When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >

NBA Power Rankings: Warriors, Lakers Charge as Knicks a Take Step Backward

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Fact-checked by: James Whitelock
Updated March 1, 2024
10 min read

A new batch of power rankings for the 2023-24 NBA season is here!

The Boston Celtics continued their scorching pace since the return of post-All-Star Game action, while a couple of other contenders have not found the same success. 

Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors won three games for the first time this year, and the race for seeding in the Western Conference is as hectic as ever.

Who’s too high and who’s too low? Let’s take a look at our updated NBA power rankings.

Rankings as of 3/1/24. 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.

NBA Weekly Power Rankings

#30: Washington Wizards

Last week’s ranking: 30 (-)

Record: 9-49

The Wizards are tied for the worst record in basketball and did not win any of their last 12 games. Jordan Poole was relegated to the bench with what looks like one of the worst contracts in the league, and they should give serious thought to trading Deni Avdija and Tyus Jones in the offseason. 

#29: Portland Trail Blazers

Last week’s ranking: 26 (-3)

Record: 15-42

The Blazers dropped three spots in our rankings because the teams previously below them all showed signs of improvement while they didn't. They were outscored by a league-worst 13.8 points per 100 possessions and did not win a single game in February as their roster continues to lack shooting and defensive discipline.

#28: San Antonio Spurs

Last week’s ranking: 26 (-2)

Record: 11-48

Victor Wembanyama seems to do something that no player in league history has done before practically every time he steps on the court. Amid recording the 15th 5x5 game in league history and setting a couple of records, he drained 45.6% of his pull-up three-point attempts since the start of 2024, the fourth-best mark in the league. The Spurs are only 1-12 over their last 13 games, but they’re hanging tough in the majority of their losses.

#27: Detroit Pistons

Last week’s ranking: 28 (+1)

Record: 9-49

Detroit is… not playing all that bad anymore. Although they still aren’t winning many games, they won or lost by less than four points in three straight games and finished February ranked 19th in net rating, a major win for them. Cade Cunningham averaged 28.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.5 rebounds over the final four games of the month and looks ready to command a team that’s properly built around him.

#26: Charlotte Hornets 

Last week’s ranking: 29 (+3)

Record: 15-43

The Hornets won five of six games coming out of the All-Star break before they got shellacked by the Milwaukee Bucks 123-85. Tre Mann is proving dynamism and energy at the guard spot, Brandon Miller is continuing to develop as a three-level scorer, and Grant Williams played a major part in the team ranking fifth in points allowed per 100 possessions since the All-Star Game.

#25: Brooklyn Nets 

Last week’s ranking: 24 (-1)

Record: 22-36

Brooklyn is trending toward missing the Play-In Tournament, which will be a real shame if it continues to play out that way. They have a talented roster but haven’t found a way to keep everything in front of them on defense and tanked on offense as soon as their threes stopped falling. Cam Thomas is out with an ankle injury, and they have very little in the way of half-court creation. 

#24: Toronto Raptors 

Last week’s ranking: 27 (+3)

Record: 22-37

Toronto won three straight games for the first time all year and seems to have new life about it knowing they are only 4.5 games behind the Hawks, who are going to be without Trae Young for at least a month. They have the sixth-most efficient offense since the All-Star Game and are creating havoc in transition, which is tough for teams to deal with at this point in the year.

#23: Memphis Grizzlies

Last week’s ranking: 23 (-)

Record: 20-39

Once again, the Grizzlies could have punted on the year, but they chose to continue playing with great defensive effort. They can’t win a lot of games but have young players such as GG Jackson and Vince Williams Jr. who are making a name for themselves and could creep into the rotation even when they’re at full health. 

#22: Houston Rockets

Last week’s ranking: 22 (-)

Record: 25-33

Jalen Green’s days in H-Town appear increasingly limited. The former second-overall pick crept down to 27.9 minutes per game in February, scoring just 4.2 per game to go with 4.8 boards and 3.8 assists. The Rockets’ late-game shotmaking has been a glaring issue all year, and Green has enough value to package with another asset to bring in a legit late-game takeover player.

