2020-21 NBA Western Conference Power Rankings: Week 5

2020-21 NBA Western Conference Power Rankings: Week 5

by January 24, 2021 1 comment

Five weeks of the NBA season are already in the books. It’s time to look at how things are breaking down in the Western Conference with another edition of weekly power rankings. Check back every week to see how the rankings change.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves

2020-21 record: 4-11

With Karl-Anthony Towns out due to COVID-19 and D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and Jarrett Culver all not playing to their full potential has led the Timberwolves to another lackluster week. The one positive was a win against New Orleans, their first in five games.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder

2020-21 record: 6-7

Luguentz Dort has been impressive for Oklahoma this season, and it’s clear that he’s a big reason as to why they’re winning the games that they have been. His improvement from the three-point line has especially been apparent. That being said, they haven’t won a game this week because the rest of the team has been quite lackluster so far this season.

13. New Orleans Pelicans

2020-21 record: 5-10

The Pelicans squad has potential, but things are not clicking on the court. Players seem low on confidence, and there are times where it seems the team has not been coached well enough, with players being out of position, and unable to help the team, and the loss against the Timberwolves proved that.

12. Sacramento Kings

2020-21 record: 5-10

Sacramento comes off this week with two losses. While they do show potential, they have a young team, and lack of experience on the roster shows. They also lack a big man, and they’re dying for that support from behind.

11. Houston Rockets

2020-21 record: 6-9

The Rockets are still finding their footing after the James Harden deal, something that may take them a while. March 25th is the trade deadline, and while it’ll be difficult for them to find a Harden replacement, Houston needs to find someone that can bring new qualities to this team.

10. San Antonio Spurs

2020-21 record: 8-8

The Spurs’ loss against the Mavericks this week showed that they struggle, especially near the end of games, to really put pressure on opponents. They rely too much on DeMar DeRozan to get things done, but even then, he isn’t being used to his full potential.

9. Memphis Grizzlies

2020-21 record: 7-6

Xavier Tillman Sr. got his first NBA start this week, and he definitely impressed against the Phoneix Suns, especially defensively. He’s proven to be a fantastic draft pick by the Grizzlies, and it’ll be exciting to see whether he can maintain a starting spot in his rookie year.

8. Portland Trail Blazers

2020-21 record: 8-6

Enes Kanter has had to step up defensively this week, and he’s done well for the Blazers. They also have quite a few injuries that they need to manage before the playoffs, so it’s about learning to play, and win games, in different ways for this team right now.

7. Golden State Warriors

2020-21 record: 8-8

Draymond Green has always been an excellent defender, winning Defensive Player of the Year back in 2017 with the Golden State Warriors. This week, they’ve won two and lost one, and Green has largely been responsible for these wins.

6. Dallas Mavericks

2020-21 record: 8-8

This week, Luka Doncic has also shown his capabilities as a defender, qualities that have not been shown in his game before. This should lead to more wins for the Mavericks in the future, and allow Doncic to be part of the conversation for MVP this season.

5. Denver Nuggets

2020-21 record: 9-7

The current problem with Denver is the fact that Jamal Murray cannot seem to find his form from the NBA bubble, and he’s back to being as inconsistent as he was before the bubble. This has left quite some pressure on Nikola Jokic, who is playing like an MVP but is carrying a massive load right now, that may not be able to last long.

4. Phoenix Suns

2020-21 record: 8-7

The Suns have also had several postponements due to COVID-19 protocols. In their games this week though, Chris Paul has showcased his value to the team and is starting plays and racking up assists.

3. Utah Jazz

2020-21 record: 12-4

The Jazz are a fantastic team with Jordan Clarkson constantly making an impact, and Mike Conley finally getting used to the Jazz’s system. His partnership with Rudy Gobert has started to develop after a rocky start, and things should only go up from here.

2. Los Angeles Clippers

2020-21 record: 11-4

The Clippers, while excellent, have their fair share of critics due to their underperformance last season in the playoffs. Unlike last season though, the Clippers’ attacking play is not as robotic and stagnant, and this week players like Luke Kennard, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard have shown that their capable of more dynamic ball movement. Right now they look better than last season.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

2020-21 record: 13-4

It’s becoming a bit redundant to talk about the Lakers, and how good LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been this season, both in attack, and defense. Outside of those two, the Lakers are largely better than they were last season because of new additions – Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews, and Dennis Schröder, all of whom who have impressed, and filled in their roles quite well.

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