Week 16 NBA Power Rankings: Every Team’s Best Off-Season Move

Feb 2, 2020; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives past Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) in the fourth quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

With the All-Star break near, it’s time to look back at every team’s best move from the off-season. Here is the NBA’s Week 16 Power Rankings. 

  1. Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 42-7

Previous: 1

While Khris Middleton is far from elite, the Bucks were smart to give him a max deal and keep him with the team. He fits perfectly next to Giannis Antetokounmpo and earned his second straight All-Star appearance this season. 

Best move: Giving Middleton the max

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

Record: 37-11

Previous: 2

The mistake the Lakers made here was keeping Kyle Kuzma instead of Brandon Ingram. However, having Davis and LeBron on the same team makes the Lakers arguably the favorite to come out of the West. 

Best move: Trading for Anthony Davis

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

Record: 34-15

Previous: 4

While the Clippers have faced bumps in the road this season, particularly with injuries, they are still a championship contender. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have combined to put up 50.3 points and 3.3 steals this season. 

Best move: Acquiring Leonard and George

  1. Toronto Raptors

Record: 36-14

Previous: 6

Things could have gone wrong for the reigning champs after they lost Kawhi Leonard, but everyone on the roster has stepped up. Terence Davis went undrafted out of Ole Miss but has carved out a role on this roster, averaging 7.7 points in 16.8 minutes per game this season.  

Best move: Signing UDFA Terence Davis

  1. Denver Nuggets

Record: 34-16

Previous: 5

As part of their attempted roster blow-up, OKC shipped Jerami Grant to the Nuggets in exchange for a first-round pick in July. Grant has played well, especially following Paul Millsap’s injury, averaging 13.6 points per game and 1.4 blocks since the start of January.  

Best move: Trading for Jerami Grant

  1. Boston Celtics

Record: 34-15

Previous: 8

Kemba Walker has been great for the Celtics, averaging 22.0 points and 5.0 assists on 43.9 percent from the field this season. Unlike Kyrie Irving, who was known to be a toxic locker room presence, Walker has been a true team leader this season.  

Best move: Replacing Irving with Walker

  1. Miami Heat

Record: 34-15

Previous: 7

While Jimmy Butler has been a great signing, the steal of the off-season so far has been the signing of Kendrick Nunn. A G-League player last season, Nunn came out of nowhere to average 16.0 points on 46.0 percent from the field as a 24-year-old rookie. 

Best move: Finding Kendrick Nunn

  1. Utah Jazz

Record: 32-17

Previous: 3

While Mike Conley hasn’t played well this season, Bojan Bogdanovic has quietly had an excellent season. Not only is he averaging 21.2 points, but the Jazz also play much better with him on the court. Currently, they are 15.2 points per 100 possessions better with Bogdanovic in the game.  

Best move: Signing Bojan Bogdanovic

  1. Indiana Pacers

Record: 31-19

Previous: 10

In a salary dump, Phoenix gave T.J. Warren to the Pacers for free. Warren has played well, averaging 18.1 points this season. 

Best move: Trading for T.J. Warren

  1. Dallas Mavericks

Record: 31-19

Previous: 11

While Dallas made some questionable moves during the summer, Seth Curry has played well this season. He’s averaging 10.8 points and shooting the three-ball at a high clip, fitting in well next to Luka Doncic.  

Best move: Signing Seth Curry

  1. Houston Rockets

Record: 31-18

Previous: 13

Russell Westbrook is a horrible fit for the D’Antoni system, and the Rockets have taken a step back from last season. Chris Clemons, however, was a solid UDFA find as he is capable of providing the occasional spark off the bench. 

Best move: Signing UDFA Chris Clemons

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Record: 30-20

Previous: 12

The Thunder traded for the future and upgraded at point guard in the same deal. Westbrook has made the Rockets worse while Chris Paul has played very well this season next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.  

Best move: Trading Russell Westbrook

  1. Philadelphia 76ers

Record: 31-20

Previous: 9

For a while, it looked like Furkan Korkmaz was going to sign a deal to play overseas this season. However, Elton Brand brought him back and he’s improved as a scorer, taking his three-point clip from 32.6 percent to 38.4 percent this season. 

Best move: Bringing Furkan Korkmaz back

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 25-25

Previous: 14

Ja Morant was an obvious pick at No. 2, and Brandon Clarke was a steal at No. 21. The Grizzlies are in playoff position and have a bright future. 

Best move: Winning the draft

  1. Portland Trail Blazers

Record: 23-27

Previous: 17

After an underwhelming season in Miami, Hassan Whiteside is having arguably the best year of his career with the Trail Blazers this season. It will be interesting to see how his role changes when Jusuf Nurkic returns from injury. 

