NBA Power Rankings Week 6: What Each Team is Thankful for on Thanksgiving

NBA Power Rankings Week 6: What Each Team is Thankful for on Thanksgiving

by November 26, 2019 0 comments

It’s the holiday season, and every team has something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

1. Los Angeles Lakers
Previous: 1
Record: 14-2

The Lakers continued their seven-game winning streak last week as they hung on late to defeat Ja Morant and the Grizzlies. After some dark years following the end of prime Kobe, the Lakers can be thankful they are back to glory. With LeBron and Anthony Davis, they are a championship contender.  

They are thankful for: Being back to glory

2. Los Angeles Clippers
Previous: 2
Record: 12-5

For the first time in their existence, the Clippers are a top contender to win the NBA Finals. Thanks to the acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, they are no longer the Lakers’ little brother, and an inter-city Western Conference Finals would be fun to watch.  

They are thankful for: “A fun guy”

3. Milwaukee Bucks
Previous: 4
Record: 13-3 

After an underwhelming start to the season, Milwaukee has won seven straight games, and are currently atop the Eastern Conference. At age 25, Giannis Antetokounmpo is already arguably the greatest Buck of all time. Coming off an MVP season, he has only gotten better, improving in almost every stat across the board. 

They are thankful for: The Greek Freak

4. Denver Nuggets
Previous: 5
Record: 12-3

At seven feet tall and 250 pounds, Nikola Jokic is an enigma. He plays his game like he is a point guard as he leads all centers in assists and has recorded more triple-doubles than dunks since the start of last season. From a chubby, unathletic kid to an NBA superstar, Jokic is like no other player we’ve seen before.  

They are thankful for: A 250-pound guard 

5. Boston Celtics
Previous: 3
Record: 11-4

Thankfully for Boston, disaster was avoided as Kemba Walker’s injury is viewed as day-to-day. He had to be stretchered off the court Friday with a head/neck injury. Kyrie Irving often gets scapegoated in Boston for the downfall of last year’s team, but this year’s team really does seem to gel more. Jaylen Brown especially has benefitted from Irving’s departure.   

They are thankful for: Irving leaving

6. Philadelphia 76ers
Previous: 7
Record: 11-5

In Jimmy Butler’s return to Philly, Josh Richardson balled out against his former team, putting up 32 points in a blowout win. Everyone in Philadelphia is appreciative of what Sam Hinkie did. He was ultimately forced out by Adam Silver, but not before he acquired several draft picks, including Joel Embiid. Trust the Process! 

They are thankful for: The Sam Hinkie days 

7. Utah Jazz
Previous: 8
Record: 11-5

The Jazz could have been in for some dark seasons after Gordon Hayward left Utah for Boston. However, Donovan Mitchell took charge and changed the course of this franchise, avoiding a rebuild, and becoming a championship contender. He’s easily one of the most fun players to watch as well. 

They are thankful for: Donovan Mitchell racking up his body count

8. Dallas Mavericks
Previous: 12
Record: 11-5

The Mavericks immediately found the face of the franchise in Luka Doncic following the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki. During November, he is averaging 32.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 10.8 APG. That’s incredible for a 20-year-old far from his prime.   

They are thankful for: A 20-year-old MVP candidate

9. Toronto Raptors
Previous: 10
Record: 11-4

The Raptors had a great week, going 3-0 with significant contributions from Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. While the Raptors are undoubtedly a solid team, they aren’t at the same level as some of the other elite squads. That being said, they can always look back on their year with Kawhi Leonard and the championship he brought them. Nobody will ever be able to take that away from them.  

They are thankful for: The days of Kawhi Leonard

10. Houston Rockets
Previous: 6
Record: 11-6

The Rockets fall this week following three consecutive losses to playoff-caliber teams. James Harden’s stepback continues to be one of the most unstoppable moves in the NBA, and it has helped make him one of the highest pure scorers this decade.   

They are thankful for: James Harden’s step-back

11.Miami Heat
Previous: 9
Record: 11-4

Erik Spoelstra is one of the best player developers in the NBA and is a huge reason why the Heat are as good as they are. Who would have thought Kendrick Nunn would be a ROY candidate? What about Hassan Whiteside becoming a top defender for a few years after several years in China? Or Duncan Robinson becoming a sharpshooter? Spoelstra is incredible with player development, and it helped Miami stay relevant after LeBron James left.  

They are thankful for: Erik Spoelstra’s way with Development

12. Indiana Pacers
Previous: 13
Record: 9-6

Once Roy Hibbert’s career went down the drain and Paul George wanted out, the Pacers could have been headed for some dark days. However, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis have been great for this team, and are a big reason they avoided a rebuild.  

They are thankful for: Escaping a rebuild

13. Phoenix Suns
Previous: 11
Record: 8-8

That’s right. I’m talking about Aron Baynes. He was acquired from the Celtics during the draft and, with his improved jumper, is a legitimate MIP candidate. If you didn’t know already, he also has one of the best fan accounts on Twitter 

They are thankful for: The man with the best fan account on Twitter

14. Brooklyn Nets
Previous: 17
Record: 8-8

With Kyrie Irving out due to a shoulder issue, Spencer Dinwiddie stepped up and led the Nets to three straight wins en route to earning Player of the Week. While the Nets aren’t going to win a title this year, they may win soon with Kevin Durant due to return next season.   

