NBA Power Rankings: Complete Breakdown of Every NBA Team

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2013

NBA Power Rankings: Complete Breakdown of Every NBA Team

0 of 30

    The landscape of the NBA is constantly shifting, and so too is the order of the 30 squads that make up the latest edition of the NBA Power Rankings. 

    Not to spoil anything, but this week's edition features a change at the top for the first time in about three weeks. And of course, you'll want to see just how far the Los Angeles Lakers have fallen. 

    I'll give you a hint: You won't have to go through too many slides to get to them. 

    So, where does your favorite team rank, and how far has it risen or dropped since the last edition?

    You'll have to read on to find out. 

30. Charlotte Bobcats (Previous Ranking: No. 30)

1 of 30

    Record: 10-32

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Last 10 Games: 2-8

     

    The slump continued this week for the Charlotte Bobcats, who dropped games against both the Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks. 

    Kemba Walker continues to play quite well—he averaged 23 points and five assists during those two contests—but it just isn't enough for the talent-devoid squad. While the Bobcats have made some strides during the 2012-13 campaign, they still aren't ready to leave the NBA's cellar for too long.

29. Cleveland Cavaliers (Previous Ranking: No. 29)

2 of 30

    Record: 11-32

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Last 10 Games: 4-6

     

    Without Anderson Varejao in the lineup after developing a blood clot in his right lung, the Cleveland Cavaliers were supposed to fall even further down in the NBA standings. Well, that hasn't exactly happened yet. 

    Kyrie Irving has led a formidable charge, taking down both the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics to sandwich a loss against the Utah Jazz. The young point guard has been nothing short of sensational. 

    During his last five games, Irving has averaged 23.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game while shooting 48.0 percent from the field and 94.1 percent from the charity stripe. 

28. Orlando Magic (Previous Ranking: No. 27)

3 of 30

    Record: 14-28

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Last 10 Games: 2-8

     

    If Arron Afflalo could ever find his shot again, the Orlando Magic might be able to start creeping toward a more respectable win-loss record. Once considered to be the prized return in the Dwight Howard trade, Afflalo hasn't exactly broken out during the 2012-13 campaign. 

    After hitting 46.9 percent of his shots during December, Afflalo has lost his stroke once more. In his last five games, the talented shooting guard has only dropped his attempts at a clip of 39.4 percent. 

    Even with Nikola Vucevic continuing to assert himself as an up-and-coming big man, the Magic desperately need more from Afflalo. 

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (Previous Ranking: No. 25)

4 of 30

    Record: 17-22

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Last 10 Games: 2-8

     

    There's injury-ravaged, and then there's whatever has happened to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    Just look at the rotation they used in a 91-83 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 23: Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams and Greg Stiemsma started, with J.J. Barea, Chris Johnson, Mickael Gelabale and Dante Cunningham coming off the bench. 

    Rubio is still playing his way back to his pre-injury form. Kevin Love is letting his re-injured hand heal. Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved are still nursing their own maladies. Lou Amundson didn't play because, well, he's Lou Amundson. 

    At some point it just stops being fair...

26. Phoenix Suns (Previous Ranking: No. 28)

5 of 30

    Record: 15-28

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 3-7

     

    Extending a rare winning streak to *gasp* two games has to be a nice feeling for the downtrodden Phoenix Suns, especially as the second victory came against the Los Angeles Clippers. Sure, Chris Paul wasn't playing, but we'll overlook that for now and allow Lindsey Hunter to enjoy his unblemished 2-0 record. 

    It's important to stay optimistic in the desert during the 2012-13 season. 

    The biggest reason for hope continues to be none other than Goran Dragic, who stayed aggressive against the Clippers, getting to the line often en route to a line of 24 points, five rebounds and eight assists. 

25. Los Angeles Lakers (Previous Ranking: No. 23)

6 of 30

    Record: 17-25

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Last 10 Games: 2-8

     

    Things have gotten so bad for the Los Angeles Lakers that even Boston Celtics fans have started to feel bad for them. As anyone familiar with NBA rivalries knows, that's bad. 

