Who rises and who falls in the final NBA power rankings installment of the regular season?
(Team’s record, Change in ranking from last week. Records as of 4/11/18)
30. Phoenix Suns (21-61, -)
The Suns officially have the best odds at landing the number one pick in the 2018 NBA draft. It’s tank season in Phoenix.
29. Memphis Grizzlies (22-60, -)
MarShon Brooks has had a bit of a career revival as of late. Over the Grizzlies’ last five games, he averaged 19.2 points on 52% from three.
28. Dallas Mavericks (24-58, -2)
Dirk Nowitzki is willing to come back and play one more year. The Mavericks will have a top 5 pick to put next to Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. The future in Dallas could be looking bright.
27. Orlando Magic (25-57, -)
The Magic will have a big decision to make this offseason: do they pay Aaron Gordon the money that he wants? Gordon is a restricted free agent and will likely ask for around $20M per year. The Magic are a team with little direction. Matching almost any offer thrown at Gordon is probably a good idea.
26. Atlanta Hawks (24-58, +2)
Taurean Prince has been excellent over the last stretch of the year. Over the last week of the year, he averaged 25.8 points on 43.6% from downtown.
25. Sacramento Kings (27-55, -1)
The Kings finished the season well, beating the Houston Rockets. Sure they didn’t play any starters but a win over the Rockets is a win over the Rockets.
24. Brooklyn Nets (28-54, +1)
Allen Crabbe played like a $19M per year player over the last week of the year. He averaged 25.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, leading the Nets to a 3-1 record.
23. New York Knicks (29-53, -)
The Knicks looked like a fringe playoff team before Kristaps Porzingis went down for the season. With Porzingis and a top 10 pick, they could well have the talent to make the playoffs next year.
22. Chicago Bulls (27-55, -)
The Bulls ended the year on a four-game losing streak. They had a very poor season, but they have quite a bit of talent and a top 10 pick.
21. Charlotte Hornets (36-46, -)
Finally getting meaningful minutes, Malik Monk looked like the player he was expected to be coming out of college. He averaged 20.4 points and four assists on 41.3%.
20. Detroit Pistons (39-43, -2)
Despite missing out on the playoffs, the Pistons finished off the year on a relatively good note. They finished 7-3 over the last 10 games of the season. Detroit is in an interesting position; they are not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to get a high draft pick. To make things worse, they don’t have their first-round pick because of the Blake Griffin deal.
19. Los Angeles Clippers (42-40, +1)
The Clippers ended the season on a disappointing note, missing the playoffs. They finished the season losing four straight games. Over that stretch, they recorded the worst defensive rating in the NBA (120.6).
18. Los Angeles Lakers (35-47, +2)
10-year G-League veteran Andre Ingram made his NBA debut on Tuesday with the Lakers. The 32-year-old rookie scored 19 points on 4-5 from three and three blocks.
17. Milwaukee Bucks (44-38, -3)
The Bucks ended the season on a low note, losing by 45 points to the Philadelphia 76ers. They finish the year as the seventh seed and will play the Boston Celtics in the first round. If Giannis Antetokounmpo can turn his play up to another level, Milwaukee could potentially upset the injured Celtics.
16. Denver Nuggets (46-36, -)
The Nuggets fought until the very end but it was not enough to close out a playoff berth. Denver looked dead in the water but won six straight games to put themselves in this do or die position. The Nuggets have a very bright future and a lot to look forward to in the coming season. Playoff basketball in Denver is surely not too far away.
15. Miami Heat (44-38, -)
The Miami Heat posted an impressive overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, pushing them into the sixth seed in the East, winning the southeast division. Miami will face a red-hot Philadelphia team in their first-round matchup. Two things go Miami’s way here: Joel Embiid may not play the whole series and the Heat’s team-oriented style and excellent coach could have them making it tough on the 76ers.
