Who rises and who falls in this week’s power rankings installment?
(Team’s record, Change in ranking from last week. Records as of 3/26/18)
30. Phoenix Suns (19-56, -2)
The new losing streak king of the NBA, the Suns have lost 12 straight games. Their offensive rating is last in the NBA (95.9), and their defensive rating is third to last (113.5).
29. Memphis Grizzlies (20-54, +1)
Memphis posted an impressive win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 101-93. Wayne Selden Jr. put up 23 points, four assists, and three steals off of the bench for the Grizzlies. He is a bright spot on a Memphis roster devoid of future pieces.
28. Atlanta Hawks (21-53, -1)
Over the last 10 games, the Hawks have been the worst offensive rebounding team in the NBA at an 18.1 ORB%. They are 1-9 over the last 10 and are on a three-game skid.
27. Dallas Mavericks (22-51, -4)
The Mavericks are on a five-game skid and firmly in the top pick conversation, and Dirk Nowitzki says that he wants to play next season. Oh, and the Mavericks beat the Grizzlies by 34. Tank wars is fun.
26. Orlando Magic (22-51, +3)
The Magic’s next five games are incredibly easy, as they play the Nets, Bulls, Hawks, Knicks, and Mavericks. Wins here could be detrimental to their draft position.
25. Brooklyn Nets (23-51, -)
The Nets actually had the 13th best offensive rating in the NBA last week (108.1). They’re 3-7 over their last 10 games. D’Angelo Russell put up a triple-double against the Raptors, with 18 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds.
24. Sacramento Kings (24-50, -2)
After posting impressive, back to back wins against the Warriors and Heat, they have dropped three of their last four. Their lone win came against the Atlanta Hawks, which isn’t much of an accomplishment.
23. Chicago Bulls (24-49, +1)
The Bulls are 0-3 over the last week and are currently on a five-game losing skid. During the week, they placed last in defensive rating (127), last in net rating (-25.1), and 25th in offensive rating (101.9).
22. New York Knicks (27-48, +4)
The Knicks went 1-3 last week, but their offensive rating ranked 17th in the NBA (106.1 ORTG). This is much in part to the stellar play of Trey Burke, who has averaged 23 points, 6.5 assists, and 1.5 steals over the last four games. After being a top pick and not living up to expectations, his time in the G-League and with New York has helped to revive his career.
21. Los Angeles Lakers (32-41, -3)
Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson are the only rookies in NBA history to have averaged seven assists and boards during their rookie year. Lonzo is on pace to join them; he is currently averaging seven rebounds and 7.3 assists, to go along with 10.2 points.
20. Detroit Pistons (34-40, -)
Over the last week, the Pistons are 3-1 and have the best defensive rating in the NBA at 93. they sit five games out of the eighth seed in the east and will need to play this way if they want a shot at the postseason. Their remaining eight opponents are all relatively easy except for the Raptors and Wizards.
19. Charlotte Hornets (34-41, -)
The Hornets, although out of the playoff race, have the third best offensive (116.5) and defensive rating (97.9), and the best net rating (18.6) in the NBA over the last week, where they went 4-0. Kemba Walker looks like he always does in March, putting up 31.3 points on 48.7% from deep on the week. Too bad Kemba won’t be going to any big dance this season.
18. Los Angeles Clippers (39-34, -3)
The Clippers are an average 5-5 over their last 10 games and sit two games behind the eighth-seeded Timberwolves. They play some tough teams going forward, including the Trailblazers, Spurs, and Nuggets.
17. Denver Nuggets (40-34, -1)
The Nuggets sit in the ninth seed, 1.5 games behind the eight seed Timberwolves. Their offense is great as usual, as they rank fourth in offensive rating (114.2) over the last week. Their defense has been ok, but nothing great, as we expect from this Denver team. They have an insanely tough stretch coming up soon, playing the Raptors, Pacers, Bucks, Timberwolves twice, Clippers, Blazers, and Thunder to end the year. Playoffs are looking unlikely for Denver at this point.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (42-33, +1)
The Timberwolves took an embarrassing loss to the bottomfeeding Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, by eight. This team has found their stride a bit following Jimmy Butler’s injury, but their defense has taken a major hit. Over the last 10 games, their defensive rating is 25th in the NBA (113) and they are 4-6 in those games.
15. Miami Heat (39-35, )
The Heat ranked top 10 in offensive (110.4) and net rating (5.1) over the last week, and top 15 in defensive rating (105.3). They play the Bulls, Nets, Knicks, and Hawks twice, so playoffs seem like a guarantee in Miami.
14. Milwaukee Bucks (39-34, -1)
The Bucks beat a good Spurs team by three and are on a two-game winning streak. LaMarcus Aldridge dropped 35 on the Bucks in a loss; they have struggled mightily to guard talented bigs as of late. The Bucks are 23rd in defensive rating over the last 10 (111.9), but second in offensive rating over the last week (117.1).
