As we’re nearing the All-Star Break, it’s becoming increasingly clear on who the league’s top teams are. In the Western Conference, it looks as though the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers are the top team. In the East, the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Brooklyn Nets look like the cream of the crop. Here are this week’s NBA Power Rankings.
NBA Power Rankings
1. Utah Jazz
Until someone overtakes them in the West, the Jazz are the top team in the league. With a 25-6 record, going 9-1 in their last 10, the Jazz are on top in the West, and currently have the best record in the league. Quin Snyder’s team has improved defensively this year, which is a key to their rise.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Even though they’ve been stymied by injuries and COVID issues, the Lakers are still a top team in the league. They’ve been missing Anthony Davis, and Dennis Schroder has been out due to COVID issues. LeBron James is still playing at a high level, and when their full squad returns, they can challenge for the top spot.
3. Brooklyn Nets
Don’t look now, but here come the Brooklyn Nets. Even though James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant have only played seven games together, and recently all three haven’t been on the court at the same time, the Nets are playing great basketball. We’ll see how this squad can handle the playoffs, as the Nets don’t seem to want to stop anyone. If you play that way in the playoffs, you tend not to last long.
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4. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers recently defeated the Jazz. When they have their full squad, the Clippers can beat anyone. The Clippers are still a work in progress on the defensive end, but when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are firing on all cylinders, they’re hard to guard.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
If Joel Embiid can continue to play at an elite level, the Sixers have a player that very few teams can stop. Ben Simmons has been coming on strong, scoring at a much higher rate. Doc Rivers knows how to win, and if he can keep things going the right way, the Eastern Conference better beware.
6. Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee is experimenting with a lot of new things. They’re working on different offenses, and changing up how they guard certain things. Once they figure everything out, they’ll still be a contender in the East. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the world, and until someone shows that they can stop him, the Bucks can play with anyone.
7. Phoenix Suns
Bringing in Chris Paul has made the Suns into a contender. They’ve won 11 of their last 13, and have a roster full of very good shooters. They have a great combination of youth and experience, and with Paul at the lead, they have a great shot at climbing up the Western Conference standings and making a long postseason run. Remember, LeBron James called Suns star Devin Booker “the most disrespected” man in the NBA.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
Portland has Dame Dollar, who LeBron James called the second most disrespected man in the league. Portland is actually come into March at a bad time, as the loser of three straight before their trip to take on the Lakers. Before that, they won five straight games. Portland is getting just shy of 30 points per game from Lillard, with a solid season from Gary Trent, with just over 15 points per game. Keep in mind, Portland has been without C.J McCollum since January 16th. When he comes back, this team will be even more dangerous.
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