NBA Power Rankings: Lakers Are Not A Top-5 Team, Nets And Clippers Take Advantage

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NBA Power Rankings: Lakers Are Not A Top-5 Team, Nets And Clippers Take Advantage

The 2021 season is just two months away from endings its regular season with the majority of teams having played at least 45 games. With around 29 games remaining for most franchises, this is crunch time for teams trying to qualify for the NBA playoffs. COVID-19, injuries, and trades have significantly impacted the nature of the power rankings since the last rankings. If the playoffs started today, we would potentially see last year's Finals qualifiers in the Lakers and the Heat sitting at home.

Here are the latest power rankings for all 30 NBA teams in the NBA.

30. Orlando Magic 15-30

After one of the biggest firesales we have seen at the NBA trade deadline, the Magic are easily the worst team in the NBA at the moment even with five more wins than the worst team. Jonathan Issac, Markelle Fultz, and Terrence Ross are all injured. Their lone All-Star Nikola Vucevic was traded to the Bulls, a 20-point scorer in Evan Fournier was dealt with the Celtics, and a former Slam Dunk mesmerizer in Aaron Gordon was sent to the Nuggets. Their best shooter is Otto Porter Jr. Remember when this team was leading the Eastern Conference? The only No. 1 spot they are hoping for is this year's draft and Cade Cunningham.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves 11-34

Even though the Timberwolves have lost five more games than the Magic, the team at least has an All-Star caliber player in Karl-Anthony Towns. Granted, the team has only won 11 games with him in the fold. Moving forward, make this bet, the Magic will lose more games than Minnesota by the end of the year.

28. Detroit Pistons 12-32

The Pistons get the narrow nod only because they play in the Eastern Conference. The current last-place team in the East at least has some scoring options in Jerami Grant and Saddiq Bey. The team needed to trade Delon Wright and gain back some kind of value. The Pistons are in the same boat as the Magic and are hoping that Cade Cunningham can come to town.

27. Houston Rockets 12-32

The Rockets are going to challenge the Timberwolves for the worst team in the West. Trading Victor Oladipo was a must and the rebuild looks bright with all the first-round picks the team owns. The team would have loved to trade John Wall too but that contract is way too big. Eric Gordon would have joined PJ Tucker out of town if he wasn't out 4-6 weeks with a groin injury.

26. Washington Wizards 15-28

Washington will always be somewhat relevant as long as Bradley Beal is in town. There was a lot of smoke around him being moved out of D.C., but he will remain with the team the rest of the season. The chances of Beal getting traded after the season are very high. Washington will return to the lottery to rebuild.

25. Cleveland Cavaliers 17-28

Cleveland had a surprise victory over the Bulls earlier this week despite having no Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, or Collin Sexton. The Cavaliers look like fools benching Drummond and not completing a trade. Instead, they will complete a buyout and receive no value in return. The team is counting down the days for Love's contract to end, another player that could be moved this offseason. Cleveland has some young pieces and has played well at times, but is still years away from contending like the golden years.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder 19-25

The Thunder own 34 draft picks over the next seven years and 17 of those picks are first-round selections after the team was able to swing a deal with George Hill. As you are reading this, we will refer you to their overall record where the Thunder is only six games below .500. The Thunder will remain in the 20s of power rankings for the rest of the season, but their future is bright.

23. Toronto Raptors 18-27

The Raptors are in purgatory. Kyle Lowry was a critical piece to the team's championship year but why would the Raptors not pull the trigger on dealing a 35-year old in a contract season? There were reports that a first-round pick was offered but instead the Raptors are staying pat with their assembled team except moving Norman Powell for Gary Trent Jr. You know what this team is: a below-average team.

22. New Orleans Pelicans 19-25

The Pelicans should have dealt Lonzo Ball but felt that the offers they fielded were not good enough. Now, Ball is going to bolt for nothing. The Pelicans eventually have to grow up but their youth movement is still in the middle of its phase. The core of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson is promising, but for now, the team remains just a competitive below .500 team.

