NBA Power Rankings: Suns, Grizzlies and Warriors | coming out of All-Star Break
All-Star Weekend has come to an end as we shift gears heading towards the final stretch of the season. Phoenix sits in the top spot coming out of the break.
The NBA All-Star week is in the books, and we go flying in to the final stretch of the season. Before we do, we will rank each of the 30 NBA teams form top to bottom coming out of midseason, week-long break.
1) Phoenix Suns 48-10
No one can argue that the Suns have been the best team in the league coming into All-Star Weekend. They won 18 of their last 19 games and are late game specialists. Phoenix have yet to lose a game when going into the fourth quarter with a lead, and that will come in handy once the playoffs start.
2) Golden State Warriors 42-17
Klay Thompson’s long awaited return means the Splash Brothers are reunited, and that spells trouble for the rest of the league. The base of their title winning teams remains the same, with Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green having championship experience. You could argue that their supporting cast is better than it was better than it was for their first title pre-KD in 2015.
3) Memphis Grizzlies 41-19
They have been the shock of the season. Doesn’t look like the Grizzlies will be having to go through the Play-In Tournament again this season. They have the third best record in the league, and an MVP candidate in Ja Morant.
4) Chicago Bulls 38-21
The Bulls made the most impactful moves off the offseason, and has it ever paid off. DeMar DeRozan is an MVP candidate and All-Star Zach LaVine is one of the most dangerous second scoring options in the league. Could the Bulls go from missing the playoffs last year to earning the one seed in the East this year?
5) Miami Heat 38-21
Eric Spoelstra has the Heat in a position to make major moves in the post season. They are no strangers to making deep runs into the playoffs, and if Kyle Lowry can keep up with Jimmy Butler, that will make Duncan Robinson’s job a whole lot easier from the perimeter.
6) Philadelphia 76ers 35-23
Philly maybe the story of the final stretch of the season. They already have the favorite to win the MVP in Joel Embiid, and adding James Harden is going to make their team even stronger. By the time the playoffs come around, those two will have a chemistry that may just be strong enough to win an NBA Title.
7) Milwaukee Bucks 36-24
The defending champions have overcome an injury plagued start to the season but climbed to the third spot in the East. Giannis and Khris Middleton have proven they can get past the best teams in their conference once clutch time comes, and if they can get the best version of Brook Lopez back, they could be back in the Finals for a second straight year.
8) Dallas Mavericks 35-24
Luca Doncic looks like he was back to his best going into the break. He will be the Mavs constant, but if they want to be taken seriously in the West they will need their supporting cast to step up. Kristaps Porzingis is gone, so Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith will have to pick up the slack once the playoffs start.
9) Utah Jazz 36-22
Last year’s top team in the regular season has taken a step down this year. They still have one of the best inside-outside threat with Rudy Gobert and Donavan Mitchell, but they are struggling with match-up problems which could be exposed come playoff time.
10) Brooklyn Nets 31-28
Who knows what to make of the Nets for the final stretch of the season. First things first, they need Kevin Durant to get healthy and stay healthy. Ben Simmons was picked up in the Harden trade, and Steve Nash will be hoping his new look Big Three have time to blend before the postseason.
11) Cleveland Cavaliers 35-23
Somehow, someway I think the All-Star Game will propel the Cavs into the top half of the Eastern Conference. Their trio of rookie Evan Mobley, and All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen introduced themselves to the casual NBA fan this weekend. They are only going to get better as the season goes on as Cleveland look playoff bound once again.
12) Denver Nuggets 33-25
Nikola Jokic was back to an MVP level going into the break. They beat the Warriors right before the break to prove they can hang with the top teams in the league. Now they play the waiting game, hoping Jamal Murray and Michale Porter Jr. return before the playoffs start.
13) Boston Celtics 34-26
Boston won 11 of their last 13 games before the All-Star Weekend, and many of those wins came in blowout fashion. Jason Tatum has been fantastic, and he will be hoping to take the Celtics beyond the first round this year.
14) Toronto Raptors 32-25
The Raptors are a bit top heavy. Their starting five play a lot of minutes and that could take it’s toll down the stretch, if it hasn’t already.
