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NBA Power Rankings: Phoenix Suns Are The Best Team In The League

NBA Power Rankings: Phoenix Suns Are The Best Team In The League

The 2021-2022 NBA season is well underway as we approach the halfway point of the year. The All-Star break is only a few weeks away, and we have a pretty good indication of which teams have performed better than the others. It is also becoming abundantly clear which teams will be title contenders by the end of the year and which teams will pray for a talented young star in the lottery. As is the case with every season, the halfway point of the season is the perfect time for power rankings.

There is no shortage of talent across the league with many superstar players showing up and showing out for their sides. Without further ado, here are the power rankings of all 30 teams taking into account all games played until today. While some big-named teams have been hovering around mediocrity, some other teams have distinguished themselves as the very best in the world.

30. Orlando Magic 11-40

The Orlando Magic are the worst team in the league by far, in terms of all-around talent and style of play. They do have some bright spots in rookie Franz Wagner (15.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG) and budding point guard Cole Anthony (17.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.0 APG), but they have not found a way to compete at a high level. The Magic dedicated themselves to a rebuild last season, and wouldn’t mind losing every game for the rest of the year to capture that number one pick.

29. Detroit Pistons 12-37

Detroit has some nice young pieces in Cade Cunningham and Isaiah Stewart, but the team does not play well on the floor. They are pushovers in the league this season because they rank 29th in scoring, 29th in rebounds, and 25th in defense. The Pistons are simply a bad team as things stand, but Cade’s averages of 16.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 5.4 APG are a good sign for things to come.

28. Houston Rockets 14-35

Houston is in a very interesting place at this moment, because they have an All-Star caliber player who is on the bench, a fringe star in Christian Wood, and an entire squad of young players who have no idea how to win. That means the Rockets will have one of the worst records in the league, and they are fine with that. Houston will look to capture a top-3 pick yet again in next year’s draft.

27. Oklahoma City Thunder 15-34

Much like the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder are happy to tank. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a baller and will be an All-Star for years to come, and there could be an All-Star player in Josh Giddey as well down the line. With their incredible collection of first-round picks at their disposal, the Thunder could be a force with their draft decisions in the future.

26. Sacramento Kings 18-34

The Kings have had an awful season, but their bright spot is the fact that they have owned LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers this season. For some reason, the Kings have The King’s number mainly because De’Aaron Fox is a speed demon with the ball. They were in the race for Ben Simmons at some point, but trade talks are officially dead as reported by NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

25. New Orleans Pelicans 18-32

The New Orleans Pelicans’ entire future lies in the hands of superstar Zion Williamson. The franchise has been frustrated with Williamson’s injuries, as he has yet to play a game this season. Not to mention, there are doubts about the team as a whole. Is Brandon Ingram enough as a sidekick to form one of the best duos in the league with Zion? Will they find a capable playmaker to replace Lonzo?

24. Indiana Pacers 19-33

Indiana are not in a good place because they have a bonafide All-Star in Domantas Sabonis who is playing at a high level (19.1 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 5.0 APG). The skilled big man is in the prime of his career, so perhaps the team should look to capitalize on his trade value. Tanking the season could be in the Pacers’ best interest after the All-Star break.

23. San Antonio Spurs 19-32

It is sad to see San Antonio not competing in the playoffs anymore because their era of dominance has been over for a while now. Dejounte Murray is a baller and should get some All-Star votes, but the rest of the team is average at best. The Spurs are never in the business of making trades unnecessarily, but it might do them good as they commit to a rebuild as Gregg Popovich rides off into the sunset.

22. Portland Trail Blazers 21-30

Things are looking ugly in Portland, from bad losses to Damian Lillard possibly being shut down for the season. Apparently, the team isn’t interested in trading CJ McCollum or Jusuf Nurkic either. The Western Conference Finals berth a few years ago was just a fluke because this team is not scaring anybody as presently constructed. The Trail Blazers are going nowhere fast, which should alarm their fan base.

