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NBA Weekly Power Rankings Week 10

This past week in the NBA saw the much-anticipated and beloved NBA Christmas games take place. They were glorious and delivered much entertainment, but there has been a lot of basketball that took place before and after that momentous day. With health and safety protocols still wreaking havoc, the results and rosters themselves have fluctuated from the sublime to the ridiculous. Former players have made comebacks and a few teams have picked up unlikely wins. These have played a part in some of the movements in the Power Rankings this week.

This past week in the NBA saw the much-anticipated and beloved NBA Christmas games take place. They were glorious and delivered much entertainment, but there has been a lot of basketball that took place before and after that momentous day. With health and safety protocols still wreaking havoc, the results and rosters themselves have fluctuated from the sublime to the ridiculous. Former players have made comebacks and a few teams have picked up unlikely wins. These have played a part in some of the movements in the Power Rankings this week.

1 – Golden State Warriors (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 27-7

The Golden State Warriors have been playing some hugely impressive basketball of late and they are top of the Western Conference with a minuscule advantage over the Phoenix Suns. The Dubs have been led by some impressive defence and they are still ranked 1st in the NBA in Defensive rating. The scoring has also been red hot as the Warriors are 4th in Offensive rating. Both of these have seen Steve Kerr’s troops lead the league in Net rating. Despite a recent loss to the Nuggets, Golden State is 7-3 in their last 10 games. With Steph Curry 2nd in the NBA in points per game (ppg), they have a scoring presence they can rely on.

2 – Phoenix Suns (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 26-7

The Suns might have dropped down the Power Rankings one spot since last week, but that isn’t because they’ve been bad. Two recent losses have pegged them back and one of those defeats came at the hands of the high-flying Warriors, hence the drop in the rankings. They are also 7-3 in the last 10 contests just like the Dubs. Phoenix is 9th in Offensive rating and can improve there, but they will be happy being 3rd in Defensive and Net ratings respectively.

3 – Utah Jazz (moved up 1 spot)

Record: 24-9

Utah moves up the rankings due to an 8-2 record over their last 10 games. The Jazz has been constant on attack and they lead the NBA in Offensive rating because of that. They are 2nd in Net rating and 6th in Defensive rating. Utah has leaned on Donovan Mitchell who is 12th in the NBA in ppg and Rudy Gobert who is 1st in rebounds per game (RPG) and 3rd in blocks per game (ppg). With those two in form, the team looks like one of the main contenders for the title this season.

4 – Brooklyn Nets (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 23-9

The Nets had been hit hard by Covid-19 with multiple absentees over the last few weeks. They have started to welcome back some of their missing stars, namely James Harden, and they’ve clawed their way to victories. Brooklyn has the same 7-3 win-loss record over their last 10 games as the Warriors and Suns. The Nets are 11th in Offensive Rating, 5th in Defensive Rating, and 6th in net rating. With Kevin Durant, who leads the NBA in PPG, and Kyrie Irving returning their form is expected to sky-rocket.

5 – Chicago Bulls (Unmoved)

Record: 21-10

The Chicago Bulls have had everybody sitting up and taking notice this season. Their form has been sparkling, their performances spellbinding and the players have gained plaudits. Then a Covid outbreak in the franchise saw them struggle to play games. But they are back in action and back on track. They are 8-2 over their last 10 games with four wins on the trot. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are 6th and 7th in the league in points per game. The Bulls are 5th in Offensive, 11th in Defensive, and 8th in net rating. Chicago looks good and will want to get better.

6 – Milwaukee Bucks (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 23-13

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are getting better and better as the season progresses. A slow start has also been left in the past as Milwaukee steam ahead. The Bucks are 8th in both Offensive and Defensive ratings and 7th in net rating. Giannis is 4th in PPG and 6th in RPG and is the talisman for the reigning champions. With him leading the way the Bucks can only get better.

