As we enter 2020, the standings are becoming clearer. Most of the NBA Universe is aware of which teams are title contenders, and what teams will settle at the bottom of the pack. But it gets very tight at the top, with top contenders such as the Lakers losing their standing as the number one team in the league following some key losses.
The Milwaukee Bucks have taken their place as the best team in the league, with their solid play on both ends of the floor. But where do the other teams rank?
By ranking all the NBA teams by record and production, here are this week’s power rankings in the NBA season.
30. Atlanta Hawks 6-27
The Hawks are not a good team at all, and they need another All-Star player to join Trae Young. Trae is a budding player similar to the likes of Stephen Curry and could be a game-changer. Adding a star such as the likes of Andre Drummond would greatly help their cause to get out of the worst record in the entire league.
29. New York Knicks 9-24
The Knicks are once again push-overs, and guys like Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett have not been able to make a difference for the team. The Knicks have to pray for a high-value lottery pick next year, or their future also remains in jeopardy. At least they are not the worst team in the league.
28. Washington Wizards 9-22
The Wizards are praying on the health of John Wall at the moment since they have nothing to look forward to. Bradley Beal will soon become unnerved since he is wasting his years in his prime, while the franchise would be devastated to lose him. If Wall can make a miraculous return this year, it should help their cause. But that is unlikely, and they have to plan for their future.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers 10-22
Cleveland will probably be in the lottery this season, and they will gladly remain there as their young players get better. They seem to be taking steps in the right direction by trading away assets such as Jordan Clarkson. Only time will tell if Kevin Love is next, and their rebuild gets underway.
26. Golden State Warriors 9-25
The Warriors are simply devastated with injuries, but their young players are developing quickly as they play (and defeat!) some of the best teams in the league. While the Warriors will likely lose a ton of games, and get a high-quality draft pick next year, they are on the right path towards success in the near future.
25. New Orleans Pelicans 11-23
The Pelicans cannot be judged just yet since their franchise player Zion Williamson is still injured. But his rehab seems to be going well, and Ingram looks to be a solid Robin to his eventual Batman. Unfortunately, Lonzo Ball has still not lived up to his potential and is making the argument for him being a bust, stronger by the day. Yikes.
24. Minnesota Timberwolves 11-20
The Wolves seem to be wasting another season away with an All-NBA superstar talent in KAT. They must do something to not waste KATs valuable years, and either build a winning team as soon as possible or move on from their assets. The Wolves still might sneak in the playoffs, but they won’t scare anybody.
23. Detroit Pistons 12-21
The Pistons continue their disappointing play and don’t look fit to be an eight seed at the moment. Detroit lacks any real perimeter star power outside of Rose, and Griffin has been way below his best. If Detroit doesn’t pick it up, trades seem imminent.
22. Sacramento Kings 12-21
The Kings are decent, but clearly not good enough to be relevant in the West. They re-signed Buddy Hield to a max contract, while they still have Marvin Bagley III to lead them down the line. The Kings should do their best to keep adding young players since they are not quite ready to be in the playoffs.
21. Phoenix Suns 12-20
The Suns have a lot of work to do, but it has been fun to watch Booker perform when he’s on his game. Oubre Jr. also has played very well and is having a career year on both ends of the floor. Once Ayton gets his footing following his suspension, the Suns should be a better team.
20. Charlotte Hornets 13-22
The Hornets are not very good, but they have found a gem in Devonte Graham. He has surprised everybody as a strong starting point guard in the league, and the Hornets are trying their best not to be push-overs. As long as their record is better than the Knicks, they will be fine.
19. Memphis Grizzlies 13-21
The Grizzlies are simply playing the waiting game this year. They are waiting for their young stars in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr to mature into better players while hoping for a valuable first-round pick next year. It will be interesting to see if the Grizzlies can keep tanking for a strong pick.
18. Chicago Bulls 13-20
The Bulls have nice young talent, but they aren’t doing much winning just yet. They aren’t push-overs per se, but they aren’t good enough to make a playoff series just yet. The Bulls need to pray for an All-Star addition to their team, or another young player to add to their solid case of young potential stars.
17. San Antonio Spurs 13-18
The Spurs have been quite poor all season long. Their All-Star pairing doesn’t seem to be working, but they always have a chance to make the 8th seed thanks to their HOF coach. If the Spurs go on a winning run, they could improve their record and quiet any trade noise.
16. Portland Trail Blazers 14-19
Carmelo Anthony has been a revelation for the Blazers, who are much better with him on the floor. But he has not fixed the major problem: their defense. It’s a shame they did not hold onto Aminu or Harkless who were massive in their Western Conference Finals run last year, by doing all the little things and playing tough defense. They will have to outscore every team they play, and will likely not make it out the first round if they even make the playoffs.
