One of the most important parts of league football is the start to each season, where we see if our predictions were accurate and everyone’s favorite team will be in first place. With Week 3 coming to a close, it’s time for us to make final decisions about who rose or fell after three games.
The “nba power rankings” is a website that ranks the teams in order of their performance. The site is updated every week and provides a lot of information about each team.
The NBA is quietly nearing the home stretch of the regular season while college basketball prepares to begin the men’s and women’s playoffs this week. While the Phoenix Suns have dominated the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors are just a half-game behind the Memphis Grizzlies, with Draymond Green due to return this week after a two-month layoff.
In the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat lead by 2.5 games over the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers have been on a roll recently, despite Ben Simmons’ return to Philadelphia ended in a blowout defeat to the Brooklyn Nets.
With Kevin Durant back in the lineup, can the No. 8 Nets capitalize on that momentum and climb the rankings in the last month of the season? Will the Los Angeles Lakers be able to capitalize on LeBron James’ recent success and make a late-season push?
One month before the playoffs begin, our experts go down all 30 teams.
Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin, and Ohm Youngmisuk) will rank all 30 teams from top to bottom, determining which teams are currently playing the best basketball and which teams are most likely to win the championship.
The Phoenix Suns had a 54-14 record in 2021-22. 1st place previously
The Suns were the first club to secure a playoff place this season with their victory against the Heat on Wednesday. The Suns are on their approach to securing home court for the entire 2022 playoffs, with a record of 54-14. Phoenix leads the Western Conference’s No. 2 club (Memphis) by 7.5 games and the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed by 9.5 games (Miami). Lopez’s words
2. Miami Heat: 45-24 in 2021-22. Previous position: 2
With just two games on the schedule this week — against the Pistons and the Thunder — Miami will have plenty of time to relax. Victor Oladipo is finally back in the lineup for the Heat, and he has showed glimpses of quality performance in limited minutes. Over the next three weeks, coach Erik Spoelstra will have plenty of time to get his seasoned club ready for a playoff push. Friedell’s words
3. Memphis Grizzlies: 47-22 in 2021-22. 3rd place before.
In Sunday’s victory against the Thunder, Dillon Brooks scored 15 points and four assists in his comeback after a two-and-a-half-month layoff due to an ankle injury. Brooks was immediately reinserted into the starting lineup by coach Taylor Jenkins, who will gradually increase his playing time. Brooks has been the Grizzlies’ second-leading scorer throughout Ja Morant’s career, but he’s more important on the defensive end, since he’s by far the finest on-ball defender in the league. MacMahon (MacMahon)
4. Golden State Warriors: 46-22 in 2021-22. Previous position: 6
After three consecutive victories, Coach Steve Kerr’s team is getting back on track. In Saturday’s victory against the Bucks, Klay Thompson scored 38 points. Jordan Poole made several important shots in the Nuggets’ victory on Thursday, while “Jackie Moon” supplied a hilarious assist prior to the Clippers’ win on Tuesday. Draymond Green is also expected to return on Monday, while James Wiseman has begun his G League rehab with the hopes of making his season debut shortly. Friedell’s words
5. Milwaukee Bucks (42-26) in 2021-22 Previous position: 4
The Bucks will receive a major boost to their lineup this week when center Brook Lopez makes his first appearance since opening night. Lopez had back surgery in December and has only played in one game so far this season. Milwaukee has missed his presence on defense, as the Bucks’ defensive rating has dropped to 13th, the lowest it has ever been under coach Mike Budenholzer. Collier’s
6. Philadelphia 76ers (41-25) in 2021-22 Previous position: 5
The Thunder’s blowout defeat to Brooklyn on Thursday highlighted some of the team’s post-James Harden trade issues, namely its poor defense. The team’s overtime victory against Orlando on Sunday demonstrated that it would take time for them to create their chemistry. What’s next? In Philadelphia on Monday night, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid will compete for the MVP award. — Best wishes
Boston Celtics had a 41-28 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 8
The Celtics had to be happy despite their last-second defeat to Dallas on Kevin Garnett Day Sunday. They’re just 1.5 games behind second place in the East and continue to look like an entirely different squad from the one that limped to a.500 record through the first 50 games. — Best wishes
The Dallas Mavericks had a 42-26 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 10
This season, the Mavs have gone from bad to great in crucial moments. After a Feb. 2 overtime defeat to the Thunder, they were bottom in the league in clutch defensive efficiency (130.1) and net rating (minus-34.5). Since then, Dallas has topped the charts in both of these categories (78.9 defensive efficiency, plus-48.8 net rating). In that time, Dallas has won 10 of 12 key games, including Sunday’s comeback in Boston, in which the Mavs kept the Celtics scoreless for the final 2:37. MacMahon (MacMahon)
9. Utah Jazz (42-25) in 2021-22. Previous position: 7
The Jazz are vying for home-court advantage in the first round, but finding rest for Mike Conley over the remainder of the regular season must also be a priority, as Utah will need him fresh to make a long playoff run. Since the All-Star break, Conley, 34, has averaging just 7.7 points on 25.6 percent shooting. He’s been sitting for one back-to-back game. MacMahon (MacMahon)
10. Chicago Bulls, 41-26 in 2021-22. Previous position: 9
In his first game since Jan. 21, Bulls guard Alex Caruso took up exactly where he left off, scoring 11 points, four assists, and four steals in a victory against the Cavs on Saturday. Caruso’s participation in just his third game since Dec. 20 gave Chicago’s defense an instant lift. The Bulls kept an opponent to under 100 points for the first time since Caruso’s previous game against the Bucks. Collier’s
Denver Nuggets are ranked 11th in the NBA with a 40-28 record in 2021-22.