7 – Miami Heat (Moved up 3 spots)

Record: 22-13

It’s a testament to the Miami Heat that they have weathered an injury and Covid storm and come out shining on the other side. The Heat have performed admirably despite the hardships, they have recently welcomed back Jimmy Butler and his leadership is something the team will rely on. Miami is 7th in both Offensive and Defensive ratings and they are 5th in net rating. Kyle Lowry has been stellar for then and he is 6th in the NBA in assists per game (APG). All eyes will be on Tyler Herro who has been sensational off the bench, Miami needs him to continue to deliver if they have ambitions of returning to the NBA Finals.

8 – Memphis Grizzlies (Unmoved)

Record: 21-14

Ja Morant is back and the Grizzlies are showing that they are a team to be taken very seriously. Memphis is 6th in Offensive rating but they lie in 17th on the defensive end and they’re 9th in net rating. The Grizzlies are one of the more difficult teams to face due to their swarming defence and they’ll work on getting better at it. Morant has swiftly become the key player for them and he has shown a maturity and doggedness that could take this team to higher heights.

9 – Cleveland Cavaliers (Moved down 2 spots)

Record: 20-14

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been showing that the Twin Towers strategy can work effectively if the bigger players in your team are as talented as Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. The Cavs are 5th in the Eastern Conference and look value for their position. They are 2nd in Defensive rating and that has helped them immeasurably, they are also 4th in net rating. The offense is what needs work as they are 13th in Offensive rating. Darius Garland is the other player who has put his hand up to be counted and with those three firing on all cylinders, the future is bright. They will miss Ricky Rubio who was injured recently but their confidence is still high.

10 – Denver Nuggets (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 17-16

Nikola Jokic has maintained his extremely high standards and the current MVP is carrying his team more so than before. He is 9th in PPG, 2nd in RPG, and 12th in APG. Jokic is the fulcrum for this Nuggets team and they have claimed some hard-fought wins. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The Nuggets are 20th in Offensive Rating, 15th in Defensive Rating, and are 18th in net rating, despite their struggles in the advanced stats they are 5th in the Western Conference. Jokic’s value can never be understated.

11 – Philadelphia 76ers (Unmoved)

Record: 18-16

The Philadelphia 76ers have not had their best season so far, but they have benefited from Joel Embiid still giving them high-level production. The Cameroonian big man has been central to their positive efforts. They are 5-5 from in their last 10 games, which won’t set the world on fire. The Sixers are 14th in offense, 19th in defence, and 14th in net rating.

12 – Charlotte Hornets (Moved up 5 spots)

Record: 18-17

The Charlotte Hornets have been one of the most fun teams to watch this season when they are soaring. When they are struggling you can barely keep your focus on them. The Hornets are on an upswing again and they have coincided with the return to action of sophomore guard and Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball. Charlotte has the 2nd best offense in the league but is bottom of the defensive advanced stats. That is what they will need to address if they have dreams of a deep playoff run.

13 – Los Angeles Clippers (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 17-17

The Clippers are still unsure of who they are as a team. When Paul George was out injured they were floundering, but since his return, they have had a little more hope that they’ll win the close games they’d lost in his absence. They are 27th in Offensive Rating, 4th in Defensive Rating, and 16th in net rating. The offense needs help and that is the Kawhi Leonard-sized hole that they need to fill.

14 – Los Angeles Lakers (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 17-18

The Lakers won’t be used to following behind their city rivals but they are in these Power Rankings. LeBron James has been the one shining light for the Purple and Gold as he is 3rd in the league in PPG and 15th in APG. His teammates need to up their game if they want to climb the standings. The Lakers are 7th in the Western Conference, 25th in Offensive Rating, 12th in Defensive Rating, and 22nd in Net rating. There is a lot of work to do.

15 – Washinhton Wizards (Unmoved)

Record: 17-17

The Washington Wizards had shocked so many with the start to the season that they’d made. They were flying high. Since then, they’ve come tumbling down. They currently have a record of .500 but in their last 10 games, they’ve won only 3 and have lost 7. The Wizards will be hoping that Bradley Beal can find some form and start firing them to victories again. They need him badly.

