All-Star weekend starts this Friday and it will also mark the halfway point of the 2019-2020 NBA season, so I thought that it would be fun to share my rankings of all 30 teams in the association. While some teams have already given up on their season and are looking forward to the off-season (nudge to Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks), other teams are competing night in and night out for a chance to represent their organization in this year’s NBA playoffs. So let’s take a look at the NBA power rankings three days before All-Star weekend begins.
- Golden State Warriors.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. After appearing in 5 straight NBA finals, the Warriors now boast the worst record in the NBA at 12-42. With major year-long injuries to the splash brothers, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, Golden State has had to bring in players of all different kinds and have had a number of different lineups. After trading D’Angelo Russell for Andrew Wiggins during the trade deadline, the Warriors made it clear that they will forget about this season, look forward to the off-season, and prepare to be back next year with their elite backcourt healthy again.
- Charlotte Hornets
Life never seems to get better in Charlotte. They have not made the playoffs since the 2015-16 season and it does not seem like they will anytime soon. With a weak draft class and Charlotte not being a free agent destination, the Hornets have nothing to really be super excited for. They are a bottom 5 team in the league and yes the breakout of Devonte Graham is nice but it’s with every efficient scoring. Outside of Graham and an inconsistent Terry Rozier, the Hornets are not going to be good for a while unless they’re young players breakout
- Cleveland Cavaliers
After fleecing the Detroit Pistons for Andre Drummond, the Cavaliers have shown progress and their young talent is slowly starting to come along. They are far from contending for a championship and sometimes their front office makes some very questionable moves but they did a good job of drafting this past year and they showed that they are willing to go out and make moves by heating of the best big men in the NBA in Andre Drummond.
- Detroit Pistons
Speaking of the foolish Pistons, it is now pretty obvious that they are going into full rebuild mode. They traded Drummond and after shutting down Blake Griffin for the season, it seems like he will be gone too. It is about time as Detroit has been stuck between competing and rebuilding for several years now. In my opinion, they should have gotten rid of Griffin and Derrick Rose too but now it is left to be seen if they will in the off-season. The Pistons are now falling to the bottom of the east and it does not seem like that will change any time soon.
- Minnesota Timberwolves
This could be the last time you see the Timberwolves on here for a while. After acquiring 6 new players at the trade deadline, Minnesota looks very different. Minnesota swapped Andrew Wiggins and draft compensation for D’Angelo Russell and it was the best move they have made since drafting Karl Anthony-Towns. Russell and Towns have been very close for a while and have made it publicly known that they would love to play together. Well, it has finally happened and together the duo should be a force to reckon with for years to come. Along with the addition with sharpshooter Malik Beasly, the Timberwolves are looking young and exciting but still have loads of work to do.
- Chicago Bulls
The Bulls are oozing with potential with so many young and skilled players but for some reason, they just can not put it together. Sharpshooting third year 7-footer Lauri Markkanen has not had the breakout everyone was hoping and expecting for. Aside from Zach Lavine’s stellar season, the Bulls are being hurt by injuries and inconsistent play. Along with that, Head coach Jim Boylen does not have the respect of his players like and NBA head coach is supposed to.
- Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are only out of the bottom 5 for two reasons. Trae Young is from another planet and they were able to get Clint Capela for barely anything. Trae Young is currently averaging 29.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 9 assists and was just named an All-Star starter. John Collins is averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds and Clint Capela is on his way to join Collins in the frontcourt. Besides those three players, the Hawks are god-awful but Young, Collins, and Capela pull them just out of the bottom 5.
- New York Knicks
Ahh, the trainwreck that is the New York Knicks. Never have I ever seen the most mismanaged team in my life with this bad of ownership and yet I rank them as the 23rd best team in the league. Why is that? It’s because they finally fired their management!!! Knicks fans should be throwing a parade after former president Steve Mills was fired. And just like that, the Knicks have been performing much better since the firing and finally showing development from their young guys. Maybe the Knicks aren’t doomed after all. Maybe firing Steve Mills will finally bring this team out of purgatory.
- Orlando Magic
Last year, the Orlando Magic surprised all when they made the playoffs and performed the way they did. Vucevic looked like a top 5 offensive center in the league, Aaron Gordon had shown star-like defensive and athletic abilities and they even stole a game at home from the to be champions at the time, the Toronto Raptors. This year is a different story, everyone seems to have regressed a lot and collectively, Steve Clifford and his squad do not seem on the same page.
- Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal’s name has been thrown into trade discussions more than anyone else’s and how does that affect him? He is currently averaging 29 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. He along with the attitude of coach Scott Brooks are the lone reasons why the Wizards are only 3 games out of the playoffs while having one of the league’s worst rosters.
