Week 19 NBA Power Ranking is here! This week we will grading how every team has played this season compared to their preseason expectations.
*Stats and scores from games on 5/12/21 are not included.
Week 19 NBA Power Ranking: 1-10
1. Utah Jazz Record: 50-19 Previous: 2
The Jazz are back in the number one spot after a strong week 18 in which they went 3-1, defeating San Antonio, Denver, and Houston. Donovan Mitchell has taken another massive leap in year four, and the Jazz have exceeded all expectations, thus earning an A+ grade.
2. Philadelphia 76ers Record: 47-22 Previous: 3
The 76ers finally had their eight-game winning streak snapped on Monday as they blew a big lead to the Pacers. After an extremely disappointing 2019-20, the 76ers have rebounded this year and are one game away from clinching the top seed in the East.
3. Brooklyn Nets Record: 45-24 Previous: 4
The Nets were able to end their losing streak as they went 2-1 in week 18, beating the Nuggets and Bulls. Acquiring James Harden was a huge move as the Nets will likely be the favorites to win the NBA Finals as long as they can stay healthy.
4. Phoenix Suns Record: 48-21 Previous: 1
After a 1-3 week that included losses to the Hawks, Lakers, and Warriors, the Suns have dropped down three spots. Regardless, Chris Paul has helped to take this team from a bottom feeder to a legitimate contender in the West in one season.
5. Los Angeles Clippers Record: 46-23 Previous: 5
As long as the Clippers don’t collapse in their final three games, they should be set to earn the third seed come playoff time. Expectations were high coming into the season, but the Clippers have played well, and the addition of Serge Ibaka was a massive addition for this team.
6. Milwaukee Bucks Record: 44-25 Previous: 7
The Bucks moved up one spot this week after a 3-1 week that included wins against the Wizards, Rockets, and Pacers. After earning the one seed last year, the Bucks would have liked to have earned a top-two seed in 2020-21, but Milwaukee has largely played well for most of the season.
7. Denver Nuggets Record: 45-24 Previous: 6
The Nuggets are likely set as the fourth seed in the playoffs, following a 2-2 week that included wins against the Knicks and Hornets. Nikola Jokic is a top MVP candidate, but the injury to Jamal Murray is killer and the reason why I did not give Denver a grade in the A range.
8. Portland Trail Blazers Record: 40-29 Previous: 11
The Portland Trail Blazers have made a late surge, winners of eight of their last nine, and likely to avoid the play-in games. While this team has been inconsistent for much of the year, Damian Lillard is an MVP candidate, and Portland can’t be overlooked.
9. Dallas Mavericks Record: 40-29 Previous: 8
After a 3-1 week that included wins against the Cavaliers twice and the Nets, Dallas is likely to avoid the play-in games. The Mavericks were hoping to be a top-three seed coming in, but they can’t be upset as the sixth seed, especially after a slow start to the year.
10. Miami Heat Record: 38-31 Previous: 13’
Another team making a late surge, Miami clinched a spot in the top six after winning six of their last seven games. However, as the reigning Eastern Conference Finals champs, the Heat were likely hoping to have a better record by this point in the season.
NBA Power Ranking: 11-20
11. Atlanta Hawks Record: 38-31 Previous: 12
As of now, the Hawks are positioned as the fourth seed in the East, after going 2-1 in week 18, beating Phoenix and Washington. After firing Lloyd Pierce and hiring Nate McMillan, the Hawks have taken a massive step forward, earning an ‘A’ grade.
12. Los Angeles Lakers Record: 39-30 Previous: 9
With LeBron James continuing to struggle with injuries, the Lakers find themselves positioned as the seventh seed and likely facing the play-in games. After winning the title last year, being the seventh seed was not what the Lakers were hoping for this season.
13. New York Knicks Record: 38-31 Previous: 10
After reaching a season-high of ten last week, the Knicks drop three spots, having gone 1-3 last week. Regardless, the Knicks have become a legit contender under Tom Thibodeau, exceeding any expectations coming into the season.
14. Golden State Warriors Record: 37-33 Previous: 15
The Warriors clinched a spot in the play-in games and are projected to play the Lakers in round one, a super-intriguing matchup. All things considered, Golden State has played well this year behind Steph Curry after Klay Thompson tore his ACL.
