NBA Power Rankings Update: The Knicks Aren't Too Bad and the Cavs Aren't Too Good

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Teams Ranked 30th to 21st

The Cavs? Down here? WTF, Tyronn?

Rank Team Record nERD Last Ranking Plus/Minus
30 Sacramento Kings 2-8 17.4 23 -7
29 Dallas Mavericks 2-10 20.3 28 -1
28 Chicago Bulls 2-7 20.4 29 +1
27 Phoenix Suns 4-7 22.9 30 +3
26 Atlanta Hawks 2-9 29.7 22 -4
25 Brooklyn Nets 4-7 36.8 24 -1
24 Cleveland Cavaliers 5-6 38.7 11 -13
23 Miami Heat 4-6 39.1 17 -6
22 Los Angeles Lakers 5-5 40 27 +5
21 Minnesota Timberwolves 7-3 41.6 21 even

The Expected

When Sacramento drafted De'Aaron Fox then inked veterans Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, and George Hill, it seemed like the eternally-dysfunctional Kings were headed in a positive direction. Yeah, not so much. Their rotation is weird (nobody is averaging more minutes than Hill's 27.1), the scoring isn't notable (Randolph leads all scorers with an uninspiring 12.8 points a night), and they're tied for the seventh-worst defensive rating in the league. They're lucky they only fell seven spots. Then again, they couldn't have fallen any further, so there's that.

After the Timberwolves acquired two-time All-Star Jimmy Butler to pair with former Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, a playoff berth was all but given. Now, the only given is a bottom-third spot in our rankings. Yeah, they're in the midst of a five-game win streak, and yeah, they rank third in the West, but nERD hates their defense, which ranks 27th in efficiency. Head coach Tom "Do Your Job" Thibodeau can't be pleased.

The Unexpected

To reiterate: The Cavs? Down here? WTF, Tyronn?

While we're on the topic of horrible defense, let's talk Cleveland. Defensive efficiency: Dead last. Opponent effective field goal percentage: Dead last. Opponent field goal percentage allowed: Second from dead last. Adding insult to injury, the Cavs are only two nERD points ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. Tomorrow night, they visit the Rockets, so to paraphrase Chuck D., how low can they go?