NBA Power Rankings 1/21-1/27

NBA Power Rankings 1/21-1/27

by January 28, 2022 1 comment

The NBA season is moving right along and there are so many fascinating storylines to keep track of. This is setting up to be one of the more intriguing MVP races that the NBA has seen in some time, with four or five viable candidates right now. The trade deadline is getting nearer and that could see some teams looking to improve their rosters and make a postseason run. Other teams might be looking to garner assets and trade some of their more valuable players. The All-Star team is nearing announcement and that always stirs up debate among the NBA’s fans. It is going to be a wild ride the rest of the season.

30. Sacramento Kings (-6)

The Kings do not have the NBA’s worst record, but the way this team is currently playing, they rightfully deserve to be ranked last. Sacramento lost to the Celtics by more than 50 points, which should never happen in a professional basketball game no matter who you are. Sacramento followed that up by no showing against Atlanta. This team appears to have fully quit on the season and nobody on the team should be safe from being traded.

29. Orlando Magic (+1)

Congratulations Orlando, you are no longer in last place! The Magic did not have a good week by any means, but the King’s ineptitude moved Orlando up a spot. The lone win for the Magic came against Chicago, who was playing short-handed, but that is still a good win. The rookie point guard Jalen Suggs has been impressive in the last week or so and truthfully, that is all Orlando fans should really care about this season.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder (+0)

The Thunder currently sport the longest losing streak in the NBA at six games. There were a couple of close calls, with the Thunder coming close to beating the Bulls and Cavaliers, but overall, this team is still struggling. The two bright spots continue to be Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey and those guys look like foundational pieces for the future.

27. Detroit Pistons (+2)

Cade Cunningham is going to be a great player for this franchise. He put forth what might have been his most complete effort against the Jazz, scoring 25 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists. He seems to be getting better as the year goes on and that is the best thing this team is learning this season. This team suffered two losses to the Nuggets this week and did get one win over Sacramento, but that should be expected at this point.

26. Houston Rockets (+1)

Houston started off the week with a win over the Kings and got another by shocking the Utah Jazz in another game. The two losses came against Golden State and San Antonio, and Houston was almost able to pull off the upset against the Warriors. Christian Wood has popped back up in trade rumors with the Miami Heat is the most discussed destination now. He might not be the only Rocket on the move in February either. Point guard John Wall is once again being discussed in some trades, but that seems like a longshot.

25. Indiana Pacers (+1)

It was a tough week for the Indiana Pacers defense. Even with Myles Turner out, it is inexcusable to give up 158 points to the Charlotte Hornets in a loss. The Pacers continue to have a terrible defense and any team is seemingly scoring at will on them. Losses to the Pelicans and Suns did not make this week any better either. The one bright spot might be the return of Lance Stephenson. Stephenson has not surprisingly played hard and brought a good energy to the court every night and this team needed it.

24. Washington Wizards (-7)

The Wizards could have dropped all the way to last place just based on their performance against the Clippers. Washington found a way to blow a 35 point lead to Los Angeles and it was the low point of a season that began with so much promise. This team is in a major slump right now and also suffered a blowout loss to the Celtics. There is still time to turn things around, but the season is moving quickly in Washington.

23. New Orleans Pelicans (+2)

New Orleans had a solid week that featured a couple of nice wins with some tough losses. Wins over the Knicks and Pacers were nice, but were met with losses to Philadelphia and Boston. This team continues to battle through injuries and it is admirable that they remain just on the outside of playoff contention. If this team gets everyone healthy, maybe they can make a run.

22. San Antonio Spurs (+1)

A 1-3 week was not what the Spurs were wanting when they started the week. Losses to Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Memphis are nothing to really frown at, but it is making it harder for the team to make a push for the playoffs. Dejounte Murray continues to excel this season and is the most consistent player every night the Spurs take the court.

