blazers (25-31)
Damian Lillard has gone full backpack mode and is trying to carry this team to the postseason. His groin injury has to be a major concern.
Losing to Memphis and New Orleans heading into the break is not a good sign for this team, either.
15. Brooklyn Nets (25-28)
Kyrie Irving can’t stay healthy. Brooklyn is in the thick of a playoff race, but the Nets' star player might not help them in that quest.
Is it time to shut him down and wait for next season when KD comes back as well?
14. Memphis Grizzlies (28-26)
Can the young guns from Memphis keep up when the real NBA teams show up after the All-Star break? That has yet to be seen, but this is a fun and confident group with a ton of talent.
13. Indiana Pacers (32-23)
The Pacers are in a tailspin since Victor Oladipo’s return. A win over the Milwaukee Bucks heading into the break might be the spark they need to turn things around.
If they can get right, this is an intriguing Eastern Conference team come playoff time.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-22)
Chris Paul is a winner. He may not be 100 percent likable, but his impact on the win/loss record for his team is dramatic. No one had this club competing for a playoff spot, let alone sitting in a tie for sixth in the Western Conference.
11. Dallas Mavericks (33-22)
Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis finally are starting to mesh. That’s not a good thing for the rest of the NBA.
The Mavericks need more pieces to be a serious contender, but they have a nice starting point with these two stars.
10. Houston Rockets (34-20)
The ultimate experiment. Houston is all in on its small-ball lineup featuring five players 6-foot-7 and under. Grabbing Robert Covington at the deadline was a nice grab, but heading into the Western Conference playoffs against Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis without any size is a bold move.
9. Philadelphia 76ers (34-21)
This team has a major depth problem, and the additions of Alec Burks and Glen Robinson III don't exactly move the needle. Instead of building a dynasty in Philly, the Sixers look more like a heavyweight fighter that can’t last more than two rounds.
8. Miami Heat (35-19)
Miami’s big move at the deadline was to land a 36-year-old Andre Iguodala, who hadn’t played in almost a year. Getting Jae Crowder in that deal was a steal.
The Heat might not be the favorite in the Eastern Conference, but they are deep with veterans who know how to win.
7. Denver Nuggets (38-17)
This is a really solid regular-season team. It’s hard to see them getting past some of the better teams in the conference once the playoffs start, but the Nuggets set themselves up for a long stretch of competitive seasons. They might need a big free-agent addition to put them over the top, though.
6. Utah Jazz (36-18)
As of this writing, the fourth-seeded Jazz would host the fifth-seeded Rockets in the NBA playoffs' first round. Donovan Mitchell vs. James Harden. Mike Conley vs. Russell Westbrook. Bojan Bogdanovic vs. Robert Covington. Rudy Gobert vs. PJ Tucker.
Sign us up.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (37-16)
When the Clippers need Kawhi to play, he’ll be ready. Until then, this is a well-coached, deep team that will be an extremely tough out in the postseason.
4. Boston Celtics (38-16)
Boston has a strong starting group, but the drop-off is dramatic when Brad Stevens goes to the bench. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are growing into stars, but the Celtics need a lot of luck and some big postseason performances if they are going to make it past the second round.
3. Toronto Raptors (40-15)
What Nick Nurse is doing in Toronto is nothing short of miraculous. Then again, the Raptors rattled off a 15-game win streak where they played every bad team in the league and only had four games against clubs with a winning record.
You play the schedule in front of you, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (41-12)
If the Lakers can stay healthy, they are the team to beat in the Western Conference. They needed more shooting at the trade deadline, but that may come in the form of a buyout candidate in the coming weeks.
1. Milwaukee Bucks (46-8)
This is the best regular-season team in the NBA, and it’s really not even close. They beat up on mascots for fun. They hold fake WWE matches before games. They are loose and fun and well-coached.
Can they finish the season strong and hit 70 wins?