Week 5 NBA Power Rankings
This week we will be looking at every team’s best move since the end of last season.
*Stats and records from games on 1/27/21 are not included.
1. Los Angeles Lakers Record: 14-4 Previous: 1
After going 3-0 in week four, the Lakers retain the top spot for the fifth straight week. Upgrading from JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard to Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol has been a massive addition for this team as both have been more effective on both ends of the court.
2. Utah Jazz Record: 13-4 Previous: 5
The Jazz are the hottest team in the NBA at the moment as they have won nine straight games, the longest steak by any team this season. Utah didn’t make any huge moves in the offseason, but Derrick Favors has been a solid veteran presence off the bench.
3. Los Angeles Clippers Record: 13-5 Previous: 2
The Clippers had their seven-game winning streak snapped by Atlanta on Tuesday, as they fall one spot on this ranking. No one made much of the Nicolas Batum signing at the time, but he has been excellent, averaging 9.7 ppg on 49.2% from the field and 43.8% from deep.
4. Philadelphia 76ers Record: 12-6 Previous: 6
The Sixers took a pair of games from Boston, and split a pair with the Pistons last week as they move up two spots in the ranking. Swapping Josh Richardson for Seth Curry has been a steal for this franchise as Curry is shooting a ridiculous 53.7% from three while averaging 15.6 ppg.
5. Milwaukee Bucks Record: 10-6 Previous: 4
Milwaukee lost a close game to the Lakers but rebounded with a win over Atlanta last week as they drop one spot. Swapping Eric Bledsoe for Jrue Holiday has been a steal as Holiday has been elite on both sides of the court, averaging 1.9 spg.
6. Boston Celtics Record: 10-6 Previous: 7
Boston rebounded from a pair of losses to the Sixers with blowout wins over Cleveland and Chicago last week. Payton Pritchard was looking like a steal at the 26th pick as the Celtics’ primary backup point guard before getting injured.
7. Brooklyn Nets Record: 11-8 Previous: 3
The Brooklyn Big Three era got off to a rocky start as they lost a pair of games to Cleveland last week. Outside of trading for Harden, Brooklyn didn’t make any notable moves besides acquiring Jeff Green, who has been a solid fifth starter.
8. Indiana Pacers Record: 10-7 Previous: 8
The Pacers had an up-and-down week going 2-2, including wins over Toronto and Orlando. The Pacers did not make any significant offseason moves. Still, Caris LeVert should fit in nicely with the team once he returns after surgery to remove what turned out to be kidney cancer.
9. Denver Nuggets Record: 10-7 Previous: 15
After a sluggish start to the year, the Nuggets finally got on track in week four, winning all four of their matchups. While the team has missed Jerami Grant, JaMychal Green has stepped up in his place, averaging 11.2 ppg off Denver’s bench.
10. Portland Trail Blazers Record: 9-7 Previous: 11
The Trail Blazers had a pair of games against Memphis postponed due to COVID and finished the week with a 1-1 record. Bringing Enes Kanter back has been a solid move, as he currently averages a double-double off the bench.
11. Phoenix Suns Record: 8-7 Previous: 9
After having three games postponed, the Suns have hit a slump, losers of three of their last four games. While Chris Paul’s numbers are down, bringing in CP3 elevated Phoenix’s status as a legit playoff contender in the West.
12. Golden State Warriors Record: 9-8 Previous: 10
Golden State had an inconsistent week, going 2-2, with wins over San Antonio and Minnesota. While new additions Kelly Oubre Jr. and Brad Wanamaker have struggled, Kent Bazemore has been a reliable option off the bench for GSW.
13. Memphis Grizzlies Record: 7-6 Previous: 13
The Grizzlies are the latest to get hit by COVID as their last five games have all been postponed. Memphis arguably drafted two steals in Desmond Bane at pick 30 and Xavier Tillman Sr. at pick 35 on draft night, as both have played great so far.
14. Atlanta Hawks Record: 9-8 Previous: 17
The Hawks finally got back on track in week four, winning three of four games, headlined by a win over the Clippers. The Hawks traded for Clint Capela last season, but he didn’t play until this year, so he gets my nod. He’s averaging 14.1 ppg and 14.8 rpg so far, leading the league in rebounding.
