NBA Power Rankings: Complete Standings for Every NBA Team

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

NBA Power Rankings: Complete Standings for Every NBA Team

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    A lot has changed in the early portion of the 2012-13 season, and the latest edition of the NBA Power Rankings is no exception. Few teams have managed to separate themselves from an ever-growing heap of middle-of-the-road teams, but there are a couple that have emerged as true contenders. 

    The New York Knicks are no longer undefeated, so are they still the class of the league? Who has become the favorite in the competitive Western Conference? 

    For the answers to those intriguing questions and more, you'll have to read on. 

    And in the spirit of this time of year, instead of questioning why your team isn't ranked higher, just be thankful that they aren't lower in the pecking order. Of course, if you're a fan of the Washington Wizards, just be thankful that you have a team to root for?

    Note: While records are current through Nov. 21, statistics are current through Nov. 20 unless otherwise specified. Previous rankings come from this edition of the power rankings. 

30. Washington Wizards

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    Record: 0-10

    Last Five Games: 0-5

    Previous Rank: No. 28

    Let's just put it this way: The Washington Wizards have been so bad that they were the team of choice when I broke down whether a team of college all-stars could topple an NBA squad.

    Nene Hilario looked good in his first action of the season, scoring 12 points and living at the charity stripe against the Atlanta Hawks, and the Wizards will improve now that he's in the lineup. However, it will take a healthy John Wall to even put them in position to have a winning streak.

    The Wizards have been horrific on offense through their first 10 games, and it should come as no surprise that they sit in the cellar for now.

29. Detroit Pistons

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    Record: 2-10

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Previous Rank: No. 30

    My mother always told me that I shouldn't say something unless it's kind, true and necessary. Greg Monroe is the only player on the Detroit Pistons who allows me to meet all three criteria (although, to be fair, Andre Drummond has looked impressive in his inexplicable few minutes).

    To avoid getting in trouble, I'm keeping my mouth shut after the embarrassing 90-74 loss to the Orlando Magic compounded the futility in Detroit.

28. Sacramento Kings

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    Record: 3-8

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Previous Rank: No. 27

    A remarkable shooting performance from Marcus Thornton sparked a victory against a Los Angeles Lakers squad that seems rather disinterested in the whole concept of defense, but don't expect that to continue once they play more cohesive units. 

    The five-game losing streak that directly preceded the upset of Mike D'Antoni's new team will be a much more accurate predictor of this season for the Sacramento Kings. 

    As much talent as there is on the roster, there still isn't an ounce of chemistry. 

27. Orlando Magic

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    Record: 4-7

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Previous Rank: No. 25

    Ever since the opening salvo of the NBA season, the Orlando Magic have lost to every team they've played but the Detroit Pistons. And beating the Pistons isn't exactly something to write home about. 

    Nikola Vucevic has looked impressive for this young squad, but he's been one of the rare bright spots. The rest of the roster has looked rather lackluster throughout their last few games. 

    That's a problem for a team that's rather bereft of talent. 

    The Magic are still searching for an identity, and even the successful acquisition of one won't do much for them this year. 

26. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Record: 3-8

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Previous Rank: No. 23

    The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a 28-point outburst from Jeremy Pargo coupled with a 19-rebound performance from Anderson Varejao to take down the Philadelphia 76ers and end a six-game losing streak. 

    And things are about to get worse for the Cavs. 

    Kyrie Irving was in the midst of another sensational season when he bruised a finger that will keep him out for weeks. Pargo might have looked good in his first game replacing Uncle Drew, but that type of success simply isn't sustainable. 

    Neither is Cleveland's perfect record without its fearless floor general. 

25. Toronto Raptors

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    Record: 3-9

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Previous Rank: No. 24

    It's time for me to put my foot in my mouth and admit that I was wrong about DeMar DeRozan.

    The promising shooting guard has been all sorts of dynamic this season and has even displayed some semblance of an offensive game from the perimeter.

    He's given the Toronto Raptors every reason to keep Terrence Ross on the bench by averaging 19.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game on 45.1 percent shooting from the field. 

