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Our third batch of power rankings for the 2023-24 NBA season is here!
We hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, even if it meant time away from the wonderful game of basketball. But with teams returning to action and the NBA In-Season Tournament nearing the end of the Group Stage, we’re here to provide the lay of the NBA land.
Who’s too high and who’s too low? Let’s check out the power rankings.
Rankings as of 11/24/23. Positions are based on a combination of which teams are playing the best, have the most championship potential, and are reflected most positively by a variety of metrics.
Last week’s ranking: 30 (-)
We’ve been here before. The Wizards are tied for the fewest wins in the league, 28th in net rating, and don’t do anything particularly well. Bilal Coulibaly has been a fun watch and Kyle Kuzma recently recorded a near-28-point triple-double, but there isn’t much to say about this team.
Last week’s ranking: 27 (-2)
Similar to the Wizards, the Spurs are mostly awful, but with a couple of exceptions. They lead the league in assist percentage despite not starting a point guard, Victor Wembanyama is playing more minutes, and Gregg Popovich has a second career lined up as a PA announcer.
Last week’s ranking: 26 (-2)
We’ve been patient with the Pistons—overly supportive even, but we need to see some wins. They’ve lost 12 games in a row and can’t figure out their rotation and whether they are willing to sacrifice defense for offense and vice versa. Jalen Duren is returning from an ankle injury, which should help their interior presence.
Last week’s ranking: 28 (+1)
The Blazers snapped an eight-game losing streak and got a win against the Utah Jazz, and sometimes, that’s all it takes to move up at the bottom of the power rankings! Scoot Henderson is back from his injury (but is still struggling), as is Malcolm Brogdon, and Jerami Grant is averaging 25 points on 46.2% three-point shooting in November.
Last week’s ranking: 21 (-5)
Last year, the Jazz shocked the league with a red-hot start. At 4-11 and as losers of four straight, it’s safe to say history has not repeated itself. They have explosive scorers in Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson and will win games, but they’re cold right now.
Last week’s ranking: 25 (-)
The Grizzlies can’t catch a break. Marcus Smart joined a list of injured players, and with him and Ja Morant both gone, their backcourt firepower has decreased significantly. They won two of their last five games and nearly upset the Boston Celtics, so we’ve shown them a bit of respect with this ranking.
Last week’s ranking: 29 (+5)
The Hornets’ ranking relies on LaMelo Ball just as much as any other team’s ranking relies on one single player. The 22-year-old is averaging 32.2 points, 8.7 assists, and 6.7 rebounds over his last nine games and led back-to-back wins over the Celtics and Wizards. Miles Bridges has also had a resounding impact since he made his return, and the team actually looks decent for once.
Last week’s ranking: 24 (+1)
Just like last week, the Bulls seem to be waiting to see which of their players will be traded first. The prevailing opinion is that the player will be Zach LaVine, who published a list of preferred destinations if he is to be traded. Chicago pulled off a 21-point comeback against the Miami Heat but has lost five of its last six and plays uninspired basketball a majority of the time (except for Alex Caruso).
Last week’s ranking: 17 (-5)
The same thing that helped Brooklyn soar last week caused them to fall this week. The experiment of having versatile wings, many of which spend lots of time on the ball despite not being natural primary ball-handlers, caused their offense to stagnate in key moments as they lost their last three games. They’re 10th in offensive rating but don’t look great in the final moments and also need to tighten up their defense.
Last week’s ranking: 19 (-2)
Chris Paul was fittingly ejected by Scott Foster during his last time on the court as the Dubs lost their seventh game in eight tries. On the bright side, Steph Curry is back, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins both finally scored 20 points, and Draymond Green will be back in a couple of days. We expect them to climb the rankings sooner or later.
Last week’s ranking: 23 (+3)
Okay, so the Clippers won three straight games. Great. Those games included one impressive win against the Houston Rockets and two against the lackluster Spurs. James Harden is growing in comfort and confidence, and Rusell Westbrook’s move to the bench has helped the team cohesion, but we need to see more.
Last week’s ranking: 14 (-5)
The Raptors haven’t done enough to warrant falling five spots on their own but are victims of other teams showing improvement while they’ve stayed at the same level. They’re only 20th in net rating and have faced a brutal schedule, but we can only judge what we see. Scottie Barnes’ red-hot start to the season cooled off, and they look like a decent team that can cause problems with their defense but lack consistent shooting (22nd in three-point percentage - 34.9%).
Last week’s ranking: 20 (+2)
A major concern with the Cavs is their lack of continuity. Almost all of their key pieces have missed time at different points, and now Donovan Mitchell is out with a hamstring injury. On a more positive note, they won four straight games, including victories against the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers, before falling to the Heat and have room to grow.
Last week’s ranking: 13 (-4)
We’re really starting to worry about the Hawks’ defense. After a positive start to the year, they allowed an average of 128.3 points over their last eight trips to the court. Trae Young scored 38+ points in three of his last six games and has led the team to the second-best offensive rating, but they need to tighten up on the other end.
Last week’s ranking: 22 (+6)
What a week it’s been for the Pelicans! They won four of five games, beating the Dallas Mavericks, Nuggets, and Sacramento Kings (twice), and also lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves by just one point. They went through stretches of great play last year and are clicking right now despite several injuries, and they’re a team to watch moving forward.
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-4)
New York plays relentless, fast, aggressive, and physical defense. They also dominate the boards like no other but are prone to offensive lulls that usually end with a player launching a step-back three. They are a high-floor team that will hit their ceiling in the first two rounds of the playoffs barring any trades or major developments.
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-7)
Houston doesn’t seem to be quite on the same trajectory as a team like the Kings that went from pretender to the third seed in the West a year ago. However, they are eighth in net rating, play aggressive defense, and have a budding star in Alperen Sengun (20.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists). He and Fred VanVleet have come up clutch a couple of times already and will be very important to the team’s bottom line.
Last week’s ranking: (+5)
LA’s offensive image has become clearer as they’ve resigned to LeBron James playing his customary minutes count and players have started to bury more shots. They’re still only shooting 34.3% from range for the season but won six of their last eight games and shot 39.4% from three during that stretch. They also climbed to ninth in defensive rating and solidified their rotations.
Last week’s ranking: 12 (-)
The Kings are where they were a week ago but look like they’re ready to compete. Consecutive losses to the Pelicans prevented them from climbing, but De’Aaron Fox (29.2 points, 5.3 assists) has taken another step forward and found a way to balance his elite off-the-dribble speed with elite pick-and-roll pacing and an improved jump shot (36.7% 3PT). The defense is also up six spots in defensive rating from a year ago.
Last week’s ranking: 15 (+4)
Phoenix is showing more flashes of what it can be at full strength. Devin Booker (28.1 points, 9.3 assists) has done an excellent job as the de facto point guard and is scoring at will while moving the ball wherever it needs to be without hesitation. The smaller wings gang rebound (13th in rebound rate), and the defense holds opponents to the ninth-worst shooting percentage.
Last week’s ranking: 5 (-5)
Indy’s offense is on pace to be the best in the history of the Association and gives them a chance against any team. They recently beat the Bucks and 76ers before dropping 157 points on the Atlanta Hawks in regulation. Tyrese Haliburton (25.3 points, 12.3 assists) makes sense of the nonstop offensive movement, but the team’s defense is the worst in the league and will hurt them in the postseason.
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-5)
Dallas’ great start defensively has cooled off, but Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have stayed hot. Their pace of play and three-point shooting have increased from a year ago, making them even more explosive, though they were fourth in the West at the trade deadline before totally collapsing a year ago. Dereck Lively II suffered a lower back contusion on Wednesday but should be back soon.
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-6)
We have massive respect for the defending champs and recognize that Jamal Murray’s injury and the departures of Bruce Brown and Jeff Green have forced them to play an abundance of young players. That said, their second unit can be hit or miss, and secondary creation whenever Nikola Jokic doesn’t have the ball is an issue. They lost four of their last six and barely won the two games between, but they’ll figure it out.
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-4)
Philly also lost four of its last six games as the role players’ three-point marksmanship faded and Tyrese Maxey fell from first-team All-NBA to All-Star level. Regardless, they’re fourth in net rating and have a top-two MVP candidate in Joel Embiid (31.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists), who just so happens to be the reigning MVP.
Last week’s ranking: 9 (+3)
Miami hasn’t played any top competition, but they have won nine of their last 10 games and climbed to ninth in net rating. They’re strong on defense and have found a way to add three-point shooting to their game (39% - fourth) without compromising their basic identity. They need work on the boards but are rallying around the career-best start from Bam Adebayo (22.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists).
Last week’s ranking: 10 (+5)
We said last week that Milwaukee was struggling to knit its best pieces together under the system of new coach Adrian Griffin. While that’s still the case, they’re looking more and more like a complete team. The average points per pick-and-roll possession involving Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokunmpo is still surprisingly low, but the team won five of six and is getting better on defense.
Last week’s ranking: (+12)
The Magic are the undisputed team of the week on the WSN NBA power rankings. Their six-game win streak includes results against the Pacers, Nuggets, and Celtics, and they’re currently the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They could still use a primary ball-handler and creator, but they are second in defensive rating and play fast, physical, aggressive basketball.
Last week’s ranking: 8 (+5)
Years of stockpiling draft capital has finally started to pay off as the Thunder have one of the most well-balanced rosters in the league. Aside from being subpar on the glass, they can score from every level and are top five in overall defense. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (30.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists) and Chet Holmgren (17.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.3 blocks) lead the charge for a team that gets after every opponent and is totally fearless.
Last week’s ranking: 6 (+4)
Minnesota needs to win a playoff series before we can start to view them as Finals contenders, but they look really good so far. Their defense is the best in the league, and they have enough three-point shooting around Anthony Edwards (26.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists) to run an efficient offense. Karl-Anthony Towns is also driving the ball more aggressively, which has helped the Wolves win 10 of their last 11 games.
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)
Boston has a terrifying arsenal of offensive sets. They can pivot from a five-out drive-and-kick setup to a Jrue Holiday/Kristaps Porzingis pick-and-roll or a Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown two-man game. Joe Mazzulla has also put much more emphasis on the defense than he did last year, and the result is the creation of one of the most switchable and adaptable lineups in basketball.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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