Best move: Trading for Hassan Whiteside

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Record: 22-26

Previous: 18

The Spurs had a terrible off-season. Their big move was moving Davis Bertans to get Marcus Morris Sr. However, Morris Sr. went to the Knicks and the Spurs signed DeMarre Carroll, who hasn’t made any impact. Trey Lyles has been fine for the Spurs after signing a two-year, $11 million contract in July.  

Best move: Signing Trey Lyles

  1. New Orleans Pelicans

Record: 20-30

Previous: 15

The Pelicans had to trade Anthony Davis, but they got an All-Star in Brandon Ingram out of it. That’s a win for this team. 

Best move: Getting Ingram out of Davis

  1. Brooklyn Nets

Record: 22-27

Previous: 19

In the short-term, none of the Nets’ off-season moves have paid off yet. However, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will make up one of the best duos in the NBA next season when Durant returns from injury. 

Best move: Signing Irving and Durant

  1. Phoenix Suns

Record: 20-30

Previous: 21

Phoenix acquired Aron Baynes from Boston as the Celtics cleared cap space to give Kemba Walker a max deal. At age 33, Baynes is having the best season of his career and has added a three-point shot.  

Best move: Acquiring Aron Baynes

  1. Orlando Magic

Record: 22-28

Previous: 16

Orlando had a horrendous offseason highlighted by drafting Chuma Okeke at No. 16 (torn ACL) and giving Al-Farouq Aminu, who has taken a step back this season, a big deal. Nikola Vucevic may not be worth $100 million, but he’s helping Orlando fight for a lower-end playoff seed in the East. 

Best move: Re-Signing Nikola Vucevic

  1. Detroit Pistons

Record: 18-34

Previous: 22

Besides the talent Derrick Rose brings, he has added a vital trade asset to this Pistons team. The Lakers and 76ers, among others, are reported to be interested in trading for the former MVP.   

Best move: Signing Derrick Rose

  1. Washington Wizards

Record: 17-32

Previous: 23 

Davis Bertans has been excellent this season, and the Wizards traded nothing for him. He may be flipped for a first-round pick at the trade deadline, which would help the Wizards gain more assets.  

Best move: Trading for Bertans

  1. Chicago Bulls

Record: 19-33

Previous: 20

While no one has talked much about him, Daniel Gafford may be a steal at No. 38 in the draft. He’s a beast defensively, leading all rookies with a 4.1 DPBM this season. 

Best move: Drafting Daniel Gafford 38th overall 

  1. Sacramento Kings

Record: 18-31

Previous: 24

Before suffering a shoulder injury, Richaun Holmes was having the best season of his career at age 26. The Kings are 7.1 points per 100 possessions better when Holmes is on the floor.  

Best move: Signing Richaun Holmes

  1. Atlanta Hawks

Record: 13-38

Previous: 28

Before missing time due to a shoulder injury, Jabari Parker was having a very nice season. When John Collins missed time due to his suspension, Parker stepped up and showed why he was the second pick in the 2014 draft. 

Best move: Signing Jabari Parker

  1. New York Knicks

Record: 15-36

Previous: 27

Marcus Morris Sr. is having the best season of his career, shooting a blazing 43.8 percent from deep this season. He has lots of trade value, and the Knicks may be able to flip him for assets at the deadline. 

Best move: Signing Marcus Morris Sr.

  1. Charlotte Hornets

Record: 16-34

Previous: 25

“Scary” Terry Rozier has played very well after a slow start to the season, while Devonte’ Graham has taken a step back. Rozier averaged 21.3 points per game on 44.7 percent from the field in January.  

Best move: Signing Terry Rozier

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Record: 15-33

Previous: 26

The Timberwolves did not make many relevant moves in the off-season besides small bench upgrades. Of those upgrades, Napier has been the best, earning a spot in the starting lineup following the Jeff Teague trade. 

Best move: Trading for Shabazz Napier

  1. Golden State Warriors

Record: 12-39

Previous: 30

For everything that’s gone wrong with this team, Eric Paschall out of Villanova has played well for the 41st pick in the draft. His 13.5 points rank sixth among rookies, ahead of Tyler Herro.   

Best move: Drafting Eric Paschall 41st overall

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 13-38

Previous: 29

The Cavaliers did not make any relevant moves besides waiving J.R. Smith. The move saved the Cavaliers a lot of money, giving them more flexibility at the trade deadline.  

Best move: Waiving J.R. Smith

 

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