#21: Utah Jazz

Last week’s ranking: 21 (-)

Record: 27-32

Utah’s electrifying offense of a month ago calmed down and now ranks 12th over the last 15 games, while the defense is dead last during that span. This team simply cannot perform on the road, which is why they’re 28th in three-point percentage and net rating when they aren’t in their building. 

#20: Atlanta Hawks

Last week’s ranking: 20 (-)

Record: 26-32

The Hawks have a unique opportunity to get a taste of what life without Trae Young could be like while he’s sidelined with a torn finger ligament. The early returns are intriguing, as through a tiny sample size of two games, they went 2-0 and allowed just 94.5 points per game with a tall, long, switchable lineup. Jalen Johnson is a late riser in the Most Improved Player conversation and posted double-doubles in six of his last eight games.

#19: Chicago Bulls

Last week’s ranking: 19 (-)

Record: 28-31

The Bulls beat the Cavs and Pelicans in two of their last three games and are continuing to be a pest against strong teams. Ayo Dosunmu is having a mid-year explosion which, combined with the speed, shotmaking, and tenacity of Coby White and Alex Caruso, gives the team strong support for its star (DeMar DeRozan).

#18: Philadelphia 76ers

Last week’s ranking: 14 (-4)

Record: 33-25

Philly is in total freefall without Joel Embiid anchoring their effort (and somehow bolstering his MVP case, given they looked like a top-two team in the league with him in the lineup). They were just 26th in net rating in February despite Tyrese Maxey averaging 26.9 points and 55.5 assists on 45/39/87 shooting splits.

#17: Sacramento Kings 

Last week’s ranking: 16 (-1)

Record: 33-25

The Kings are an interesting team and about as dangerous as a 17th-ranked team can be. Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox are both having outstanding years, while Malik Monk is the leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate per betting odds. They weirdly play better on the road than they do at home and can get streaky on both ends, which will make them a tough first-round out in the postseason.

#16: Golden State Warriors

Last week’s ranking: 18 (+2)

Record: 30-27

Although the Warriors didn’t play extremely stiff competition recently, they won 11 of their last 14 games and have a net rating above 20 with their current starting lineup. That’s despite Steph Curry barely averaging more than 20 points and 27% three-point shooting over his last five outings and with Klay Thompson now coming off the bench.

#15: Orlando Magic

Last week’s ranking: 17 (+2)

Record: 33-26

The Magic might be handicapped by some of their scoring issues in the halfcourt, but they will be a top-four contender next year if Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner continue their development over the summer. For now, all they are is great on defense and outstanding on the boards, and they find ways to score cheap points (second in points off turnovers, sixth in second-chance points).

#14: Indiana Pacers

Last week’s ranking: 15 (+1)

Record: 34-26

Indy is showing signs that it could be a legitimate threat in the playoffs once again now that Tyrese Haliburton is back and off a minutes restriction. The All-Star starter still isn’t totally consistent with his jumper but averaged 16.1 points and 8.9 assists on 38% three-point shooting in February, while the defense improved to 17th in rating during that time. That’s extremely important since teams were walking through them at the start of the year.

#13: New Orleans Pelicans 

Last week’s ranking: 11 (-2)

Record: 35-25

The Pelicans are going to give someone a ton of problems in the playoffs. They dominate the three-point line offensively and defensively and allow the second-fewest points per isolation possession thanks to their tailor-made defensive lineup. They might struggle to go basket-for-basket late in games, but they are above average at worst in every aspect of the game. 

#12: Los Angeles Lakers

Last week’s ranking: 13 (+1)

Record: 32-28

He might be 39 years old and dealing with the greatest amount of voter fatigue ever, but LeBron James averaged 26.6 points, 8.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds on 56/47/83 shooting splits in February. That’s while allowing the same field goal percentage as the all-world Jrue Holiday, yet the Lakers are just middle of the road in defensive rating. D’Angelo Russell appears to be the key to this team as his resurgence has helped this team look like one of the best in the West. 

#11: Miami Heat 

Last week’s ranking: 12 (+1)

Record: 33-25

Jimmy Butler warned the league that it was about that time of the year that the Heat turn into the best version of themselves, and he wasn’t lying. The reigning Finals runner-ups ranked second in defensive rating in February and are getting more and more contributions from their role players in a gentle reminder of why they were comfortable holding on to their depth instead of trading for Damian Lillard.

