Carter's NBA Power Rankings: November 20

David CarterCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks hug after the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on November 1, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Bryant finished with 41 points and Johnson scored 27 points and the Lakers defeated the Hawks 118-110. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Let's get right down to's how I see the NBA's teams, best to worst. 

1. Boston Celtics (9-3)
Even though they don’t have 10 wins just yet, I still believe that the Celtics are the best team in the NBA, without a doubt. Their defense is working very well, all players are doing their jobs, Doc Rivers is a genius, and they’ve beaten opponents by league-best average 10.5 points per game.

2. Atlanta Hawks (10-2)
Atlanta’s offense continues to roll and lead them to victories. Could this be the year the Hawks make it to the Eastern Conference Finals? So far, the answer is “maybe.”

3. Portland Trail Blazers (8-4)
Despite them having four losses already, I think the Trail Blazers are playing the best basketball out of any team in the Western Conference. If this team continues to play defense like the way they’ve been playing, a 55-win season could be coming their way.

4. Denver Nuggets (8-3)
At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team ended up with 60 wins.

5. Dallas Mavericks (9-3)
As expected, many “experts” are still saying that the Spurs are still going to take the Southwest Division this year. Don’t look now, but the Mavericks are playing like a potential Western Conference-Finalists team once again. This could be THEIR year to take the Southwest.

6. Orlando Magic (9-3)

Even though Jameer Nelson is going to be out for a while, I still think the Magic still have the right talent to run the table in the East over the next couple of months, 

7. Milwaukee Bucks (6-3)

2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year: Brandon Jennings…yes, you read that right.

8. Los Angeles Lakers (9-3)

The road to a repeat could be tougher than first imagined for the Lakers. The Blazers, Nuggets, and Mavericks would agree with this.

9. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-4)

Their still my favorite to win the NBA Championship, but just like the Lakers, the Cavs’ road to the Finals looks to be a tough one with teams like Boston, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Orlando all playing better than them at this point. 

10. Phoenix Suns (10-3)

Offense remains the key for the Suns and it’s continues to lead them to wins. They average a league-best 109.8 points per game and have racked up ten wins already.

11. Houston Rockets (7-5)
I still don’t think this team can win a playoff series with guys like Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry as their top three scorers. 

12. Miami Heat (7-4)
Miami could jump into the top ten soon if their defense keeps playing well. Their opponents have only made 42 percent of their field goals (3rd-best in the league.)

13. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-6)
I’m been very surprised with the way this team has been playing. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are doing a very good job at being the team leaders for the Thunder. Don't be surprised if this team ends up squeezing into the playoffs this season.

14. Indiana Pacers (5-4)
Like Miami, The Pacers could be in my top ten if the defense holds up over their next few games.

15. Utah Jazz (6-6)
The Jazz are known for being a protecting their home court very well. This is great news for Jazz fans as the team opens a six-game home stand Saturday night against the Pistons. I will be disappointed if they have only eight wins or fewer by December 5th.

16. San Antonio Spurs (4-6)
I’m not fully sold on this next statement but I‘m getting pretty close: the San Antonio Spurs’ Championship days are over.

17. Detroit Pistons (5-7)
I’ll be impressed if the Pistons have a +.500 record by mid-December. They have opponents like the Suns, Cavaliers, Hawks, and Nuggets coming up over the next three weeks.

18. Sacramento Kings (5-5)
Fact: Tyreke Evans is the best rookie NBA player in the Western Conference.

19. Toronto Raptors (5-7)

The Raptors already have losses to the Magic, Mavericks, Spurs, Nuggets, Suns, and Jazz. FACT: the Raptors can’t keep up with the top dogs of the NBA.

20. Washington Wizards (3-7)

The Wizards will be no better than 12-18 by New Year’s Day. I promise.

21. Chicago Bulls (6-5)

With upcoming road games against the Nuggets, Blazers, Jazz, and Bucks, I’ll be surprised if the Bulls win another game in November.

22. Golden State Warriors (3-8)

I would have this team a lot higher, but until they learn how to play a little bit of defense, I think the upper-20’s is the perfect place for them. They give up a league-worst 113.3 points per game.

23. Philadelphia 76ers (5-6)
With seven of their next nine upcoming games being on the road, the schedule looks to be pretty tough. The way I see it, the Sixers are only looking at about four winnable games (vs. Grizzlies, at Wizards, at Thunder, at Bobcats). So I’m looking at a future at-best .500 record by December 7th.

24. Los Angeles Clippers (4-9)
If any Clippers fans are thinking that a Blake Griffin return will automatically give the Clippers a 40-win season, they are sadly mistaken.

25. New Orleans Hornets (5-8)

With Byron Scott getting the pink slip and Chris Paul on the shelf, playoff hopes could be already in jeopardy in the “Big Easy.”

26. Charlotte Bobcats (3-8)

This team could have at least six or seven wins by now if they had an offense.

27. Memphis Grizzlies (3-8)

Let’s face it: Allen Iverson left Memphis because he realized that this team is going! Oh, wait, their already there.

28. New York Knicks (2-9)

FACT: the Nets will have no more then five wins entering January.

29. New Jersey Nets (0-12)
Tomorrow’s game against the Knicks will answer this question: Who’s worse, the Knicks or Nets?

30. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-11)

The Timberwolves have been outscored by a combined league-worst 13.8 points per game. Sad…isn’t it?