- San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have built their name off of always competing, playing hard, and having superb coaching in the best coach of all time Gregg Popovich. This year it seems like that strategy has reached its use limit. In a league now fueled by 3 point shooting, the Spurs top two offensive weapons are the most frequent mid-range jump shot takers in the league. Both Aldridge and Derozan are awful beyond the perimeter and it has resulted in the Spurs being bottom 5 in both three-point percentage and three-pointers made per game, and they are well out of the playoffs because of it.
- Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns have been relatively surprising after a somewhat confusing season. They brought in Ricky Rubio, Dario Saric, and Aaron Baynes to help the young trio of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Kelly Oubre. While that trio is very talented, the surrounding pieces are not good enough to make an impact and so while they have improved they still lack talent. The Suns even made a weird draft selection in Cameron Johnson who is already 23 and only provides shooting. The Suns did not draft for versatility and scoring as they should have.
- Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings will put it all together and be formidable, I am confident of that. What I am not confident of is the bodies of the King’s players. The second overall pick from last year Marvin Bagley III has only played 13 games and star guard De’Aaron Fox has only played in 35. Both guys need to be on the floor for this team to maximize its potential. A lineup consisting of Fox, Bagley, Bogdan Bogdanovich, and Buddy Hield can be deadly in a few years, and right now the Kings are in the middle of the league but it doesn’t matter too much because their young guys are developing very nicely and creating chemistry.
- Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are using this season as a chemistry building season for next year when Kevin Durant returns from injury. Arguably the best offensive player in the league and the most skilled offensive weapon of all time, KD brings any team to another level. Yes, right now the Nets are surviving as a 7th seed with Kyrie Irving playing but they are still under .500!! Kyrie has not been fully healthy and adding a fully healthy KD and Kyrie Irving would automatically put this team into contender status and it should not hurt that all the surrounding role players have already been playing together for a whole season.
- Portland Trailblazers
As much as I love Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, I can’t put a team that is not currently in the playoffs in my top 15. Trust me, what Damian Lillard has been doing over his past 10 games is godly. He is averaging 42 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists on 51.5% shooting from both the field and behind the arc. Along with McCollum’s 21 points per game and Hassan Whiteside’s glass cleaning and shot-blocking ability, the Blazers can make a serious push for the playoffs after the all-star break but as of now, they do not deserve a spot in my top 15.
- Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are doing what they do every year. They are competing and playing hard with good, not great players all over their roster. They will make the playoffs and be a very tough first-round match for anyone but in the end, they do not have enough talent and more importantly, three-point shooting, to get them over the hump no matter how good of a coach Nate McMillan is or how well rounded their roster is.
- New Orleans Pelicans
Up until 8 games ago when Zion Williamson returned, the Pelicans were seen as a non-playoff team that was host to the breakout of one Brandon Ingram. Now with Zion’s return, they have become a borderline playoff team that is host to the breakout of Brandon Ingram AND Zion Williamson. With Ingram averaging 25 this season and Williamson averaging 20 points through 8 games, this team should not be taken lightly because they are very dangerous and if Ingram resigns and Williamson turns out to be the player we think he will be, this team will have a baby Lebron and baby Kevin Durant teaming up.
- Memphis Grizzlies
Mike Conley who? Just kidding, Conley will always be a legend in Grind City but Ja Morant is something different. Not only does he play hard but he is flashy, athletic, and a team player and he will take this Grizzlies organization to a level Conley could only dream of. Memphis has a very strong young core. Dillon Brooks is a sharpshooter that seems to get better by game, Ja Morant looks like a bonafide stud, and Jaren Jackson could turn into the next dominant two way, big man. This Grizzlies team is fun and exciting and I see only good things in their future.
- Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers have been scrutinized by everyone in the media. Joel Embiid has been called soft by NBA legends and Ben Simmons has been made fun of constantly for his inability to stretch the floor. As a roster, the Sixers might be the most talented in the league but the fit is not there. Simmons and Embiid can not share the floor together, there is not enough shooting and they will never win a chip that way. Embiid needs to be traded and until those changes are made, Philadelphia will always be a contender but never taken seriously.
- Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic is the future. He is so unbelievably talented and dedicated to the sport and it really shows. In his second year, having just turned 20, he is averaging 29 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 9 assists. That feels like a character out of a video game. What’s more impressive is that he is doing it with his running mate, Kristaps Porzingis is playing at a below-average level. The Mavericks have a fantastic bench and if Porzingis brings his playback to his level, a duo of Doncic and Porzingis with this bench can make it far in the playoffs.
- Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz is very interesting and hard to assess. For starters, they have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA in Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovich, Joe Ingles, and Rudy Gobert. In that lineup alone, they have 3 guys who can go off for 30 any given night, one guy who is the definition of the ideal team player, and the best rim protector in the league. Then we look at their bench. The Jazz is struggling because of their bench. Aside from Jordan Clarkson, they have no one of great value and that will be the downfall in the playoffs. It is certainly the reason that they have been so inconsistent this year.
