NBA Week 5 Power Rankings: Every Team’s Biggest Offseason Mistake

NBA power rankings return.

This week’s edition will contain the one move every team is regretting making during the offseason. Enjoy. 

*Records and stats do not include games from Monday, Nov. 18*

1. Los Angeles Lakers
Previous: 1
Record: 11-2

After blowing out the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night, the Lakers officially have the best record in the NBA at 11-2. For all the right moves they made in the offseason, the one the Lakers are regretting is bringing back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope has had a horrible start to the season. 

Biggest mistake: Bringing back Caldwell-Pope

2. Los Angeles Clippers
Previous: 2
Record: 8-5 

While they are currently sixth in the West, the return of Paul George and how well he has played through two games is the reason the Clippers remain second in the ranking. The Clippers obviously had an enormous free agency in signing two top 10 players. Patrick Patterson, albeit a smaller signing, has struggled to start the season. 

Biggest mistake: Signing Patrick Patterson

3. Boston Celtics
Previous: 4
Record: 10-2

The Celtics’ impressive 10-game winning streak finally snapped Sunday night when they lost a close matchup to Sacramento. Trading Aron Baynes, a legitimate MIP candidate, seems bad, but the Celtics wouldn’t have had the cap to sign Kemba Walker without trading him. Romeo Langford, selected at No. 14, has barely played this season, and several guys taken below him have had greater impacts on their teams.

Biggest mistake: Selecting Romeo Langford 14th overall

4. Milwaukee Bucks
Previous: 3
Record: 9-3

The Bucks had a terrific week with decisive wins over OKC, Chicago, and Indiana. While Milwaukee wants to save up to be able to offer Giannis a supermax deal next season, letting Malcolm Brogdon sign with the Pacers may have been a mistake as he is playing very well for Indiana. 

Biggest mistake: Letting Malcolm Brogdon walk

5. Denver Nuggets
Previous: 5
Record: 9-3

Denver rebounded from a close loss to Atlanta with wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets last week. While Paul Millsap hasn’t been bad, and he is undoubtedly a crucial part of the locker room, I don’t think he’s worth the $30 million team option. Making a play for more shooting in Bojan Bogdanovic would have been a more beneficial move. 

Biggest mistake: Keeping Paul Millsap over making a play for Bojan Bogdanovic

6. Houston Rockets
Previous: 11
Record: 10-3

It’s incredible how good the Rockets can be when Russell Westbrook parks himself in the corner as Houston is now on a seven-game winning streak. Houston is regretting Eric Gordon’s four-year, $52 million extension as he looked terrible before he underwent knee surgery that will keep him out at least six weeks. 

Biggest mistake: Giving Eric Gordon a big extension

7. Philadelphia 76ers
Previous: 6
Record: 8-5

Here’s the thing: Philly had to give Tobias Harris the max because they could not afford to lose both him and Jimmy Butler. However, Harris is nowhere close to worth his five-year, $180 million contract, and he is off to his worst shooting season yet.  

Biggest mistake: Giving Tobias Harris the max

8. Utah Jazz
Previous: 7
Record: 8-4

For a point guard trying to get used to a new system, it makes sense that Mike Conley has struggled. I do think this will ultimately be a good trade, but so far, Conley has been extremely disappointing.   

Biggest mistake: Trading for Mike Conley

9. Miami Heat
Previous: 10
Record: 9-3

Kendrick Nunn continues to be a breakout star for Miami as the Heat went 3-0 last week. While they had a great offseason, they may regret not moving on from Kelly Olynyk as he has had a reduced role and struggled this season. 

Biggest mistake: Failing to trade Kelly Olynyk

10. Toronto Raptors
Previous: 8
Record: 8-4

The Raptors had a tough week with close losses to the Clippers and the Mavericks. Losing Kawhi Leonard wasn’t Toronto’s fault. However, what was a more significant mistake was failing to upgrade the bench as guys such as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Matt Thomas have been unproductive.   

Biggest mistake: Failing to upgrade the bench

11. Phoenix Suns
Previous: 13
Record: 7-4

Phoenix continues to be the surprise story of the NBA as they were 2-1 last week and are currently fifth in the West. Trading down was head-scratching at the time, but it looks even worse now with Dario Saric struggling, and Coby White, who would have been available, thriving in Chicago.  

Biggest mistake: Trading down in the draft 

12. Dallas Mavericks
Previous: 9
Record: 7-5

The Mavericks took an odd route during this offseason as they gave relatively big contracts to several role players such as Delon Wright, Boban Marjanovic, and Seth Curry. Spending more money on a third significant contributor such as Brogdon or Bogdanovic would have put the Mavericks in a better position to succeed in the playoffs.   

Biggest mistake: Lacking a third relevant player around Porzingis and Doncic

13. Indiana Pacers
Previous: 14
Record: 7-6

After a solid start to the season, the Pacers had a tough week as they were blown out by the Bucks on Saturday. While signing Malcolm Brogdon has been tremendous, Justin Holiday has played poorly after he was given a one-year, $4.7 million contract in July.   

Biggest mistake: Signing Justin Holiday

14. Minnesota Timberwolves
Previous: 16
Record: 7-6

While D-Rose is a risk given his extensive injury history, it would have been nice for the Timberwolves to bring him back. Not only is he doing well in Detroit, but by not having him, the Timberwolves become significantly less watchable. 

Biggest mistake: Letting Derrick Rose walk

15. Orlando Magic
Previous: 21
Record: 6-7

The Magic finally showed some life with big wins over Philly, San Antonio, and Washington last week. The thing is, Orlando is solid enough to be a back-end playoff team, but nowhere near close enough to be a contender. Despite knowing this, Orlando’s most significant move in the offseason was signing Al-Farouq Aminu.  

