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NBA Weekly Power Rankings Week 13

The current NBA season has had more twists and turns than a Hollywood thriller. The excitement levels are at an extreme high with the Memphis Grizzlies showing what they are made of. It’s almost impossible to see where this topsy-turvy season is headed as the NBA All-Star Weekend steams into view.

The current NBA season has had more twists and turns than a Hollywood thriller. The excitement levels are at an extreme high with the Memphis Grizzlies showing what they are made of. It’s almost impossible to see where this topsy-turvy season is headed as the NBA All-Star Weekend steams into view. The likes of Ja Morant, Devin Booker, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Darius Garland, and even the returning Kyrie Irving have provided enough entertainment to keep even the passing fan happy. They are also central to their team’s performances as we look at the Power Rankings this week.

1 – Phoenix Suns (Moved up 2 spots)

Record: 34-9

Last season’s losing finalists the Phoenix Suns have been on a superb run of form recently with the return of many of their stars following covid protocol absences. Devin Booker has been red-hot of late and his showings on the court have powered the Suns up the top of these rankings again. Booker has averaged 26.5 points per game (ppg) over the last 10 games. His 48 points scored against the San Antonio Spurs were a season-high. Chris Paul is 2nd in the NBA in assists per game (APG), 6th in steals per game (SPG), and DeAndre Ayton is 10th in rebounds per game (RPG). The Sun’s big three have been fantastic and the team is on a four-game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Phoenix is 4th in the league in ppg, 3rd in APG, 11th in RPG, 8th in SPG, and 11th in blocks per game (ppg). The advanced stats also show how good they’ve been, they are 5th in offensive rating (OR), 2nd in defensive rating (DR), and 2nd in net rating (NR).

2 – Memphis Grizzlies (Unmoved)

Record: 31-15

The real climbers in recent weeks have been the Memphis Grizzlies and they’ve been able to maintain their form. The Grizz have had a nine-win and one-loss stretch over the last 10 games. Ja Morant has added more fuel to his claims for an All-Star Game starting berth. Morant is 13th in the league in ppg but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Morant is 2nd in the NBA in clutch points, hitting those vital baskets at the end of games. Jaren Jackson Jr. has been equally as impressive for Memphis on the defensive end and he is 4th in bpg. The Grizzlies are a surprisingly high 3rd in the Western Conference standings, they lead the way in rebounds, blocks, and steals, are 4th in ppg, 9th in APG, and the advanced stats are 7th in offense, 10th in defence, and 6th in net rating. They look like the real deal and they are the second-youngest team in the NBA.

3 – Golden State Warriors (Moved down 2 spots)

Record: 31-12

All eyes were on the high-flying Golden State Warriors to start the season and that hasn’t changed, but things have cooled for them over the past week. An injury to Draymond Green has pretty much stopped their momentum in its tracks. The Dubs are 4-6 over their last 10 encounters and that was unexpected as they welcomed back Klay Thompson after his two-year injury-enforced hiatus. Stephen Curry’s numbers have fallen as he is 6th in ppg and that has contributed to a stalling of their offense over the past week. However, it is not all doom and gloom for the Warriors who are 2nd in the West, they are 1st in assists, 2nd in steals, 4th in rebounds but sit in 12th in ppg. The offense is where Golden State needs to raise their game as they are 11th in OR, but on defence they are still the best team in the league and that also sees the Dubs top the net ratings standings. Once they figure out their scoring issues we’ll see them become the favourites again.

4 – Utah Jazz (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 29-15

The Utah Jazz has a similar record to the Warriors over the last 10 outings, 4-6, but they are still showing their class as a team this season. The Jazz is 1st in points, 3rd in rebounds, 6th in 3-point percentage, and 12th in blocks per game. In the advanced metrics, they are the best team on offense, lie 11th in defence, and are 3rd in NR. They can score and it shows, as they sit 4th in the West. Individually, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is doing well, he’s 9th in ppg and 5th in 3-pointers made. Rudy Gobert leads the league in rebounds and is 3rd in blocks. These two players are central to all of the Jazz’s efforts as they search for victories on a nightly basis but don’t discount the current 6th Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson when Utah gets into a scoring groove.

5 – Chicago Bulls (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 27-15

The Chicago Bulls had reached the heady heights of first place in the Eastern Conference standings last week, but this week has seen the smiles diminish and the good vibes dissipate somewhat. A string of four losses on the trot will do that to you, but for perspective’s sake, the Bulls are an even 5-5 in their last 10 games. Chicago is 11th in ppg,10th in APG, and 4th in SPG, they are 6th in OR and 10th in NR. DeMar DeRozan is still lighting up the league in ppg, he is 7th in the standings, with Zach LaVine in 11th. Nikola Vucevic is 7th in RPG and Alex Caruso is 2nd in SPG. The team and individual player stats look good, so why are they on a losing run? Blow-out losses to the Nets, Warriors, and Grizzlies as well as the close defeat to the Celtics have all showed up the deficiencies on the defensive end. The Bulls haven’t been as good defensively as they’ve needed to be. Better attacks have put them to the sword and they haven’t had an answer for that. That too can change quickly with the right application on defence.

