NBA Power Rankings: Latest Standings for Every NBA Team
No, we didn't decide to give this list a facelift because we thought it was getting stale...though it might've been reaching that point anyway, as some things tend to at this point in the season. And yes, you'll be seeing chic team logos and brightly colored arrows—assembled (in part) by yours truly—from here on out.
So get used to the changes. Or don't. It's your call, so long as you keep coming back.
In any case, click on to see which teams rose (green arrow), which teams fell (red arrow), which stayed put (yellow arrow) and where your favorite team(s) stand as we approach St. Patrick's Day.
30. Charlotte Bobcats
Another week, another string of double-digit losses for the Charlotte Bobcats. This week saw four such defeats for the 'Cats by an average of 19.3 points per outing.
And if that weren't bad enough, Charlotte saw its streak of holding opposing players under 25 points come to an end. The Bobcats had gone 15 straight games without allowing a single foe to score a quarter of a hundred before Trevor Ariza ripped off 26 points in the 'Cats loss to the Washington Wizards.
Then again, that streak doesn't say as much about Charlotte's defense (ranked 30th in efficiency) as it does about its inability to force stars to stay in the game long enough to score 25 by hanging tight with the opposition.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves
Truth be told, it feels wrong to put the Minnesota Timberwolves second to last in these power rankings. They play harder, execute their sets better and are generally a more entertaining watch than any team ranked at this point should be.
But as much as I'd love to cut the T-Wolves some slack for their almost historically bad luck with injuries, they haven't played well enough of late to avoid this particular backslide. They lost three of four games this past week—by an average of 16.7 points—and have now dropped eight of nine since late February.
Folks in Minny shouldn't be too worried, though. Kevin Love figures to be back in action soon and should (hypothetically) help boost the T-Wolves back up the league's hierarchy a bit.
28. Philadelphia 76ers
I'd say the Philadelphia 76ers are looking forward to the summer, when the misery of a disappointing 2012-13 season will finally be over and they'll have an opportunity to recharge their drained batteries.
But the offseason figures to be just as stressful for the organization as the campaign itself, if not more so. General manager Tony DiLeo and the rest of the Sixers' brain trust will have a number of monumental decisions to make regarding the future of the franchise.
Do they fire Doug Collins, who seems to have worn out his welcome in the City of Brotherly Love? Do they re-sign Andrew Bynum to a massive contract, even though he may well see his current pact come due without ever having played for the Sixers? Do they extend Evan Turner prior to the fall deadline?
In the meantime, a week of games against the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers should be painful enough.
27. Orlando Magic
There may be hope yet for the Orlando Magic. Their 29-point pummeling at the hands of the Indiana Pacers aside, the Magic put together their strongest week in some time to kick off the month of March. It began and ended with wins over the New Orleans Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers, respectively.
Of greatest interest, though, was Orlando's 97-96 loss to the Miami Heat. The Magic stormed all the way back from a 20-point deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter before LeBron James saved the day (and extended Miami's winning streak to 16 games) with a last-second layup.
Magic fans can certainly take heart in the effort seen therein.
Tobias Harris cracked double digits in scoring for the sixth time in seven games with his new squad, Moe Harkless extended his own double-figure streak to 10 games, Nikola Vucevic posted another 20-20 effort, and Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo continued to play like a steady backcourt around which the team can build.
26. Detroit Pistons
It's been a tough sophomore year for Brandon Knight.
His Detroit Pistons have struggled from the outset, he was moved off the ball after Jose Calderon arrived, and Kyrie Irving did this to him during the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend.
But even those disappointments can't quite compare to this pasting he took from DeAndre Jordan during the Pistons' loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
At least Knight took the embarrassment in stride. The same can't quite be said for the Pistons, who were pounded by 32 points and have now lost five in a row and eight of nine.
25. Phoenix Suns
It figures that the Phoenix Suns would beat the Houston Rockets, while starting Wesley Johnson no less, as they did on March 9. The Suns have been as much of a Jekyll-and-Hyde club as have the Rockets, albeit on the losing side of the ledger.
Case in point: Phoenix seemed to have gotten its act together in racking up three straight wins, two of which came at the expense of the San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks.
Just when you thought the Suns had a good thing going, they threw it all away—literally and figuratively—by turning the ball over 28 times in a 98-71 loss to the slumping Toronto Raptors.