16 – Minnesota Timberwolves (Moved down 2 spots )

Record: 16-18

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ recent performance has been hampered by the absence of three of their key pieces in Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell who have been in Covid-19 protocols. This has taken away from their overall offensive prowess.

17 – Boston Celtics (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 16-18

The Boston Celtics have had a surprisingly bad start to the season and have been blowing hot and cold. The recent return of Jaylen Brown to their roster has slightly improved their performances, but they have still only won three of their last 10 games.

18 – Dallas Mavericks (Unmoved)

Record: 16-17

The Dallas Mavericks have had to depend on their second-best player in Kristaps Porzingis for most of the season so far, with the absence of star guard Luka Doncic. Matters have gotten worse with six of their players entering the health and safety protocols including Doncic himself.

19 – New York Knicks (Moved up 2 spots)

Record: 16-18

The New York Knicks look determined to make a postseason appearance this season and the combination of young talent they have in the core and off the bench is playing some impressive basketball. The defence-focused coaching of Tom Thibodeau could mean that their best performances this season are yet to come.

20 – Atlanta Hawks (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 15-18

The Atlanta Hawks have struggled right from the tipoff of the season and are yet to find the groove they had last season that saw them make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Although they are playing well offensively, their defence still needs a lot of work.

21 – Toronto Raptors (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 14-17

The Toronto Raptors have had a lackluster start to the season and to add to that have had their talent pool depleted with 10 players in health and safety protocols. Their current state saw them have their three-game home winning streak snapped by the 76ers.

22 – San Antonio Spurs (Moved up 3 spots)

Record: 14-19

The San Antonio Spurs might not be the team to watch in the league, but they have a young squad that is averaging 111.8 points per game – the third-best scoring offense in the league. They could still shock some good teams in both conferences.

23 – Indiana Pacers (Unmoved)

Record: 14-20

Things remain dismal in Indiana, especially with the uncertainty surrounding its star players whose names have come up in trade talks. With Caris LeVert now fully healthy and Chris Duarte impressing as a rookie, there is some room for improvement.

24 – Sacramento Kings (Unmoved)

Record: 14-21

The Sacramento Kings have not been a great team for a long time. Even with high-flying talent in D’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and former number 2 pick Marvin Bagley III, they seem to be many pieces away from getting the right formula this season.

25 – Portland Trail Blazers (Moved down 5 spots)

Record: 13-20

The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the league but have been dealt a blow with CJ McCollum being out due to non-Covid related health reasons and a less than impressive frontcourt, they look to be destined for a season of struggles.

26 – New Orleans Palicans (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 13-22

Sitting three spots from the bottom of the Western Conference, the New Orleans Pelicans will more than likely struggle to perform this season, especially with the absence of their star player Zion Williamson who will probably miss most of the season with a foot injury.

27 – Oklahoma City Thunder (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 12-21

The young men at OKC have shown a lot of promise and have recently beaten teams they were expected to lose to, however, the lack of experience and stars on their roster is limiting their potential to perform better.

28 – Houston Rockets (Unmoved)

Record: 10-25

The young Houston Rockets are a team on the rebuild. It is no surprise that they are sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference and waiting to see what happens with All-Star John Wall and getting a high pick next NBA Draft.

29 – Orlando Magic (Unmoved)

Record: 7-28

The most exciting thing in Orlando this season has been Cole Anthony, the high-octane guard at the Magic. They currently have one of the worst offensive and defensive ratings in the league.

30 – Detroit Pistons (Unmoved)

Record: 5-27

Despite having the worst record in the league at the moment, they also, unfortunately, have three of their top talents in health and safety protocols – Cade Cunningham, Jerami Grant, and Kelly Olynyk. They are 29th in points per game and are 24th in opponents’ points per game.

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