NBA Power Rankings: 11/19-11/25

NBA Power Rankings: 11/19-11/25

by November 26, 2021 1 comment

Another week has gone by in the NBA season and there seems to be some difference in the Eastern and Western Conference. The Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and the Utah Jazz seem to be separating from the rest of the conference and possibly the rest of the NBA. In the Eastern Conference, while the Heat holds the top point differential, there does not seem to be the top team that is claiming anything right now. We are a quarter of the way through the season and things are only going to get more interesting from here.

30. Houston Rockets (+0)

Things are getting really ugly in Houston. There are rumors that head coach Stephen Silas could be on his way out and the team has the worst point differential in the NBA. The losses are starting to mount up and there has not been anything interesting about this team lately. Christian Wood has been disappointing and could be a trade candidate later this season. This is the worst team in the league and it is not close.

29. New Orleans Pelicans (+0)

At this point in the season for New Orleans, it might not matter if or when Zion Williamson comes back. This team has fallen so far behind and it is going to be difficult to climb back into the playoff race. The Pelicans have been one of the worst second-half teams in the NBA and that has contributed to them blowing leads in some games. Williamson can’t come back soon enough, but it ultimately is not going to matter.

28. Orlando Magic (+0)

These rankings are similar to last week’s so far, but that is because the bottom teams in the NBA have had terrible weeks. The two things that Orlando can be thankful for this Thanksgiving is that they have two wins over the New York Knicks, but that’s about it. Rookie Jalen Suggs is still struggling and not shooting the ball well. Wendell Carter Jr has been a bright spot and is surprisingly shooting the ball well from outside the arc. Orlando fans are hoping that Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz can return soon and give them something else to cheer about.

27. Detroit Pistons (-1)

The Pistons had a highlight this week when Cade Cunningham notched a triple-double, which Pistons fans hope is the first of many. Detroit had a trio of tough games lately, losing to Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Miami Heat. Unlike the Pelicans, Magic, and Rockets, Detroit is not getting blown out every weekend. This is one of the NBA’s worst offenses and that is something that does not look like it is going to improve. A potential move that could be made is trading Jerami Grant to a contender for some assets.

26. San Antonio Spurs (+1)

The Spurs are playing a really tough stretch of games and it is not going well for one of the youngest teams in the league. San Antonio came close to knocking off the Phoenix Suns and ending their winning streak, but they also got blown out by Minnesota. Spurs fans should be encouraged by the way that Jakob Poeltl and Devin Vassell are playing, but truth be told, this is one of the harder teams in the NBA to watch. The schedule is only going to get tougher from here and the Spurs may see a bigger tumble in the power rankings in the future.

25. Sacramento Kings (-3)

The Kings made the move and fired head coach Luke Walton this week, a move long overdue. This team might be in a free fall the rest of the season and the organization needs to figure out where they want to head in the future. Sacramento might be blowing it up in the near future. This team has been more competitive than last year’s team, but the playoffs still seem like a long shot at this point for the Kings. Tough losses to the Jazz and the Raptors this week hurt and the schedule is only going to get tougher from here for the Kings.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder (+1)

The Thunder have been slowly creeping up in these rankings, but 24 could be the ceiling. While they might have won six games already, this team is profiling like a team that has won less. Oklahoma City has a -7.3 point differential for the season and some regression is to be expected. However, the Thunder have been competitive against some of the better teams in the NBA. They played the Hawks competitively at times on Monday night and did notch a win against the lowly Rockets recently. This team plays hard every night and that is important for a team that is seemingly trying to lose as many games as possible. It was also a nice week for rookie Josh Giddey.

23. Indiana Pacers (+0)

The Pacers continue to be one of the more solid teams in the league that can’t seem to be more than that. They have a positive point differential but have a losing record. This team was almost a couple of spots lower, but a couple of wins over the Pelicans and the Bulls keep them in the 23rd spot. The blowout win over the Bulls was the most impressive win of the season for the Pacers.

22. Toronto Raptors (-2)

The Raptors are not playing their best basketball right now. The team is coming off of a stretch where they lost six of seven games and it has not gotten much better from there. A win over the Kings was nice, but it was after two losses to Utah and Portland. Toronto also lost to the Warriors this week. Pascal Siakam is playing some good basketball right now and that was a bit unexpected coming off of his injury. This might not be a playoff team, but they are a tough out every night.