15. San Antonio Spurs Record: 9-8 Previous: 12
The Spurs had a down week, losing two of three games, with losses against Dallas and Golden State. The 11th overall rookie, Devin Vassell, has been inconsistent but earns the nod by default as he is the only new addition from last season.
16. Dallas Mavericks Record: 8-9 Previous: 16
Dallas hasn’t looked right all year, and that continued last week as they lost a pair of games to Houston and Denver. At age 33, James Johnson has been an excellent veteran presence for the team, averaging 7.1 ppg while posting an elite 2.1 DBPM off the bench.
17. Toronto Raptors Record: 7-10 Previous: 18
After an abysmal start, the Raptors have finally gotten back on track as they have won five of their last seven games. The Raptors’ new additions have struggled mightily; hopefully, Aron Baynes can improve and find his 2019-20 form.
18. Cleveland Cavaliers Record: 8-9 Previous: 21
The Cavaliers continued to surprise people last week as they won a pair of games against Brooklyn, led by Collin Sexton. Jarrett Allen has looked great through four games with the team, averaging 12.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg off the bench.
19. Orlando Magic Record: 8-10 Previous: 24
It’s challenging to get an accurate gauge on Orlando as they take care of business against the bad teams but have few wins against playoff-caliber teams. Jordan Bone has been a pleasant surprise for Orlando as he’s carved out a role for himself the past two weeks.
20. Miami Heat Record: 6-10 Previous: 14
The Heat haven’t looked right all year as they lost three of four games last week, despite finally being healthy. Prior to testing positive for COVID, Avery Bradley looked like a nice addition, putting up 10.0 ppg off the bench.
21. Houston Rockets Record: 7-9 Previous: 27
John Wall has stepped up as the Rockets finally had a good week after trading James Harden. Jae’Sean Tate and Mason Jones have been steals for this team as undrafted free agents, as both have carved out roles for Houston.
22. New York Knicks Record: 8-11 Previous: 20
After a hot stretch, the Knicks fell back into a slump, losers of three consecutive games. The Knicks made several solid offseason moves, but bringing in Tom Thibodeau was the best move, as his experience and leadership qualities has gone a long way for this team.
23. Oklahoma City Thunder Record: 7-9 Previous: 19
The Thunder keep teams close more often than not but struggled in week four, going 1-3 with blowout losses to Denver and the Clippers. OKC didn’t do much to help themselves this year, but committing to the rebuild and acquiring draft picks will help them in the long run.
24. Chicago Bulls Record: 7-10 Previous: 23
The Bulls went 1-2 last week before their matchup with Memphis was postponed due to COVID. Patrick Williams has shown why he was the fourth pick in the draft, averaging 9.4 ppg on 46.0% from the field and 44.4% from three through 16 games.
25. Charlotte Hornets Record: 7-10 Previous: 25
Charlotte continued to struggle in week four, as they have now lost five of their last six games. LaMelo Ball is the early favorite to win Rookie of the Year as he leads all rookies in rebounds and assists while scoring 11.3 ppg off the bench.
26. Sacramento Kings Record: 6-10 Previous: 26
The Kings went 1-1 last week before having a pair of games against Memphis get postponed due to COVID. Tyrese Haliburton should not have fallen to 12, and he’s proven that as he’s averaging 11.4 ppg on 50.4% from the field and 47.0% from deep this season.
27. New Orleans Pelicans Record: 5-10 Previous: 22
The Pelicans have been one of the most disappointing NBA teams, now losers of eight of their last nine games. Steven Adams has been a solid addition for the Pelicans, as he averages 9.3 ppg and 9.1 rpg on 61.9% from the field.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves Record: 4-12 Previous: 29
The Timberwolves had another down week as they went 1-3, with their only win coming against New Orleans. Anthony Edwards has been inconsistent but has proven he can be a reliable scorer, leading all rookies in averaging 12.3 ppg.
29. Washington Wizards Record: 3-10 Previous: 28
Poor Bradley Beal! Russell Westbrook returned, and the team continued to struggle, now possessing the NBA’s worst record. Raul Neto has been a solid backup point guard for this team, averaging 8.8 ppg and providing some stability when Beal hits the bench.
30. Detroit Pistons Record: 4-13 Previous: 30
For the fifth straight week, the Pistons get the bottom spot on the ranking, despite earning a win over Philadelphia. Jerami Grant is a candidate to win MIP as he’s putting up career-highs across the board, including 24.3 ppg.
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