They are thankful for: A possible championship in the future

15. Minnesota Timberwolves
Previous: 14
Record: 8-8

Andrew Wiggins has always been questioned for his lack of heart. However, he was irked by ESPN’s leaving him out of their top 100 NBA players list. Could this have been the motivation he needed? Who knows, but he’s shown it on the court, putting up career-highs across the board.  

They are thankful for: Andrew Wiggins finding motivation

16. Orlando Magic
Previous: 15
Record: 6-9

Markelle Fultz finally looks like he may be able to turn the tide of his career, as he has scored double-digits in each of the Magic’s last four games. Jonathan Isaac has had significant improvement on the defensive end this season, as he is second in the NBA in blocks, averaging 2.8 per game, behind only Anthony Davis.   

They are thankful for: Jonathan Isaac swatting away shots left and right

17. Sacramento Kings
Previous: 22
Record: 7-8

After an abysmal start to the season, Sacramento has gotten back on track as they’ve won seven of their last 10 games. With De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, the Kings may be able to snap their 13-year streak of missing the playoffs, as long as they stay healthy.   

They are thankful for: A solid young core

18. New Orleans Pelicans
Previous: 21
Record: 6-11

As I’ve noted before, I think Jaxson Hayes has an incredibly bright future. His rim-runs and attempted murders at the rim make him an extremely fun rookie to watch. With Zion Williamson coming back in the next month, the Pelicans may be able to make a run at the playoffs.   

They are thankful for: Their future with Jaxson Hayes and Zion Williamson

19. Portland Trail Blazers
Previous: 16
Record: 5-12

Portland’s stretch of lousy basketball continued as they went 0-4 last week, and they now possess the 14th seed currently in the West. Despite their struggles, they still have a superstar in Damian Lillard, so there’s time to make a playoff run.   

They are thankful for: The time left in the season

20. Oklahoma City Thunder
Previous: 18
Record: 5-10

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looks like a perennial all-star, and the Thunder may have pieces to build around for the future.   

They are thankful for: They have pieces to build around

21. San Antonio Spurs
Previous: 19
Record: 6-11

The Spurs finally ended their eight-game losing streak on Saturday with a win over the Knicks. The Spurs’ playoff run may be nearing its end, so let’s take a moment to appreciate Greg Popovich’s legacy. Under Pop, San Antonio has made the playoffs in 22 straight seasons and has won five championships.  

They are thankful for: Greg Popovich 

22. Chicago Bulls
Previous: 27
Record: 6-11

The Bulls were able to pull off a miraculous comeback against the Hornets on Saturday after they scored six in the final 20 seconds of the game after being down five. Zach Lavine hit a game-winner, and also knocked down an incredible 13 threes. With him, Coby White, and Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls may have a bright future.  

They are thankful for: Zach Lavine’s flashes of greatness

23. Memphis Grizzlies
Previous: 23
Record: 5-10

While the Grizzlies aren’t there yet, they can certainly be excited and grateful for their future. Ja Morant is an early ROY candidate, as he is putting up 19.1 PPG and 6.0 APG on 47.2 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from behind the arc.  

They are thankful for: A perennial all-star point guard

24. Charlotte Hornets
Previous: 20
Record: 6-11

After a surprisingly hot start, the Hornets have come back down to earth, losing their last four and eight of their previous 10. A huge reason they’ve been respectable this season if because of the unlikely rise of Devonte’ Graham. In his second season out of Kansas, he has upped his scoring from 4.7 to 18.2 PPG and earned a spot in the starting lineup.  

They are thankful for: Devonte’Graham’s MIP bid

25. Detroit Pistons
Previous: 24
Record: 5-11

If it weren’t for Derrick Rose’s signing in Detroit, the Pistons would likely be the most unwatchable team in the NBA. Rose, however, has regained some of the quickness he possessed in Chicago and is shooting a career-best 53.1 percent from the field.  

They are thankful for: The Derrick Rose revival

26. Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous: 26
Record: 5-11

While the Cavaliers aren’t loaded with talent, they’ve shown this season they can’t just be a scheduled win. John Beilein has his guys playing the right way, and Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson have both revitalized their careers this season.  

They are thankful for: John Beilein having his team playing tough

27. Washington Wizards
Previous: 28
Record: 5-9

The Wizards had a solid week, going 2-1 with wins over Charlotte and San Antonio. John Wall is holding the franchise back in so many ways, but Bradley Beal has stepped up this season, averaging career-highs across the board. Without him, the Wizards would win less than 15 games this season. 

They are thankful for: Bradley Beal carrying the load

28. Atlanta Hawks
Previous: 25
Record: 4-12

The Hawks continue to struggle without John Collins, and they are 2-9 without him on the court. But Trae Young is one of the most entertaining players to watch, as he can pull up from anywhere in the halfcourt. With their young core, the Hawks will be fun to watch for years to come. 

They are thankful for: Trae Young pulling up from the logo

29. Golden State Warriors
Previous: 29
Record: 3-14

The Warriors’ downfall continued last week as they remain the worst team in the NBA by record. That being said, they will be relevant again next season with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry healthy.  

They are thankful for: Next season

30. New York Knicks
Previous: 30 Record: 4-13

The Knicks remain last on this list for the third straight week after going 1-3 last week. However, I want to take a moment to appreciate Mike Breen. The man who covers the NBA Finals every year and works for the Knicks is easily the best in the NBA, and possibly in any sport. His best catchphrase is yelling ‘bang’ whenever someone hits a clutch three. Never change, Mike Breen. 

They are thankful for: Having the best announcer in sports


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