NBA Power Rankings: 3/11-3/17

NBA Power Rankings: 3/11-3/17

by March 18, 2022 0 comments

One of the main storylines to follow in the remainder of the NBA season is going to be the MVP race. This is shaping up to be one of the closest in recent years, and it has been thrilling. The two main contenders, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid have been thought to be the favorites, but guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ja Morant are trying to make their closing arguments. All of these players have their teams in contention and it will be fascinating to see how each of them puts their stamp on the power rankings this season.

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30. Oklahoma City Thunder (+0)

The Thunder suffered three more losses this week, and remain at the bottom of the power rankings. There is nothing new with the Thunder to report on. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the only player playing consistently well and keeping the team competitive. This team owns the longest current losing streak in the NBA and it does not look to be ending soon.

29. Houston Rockets (-3)

Houston still owns the worst record in the NBA and lost all three of their games this week. None of them were particularly close, either. Jalen Green was still scoring well, but the Rockets’ overall play dipped after winning a couple of hard-fought games. The offense as a whole is not playing well, and there are not many good things to be said about Houston at the moment.

28. Portland Trail Blazers (+1)

Despite their best efforts to try to tank the rest of the season, Portland only finds themselves 1.5 games out of the final spot in the play-in tournament. The Trail Blazers only managed to secure one win this week, a game in which Josh Hart scored 44 points against the Wizards. Trendon Watford has been an interesting story to follow during the Blazers’ recent tanking efforts. He might be a long-term fit with Portland.

27. Detroit Pistons (-2)

After playing so well in the week prior, Detroit came back down to earth a bit this week. The losing streak for the Pistons sits at four, but to be fair, they lost to good teams. The Celtics, Clippers, and Heat were all too tough for Cade Cunningham and Detroit, but Cunningham is still trying his best to make a push for rookie of the year. The main thing to keep an eye on in Detroit will be if Cunningham will be able to catch Evan Mobley for the award.

26. Orlando Magic (+2)

The Magic were able to show fight and toughness this week, taking Philadelphia to overtime and beating Minnesota. That allowed them to move up two spots in the rankings this week, even though they did let Kyrie Irving score 60 points and lose to Brooklyn. It was the usual suspects getting it done for Orlando, with Wendell Carter Jr. and Cole Anthony carrying the team during their solid week.

25. Indiana Pacers (+2)

It was a 1-2 week for the Pacers, with a win over the Spurs and losses to the Hawks and Grizzlies. Tyrese Haliburton continues to be impressive for Indiana since the trade, but there was another impressive player for the Pacers this week. Duane Washington Jr was scoring the ball well and helping the offense flow. The defense has been concerning for Indiana this week, however, and continues to be among the worst in the league.

24. Sacramento Kings (+0)

The Kings did not have a great week, going 1-2. The defense cannot guard anyone. In their win against the Bulls, they were able to do just enough on that end of the floor. De’Aaron Fox continues to play well offensively and was the best player on the team yet again this week. It was also nice to see Domantas Sabonis‘ return to the lineup and play well for the Kings.

23. Washington Wizards (-4)

It was an ugly week for the Wizards, losing all of their games and giving an average of 126 points. the losses came at the hands of the Lakers, Nuggets, Warriors, and Blazers and after such a bad week, the Wizards are moving further away from the play-in tournament. There is still time to turn things around, but the team is going to have to play much better.

22. San Antonio Spurs (-1)

Gregg Popovich now has the most wins in NBA history as head coach, but that was the best piece of news for the Spurs this week. San Antonio did beat the Jazz to get that record for their coach; it was well earned. The other win for the Spurs came against the Thunder and the losses were to Indiana and Minnesota. Dejounte Murray continues to impress and Lonnie Walker IV hit a buzzer-beater against the Thunder, which feels like a loss in some ways. This team is still only a game and a half back of the play-in tournament.

21. Los Angeles Lakers (+2)

It feels like a crime to move the Lakers up two spots after the week they had, but that speaks volumes to how some of these other teams performed. While LeBron James did have another 50 point effort this time against the Wizards, it was the only good thing to happen for this team. Losses to Phoenix, Minnesota, and Toronto were not competitive and there is not much new to say about the Lakers. They will likely get a play-in spot, but nothing more.

20. New Orleans Pelicans (+0)

Without Brandon Ingram, this team just can’t find any consistency. The Pelicans went 1-2 this week, with their only win coming against the team with the worst record in the NBA. CJ McCollum has been able to fill the scoring without Ingram, but he can’t do it alone. New Orleans is still in a position to make the play-in, but they are without two key players in Ingram and Zion Williamson.

19. New York Knicks (+3)

The Knicks move up in the rankings, but it was just a 1-2 week in New York. The losses were close ones to good teams in Brooklyn and Memphis, but it does not change the fact that the Knicks need wins in the worst way right now. The win against Portland was a blowout and the bit of good news is that Julius Randle seems to have figured things out. It might be too little too late though.

18. Atlanta Hawks (-1)

Atlanta did go 3-1 this week, but it was not the most impressive stretch of games. The wins came against the Clippers, Pacers, and Blazers, but the Hawks seemed to struggle in every game. They were down 15 to the current Blazers squad at home and looked lifeless. This team looks like something is missing, but the good news is that they have created enough separation between themselves and the other play-in contenders.

17. Cleveland Cavaliers (-5)

The Cavaliers are now in danger of falling into the play-in tournament after looking like a top-four seed not long ago. This team is just depleted with injuries and struggling to regain their form. Mobley had a good week and set a career-high in scoring with 30 points. Darius Garland has had a tough time, and the team is clearly missing Jarrett Allen in the middle. This is still a good squad, but they must get healthy.

