At the NBA trade deadline, many teams have shifted rosters, leading a number of teams to both rise and fall through the power rankings. There have been a number of blockbuster trades to happen in the new year, from OG Anunoby being sent to the Knicks to Pascal Siakam taking the Indiana Pacers to the next level.
Come with us as we take you through our very own NBA power rankings, highlighting the top teams going into the last stretch of the season.
1. Boston Celtics
At our number one spot, we have Boston, boasting the NBA’s top record – they have been the strongest team in the league before and after the trade deadline. With Jayson Tatum leading the charge, the Boston Roster doesn’t really have many holes, with elite scorers, defenders, rebounders, and more.
As long as the injury bug steers clear of the team, a deep playoff run seems almost inevitable.
2. LA Clippers
Even after enduring a gruelling seven-game stretch spanning 11 days, the league’s hottest team, the Clippers, remains unstoppable. With a recent record of 6-1, only dropping a game to the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’ve finally taken the step everyone knew they could and have become a real contending team.
James Harden really seems to have fit well into the team and has even helped to fine-tune the roster.
3. Denver Nuggets
We couldn’t possibly leave the reigning champs off our NBA power ranking list, especially with Nikola Jokić’s continued high level of play. Unfortunately, Jamal Murray just missed an all-star selection, but that’s less of a reflection of his play and more of a popularity contest.
Nonetheless, they are still a front-runner for the 2024 NBA Championship, as Jokić is sure to have an impactful rest of the season.
4. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have dropped quite a bit in the NBA power rankings over the last several months due to a litany of injury issues and shakeups within the organization. As of now, we don’t know if Doc Rivers is the right coach for the team, but since his hiring, they have fallen from second to fourth in the East.
However, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard are both known as clutch playoff players, so who knows what will happen in the post-season.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
As the best young team in the NBA, it’s great to see OKC already having so much success. The young guys have come to be known across the NBA for their efficient offence and stand-out long-range shooting – just take a look at the roster’s cumulative three-point percentage, which sits at a remarkable 38.9%.
Don’t get us wrong, they’ll likely struggle in the post-season mainly due to a lack of deep playoff experience, but we could very well be witnessing a dynasty in the making.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavalier’s recent 14-1 run has skyrocketed their stock coming into the latter portion of the season. This impressive run really highlights the team’s depth, but it’s Donovan Mitchell who shines as the undisputed MVP of the team.
Mitchell has been instrumental, leading the Cavs in scoring for eight consecutive games and dishing out the most assists in seven of those matchups. So, as long as Mitchell continues to play at a high level, the wins should keep rolling in.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Despite this being the Timberwolves’ best 50-game start in franchise history, they still find themselves in a four-team battle for the Western Conference’s top spot. While they’ve proven they can beat top teams, they really need to clean up their fourth-quarter performances.
However, they do boast the NBA’s best defensive rating, sitting at a crazy 108.2 thanks to the twin towers of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns down low.
8. Phoenix Suns
The Suns’ big three have enjoyed a rather validating week. Kevin Durant notched 33 points against his former team in Brooklyn, Bradley Beal delivered a stellar 43-point performance facing his old squad in Washington, and Devin Booker scored 32 points against the Bucks, who defeated his team in the 2021 Finals.
That is all to say, the Suns are one of the most offensively talented teams in the NBA, but they still leave much to be desired on the defensive end of the court. If they can clean up their rebounding and help-side defence, they could potentially be a real threat in the post-season.
9. New York Knicks
Following the acquisition of OG Anunoby, the New York Knicks have rocketed from a below-average roster to a real contending squad. His premier defence has taken the team to the next level and has taken a lot off Jalen Brunson’s shoulders.
By consistently marking the opposing team’s top sorcerer, Brunson has way more freedom to play his game without stress. We don’t think there is a single NBA analyst out there who thought the Anunoby trade would be this impactful, but it’s a pleasant surprise for Knicks fans.
10. Sacramento Kings
At number 10 on our NBA power ranking, we have the Sacramento Kings. Although not spectacular in any one area, the roster is solid on both sides of the ball. As long as the Kings sustain this defensive performance while continuing to rely on the offensive contributions of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, they have the potential to secure a decent playoff spot and even make a deep run.
While not a serious contending team at this point, a strong playoff appearance could be just what the Kings need to set themselves up for success over the next few years.
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