Tommy Beer is back with his latest version of
BasketballNews.com's NBA Power Rankings. To read last week's
version, click here.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics (thanks
to their dominant defense) are three of the big climbers this week,
while the Nets continue to head in the wrong direction.
1. Phoenix Suns (44-10) ↔️ Last Week:
Despite posting the NBA's best record, the Suns are reportedly
looking to upgrade their roster. According to Michael Scotto of
HoopsHype, Phoenix is one of two teams (the Minnesota
Timberwolves being the other) that have expressed interest in
trading for San Antonio Spurs veteran Thaddeus Young.
2. Golden State Warriors (41-13) ↔️ Last
It appears Klay Thompson is finding his groove, which is bad
news for the rest of the NBA. Klay has scored over 20 points in
back-to-back games and is averaging 19.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.6
assists and 3.6 made treys (while shooting 42.9% from downtown)
over his last five contests.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (38-18) ↔️ Last Week:
The Grizz just keep on winning. They've won 6 of their last 7
games and 19 of their previous 23. Memphis has not lost consecutive
contests since before Christmas. Over their last 20 games, Ja
Morant is averaging 29.9 points (while shooting over 51% from the
floor), 6.7 dimes, 6.3 assists, 1.6 made triples and 1.1 steals.
Those are jaw-dropping numbers for any player, let alone a
22-year-old kid in just his third pro season.
4. Milwaukee Bucks (35-21) ⬆️ Last Week:
Interesting statistical factoid from the Bucks 137-113 victory
over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. In that game, Milwaukee
became the first team in NBA history to have each member of its
starting lineup score at least 15 points, grab at least 5 rebounds
and knock down at least 2 three-pointers.
5. Miami Heat (35-20) ↔️ Last Week:
When the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls on Sunday
night, Miami clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference
through the end of last week, which means Erik Spoelstra and his
staff will head to Cleveland later this month to coach Team Durant
in the All-Star Game.
6. Chicago Bulls (33-21) ↔️ Last Week:
The Bulls, playing without two of their best perimeter defenders
in Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, have lost 3 of their last 4.
However, after playing Wednesday in Charlotte, Chicago begins a
six-game homestand that wraps around All-Star weekend. Following
the matchup with the Hornets, the Bulls don't play on the road
again until Feb. 28.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (33-21) ⬆️ Last
The Cavs acquired Caris LeVert from the Indiana Pacers in
exchange for injured point guard Ricky Rubio and three draft picks
over the weekend. "Very excited to add a dynamic young player of
this caliber and experience," Cleveland president Koby Altman told
reporters. "LeVert fits uniquely into our culture, and his Ohio
roots bring an immediate connection to our community. We look
forward to seeing what type of impact he can make on this roster."
It's an excellent addition for the Cavs to supply them with the
scoring wing they were looking
for, making Cleveland that much scarier come playoff time.
LeVert is expected to be active for Wednesday's game against the
8. Philadelphia 76ers (32-22) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Sixers are 10 games over .500 and Joel Embiid is doing much
of the heavy lifting. Over his last 10 games, the big man is
averaging 36.0 points, 12.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists. In the
process, he may have established himself as the odds-on favorite to
take home the MVP award entering the All-Star break.
9. Dallas Mavericks (32-23) ⬆️ Last Week:
Reggie Bullock tallied 22 points (on 8 of 14 shooting with 6
made three-pointers), 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in a win
over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. He's been a big part of the Mavs
success of late. Over Dallas' past seven games, Bullock is
averaging 17.9 points (while shooting 50.0% from the floor), 5.4
rebounds, 4.6 treys, 1.3 steals and just 0.6 turnovers.
10. Utah Jazz (33-21) ⬆️ Last Week:
Donovan Mitchell racked up 32 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and
4 steals in Utah's victory over the Knicks on Monday night. Rudy
Gobert (left calf strain) did not play in the win, but the Jazz are
hoping he is cleared to return to the action later this week. They
also just acquired Nickeil Alexander-Walker in a three-team deal to add some
youth (and depth) to their backcourt.