21. Indiana Pacers 21-23

There were rumors that the Pacers were considering dealing with Malcolm Brogdon or Myles Turner. Dealing Brogdon might have been the best move given that he is having a career-year. The Pacers are looking like a sinking ship after the team dealt Victor Oladipo. While Domantas Sabonis is coming off another All-Star appearance, we have seen a similar pattern with the Orlando Magic. Out of all the teams, the Pacers are the closest resemblance to the Pacers' old regime, and we saw how that turned out.

20. Sacramento Kings 20-25

How old will we be when the Kings are competitive? Somehow, the team thought keeping Buddy Hield was a good idea. The team is not competitive this season and could have received a first-round, or a couple of second-round picks for Hield. Instead, the Kings are going to run it back with the same losing team. The Kings remain a joke in the West.

19. Chicago Bulls 19-24

The Bulls are a hot trending team right now. Their move to acquire Nikola Vucevic gives the team two current All-Stars with Zach LaVine. This the first time that LaVine will get to play with another All-Star on his team. The combination of Laurie Markkanen and Daniel Thies, another great move, off the bench will fill the void for when Tomas Satoransky and Vucevic are on the bench. The Bulls could be a top-15 team by the end of the season.

18. Boston Celtics 22-23

If we told you that a team led by Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum would be below .500 would you believe us? There was a reality that the Celtics could miss the postseason, which is why the team made a move for Evan Fournier. Kemba Walker has been awful, so there's speculation that he is no truly 100%. With this much star power, the team should not be in this situation.

17. Charlotte Hornets 23-21

The Hornets sit here for now until the Celtics and Bulls prove they can compete. The Hornets are trending downwards now that LaMelo Ball is out for the rest of the season. Terry Rozier has played out of his mind this year, but can he continue to carry the load? The Hornets are the No. 4 teams in the East, but it's really anybody's race from the four through eight seeds.

16. Atlanta Hawks 23-22

Since removing Lloyd Pierce, the Hawks have played better, which is why the team elected to keep John Collins. The swap with Rajon Rondo for Lou Williams doesn't seem like a good trade for Atlanta since the team brought Rondo for his playoff experience. With the Hawks in the playoff mix, why get rid of the one veteran that knows what this experience is like?

15. Golden State Warriors 22-24

We have heard about Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. associated with trade speculation for weeks. When head coach Steve Kerr said that he loved Oubre, that was the writing on the wall for him staying. The Warriors dynasty is hanging by a thread. The team is going to need a hard push from Steph Curry and Draymond Green to even qualify for the No. 8 seed.

14. Memphis Grizzlies 21-21

For a team that features a starting rotation of Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, and Jonas Valanciunas, the Grizzlies are overperforming. No disrespect to these players, but the West is loaded the Memphis is hanging around the playoff picture despite no All-Stars. Memphis is built on the idea of team ball. Making the playoffs would be a great success for this team.

13. Miami Heat 22-24

The Heat went from being the third-worst team in the East to a dark horse to compete in the East. That's exactly how they like it anyways. Nobody expected them to perform last season and they made the NBA Finals. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are healthy and playing better. The move for Victor Oladipo was amazing. A 20-point per game scorer added to the fold allows Butler to play naturally. Not to mention, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro remain in Miami? Look out for Miami in the next few weeks, especially if the team can add one more piece through the buyout market.

12. New York Knicks 23-22

The Knicks didn't make a mistake in overspend in free agency. The Knicks didn't make a mistake and overspend at the trade deadline. Who are these guys? While owner James Dolan continues to make a mockery of himself for his childish antics, the Knicks have changed their image to demonstrate winning. Nobody expected this team to compete and the team remains the best defensive team in the league. Any playoff experience will be good for this group, they remain a tough first-round opponent.

