Tommy Beer is back with his latest version of
BasketballNews.com's NBA Power Rankings. To read last week's
version, click here.
The Phoenix Suns, who have at least three more wins than every
other team in the league, retains the top spot in this week's
BasketballNews.com Power Rankings.
1. Phoenix Suns (37-9) ↔️ Last Week:
Phoenix has won 37 of its first 46 games this season, matching
the 2006-07 squad for the best start in franchise history. And
while LeBron James has been lavished with praise for what he's been
able to accomplish this season (and rightfully so), Chris Paul's
play has been equally incredible. CP3 poured in a season-high 27
points to go along with 14 assists and 9 rebounds in Monday's win
over the Utah Jazz. The 36-year-old Paul is on pace to become the
first player in NBA history over the age of 30 to average more than
10 assists and fewer than 3 turnovers per game.
2. Golden State Warriors (34-13) ⬆️ Last
Even the greatest shooter of all-time can fall into a slump.
After missing 12 of the 13 three-pointers he attempted in Sunday's
victory over the Jazz, Steph Curry's shooting percentage from
behind the arc fell below 30% for the month of January. Over his
last 10 games, Curry is just 29 of 105 from downtown (27.6%).
3. Memphis Grizzlies (32-17) ⬇️ Last
The Grizz have lost 3 of their last 5 games, but all five
contests have come against teams well above .500. Their two wins
during this stretch were impressive (a blowout victory over the
Chicago Bulls and a win vs. the Denver Nuggets at altitude). Ja
Morant was on fire last week, averaging 35.3 points, 9.0 rebounds
and 8.7 assists per contest.
4. Miami Heat (30-17) ↔️ Last Week:
Despite again being forced to play without Kyle Lowry (personal
matter) and Tyler Herro (health and safety protocols), the Heat
beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, catapulting Miami to the top
of the Eastern Conference. The fact that Heat have the East's best
record even though Lowry, Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler have played
just 14 games together is a testament to the phenomenal coaching
job Erik Spoelstra has turned in.
5. Milwaukee Bucks (30-19) ⬆️ Last Week:
Jrue Holiday returned from injury last week, and the Bucks (who
had lost 4 out of 5 with Holiday on the shelf) promptly went on a
three-game winning streak. We shouldn't have been surprised, as the
Bucks have been deadly when they've had their Big Three healthy and
active. Milwaukee is now 18-3 in the 21 games Giannis
Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Holiday have all
6. Cleveland Cavaliers (29-19) ↔️ Last
Kevin Love scored a team-high 20 points in the Cavs' victory
over the New York Knicks on Monday night. It was Cleveland's
seventh victory in its last eight games. Love embracing his role
off the bench has been a significant factor in the Cavs' success
this season. Over Cleveland's last 20 games, Love is averaging 16.6
points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 treys, while shooting 41.4% from
downtown and 82.6% from the free-throw line.
7. Utah Jazz (30-18) ↔️ Last Week:
The Jazz have lost 8 of their last 11 games. However, Utah was
missing Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley on Monday
night in Phoenix; Quin Snyder's bunch still fought tough and
actually led the Suns by four points in the fourth quarter before
running out of gas.
8. Chicago Bulls (29-17) ⬇️ Last Week:
Nikola Vucevic had been mired in a nasty slump heading into
Monday night, but he powered the Bulls past the Oklahoma City
Thunder on Monday. It was a much-needed win for Chicago, who had
lost 6 of 7 and was coming off an embarrassing blowout loss to the
Orlando Magic. Vooch racked up 26 points (on 10 of 18 shooting), 15
rebounds, 4 assists, 4 treys, 3 blocks and a steal in 39 minutes.
With Lonzo Ball (left knee) and Alex Caruso (fractured wrist)
sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Bulls are going to need
Vucevic to continue playing well.
9. Philadelphia 76ers (27-19) ⬆️ Last Week:
Unfortunately for Joel Embiid — who has scored at least 25
points in 14 straight games — Sixers president of basketball
operations Daryl Morey may be content to hold onto Ben Simmons
until the offseason. According to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of
The Athletic, Morey hopes to use Simmons as a trade chip
to land James Harden or another superstar. It really would be a
shame if the Sixers waste a year of Embiid's prime, especially when
the big man is playing arguably the best basketball of his
10. Dallas Mavericks (27-20) ↔️ Last Week:
The Mavs have won 5 of their last 6, with two of those wins
coming against the Grizzlies. And according to Eric Pincus of
Bleacher Report, Dallas is a potential "dark-horse" candidate
to land Pistons forward Jerami Grant at the deadline. The Mavs'
offer would reportedly start with a combo of Dorian Finney-Smith
and Dwight Powell.
