2018-19 NBA power rankings: Pistons are making noise, while LeBron's Lakers are an epic mess
NBA Power Rankings
We live in a world where the Orlando Magic might be in the playoffs and LeBron James likely won't be.
The league may not prefer it that way, but as the playoff races sort out in each conference, some big surprises are developing.
Here is a look around the NBA at all 30 teams...
No. 30: New York Knicks
Last Week's Rank: 29
Why They're Here: The Knicks are the worst team in basketball and it really isn't that close. And if they strike out in free agency, they will be uniquely hopeless. But Mitchell Robinson, man. He's averaging 10.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in his last 13 games.
No. 29: Phoenix Suns
Last Week's Rank: 30
Why They're Here: The Suns are all of a sudden heating up with three straight wins and four in their last five. Kelly Oubre Jr. is proving a great fit. The other day he had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
No. 28: Cleveland Cavaliers
Last Week's Rank: 28
Why They're Here: Kevin Love has been solid since returning from injury. He's averaging 18.8 points and 10.8 rebounds while shooting 39.3 percent from three.
No. 27: Memphis Grizzlies
Last Week's Rank: 27
Why They're Here: Jonas Valanciunas is putting up monster numbers since the trade that sent him to Memphis. He's averaging 19.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks with his new team.
He's averaging 16.4 points while shooting 41.9 percent from three in seven games.
No. 26: Atlanta Hawks
Last Week's Rank: 25
Why They're Here: Remember when Trae Young couldn't shoot? He's hit 39.8 percent of his threes in his last 34 games and is shooting 42.7 percent from long range over the last month.
No. 25: Chicago Bulls
Last Week's Rank: 26
Why They're Here: It's amazing how well the Bulls came out of the Jimmy Butler trade. Both Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine look like future All-Stars.
No. 24: Dallas Mavericks
Last Week's Rank: 22
Why They're Here: Luka Doncic gets a lot of praise for his scoring, and for good reason. But don't sleep on his rebounding. He's averaging 8.4 boards per game since Jan. 1
No. 23: New Orleans Pelicans
Last Week's Rank: 23
Why They're Here: Assuming the Anthony Davis era ends this summer, it's pretty amazing to think that New Orleans only made the playoffs twice in the seven years since drafting him. He is a transcendent player and they basically did nothing with him.
No. 22: Washington Wizards
Last Week's Rank: 24
Why They're Here: –If Dwight Howard doesn't return this season, will he be inclined to exercise his option to stay in Washington? Given the Wizards' salary cap situation, it may not be the worst thing, as he's only due to make $5.6 million.
No. 21: Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week's Rank: 20
Why They're Here: Karl-Anthony Towns might be the most complete offensive big man in the NBA. He is shooting 41.1 percent from three since the start of last season, can break opponents down off the dribble and score consistently in the post. And, he's only 23.
No. 20: Charlotte Hornets
Last Week's Rank: 19
Why They're Here: Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be the focus this summer, but don't forget that Kemba Walker can leave in free agency if he wants.
No. 19: Miami Heat
Last Week's Rank: 21
Why They're Here: Winners of four straight, the Heat have jumped up to the eighth seed in the East. This season has been one of Erik Spoelstra's best coaching performances.
No. 18: Orlando Magic
Last Week's Rank: 18
Why They're Here:The Magic have the best net rating over the past month. Could they make the playoffs for the first time since Dwight Howard left?
No. 17: Los Angeles Lakers
Last Week's Rank: 15
Why They're Here: Everyone knew LeBron James was making things unnecessarily hard on himself by jumping to the West, but did anyone think it would be this bad, this early?
No. 16: Brooklyn Nets
Last Week's Rank: 16
Why They're Here: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's numbers have really fallen off this season, right before he hits free agency for the first time. Either the Nets or another team could get a bargain by signing him this summer.
No. 15: Detroit Pistons
Last Week's Rank: 17
Why They're Here: No team has more wins than the Pistons over the past month. They also have the best offensive rating. They are veering into 'team no one wants to see in the playoffs' territory.
No. 14: Sacramento Kings
Last Week's Rank: 14
Why They're Here: Willie Cauley-Stein is going to be an interesting free agent case. If he hits the market, he could get a lot of money based on his still-intriguing potential.
No. 13: San Antonio Spurs
Last Week's Rank: 12
Why They're Here: The Spurs have dropped to the eighth seed after losing seven of eight games in a recent stretch. If they miss the playoffs, it will be the first time since 1997.
No. 12: Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week's Rank: 13
Why They're Here: The Clippers have as many wins in the last month as any team in the NBA. They have the fifth-best net rating during that span. What they have done this year is just so impressive.
No. 11: Boston Celtics
Last Week's Rank: 11
Why They're Here:
Kyrie Irving's rant about not wanting to be a celebrity does not bode well for Knicks fans out there hoping he will sign in New York. The spotlight would burn even brighter.
No. 10: Utah Jazz
Last Week's Rank: 9
Why They're Here: Donovan Mitchell hasn't shot well for much of this season, but he's up over 38 percent from three over the last month.
No. 9: Portland Trail Blazers
Last Week's Rank: 10
Why They're Here: The Blazers are 5-2 with Enes Kanter in the lineup. They have a chance to be the best rebounding team in basketball now with him in the fold.
No. 8: Houston Rockets
Last Week's Rank: 8
Why They're Here: After all the injuries the Rockets have battled this season, they dodged a major bullet with James Harden's wrist. That was a scary fall.
No. 7: Oklahoma City Thunder
Last Week's Rank: 7
Why They're Here: Nerlens Noel is playing a career-low 14.2 minutes per game this season. Have to imagine he opts out of his $1.9M million contract for next year to test free agency. If he does, he might be a good option for the Wizards, who desperately need defensive help.
No. 6: Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week's Rank: 6
Why They're Here: Brandon Ingram's recent play (before getting shut down) has some people bringing back the debate between him and Ben Simmons. I will still take Simmons, though, jumpshot or not.
No. 5: Denver Nuggets
Last Week's Rank: 4
Why They're Here: The Nuggets were reminded this week just how tough it is going to be to take out the Warriors in the playoffs.
No. 4: Indiana Pacers
Last Week's Rank: 5
Why They're Here: Wes Matthews has proven to be one of the best and most underrated pickups around the deadline. Since signing his free agent deal, he has shot 40.2 percent from three and scored 13.2 points per game.
No. 3: Golden State Warriors
Last Week's Rank: 3
Why They're Here: Warriors executive Bob Myers said this week that Kevin Durant is under "a bigger microscope than maybe any athlete we've ever seen." Uh, ever heard of Muhammad Ali?
No. 2: Toronto Raptors
Last Week's Rank: 2
Why They're Here: Kawhi Leonard is healthy enough that he dropped 31 points in 27 minutes the other night, but he has missed some games lately. If his health is a concern at all in the playoffs, it will lower Toronto's ceiling significantly.
No. 1: Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week's Rank: 1
Why They're Here At this point, Mike Budenholzer is running away with the NBA coach of the year award. But Mike Malone of the Nuggets and Nate McMillan of the Pacers should get some votes.