Week 8 NBA Power Ranking! This week we’ll look at one award candidate on every NBA team through seven weeks of the season.
*Stats and scores from games on 2/17/21 are not included.
1. Utah Jazz Record: 23-5 Previous: 1
The Utah Jazz continue to be the hottest team in the NBA as they won all four of their games last week and are now 19-1 in their last 20 contests. Jordan Clarkson, who put up 40 against the Sixers, should be the front-runner to win Sixth Man of the Year this season.
2. Los Angeles Lakers Record: 22-7 Previous: 3
The Lakers got back on track last week by winning three of their four games but suffered a bigger team loss as Anthony Davis injured his Achilles. At age 36, LeBron James is a top candidate to win MVP and will have the opportunity to put up even more significant numbers with Davis out.
3. Los Angeles Clippers Record: 21-8 Previous: 4
The Clippers took care of business against lesser opponents and move up one spot after going 4-0 last week. Quietly, Kawhi Leonard deserves to be in the MVP conservation as he’s averaging 26.7 ppg and recording 1.8 steals per game as well.
4. Philadelphia 76ers Record: 18-10 Previous: 2
Philadelphia hit a bump in the road on their west coast trip as they went 1-3 last week and drop down two spots. If he can remain healthy, Joel Embiid deserves to be at the forefront of the MVP conversation, as he’s averaging 29.6 ppg and 10.8 rpg this season.
5. Phoenix Suns Record: 17-10 Previous: 7
The Suns have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA as they had won six straight before dropping a game against Brooklyn on Tuesday. With the team much improved from last season, Monty Williams deserves to be a top candidate to win Coach of the Year in 2020-21.
6. Brooklyn Nets Record: 18-12 Previous: 6
Despite having Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving miss time, the Nets continued to roll last week as they went 4-1. While he’s missed some time, Kevin Durant deserves to be in the MVP conversation this season as he’s currently putting up 29.0 ppg on 52.4% from the field and 43.4% from three.
7. Portland Trail Blazers Record: 17-10 Previous: 10
The Trail Blazers move up three spots in the rankings as they went 5-0 in week seven and have now won seven of their last eight matchups. While it will be tough to beat Jordan Clarkson, Gary Trent Jr. should be in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation as he’s putting up 15.0 ppg off the bench.
8. San Antonio Spurs Record: 16-11 Previous: 9
The Spurs are now the latest team to get hit by COVID as their next four games have been postponed. Despite little roster change, the Spurs have improved a ton from last year, and Greg Popovich should remain in the Head Coach of the Year conversation.
9. Milwaukee Bucks Record: 16-12 Previous: 5
The Milwaukee Bucks had their worst week of the year as they went 0-4 and are now ranked ninth, the lowest they have been all year. While he likely won’t win for the third straight year, Giannis Antetokounmpo is still putting up MVP-caliber numbers on both ends of the floor.
10. Denver Nuggets Record: 15-12 Previous: 11
The Nuggets had a great week last week, going 3-1, with wins over the Cavaliers, Thunder, and Lakers. If the season ended today, Nikola Jokic would get my vote for MVP as he leads the NBA in BPM and VORP.
11. Golden State Warriors Record: 15-13 Previous: 14
The Warriors jump up three spots after going 3-1 last week with wins over San Antonio, Orlando, and Cleveland. Steph Curry has returned to MVP form as he’s second in the league in scoring, averaging 30.1 ppg on 49.9% from the field and 43.6% from three.
12. Boston Celtics Record: 14-13 Previous: 8
The Celtics have been mediocre all season and are now at their lowest ranking all year at the 12 spot. Jaylen Brown has been incredible despite some team struggles and should be the front-runner to win Most Improved Player this season.
13. Indiana Pacers Record: 14-14 Previous: 13
The Pacers have been around .500 all year, which remained the case in week seven as they went 2-2. Myles Turner is a top candidate to win Defensive Player of the Year as he leads the league in blocks, swatting away 3.5 shots per game.
14. Toronto Raptors Record: 13-15 Previous: 16
The Raptors rebounded from a brutal loss to Minnesota as they beat Milwaukee on Tuesday for their best win of the season. Chris Boucher is a candidate for both Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year as he’s averaging 13.6 ppg and 2.1 bpg off the bench.
15. New York Knicks Record: 14-15 Previous: 23
Not even the most biased Knicks fan would have predicted their team to be in the top half of the ranking this season, but as of February 18th, here we are! Leon Rose has done a great job, and Tom Thibodeau is a top candidate to win Coach of the Year.