A nine-point loss in Sacramento thereafter seemed to set the Suns up for yet another loss, what with the high-octane Rockets coming to town. Yet the Suns managed to upend Houston on a night when James Harden dropped 38 points and eight assists while the Rockets hit a staggering 19-of-41 attempts from downtown.
The basketball gods work in mysterious ways.
24. Sacramento Kings
Don't look now, but the Sacramento Kings are playing competitive basketball.
Granted, a 1-3 record over a given week isn't exactly anything to write home about. But for a team as down on its luck as the Kings have been for some time, there's always space in the standings for moral victories.
Sacramento racked up a few of those during the week that was. The Kings gave three playoff teams—Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks—tougher times than the opposition likely expected, losing those three by an average of 4.3 points apiece.
As for actual victories, the Kings put down a Phoenix Suns squad that had been on a miniature roll of sorts coming into that particular meeting.
23. Washington Wizards
It would appear as though the Washington Wizards' last-in-the-league offense is coming back to bite them in the rear end.
They managed a mere 82 points and turned the ball over 24 times against a T-Wolves team that ranks right around the muddled middle in defensive efficiency. They followed up that effort with an even more paltry 78 points (on 35.6 percent shooting from the field) while watching Deron Williams spit hot fire from beyond the arc (more on that later).
Needless to say, both of those efforts ended in losses for Washington.
Luckily, the Bobcats stopped into D.C. to buck up the Wizards' spirits. They shot 50 percent from the floor and scored 104 points—their highest total in nearly two weeks—thanks in no small part to a 26-point, 10-rebound effort from Trevor Ariza off the bench.
22. New Orleans Hornets
Boy, did the New Orleans Hornets blow their fair share of golden opportunities this past week or what?
Sure, ceding a 25-point lead to the hard-charging Los Angeles Lakers was disappointing, to say the least. But it was hardly the only hard-luck turn into which the Hornets ran.
They built themselves a 17-point cushion against the Magic before snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the fourth quarter. The Hornets also played the Memphis Grizzlies tough for a half before falling off a bit after the break.
Not that the week was all bad in New Orleans.
The Hornets snuck past the Portland Trail Blazers on March 10, 98-96. Anthony Davis (18 points, 10 rebounds) played Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard close to a draw. Ryan Anderson scored the final six points of the game for his team to help the Hornets end the week on a high note.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers
A week replete with nail-biters ended in one of the worst ways imaginable for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They came within four points of knocking off the Toronto Raptors, but not before losing Kyrie Irving to a shoulder contusion. Irving had been struggling all season with a myriad of maladies, including the flu and a knee injury just this past week.
The Cavs' season had become a lost cause long before Irving's latest setback. Still, these last few weeks could prove imperative to Cleveland's rebuilding effort.
The absence of the team's All-Star guard for the next three-to-four weeks will make it that much harder for the coaching staff and the front office to evaluate where things stand heading into a crucial, cap-filled summer.
20. Toronto Raptors
The West Coast portion of the Raptors' recent road swing certainly wasn't short on broken hearts.
First, Toronto put up a 36-point third quarter against the Golden State Warriors before giving up 42 points in the fourth on the way to a 125-118 loss in Oakland. Then, the Raps were undone by Kobe Bryant's late-game heroics in L.A. after outplaying the Lakers through the first three frames.
Not that the week was entirely a lost one.
The Raps took out their frustrations on the Suns, 98-71, between their losses in California. And they slid past the Cavs in their first game back at the Air Canada Centre after spending a week in the U.S.
19. Utah Jazz
Hard luck or no, the Utah Jazz are officially on the outskirts of the Western Conference playoff picture after dropping four in a row and seven of eight.
This past week alone, the Jazz were jolted by a long three by Brandon Jennings to force overtime in an eventual loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, another fourth-quarter rally by Kyrie Irving and a game-deciding trey by Marco Belinelli in a one-point defeat to the Chicago Bulls.
A 29-point loss to the shorthanded New York Knicks was entirely predictable, given the close shaves Utah had just endured. Not that the prior three defeats weren't similarly predictable. All four of the Jazz's most recent results came on the road, where they're now 10-23.
18. Portland Trail Blazers
Surely, a team that beats up on the Bobcats (as any self-respecting team would) and tramples the San Antonio Spurs by 30 points on the road, as the Portland Trail Blazers did this past week, deserves a bump in the rankings, right?
That sounds reasonable enough...unless said team also blows a 16-point lead against the Memphis Grizzlies and stumbles to a narrow defeat in New Orleans.