Biggest mistake: Failing to make any upgrades

16. Portland Trail Blazers
Previous: 15
Record: 5-8

Carmelo Anthony finally signed a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. Their worst move was waiting until now to do so, as the Trail Blazers have struggled with Zach Collins out. Now, it will be interesting to see how well Melo fits in with Portland. 

Biggest mistake: Waiting until Friday to sign a competent power forward

17. Brooklyn Nets
Previous: 17
Record: 5-7

I could have gone with the DeAndre Jordan signing here, but I think a vital aspect of the signing is how well he impacts the locker room. Therefore, I’ll go with the Wilson Chandler signing, as he is currently serving a 25 game suspension for PEDs.  

Biggest mistake: Signing Wilson Chandler

18. Oklahoma City Thunder
Previous: 19
Record: 5-7

After years of Russell Westbrook’s failing, the Thunder finally realized it was time to blow up the franchise. While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been great, signee Mike Muscala has been terrible this season, 26.8 percent from the field. 

Biggest mistake: Signing Mike Muscala

19. San Antonio Spurs
Previous: 12
Record: 5-8

The Spurs’ downslide continued last week, as their losing streak is now at five games. The Spurs have struggled shooting threes all season, and they are certainly regretting trading Davis Bertans to the Wizards as he is shooting an impressive 41.2 percent clip from behind the arc. 

Biggest mistake: Trading Davis Bertans

20. Charlotte Hornets
Previous: 26
Record: 6-7

Devonte’ Graham’s MIP push continued Saturday night with his game-winner to sink the New York Knicks. For a team that went into a full-blown rebuild in an offseason, it’s tough to make any notable true mistakes. However, taking Cody Martin at No. 37 with Eric Paschall still on the board may have been a mistake as Paschall has thrived with the Warriors this season, while Martin has mostly struggled.   

Biggest mistake: Drafting Cody Martin over Eric Paschall

21. New Orleans Pelicans
Previous: 24
Record: 4-9

The Pelicans may have turned the corner on their season after they got an upset win over the Clippers last Thursday. With so much roster turnaround during the offseason, the Pels’ worst move may have actually been retaining Darius Miller, as he tore his Achilles in the preseason. 

Biggest mistake: Re-signing Darius Miller

22. Sacramento Kings
Previous: 25
Record: 5-7

The Kings are rebounding from a rough start to the season as they are now 5-2 in their last seven games. Giving Cory Joseph a three-year, $37 million deal was weird at the time, and while he’s not a horrible player, they could have signed him to a much cheaper deal.  

Biggest mistake: Overpaying for Cory Joseph

23. Memphis Grizzlies
Previous: 27
Record: 5-8

The Grizzlies were going to trade Mike Conley no matter what. However, Grayson Allen was the only player whom they directly got at the time of the deal, and he has been terrible this season with a -7.7 BPM.  

Biggest mistake: Valuing Grayson Allen

24. Detroit Pistons
Previous: 18
Record: 4-9

The Pistons’ big move was signing Derrick Rose. However, they should have made a play for Marcus Morris, who has been great for the Knicks this season. Tony Snell has been underwhelming as the Pistons’ starting small forward.  

Biggest mistake: Not making a play for Marcus Morris

25. Atlanta Hawks
Previous: 20
Record: 4-9

J.J. Redick would have been a perfect fit for the Hawks. He would have been a veteran on a young team. He provides shooting and would have been great in the two-man with John Collins (once back from suspension). Redick is also familiar with head coach Lloyd Pierce, who was a 76ers coach during the 2017-18 season.  

Biggest mistake: Not making a play for J.J. Redick

26. Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous: 22
Record: 4-8 

After a quiet yet productive stretch of games put together, the Cavaliers went 0-3 this week and were blown out by Philly on Sunday. To me, the tandem of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland doesn’t work, and if I were the Cavaliers, I would trade Sexton while he still has value.  

Biggest mistake: Packaging Darius Garland with Collin Sexton

27. Chicago Bulls
Previous: 23
Record: 4-9

While guys such as Tomas Satoransky and Ryan Arcidiacono have been okay, the Bulls are regretting not signing a better PG to mentor Coby White. Ricky Rubio would have fit the bill as he is having one of the best seasons of his career for Phoenix.   

Biggest mistake: Not making a play for Ricky Rubio

28. Washington Wizards
Previous: 29
Record: 3-8

All of the Wizards’ issues right now stem from the massive money they are spending on John Wall. Because they gave him a supermax and he got injured, it’s almost as if the Wizards have 60 percent of the salary cap every other team has, and therefore they could not make any significant moves this offseason. 

Biggest mistake: Essentially having 60 percent of the salary cap space the rest of the NBA has

29. Golden State Warriors
Previous: 28
Record: 2-12

Despite surprisingly good games turned in from Ky Bowman and Eric Paschall, the Warriors possess the league’s worst record at 2-12. Their worst mistake? Following up Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson with injuries of their own. No, it’s not their fault, but this is officially a dead season for GSW.  

Biggest mistake: Catching the injury bug from KD and Klay

30. New York Knicks
Previous: 30
Record: 3-10

If you haven’t already, I recommend you check out my post on five reasons the Knicks should fire head coach David Fizdale. The Knicks right now aren’t sure whether to compete or to rebuild, and part of their issues stem from the head coach. Drastic moves need to be made to get this team back on track, and Fizdale should have gotten the ax after last season.  

Biggest mistake: Wow, there are so many; let’s just talk about David Fizdale


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