September 24, 2023


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LA Clippers, Utah Jazz are trending upward riding win streaks

Welcome back to our weekly NBA Power Rankings!

Just over a month into the NBA season, the standings are starting to take shape and teams are starting to reveal their true colours. Which teams made the biggest jump in this week’s Power Rankings? Which teams fell off in this week’s Power Rankings?

Take a look and see where your favourite team stands five weeks into the season.

NBA Power Rankings

10. Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard holding a basketball

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Damian Lillard

Previous rank: 10

Record: 9-6

Last week: 1-1 (loss vs. SAS, win vs. NYK)

This week: vs. OKC, at HOU, at CHI

One big thing: With CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) each out for the time-being, Damian Lillard has kicked things into another gear. In the Blazers’ two contests this past week – the first two games without those two starters – Lillard averaged 37.0 points, 7.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals while shooting 52.5% from the field and 45.0% from 3.

Expect to see many more big outings from the superstar guard in the near future as he tries to make up for the lost production of his backcourt mate McCollum.

9. Phoenix Suns

Chris Paul holding a basketball: #ChrisPaul

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Previous rank: 5

Record: 8-7

Last week: 1-3 (loss at MEM, win at HOU, loss vs. DEN, loss vs. DEN)

This week: vs. OKC, vs. GSW, at DAL

One big thing: Since going 7-3 through their first 10 games of the season, the Suns have lost four out of their last five. They failed to close out three of four close games this past week, falling to the Nuggets in overtime in back-to-back outings, an unusual result for a Chris Paul-led team.

8. Brooklyn Nets

James Harden et al. that are walking on the court: kevin durant kyrie irving james harden

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kevin durant kyrie irving james harden

Previous rank: 7

Record: 10-8

Last week: 2-2 (win at MIL, loss at CLE, loss at CLE, win vs. MIA)

This week: vs. MIA, at ATL, at OKC, at WAS

One big thing: In the five games since the megadeal that landed James Harden in Brooklyn, the Nets own a defensive rating of 119.2, the second-worst mark in the NBA over that span, only ahead of the Sacramento Kings who have been historically bad on defence this season. They have also allowed 126.8 points per game over that stretch, which is the worst mark in the league.

They are 1-1 so far with all three of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the lineup.

7. Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic on a court with a racket

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Nikola Jokic

Previous rank: 12

Record: 9-7

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. OKC, win at PHX, win at PHX)

This week: at DAL, at MIA, at SAS, vs. UTA

One big thing: It was only a matter of time before Nikola Jokic’s MVP-level play translated to success for the Nuggets, winners of seven of their last 10 games after starting the season 2-4.

Their game against the Suns this week was something to behold as Jokic went for a career-high 22 rebounds in a double-double effort and Jamal Murray buried a clutch 3-pointer at the buzzer to force the game into overtime where the Nuggets came away with the win. 

6. Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown standing in front of a crowd: #Brown

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Previous rank: 4

Record: 9-6

Last week: 1-2 (loss at PHI, loss at PHI, win vs. CLE)

This week: at CHI, at SAS, vs. LAL

One big thing: With All-Star forward Jayson Tatum out of the lineup since Jan. 8 while recovering from COVID-19, Jaylen Brown did everything he could to keep the Celtics toward the top of the Eastern Conference. Brown dropped 42 points in the team’s second loss of the week to the 76ers but he didn’t stop there. He followed up that performance against the Cavaliers setting an NBA record becoming the first player to score over 30 points in a game in less than 20 minutes played.

With Tatum expected to return this week, Boston is inching back to full strength.

5. Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Giannis Antetokounmpo

Previous rank: 2

Record: 10-6

Last week: 1-2 (loss at BKN, loss vs. LAL, win vs. ATL)

This week: at TOR, at NOP, at CHA

One big thing: The Bucks suffered a pair of close losses against two powerhouse teams in the Nets and Lakers. They are now 0-4 this season against teams that currently own winning records (Celtics, Jazz, Nets, Lakers) but are 10-2 against the rest of the field.

4. Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid swinging a racket at a ball

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Joel Embiid

Previous rank: 9

Record: 12-5

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. BOS, win vs. BOS, win at DET)

This week: at DET, vs. LAL, at MIN, at IND

One big thing: Joel Embiid loves playing against the Celtics. Over the two wins against Philly’s rivals, the MVP candidate tallied 71 points, 25 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks while shooting 21-for-35 (60.0%) from the field, 3-for-4 (75.0%) from three and 26-for-32 (81.3%) from the free throw line. Total domination.

3. Utah Jazz

a person holding a ball: Donovan Mitchell

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Donovan Mitchell

Previous rank: 6

Record: 12-4

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. NOP, win vs. NOP, win vs. GSW)

This week: vs. NYK, vs. DAL, vs. DAL, at DEN

One big thing: The Jazz are the hottest team in the NBA, winning eight games in a row – the longest win streak in the league so far this season. Over that eight-game stretch, All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell has been incredible, averaging 27.3 points, 5.0 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting an efficient 51.0 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from three.

2. LA Clippers

Paul George holding a football ball: Paul-George-Kawhi-Leonard

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Previous rank: 3

Record: 13-4

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. SAC, win vs. OKC, win vs. OKC)

This week: at ATL, at MIA, at ORL, at NYK

One big thing: While it’s not the longest win streak in the NBA, the Clippers have still won seven consecutive games and are now tied with the Lakers for first place in the West. Most-impressively, both Kawhi Leonard (.505/.419/.900) and Paul George (.504/.484/.907) are currently riding 50-40-90 shooting splits, something that is unheard of for a pair of teammates.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

a group of men playing a game of football: LeBron

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Previous rank: 1

Record: 13-4

Last week: 2-1 (loss vs. GSW, win at MIL, win at CHI)

This week: at CLE, at PHI, at DET, at BOS

One big thing: The Lakers have yet to lose a road game, owning a perfect 9-0 record away from Los Angeles. It is the best start in franchise history on the road.

The Rest of the NBA

11. Indiana Pacers

12. Dallas Mavericks

13. Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry took another step toward the top of the all-time 3-pointers made leaderboard this past week, passing Reggie Miller for the second-most threes in NBA history.

Only 411 more to go to pass Ray Allen (2,973) for the most all-time.

14. Atlanta Hawks

15. San Antonio Spurs

16. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are trending in the right direction, winning five of their last six games. OG Anunoby’s offensive surge has played a key role in that, scoring double figures in a career-best eight consecutive games while shooting 60.5 percent from three over his last seven games.

17. Cleveland Cavaliers

Collin Sexton shocked the NBA world this past week, scoring 20 consecutive points over two overtimes to help the Cavaliers past the Nets in the debut of Brooklyn’s big three of Harden, Durant and Irving.

18. Miami Heat

All-Star centre Bam Adebayo went for a career-high 41 points against the Nets this week, although it came in a losing effort.

The Heat have a disappointing 6-9 record but they have been playing short-handed nearly all season due to injuries and COVID-19 health and safety protocols. On the bright side, Jimmy Butler has cleared COVID-19 protocol and should be returning to action sooner rather than later.

19. Memphis Grizzlies

20. New York Knicks

21. Charlotte Hornets

Gordon Hayward’s red hot start to the season continued, going for over 30 points in each of the Hornets’ games this past week. The one-time All-Star is in pursuit of his second bid, bolstering his resume with 39 points and a game-winning layup against the Magic.

22. Chicago Bulls

23. Houston Rockets

24. New Orleans Pelicans

25. Orlando Magic

26. Sacramento Kings

27. Oklahoma City Thunder

28. Washington Wizards

29. Minnesota Timberwolves

30. Detroit Pistons

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