Such seems to be the norm these days for the Blazers. They are still within striking distance of a playoff spot but seem unlikely to sneak past the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz or Los Angeles Lakers in the weeks to come.
On the bright side, Damian Lillard has all but locked up Rookie of the Year honors. He leads all first-year players in points (18.9) and assists (6.4), and he has upped his scoring to 22.3 points per game since mid-February.
17. Dallas Mavericks
Like the Blazers, the Dallas Mavericks are both close to and far away from a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference.
They've won three in a row to move back within three games of a postseason berth and—perhaps just as importantly—well away from the cellar of the West.
Climbing closer will be a tough task, what with road dates against the Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs and a home game opposite the Oklahoma City Thunder upcoming.
But now that Dirk Nowitzki seems to have found his footing (18.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 50.6 percent shooting, 53.6 percent from three over his last 12 games), the Mavs figure to be a threat to whomever they face over the final month or so of the season.
16. Milwaukee Bucks
Save for a now-ritual whooping courtesy of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Milwaukee Bucks have been on a roll of late. They've now won six of their last seven to move three games clear of the .500 mark and eight-and-a-half games ahead of the Raptors in the race for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
The addition of J.J. Redick and the recent uptick from Brandon Jennings have both been of great help to Milwaukee's hopes. But as Grantland's Brett Koremenos pointed out, the real surprise has been the emergence of Monta Ellis as a potentially crucial component of a competitive club.
The five-man lineup of Ellis, Redick, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Dunleavy and Larry Sanders—with its combination of perimeter shooting and defense around Ellis—has outscored its opposition by 27 points per 100 possessions, albeit in a tiny sample (22 minutes) across six games.
But with Jennings' latest threats regarding his future in Milwaukee, it might behoove the Bucks to see just how good they can be if they decide to hang onto just one of their two ball-dominating guards.
15. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors remain far from a golden state these days, though at least they managed to stabilize themselves somewhat with a couple of wins this past week.
Granted, those successes came at the expense of the Kings and the Raptors, but it's not as though they'd readily forfeit whatever positive results they can conjure up, given their roller coaster of a season.
Their season took a turn for the worse once again over the weekend, when the Dubs dropped relatively close contests to the Rockets and Bucks in a rare back-to-back at home.
All told, Golden State is now just a game clear of Houston and two ahead of the Lakers as it looks to cling to the sixth seed, with 12 of its final 18 games at Oracle Arena.
14. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks had a pair of perfect opportunities to improve their positioning in the Eastern Conference playoff picture...and summarily allowed them to slip away.
They pushed the Boston Celtics to overtime after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter, but they couldn't muster a bucket over the final 1:20. That was thanks to two bad passes by Josh Smith and a missed jumper from Al Horford.
The Hawks then welcomed Joe Johnson back to Atlanta for the second time since he joined the Brooklyn Nets. And by "welcomed," I mean "allowed Johnson's new buddies to build up a 23-point lead on the way to victory."
As a result, Atlanta now finds itself in seventh place in the East. A better week may well have propelled the team to a spot among the top four for the time being.
13. Houston Rockets
The rest of the NBA had better beware the day that the Rockets start playing some semblance of consistent, respectable defense.
They currently rank sixth in offensive rating and fourth in effective field-goal percentage. That's thanks to an approach built predominantly on drives to the basket, three-pointers, pushing the pace in transition and running the pick-and-roll.
But their defense sits among the bottom 10 in the league in efficiency. The fact that they play the fastest average pace (98.76 possessions per game, per NBA.com) means that no lead of theirs is ever truly safe.
Hence, nights like those in which Houston loses to Dallas and Phoenix—despite James Harden posting lines of 28-4-9 and 38-5-8 in those games, respectively—are bound to drag down the Rockets' playoff positioning.
12. Chicago Bulls
Chicago hasn't been the sweetest of homes for the Bulls this season, where they've compiled a record of 18-14. But it's been better than the alternative, particularly of late.
The Bulls have dropped each of their last four games outside of the United Center, including losses to the Spurs and Lakers in which their stagnant offense looked even more anemic than usual.
In the long run, Chicago is certainly wise to allow Derrick Rose to take his time getting back. According to Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com, Rose remains uncomfortable with the state of his hamstrings and his left knee, even though he's been cleared to play by his doctors.
For now, Rose's prolonged absence is clearly taking a toll on the rest of his teammates, especially Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. They have had to stretch themselves past the point of exhaustion to keep the Bulls from slipping too far down the standings in the Eastern Conference.