21. Memphis Grizzlies (+0)

The Grizzlies have won three of their last four games and are starting to play better. The thing that is keeping Memphis from rising any further is their consistency. While they had a nice win over Utah, it came after losing by 43 points to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis has the fourth-worst point differential in the Western Conference and that is just not going to get it done moving forward. Ja Morant is deserving of some All-NBA consideration right now, but that is the only consistent thing about this team at the moment.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (+4)

Timberwolves fans might be scared to hear this, but it is looking increasingly likely they could be a sizeable favorite to make the play-in tournament and the playoffs. Minnesota is separating itself from the bottom tier of the Western Conference and should be able to stay ahead of teams like Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. Karl-Anthony Towns continues to play well. as does Anthony Edwards. Jarred Vanderbilt has been an offensive rebounding machine. Minnesota seems to be heading in the right direction at the moment.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (-8)

It was a bad feeling doing this to the Cavaliers, but this is a team heading in the wrong direction due to injuries. After a hot start, Cleveland lost Collin Sexton for the season, then star rookie Evan Mobley got injured. Cleveland is currently sporting a losing streak and it might be heading downhill from here. The Cavs were one of the best stories of the early season and it is going to be interesting if guys like Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen can keep the team afloat until Mobley can make his return.

18. Los Angeles Lakers (-3)

The Lakers are the most disappointing team in the NBA right now and it is not particularly close. This week was highlighted by a scuffle between LeBron James and Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart. James was suspended for a game and the Lakers missed him in a close loss to the Knicks on Tuesday night. This team lost to a Celtics team without Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams and lost to the Bulls and Bucks. This team does not look like a championship contender and that might cost Frank Vogel his job.

17. New York Knicks (+2)

The Knicks got a much-needed win over the Lakers on Tuesday, but there is still reason to be concerned about this team. The team lost to the Bulls on Sunday night and their starting five is not playing well, particularly Evan Fournier. The bench has been one of the best in the NBA and is keeping them from losing some games at times. The Knicks are about to begin a tough stretch of games against playoff teams from last season and are going to have to come out of this stretch looking good.

16. Milwaukee Bucks (+2)

Don’t look now, but the Bucks are starting to gain steam and look like one of the championship favorites. Giannis Antetokounmpo is making a case to be not only the MVP but defensive player of the year. He is been one of the best in the league at protecting the rim and he is having to fill the role of the creator on offense. Bobby Portis is playing well, as is Grayson Allen. Brook Lopez is due back soon and that will make Milwaukee even scarier. This is a team that is starting to get right and play like the defending champions.

15. Boston Celtics (+2)

After a slow start to the season, Boston might be finding their groove thanks to Jayson Tatum. Tatum is playing up to his potential and has carried the team over the past couple of weeks. Even better news for the Celtics, Brown and Williams are back and the Celtics are playing elite defense. This team got a big win over the Lakers without Brown and Williams and that seems to have given them momentum going forward.

14. Atlanta Hawks (+2)

Atlanta is coming off of a five-game homestand in which they won all five games and starting to play better. None of the teams that they played at home were that good, but the Hawks needed all the momentum they could get. The bad news for the Hawks is that De’Andre Hunter is going to miss eight weeks with a wrist injury. Hunter missed most of last season due to knee injuries and if the Hawks are going to reach their full potential, they are going to need Hunter back and playing like he was early last season.

13. Denver Nuggets (-6)

Denver is playing their worst basketball of the season and it could not come at a worse time. Michael Porter Jr is potentially going to be out for the season and that will sink any kind of title hopes the Nuggets might have had. Denver lost Jamal Murray last season and without him and Porter Jr, it is going to be tough for Nikola Jokic to carry the team very far on his own. Guard P.J. Dozier is also feared to be lost for the season. One of the most talented teams in the NBA just cannot stay healthy for the second year in a row.

12. Portland Trail Blazers (+0)

One of the hottest teams in the NBA has been the Trail Blazers and they kept up their play this week. Portland won four in a row and beat good teams such as the Bulls, Nuggets, and Philadelphia. CJ McCollum is scoring the ball and Damian Lillard finally found his groove with a 39 point game. Lillard has underperformed this season and if Portland is going to have any chance in the Western Conference, he is going to have to play like one of the best players in the NBA.

11. Philadelphia 76ers (+3)

Philadelphia seems like a team that moved up the rankings this week by default of other teams seemingly collapsing around them like Denver and Cleveland. The best news for the 76ers is that Joel Embiid is nearing a return and it might be this weekend. Philadelphia recently went through a five-game losing streak and they could use Embiid in the worst way right now. Tyrese Maxey continues to show why he should be considered for the most improved player award. The guard’s offense has been one of the reasons that the 76ers have stayed alive in the Eastern Conference race.