    Unfortunately, he, seldom-seen Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon (in Lowry's absence) have been the only bright spots that play enough to make a true difference. Jonas Valanciunas meets the first criterion, but not the second. 

    The light at the end of the tunnel is apparent for the Canadian franchise, but the tunnel is still long, dark and full of terrors. 

24. New Orleans Hornets

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    Record: 3-7

    Last Five Games: 0-5

    Previous Rank: No. 19

    The New Orleans Hornets could really use a bit of good luck when it comes to Anthony Davis, who has suffered two unfortunate injuries early in his NBA career: a stress reaction in his ankle and a concussion.

    When "The Brow" has been on the court, the Hornets have gone 2-4. Without him, they've only mustered a 1-3 record, usually looking fairly inept on the offensive end of the court.

    The potential is clearly there in New Orleans, especially given the inspired play of Greivis Vasquez and the eventual return to health of both Davis and Eric Gordon.  

23. Houston Rockets

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    Record: 5-7

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Previous Rank: No. 16

    Don't act so surprised. We knew that the James Harden honeymoon wasn't going to last throughout the 2012-13 season. 

    The bearded shooting guard has still been sensational for the Houston Rockets, averaging 24.2 points and 4.7 assists per game, but his efficiency has plummeted, and he's no longer single-handedly winning games for his new team.

    Jeremy Lin has also been somewhat disappointing while wearing red. The man who inspired Linsanity is turning the ball over less while continuing to distribute at a high level, but his scoring touch has faded away thanks to his 34.2 percent shooting from the field.  

22. Indiana Pacers

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    Record: 6-7

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 22

    Despite the overtime victory over the New Orleans Hornets in which Paul George recorded 37 points and Roy Hibbert posted a triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks, the Indiana Pacers still aren't on the right track. After all, the win was against a team missing its two best players in Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon. 

    Part of the problem has been that Hibbert couldn't throw a basketball into the ocean if he was standing on the shoreline. Even in the triple-double, he hit only three of his 12 shots, and he's shooting 40.7 percent on the season. For a big man who plays close to the basket, that's pathetic. 

    Indiana has struggled to find an offensive identity without Danny Granger on the court, and the Pacers have hit triple digits in regulation only once during the 2012-13 season. 

21. Phoenix Suns

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    Record: 5-7

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Previous Rank: No. 26

    Even with Michael Beasley making a more concerted effort to involve his teammates, the Phoenix Suns haven't been able to generate the type of team game that's conducive to a winning record. 

    Goran Dragic has played remarkably well, averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 assists per game with a PER of 22.0 thus far, but the ball movement tends to stop after he distributes the rock to one of the other four players on the court. 

    This Suns roster is essentially a hodgepodge of NBA talent. Many of the faces are new, and not too many have worked well together thus far, even though Marcin Gortat has apparently decided that he's Serge Ibaka now, with his three blocks per contest.

20. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Record: 5-6

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 14

    The Portland Trail Blazers' relative success in the early portion of the season may have seemed like a mirage, but I'm convinced that this team is better than its losing record indicates. 

    Portland features a number of impressive pieces this season, led by All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the suddenly breaking-out Nicolas Batum and rookie floor general Damian Lillard. Plus, Wesley Matthews finally appears to have taken a step forward now that he's playing healthy. 

    The 2012-13 season will continue to be filled with growing pains, but the Blazers have enough talent that they contend with any team on any given night. Then again, they're also subject to hanging their heads when the going gets tough, which means that blowouts will occur rather frequently. 

19. Chicago Bulls

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    Record: 5-6

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Previous Rank: No. 6

    After winning three of their first four games to open the 2012-13 campaign, the Chicago Bulls have fallen back down to earth. A drastic increase in the difficulty level for the Bulls has not exactly done wonders for their hopes of staving off lottery-dom while Derrick Rose rehabs. 

    Joakim Noah has looked fantastic for Tom Thibodeau, but Carlos Boozer's defense is really holding this team back.

