Basketball

End of Season NBA Power Ranking

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End of season NBA Power Ranking! With the play-in games about to begin let’s take one final look at how every team stacked up this season and the biggest storyline for every NBA team in 2020-21.

NBA Power Ranking: 1-10

1. Utah Jazz Record: 52-20 Previous: 1

The Jazz ended the regular season atop the rankings, a spot they held several times throughout the year. The story of the season for Utah was their lights out shooting as practically everyone improved from beyond the arc, making this team impossible to defend. 

2. Philadelphia 76ers Record: 49-23 Previous: 2

After clinching the number one seed in the East, Philadelphia finished the regular season second in the power ranking. The biggest storyline from their season was the play of Joel Embiid, who went from a top 15 player to a top MVP candidate in 2020-21.  

3. Brooklyn Nets Record: 48-24 Previous: 3
The Nets are finally healthy for the most part, heading into the playoffs as the second seed in the East. Despite trading for James Harden, the storyline of the Nets’ season has been Kyrie Irving’s antics and whether or not he will show up in the playoffs. 

4. Phoenix Suns Record: 51-21 Previous: 4

The Suns had a chance at earning the number one seed in the playoffs but finished the regular season second after Utah won on Sunday. Phoenix’s biggest storyline is the leadership of Chris Paul, who helped to take Phoenix back to the playoffs.  

5. Milwaukee Bucks Record: 46-26 Previous: 6

The Bucks were unable to move up any further in the final week of the regular season, finishing as the third seed in the East. Milwaukee’s biggest storyline has been the addition of Jrue Holiday, who, so far, has proven to be a big upgrade over Eric Bledsoe

6. Denver Nuggets Record: 47-25 Previous: 7

After the Clippers lost multiple games last week, Denver was able to move up to the third seed to face Portland in round one of the playoffs. The story of the season for Denver has been Nikola Jokic, who is the heavy favorite to win the MVP this season. 

7. Los Angeles Clippers Record: 47-25 Previous: 5

The Clippers went 1-2 last week, dropping down to the fourth seed to face Dallas in round one of the playoffs. The storyline for the Clippers this year has been the addition of Serge Ibaka, and whether or not he can get the Clippers over the hump in the playoffs. 

8. Dallas Mavericks Record: 42-30 Previous: 9

The Mavericks went 2-1 in the final week of the regular season, finishing fifth in the West, facing the Clippers in round one. The story of Dallas’ season has been their second-half resurgence to get back into contention after a slow start to the year. 

9. Portland Trail Blazers Record: 42-30 Previous: 8

The Trail Blazers won on Sunday, to salvage the sixth seed, and avoid having to play in the play-in games. The story of the season for Portland has been their ability to battle through injuries as CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic each missed extended time this year. 

10. Los Angeles Lakers Record: 42-30 Previous: 12

Despite winning five straight games, the Lakers were unable to move up in the standings and will face Golden State in the play-in game on Wednesday. The story of the season for the Lakers has been their struggles with LeBron James and Anthony Davis off the court. 

NBA Power Ranking: 11-20

11. New York Knicks Record: 41-31 Previous: 13

The Knicks finished the season the right way, going 3-0, and finishing fourth in the East to face Atlanta. The story of the season among others was Julius Randle, who went from an above-average starter to an all-star for Tom Thibodeau in 2020-21. 

12. Atlanta Hawks Record: 41-31 Previous: 11

The Hawks were able to hold off falling behind Miami and having to face Milwaukee in round one as they finished the season fifth in the East, facing the Knicks. The story of Atlanta’s season has been the turnaround under Nate McMillan after the team fired Lloyd Pierce., 

13. Golden State Warriors Record: 39-33 Previous: 14

The Warriors won both of their games last week and will face LeBron James and the Lakers in round one of the play-in games. The story of GSW’s season was Steph Curry, who re-established himself as an MVP candidate after Klay Thompson tore his Achilles.  

14. Miami Heat Record: 40-32 Previous: 10

The Heat had a 2-1 week but fell to the sixth seed and will have to face a tough opponent in Milwaukee in round one of the playoffs. The storyline for Miami has been their inconsistency as they have never been able to get on track after winning the East last season.  