11. Los Angeles Lakers
THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS ARE IN EIGHTH PLACE IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!! AND THEY'RE TWO GAMES ABOVE .500 FOR THE FIRST TIME ALL SEASON!!!
Indeed, it appears as though we've hit upon the perfect theme song for the Lakers' 2012-13 season.
Still, as disappointing as things have been for the Purple and Gold in the big picture, progress is progress. And the Lakers have made plenty of it since falling a season-worst eight games below .500 in late January.
Kobe Bryant is playing like a man possessed (two games of at least 41 points, six rebounds and 12 assists in the last week), and Steve Nash seems to have rediscovered his scoring stroke, with double-digit efforts in seven of his last eight games.
But the biggest difference-maker has been Dwight Howard. Over his last three games, Howard has upped his production to 20 points, 16.3 rebounds, 4.3 blocks and 2.3 steals in a shade under 40 minutes per.
Chances are, Howard's not going to be his old, dominant self this season. But so long as his stamina and effort continue to improve and the Lakers can keep him in a comfortable role, they'll be a dangerous team in the postseason.
10. Boston Celtics
Raise your hand if you thought the Boston Celtics would have a shot at home-court advantage when Rajon Rondo went down with a torn ACL. Now, those of you with your hands up: put them down and stop kidding yourselves.
And yet, here are the C's, just two-and-a-half games back of fourth-place Brooklyn on account of a 14-5 mark since Rondo's season came to a close. A 91-79 loss in OKC was about what you'd expect from a team in the East's muddled middle.
Of greater importance, though, were Boston's wins at Indiana and home against Atlanta. To be among the top four in their conference, the Celtics will inevitably have to beat those against whom they are competing for that prime real estate in the standings.
Not immediately, though. They'll have ample opportunity to pad their record against Toronto and Charlotte (twice) in the week to come.
9. Brooklyn Nets
Winning three games by an average of 17 points and holding teams to 80 points or fewer each time would, in most cases, count as an accomplishment.
Unless, of course, you're the Brooklyn Nets and the first two of those W's came at the expense of the Bobcats and Wizards.
To be sure, Brooklyn's 13-point thrashing of the Hawks in Atlanta was noteworthy, if only because Joe Johnson used to play for the Hawks, and Atlanta had been pushing for the Nets' spot in the standings. So too was Deron Williams' 42-point explosion against Washington, which saw him set a new NBA record for three-pointers in a half (nine).
But if Brooklyn's going to be anything more than first-round roadkill in the East, it'll need something more out of whatever's left of Gerald Wallace and more consistent production from its high-priced backcourt.
8. Indiana Pacers
So, apparently, some people thought the Pacers might be a worthy adversary for the Miami Heat.
Or not. The defending champs thoroughly dominated the Pacers in Miami on March 10, despite LeBron James mustering a mere 13 points. In Indy's defense, Danny Granger was withheld from the game on account of soreness in his troublesome left knee.
Though even Granger's absence can't explain away Paul George's offensive no-show (10 points on 2-of-11 from the field) or the way that Indy's NBA-best defense was shredded for 105 points on an astounding 55.9 percent shooting by Miami.
Make no mistake: Indy is still quality team that's as good a bet as any to meet Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. But so long as the Heat are engaged and hungry, the Pacers don't stand much of a chance.
Nor does anyone else for that matter...
7. New York Knicks
...Including the New York Knicks, who've already dealt with their own rude awakening opposite the Heat.
That meeting is well in the Knicks' past, though the week that followed was none too kind to New York's long-term outlook. Sure, three wins in four tries look nice, as does a one-point loss to the Thunder.
But the devil here is in the details. First, Carmelo Anthony went down with a knee injury during what turned out to be a 22-point comeback against the Cavaliers. Then, word broke that Amar'e Stoudemire would undergo another operation on his left knee and be out another six weeks or so.
They have the requisite depth to survive these vicious body blows for now, though a five-game road swing through the West—with stops in Oakland, Denver, Portland, L.A. (against the Clippers) and Salt Lake City—will do plenty to test New York's true mettle.
6. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are still streaking, with eight wins in their last eight games. They announced themselves rather ferociously on March 7, when they outran the fast break-friendly Clippers, 107-92.
Granted, the Clips were absent Jamal Crawford on that occasion and were stuck in the dreaded "second night of a back-to-back in Denver," which usually results in a Nuggets romp.