11. Brooklyn Nets (29-17) ⬇️ Last Week:
Kyrie Irving has played well for the Nets, but Brooklyn
continues to be sieve-like on the defensive end. It's been more
than two months since the Nets held an opponent below 99 points.
And they've been especially porous in January. In fact, Brooklyn
has been the worst defensive team in the NBA this month, allowing
117.3 points per 100 possessions. The only other team in the league
with a defensive rating higher than 117 is the Houston Rockets.
12. Denver Nuggets (24-21) ⬆️ Last
On Monday, Nikola Jokic was named the Western Conference Player
of the Week after averaging a mind-boggling 36.3 points, 11.3
rebounds, 10.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Oh, and he shot
65.0% from the floor, 40.0% from downtown and 86.2% from the
charity stripe. Remarkably, it's the first time he's won a Player
of the Week award this season.
13. Charlotte Hornets (26-21) ⬇️ Last
The Hornets had won 7 of 8 before going ice cold in a loss to
the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, as Charlotte shot just 4 of 36 (11%)
from downtown. The Hornets have a tough road back-to-back (at
Toronto and Indiana) on Tuesday and Wednesday.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (23-23) ⬆️
Last Week: 17
On Sunday, Anthony Edwards racked up 25 points, 4 assists, and 4
triples in the Wolves' victory over the Nets. In the process, he
knocked down his 300th career three-pointer, making him the
youngest player in league history to achieve that feat and breaking
the record previously held by Luka Doncic. However, Ant-Man limped
off the floor and into the locker room late in the game after
colliding with a defender. Fortunately, Wolves coach Chris Finch
said the injury was not serious after the game.
15. Los Angeles Lakers (23-24) ⬆️ Last
Let's take a step back for a second and appreciate what LeBron
has been doing this season. In 2011-12, when LeBron was 27 years
old, he averaged 27.1 points (on 55.6% Effective Field Goal
percentage), 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.9 made threes and 0.8
blocks per game. He would be named NBA MVP and lead the Heat to a
championship, where he was named Finals MVP. Well, in 2021-22, at
age 37, James is averaging 29.0 points (61.6% eFG), 7.7 rebounds,
6.3 assists, 2.8 made threes and 1.1 blocks a night. Somehow, he's
posting better numbers 10 years after playing at his "peak" in the
heart of his prime.
16. Boston Celtics (24-24) ↔️ Last Week:
Jayson Tatum had been brutal from downtown (having missed all 17
of his three-point attempts over his three previous games) heading
into Sunday's matchup with the Washington Wizards, but the Celtics
superstar knocked down career-high 9 triples in Boston's latest win
en route to a season-high 51 points. On top of that, he chipped in
10 rebounds and 7 assists for good measure. We'll see if Tatum and
the Cs can find some semblance of consistency going
17. Toronto Raptors (22-22) ⬇️ Last Week:
This Raptors team remains frustratingly inconsistent. Thus far
this month, they have beaten the Bucks twice (including once in
Milwaukee) and the Jazz. Yet, they've also been blown out by the
Detroit Pistons and were down 34 points to the Portland Trail
Blazers on Sunday. The loss to Portland was Toronto's fifth loss in
its last seven games.
18. Washington Wizards (23-24) ⬇️ Last
The Wiz began an eight-game homestand on Jan. 11 (tied for the
longest homestand by any team this season) and won their first two
contests. However, Washington has dropped three in a row and 4 of
their last 5. Their biggest issue has been on the defensive end,
where the team is allowing 113.6 points per 100 possessions in
19. New York Knicks (23-25) ⬆️ Last
The Knicks are struggling, but New Yorkers have to be encouraged
by the strong play of RJ Barrett in 2022. Over the 13 games the
Knicks have played dating back to New Year's Eve, Barrett is
averaging 23.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 treys,
while shooting 45.6% from the floor and over 39% from
20. Atlanta Hawks (21-25) ⬆️ Last
Heading into MLK Day, the Hawks were riding a five-game losing
streak. However, Atlanta registered four impressive wins last week,
beating the Bucks, Timberwolves and Heat at home before smashing
the Hornets in Charlotte on Sunday. "We are definitely headed in
the right direction," Trae Young said after Sunday's victory.