#10: New York Knicks

Last week’s ranking: 8 (-2)

Record: 35-24

The Knicks lost six of their last eight games and have one of the worst scoring differentials in the league during that time. At the same time, Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo both produced tremendous months and are a major reason this team looks like the second-best squad in the East at full strength. Even with the injuries, they held onto a strong defense and ranked eighth in rebound rate for February.

#9: Dallas Mavericks

Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)

Record: 34-25

We said it before and we’ll say it again, the Mavericks look primed to take off and enter the postseason as hot as almost anyone. The trades for P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford were perfect for the roster they have in place, and they are now sixth in net rating and eighth in three-point shooting since the trades. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are capable of winning playoff series on their own, especially at the level they’re currently playing.

#8: Milwaukee Bucks 

Last week’s ranking: 10 (+2)

Record: 38-21

Doc Rivers is still below .500 as the Bucks’ coach, but he has the team up to sixth in points allowed per 100 possessions with him as their head coach (but only 19th in offense). Lillard shot the ball better and averaged nearly nine assists in three games since the All-Star break, and a slow offense is probably the “best” problem they could have given their personnel.

#7: Phoenix Suns

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)

Record: 34-24

Phoenix is, stop us if you’ve heard this before, injured—but at full strength, their starting lineup has an offensive rating above 130, one of the best marks in the league. The defense has fewer gaps with the addition of Royce O’Neale, and the overall cohesion seems to be in a great place ahead of the postseason.

#6: Los Angeles Clippers

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-2)

Record: 37-20

The Clippers are still winning most of their games, but they’re losing to contenders and aren’t dominating the advanced statistics like they were for a decent stretch. They became the first team in more than 800 games to blow a 19-point lead entering the fourth quarter in their latest loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and were only 25th in defensive efficiency in February.

#5: Cleveland Cavaliers

Last week’s ranking: 5 (-)

Record: 38-20

We have major concerns about Cleveland down the stretch of ball games as they’re only 14th in clutch net rating and would have lost to the Mavs if Max Strus didn’t make five threes (and a 59-foot buzzer-beater) in the final three and a half minutes. That said, they’ve found a nice offensive rhythm and have one of the three best defenses in the league, which should be enough to win at least one series. 

#4: Denver Nuggets 

Last week’s ranking: 6 (+2)

Record: 40-19

Road concerns aside, the Nuggets are just as strong on offense as they were when they won the title and are even better on defense. Nikola Jokic is putting together absurd stat lines basically every night, while Jamal Murray continues to show up against top teams. As always, they struggle off the bench, but their starting lineup has a ridiculous net rating of 15.3.

#3: Oklahoma City Thunder

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)

Record: 41-17

OKC might be the best team in the West based on second-level analytics. What’s so impressive about them is they’re consistent in performance and effort every night and have the fourth-best road net rating despite being the second-youngest team. For as much love as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander receives, Jalen Williams does not get enough for being the second-best jump-shooter in the league while averaging 19.2 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.0 rebounds.

#2: Minnesota Timberwolves

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

Record: 42-17

Minnesota has the best defense in basketball by a wide margin, is second in both three-point percentage and defense, and seventh in rebound rate. Their double-big lineup of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert worked wonders in the regular season but will be put to the test during the playoffs. Anthony Edwards also can’t continue to drop the somewhat-common “off” game if the team legitimately wants a shot at the title.

#1: Boston Celtics

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)

Record: 46-12

We’ve run out of superlatives for Boston. They’re on pace to win 65 games and have the best offense and a top-three defense with the best assembly of talent in basketball. Championship or bust, no excuses.

Image for Grant Mitchell

AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

528 Articles

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
We've been featured on:
espn logo
reuters logo
cbs-news logo
forbes logo
entrepreneur logo
entrepreneur logo
We only list licensed sportsbooks
WorldSportsNetwork
WorldSportsNetwork
WorldSportsNetwork
WorldSportsNetwork

© Rebel Penguin ApS 2024 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)

We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.

WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.

Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.