NBA power rankings: Where all 30 teams stand two weeks into 2020
NBA Power Rankings
It’s mid-January, and the warm charm of the holidays has faded, giving way to cold nights in the NBA. The “dog days” have arrived, with some teams howling like meek mutts and others barking like the big dogs they are.
The four weeks leading up to All-Star Weekend are relevant mostly for trade possibilities. And there is plenty of that, from coast to coast. The Warriors are involved. The Kings ought to be involved. Every team outside Milwaukee should be on the phone.
That said, there remains a line of demarcation separating the top 10 or so and the rest of the league. We at Power Rankings Central hope to shed light on things as they are, knowing changes are coming.
30. Atlanta Hawks (8-32)
Hurry back, Trae Young, because your absence has half the fans shielding their eyes and the other half giggling at the unintentional comedy show.
29. Golden State Warriors (9-32)
It has been 10 years since they lost nine in a row. That will change if they can’t beat Dallas Tuesday night. Either way, the roster will change shortly afterward.
28. Detroit Pistons (14-27)
Their three wins over the past month are against bottom-10 teams. No Blake, no Reggie, no point showing up. So, they usually don’t. Why not trade Mr. Drummond?
27. New York Knicks (11-29)
Beating Miami – without Marcus Morris – moves them up one spot. They’ll give it back when they go 0-3 this week vs. Milwaukee, Phoenix and Philly.
26. Washington Wizards (13-26)
We don’t know how they beat Denver and Boston, and neither do they.
25. Sacramento Kings (15-25)
They’re soft in the middle and their best bench player is 16-year vet Trevor Ariza. If they make no moves and finish at .500, Coach Luke should ask for a raise.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (12-28)
Thugs or slugs? Hiring John Beilein was curious from the jump. If I’m Kevin Love, my agent is pushing hard to find me another team.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-24)
They’re 5-16 since Thanksgiving, and KAT has missed most of those games. Maybe there’s a connection.
22. Charlotte Hornets (15-28)
The losing streak is at five and they’ve got the Nuggets and Bucks this week. They need Larry “Grandmama” Johnson, at age 50, walking through that door.
21. Chicago Bulls (14-27)
The only thing between this squad and a 13-game losing streak is four games against the Pistons, Hawks and Wizards. What happened to the dark horse playoff Bulls?
20. New Orleans Pelicans (15-26)
They’re not healthy and yet they’ve won nine of 12, looking more like we expected. Lonzo is a big reason why. Zion, Jrue, JJ and rest of the cavalry are coming soon.
19) Phoenix Suns (16-23)
They’ve been starting Aron Baynes over Deandre Ayton at center and, at least for now, it’s not going badly. Then, too, the recent schedule has been kind.
18. Portland Trail Blazers (17-24)
No team has played more road games than Portland’s 22. And they go back on the road this week to face the Rockets, Mavs and Thunder. This seems rather cruel.
17. Orlando Magic (19-21)
Many players deserve consideration for Most Improved Player, but no one more so than Markelle Fultz, who now looks like an NBA player.
16. Brooklyn Nets (18-20)
After nearly two months, Kyrie is back. They were 13-13 in his absence. They are 5-7 when he plays. So, yes, Uncle Drew still has much to prove.
15. Memphis Grizzlies (18-22)
How on earth have these guys gotten into playoff position when they were supposed to lose 65 games? Little Ja is human lighting and Big Jonas is balling.
14. San Antonio Spurs (17-21)
When they were 6-13 in late November, many thought Pop’s run was done. Well, no. He’s creating on the fly, and a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance is conceivable.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-17)
That Paul George trade is looking really good for GM Sam Presti. The draft picks are coming, but right now we’re crushing on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
12. Dallas Mavericks (24-15)
After a bumpy stretch, we’ll see if they are recovered. That will be determined over the next nine games, six of which are on the road.
11. Philadelphia 76ers (25-16)
I’m old enough to remember when the Sixers were “the team to beat” in the Eastern Conference. The issues keep coming, and now JoJo must sit for a couple weeks.
10. Indiana Pacers (25-15)
Last bad loss was Dec 6. Beaten Philly twice in 14 days. Wonder what the folks seeking Coach Nate’s head in November are thinking now. And V.O. returns in two weeks.
9. Toronto Raptors (25-14)
They haven’t been whole for weeks yet remain on a 50-win trajectory. Pascal Siakam has returned, and Marc Gasol won’t be far behind.
8. Houston Rockets (26-12)
If James Harden is the key to all things, how did they win a game when he shot 9-of-34? They were at Atlanta, which explains The Beard’s numbers and the victory.
7. Miami Heat (27-12)
Their numbers don’t shout, but their league-best intangibles do. So do their relentless 3s. Why so low, then? Because there are consequences for losing to the Knicks.
6. Boston Celtics (27-11)
They haven’t approached full peak, but they’re on pace for 58 wins. They are the other reason March/April will be interesting in the East.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (27-13)
They often don’t look Top-5, but that’s their floor when the bodies are able. They want to regain the underdog mentality. If they do, it’s a wrap.
4. Denver Nuggets (27-12)
Like the Joker, they’re equally awesome and maddening, which is why coach Michael Malone alternates kissing them and spanking them.
3. Utah Jazz (27-12)
Rudy Gobert has opponents sobbing. They lead the league in clutch wins (18) and 3-point shooting percentage (39.0). They’re 9-0 since Christmas.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (33-7)
They’re No. 1 among Western Conference teams in defensive rating. Let that sink in. Comprehend its significance. Trade Kyle Kuzma? Nah.
1. Milwaukee Bucks (35-6)
No. 1 defense, No. 3 offense and the Greek Freak. They’re not going to win 70. But 67 is a fair bet. The league’s search for a weakness continues.