21. Portland Trail Blazers (+1)

Portland has managed to win six of their last ten and that has kept them in the play-in tournament as of today. That is pretty remarkable for a team that is missing Damian Lillard. Some bad news for the Blazers this week is that it looks like Nassir Little is going to miss the rest of the season. Little was starting to show improvement for Portland and it is not a stretch to say that the Blazers are going to miss his presence on the floor.

20. New York Knicks (-1)

The Knicks had an ugly showing on national television against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Other than RJ Barrett having a nice season on offense, there is not much going right in New York. What is interesting is that there are reports surfacing that Julius Randle could be had for the right price at the trade deadline. That is a stunning development considering that Randle was an All-NBA player last season. That goes to show how disappointing he has been this season along with the rest of the team.

19. Los Angeles Clippers (+1)

The Clippers had the week’s most dramatic win, coming back from a 35 point deficit against the Washington Wizards and winning by a point. This team is resilient and does not seem to quit, no matter how hard the circumstances might be. Reggie Jackson has been solid, as has Nicolas Batum during this stretch of play without Paul George.

18. Los Angeles Lakers (+0)

For a brief moment on Tuesday night, the Lakers looked like how some thought they could if they reached their potential. Anthony Davis finally made his return and Los Angeles routed Brooklyn. The team looked good, but they are going to have to put together a more consistent run if they want to win the championship. All eyes are going to be on this team every game waiting for them to fall apart and it is up to them to answer the criticisms.

17. Atlanta Hawks (+4)

The Hawks are finally starting to play like the team many thought they would be at the beginning of the season. The winning streak is at five games for the Hawks heading into a key showdown with the Celtics on Friday night. The wins are coming against solid teams too. Atlanta managed to beat Miami and Charlotte in games this week. This team is finally healthy and ready to make a charge up the standings, much like last year.

16. Toronto Raptors (-2)

After playing some of their best basketball of the season, the Raptors have gone just 4-6 in their last ten games. The team did pick up wins against Charlotte and Washington this week but dropped games to Chicago and Portland. Scottie Barnes has played well lately, but the team is going to need more from Pascal Siakam if they still want to make the playoffs.

15. Boston Celtics (+0)

The Celtics made it hard not to put them higher in the rankings this week. The team is playing really well and scoring the basketball at will. Jayson Tatum scored 51 points in the team’s blowout win over the Wizards on Sunday and Tatum has been playing better with each week after being in a slump. This team did have a 53 point win over Sacramento, but the Kings seem to have mailed it in already this season. Boston has a big matchup with potential playoff implications on Friday in Atlanta.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves (+2)

Minnesota has already passed their season win total from last season. That is how much this team has improved and it can be shown on a nightly basis. Anthony Edwards had a great game against the Blazers this week, scoring 40 points and being a threat every time he had the ball. Minnesota is going to need Edwards to keep it up this week, however. Games against the Warriors, Suns, and Jazz await. If Minnesota wants to prove they are legit, this is the week to do so.

13. Utah Jazz (-4)

Utah has lost eight of its last 10 games and it might be time to start worrying about them a little bit. They have been missing Donovan Mitchell, but the defense has still been terrible as of late. This team is going to have to get healthy and start winning games to keep them in the top half of the Western Conference. Utah has one of the toughest schedules remaining in the NBA and that is not going to make things any easier on them.

12. Brooklyn Nets (-4)

Another team that is slipping from their spot at the top, Brooklyn has managed to lose three in a row and six of their last 10. Kevin Durant is missed on the court and having Kyrie Irving for only half the time is not going to help. Trade rumors have been rampant in the past week, as well as rumors that James Harden could be looking to leave the team in free agency this summer. This team has the talent to win the championship, but they need to all get healthy and on the same page.

11. Denver Nuggets (+2)

Every week, the same thing could be copied and pasted about the Denver Nuggets. They are a really good team when Nikola Jokic is on the floor and a bad one when he is off of it. Jokic might be the MVP favorite now because of the season he is having, but without Jamal Murray or Michael Porter Jr, this team’s ceiling is limited. Denver got three nice wins this week, one against Brooklyn and the other two against the Pistons.