16. Dallas Mavericks Record: 13-15 Previous: 18
The Dallas Mavericks are slowly getting back into contention after their slow start as they were 2-1 in three games last week. The favorite to win the award coming into the year, Luka Doncic still has an off chance at winning MVP this season.
17. Memphis Grizzlies Record: 11-12 Previous: 22
The Grizzlies had a decent week in week seven as they went 2-2, including wins over Charlotte and Sacramento. While he’ll get overshadowed by other rookies, Desmond Bane has been outstanding in his first year, averaging 10.3 ppg on 48.4% from three this season.
18. Charlotte Hornets Record: 13-15 Previous: 15
After going 1-2 last week, the Hornets fall three spots as they are now positioned as the eighth seed in the East. LaMelo Ball will likely win Rookie of the Year in 2020-21 as he leads all rookies in rebounding, assists, and box plus-minus, among other stats.
19. New Orleans Pelicans Record: 12-15 Previous: 20
Despite going 2-3 last week, the Pelicans move up one spot as they earned wins over Houston and Memphis. This team doesn’t have many great candidates, but Zion Williamson could be in the conversation for Most Improved Player as he’s made improvements in every major statistical category this year.
20. Sacramento Kings Record: 12-15 Previous: 12
After reaching their highest mark of the season at 12 in week seven, the Kings plummet down the rankings after going 0-4 last week. Regardless, Tyrese Haliburton has played amazingly well and should be in the conversation to win Rookie of the Year.
21. Miami Heat Record: 11-16 Previous: 21
After beating the Knicks and Rockets, the Heat dropped back-to-back games against the Clippers and Jazz in week seven. While he doesn’t get enough national attention, Bam Adebayo has been one of the best interior defenders in the league and should be a top candidate to win Defensive Player of the Year this season.
22. Chicago Bulls Record: 11-15 Previous: 25
Quietly, the Bulls have a shot at earning a playoff spot in the East, where they are currently positioned ninth heading into week eight. Zach LaVine is a huge reason why the Bulls have remained in contention as he is averaging 28.2 ppg and should be a candidate to win Most Improved Player.
23. Atlanta Hawks Record: 11-16 Previous: 17
A young Hawks team has hit a wall as they went 0-3 last week and drop six spots to their lowest ranking of the season. While they don’t have any standout candidates, Deandre Hunter has shown a ton of improvement in year two, averaging 17.2 ppg.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder Record: 11-16 Previous: 24
Reality has sunk in for this young team which is now positioned fourteenth in East after going 1-3 last week. Despite the team’s recent struggles, Luguentz Dort is a candidate to win Most Improved Player as he’s averaging 12.5 as an UDFA in year two.
25. Houston Rockets Record: 11-16 Previous: 19
After a brief stretch of winning basketball, the Rockets have taken a hard fall down the rankings, now 1-7 in their last eight games. While the Rockets have struggled, Christian Wood has been excellent and is a top candidate to win Most Improved Player this season.
26. Orlando Magic Record: 10-18 Previous: 26
The Orlando Magic continue to play uninspired basketball as they are now 4-14 since Markelle Fultz tore his ACL. If he gets traded to a contender and continues to play at a high level, Terrence Ross could be able to play himself into contention for Sixth Man of the Year, but it’s unlikely.
27. Washington Wizards Record: 8-17 Previous: 28
The Wizards had their best week of the season as they went 2-2 with wins over Boston and Houston. Based on numbers alone, Bradley Beal is an MVP candidate, but he likely won’t win the award because of the team’s struggles.
28. Detroit Pistons Record: 8-19 Previous: 30
It took them eight weeks, but the Pistons are finally not the bottom team as they went 3-1 last week with wins over Brooklyn, Boston, and New Orleans. Their success is primarily due to Jerami Grant, who has been a top MIP candidate so far.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers Record: 10-19 Previous: 27
The Cavaliers’ collapse continued last week as they went 0-4 and have lost eight consecutive matchups. While he likely won’t win the award, it is worth noting that Darius Garland has improved across the board in his second NBA season.
30. Minnesota Timberwolves Record: 7-21 Previous: 29
The Timberwolves have officially reached the bottom as they went 1-3 last week and will now be without D’Angelo Russell for the foreseeable future. While he’ll likely fall short to LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards has been solid as he leads all rookies in scoring.
Follow me on Twitter @PodolskyDanny
Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!
Main Image Credit: