The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and it was more active than usual. It started earlier this week with CJ McCollum being traded to New Orleans and it only got crazier. The Pacers moved on from both Caris LeVert and Damontis Sabonis and a rebuild appears likely in Indiana. Then Thursday came and everything just got crazy. The big blockbuster deal actually happened and James Harden is now on Philadelphia and Ben Simmons is now a Brooklyn Net. That could change the NBA landscape and it signals Philadelphia is trying to go for it all this year. The All-Star break is approaching and then it will be a full spring to the postseason. Here are the latest NBA Power Rankings.
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30. Detroit Pistons (+0)
The Pistons get to stay in last place by virtue of losing all of their games last week. To be fair, Cade Cunningham did not play in those games and the offense did not play well without him. Detroit welcomed back Jerami Grant from injury, but he has been slowing in returning to form. It will be interesting to see how Marvin Bagley III is integrated into the lineup. Bagley never found his footing in Sacramento and a fresh start could be exactly what he needs.
29. Houston Rockets (-1)
Houston lost a pair of games to the Pelicans this week as well as losing to the Spurs. There were no major deals on the horizon for the Rockets at the deadline. They did ship Daniel Theis back to Boston for Dennis Schroder, but it is unlikely Schroeder plays at all for Houston. It was interesting to see Houston decide to keep Christian Wood and not move him for extra draft compensation.
28. Sacramento Kings (+1)
Well, this team certainly looks different. Most knew that the Kings were trying to shake things up at the deadline and they delivered. Sabonis is going to be an interesting fit alongside Richaun Holmes and De’Aaron Fox. It is going to be interesting to look back and see if this was a good move for the Kings to make. Tyrese Haliburton was a promising prospect and the most valuable trade chip on the team. Nobody can really blame them for moving on from Buddy Hield and his overpaid contract, but Haliburton could be a star. This is clearly a move to try and get in the play-in tournament and it’ll be interesting to see if it pays off.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder (-1)
After getting a victory over Portland to start the week, the Thunder then managed to lose three games in a row. Oklahoma City lost to the Warriors, Kings, and Raptors and remain among the worst teams in the NBA. The offense had to rely upon Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort to be the primary playmakers with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out and that was met with mixed results. It was also a quiet trade deadline for the Thunder, but that was to be expected.
26. Indiana Pacers (-1)
It looks like the rebuild is officially underway for the Pacers. It was mentioned in last week’s rankings that this team could look different after the deadline and they do. Gone are LeVert and Sabonis and income Haliburton, Hield, and some draft compensation. This team is not going to be competitive for the rest of the season, but it made sense to move on from those guys. Only time will tell if the Pacers made the right move.
25. Orlando Magic (+2)
The Magic once again move up two spots in the rankings. Their offense has been really good as of late and that is a good sign for the future. The two guys that are helping lead that offensive resurgence have been Cole Anthony and Wendell Carter Jr. Those two have been scoring the basketball at will and are perhaps playing their best basketball of the season. Of the teams expected to tank this season, Orlando seems to be playing the best.
24. Washington Wizards (-3)
The Wizards appear to have thrown in the towel on this season. Bradley Beal is now out for the season due to his wrist injury and Washington made some interesting moves at the deadline. Washington decided to move Montrezl Harrell to Charlotte in their first move of the day, but the big move came later. Dallas sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Dinwiddie was not fitting well with the team and Bertans is overpaid, but this is a risky move. For all of his talent, Porzingis is never healthy. The move was interesting but could backfire on Washington quickly.
23. San Antonio Spurs (+1)
San Antonio had an interesting trade deadline. The team moved Derrick White and Thaddeus Young and did not appear to get much back in return. In terms of games, the Spurs did have a victory over Houston this week but did lose two games to Miami and Cleveland as well. Dejounte Murray continues his All-Star season, but he has less help now than he did before without White.
22. Portland Trail Blazers (-2)
It is a new day in Portland. The longtime pairing of McCollum and Damian Lillard has come to an end after a great run. The question now remains, what will the Blazers do from here? Portland got a shocking victory over the Lakers on Wednesday but was not playing very well before that. This team has mailed it in for the year and is now looking to the future and building a better team around Lillard.
21. Los Angeles Lakers (-2)
It is pretty hard to find something new to say about this team. It is just not working with Russell Westbrook and it is tough to find any easy solutions. The Laker’s loss to the Blazers on Wednesday is inexcusable and even worse than the blowout loss to the Bucks. This team just looks lifeless. It is doubtful this happens, but the Lakers should try bringing Westbrook off of the bench. He could bring energy to the role players and bench, something he is good at.
20. New York Knicks (+2)
Another team that elected to stand pat was the Knicks. There was not much they could do, but there had been some chatter about them at least trying to shake things up. This team has lost 10 of their last 12 and it is getting harder to watch each time. Blowing a 21 point lead to the Lakers this week was a bad loss, then they followed it up by losing to the Nuggets and Jazz. What was a good defense last season has completely gone away and gotten worse each game.
19. New Orleans Pelicans (+4)
Not only did the Pelicans make some noise at the trade deadline, but they are winning basketball games. This team is on a four-game winning streak and playing their best basketball of the season. That was before the deal with McCollum and Zion Williamson could still return at some point. The arrow is pointing up for the Pelicans at the moment and it could mean a spot in the play-in tournament.
18. Charlotte Hornets (-5)
One of the biggest fallers in this week’s rankings was the Hornets. They did make a move at the deadline, trading for Harrell, but that does not help their defense in any way. Charlotte is now on a six-game losing streak and sitting at the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. The best news that the Hornets got was that LaMelo Ball is going to be an All-Star this year. This team has shown they can be good, but they are in a bad slump right now.
17. Brooklyn Nets (-1)
This team is on a nine-game losing streak, but they are hoping they solved their problems with the Harden-Simmons trade. It is unclear when Simmons is going to suit up for Brooklyn, but they could really use him. This team could still make a run for the championship because they have Kevin Durant, but Simmons has not played since last year’s playoff series against Atlanta. This is going to be the most interesting team to watch in the NBA the rest of the season.
16. Los Angeles Clippers (+2)
The Clippers did get a nice win over the Lakers this past week but were also beaten soundly by Memphis and Milwaukee. The additions of Norman Powell and Robert Covington could prove to be very useful when this team gets to the playoffs. This team could be a dangerous opponent once Paul George returns, but when that will be remains to be seen.
15. Atlanta Hawks (+2)
The week got off to a nice start for the Hawks by getting a win over the red hot Phoenix Suns, but it was uneven after that. However, the Hawks lost again to Toronto and then lost an ugly game to the Mavericks. Atlanta did beat Indiana, but that was the day of the Sabonis trade and the Pacers were playing with a skeleton crew of a team. This team is clinging to the last play-in spot but has the talent to make a run at the top six. Now is the time to start that run.
14. Utah Jazz (+1)
Utah might be ready to once again hit their stride. The most impressive of these victories was a blowout win over the Warriors on Wednesday. The newest addition to Utah was Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a former point guard for New Orleans. Alexander-Walker was acquired this week before the deadline and he could be a boost to the Jazz bench.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves (+1)
The Timberwolves went 3-1 this week but did have a relatively easy stretch of games. It was also a quiet trade deadline for the Timberwolves. This team had been linked to big trades, such as the one for Simmons, but nothing came about. The guy who should be highlighted for his play this week is Malik Beasley. Beasley scored the ball well and was one of the most effective players for Minnesota.
12. Dallas Mavericks (-1)
It was not a bad week for the Mavericks, but other teams being better caused them to drop a spot this week. Luka Doncic is playing great basketball and was effective in the team’s three wins this week. The big news for Dallas was the trading of Porzingis for Dinwiddie and Bertans. The Mavericks are also the leaders to sign Goran Dragic once he is bought out of San Antonio. This team is hoping this can mean that they can get out of the first round for the first time since 2011.