    There's potential in Chicago, especially with Thibs roaming the sideline, but fans should be rooting for the former MVP's return a little bit more fervently now than they were at the start of the season. 

18. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Record: 5-5

    Last Five Games: 1-4

    Previous Rank: No. 17

    If Minnesota Timberwolves fans were already devotees of the Kevin Love religion, I'm not entirely sure how they're going to be able to handle themselves after the power forward's first game of the 2012-13 season. 

    Returning far earlier than anyone expected, Love debuted against the Denver Nuggets and dominated, despite the final result of the game. In his surprise return from a broken hand, he put up 34 points and 14 rebounds, dominating in almost every facet of the game. 

    For the Wolves, losers of four of their last five contests, some good news was a healthy respite. 

    The Love storyline needed to be focused on, but I need to at least mention Andrei Kirilenko, who has been simply superb this season despite failing to draw national attention because he doesn't put up glamorous scoring figures.

17. Utah Jazz

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    Record: 6-6

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 20

    The Utah Jazz finally decided that there was no such thing as too much size and decided to start Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in the same frontcourt. Promising results were shown from the get-go, as the team stormed out a 2-0 record while employing such a strategy. 

    However, there's a chance that the lineup is more pyrite than pure gold. After all, the wins came against the inept, injured Washington Wizards and the slumping Houston Rockets. 

    Still, it's a strategy that Tyrone Corbin should continue to employ, as it maximizes the amount of talent on the floor for the Jazz. 

16. Boston Celtics

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    Record: 6-6

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Previous Rank: No. 13

    Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have continually played at a high level for the Boston Celtics, but that's simply been the status quo in Beantown for recent memory.

    That said, the talented point guard in charge has shown off an improved mid-range jumper and consistently incredible passing to ascend up the ranks of NBA players. 

    The problem in Boston has been the lack of support for the aforementioned standouts.

    Jason Terry has occasionally had a scoring outburst, but he hasn't been able to replace Ray Allen and Avery Bradley at shooting guard. Courtney Lee has been even worse, and Jeff Green probably couldn't disappoint C's fans any more than he already has. 

15. Charlotte Bobcats

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    Record: 6-4

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Previous Rank: No. 29

    Don't look now, but the Charlotte Bobcats are sitting pretty after winning more than half of their first 10 games and five of their last six. 

    The difference-maker has been the massive leap forward by Kemba Walker, the team's top choice in the 2011 NBA draft. After struggling through his rookie season, the talented but diminutive point guard has exploded onto the scene and is in early contention for the Most Improved Player award. 

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the team's newest addition, has also looked fantastic, putting up a 19.5 PER and countless hustle plays in his first 10 NBA bouts. 

14. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Record: 6-6

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 21

    So the Mike D'Antoni era isn't exactly off to a great start, with a tight five-point win over the Brooklyn Nets and an embarrassing loss to the Sacramento Kings.

    How long will it be before he's given the axe? Two more games? 

    All jokes aside, the Lakers continue to struggle, with Kobe Bryant proving to be the exception to the rule. The veteran shooting guard has been absolutely sensational, playing some of the best basketball of his career, but it hasn't been enough to carry the star-studded squad. 

    Dwight Howard has put up gaudy numbers as of late, but he's still looking rather sluggish and occasionally uninspired out on the court. And the absence of a solid point guard has surely hurt this team. 

    Kobe has kept them in the middle of the pack, but the Lakers need to feel comfortable in a true system in order to live up to their lofty preseason expectations. 

13. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Record: 6-4

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 12

    Not that this should surprise anyone, but the Milwaukee Bucks haven't exactly been balanced across all five positions. The backcourt has been sensational, but the frontcourt needs to step it up a little bit. 

    As good as Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings have been—combining for 38.1 points and 13.5 assists per game—they can't entirely make up for the deficiency of the big men. 

    Take Ersan Ilyasova, for example. After breaking out last year, he's been terrible during the 2012-13 campaign, averaging only 6.6 points on 31.6 percent shooting with a PER of—prepare yourselves—5.7. 

