NBA Power Rankings: 3/6/18
Who rises and who falls in this week’s power rankings installment?
(Team’s record, Change in ranking from last week. Records as of 2/26/18)
30. Memphis Grizzlies (18-45, -1)
Over the last week, Memphis has posted the worst offensive rating in the NBA at 98.5. The Grizzlies are winless over their last 14 games, and it doesn’t get any easier heading into the week.
29. Phoenix Suns (19-47, +1)
Devin Booker has been on fire as of late, averaging 31 points on 49.5% shooting from the floor and 45.2% from three. Over the last week, Marquese Chriss has surprisingly been shooting a lights out 53.8% from three. Despite this, the Suns are 1-3 on the week, and still pretty bad.
28. Brooklyn Nets (20-44, -)
The Nets have lost three games in a row, and play the Warriors, Raptors, and 76ers in three of their next four games. Things are not looking too bright in Brooklyn
27. Orlando Magic (20-44, -2)
The Magic were a solid 2-2 during the last week, but are still looking to land the number one pick.
26. Dallas Mavericks (19-45, -)
The ageless wonder that is Dirk Nowitzki has been very solid as of late, averaging 17.7 points per game over the last week. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they went 0-3 in that week.
25. Atlanta Hawks(20-44, +2)
The Hawks posted a very solid 2-1 record over the last week and combined that impressive record with the fifth-best defensive rating in the NBA (101.2).
24. Sacramento Kings (20-44, -)
The Kings, like the Hawks, went 2-1 last week and posted the sixth-best defensive rating in the NBA (102.6). Rookie sensation Bogdan Bogdanovic played well last week, averaging 20 points per game.
23. New York Knicks (24-40, -)
Over the last week, the Knicks have been one of the worst teams in the NBA. They have posted a -16.6 net rating, which is the worst in the NBA over that span. Trey Burke has been excellent over the last 10 games, averaging a respectable 12.9 points and 3.9 assists on 51% shooting and 38.5% from the field in only 19.4 minutes per game.
22. Chicago Bulls (21-42, -)
The Bulls are 1-1 on the week and 3-7 over the last 10 games. Their offense has been the third worst in the NBA over the last week, posting a 100.2 offensive rating.
21. Detroit Pistons (29-35, -2)
The Pistons keep sliding and are falling farther and farther away from the illustrious eighth seed. They are 1-3 over the last week and sit a whole five games out of the playoffs. The Pistons slotted the James Ennis into the starting lineup over Stanley Johnson, who had a great 21 point performance against the Bucks.
20. Charlotte Hornets (28-36, -2)
Charlotte is amidst a three-game losing skid, firmly putting them out of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. On the bright side, last week, Kemba Walker averaged 27.7 points per game, but an awful -13.3 net rating.
19. Miami Heat (34-30, +2)
The Heat have the fifth-best net rating in the NBA over the last week, at 8.3, and have a 2-1 record. They look more like a playoff team right now than they did a week ago and sit in the seventh seed. Justise Winslow has been excellent over the week, averaging 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and 2.7 steals, shooting an absurd 62.5% from three.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (38-28, -1)
Nemanja Bjelica played 45 minutes against the Jazz on Friday. This is 45 out of 48 minutes, in a non-overtime game, from a role player. Did Tom Thibodeau forget he was on the floor? The Wolves are 0-2 over the last week and need to pick it up heading into the playoffs. With other Western Conference teams surging like New Orleans and Portland, Minnesota needs to avoid getting stuck in the mud.
17. Los Angeles Lakers (28-35, +3)
The Lakers have been playing some of their best basketball since Dwight Howard was on the team over the last few weeks, at 2-1 over the week. They posted an impressive victory over the Spurs on Saturday, where Lonzo Ball scored 18 points, all on three-pointers. If the Lakers can land a star in one of the next two free agencies, they will be primed to contend in the West. Over the last week, The Lakers are top 10 in offensive rating (112.2) and defensive rating (105.2).
16. Milwaukee Bucks (34-30, -2)
The Bucks have fallen all the way to the eighth seed in the East but still sit five games ahead of the ninth-seeded Pistons. Last week they went 1-3, and their offensive rating was 26th in the NBA (101.3)
15. Denver Nuggets (35-28, -4)
Gary Harris has averaged 29 points per game on 60% field goal shooting, with an impressive 8.5 net rating. The Nuggets won both of their games last week, and look to move up from the eighth seed as the playoff race in the West tightens.
14. Los Angeles Clippers (34-28, +2)
The Clippers are another team that is deep in the West’s tight playoff race. The Clippers have held their own without Blake Griffin, winning seven out of their last 10. Their offense was impressive last week, with a 115.1 offensive rating, good for sixth in the NBA. They sit at ninth in the West, only half a game behind the Nuggets.