14. Washington Wizards (43-39, -4)
Washington slid all the way down to the eighth seed due to the injury to John Wall. Wall has been great the last week, averaging 28.5 points per game, 13 rebounds, 6.5 assists, three steals, and 1.5 blocks on 60% from deep. Wall’s play will be imperative if the Wizards want to give Toronto a run for their money.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder (48-34, -2)
Against the Grizzlies, Russell Westbrook became the first NBA player to average a triple-double in multiple seasons, let alone back-to-back ones. He finished the year with averages of 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 10.2 assists. They match up with the Jazz in the first round.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves (47-36, +1)
The Timberwolves squeaked out a playoff berth by the skin of their teeth. They downed the Nuggets, 112-106 in overtime. Taj Gibson was the unsung hero of the game; he shut down Nikola Jokic in the final part of the game. Jokic scored 35 but it was not enough. Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler combined for 57 points in the win. They will play Houston in the first round.
11. San Antonio Spurs (47-35, -4)
The Spurs ended the season with a blowout loss to the Pelicans, 122-98. They have been solid over the last stretch of the year, finishing 5-5 in their last 10 games. They match up with the Golden State Warriors in the first round. Even if Kawhi Leonard does not return, they could give the Warriors without Stephen Curry a run for their money.
10. Indiana Pacers (48-34, -1)
The Pacers have had nothing to play for the last week or so, as they have been locked into the fifth seed. They will match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are not used to having a seed this low. The Cavs swept the Pacers last year in the first round but the Pacers made it close in every single game and this is a very different Indiana team from last season. LeBron James and Indiana have quite a bit of history in recent years in the postseason; expect a good first round series between the teams.
9. New Orleans Pelicans (48-34, +8)
The Pelicans finished the season on a five-game win streak, finishing them at sixth in the West. They beat the Spurs to end the year, pushing them up into the sixth seed. They face Portland in the first round. Anthony Davis could have a very easy series offensively; the Blazers do not have an elite defensive big man to reliable stifle the brow.
8. Utah Jazz (48-34, +4)
Despite their loss to Portland to end the season, sliding the Jazz down to the fifth seed, they enter the playoffs on a high. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are the heart and soul of this Jazz team and have led them to this point. They have a tough first-round matchup with the OKC Thunder. Keeping Westbrook and Paul George in check will be key if the Jazz want to make it out of the first round.
7. Golden State Warriors (58-24, -1)
The Warriors head into the postseason with very little momentum. They are without their superstar point guard, Steph Curry, for at least the first round. The Warriors went 1-3 over their last week of the year, losing to Indiana, New Orleans, and Utah in a blowout to end the year. This will be the most difficult postseason for the Warriors in quite some time. They match up in round one with San Antonio, who will surely put up a fight against them. Only time will tell how Golden State will fare in the playoffs this year.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (49-33, -1)
The Portland Trail Blazers, despite finishing the season with an average 5-5 record over the last 10 games, finish with the three seed. They finished the year well, beating the Jazz by nine. The matchup with the Pelicans in the first round. The matchup between MVP candidates Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis will be one to watch.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32, +3)
The Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves as the fourth seed in the East, the lowest LeBron James has found himself in quite some time. Cleveland rematches the Indiana Pacers, who they swept last season in the first round. The Cavs completely retooled their roster this deadline in hopes of making it deep into the postseason. This could be LeBron James’ most difficult first-round matchup in quite some time, though.
4. Boston Celtics (55-27, -)
Injuries continue to plague the Boston Celtics. Kyrie Irving is out for the playoffs and Al Horford, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart all have injury concerns. They match up with the Milwaukee Bucks in round one, who could be a fairly tough matchup for them. If they can contain Giannis Antetokounmpo, they will win the series. But alas, this is easier said than done.
3. Toronto Raptors (59-23, -1)
The Raptors ended their season with a hard-fought loss to the Miami Heat, keeping them away from the illustrious 60 win mark. They still broke their franchise record for wins in a season and locked up the one seed in the East. They will matchup with the Washington Wizards in the first round. Can the Raptors overcome their past playoff woes and reach the finals this year?
2. Philadelphia 76ers (52-30, +1)
The 76ers head into the postseason riding a 16 game win streak and a blowout win over Milwaukee. Markelle Fultz recorded his first NBA triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Just two years ago, the Sixers won 10 games. Now, they sit in the third seed as one of the favorites to make it out of the East. They play the Miami Heat in their first-round matchup.
1. Houston Rockets (65-17, -)
The Rockets head into the postseason the best team in the NBA. Houston plays the Timberwolves in the first round, who could be a fairly tough matchup due to the star power on both sides. No matter what happens, Houston has their sights set on an eventual meeting with Golden State at some point.