The calendar has officially turned to February and there are only two more full months of the NBA season left. The trade deadline is a week away and while it usually disappoints, there could be some drastic shifts in some team’s rosters.
On the court, the Phoenix Suns continue to pull away from the rest of the NBA. The Suns are the hottest team in the NBA and it is not even close. The Brooklyn Nets are the exact opposite. Brooklyn is struggling heading into the trade deadline and the All-Star break and it has many wondering if they are actually contenders. There is still time to turn it around and don’t lose sight of the fact that Kevin Durant is still injured.
30. Detroit Pistons (-3)
The Pistons did not have a terrible week, but it was bad enough to move them into last place. Detroit’s best moment of the week came in a comeback win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, in which Cade Cunningham notched his second career triple-double. The losses came to the Magic and the Pelicans and that is why the Pistons will take last place in this week’s rankings.
29. Sacramento Kings (+1)
The Kings get to move up from last place due to a stunning win over the Brooklyn Nets. By the time next week’s power rankings come out, it could be a new-look team in Sacramento. Everyone is on the table to be traded because of the shape that the team is in and that is causing a lot of speculation. The Kings are a team to keep an eye on in the next week and it won’t be for anything that they do on the court.
28. Houston Rockets (-2)
While the Rockets did get a win over the Cavaliers, they did not have a great week otherwise. Losses to the Blazers and Lakers were not helpful to get the week started and the Rockets did not get much better from there. The usual cast of characters had good weeks in Houston. Christian Wood, Jalen Green, and Kevin Porter, Jr all chipped in scoring. However, it did not result in many wins for Houston.
27. Orlando Magic (+2)
The Magic won three games this week and now Orlando looks like an unstoppable freight train. Ok, that last part might not be true, but it is encouraging for Orlando fans to see their team win multiple games this week. Wins over Detroit, Dallas, and Indiana were great and the only loss came to the Chicago Bulls. The guy leading the way this week was rookie Franz Wagner, who was a scoring machine.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder (+2)
It was a solid week for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The wins came against Dallas and Portland and the loss was to the Indiana Pacers. While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was absent, the Thunder were led by Josh Giddey and Tre Mann.
25. Indiana Pacers (+0)
The Pacers are one of the most beat-up teams in the NBA, but that did not stop them from having a 2-2 week. The win over the Magic was great because the team was left with virtually no size in that game. Much like the Kings, the Pacers could look very different by the end of next week. Everyone seems to be on the table to be traded, but things could be complicated due to the injury to Myles Turner.
24. San Antonio Spurs (-2)
The Spurs went 1-2 this week, but the one win came against the Chicago Bulls. The losses came against the Suns and the Warriors. The Warrior’s loss was not a great look because Golden State was missing several players. Dejounte Murray continues to play, early averaging a triple-double and being the Spurs’ best player. Murray is hoping to become an All-Star and he has a chance when he plays like this.
23. New Orleans Pelicans (+0)
New Orleans only managed to go 1-3 this week, with the only win being against the lowly Pistons. The losses were against Denver, Boston, and Cleveland, who are all good teams, but New Orleans has to find a way to win some of these tough games. It was good news for the Pelicans to get Brandon Ingram back after missing five games. Ingram picked up where he left off and continues to lead this team.
22. New York Knicks (-2)
The Knicks losing woes continued this week, losing to Milwaukee and Memphis. They did pick up a win over Sacramento this week, but at this point, that does not feel like much of an accomplishment. New York has lost seven of nine and fans are starting to get frustrated. Cam Reddish still has not made a mark since being traded for and it does not look like he will be used in the future. Julius Randle continues his disappointing follow-up season and all in all, not a lot of good news in the Big Apple this week.
21. Washington Wizards (+3)
It was only a 1-3 week for the Wizards, but they managed to beat Philadelphia this week without Bradley Beal and that is enough to move them up some. Washington is going to be without its star player for the next few games and is going to have to find a way to survive without him. There have been some rumors in recent days of a Beal trade and maybe even a Spencer Dinwiddie trade. Keep an eye on Washington at the deadline.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (+1)
Portland had another tough week, going 1-3 and the only win being against the Houston Rockets. The Blazers lost to the Lakers, the Bulls, and the Thunder. It is not unrealistic to think that the Blazers might be tempted to trade some players away at the deadline. This team does not appear to have any momentum and Damian Lillard is still injured. It just might be a lost season in Portland.
19. Los Angeles Lakers (-1)
While the Lakers did find a way to beat Portland on Wednesday, it was not the best week for the Lakers. They finished up their road trip with losses to Atlanta and Charlotte, but the Hornets loss did happen without either Anthony Davis or LeBron James in action. This team does not have much trade ammo in its pockets and it’s likely this team is going to look the same after next week.
18. Los Angeles Clippers (+1)
The Clippers did score an impressive win over the Hornets this week, but that was the only highlight. Los Angeles lost to the Heat and the Pacers this week and the team is still just trying to survive until Paul George returns. The Clippers cannot do much at the deadline unless some shocking deal were to come together.
17. Atlanta Hawks (+0)
The Hawks did score wins over the Celtics and Lakers to keep their win streak alive, but it ended in a Monday loss to Toronto. Trae Young did not play in that game, but the Hawks still had a chance to win the game. There is going to be a huge test for the team when the Phoenix Suns come to Atlanta on Thursday. The Hawks have been rumored to be buyers at the deadline, so keep an eye on Atlanta next week.
16. Brooklyn Nets (-4)
The Nets keep on tumbling down the rankings. Brooklyn is playing terrible and uninspired basketball right now and a loss to Sacramento is just not a good look. It was unfathomable to think of the Nets as a team that would be in the mix for a play-in tournament spot, but here we are. This team cannot get back Durant soon enough and that is unclear at the moment. Brooklyn’s losing streak is at six games and it could extend.