10. Charlotte Hornets (+3)

The Hornets lost to the Hawks this past Saturday, but they have been red hot, winning six of their last seven games. LaMelo Ball nearly dropped a triple-double in the team’s win over the Pacers and guard Terry Rozier has started to find his rhythm scoring. The win over the Wizards was impressive on Monday night, as Rozier scored 32 points to lift the team to a victory.

9. Los Angeles Clippers (+0)

The Clippers had a tough time on their recent road trip. Losing to Memphis is always tough, but to also lose to the Pelicans is one of the team’s worst losses of the season. The Clippers had two games against their playoff foe, the Dallas Mavericks this week as well. The Clippers won the first game with Luka Doncic out for the Mavs and then lost in overtime in the game that he returned to play in. This team has been scrappy and able to find a way to win though.

8. Dallas Mavericks (+0)

Dallas has had to navigate much of the past week without their superstar in Doncic, but they should feel good about where they are. They lost their first game to the Clippers this week but quickly got revenge once Doncic was cleared to return. The team lost two games to Phoenix without him, but they should be able to get back on track with him back and healthy. Kristaps Porzingis continues to play well on offense and that is something to monitor with Doncic returning.

7. Washington Wizards (-2)

The Wizards have been one of the best stories in the NBA so far, but have hit a bit of a rough patch recently. The team has lost three of their last four games, including three to division rivals in Charlotte and Miami. This tough stretch comes on the heels of a five-game winning streak, so it would not be fair to drop the Wizards too far. Nobody expects this team to be in this position for too long, so it will be up to the Wizards to keep proving the rest of the league.

6. Utah Jazz (+4)

The Jazz has started to separate themselves in the Western Conference from teams not named Golden State or Phoenix. The Jazz is one of the elite teams in the NBA on the offensive end and is playing super-efficient on that end of the court. The one potential area of concern would that their defense is not playing at their usual high level. The guy that has really started to shine and play well off the bench has been Rudy Gay. He was thought to be a smart signing for Utah, but he has just now started to find his offensive touch.

5. Chicago Bulls (+1)

The Bulls are still playing like one of the best teams in the NBA, but they are coming off their most confusing loss of the season. Losing to the Pacers by 32 points is never a good thing, but Chicago should be able to shake off that bad loss and keep pace with the best teams in the NBA. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine continue to play like high-level players and Alex Caruso has been a menace on the defensive end. The Bulls keep on staying around the top end of the conference even when some think they will drop off.

4. Miami Heat (-1)

After losing four of five games, the Miami Heat rebounded and have won five of their last six. Jimmy Butler has been the main catalyst behind their recent play, but the contributions of Tyler Herro cannot be overlooked. Herro has been much improved after a rough second year in the league and it has been nice to see him bounce back. A really intriguing matchup against the Chicago Bulls will be one of the week’s most anticipated games on Saturday to see where both teams stand in the Eastern Conference.

3. Brooklyn Nets (+1)

Brooklyn has won six of their last seven and continues to be one of the best teams in the NBA. This team has an even higher ceiling and that does not even involve Kyrie Irving returning. James Harden has shown glimpses of a return to form and MVP level play, but he has followed it up with bad performances and can’t seem to find any consistency. Kevin Durant is playing at an MVP level, but one thing that should concern Brooklyn fans is the play of Blake Griffin. He has not been shooting the ball well from three-point range and that was a huge part of Brooklyn’s playoff run.

2. Phoenix Suns (+0)

If it were not for a certain team in the Western Conference, this team would be a no-doubt pick for No. 1 in these rankings. Phoenix was able to extend their winning streak into double digits and is playing excellent basketball on both ends of the floor. This team is showing that last season was not a fluke and that they are hungry for another run to the NBA Finals. After a slow start, Phoenix once again has the full attention of the rest of the NBA.

1. Golden State Warriors (+0)

The Warriors keep playing like an elite team and it was just enough to keep Phoenix at bay and in the No. 2 spot. Golden State was able to rest Stephen Curry and Draymond Green and some others in a game against the Detroit Pistons and still able to come out the other side with a win. Andre Iguodala has missed some recent games with a knee issue, but that might be the only piece of bad news for the best team in the NBA.

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