Nonetheless, there's something to be said about a deep team with a concrete identity and a solid-gold home record—all of which applies to the Nuggets. They feature nine guys who play at least 18 minutes a game, they attack the basket (and get to the free-throw line) with reckless abandon, and they have won 28 of 31 games at the Pepsi Center.
If the Nuggets can somehow sneak past the Memphis Grizzlies in the standings, they'll have some semblance of home-court advantage—and the thin air that comes with it—on which to count come playoff time.
5. Memphis Grizzlies
I hope the Grizzlies enjoyed feasting on the dregs of the NBA, because they're in for a challenging week ahead.
With wins over the Blazers, Cavs and Hornets in their back pocket, the Grizz will hit the road to Portland, L.A. (vs. the Clippers), Denver and Salt Lake City, against teams with a combined home record of 95-28 (.772).
To be sure, Memphis ain't too shabby outside the Music City—17-11 on the road, to be exact. If its swing proves successful, it may well find itself moving up in the Western Conference standings, with the No. 3 seed squarely in its sights.
If not, the Grizzlies might be left to grind through the playoffs without any home-court advantage to buoy their odds.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
There wasn't much to take away from the last week as far as the Clippers are concerned.
Yes, they were trampled by the Nuggets, but the loss came without Jamal Crawford and with the Clips playing the second game of a back-to-back in the thin air of Denver. Yes, they blew out the Bucks and the Pistons, but such is to be expected of a purported title contender at home.
Where the Clips were big winners, though, was in the world of social media, thanks to DeAndre Jordan's nasty denigration-by-dunk of Brandon Knight.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
Perhaps the Thunder caught wind of the Heat's lengthy winning streak and decided it was about time to start one of their own. Or perhaps the Thunder simply thought it better to take care of business and put the screws to the Spurs rather than loaf their way into the playoffs.
Whatever the case may be, OKC was on something of a roll...until the Thunder ran into the Spurs in San Antonio.
The Thunder had won five in a row, beginning with their hanging-on-for-dear-life win over the Clippers on March 3 and continuing through to their handling of the surging C's on March 10. OKC had a perfect chance to take back the top seed in the West, but it wound up on the wrong end of a rather sound beating on March 11, 105-93.
The Thunder can be defended in this instance for playing the second night of a back-to-back against the team with the best record in the West. But things won't get any easier for OKC once Tony Parker returns and the playoffs roll around.
If they want to wind up back in the NBA Finals, they'll need steadier efforts from Russell Westbrook, even more aggressive play from Kevin Durant and better than 16 points off the bench.
2. San Antonio Spurs
You know what title contenders don't do? How about lose to a sub-.500 squad by 30 points?
That's what happened to the Spurs on March 8, when the Trail Blazers blew into town. The loss was the second worst at home in franchise history and the second in five games in San Antonio since the Spurs saw their 18-game winning streak at the AT&T Center snapped.
It'd be easy to blame the embarrassment on Tony Parker's absence, but he's no defensive whiz and probably would've struggled to a considerable extent against Damian Lillard and Eric Maynor, who combined for 55 points on 18-of-31 shooting with 15 assists.
Maybe it was just "one of those games" that every team, good or bad, has from time to time. Or maybe the Spurs should be concerned about the lengthening of their injured list as the season comes to a close.
On second thought, it was probably closer to the former, given the sound whoopin' the Spurs laid on the visiting Thunder with the "incomparable" Cory Joseph manning the point in Parker's place.
Chalk up another big win for Gregg Popovich's plug-and-play system.
1. Miami Heat
The first 17 wins of Miami's were nice and all, but the Heat's hot streak still needed validation, preferably by way of a convincing victory over a budding rival and/or a likely playoff foe. That's precisely what the Heat got (and did) on March 10, when they annihilated the Pacers, 105-91.
But it wasn't just that Miami won big, but rather how Miami won big that should leave the rest of the NBA cowering in fear.
The Heat registered five players in double figures, with Mario Chalmers' 26 points leading the way. Indy did well to limit LeBron James to 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, though the presumptive MVP still managed to stuff the stat sheet with seven assists, six rebounds, a steal and a block.
Most impressively, the Heat dominated on both ends of the floor as a team. They held the Pacers to 41.3 percent shooting on one end, shredded the NBA's stingiest defense for 55.9 percent shooting on the other and managed to minimize the rebounding deficit to just five boards.
It was as thorough an evisceration of a quality opponent that the Heat have put together all year, as well as a clear declaration of their status as the team to beat in the spring.
As if that had ever been in doubt.