11. Denver Nuggets (30-24) ⬇️ Last Week:
Nikola Jokic was at it again Sunday, registering another
triple-double in Denver's 124-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets. The
Joker finished with 27 points (on 12 of 15 shooting), 12 rebounds,
10 assists, 2 steals and just 2 turnovers in only 30 minutes. This
one (his NBA-leading 14th triple-double) was notable because it was
the second time in Jokic's career he's recorded a 25-point
triple-double while also shooting above 80% from the floor. Wilt
Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history with more than one
12. Toronto Raptors (29-23) ⬆️ Last Week:
The Raptors, who are currently riding a six-game winning streak,
have discussed a trade that would send Goran Dragic (and his $18
million expiring contract) to the Hawks in exchange for Danilo
Gallinari, according to Jake Fischer of
13. Boston Celtics (31-25) ⬆️ Last
The Celtics have posted a 13-4 record dating back to New Year's
Eve, and it's their defense that has turned Boston's season around.
Over this 17-game stretch, the C's are allowing just 101.5 points
per 100 possessions. To put that number in context: No team in the
NBA other than Boston is allowing fewer than 106.5 points per 100
possessions over the past six weeks. Boston ranks first in Net
Rating in 2022 as well. As usual, Marcus Smart has led the charge
(pun intended) on the defensive front. He leads his team in pass
deflections (64 more than any other Celtic) and charges drawn.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (29-25) ⬆️ Last
In the 18 games this season in which Minnesota has been able to
roll out its preferred starting five of D’Angelo Russell,
Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick
Beverley, the Wolves are 13-5.
15. Brooklyn Nets (29-25) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Nets have lost nine straight games. They are 12 games under
.500 dating back to late December. Kevin Durant is still weeks away
from returning to action after spraining the medial collateral in
his left knee last month. James Harden looks puffy and is nursing a
hamstring injury. Joe Harris suffered a setback in his recovery
from left ankle surgery in late January and reportedly could need a
second surgery. Of the 27 games remaining on the Nets schedule, 14
of them are on the road. However, four of those contests are
against either the New York Knicks or Raptors, which means Irving
will only be able to suit up for (at most) 10 games. But, yeah,
other than that, everything is all good in Brooklyn.
16. Charlotte Hornets (28-27) ⬇️ Last Week:
Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported this week that the
Hornets are one of several teams that have expressed interest in
Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl. The Bulls and Raps have also been
rumored to be interested in Poeltl.
17. Atlanta Hawks (26-28) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Hawks were just 1-3 in their previous four games prior to
Tuesday (although that one win was impressive — a victory at home
over the Suns last Thursday, which snapped their 11-game winning
streak). Atlanta took advantage of a reeling Indiana Pacers squad
Tuesday night, beating them 133-112.
18. Los Angeles Lakers (26-29) ↔️ Last
Over the Lakers' last four games, Russell Westbrook is shooting
a putrid 27.5% from the floor, 15.4% from downtown and 55.0% from
the charity stripe. Late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's victory
over the Knicks, when Westbrook was alone with the ball in the
corner, the home crowd shouted at him not to shoot. When New York
forced overtime, head coach Frank Vogel benched Russ for Talen
Horton-Tucker. Westbrook was also benched for the final 14 minutes
in Tuesday’s loss to the Bucks. Will the Lakers admit they made a
mistake before the deadline and reroute Russ out of Los
19. New Orleans Pelicans (22-32) ⬆️ Last
New Orleans, who won just one of their first 13 games this
season, is now riding a four-game winning streak and has jumped up
into 10th place in the Western Conference. And on Tuesday, the team
added a stud scorer to its
roster. The Pels acquired CJ McCollum along with Larry Nance
and Tony Snell from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for
Jason Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi
Louzada and draft compensation. I love this deal for New
20. Los Angeles Clippers (27-29) ⬇️ Last
Last week, the Clippers made a shrewd trade, sending Eric
Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, and a second-round pick to
the Blazers for Norman Powell and Robert Covington. It will help
not only help them make a playoff push this year, but will also
round out their roster next
season when they can count on both Kawhi Leonard and Paul
George returning to full strength. Powell looked great in his
Clippers' debut on Sunday, tallying 28 points on 9 of 16 shooting
in just 24 minutes. He followed that up with a 16-point night in a
lopsided loss to the Grizz.