15. Memphis Grizzlies Record: 36-33 Previous: 17
Another team locked into the play-in games, Memphis is likely to play San Antonio in round one with hopes of clinching a playoff berth. Jaren Jackson Jr.’s being out hurt this team, but for the most part, Memphis has played as well as they were expected.
16. Boston Celtics Record: 35-34 Previous: 14
After losing twice to the Heat last week, Boston is nearly guaranteed to face the play-in games without Jaylen Brown, who will undergo season-ending surgery. This has been almost a worst-case scenario season for Boston, who had championship aspirations coming into the year.
17. San Antonio Spurs Record: 33-35 Previous: 18
The Spurs have struggled, losing six of their last eight games, but only need 1 more win to earn a spot in the play-in games. The Spurs flew under the radar coming into the year and have done so for much of the season as well, playing to the level they were expected to play.
18. Indiana Pacers Record: 33-36 Previous: 20
The Pacers are locked into the play-in games, and earned a big win on Monday, coming back from down big to beat Philadelphia. Indiana wanted to have a better record coming into the season, but injuries have derailed this team, so it’s tough to give them a bad grade.
19. Charlotte Hornets Record: 33-36 Previous: 16
The Hornets dropped three spots on the ranking after going 1-3 last week, losing to the Bulls, Pelicans, and Nuggets. Expected to be a deep lottery team coming into the year, Charlotte has earned a spot in the play-ins, due in large part to their rookie LaMelo Ball.
20. Washington Wizards Record: 32-37 Previous: 19
Despite being five games under .500, the Wizards find themselves one win away from clinching the final spot in the play-in games in the East. After an awful start to the year, Washington has turned it around, and played to their preseason expectations.
NBA Power Ranking: 21-30
21. Sacramento Kings Record: 31-38 Previous: 23
While not officially eliminated, Sacramento needs a miracle to make the playoffs with only three games left in the regular season. Sacramento was hoping to compete for a spot in the playoffs, but have underperformed and head coach Luke Walton will likely get fired.
22. New Orleans Pelicans Record: 31-38 Previous: 21
Another team that is not officially eliminated from the playoffs, New Orleans needs to win out and get help from San Antonio and Sacramento to make the playoffs. While Zion Williamson has been incredible, the team has significantly underperformed for much of the year.
23. Chicago Bulls Record: 29-40 Previous: 24
The only path that Chicago has to making the playoffs is by winning out and having Washington lose every game in the final week. Chicago was not expected to be very good coming into the year, and eleven games under .500 is about on par from preseason expectations.
24. Toronto Raptors Record: 27-42 Previous: 22
Argubaly the most disappointing team in the league this season, Toronto was never able to get on track at any point in 2020-21. The only team to earn an ‘F’, it will be interesting to see what happens with this team that was hoping to compete for a title this season.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves Record: 22-47 Previous: 26
The Timberwolves established themselves as the best of the bottom feeders of the NBA, but that will only serve to hurt their positioning in the draft lottery. Minnesota had playoff hopes coming into the year, but injuries derailed this team.
26. Orlando Magic Record: 21-48 Previous: 25
The downfall of the Orlando Magic continued last week as they went 0-4, losing by double-digits in three of those games. Following the injury to Markelle Fultz, Orlando was awful and failed to stay in contention after making the playoffs last year.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder Record: 21-49 Previous: 27
Oklahoma City’s losing streak is now at eight games as the team continues to use their young players. However, the Thunder for the most part have reached their preseason goal of giving their young players the chance to develop, something they have accomplished.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers Record: 21-48 Previous: 28
The Cavaliers are doing themselves a favor by losing as they have now lost eleven straight games. Cleveland was expected to be bad coming into the year and that has played out after a brief hot stretch at the start of the year.
29. Detroit Pistons Record: 20-50 Previous: 29
The Pistons have maintained the bottom spot in the East, having lost all three of their games in week 18. Like the Cavaliers, Detroit was expected to struggle, but the breakout of Jerami Grant has been great for this team.
30. Houston Rockets Record: 16-53 Previous: 30
Houston has now been the bottom team on the ranking for eight straight weeks as they have lost six consecutive games. Since trading away James Harden, Houston has been the worst team in the league and likely have a very dark future.
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