    It's impossible to sum up the problems for the purple-and-gold-clad potluck of NBA stars because there are just so many of them. The offense is too dependent on Kobe Bryant. The defense doesn't actually exist, especially in transition. 

    There's no communication. No one is healthy, and those players that are on the court don't seem to enjoy playing with each other. 

    The list just goes on and on. 

24. Washington Wizards (Previous Ranking: No. 26)

7 of 30

    Record: 9-31

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Last 10 Games: 5-5

     

    Count me among the people who incorrectly thought that John Wall would fail to make a major impact this season for the Washington Wizards. 

    Simply put, what was once easily the worst team in the league has looked like a different squad ever since the former No. 1 draft pick returned to the lineup. In the seven games since Wall first suited up, the Wizards have gone 4-3, which is quite impressive for a team that was just 5-28 going in. 

    The former Kentucky Wildcat has averaged 14.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists with a 21.04 PER while inexplicably coming off the bench. 

23. Sacramento Kings (Previous Ranking: No. 24)

8 of 30

    Record: 16-27

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Last 10 Games: 3-7

     

    Don't be fooled by what DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings have done over their last 10 games. They aren't nearly as good as that 3-7 record would make them seem. 

    Why?

    Well, those three wins came against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats. You may have noticed that we've already passed all three of those teams in the power rankings.

22. Philadelphia 76ers (Previous Ranking: No. 22)

9 of 30

    Record: 17-25

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Last 10 Games: 2-8

     

    If you told the Philadelphia 76ers that they'd have an All-Star at the midway point of the season, they probably would have rejoiced at the promise of a healthy season from Andrew Bynum. 

    The Sixers have an All-Star, but it's not Bynum. Jrue Holiday will be taking part in the festivities after enjoying a fantastic first 42 games. That's the good news. 

    On the flip side is the bad news. Even with Holiday playing that level of basketball, the Sixers still can't muster up a decent stretch of victorious play. 

21. Detroit Pistons (Previous Ranking: No. 20)

10 of 30

    Record: 16-26

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Last 10 Games: 6-4

     

    The version of the Detroit Pistons that began the 2012-13 campaign with eight consecutive losses appears to be nothing more than a figment of imagination at this point. Since then, the Pistons have gone 16-18, which is at least a little bit more respectable. 

    Greg Monroe hasn't been able to reach the level we expected of him, but he's still been a terrific player in Motown. Over his past five games, the big man has averaged 12.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. 

    I'd still like to see Lawrence Frank play Andre Drummond more. Doing so wouldn't be giving up on the season early, since Drummond has been one of Detroit's most effective players. 

20. Toronto Raptors (Previous Ranking: No. 21)

11 of 30

    Record: 16-27

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Last 10 Games: 4-6

     

    The Toronto Raptors are still a team on the rise, despite their losing record over the last 10 games. 

    If DeMar DeRozan—who hit the falling-away game-winner against the Orlando Magic—and his teammates had gotten the ball to bounce differently just a few times over the last five games, the Raptors could easily be on a five-game winning streak. 

    In addition to their victories over the Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, the Raptors lost in overtime to the Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. Despite the fact that those were all losing efforts, all were positive signs for this franchise. 

19. Houston Rockets (Previous Ranking: No. 17)

12 of 30

    Record: 22-22

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Last 10 Games: 2-8

     

    Only a game against the Charlotte Bobcats has been able to let the Houston Rockets snap out of their funk. Surrounding that six-point victory against the last-ranked team in these power rankings have been eight losses as the Rockets continue to free fall. 

    James Harden's shot has developed an unfortunate aversion for the bottom of the net, and the rest of the team has followed suit. It's not good when the leading scorer and unquestioned go-to guy shoots 41.2 percent during the first 13 games of the new year, including a putrid 28.9 percent during the most recent five-game stretch. 