21. Washington Wizards (24-29) ⬇️ Last
After the 2021-22 season started with plenty of promise, the Wiz
have lost 8 of 9 heading into Thursday's matchup with the Nets.
They will likely look to trade the struggling Spencer
Dinwiddie before the deadline arrives.
22. New York Knicks (24-31) ⬇️ Last Week:
New York has lost 10 of its last 12 games, but Mitchell Robinson
had been playing some of the best basketball of his career before
sitting out Tuesday's loss due to a back injury. Over the last
month, Mitch Rob is averaging 11.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.7
blocks. During this stretch, the only other players in the NBA also
averaging double-digit points and rebounds to go along with at
least 1.4 blocks are Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
23. San Antonio Spurs (20-34) ⬆️ Last Week:
Spurs fans learned Monday that Dejounte Murray will make his NBA
All-Star Game debut after being named an injury replacement by NBA
Commissioner Adam Silver. Murray is averaging 19.6 points, 9.2
assists, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals this season, and has a chance
to become just the third player ever to average at least 8 assists,
8 rebounds and 2 steals per game over an entire season.
24. Sacramento Kings (20-36) ⬆️ Last Week:
The Kings shook up the league Tuesday afternoon, trading Tyrese
Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to Indiana for
Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and a 2027
second-round pick. It is stunning that Sacaremto would part ways
with Haliburton. The 21-year-old has exceeded all expectations
since being drafted in 2020. He is on pace to become just the
second player in NBA history to average at least 5 assists and 2
made three-pointers per game while shooting over 40% from downtown
in each of his first two pro seasons. (The only player to have
accomplished this feat is Stephen Curry.)
25. Portland Trail Blazers (21-34) ⬇️ Last
The Blazers made waves on Tuesday, trading away former franchise
cornerstone CJ McCollum. It continued on Wednesday afternoon, as
Portland rerouted Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Utah for Joe Ingles'
expiring $14 million deal in a three-team trade. ESPN's Adrian
Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that "Portland plans to fully reshape
the roster around Damian Lillard now... the plan is to pursue
high-end talent now, not retreat." The team's also created a ton of
cap space in the process and has a $21 million trade exception at
26. Indiana Pacers (19-37) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Pacers, who are just 5-18 since Christmas, began breaking
down their roster by trading Caris LeVert to the Cavs on Sunday,
and then shipped off Domantas Sabonis to
Sacramento, as noted above. As our Alex Kennedy reported, Myles
Turner is "a big fan of Tyrese Haliburton's game and is excited
about the possibility of playing with the young guard." It appears
Turner may stay in Indiana.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-36) ↔️ Last
The Thunder lost to the Warriors on Monday night, but Luguentz
Dort had another strong outing, tallying 26 points, 4 rebounds and
3 steals. In the three games OKC has played without Shai
Gilgeous-Alexander, Dort is averaging 23.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and
28. Houston Rockets (15-39) ⬆️ Last Week:
The Rockets would love to join this week's wheeling and dealing
by exchanging veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon for draft capital.
We'll see if they find a willing trade partner.
29. Orlando Magic (13-43) ⬆️ Last Week:
We know the Magic hope to flip Terrence Ross and Gary Harris in
exchange for draft picks before Thursday's deadline. The question
is whether they will also look to deal big man Mo Bamba. After
struggling over his first three years in the NBA, Bamba is posting
career-highs across the board this season. However, Orlando inked
center Wendell Carter Jr. to a four-year, $50 million contract
extension back in October. The Magic are reportedly willing to
listen to offers for Bamba, who has a $10.1 million qualifying
offer for 2022-23 and will be a restricted free agent this
30. Detroit Pistons (12-42) ⬇️ Last Week:
Killian Hayes has played a bit better of late, but he has failed
to live up to expectations since being selected with the No. 7
overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. This season, Hayes is one of
only two players in the NBA logging more than 20 minutes per game
yet shooting below 38% from the floor and averaging fewer than 10
points per contest. For his career, he is just 50-of-179 from
downtown (27.9%)... The Pistons have lost 9 of their last 10
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