6 – Miami Heat (Unmoved)

Record: 28-16

The Miami Heat seem to finally be past the worst of their injury and covid-19 cloud and are back on track in the East. The Heat have a 7-3 record over the last 10 games and will be keen to extend that winning run for much longer. With Bam Adebayo coming back into the fold Miami has another All-Star they can call on when the need arises. The Heat is middle of the road when it comes to points per game and rebounds per game, but they share the ball around well and are 7th in the association in assists. Miami is 4th in offensive rating 8th in defensive rating and 5th in net rating. They don’t rely on one scorer to get them going, they share the load around the team. Jimmy Butler has been their scoring and assists leader but he is very ably assisted by Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro on the offensive side of the ball. Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA and his teammates try to match his intensity when back on defence.

7 – Brooklyn Nets (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 27-16

Losing Kevin Durant, the NBA leader in points per game, to a knee injury will cause the Brooklyn Nets some misery in the short term. Durant is expected to miss around six weeks of action. With Kyrie Irving only available for road games there is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of James Harden, the league’s assist leader, and the rest of the roster. The Nets are still one of the better teams in the league and they are in 3rd place in the East. A record of 4-6 over the past 10 games isn’t great, but they haven’t started tumbling down the standings yet. Brooklyn is 6th in ppg, APG, and bpg. They are 8th in offense, 14th in defence, and 9th in net rating. They’ll have to hold down the home court when the going gets tough. Players like Patty Mills, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin will have to step up.

8 – Milwaukee Bucks (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 27-19

The reigning champion Bucks have lost two games in a row and have struggled for any real consistency this term. They are missing Jrue Holiday who is out for the short term and Brook Lopez who is out long term. It’s hard to see what the champions can do to arrest the form dip. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been sensational as usual, he is 3rd in ppg, 6th in RPG, 15th in bpg and is even 23rd in assists. Milwaukee is 5th in points and 2nd in rebounds, 9th in OR, and 7th in DR, and yet they can’t string together a long run of victories. It isn’t time to panic, far from it, but with the trade deadline swiftly approaching the time to make some moves could pass them by.

9 – Cleveland Cavaliers (Moved up 2 spots)

Record: 27-18

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Grizzlies have been two of the heart-warming stories this season. Both teams are playing great basketball at the moment and their futures are bright. Cleveland is in the middle of a superb run. They’ve notched five straight victories and beat the more fancied Nets in their last outing. Individually their players are shining bright. All eyes are currently on Darius Garland the third-year guard and he has been nothing short of sensational. He is averaging over 20 points and 10 assists in his last ten games; the Cavs are 7-3 across that period too. Cleveland is 13th in OR and 3rd in DR. Though Garland is getting the scoring and assist plaudits, rookie Evan Mobley has formed a formidable partnership with fellow big man Jarret Allen and they have been hard to score on.

10 – Philadelphia 76ers (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 25-18

When Joel Embiid is playing well, then the Philadelphia 76ers are in a good place. Right now, they are in a good place. They occupy the 6th spot in the East and are 8-2 in their last 10 matchups. That is still because the Ben Simmons trade saga hasn’t been concluded. Embiid is 5th in the NBA in points, 11th in rebounds, and 19th in blocks. He’s doing a heck of a job for Philly. The Sixers are a below-average scoring team but sit 10th in OR. Defensively they are 12th in the league but sit in 5th in blocks per game. They are bottom of the NBA in rebounding and that feels like the perfect place to start fixing things, especially if they look to get to a championship level.

11 – Dallas Mavericks (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 25-19

The Dallas Mavericks have quietly been going about their business in the last few weeks. Their improved form has come after the return of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis to full fitness. Dallas has not been at their best to start the season but a recent 10 game record of nine wins and one loss has put them back on track. The Mavs have been riding on their impressive defence, they are 4th in DR, but they need work on the offensive end. Luka Doncic is 15th in the league in ppg with Porzingis the only other Mav in the top 40, he is 31st in ppg. Porzingis is 8th in blocks per game and he has been better on defence this campaign. Dallas will need better shooting to establish themselves as one of the teams to watch going forward.

12 – Charlotte Hornets (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 24-20

The Hornets have had a good couple of weeks and the past week has continued that trend. They are sitting above .500, aren’t too far off the automatic play-off places, and have won seven of their last 10 contests. Their report card will read, ‘can do better, but they are 3rd in the offensive rating which is great, but their defence needs help as they are 26th in DR.

13 – Toronto Raptors (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 21-20

Fred VanVleet has swiftly become the most important player on the Raptors team. He’s 26th in ppg, 18th in APG but most importantly he is 2nd in the NBA in 3-pointers made, only behind Stephen Curry. VanVleet is averaging over 27 ppg over the last 10 games. The Raps have also welcomed back Pascal Siakam after his layoff early in the season and he’s been really impressive. Both have been good for Toronto and the Raptors are happy to have them help the team to a 7-3 record over the last 10 outings, they are 12th in OR and 15th in NR.