9.Oklahoma City Thunder
You would think that by replacing Russell Westbrook and Paul George with a 36-year-old Chris Paul, a 21-year-old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and an unathletic Danilo Gallianri, that a team would regress. Well actually, it leads to a team getting better. Okay so they do not better record-wise (very close though) but they are better chemistry wise. While boasting a similar record as last year, this year’s Thunder team is playing much more together and with fun and it is showing because they have been impressive starting with head coach Billy Donovan all the way down to their last man on the bench and that earns them a top 10 spot.
- Miami Heat
Ahh, South Beach. The Miami Heat, who happens to be my favorite team, has been the surprise of the year in the NBA. The Heat have taken a roster full of underappreciated talent, G-league players, and undrafted free agents and turned them into a real NBA championship contender. Everyone knew how perfect a fit Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat were for each other but no one knew how much that relationship would blossom. Duncan Robinson, a former G-Leaguer and an undrafted free agent is now one of the best shooters in the league, Kenrick Nunn, also a former undrafted free agent is now top 2 in Rookie of the Year conversation and Bam Adebayo has gone from a very good role player to future perennial all-star. All the credit goes to Pat Riley, who built this team and established a no-nonsense culture, and Erik Spoelstra who has coached this team to play with discipline and heart. This Miami Heat team is not a joke and will be a very tough opponent in the playoffs.
- Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets seem to be playing a game with the NBA and its fans. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are taking turns to see who will play well. While Harden was having a rough January and shot less than 40%, Westbrook was averaging 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on 52% shooting and carried the Rockets to a winning month. This switch-off seems to happen each month and in the playoffs will end the Rockets. The Rockets already have no big men and will struggle even more if one of their stars is on a cold streak. Yet, the potential returns on a Harden-Westbrook backcourt are too amazing to pass up.
- Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are playing how we expected them too. Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are great when they are on the court but that’s the problem. They are hard on the court. Leonard does not playback to backs and George is always dealing with minor injuries. I hope for their sake it’s more for preserving them in the playoffs. The Clippers with only one of either George or Leonard are still a very dangerous team but with both, they reach the level of the top 3 teams in the league. Add in their elite bench and if the Clippers can stay healthy, we could very well see coach Doc Rivers hoist up Larry O’Brien this June.
- Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are finally reaching their potential and it’s very exciting to see. Jayson Tatum looks like the smoothest player in the NBA, Jaylen Brown has reached a new level of his development on both sides of the ball and Kemba Walker is playing like the killer he is. Together, with the defensive intensity of Marcus Smart and the brain of coach Brad Stevens, the Celtics are looking like a well-oiled machine poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.
- Denver Nuggets
Coming into the season, the Nuggets were seen as a top 5 team in the league but they were also doubted due to the number of team-ups of superstars that occurred in the off-season. But Mike Malone and his team of rough-riders have shut everyone up. The additions of Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr. have really helped this team in the exact areas they needed it. Perimeter defense and scoring. The Nuggets have a rotation that is 11 deep and it’s part of the reason they are so good. Their bench is one of the best in the league and when the starters come out there is not a big downgrade in talent on the court which is crucial in the playoffs.
- Toronto Raptors
Kawhi brought Toronto a championship last season and left. But that wasn’t going to stop Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry from making a statement. Halfway through the season, the Raptors are better than the Clippers. Pascal is playing at a near MVP level and Kyle Lowry is running the offense better than anyone else in the league. The Raptors have playmakers, defenders, shooters, and most importantly heart and this is an underappreciated team that is going to make a lot of noise in the playoffs but in their own way. For example, they are on their second 10+ game win streak of the season, and barely anyone is talking about it.
- Los Angeles Lakers
Lebron is 35 years old and is averaging a near triple-double. Anthony Davis is averaging 27 points, 9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks and the Lakers have a slew of role players who are doing exactly what is asked of them. When you have Lebron and AD on your team all you’re really going to be asked to do is defend and make open shots. Lebron is still the King in his 17th season and Anthony Davis is making his case for beating big men in the league. No one should be doubting this team and they are my current title favorites.
- Milwaukee Bucks
I am very convinced that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Hulk in a human suit. No one should be averaging 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists while also being a defensive machine and leading his team to the best record in the NBA. No one has put up even close to those numbers since the most dominant player in NBA history, Shaquille O’Neal. Giannis really is the new face of the NBA and he deserves to be. His talent, heart, and dedication are off the charts and unmatched by anyone in the NBA. The reigning MVP deserves his second in a row by really staking his claim as the most dominant player in today’s NBA.