Before losing two straight to Golden State and Toronto, the Nuggets had won 12 of their previous 14 games. Since a three-game losing streak at the beginning of February, Coach Michael Malone’s club hasn’t lost consecutive games. In the defeat to Toronto, Denver was without Aaron Gordon, and against the Warriors, they were without Will Barton. Even yet, Denver understands it can perform better in terms of execution, defense, and rebounding than it did in those two games. The Nuggets are 1.5 games ahead of Minnesota for sixth place. Youngmisuk’s remark
Brooklyn Nets had a 35-33 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 16
Monday, March 14: Nuggets vs. 76ers (7:30 p.m.), Bucks vs. Jazz (9:30 p.m.).
Wednesday, March 16: Mavericks vs. Nets (7:30 p.m.), Celtics vs. Warriors (9:30 p.m.).
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
In recent days, the Nets’ season’s soap drama reached a climax. In a victory against Charlotte on Tuesday, Kyrie Irving scored 50 points with ease. On Thursday, Kevin Durant and Irving overpowered Joel Embiid and the Sixers, restricting James Harden to a 3-for-17 shooting effort as Ben Simmons sat on the bench. On Sunday, Durant scored 53 points against the Knicks, then called out NYC Mayor Eric Adams from his courtside perch, citing the city’s vaccine requirement. Friedell’s words
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a 38-29 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 12
The Cavaliers continue to struggle, with a one-game advantage over No. 7 Toronto in the race for the last automatic playoff berth. They’ve lost eight of their last 11 games, and with Jarrett Allen out with a fractured left middle finger, they’ve had to reorganize their lineup, bringing Kevin Love into the starting lineup after carving out an effective role off the bench. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
The Toronto Raptors had a 37-30 record in 2021-22. 15th place before.
Toronto seemed to have little chance of making it out of the play-in round a week ago. The Raptors are now within striking distance of the East’s top six after sweeping a road back-to-back in Phoenix and Denver, along with Cleveland’s continued slide down the rankings. — Best wishes
15. Minnesota Timberwolves: 39-30 in 2021-22. Previous position: 13
The Timberwolves are coming off one of their biggest victories of the season, defeating the Heat on the road by 17 points on Saturday night. It avenged a disheartening defeat to the Magic the night before and earned Minnesota its first victory of the season while trailing by so much. Collier’s
The Los Angeles Clippers had a 36-34 record in 2021-22. 14th place before.
The Clippers pulled off another double-digit comeback to defeat the Wizards after a poor loss to the Knicks and a difficult setback to Golden State. Reggie Jackson struggled in a defeat to Atlanta, but rebounded with one of his most composed performances in a victory against Detroit. Coach Ty Lue said that with 12 games left in the season and the Clippers looking like they’ll be the eighth seed, the Clippers will likely find time to rest some of their veterans like Jackson down the line. Youngmisuk’s remark
The Atlanta Hawks had a 33-34 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 17
In a 131-128 victory against the Pacers on Sunday night, Trae Young put on another outstanding performance. Young established a new career record for points in a half with 33 points in the first half. On only 20 shots, he scored 47 points. He shot 13-of-20 from the field, including seven three-pointers, and went 14-of-14 from the free throw line. Young now has seven 40-point games this season, behind just Joel Embiid (10) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (8) for the most in the NBA. Lopez’s words
Charlotte Hornets had a 33-35 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 19
The Hornets can be certain that they will be in the play-in tournament for the second year in a row since Washington and New York have steep climbs ahead of them in the race. However, Charlotte must get Gordon Hayward well — he’s been out for more than a month with an ankle ailment — and work hard to avoid a 10th-place finish and the difficult job of winning two road games to reach the playoffs — Bontemps.
