NBA Power Rankings
NBA power rankings, rating the entire league from top to bottom. Our NBA power rankings are based mostly on how good teams really are, with recent performances taken into partial consideration. Updated regularly during the regular season, InsideHoops.com's NBA power rankings focus on the big, season-long picture.
2015 NBA POWER RANKINGS
Updated November 23, 2015
John Schuhmann of NBA.com writes: The Golden State Warriors are just as dominant (maybe more) as they were last year, and the Philadelphia 76ers are just as bad (maybe) worse. But the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks have provided the latest evidence that success doesn't necessarily carry over from one season to the next.
The Clippers have lost seven of their last nine games to fall below .500 (beyond the first three games of a season) since they traded for Chris Paul in 2011. And an ugly, three-game stretch resulted another case of locker room strife, a malady that seems to be making its way around the Western Conference.
Best of the NBA, according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com:
1) Golden State Warriors (15-0)
Pace: 102.2 (3) OffRtg: 111.8 (1) DefRtg: 96.8 (5) NetRtg: +15.0 (1)
If you want to nitpick, you can certainly say that the Warriors' defense hasn't been up to their standards, allowing 104 points per 100 possessions over the last six games, and their regular starting lineup has been outscored by nine points in 65 minutes. But none of that matters when Luke Walton can turn to the Lineup of Destruction, which has outscored its opponents, 200-119, through Sunday.
2) Cleveland (10-3)
Pace: 95.8 (28) OffRtg: 106.4 (3) DefRtg: 99.6 (11) NetRtg: +6.9 (4)
LeBron James has found his jump shot (19-for-40 from outside the paint in his last four games), but the Cavs' defense has had some issues of late and will be without Timofey Mozgov for at least another week. Saturday's win over the (banged up) Hawks was their first game against a team that currently ranks in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, but they have two more this week.
3) San Antonio (10-3)
Pace: 96.8 (26) OffRtg: 103.6 (6) DefRtg: 94.6 (1) NetRtg: +8.9 (2)
The Spurs are good for an inexplicable loss -- like Friday's in New Orleans -- every once in a while. Their defense has been better than their offense, but if Danny Green gets going, they'll rank in the top five on both ends. Among players that took at least 250 shots last season and 100 shots this season, Green has seen the biggest drop-off (-14.8 percent) in effective field goal percentage.
4) Chicago (8-4)
Pace: 99.9 (10) OffRtg: 98.9 (23) DefRtg: 97.7 (6) NetRtg: +1.2 (14)
Mike Dunleavy is missed, but the Bulls' defense has been at its best with Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell (a combination that wasn't used much last season) at the wings. Chicago had won four straight and held five straight opponents under a point per possession before Friday's loss at Golden State. Snell (4-for-22 in the last four games) is not giving his team much offense, though.
5) Indiana (8-5)
Pace: 98.7 (17) OffRtg: 100.9 (18) DefRtg: 95.7 (3) NetRtg: +5.2 (6)
Even though Frank Vogel tinkers with his starting lineup on a game-by-game basis (and his two most-used lineups haven't been very good), the Pacers are 8-2 in their last 10 games, with the league's best defense in that time. They've also been the league's third best 3-point shooting team in the last two weeks and have won 11 straight quarters after an ugly start in Chicago on Monday.
6) Oklahoma City (8-6)
Pace: 101.2 (6) OffRtg: 107.5 (2) DefRtg: 101.8 (18) NetRtg: +5.6 (5)
The Thunder are 3-3 without Kevin Durant and have had bad offensive games and bad defensive games since he injured his hamstring. Sunday's win over Dallas, in which they came back from 10 down, was maybe their most important of the season. But they're in Utah on Monday and 0-3 on the second night of a back-to-back, having given up 112 points per 100 possessions in the three losses.
7) Dallas (9-5)
Pace: 99.9 (11) OffRtg: 102.6 (10) DefRtg: 100.3 (12) NetRtg: +2.3 (12)
The Mavs won six straight games, holding their opponents under 96 points per 100 possessions and looking like a second-tier team in the West. But they couldn't stop Russell Westbrook and the Thunder on Sunday and have a tough road back-to-back this week. The Bucks miss Zaza Pachulia, who was Dallas' Plan B after DeAndre Jordan changed his mind and who averaged a double-double during the streak.
According to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, here's who belongs at the bottom of NBA Power Rankings:
24) MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
LAST WEEK: 24
RECORD: 5-8 (1-2)
The road ahead, literal and figurative. Minnesota has pulled off road wins at Chicago, Atlanta and Miami but has somehow yet to win at home (luckily, Philly comes to town this week). Meanwhile, the path in front of the Wolves has never looked brighter with Andrew Wiggins (20 years old) and Karl-Anthony Towns (19) just getting their feet wet.
25) HOUSTON ROCKETS
LAST WEEK: 15
RECORD: 5-9 (1-3)
History. Kevin McHale’s out, so how much of the Rockets’ old identity remains? The Three-and-D philosophy has faded hard: they’re allowing the league’s most points per game and shooting at its worst clip from three. You hesitate to give up completely on a team that won 110 games the past two seasons, but the Rockets have a lot of work to do.
26) PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
LAST WEEK: 26
RECORD: 6-9 (2-2)
Los Angeles. Back-to-back wins over the Lakers and Clippers ended a seven-game skid. And guess what? After hosting Chicago, Damian Lillard and Co. will get both L.A. teams again. I hear Southern California’s nice in November.
27) NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
LAST WEEK: 27
RECORD: 3-11 (2-2)
Ish Smith? Yeah, that Ish Smith. The journeyman engineered consecutive wins over the Spurs and Suns, with 13 assists in one and a near triple-double in the other. The scrap-heap find might be a viable piece going forward as the Pelicans try to reboot their season.
28) BROOKLYN NETS
LAST WEEK: 28
RECORD: 3-11 (2-2)
Time. Brooklyn’s starting lineup has looked decent slotting in rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. As for the 0–7 start, well, at least that’s over.
29) LOS ANGELES LAKERS
LAST WEEK: 29
RECORD: 2-11 (0-3)
Top-three protection. Maybe Kobe’s plan all along was to help the Lakers keep their draft pick—otherwise headed to the Sixers—and be the fall guy for a lost season. Maybe Byron Scott’s in on it, too. Maybe I’m crazy.
30) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
LAST WEEK: 30
RECORD: 0-14 (0-4)
The D-League. Who doesn’t love roster flexibility?