15. Utah Jazz (-2)
Much like the Brooklyn Nets, who thought the Jazz would ever be ranked this low at any point this season? This team had a five-game losing streak going but did notch a win over the Nuggets without Nikola Jokic. Unlike Brooklyn however, Utah has been dealing with some injuries. Donavan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are out and now, Joe Ingles is out for the season. With Ingles out, it is fair to wonder whether this team could opt to make a move next week to try and replace him.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (+0)
Minnesota got two nice wins this week over the Jazz and the Nuggets, while also losing to the Suns. This team seems to keep getting better and better and is a team to watch heading into the trade deadline. With D’Angelo Russell out this week for every game, Minnesota got contributions from other role players. Taurean Prince and Jaylen Nowell were the most notable guys to step up this week in his absence.
13. Charlotte Hornets (-3)
The Hornets move down a few spots due to some bad losses this week. Getting blown out by the Clippers without Paul George is not a good look. Charlotte also lost to the Celtics but did get a win over the Lakers. It is unlikely that the Hornets are going to be major players at the deadline unless a big-time center were to become available. This is a really good team that is hoping to be playing their best basketball at the end of the season.
12. Toronto Raptors (+4)
What a week it was for the Toronto Raptors. First, all of the Raptors starters played more than 50 minutes in a triple-overtime win over the Miami Heat. Then the Raptors were able to muster up enough energy to end the Hawks’ seven-game winning streak. The Raptors then were able to take down the Heat again, capping a great week. The player of the week for the Raptors has to be Gary Trent, Jr. He shot the ball and was the main reason the team beat Miami and Atlanta.
11. Dallas Mavericks (-3)
After being one of the hottest teams in the NBA, Dallas suffered two terrible losses to bring them back a little bit. Losses to Orlando and Oklahoma City are never a good thing and never in the same week. This is a team that is being mentioned as someone to watch during the trade deadline. Dallas might feel it is time to make a move to improve the team and could try to swing for the fences with a deal.
10. Boston Celtics (+5)
One of the biggest movers of the week was the Celtics. Yes, they did lose to the Hawks but had a great week otherwise. Boston managed to beat New Orleans, Miami, and Charlotte this week and are starting to play like the team many thought they could be at the beginning of the season. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown once again led the way and Marcus Smart was able to contribute nicely this week as well.
9. Miami Heat (-6)
This feels a bit harsh, but the Miami Heat did not have a good week last week. They lost the incredible three-overtime game against the Raptors and then the losses started to pile up. Miami lost to Toronto again and then managed to lose to the Celtics by 30 points. They did notch a win over the Clippers, however, so it was not just all losses.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (-2)
It was a tough week for Cleveland. They lost to the Pistons and the Rockets but did manage a win over the Pelicans. It should be noted that Darius Garland did miss a couple of games and that did cause the Cavs offense to take a step back. It is unclear if Cleveland has any interest right now in making a deal at the deadline, but it would not be surprising to see them make one.
7. Denver Nuggets (+4)
Denver made this jump back into the top ten on the back of their 36 point victory in Milwaukee on Sunday. This team did lose to Utah and Minnesota so it wasn’t a perfect week. While it is easy to write up Nikola Jokic every week, his supporting cast had a great week. Bryn Forbes shot the ball well and Aaron Gordon and Monte Morris were great.
6. Milwaukee Bucks (+3)
Milwaukee did suffer an embarrassing loss to the Denver Nuggets, but it was a good week for the Bucks. Wins over the Knicks and Wizards were good and Giannis Antetoukounmpo is still playing as good as ever. Jrue Holiday turned in another good week and it is safe to say that he has been Milwaukee’s second-best player this season. This team is still not looking championship caliber, but there is still time.
5. Chicago Bulls (+2)
Chicago got some nice wins over Portland and Orlando but did suffer a tough loss to San Antonio this week. Not surprisingly, it has been the defense that has been struggling. Without Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, it has been tough for the Bulls to defend on a nightly basis. DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine have had to carry this team and have done an admirable job doing so.
4. Philadelphia 76ers (+1)
If it were not for an embarrassing loss to the Washington Wizards without Beal, Philadelphia might be even higher on this list. Joel Embiid is making a push to be the NBA’s MVP and he might be the frontrunner now. Wins over the Grizzlies and Kings were great and even better considering Embiid did sit out against Memphis. Tyrese Maxey had a tremendous game against the Grizzlies this week, going for 33 points.
3. Golden State Warriors (+1)
The Warriors move back into the top three after a solid week. Golden State got wins over Brooklyn, Houston, and San Antonio this week and finished up 6-1 in a seven-game homestand. With some of their starters missing time, guys like Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody had some of their best moments of the postseason.
2. Memphis Grizzlies (+0)
Even a loss to Philadelphia without Embiid was not enough to knock the Grizzlies out of the second spot in the rankings. Another great statistical week was there for Ja Morant, but he was not the only Grizzly that had a great week. Desmond Bane shot the ball as well as he has all season and was an offensive threat all week. Jaren Jackson Jr has been great on the defensive end and is finally getting the recognition that he deserves. All is well in Memphis ahead of the trade deadline and All-Star Break.
1. Phoenix Suns (+0)
What else is there to say about this team at this point? The winning streak is currently sitting at 11 games heading into a road game against the Hawks and nobody looks like a more complete team than the Suns. Devin Booker and Chris Paul were both fantastic this week and should be All-Star Game locks. This team is running away in the Western Conference and no team might be able to stop them right now.
Follow Jackson Caudell on Twitter @jacksoncaudell
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