21. Washington Wizards 23-26

What in the world happened to the Washington Wizards? After getting off to a hot start, Bradley Beal and company have faltered on both ends of the floor. They can’t keep leads, struggle to get stops, and are not benefitting from Beal’s poor shooting. The All-Star is only shooting 30.0% from three, and his teammates are not helping him either. Expect Beal to be traded because his time could be up in Washington.

20. New York Knicks 24-27

We should have enjoyed the Knicks’ surge last year because they look like a shell of themselves this season. Julius Randle is receiving a lot of criticism for his play because he is proving to critics that last year was a farce. While that label is a tad harsh, Randle has fallen below his level and so have his teammates. If the Knicks don’t pick up quickly, expect changes in the roster.

19. Atlanta Hawks 24-26

Other than the Lakers, the most disappointing team has been the Atlanta Hawks. They are struggling to play defense, ranking 23rd in defense despite scoring as a top-10 team in the league. Clint Capela does not have enough help on defense, and Trae Young is not the best leader of the team in that regard. With Young as an Eastern Conference All-Star starter, Atlanta needs to fix the team because they are far off from the Eastern Conference Finals.

18. Los Angeles Lakers 24-27

The Los Angeles Lakers are the most disappointing team in the NBA, because a trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook should be one of the top-3 seeds in the West. Instead, the Lakers are at risk of missing the playoffs as they sit under .500. Once James is back to full health, the team could regroup and bounce back but that seems unlikely at this point.

17. Los Angeles Clippers 26-27

The Clippers have performed admirably without the presence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George because they are still in win-now mode. Losing won’t help the team, and the roster could benefit from the extra responsibility before the stars come back. The 35-point comeback against the Washington Wizards was truly historic and could be a sign that the team is clicking as Leonard and George rehab.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves 25-25

Minnesota looks good one day then awful the next. That could be a sign that the team is learning how to win because Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are a heck of a duo. Towns should be an All-Star this year, and should he commit to the Timberwolves long term, the franchise should be in good hands moving forward.

15. Toronto Raptors 25-23

Fred VanVleet has been an All-Star this year, as he is averaging 21.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 7.0 APG for the Toronto Raptors. The guard is playing well for a team that could sneak into the playoffs, as that would be a welcoming feast for the fan base. The Raptors are not a great team but they certainly aren’t pushovers at this stage of the season.

14. Boston Celtics 27-25

The Celtics season has been about Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown because the two stars are All-Stars with elite scoring ability. If the team makes moves to add to the roster, contention should not be out of the equation going forward. But as currently constructed, the Celtics are not winning anything this season and should analyze which players are part of their future by the end of the year.

13. Charlotte Hornets 28-23

Things are picking up in Charlotte thanks to LaMalo Ball, Miles Bridges, and some great coaching. The team should be in the playoffs this year because they play hard on both ends of the floor and are learning how to close games. Seeing Michael Jordan almost walk out when the Hornets almost blew their game against the Lakers should be the iconic moment of the season because improvement is on the horizon.

12. Dallas Mavericks 29-22

Luka Doncic, Luka Doncic, Luka Doncic. That is all Mavericks fans have to be excited about because the young man is simply a dominant offensive player. As he approaches his prime over the next few years, it will be exciting to see what he does for a Mavericks team that continues to make the playoffs. Dallas needs to find a star to pair with Luka and Kristaps Porzingis because it is hard to see anything other than a first-round exit at this point.

11. Denver Nuggets 28-21

Nikola Jokic should be competing with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid for the MVP award this season because the big man is extremely dominant on the floor. He is once again putting up monster numbers, 26.0 PPG, 13.7 RPG, and 7.8 APG, as he continues to guide the Denver Nuggets into the playoffs. The team won’t compete without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr healthy, so having Jokic win MVP could be the highlight of their season.

10. Brooklyn Nets 29-20

Brooklyn Nets fans are nervous right now, and so they should be. They have lost 4 in a row without Kevin Durant and also with James Harden missing games, as the team tries to find a way to remain competitive before KD returns. The rumors of James Harden’s departure are alarming because the Big Three with Kyrie Irving cannot stay on the floor together long enough. The Nets are at risk of not winning a championship, which means there could be trouble down the line.

