NBA Power Rankings Update: Are the Sacramento Kings for Real?
Teams Ranked 30th to 21st
There was not a lot of upward movement in the bottom tier this week, but a few playoff contenders plummeted down into it.
|25||New York Knicks||2-6||34.0||22||-3|
Hey, the Cleveland Cavaliers won a game! They probably don't deserve the "riser" tag after a 1-2 week, but they had to make way for the Phoenix Suns, who went 0-3 and now have the league's worst point differential at -14.71.
The Brooklyn Nets went 1-3 this week but still managed to go up a spot. That's how bad things have been down here lately. The only teams that really had success from last week's bottom tier jumped right up into the creamy middle (more on them in the next slide), so we're grasping at straws for positive things to say in the bottom-10 this time around.
The Washington Wizards have had an incredibly rough start to the 2018-19 season. They have a 1-6 record, rank 24th in offensive rating (105.7), 25th in defensive rating (115.7), and 28th in point differential (-10.57). They've had a couple excusable losses to Finals contenders in the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors, but it feels like they should have managed a win or two against the Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies. You can point to the fact that they've played their last five contests on the road as a potential excuse for their mediocre play, but a team with two legitimate and healthy All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal should simply be doing better in the Eastern Conference standings (where they currently sit 14th).
The Houston Rockets seemed like the one true threat to the Golden State Warriors' title hopes last year, and now suddenly they are in the bottom tier of our power rankings. Before anyone panics, James Harden and Chris Paul missing two games apiece might be part of the problem so far -- the Rockets are a respectable 1-1 when both play -- and they've also had the third-toughest schedule in the Association up to this point, according to Basketball-Reference.com's strength of schedule (2.80). We still give them a pretty commanding 85.2% chance of making the playoffs and the fourth-best title odds in the whole league, at 7.3%. They won't stick around down here for much longer.