14 – Denver Nuggets (Unmoved)

Record: 22-20

The Denver Nuggets owe much of their success to Nikola Jokic who is still playing at an MVP level after winning the award last season. Jokic is 10th in the NBA in ppg, 2nd in RPG, 11th in APG and that has meant that the Nuggets haven’t missed Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. as much. Denver is 16th in OR and 13th in DR but crucially are 6th in the Western Conference standings.

15 – New York Knicks (Moved up 5 spots)

Record: 22-22

The New York Knicks have not had the season they’d hoped for, but they have picked up their form over the last week. The Knicks are 6-4 over the last 10 games and that has seen them ascend in the rankings. They are better defensively, 13th in DR than offensively, 23rd in OR.

16 – Washington Wizards (Moved up 3 spots )

Record: 23-21

The Wizards seem to still have some chemistry issues in the backcourt with guards Bradley Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie having not managed to complement each other well this season. The Wizards have scored just 100.5 points per 100 possessions in 476 minutes with both on the floor.

17 – Boston Celtics (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 23-22

The Celtics continue to have ups and downs offensively and consistency remains an issue, however, the next three weeks could be an opportunity for that 22nd-ranked offense to find some stability and make some real headway.

18 – Los Angeles Lakers (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 22-22

Playing LeBron James at the center position has worked for the Lakers, but it seemed to have more to do with the opponents they faced, but that came to an end with losses to the likes of the Sacramento Kings who they let score a season-high 70 points in the paint.

19 – Minnesota Timberwolves (Moved down 4 spots)

Record: 21-22

The Timberwolves are ninth in the West and managed to beat the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, however, they are not efficient from the charity stripe. They rank last in opponent free throw rate by a wide margin and they have more than double the free-throw discrepancy (outscored by 4.0 points per game at the line) of any other team.

20 – Los Angeles Clippers (Moved down 4 spots)

Record: 21-23

The LA Clippers continue to face offensive challenges and have been held under a point per possession in their two games, with their two leading scorers, Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris have combined to shoot 24-for-86 (28%) over the three games.

21 – Portland Trial Blazers (Moved up 3 spots)

Record: 18-25

The Trail Blazers are not in the best space at the moment with Damian Lillard out due to non-Covid related health issues. The return of CJ McCollum will prove to be beneficial, but they were 4-3 without either Lillard or McCollum in January, with the league’s sixth-ranked offense this month.

22 – Atlanta Hawks (Unmoved)

Record: 18-25

Even with Clint Capela’s numbers being down from last season, the Hawks have been much better playing big (plus-7.1 points per 100 possessions with John Collins and Capela on the floor together), than they’ve been playing small. Hopefully, the addition of Kevin Knox will better things.

23 – Sacramento Kings (Moved up 3 spots)

Record: 18-28

The Sacramento Kings are 11th in the West and still have a chance to grab the last Play-in spot in the conference. They’ll play their next seven games against teams from the East, with a five-game trip starting Saturday in Milwaukee. They’re 5-8 (1-3 on the road) against the Eastern Conference thus far.

24 – San Antonio Spurs (Unmoved)

Record: 16-27

The Spurs have had eight back-to-backs in the last six weeks and have had up to three starters in health and safety protocols in those games. San Antonio is 17th in offensive rating, 18th in defensive rating, and 16th in net rating.

25 – New Orleans Pelicans (Moved up 2 spots)

Record: 16-27

The Pelicans’ 1-12 start to the season is still impacting their record, even after they went 15 – 16 when Brandon Ingram returned after a seven-game absence. They had the seventh-best record in the Western Conference over that time, but they still have three teams (Portland, Sacramento, and San Antonio) between them and 10th place.

26 – Indiana Pacers (Moved down 3 spots)

Record: 15-29

The Indiana Pacers are 1-9 since Christmas and all 10 of their post-Christmas games have come against teams that are currently .500 or better. So far, they have played 33 games against the 17 teams that are currently at or above .500, and only 10 games (they’re 5-5) against the other 12 teams with losing records.

27 – Oklahoma City Thunder (Unmoved)

Record: 14-29

The Thunder are second from the bottom of the Western Conference and with a slew of youngsters, they lack the star quality to make a real impact in the West. They are 29th in offensive rating, 15th in defensive rating, and 27th in net rating.

28 – Houston Rockets (Unmoved)

Record: 13-32

The Houston Rockets are at the bottom of the Western Conference for a reason and that is they have few veterans in the team. They have won two out of three games for the first time since their seven-game winning streak came to an end in early December. They’re still 0-16 against the top 10 teams in the West.

29 – Detroit Pistons (Unmoved)

Record: 10-32

The Detroit Pistons are second-last in the East. Their four January losses have come by an average of 33 points, but they have a winning record (5-4) in 2022. The big difference between their five January wins and the four defeats by 27 points or more, has been on defence.

30 – Orlando Magic (Unmoved)

Record: 8-37

Another team that is lacking veteran experience are the bottom of the East is the Orlando Magic. They are the only team that has won less than 20% of their games, but they’re also the only team with a better record against the 16 teams that currently have winning records (6-23) than they do against the 14 teams currently at or below .500 (2-13).

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