9. Utah Jazz 30-21

The Jazz are losers of 5 straight, which is why they have fallen in the rankings. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are a nice duo, but they won’t be enough to get the Jazz over the hump, unfortunately. Utah believe they can compete with the best teams, but they are clearly the 4th best team in the West on paper and on the court. Losing Joe Ingles for the season won’t help, because Jordan Clarkson has cooled off his scoring from the bench which was critical to their season last year.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers 31-20

Cleveland have played some excellent ball, as they rank 2nd in defense and 7th in assists. Darius Garland deserves to be an All-Star (19.8 PPG, 8.2 APG) and so does Jarrett Allen (16.1 PPG, 10.9 RPG). The duo has been exceptional together, and they are bolstered by the presence of Lauri Markkanen, rookie Evan Mobley, Kevin Love, and Isaac Okoro. Cleveland will push for the second round of the playoffs because they play well enough to achieve that.

7. Milwaukee Bucks 31-21

Nobody will be shocked if the Milwaukee Bucks make the Finals again, despite holding the 4th best record in the East. Giannis Antetokounmpo might be the best player in the league considering his two-way dominance, and the Bucks will go as he goes. So far, the 2-time MVP is playing at an elite level by putting up 28.8 PPG, 11.2 RPG, and 5.8 APG. Other than Giannis, the Bucks are a great team on both ends of the floor and will likely turn it on after the All-Star break.

6. Philadelphia 76ers 31-19

Of course, the Ben Simmons situation was supposed to weigh heavily on the 76ers this season. But because of Joel Embiid, that has not been the case. Philadelphia are one of the top-3 seeds in the East without Simmons because their big man is putting up 29.1 PPG and 10.8 RPG this season, elite numbers from an elite player. The 76ers play hard on both ends because they rank 8th in defense. As of right now, the 76ers are pushing for the top seed in the East as they wait for the right deal for Simmons.

5. Miami Heat 32-19

The Heat are a heck of a basketball team and have managed to survive with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo going in and out of the lineup. The constant has been Tyler Herro, a very good offensive player who could sneak into the All-Star Team. Herro has been a revelation, putting up 20.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 4.0 APG while shooting 38.1% from three. Once Butler and Adebayo find their groove alongside Kyle Lowry, the Heat will be a force in the playoffs.

4. Chicago Bulls 31-18

The Bulls’ standing as the number one seed in the East is no fluke, they are the most consistent team in the East this season. The injury to Alex Caruso hurts, but the duo of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine has been exceptional this year. DeRozan is in the MVP race for his play, and LaVine continues to show he is coming as a superstar in this game. The Bulls had one of the best offseasons this year and it is showing with their play on both ends of the court.

3. Memphis Grizzlies 35-18

Memphis has been scorching hot over the past few months, blitzing teams with pace and athleticism. Ja Morant is at the core of it, a budding superstar point guard that brings athleticism and offense every night. A deserved All-Star starter, Morant is putting up 26.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 6.8 APG for the Grizzlies this season. Other than Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr could be voted into the All-Star game for his elite two-way play, and the team is exceptionally well-coached. Not to mention, the Grizzlies are the most exciting team to watch this season.

2. Golden State Warriors 38-13

The return of Klay Thompson means Golden State have (almost) everything in order to push for the NBA championship. Stephen Curry has been inconsistent lately and has fallen off the radar as an MVP candidate, while Draymond Green’s injury seems to be lingering. Of course, James Wiseman has yet to play at full health. Once the Warriors have everyone fit and healthy, they will be scary to play against. Regardless, they are the second-best team in the league behind one team.

1. Phoenix Suns - 40-9

Could this be the year for Chris Paul and company? The Suns are playing exceptional basketball on both ends of the floor, as they rank 3rd in PPG and 7th in OPPG. Chris Paul and Devin Booker are a dynamic duo, and Deandre Ayton has not let his contract issues bother him. The big man wants to prove his worth, and the Suns are benefiting. This very well could be Phoenix’s year because their legendary point guard is overdue for a title, and is playing at an elite level as the Suns hold the best record in the NBA. 


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