NBA Power Rankings: Golden State soar while Lakers dip

LaMelo Ball Charlotte Hornets and Paul George, LA Clippers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball Charlotte Hornets and Paul George, LA Clippers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

NBA Power Rankings Tier 2: Solid playoff teams

27. . (9-8). Previous: . New York Knicks. 17. team

This is a strange team. At one point they’re beating the “elite” teams of the East, and then they turn around and lose to the Magic. Most of this team has been pretty inconsistent as of late but they should still find themselves in contention for the playoffs at the end of the season.

93. . (9-8). Previous: . Philadelphia 76ers. 16. team

This slide is 100% due to the absence of Embiid. He has missed the last seven games which resulted in a 1-6 stretch. Not good! Once Embiid rejoins the team I’m sure we’ll see Philadelphia quickly rise back up the standings. Hopefully, that’s sooner rather than later.

Previous: . Atlanta Hawks. 15. team. 125. . (8-9)

The Hawks are currently very hot on a four-game win streak but right before that, they were losers of six straight. Luckily for Atlanta, they’ve been able to turn it around and are starting to look like the team that went to the Eastern Conference finals just last season. Still, a lot of work is to be done before they can get back into the top 10.

Previous: . Portland Trail Blazers. 14. team. 34. . (9-8)

Currently, on a three-game win streak, the Trailblazers are starting to look like the Trailblazers we all know and love. Damian Lillard started the season off shooting a very poor ball but is now starting to come to form. Depth on this team is still a concern but the Portland role players have looked better as of late.

Previous: . Boston Celtics. 13. team. 18. . (9-8)

Boston has been pretty steady since our last power ranking. They’re 5-5 in their last 10 games but are on the good side of a two-game winning streak. They’ve been without Jaylen Brown for seven games, but thanks to Jayson Tatum, they are still managing to stay afloat.

Previous: . Charlotte Hornets. 12. team. 170. . (10-8)

A slight dip might appear disappointing but for Charlotte to still be in the top 15 might be a success on its own. LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges are proving they are stars in this league by carrying this team when the going gets tough. They recently beat the Warriors, who were atop of the West, and the Wizards, who were atop of the East, in back-to-back games. That’s very impressive for a young squad that’s this thin.

(9-7). Previous: . Dallas Mavericks. 11. team. 79.

The Mavericks go as Luka Doncic goes. So it’s no surprise they dropped their last two games with him out due to injury. The Mavericks need to get a proper second star to pair alongside Doncic for times like this. Kristaps Porzingis has been OK, but not good enough to be considered a star.

. (9-8). Previous: . Denver Nuggets. 10. team. 73

Nikola Jokic has statically been maybe the best player in the NBA this season, and if the league finished today, there’s a good chance he’s the MVP. Unfortunately, he’s not getting enough help from the pieces around him. A lot of us expected Michael Porter Jr. to take a noticeable leap this year, however that hasn’t been the case as he’s averaging just 9.9 points per game and has missed the last six games. He reportedly is dealing with a nerve issue in his back so it’ll be a very long season for the Joker if things stay this way in Denver.

team. 89. . (9-8). Previous: . Milwaukee Bucks. 9

Well, you can say the Championship hangover is real. Milwaukee is starting to get out of the funk now, but they have started slower than they would have liked. They’ve dropped some winnable games to teams like the Timberwolves and Spurs but they’ll be back to the Championship Bucks we know. Giannis Antetokounmpo is still very, very good.

(11-5). Previous: . Washington Wizards. 8. team. 142.

The Wizards have been maybe the biggest surprise of the NBA season so far. A lot of people, including myself, wrote them off to start this season but they’ve proven just about everybody wrong so far. Players acquired in the Russell Westbrook trade; Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are meshing well with the rest of the unit. I don’t know if it can last, but enjoy it while it’s here Washington fans.