15) LA Clippers 30-31
Everyone knows the Clips have been with out Kawhi Leonard since last season’s playoffs. Not much has been said about the status of LA’s star, and Paul George’s elbow injury has taken center stage since a few months ago. Reggie Jackson and company will need to carry the load for a while longer in LA.
16) Minnesota Timberwolves 31-28
The Timberwolves have been investing in their future for quite sometime now. There is no question they have the young talent that will scare teams in a couple years time, but just how long it will take to be competitive in the West remains to be seen.
17) Los Angeles Lakers 27-31
You have to think the Lakers are going to turn on at some point. There is just too much talent on that team to be as bad as they have shown through this point in the season. They have to bring it all together before the playoffs start, because if last year taught them anything it’s that they can’t just roll through the playoffs after not playing well all season.
18) Charlotte Hornets 29-31
They may be one of the most exciting teams in the league with Lonzo Ball and Myles Bridges, but they are going to have to work to even make it to the playoffs. It looks like they’ll be having to going through the Play-In game for the second straight year.
19) Atlanta Hawks 28-30
What a fall from grace for the Hawks. They go from the Eastern Conference Finals to below .500 at the All-Star break, and this is no longer a team that looks like a contender. If they make it though to the playoffs, they will be a team that none of the top seeds want to see in the first round.
20) Washington Wizards 27-31
It will be a new look Wizards side coming out of the break, and we shall see if that’s good news or bad news in the nation’s capital. Krsitaps Porzingis was brought in to make an impact at that slasher role and keep Washington in the playoff mix.
21) Portland Trailblazers 25-34
Damian Lillard has been nothing to loyal to the Blazers, but they repay him by trading some of his top teammates over the last few years. It’s true, with the team they had they still weren’t doing much but Damian Lillard will come back from injury with a new look team and you couldn’t blame him if he starts running out of patients with the franchise.
22) New Orleans Pelicans 23-36
Still no Zion Williamson, and that forced the Pelicans to look else where to bring this side back to life. They went knocking on the door of the Blazers and brought in CJ McCollum and Norman Powell. They are hanging on to the last Play-In spot in the West, but it’s not going to be easy the longer Lillard stays out.
23) San Antonio Spurs 23-36
The Spurs will return to the regular season on the tail end of the rodeo road trip. Gregg Popovich is going to have to work his magic once the Spurs return to San Antonio for a seven game stint. The Play-In is not out of reach for them, and you wouldn’t bet against Pop late in the season.
24) New York Knicks 25-34
Just when it seemed like the Knicks were turning things around in the Big Apple last year, the Knicks do what the Knicks do best. Rip the rug out from underneath the hopes and dream of their fans. They lost eight of their last ten before the All-Star break, and look like a team that don’t have the answers to turn things around.
25) Indiana Pacers 20-40
Getting rid of Domantas Sabonis will hurt. That’s a big hole to fill in the middle of the paint, but the Pacers weren’t having a whole lot of success with the big Lithuanian in the middle. A change was needed, but time will tell if it pays off in Indianapolis.
26) Sacramento Kings 22-38
The King’s move to bring in Domantas Saboins will certainly improve things in Sacremento. Will it be enough to jump them into Play-In position come season’s end?
27) Detroit Pistons 13-45
How much is winning the Rising Stars MVP going to help Cade Cunningham going into the last fraction of the season? Not much is expected from Detroit this season, but they can give fans something to hang on to if they finish the season strong.
28) OKC Thunder 18-40
Josh Giddey and the Thunder would need a miracle to even get in to a position to whiff the Play-In Tournament. It may look unlikely that they are in contention at season’s end, but Giddey has been a triple-double machine lately and he is worth the price of admission alone.
29) Houston Rockets 15-43
Jalen Green was at his best right before the break, but that doesn’t mean the Rockets started playing better. They went into the break losing seven of eight and at the moment the high flying Green is really the only reason to check out a Rockets game.
30) Orlando Magic 13-47
The Magic limped into the break losing four straight, and will likely limp into the final stretch of the season. Cole Anthony is improving as the season goes on, but the Magic need much more than just their second year guard to step up.