11. Denver Nuggets (-4)
The Nuggets are one of the biggest fallers of the week. This team did lose a game to the Pelicans to get their week started, then rebounded to beat the Knicks and Nets. The best thing that has happened for Denver in the past two weeks has been the emergence of the supporting cast around Nikola Jokic. Both Aaron Gordon and Will Barton are playing perhaps their best basketball of the season and Denver has to hope that continues into the playoffs.
10. Toronto Raptors (+2)
The Raptors have been one of the most impressive teams in the NBA during their seven-game winning streak. Beating the Bulls, Hawks, Hornets, and Thunder was big for this team that is trying to avoid the play-in tournament. Pascal Siakam has been playing excellent and even had a 21 point first quarter in the game against Atlanta. This team seems to be peaking at the right time and look like a team that could pull an upset in the playoffs.
9. Chicago Bulls (-4)
It was a tough week for Chicago. The Bulls went 2-3 with wins over the Pacers and the Hornets while losing to the Raptors, 76ers, and Suns. With both Philadelphia and Brooklyn seemingly getting a little bit better after the trade deadline and Milwaukee being the defending champions, the Eastern Conference is getting tougher for Chicago. The problem for the Bulls has been their defense. That is to be expected without Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, but it is hurting the team right now.
8. Boston Celtics (+2)
The only team in the NBA that has been hotter than the Boston Celtics has been the Raptors. The teams that the Celtics beat, the Pistons, Magic, and Nets, might not be the most impressive, but Boston is playing great basketball. This defense has been one of the NBA’s best and has given Boston a chance to win every game they play every night. Boston made a smart move at the deadline, getting White from the Spurs and he will only improve an already elite defense.
7. Philadelphia 76ers (-3)
The 76ers are winners this week just for the trade that they made. General manager Daryl Morey was patient and got the kind of star he wanted in a trade by getting Harden out of Brooklyn. The pressure is on once again in Philadelphia. This team is going to be expected to compete and win the championship with the addition of Harden.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers (+2)
Cleveland got three wins this week and got LeVert from the Pacers in their big deadline move. It seems likely that LeVert is going to come off the bench for Cleveland the rest of the season and that is exactly what he did this week in his debut. The Cavaliers keep getting doubted, but they keep winning.
5. Miami Heat (+4)
One of the biggest risers this week was the Miami Heat, who won by an average of 19 points per game this week. This team is finally healthy and is hoping to stay that way heading into the playoffs. Miami seems to be the forgotten team in the Eastern Conference, but they are contenders and should be treated as such. It was another great week for Tyler Herro, who is scoring at will when he comes off the bench.
4. Milwaukee Bucks (+2)
Milwaukee made a somewhat of a big move this week by adding Serge Ibaka to the roster and that could be a safety move in case Brook Lopez does not return. This team won by 23 points per game this week and are devastating opponents when their three best players are on the floor. While Philadelphia and Brooklyn got the headlines this week, the defending champs are getting quietly ready to defend their championship.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (-1)
Memphis did not lose a game this week but were simply a victim of the Warriors being red hot. The Grizzlies only played in two games and blew out both the Clippers and the Magic. Ja Morant was once again fantastic, but the defensive play of Jaren Jackson Jr is now getting noticed as well. This team decided to stand pat at the deadline and that is probably the right move. No need to break up this team chemistry the way they are playing right now.
2. Golden State Warriors (+1)
While the blowout loss to the Jazz on Wednesday is still fresh in everyone’s minds, this team was on a nine-game winning streak and playing really well. Klay Thompson has looked like his old self and even saw his minutes increased this week. Stephen Curry is also seemingly out of his shooting slump and back to playing at a high level. This is another contender that decided to stand pat and that is probably for good reason.
1. Phoenix Suns (-1)
While their long winning streak did come to an end in Atlanta, Phoenix is still the best team in the NBA at the moment. They were able to get wins over the Bulls, Wizards, and 76ers this week and don’t seem to be missing a beat. The Suns made an underrated move at the deadline by bringing back Torrey Craig, who was key in their run last year.
Follow Jackson Caudell on Twitter @jacksoncaudell
Main Image Credit: From Marca.com