12. Denver Nuggets

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    Record: 6-6

    Last Five Games: 2-3

    Previous Rank: No. 15

    I have nothing but respect for the basketball mind that belongs to George Karl, but what he's doing with his big-man rotation is mind-boggling. 

    JaVale McGee has been one of the most impressive players for the Denver Nuggets, yet he's playing fewer minutes per game than Kosta Koufos, who has unequivocally struggled. Pierre is shooting 58 percent from the field, making fewer dumb mistakes, outrebounding Koufos and just playing better. 

    Andre Iguodala and Ty Lawson are eventually going to catch fire, but the Nuggets won't be able to truly establish themselves as contenders in the Western Conference until a certain seven-footer becomes a focal point of the rotation. 

11. Golden State Warriors

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    Record: 7-5

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Previous Rank: No. 11

    Klay Thompson has officially hit the sophomore slump. He's been utterly ineffective in isolation plays, and the three-point stroke that carried him during his rookie outburst has been nowhere to be found. 

    The shooting guard is knocking down just 30.6 percent of his triples, and the Golden State Warriors need that to improve quickly so that they don't have to lean too heavily on Harrison Barnes from the perimeter.

    It's a small sample size for sure, but the victory over the Brooklyn Nets shows just how important the second-year player is to the team. Thompson scored 23 points in the game, hitting three of his six attempts from long range in the process.   

    One of the bright spots thus far for the Dubs has been the play of Stephen Curry, though. The oft-injured guard has remained on the court and effective throughout the opening stretch of games, averaging 18.7 points and 5.8 assists per contest. 

10. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Record: 7-5

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 10

    Jrue Holiday has been absolutely sensational for the Philadelphia 76ers. Going into the 92-83 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the young point guard was averaging 18.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 1.6 steals with a PER of 18.5. 

    He could stand to cut back on the costly turnovers, but that would just be gravy at this point, and right now, Jrue's play has been a gigantic slice of turkey. 

    Now he just needs some more consistent help from his teammates and for Andrew Bynum to forswear bowling. 

    And Nick Young, please stop shooting so much. 

9. Dallas Mavericks

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    Record: 7-6

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 9

    What this Dallas Mavericks team has done with Dirk Nowitzki waiting to suit up for the first time is nothing short of exceptional. Not many people expected the new-look Mavs to be above .500 at this point in the season, but here they are. 

    There are quite a few things that I didn't expect to write at any point during the 2012-13 season, but here's one that's forcing me to put my foot in my mouth: O.J. Mayo has looked like a bona fide MVP candidate. 

    Juice has been sensational with his new squad. The shoot-first guard has averaged 21.8 points per game in his first season with the Mavericks, buoyed no doubt by his scorching 58.2 percent shooting from downtown. 

8. Brooklyn Nets

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    Record: 6-4

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 18

    The Brooklyn Nets seemed to have found their sea legs, but back-to-back losses against the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors have allowed questions to enter back into the equation. 

    For every positive in Brooklyn thus far, there's also been a negative. 

    Perhaps the biggest disappointment has been the play of Joe Johnson, brought over from the Atlanta Hawks in the offseason. The former All-Star shooting guard has averaged 15.1 points per game in his new threads, but that's been more of a detriment to the overall cause than anything else.

    Johnson is hitting only 36.2 percent of his shots from the field, and that's simply not going to cut it if he continues to loft up more shots than anyone else on the squad.

7. Atlanta Hawks

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    Record: 6-4

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Previous Rank: No. 5

    Putting aside his 1-of-10 performance from the free-throw line during his near-triple-double against the Washington Wizards, Al Horford has looked like an All-Star for the Atlanta Hawks, and that's been a huge difference-maker while Josh Smith has struggled. 

    After a brutal opening stretch to the 2012-13 season, Atlanta has taken advantage of the easy portion of its schedule to storm out above .500. 