10. Charlotte Hornets (+1)

Charlotte had a record-setting night against the Pacers this week, scoring 158 points in the team’s victory. The two games previously, however, were some tough losses. The Hornets managed to lose to the Hawks and Raptors this week, pushing them into the territory of the play-in tournament. Charlotte has remained remarkably consistent this year and is hoping to make a push to get inside the top half of the Eastern Conference.

9. Milwaukee Bucks (+3)

Milwaukee put together one of their better weeks with a 3-1 mark this week. Wins over the Kings, Bulls, Grizzlies were a step in the right direction for the team even though their winning streak was broken up by Cleveland on Wednesday. A game against the top two MVP candidates will be on Sunday night when Milwaukee clashes with the Denver Nuggets.

8. Dallas Mavericks (+2)

The Mavericks have been winning with their defense as of late and that is something that was not expected to be said at the start of the season. Luka Doncic was able to nab another triple-double against the Trail Blazers this week and he has been playing great lately. This team did suffer a blowout loss to the Warriors, but that should not take away how good they have been this month. Keep an eye on Dallas at the trade deadline as well.

7. Chicago Bulls (-3)

The Bulls have hit their first really tough stretch of the season and have lost six of their last ten. This team is missing Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso because of their defense and they have been left trying to outscore everyone, which they are capable of. Chicago was able to scrape together two wins against the Raptors and Thunder and made sure it was not an empty week. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic have been scoring the ball well lately and Chicago is going to need more of that going forward.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers (+1)

The Cavaliers got one of their biggest wins of the season when they were able to take down Milwaukee this week. Cleveland has won three straight and eight of their last ten and playing great basketball. Kevin Love has rediscovered his old self this week and that is a great sign going forward for Cleveland. The Cavaliers are in a position to be able to make a push for the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference after the All-Star Break.

5. Philadelphia 76ers (+1)

Another week, another big movement for Joel Embiid in the MVP race. Embiid has been unstoppable on the court for the 76ers and has the team only 2.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. This team got wins over New Orleans, Orlando, and San Antonio this week, with the only loss coming to the Clippers. The new topic that has dominated the conversation about the 76ers has been the possibility of Harden leaving Brooklyn to come to Philadelphia. That is something that will be interesting this offseason, but that should not distract the team from making sure this team is fully capable of taking advantage of another MVP-caliber season from Embiid.

4. Golden State Warriors (-1)

For the first time this season, Golden State is not dominating every time they take the court. Stephen Curry has been in a shooting slump as of late and the team has been less potent on offense because of it. Golden State did get a nice blowout win over Dallas, as well as wins over Utah and Houston. This team is only 6-4 in its last 10 games and is hoping to rediscover their form before the All-Star Break.

3. Miami Heat (+2)

The team playing the best basketball in the Eastern Conference is the Heat. They are now the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and now, they are just hoping to play more than a handful of games when they are all healthy. Tyler Herro had another fantastic week coming back to the team and this team is just clicking on all cylinders right now. Despite a loss to Atlanta on Friday, the Heat are the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference this week.

2. Memphis Grizzlies (+0)

It was not a perfect week for the Grizzlies, but they did just enough to stay in the top two of the power rankings for this week. Ja Morant had a brilliant performance against the Spurs on Wednesday, scoring 41 points and leading Memphis to a win. This team did have losses to Milwaukee and Dallas, but those are two of the best teams in the NBA. Morant is mounting a darkhorse MVP campaign and taking the whole city of Memphis with him on the ride.

1. Phoenix Suns (+0)

To the surprise of no one, the Phoenix Suns are atop this week’s power rankings after taking the top spot last week. The Suns have won eight straight and now have a 3.5 game lead in the Western Conference. Devin Booker has been lights out and is leading this team through the winning streak. This is the best team in the NBA and it isn’t close right now.

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