11. San Antonio Spurs 22-20

Keeping DeMar DeRozan feels like it was Gregg Popovich saying he wants one last "hoorah." The Spurs are a competitive team, but not a contender. Trading DeRozan would have helped the team's future but "Pop" is 73-years old. Who knows how much he has left, so the Spurs are going to ride out this unit for at least one more ride.

10. Dallas Mavericks 23-20

JJ Redick needed to get out of New Orleans. He didn't fit Stan Van Gundy's system. In terms of shooting, this is the worst season in his career, but now he has some real pieces to play with. Adding a perimeter shooter with Tim Hardawy Jr. makes the Dallas offense a little more interesting. Paired with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks have four legitimate outside shooters.

9. Portland Trail Blazers 27-18

Trading Gary Trent Jr. for Norman Powell for essentially upgrading the same player they had. Trent Jr. was shooting the three-ball well this season, but Powell brings a "Lou Williams" like player to the second unit. The Trail Blazers improved their team without giving away major contributors. Look for the Trail Blazers to move up in the standings.

8. Denver Nuggets 27-18

The move for Aaron Gordon to play small forward makes the Nuggets interesting defensively. The combination of Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., and MVP-candidate Nikola Jokic makes this team dangerous. Gary Harris was not contributing at a high level like in years past. Gordon is just 25 years old and has demonstrated his explosiveness during last year's Slam Dunk contests.

7. Los Angeles Lakers 29-17

The Lakers were easily the biggest losers of the trade deadline. Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to be out for a month. If both are healthy for a playoff push, then the Lakers should remain contenders to come out of the West. It's not that easy though. The Nuggets, Clippers, and Trail Blazers all got better, and don't forget about the Suns or Jazz. The Lakers could be out of the top-10 after this week.

6. Los Angeles Clippers 30-16

The Clippers have all the talent but have yet to get over the hump of being the best team in the Western Conference. Until that happens, then we must put the more proven teams ahead. With that said, acquiring Rajon Rondo in exchange for a Lou Williams in the middle of the career-worst season was a major upgrade. Look out for "Playoff Rondo."

5. Milwaukee Bucks 29-15

In the last month, the Bucks own wins over the Celtics, Clippers, and 76ers. The move to acquire PJ Tucker made an already solid defensive team even better. The Bucks are in the conversation for the deepest team in the Eastern Conference. With two-time Giannis Antetokounmpo still playing at a high level, the Bucks remain a favorite to come out of the East.

4. Phoenix Suns 30-14

The No. 2 team in the West were quiet at the deadline. The team was linked to Lauri Markkanen but decided that he was not worth a first-round pick. Honestly, it doesn't matter because this team has proven that they are a competitive unit this season. If it's not broken, don't fix it.

3. Brooklyn Nets 31-15

We can't fault the Nets for injuries. Even though Kevin Durant hasn't played in what feels like forever, the combination of James Harden and Kyrie Irving has kept the Nets afloat, and even propelled Harden as the lead contender for MVP. With moves made for Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Nets are soon becoming the Brooklyn "Vets." Experience wins in the postseason and these moves for the former All-Stars could be the final moves necessary to put Brooklyn over the top.

2. Philadelphia 76ers 32-13

The 76ers were so close to getting Kyle Lowry that it was reported the team was on "the one-yard line" by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Instead, the team acquired George Hill, a proven veteran that has played in many postseasons. The team managed to keep Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, and their draft capital. The idea of Lowry coming home to lead Philly to a championship would have been a dream headline, but this team is pretty well-rounded too.

1. Utah Jazz 33-11

Until a team starts losing less than the Jazz, the franchise has earned the title has the best team in the league right now. Of course, there are concerns that the Jazz can produce once it comes playoff time, but the team ranks third in points per game and fifth in points allowed. The team didn't need to make a deal at the deadline because what they currently have worked. Don't expect the Jazz to lose too many games soon either as their next four opponents are the Grizzlies, Cavaliers, Bulls, and Magic.


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