13. Washington Wizards (40-33, -)
The Wizards have lost three in a row before beating the Spurs today. Over that stretch, they had the 26th best offensive rating in the NBA (99.9). They sorely miss John Wall on both ends of the floor, despite the success of Tomas Satoransky. Wall is practicing but has no current timetable for return.
12. Indiana Pacers (43-31, -)
Just two weeks ago, the Pacers improbably held the third seed in the east. They have fallen off a bit, now in the fifth seed, two games ahead of the Wizards. Indiana has an immensely tough schedule to end the season, playing Golden State twice, Toronto, Denver, and the Clippers. Over the last week, they went 2-1, with the 23rd offensive rating in the NBA (104.2).
11. New Orleans Pelicans (43-31, -1)
The Pelicans have fallen back to Earth after their hot streak earlier, and sit at 5-5 over the last 10 in the fifth seed. They have lost back to back games to the Blazers and Rockets, and it doesn’t get any easier. They play the Cavs, Thunder, Warriors, Spurs, and Clippers to end the season.
10. San Antonio Spurs (43-31, -4)
In the middle of the Kawhi Leonard injury debacle, the Spurs have found a way to keep afloat and win games. They were 2-1 last week, and LaMarcus Aldridge has really stepped up as the leader of this team. Over the week, he has averaged 35.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and two blocks per game.
9. Utah Jazz (42-32, -)
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have willed the Utah Jazz to this point, where they are firmly in the Western Conference playoffs. They’re 8-2 over the last 10, and just beat the Warriors who played without any of their big four. This Jazz team is defensive, athletic, and has a scoring leader; watch out for them to make a top seed work come playoff time.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder (44-31, -)
Oklahoma City lost a thriller to the red-hot Portland Trailblazers, but they are still 7-3 over their last 10 and have the fourth seed in the West. Despite this, they sit only two games clear of the eighth-seeded Timberwolves.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (44-29, -)
LeBron James and the Cavaliers look to be getting back into playoff form. They are on a five-game win streak and have found their way back into the third seed. Over the last five games, they lead the NBA in offensive rating (122.4) but 23rd in defensive rating (112.6). LeBron James is averaging 34.4 points, 11.2 assists, and 9.2 rebounds, trying to lead his team back to the finals.
6. Golden State Warriors (54-19, -2)
“We’re perfectly capable of winning and beating anybody, regular season or playoffs, anybody in the league without Steph.” Steve Kerr is definitely confident in his team, for good reason. Even without Curry, Golden State on paper is the most dangerous team in the NBA, and they are still title favorites. Against the Jazz, they played without Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. If these injuries keep up, the Warriors could definitely be denied their fourth straight finals appearance, especially with the emergence of teams like Houston and Portland.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (45-28, -3)
Portland has looked vulnerable over the last week, going 1-2. Their defensive rating is 27th in the NBA at 115.9. They are still 8-2 over the last 10, and in sole possession of the three seed in the west. They’re the second-best offensive rebounding team in the NBA last week, with a 29.5 ORB%. Their defense and rebounding are improved overall, and to go with their dynamic offense, could allow them to make a deep playoff run.
4. Philadelphia 76ers (43-30, +7)
Former number one pick Markelle Fultz returned to the court on Tuesday, after Philly clinched a playoff spot. In a win against Denver, he put up 10 points, eight assists, and four rebounds on 5-13 shooting. Him returning to form could be a huge boon for the Sixers who are already one of the NBA’s hottest teams, on a seven-game win streak.
3. Boston Celtics (51-23, +2)
Amidst all of the injuries, the Celtics have proved that they are still for real, even without the presence of Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown. They are on a four-game win streak, and over that streak, they rank fifth in the NBA in defensive rating (100). The streak includes two very impressive wins over the Thunder and Trailblazers, two of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. Marcus Morris has been a revelation over the last three games, averaging 23.7 points, on an absurd 68.8% from three.
2. Toronto Raptors (54-20, +1)
After dethroning the Houston Rockets, the Raptors have dropped games to the Thunder, Cavaliers, and Clippers, setting them at 7-3 over the last 10 games. They sit a comfortable three games ahead of the Celtics, and play the Celtics twice before the season ends. Those two games could be pivotal for the Raptors to keep their number one seed. This more defensive, team-oriented style has benefitted the Raptors greatly this season.
1. Houston Rockets (60-14, -)
After hitting a quick speed bump against the Raptors, the Rockets are back streaking again; they’ve won nine straight games, starting up a new streak. This team heads into the playoffs as the potential favorite to win it all, especially if the Warriors’ injuries persist. Harden should win his first MVP award this year, averaging 30.7 points, 8.7 assists, and 5.4 rebounds. He’ll have to be just as great in the playoffs for the Rockets to win it all for the first time since 1995.
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_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.