16. Los Angeles Clippers (-3)

The Clippers appear to be running out of gas without their two best players. The team is missing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in the worst way and it is showing. Los Angeles went 1-3 with the losses coming against the Hawks, Cavaliers, and Raptors. The team remains competitive, but they look worn down at the end of most games.

15. Charlotte Hornets (+3)

It has been a rough month for the Hornets, but this week was a step in the right direction. Charlotte won three games against Atlanta, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City. The guard that has been making the team go this week has not been LaMelo Ball, but Terry Rozier. Rozier has been terrific on offense and has given the Hornets great balance.

14. Brooklyn Nets (+2)

It was tempting to move the Nets up more spots, but the competition they played this week was not top-notch. It is still significant that Brooklyn seems to be trending in the right direction, and is a dangerous team when fully healthy. Kevin Durant dropped 53 points in the win against the Knicks on Sunday and Irving put up 60 on Orlando. The Nets remain in the eighth spot in the standings but have room to move up.

13. Chicago Bulls (-2)

The Chicago Bulls keep falling in the standings and now find themselves only two games from being in a play-in spot. The great news for the Bulls was that guard Alex Caruso made his return to the lineup. The bad news for the Bulls is that Zach LaVine cannot seem to stay in the lineup and has been aggravated with a knee injury. There is still a month for Chicago to get healthy in time for a postseason run.

12. Toronto Raptors (+3)

The Raptors are back to their winning ways and are challenging for a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference. Toronto was able to beat the Lakers, Clippers, Suns, and Nuggets on their trip out west and the main reason was Pascal Siakam. He was terrific all week and has been playing that way since the All-Star break ended. OG Anunoby is also close to returning, which can only boost the Raptors’ chances of getting into the top six.

11. Utah Jazz (-2)

Utah’s 2-2 week saw them drop out of the top-10 of the power rankings. The Jazz was able to beat Sacramento and Chicago, while losing to Milwaukee and San Antonio. Jordan Clarkson was impressive this week, scoring a career-high 45 points against the Kings and Donovan Mitchell has played well. Utah still can contend, but they are not the most consistent team from week to week.

10. Golden State Warriors (+4)

Every time it seems that the Warriors get healthy and ready to make a run, an injury happens. This time, the injury was to the face of the franchise, Stephen Curry. He might not be back in the regular season. Draymond Green did return and looked good, but Curry is irreplaceable. Golden State was able to get wins against the Nuggets, Bucks, and Wizards. They are a contender, but have to find a way to stay healthy. It was also a good sign to see Klay Thompson go off for 38 points this week, looking more like himself.

9. Denver Nuggets (-2)

It was an uneven week for the Nuggets, going 2-2 with wins over Philadelphia and Washington alongside losses to the Warriors and Raptors. Bones Hyland was impressive this week, averaging 16 points per game alongside Jokic. Jokic was able to win his matchup with Embiid and might just be the MVP front-runner right now. It is amazing this team is where it is, considering who is missing.

8. Philadelphia 76ers (-4)

It was an ugly night in the home loss to the Nets last week. The game was hyped up as one of the most intriguing games of the regular season, but it was a dud and (once again) raised questions about James Harden performing in big games. The 76ers also lost to the Nuggets, while getting wins over Orlando and Cleveland. Those wins are not very inspiring, however, considering how beat up Cleveland is and Orlando is just Orlando.

7. Miami Heat (-2)

The only loss for the Heat came against Minnesota while Jimmy Butler was injured, but Miami has not been impressive as of late. It was more intriguing to see Victor Oladipo come back and start to ramp back up. His return, and what he could bring to the team could be the key to Miami making a run in the postseason. The Heat continue to hold onto the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but only by two games.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves (+2)

Minnesota continues to play like one of the best teams in the league and only lost one game this week. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 60 points in a game and has been playing like one of the best players in the NBA at this time. The loss to the Magic is the only thing preventing this team from being in the top five of the rankings. Anthony Edwards is back and playing well and this crew looks formidable a month from the postseason.

5. Dallas Mavericks (+5)

Dallas continues their ascent up the rankings, and looks like a dangerous team. Luka Doncic has been brilliant, but yet again, it is the play of Spencer Dinwiddie that is lifting this team. Dinwiddie has turned into a clutch shot-maker and has given this team a boost as a ball handler. The Mavericks beat good teams like the Celtics and the Nets, and are rolling right now.

4. Boston Celtics (-1)

The only loss for Boston was to Dallas and they got key wins against Detroit and Golden State. The defense continues to be the key thing for this team to win and it has been the NBA’s best. Jayson Tatum cooled off a bit after being red hot early, but Marcus Smart had one of his better scoring weeks in some time. The No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference is still in reach for Boston.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (+3)

The most fun team to watch in the NBA is back in the top three of the power rankings. Morant was great again, and the amazing thing about this team is how well they play without him. Memphis scored 135 points against the Pacers in a win where Morant did not even play. Dillon Brooks made his return, and it would do wonders for this team if he can stay healthy in time for the playoffs.

2. Milwaukee Bucks (-1)

The Bucks were able to get to the top last week, but unable to keep their spot. While the loss to the Warriors hurt, Milwaukee saw Brook Lopez return for the first time since October. Wins over the Jazz and Kings were good to see, and even better was how well Khris Middleton played this week. The Bucks should still be considered the favorites in the Eastern Conference.

1. Phoenix Suns (+1)

Phoenix is back on top and threatening to get to 60 wins. This team suffers injuries, but their style of play does not fall, as they have plenty of guys that are ready to step up. Mikal Bridges was fantastic and Devin Booker has been phenomenal of late. This team should be considered title favorites until further notice.


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