The Los Angeles Lakers had a 29-38 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 18
Anthony Davis will resume on-court training on Monday, just over four weeks after suffering a right foot injury. While Davis informed reporters on Sunday that he is “extremely confident” that he would be able to return before the conclusion of the season, LeBron James believes it may not be enough to solve this Lakers squad. He said, “It puts a band-aid on certain problems, but we simply haven’t had enough chemistry, enough time with our group to know precisely who we are and who we can become.” “AD is certainly beneficial, but it isn’t the panacea for all problems.” McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
The 2021-22 New Orleans Pelicans had a record of 28-40. Previous position: 20
The Pelicans’ offense faltered after winning four straight out of the break, with Brandon Ingram struggling with a right hamstring injury and CJ McCollum in health and safety procedures. With a 130-105 victory against Houston on Sunday, they were able to get back on track. Jose Alvarado, the backup point guard, led the team with 16 points, 10 assists, and 6 steals, becoming the third player in club history to accomplish it in a game, following Baron Davis and Chris Paul. Lopez’s words
The Washington Wizards had a 29-37 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 21
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The Wizards’ chances of making the playoffs are dwindling. The first three games of Washington’s western journey were all losses. They wasted another double-digit lead to the Clippers, who scored the game’s last 11 points. Then, with a 50-point performance, LeBron James wrecked Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-reunion Pope’s with the Lakers. At make things worse, the Wizards then lost 127-118 to Portland after allowing 44 points to Josh Hart. With 16 games remaining, the Wizards are three games behind Charlotte for the tenth slot. Youngmisuk’s remark
The New York Knicks had a 28-40 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 23
Over the last week or two, New York has improved dramatically, playing much better and picking up a couple wins. While the play-in tournament is doubtful (the Knicks are still five games out of tenth place in the East), the Knicks still have the opportunity to build some good momentum in the closing weeks of the regular season before the break. — Best wishes
San Antonio Spurs had a 26-42 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 24
When the Spurs beat the Jazz on Friday night, they did it by doing something they hadn’t done all season: making Gregg Popovich the NBA’s all-time leader in regular-season coaching wins. The Spurs were behind 74-64 going into the fourth quarter before rallying to win. According to ESPN Stats and Information, this is the first time the Spurs have won a game after trailing by ten points in the fourth quarter. Prior to it, they were 0-33 in similar scenarios this season. Lopez’s words
The Trail Blazers are ranked 24th in the NBA with a record of 26-40 in 2021-22. 22nd in the previous ranking
Josh Hart scored a career-high 44 points against Washington, giving Portland its first win since the All-Star break. With Anfernee Simons (knee) sidelined for at least a few more weeks, it’s unclear how many more victories the Blazers will collect in the coming weeks. Justise Winslow has been ruled out, while Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard have also been ruled out. Youngmisuk’s remark
Sacramento Kings (2021-22) have a 24-45 record. Previous position: 25
When Domantas Sabonis was banned for one game for “aggressively confronting and making contact with a game official” as the Kings were losing against the Knicks on Monday, frustration reached a boiling point for the Kings, who had now lost nine of their previous eleven games. “We remain by Domas, and he has our entire support,” Sacramento said in a statement disagreeing with the verdict. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
The Indiana Pacers had a 23-46 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 26
On Sunday, Tyrese Haliburton had ten assists for the third time in his past four games (he had nine assists during the other game). This marks Haliburton’s 22nd game with at least 10 assists this season, breaking a tie with Luka Doncic for the fifth-most games. Collier’s
The Detroit Pistons had an 18-50 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 28
Don’t start predicting the Rookie of the Year winner just yet. Cade Cunningham, a rookie with the Pistons, is on a tear. Cunningham scored 23 points, gave out 10 assists, and grabbed nine rebounds in a defeat to the Clippers on Sunday, joining Kelly Tripucka as the only other rookies in team history to score at least 20 points in seven straight games. Collier’s
The Oklahoma City Thunder had a 20-47 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 27
Due to injuries to Lu Dort (season-ending shoulder surgery) and Josh Giddey (hip), rookie guard Tre Mann has been given a chance to start. Mann, the draft’s 18th overall choice, has showed promise but has battled with efficiency. Mann is averaging 13.0 points per game since the All-Star break, but his actual shooting percentage is 45.9. MacMahon (MacMahon)
The Orlando Magic had an 18-51 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 29
Orlando had won two consecutive games, defeating the Pelicans and the Timberwolves, before falling to the Sixers in an overtime thriller on Sunday night. Wendell Carter Jr.’s progress continues: on Sunday, he had 23 points and 12 rebounds. Carter has averaged 12 rebounds per game in his last five outings. Friedell’s words
Houston Rockets had a 17-51 record in 2021-22. 30th in the previous ranking
According to ESPN, the Rockets chose to guarantee Garrison Mathews’ ($2 million) and Kenyon Martin Jr.’s ($1.8 million) contracts for next season. Houston has until June 29 to make a choice, but the front staff saw no need to wait since Mathews and Martin have shown to be valuable young role players who fit into the Rockets’ long-term rebuilding strategy. MacMahon (MacMahon)
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