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HomeBasketballNBANBA Power Rankings, Week 5: Top teams set to do battle

NBA Power Rankings, Week 5: Top teams set to do battle

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It’s early but it feels like there is a small group of teams that will inhabit the top of these rankings each week. A handful of teams have proven to be ahead of the rest of the pack, while others are finding their way, and some already seem destined for the lottery.

This week will see matchups between many of the teams at the top of the rankings, including Boston/Milwaukee, and Oklahoma City/Philadelphia. I’m interested to see what kinds of statements will be made in those matchups.

As always, the previous week’s rankings is in parentheses.

  1. Boston (3): the Celtics have the best net rating in the league, at 10.8. Boston has a top-five offensive rating and a top-three defensive rating. A showdown with the Bucks is set for tomorrow.
  2. Philadelphia (1): coach Nick Nurse has worked wonders so far with. Joel Embiid seems a more willing passer. The offense stagnate for stretches like it has in previous years, either.
  3. Minnesota (4): What’s Draymond Green gonna do when Rudy Gobert wins a fourth Defensive Player of the Year award?
  4. Oklahoma City (9): Chet Holmgren, not Victor Wembanyama, should be a heavy favorite for Rookie of the Year. His 36 point, 10 rebound, 5 assist, 2 block, 2 steal performance in a tough win over Golden State on Nov. 18 showed everything Holmgren is capable of.
  5. Milwaukee (8): the Bucks have won five straight and look to have the Lillard/Giannis pairing figured out.
  6. Denver (2): the Nuggets have been essentially a .500 team over their last seven games — all without Jamal Murray, who continues to nurse a hamstring injury.
  7. Miami (21): the Heat has won eight of its last nine games after a 1-4 start. Only one win in that stretch has come against a team with a record over .500.
  8. Sacramento (15): before a 36-loss in New Orleans on Monday, the Kings had won six straight wins, including triumphs over Oklahoma City, the LA Lakers, Cleveland, and Dallas.
  9. Dallas (6): at 9-5, Dallas has only one win over a team with a winning record. The Mavericks beat up on also-rans early on their way to a 6-1 start. Dallas is just 3-4 since and has lost three of its last four.
  10. LA Lakers (11): LeBron James so far this season is averaging career highs in field goal shooting (58.6%) and 3-point shooting (39.7%).
  11. New York Knicks (12): The Knicks through the first month of the season quietly has the best defense in the league, allowing a league-low 105.8 points per game. New York, though, has a bottom-seven offense, at 110.1 points per game.
  12. Orlando (17): The Magic are quietly the second-best defensive team in the league, behind Minnesota. That’s good for Orlando, which offensively is closer to the Pistons.
  13. Cleveland (18): the Cavs currently have six players averaging at least 12 points per game.
  14. Phoenix (19): Kevin Durant in year 17 is having maybe his best all-around season. Durant through 13 games is putting up a 31.2/7.7/5.5 stat line on .528/.492/.873 shooting splits.
  15. Houston (5): the Rockets have lost three straight following a six-game win streak. Houston is 2-4 in games decided by six points or less.
  16. Indiana (14): the Pacers in a 157-152 win over Atlanta on Tuesday topped 150 points for the second time this season.
  17. Atlanta (13): the Hawks following an early four-game win streak have lost three straight and five of seven. Trae Young continues to struggle, shooting career worsts from the field and from 3.
  18. Toronto (16): Toronto has no real direction right now. The Raptors have one two-game win streak so far this season, and it came when the team had three days between games.
  19. New Orleans (22): the Pelicans have followed a five-game losing streak three wins over Dallas, Denver and Minnesota in their last four games.
  20. Brooklyn (20): The Nets are the epitome of a middle-of-the-road team. Brooklyn is 18th in points per game and 17th in points allowed.
  21. Golden State (10): The Warriors have lost six of seven, and have won just two home games so far this season.
  22. LA Clippers (21): The Clippers have won two straight since Russell Westbrook manned up and gave up his spot in the starting lineup.
  23. Chicago Bulls (23): the Bulls have yet to string together two wins.
  24. Utah Jazz (24): Utah’s four wins have come over teams with a combined 11-27 record.
  25. Memphis (28): Guard Marcus Smart will miss the next three to five weeks with a foot injury, further hurting the depth of a struggling Grizzlies squad.
  26. San Antonio (27): has Wemby Mania died down? The Spurs have lost nine straight and have the league’s worst point differential at -13.8 per game.
  27. Charlotte (26): LaMelo Ball has put up at least 25 points in eight straight games and at least 30 in four of five.
  28. Portland (25): the Blazers having the lowest per game scoring output by nearly 4 points.
  29. Washington (29): it looks like Wizards brass is out on the Jordan Poole experience.
  30. Detroit (30): the Pistons have lost 11 straight for the third time in 2023.
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