    Until the bearded shooting guard catches back on fire, the Rockets are going to fall further and further down the standings. 

18. Portland Trail Blazers (Previous Ranking: No. 16)

13 of 30

    Record: 21-21

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Last 10 Games: 4-6

     

    The Portland Trail Blazers' complete and utter lack of depth was bound to catch up with them eventually. 

    As good as Damian Lillard and the rest of the starters have been, the reserves just can't play well enough to allow them adequate recovery time during games. And if the starting five does sit for an extended period of time, the score doesn't exactly change in favor of the Blazers. 

    Unless Meyers Leonard and Will Barton, among others, start stepping up to the challenge, it could be a lottery season in Rip City.

17. Boston Celtics (Previous Ranking: No. 15)

14 of 30

    Record: 20-22

    Last Five Games: 0-5

    Last 10 Games: 5-5

     

    Remember when the Boston Celtics had used a resurgent bench to reel off six-straight victories and climb back over .500?

    After a five-game losing streak, it's tough to dig that one up out of the mental file cabinet. 

    No matter how far Rajon Rondo and the C's fall, they'll be able to take solace in one overwhelming truth during the 2012-13 campaign: They aren't the Los Angeles Lakers. 

16. New Orleans Hornets (Previous Ranking: No. 19)

15 of 30

    Record: 14-28

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 7-3

     

    Much like the point guard who runs the show in the bayou, the New Orleans Hornets are quickly becoming one of the more underrated units in the Association. 

    Greivis Vasquez has done a fantastic job managing the offense, allowing Robin Lopez to continue to impress while surrounded by a healthy Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. His 14.3 points and 9.2 assists per game should surely be drawing a little more attention. 

    The Hornets have been rolling lately, too. Even their losses have been impressive as they've hung with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.

15. Dallas Mavericks (Previous Ranking: No. 18)

16 of 30

    Record: 18-24

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Last 10 Games: 5-5

     

    Now that Dirk Nowitzki is at least starting to resemble the Dirk Nowitzki that we've come to love/hate (depending on your rooting affiliations), the Dallas Mavericks are starting to make their push toward a playoff spot in the difficult Western Conference. 

    Over his last five games, the German 7-footer has averaged 15.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Sure, he's only shot 40.6 percent from the field, but at least he's beginning to make a positive impact. 

    During that stretch, the Mavs have won four of five, only dropping an overtime contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder in which Kevin Durant dropped a career-high 52 points and was completely unguardable. 

14. Atlanta Hawks (Previous Ranking: No. 14)

17 of 30

    Record: 24-18

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 4-6

     

    The road-weary Atlanta Hawks finally broke out of their slump, rattling off three wins in five games despite the various absences of Lou Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford over that stretch. 

    While Smoove and Horford will be able to return to the Hawks lineup on a consistent basis, Lou won't as he's out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Eventually, that loss will hurt the Hawks, but it hasn't managed to quite yet. 

    Smith has been tearing it up lately and will need to continue doing so, even though he continues to barely miss the All-Star cut year after year. 

13. Milwaukee Bucks (Previous Ranking: No. 13)

18 of 30

    Record: 22-18

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Last 10 Games: 6-4

     

    In what's certainly good news for the Milwaukee Bucks, Ersan Ilyasova has finally started to remember that he was good at basketball last year. 

    His monthly splits have been improving as the 2012-13 season has progressed, and January has seen Ilyasova play his best ball yet, averaging 12.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 blocks and 1.0 steals per game on 47.4 percent shooting from the field.

    The forward has been even better during the Bucks' recent 4-1 stretch, as he's averaged 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 blocks and 1.2 steals on 53.8 percent shooting.  

12. Utah Jazz (Previous Ranking: No. 12)

19 of 30

    Record: 23-19

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Last 10 Games: 8-2

     

    As well as Al Jefferson and the Utah Jazz have been playing, they're still one of the least discussed teams in the NBA. 