15. Memphis Grizzlies Record: 38-34 Previous: 15

The Grizzlies went 2-1 in the final week of the season and finished ninth in the West, facing San Antonio in round one of the play-ins. Ja Morant has been the story for Memphis as he has carried this team while Jaren Jackson Jr. missed a ton of games. 

16. Boston Celtics Record: 36-36 Previous: 16

The Celtics finished the season at .500 and will face Washington in round one of the play-ins without Jaylen Brown. The biggest storyline for Boston this season has been their inability to find reliable scorers outside of their two all-stars of Brown and Jayson Tatum.   

17. Washington Wizards Record: 34-38 Previous: 20

The Wizards earned a comeback win against the Hornets on Sunday, earning the eighth seed to face Boston in round one of the play-in games. The story of the season for Washington has been the second-half stretch as they made a late run into playoff contention.  

18. Indiana Pacers Record: 34-38 Previous: 18

The Pacers will host Charlotte in round one of the play-in games against Charlotte as the ninth seed in the East. The story of the season for the Pacers has been injuries as their team has been de-railed by the absences of TJ Warren and Myles Turner, among others missing several games.  

19. San Antonio Spurs Record: 33-39 Previous: 17

The Spurs are struggling at a bad time, having lost four straight and eight of their previous ten games. The story of the season for San Antonio has been the coming of a new generation of Spurs’ talent as LaMarcus Aldridge’s reign with the team ended.  

20. Charlotte Hornets Record: 33-39 Previous: 19

The Hornets dropped down to the tenth seed and need to win back-to-back play-in games on the road to make the playoffs this season. LaMelo Ball has been the story of the season for Charlotte as he has helped change the culture around Hornets’ basketball in 2020-21. 

NBA Power Ranking: 21-30

21. Chicago Bulls Record: 31-41 Previous: 23

The Bulls ended the season with some momentum but missed the play-ins by two games, finishing in eleventh place in the East. Zach LaVine’s becoming an all-star is the story for Chicago in 2020-21, and it will be interesting to see if he stays there long term.  

22. Sacramento Kings Record: 31-41 Previous: 21

Despite a late stretch of great basketball, the Kings missed the playoffs, finishing two games behind the tenth-seeded Spurs. Luke Walton has been the story for the Kings as he has been awful as their coach and should get fired in the coming days. 

23. New Orleans Pelicans Record: 31-41 Previous: 22

The Pelicans’ disappointing season culminated in a twelfth place finish in the West, with the team missing the playoffs by two games. Despite the team’s struggles, Zion Williamson is establishing himself as a top twenty player is the story of the season for New Orleans.  

24. Toronto Raptors Record: 27-45 Previous: 24

The Raptors were the NBA’s most disappointing team in 2020-21 as they weren’t even close to making the playoffs. The story of the season for Toronto was the inability to replace Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol as Toronto struggled at center all season. 

25. Minnesota Timberwolves Record: 23-49 Previous: 25

Minnesota had a bit of late momentum that will only serve to hurt their lottery odds in the long run. However, the story of the season is the second half from Anthony Edwards, who showed why he was the first pick in the draft in 2020. 

26. Oklahoma City Thunder Record: 22-50 Previous: 27

The Thunder continued to lose but finished the year with a win against the Clippers in week 19. The story of the season for OKC was the commitment to a rebuild as several young players got the chance to play for this team.  

27. Cleveland Cavaliers Record: 22-50 Previous: 28

The Cavaliers earned a win against the Celtics last week, finishing the year with the fourth-worst record in the NBA. The story of the season for Cleveland was the improvements of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland that make the future look more promising for this team.  

28. Orlando Magic Record: 21-51 Previous: 26

The Magic finished the year on a seven-game losing streak, finishing fourteenth in the Eastern Conference. Once Markelle Fultz tore his ACL, the season went downhill for Orlando, easily the storyline of Orlando’s season. 

29. Detroit Pistons Record: 20-52 Previous: 29

The Pistons finished the season in last place in the East and will have the second-highest odds to earn the first overall pick in the draft. The storyline for Detroit in 2020-21 was the emergence of Jerami Grant, while almost everyone else struggled for this team. 

30. Houston Rockets Record: 17-55 Previous: 30

The Rockets finish the season in last place in the power ranking, a spot that they have held for nine consecutive weeks. The story of the season for Houston was their inability to win games after trading James Harden to the Nets.


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