15. Orlando Magic 14-18
Orlando is lucky to be the eighth seed, as they do not have enough talent. It is great they were able to re-sign Vucevic to a max contract since most players will not want to join Orlando in free agency. If they can pull off a key trade, the Magic could be relevant. Until then, they will likely fall to the middle of the pack again.
14. Brooklyn Nets 16-15
Injuries to Kyrie Irving has prevented him from playing much, so Spencer Dinwiddie has taken over as the team’s best player. He is most likely the Most Improved Player so far, and might even get an All-Star berth. But the Nets are not very intimidating even with Kyrie on the floor, and they eagerly await the return of Kevin Durant next year.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder 17-15
The Thunder are actually a playoff team at the moment, and their talent should get them there anyway. Guys like Paul, Gallinari, and Adams are good enough to win games. But what exactly is their plan from moving on from George and Westbrook? Is it to have a first-round exit? We have to wait and see.
12. Utah Jazz 20-12
The Jazz hasn’t been particularly consistent, but a recent victory over the LA Clippers shows how they can perform at a very high level on any given night. Not to mention, the trade for Jordan Clarkson gives them more scoring and talent to help Mitchell and Conley and might help them fight for a better record.
11. Indiana Pacers 21-12
The Pacers still await the return of their star Victor Oladipo, and we cannot really judge them until then. The Pacers play hard, and have some nice talent, and therefore should remain in playoff contention all year long. The Pacers can upset any good team if they play well, and have the potential to be an Eastern Conference favorite if Oladipo returns to All-Star form.
10. Toronto Raptors 22-11
The Raptors are a passionate team that will not back down from anybody. Even losing one of the best players on the planet, they have regrouped and been consistent all year long. The Raptors will finish with a strong record this season, but it seems they will not have much in the tank when they have to play the very best teams in the league as the playoffs near.
9. Dallas Mavericks 21-10
The Mavericks this year has been all about Luka Doncic, but they have played very well as a team. The Mavs will make the playoffs this year, and could legitimately be the third seed in the West. It is unlikely that they will be able to manage their high level of play all season long, and their roster screams for one more All-Star addition.
8. Houston Rockets 22-11
Once again, the Rockets have shown that they can either be the best team in the league or choke games they should be winning easily. The Christmas Day defeat to the shorthanded Warriors was the epitome of the Rockets so far, as they have been so dominant and yet so sloppy. As they improve their style of play with defensive schemes aimed at stopping James Harden, they will hope to fight for a one-seed.
7. Philadelphia 76ers 23-12
The Sixers had an iffy start, but they are back to their best. Embiid is playing like an MVP, while Tobias Harris has taken the role of primary perimeter scorer very well. As long as they keep hitting shots, the Sixers might be best equipped to make the NBA Finals.
6. Los Angeles Clippers 23-11
The Clippers are looking stronger by the day, especially with the return of Paul George. While George has had an up and down season so far, he will come good further down the line and the Clippers will be a massive contender for the NBA Finals. Barring a high profile loss to the Rockets, the Clippers defeated the Lakers once again and seem to have their number.
5. Boston Celtics 22-8
Danny Ainge is looking like a superhero at the moment, with their two bright stars in Tatum and Brown developing into All-Star talents in front of our very eyes. Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward, and Enea Kanter are all supporting their growth and have been very strong all year long. The Celtics are easily one of the title favorites in the East.
4. Miami Heat 24-8
The Heat can be one of the teams that cause a major upset in the playoffs. As a result, no one wants to play the Heat. They play hard, defend with passion, and feel like they can beat anybody. As they have one of the best records in the league, Miami has been one of the best stories in the NBA so far.
3. Denver Nuggets 23-9
The Nuggets are just too consistent to fall under a top three record in the West. They are well-coached and always play hard on both ends. While there may be some superstar players who feel they can get the best of Jokic or Murray, nobody wants to play Denver as they have too many bodies to throw on the court at any given time.
2. Los Angeles Lakers 26-7
The Lakers are still a real problem, with exceptional talent and size. But they have had a four-game losing streak only recently snapped, and some key losses to the Bucks and Clippers. The Lakers have shown some weaknesses so far in 2019, and they hope to correct it in 2020.
1. Milwaukee Bucks 29-5
The Bucks are back on top as the best team in the league. They managed a massive victory over the LA Lakers in quite convincing fashion, and they still have the favorite for the MVP Award. The Bucks might be the best team in the league at the moment, but they have more to do to be the favorite for the NBA title.