    Even though the Jazz are currently taking advantage of a weak portion of the schedule, it's still hard to win eight out of 10 games no matter who the opponents may be. It's not like they're playing the Charlotte Bobcats every night (in fact they only did so once during those 10 games). 

    If you haven't watched Jefferson go to work yet this season, try to change that. It's worth it. 

11. Indiana Pacers (Previous Ranking: No. 10)

20 of 30

    Record: 26-17

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 7-3

     

    Newly minted All-Star Paul George and the rest of the Indiana Pacers haven't done anything to change much over the last few games. They're still boasting one of the best defenses in the league and one of the worst offenses. 

    And just as it has throughout the 2012-13 campaign, it's resulted in more wins than losses. 

    Through Jan. 23, the Pacers have produced an offensive rating of 101.0, putting them in the No. 29 spot in the Association. They could soon fall to No. 30 if John Wall truly gets the Washington Wizards back on track. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the defensive rating of 99.1 is tops in the league (per Basketball-Reference). 

10. Chicago Bulls (Previous Ranking: No. 11)

21 of 30

    Record: 25-16

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Last 10 Games: 7-3

     

    Even though Jimmy Butler doesn't want to be known as a "Kobe Stopper," that's exactly what he became during the Chicago Bulls victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 21, as he helped hold the Mamba to 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting. 

    It was just part of a breakout week for Butler. Over his past four games for the Bulls, Butler has averaged 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game while playing lockdown defense. 

    Are we ready for a world in which Tom Thibodeau has one more deadly weapon?

9. New York Knicks (Previous Ranking: No. 8)

22 of 30

    Record: 26-14

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 5-5

     

    Even though Carmelo Anthony has continued to score in volume, the New York Knicks have started to succumb to a brutal portion of the schedule. Interestingly enough, Melo has recorded a game high in points during eight of the Knicks' last 10 games, and he didn't even play in one of the two in which J.R. Smith recorded the highest total.

    The ease of the Knicks' contests are about to go up rather significantly, which should allow New York to retain its spot among the Eastern Conference elite for a little while longer. 

    Plus, a tight win over the Boston Celtics in Beantown is sure to be a nice momentum boost. 

8. Memphis Grizzlies (Previous Ranking: No. 5)

23 of 30

    Record: 27-14

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 6-4

     

    Even though the Memphis Grizzlies didn't quite keep pace with the rest of the top teams in the NBA, this week had to be considered an unmitigated success for the team. 

    The Grizz parted ways with Marreese Speights, Josh Selby and more for Jon Leuer in a move that won't help them at first glance (per Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears). However, even though Memphis lost a player helping keep the offense at least semi-competent, it moved below the luxury-tax threshold. 

    That could be enough for the management to hold onto Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay for the rest of the season and keep the Grizzlies among the contenders. 

7. Golden State Warriors (Previous Ranking: No. 7)

24 of 30

    Record: 26-15

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 5-5

     

    If you were looking for confirmation that Stephen Curry (this year's biggest All-Star snub, and it's not even close) and the Golden State Warriors are for real, well, you've got it. 

    After squeaking by the New Orleans Hornets behind a season-high 29 points from Klay Thompson, the Dubs took down the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-day span. How's that for a set of impressive victories? 

    Golden State now undoubtedly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the more accepted Western Conference powers. 

6. Denver Nuggets (Previous Ranking: No. 6)

25 of 30

    Record: 26-18

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 8-2

     

    Other than the somewhat inexplicable losses to the Washington Wizards and the injury-ravaged Minnesota Timberwolves, 2013 has gone quite well for the Denver Nuggets. 

    All of their key players are starting to round into form, led by the speedy point guard, Ty Lawson. Over his last five games, Lawson has averaged 17.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.0 steals while making more shots from the field than he's missed. 

    This is the type of performance that many, myself included, expected from the diminutive floor general before the 2012-13 season tipped off. It's not too coincidental that his progression has coincided with the Nuggets' rise. 

5. Brooklyn Nets (Previous Ranking: No. 9)

26 of 30

    Record: 26-16

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Last 10 Games: 9-1

     

    Only an inspired performance by Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks in Philips Arena has been able to slow down the Brooklyn Nets during their past 10 games. Under P.J. Carlesimo, this team has been shooting up the standings in the Eastern Conference. 

    Deron Williams in particular has been playing well. 

    Even though his shot hasn't been falling with any sort of frequency, the point guard has enjoyed his newfound freedom in the offense and has created plenty of good looks for his teammates. His assist numbers are up, and the turnovers are down. 

4. Miami Heat (Previous Ranking: No. 4)

27 of 30

    Record: 27-12

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Last 10 Games: 6-4

     

    LeBron James has truly come out to play, and the rest of the league isn't exactly liking the result. Someone needed to get the Miami Heat back on an acceptable pace, and LeBron proved he was up for the challenge. 

    After spending some time guarding Al Jefferson and bringing the ball up the court in a loss to the Utah Jazz, the reigning MVP has re-asserted himself as the best player in the world.

    Even more impressive than his latest triple-double was his showing against the defenseless Los Angeles Lakers. Displaying an ability to get to the rim and finish at will, James scored 39 points on 17-of-25 shooting from the field.

    For good measure, he also added seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block. 

    Over his last five games for the Heat, James is averaging a mind-boggling 29.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 1.0 blocks and 2.4 steals while shooting 61.9 percent from the field and 88.0 percent from the charity stripe. 

3. Los Angeles Clippers (Previous Ranking: No. 1)

28 of 30

    Record: 32-12

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Last 10 Games: 6-4

     

    Eric Bledsoe is a terrific young point guard with an extremely bright future, but he isn't Chris Paul. Then again, no point guard in the NBA is on the same level as CP3, so that's not exactly an insult to Bledsoe. 

    Paul has been out of the Los Angeles Clippers' lineup with a bruised kneecap for five of the last seven games and clearly didn't have his shooting stroke figured out in the other two. That's made things quite a bit tougher for L.A. as it attempts to stay atop the Western Conference. 

    CP3, Blake Griffin and the rest of this deep team will right the ship when the point guard is back in the lineup, but I have no choice but to sink them down a bit right now. 

    Thus ends Lob City's reign at No. 1. 

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (Previous Ranking: No. 2)

29 of 30

    Record: 33-10

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Last 10 Games: 7-3

     

    Kevin Durant has officially entered LeBron James territory. Although he still has a long way to go before he can match the reigning MVP's all-around greatness, we're officially starting to take his offensive domination for granted. 

    We're watching a truly historic offensive season unfold before our very eyes. 

    How many players can score 52 points one night, then drop 32 more on only 19 shots just two games later? If anyone else did that, it would create a media firestorm, but it's little more than a blip in the news because it's KD putting up those numbers. 

1. San Antonio Spurs (Previous Ranking: No. 3)

30 of 30

    Record: 34-11

    Last Five Games: 5-0

    Last 10 Games: 8-2

     

    Hey, look! Here come the San Antonio Spurs!

    If Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and company had just been able to fend off the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime on Jan. 11, the Spurs would be on an eight-game winning streak, sitting pretty at 35-10. Alas, they're only 34-11...

    One of the overlooked storylines of this season has been the continued per-minute excellence of Tiago Splitter, who has been thoroughly overshadowed by Duncan and Parker's greatness. The Brazilian big man now has a PER over 20 and is showing no signs of slowing down. 

    If anything, the opposite is true. 

    Since the calendars changed to 2013, Splitter has averaged 12.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 blocks and 0.9 steals per game on 62.6 percent shooting. And he's doing that in only 28.3 minutes per contest. 

    You know, because the rich need to get richer. Right now, that heap of spoils that the Spurs are sitting on top of is the rest of the NBA.