"Right now it's more about consistency and keeping it going. We're
not satisfied. We know what to do and what we are capable of
21. Los Angeles Clippers (23-25) ⬇️
Last Week: 19
The Clips have lost 7 of their last 10 games and just don't have
enough firepower to compete on a nightly basis with both Paul
George and Kawhi Leonard sidelined. Those two superstars are making
more than $78 million in salary this season (which is more than the
combined salaries of the entire OKC Thunder team). Late last week,
it was reported that PG-13 would miss at least another few weeks as
he continues to rehab the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his
22. Portland Trail Blazers (20-26) ↔️
Last Week: 22
Two weeks ago, when the Blazers embarked on a six-game road
trip, Portland had been just 2-13 on the road over its first 15
road contests this season. However, by beating the Raptors on
Sunday in Toronto, the Blazers wrapped up their six-game swing with
an impressive 4-2 record.
23. New Orleans Pelicans (18-28) ⬆️
Last Week: 25
Playing without leading scorer Brandon Ingram (right ankle
sprain), Devonte' Graham carried the Pels to a victory over the
Indiana Pacers on Monday night. Graham erupted for 25 points (on 8
of 14 shooting) and added 6 assists, 5 triples, 3 rebounds and a
steal. Josh Hart also posted a strong double-double, finishing with
22 points and 10 boards.
24. Indiana Pacers (17-31) ⬆️ Last Week:
Domantas Sabonis has missed each of the Pacers' last three games
after suffering a left ankle sprain during the fourth quarter of
last Wednesday's win over the Lakers. Goga Bitadze has stepped in
the starting lineup for Indy and averaged 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds
and 3.3 assists in 29.5 minutes since Sabonis went down.
25. Sacramento Kings (18-30) ⬇️ Last
De'Aaron Fox sat out Saturday's loss to the Bucks due to left
ankle soreness and is listed as questionable for Tuesday's game vs.
the Celtics. Last week, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported
that the Kings are not planning to trade Fox before the February
deadline, instead "informing teams in the marketplace that they
want to build around Fox and second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton."
This may well be posturing by the Kings; we shall see.
26. San Antonio Spurs (17-30) ⬇️ Last
Dejounte Murray has quietly been establishing himself as
one of the league's elite young point guards this season. Over
the Spurs' past three games, Murray — who is among the league's
steal leaders — is averaging 22.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 12.0
assists (vs. just 2.0 turnovers).
27. Houston Rockets (14-33) ⬆️ Last
Houston, who recorded an impressive victory over the Jazz last
week, has turned down multiple trade offers for veteran shooting
guard Eric Gordon, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. With the
Rockets in rebuild mode, it's somewhat surprising, considering the
33-year-old Gordon is owed $19.6 million in guaranteed salary next
season and is signed for $20.9 million in 2023-24 (although that
season's salary is non-guaranteed).
28. Detroit Pistons (11-35) ⬆️ Last
Jerami Grant has been one of the most popular names bandied
about in trade rumors over the last few weeks, but James L. Edwards
III of The Athletic writes that there is a "real possibility" that
Pistons sit tight over the next few weeks. General manager Troy
Weaver is reportedly comfortable holding onto Grant and dangling
him in trade talks over the summer if they don't get an offer that
knocks their socks off before the February 10 deadline.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
(14-33) ⬇️ Last Week: 27
The Thunder are currently riding a six-game losing streak and
have posted a 1-11 record in the 12 games they've played since the
calendar flipped to 2022.
30. Orlando Magic (9-39) ↔️ Last Week:
Jalen Suggs is struggling with his efficiency (shooting just
36.5% from the floor and 22.4% from downtown this season), but he's
coming the most productive week of his rookie campaign. Over
Orlando's last three games, Suggs is averaging 17.0 points. 7.0
assists, 6.0 boards and 2.0 steals. Marc Stein wrote Monday that
the Magic are looking to trade Terrence Ross and/or Gary Harris
before next month's trade deadline.
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