    With the impressive play of Jeff Teague at the point—and Larry Drew needs to give the Wake Forest product additional minutes—and a bevy of options from behind the arc, these Hawks will be scary once Smoove hits his stride. 

6. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Record: 8-3

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Previous Rank: No. 7

    Although an overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder ended a six-game winning streak, the Los Angeles Clippers are still playing fantastic basketball. They just couldn't overcome an ineffective shooting night from Chris Paul, probably because they were so shocked at the rare occurrence. 

    CP3 has been playing like an MVP candidate in the early portion of the season, but he's by no means been the only standout. 

    A burst bursa sac has prevented Blake Griffin from fully dominating, but he's been quite effective for the Clippers thus far. DeAndre Jordan has improved tremendously, and Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe have both been revelations off the bench. 

    This year, the Clippers are true contenders. 

5. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Record: 9-3

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Previous Rank: No. 8

    Why exactly was anyone worried about the Oklahoma City Thunder when James Harden left town? 

    Kevin Martin doesn't bring the same ball-handling skills or level of defense to the table, but he's certainly a potent scorer off the bench and plays with a remarkable level of offensive efficiency. His 17.6 points per game on just 10.3 field-goal attempts per contest is rather impressive. 

    And of course, the Thunder still boast the services of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. You may have heard of them. 

    Thanks to the all-around improvement from Durant and the impressive passing of Russell Westbrook, this version of the Thunder has established itself among the best in the league and still isn't near its ceiling. 

4. San Antonio Spurs

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    Record: 9-3

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 3

    Just as is the case with a few other elite teams in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs don't have any losses on their resume that would make them blush. Assuming, you know, that teams as a whole can blush. 

    Two of the losses were at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, and the other was handed to them by the red-hot New York Knicks. There's nothing to be ashamed of there. 

    Tim Duncan has been absolutely sensational, pushing this squad into the upper echelon of the league while Tony Parker is rounding into form and Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili are struggling.

    The Spurs' version of Methuselah has had every ounce of basketball prowess sucked out of him by Gregg Popovich this season. 

3. Miami Heat

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    Record: 9-3

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Previous Rank: No. 2

    The Miami Heat still don't have a bad loss, despite the presence of three blemishes on their 2012-13 record. 

    LeBron James and Co. have fallen to the blazing hot New York Knicks at the beginning of the season, a potent Memphis Grizzlies unit and the confident and athletic Los Angeles Clippers. None of those are embarrassing mishaps. 

    Despite his dip in scoring, LeBron has still been playing phenomenal basketball, and Chris Bosh hasn't been too far behind. Now, if only Dwyane Wade could rejoin the ranks of the elite on a consistent basis. 

2. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Record: 8-2

    Last Five Games: 4-1

    Previous Rank: No. 4

    Before the Dallas Mavericks handed the New York Knicks their second loss of the season, the Memphis Grizzlies were the lone squad that had managed to overcome Carmelo Anthony's scoring exploits. 

    Even though that's no longer true, the quartet of Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol has been absolutely phenomenal, and the team has emerged as one of the unabashed elites in the NBA landscape. 

    A squad capable of dominating on both ends of the court on any given night, Memphis has emerged as my choice to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. Health pending, they're that good. 

1. New York Knicks

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    Record: 8-2

    Last Five Games: 3-2

    Previous Rank: No. 1

    The New York Knicks are cooling down a bit after their hot start—both of their losses during the early portion of the season have come in the last five games—but they're still hot enough to hold down the fort at No. 1.

    It's a tenuous hold, though. 

    Every key player for the Knicks has been playing marvelously, led, of course, by Carmelo Anthony and his 24.2 points per game. He's been discussed ad nauseum though, so let's focus on some of the other guys. 

    The point guard rotation has been particularly impressive in The Big Apple, making fans all but forget about something called Linsanity. Raymond Felton has seemingly enjoyed the move back to NYC, and Jason Kidd has been superb as well. 

    Things will change when Amar'e Stoudemire returns, but no one is quite sure how. For now, let's let Knicks fans enjoy their extended period in the sun.