13. Philadelphia 76ers (34-28, -)
The Sixers ranked top ten in the NBA in offensive (111.4) and defensive rating (105.1) this week. They sit in the sixth seed, with a comfortable six game cushion over the ninth seed Pistons. Philadelphia could go far in the playoffs if their young stars can stay healthy.
12. San Antonio Spurs (37-27, -5)
The Spurs lost to the hot Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans, and are 1-2 over the last week. Due to the rise of teams like the Pelicans and Trail Blazers, the Spurs have slid down to the fifth seed in the west. The Spurs have lost seven of their last 10 games.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder (37-28, +1)
Russell Westbrook was excellent in three games last week, putting up 34.3 points per game, seven assists, and 12 rebounds, leading the Thunder to a 2-1 record. The Thunder took a big loss to the Trail Blazers, pushing them all the way down to the seventh seed in the West.
10. Washington Wizards (36-28, -4)
The Wizards’ offense has finally started to sputter in the absence of John Wall. Bradley Beal is shooting a measly 31.1% from the field, and 29.9% from the three. Over the last week, the Wizards are 1-3, putting up 99.5 points per game, the third-lowest during that stretch. With John Wall out for a couple more weeks, the Wizards’ offense needs to find itself if they want to stay competitive in the east.
9. Indiana Pacers (37-27, +1)
Despite the Pacers’ 3-1 record over the last week, they have posted the second worst offensive rating at 99.5. They make up for this with the fourth best defense in the NBA, with a 99.1 defensive rating. Indiana has climbed up to the fourth seed in the East and looks to surprise some people in the playoffs.
8. Utah Jazz (34-30, +1)
Since Rudy Gobert’s return, the Jazz have been the best defensive team in the NBA, posting a 95.2 defensive rating. They’re 3-0 over the last week, and Donovan Mitchell has averaged 24 points over the stretch. The Jazz have won eight straight on the road and will need to continue playing like that in the playoffs. Despite Utah’s second-half run, they still sit in 10th, 1.5 games out of the playoffs.
7. New Orleans Pelicans (36-26, +1)
Jrue Holiday has averaged a staggering 24.4 points over the last 10 games, and over the last week, has the fifth-best net rating in the NBA at 15.5. The Pelicans, to the surprise of absolutely everyone, have risen to the fourth seed in the West after their season supposedly ended. Over the last week, the Pelicans are 2-0, and have the fourth best offensive rating in the NBA, at 116.6
6.Cleveland Cavaliers (37-26, -2)
After their hot post-All-Star break stretch Cleveland has come back down to Earth, with a 1-2 record over the week, and are 6-4 over the last 10. Their defensive rating over the last week is 25th in the NBA, at 111.3. The Cavs haven’t beaten a team over .500 since the Thunder on February 13th and will need to correct this heading into the playoffs.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (38-26, +10)
The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the NBA’s hottest team. They’re 3-0 over the last week, and have won seven in a row. They sit in the third seed when just a few weeks ago they were nearly out of the playoffs. Damian Lillard has been on a tear recently, dropping 39 on the Lakers, and has averaged 31.3 points over the last week. Portland’s biggest improvement during this streak has been on defense, where they were second in defensive rating last week (98.0).
4. Boston Celtics (45-20, +1)
The Celtics fought valiantly against the surging Houston Rockets on Saturday, only losing by three. This definitely shows that the Celtics can compete with the best of the best in the playoffs. The Celtics are 2-1 on the week and posted the best offensive rating in the NBA (119.2)
3. Toronto Raptors (45-17, -)
Toronto is 3-0 over the last week, and sit 1.5 games above the Celtics for the first seed in the east. After the injury to O.G. Anunoby, the Raptors’ impressive depth shone through as they did not miss a beat, replacing Anunoby with G-Leaguer Malcolm Miller. Toronto will use its potent bench to wear down teams in the postseason and look to hold onto the all-important first seed until that time rolls around.
2. Golden State Warriors (49-14, -)
The Warriors are quietly on a little streak of their own, winning five straight games. The Warriors seem to have regained focus after their little drag a few weeks ago and have their sights set squarely on their likely postseason battle with the Rockets. Golden State sits only half a game behind the Rockets and will want to grab home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The problem being the Rockets will actually have to lose.
1. Houston Rockets (49-13, -)
The Rockets keep on rolling with two more wins this week, extending their already impressive win streak to 15. They overcame a speed bump against the Celtics on Saturday, a hard-fought three-point win where they were down for much of the night. James Harden, Eric Gordon, and Trevor Ariza all scored over 20 points, and as a team, Houston put up an absurd 49 threes. Houston plays some tough opponents this week in Oklahoma City and Toronto. Will the Rockets still be on this win streak next week, and can they carry this momentum into the playoffs?
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_ and @FPC_Colts.