NBA Power Rankings: Houston, We Have a Problem

The unimpressive Rockets took a dive in our power rankings. Which other teams saw significant movement?

The first two weeks of the 2019-20 NBA season are in the books, which means it’s time to check out where each team stands in our power rankings.

Teams will be ranked in terms of nERD, which is our efficiency metric based on in-game data. These ratings allow us to understand which teams and players are performing best. nERD is indicative of a team's expected winning percentage, so an average team will have a nERD score of 50.0.

Only four teams maintained the same rank since last week, which means there’s been a lot of movement. Let’s take a look at how each team stacks up.

The Bottom 10

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
30Sacramento Kings2-524.025-5
29New York Knicks1-626.728-1
28Memphis Grizzlies1-527.227-1
27Cleveland Cavaliers2-529.830+3
26Chicago Bulls2-630.529+3
25Charlotte Hornets4-332.826+1
24Golden State Warriors2-537.311-13
23Washington Wizards2-440.422-1
22New Orleans Pelicans1-641.021-1
21Detroit Pistons3-542.918-3

- The Sacramento Kings, who started the season 12th in our rankings, now find themselves dead last. Having a bottom-10 offense and defense -- in terms of efficiency -- is a recipe for disaster.

- The Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls each moved up three spots but still haven't cracked the top-25. The Bulls would've ranked higher had they not blown their 19-point lead against the Los Angeles Lakers last night.

- Stephen Curry's injury -- and the rest of what's going on in Oakland -- has resulted in the Golden State Warriors dropping 13 spots in our rankings. Though the 13-spot drop is the largest this week, the Warriors don't qualify for our Biggest Faller award because they fell due to an injury. Golden State still has the worst defensive efficiency rating in the league at 117.5.

- Despite Andre Drummond's best efforts, the Detroit Pistons fell three spots into the bottom third of our rankings. Detroit's defensive rating of 111.4 is sixth-worst in the league.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
20Atlanta Hawks3-345.224+4
19Indiana Pacers3-445.620+1
18Orlando Magic2-545.816-2
17Minnesota Timberwolves4-248.1170
16Houston Rockets4-349.54-12
15Brooklyn Nets3-449.8150
14Oklahoma City Thunder3-452.519+5
13Portland Trail Blazers3-452.710-3
12Denver Nuggets5-255.07-5
11Dallas Mavericks4-255.214+3

- A win against the always-tough San Antonio Spurs is enough to propel the Atlanta Hawks into the middle tier of our rankings. However, the 25-game suspension to forward John Collins will slow their upward progression.

- Our Faller of the Week award goes to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have yet to earn a convincing win this season, but they did lose convincingly to the Miami Heat on Sunday. According to Basketball Reference, Houston has been outscored by 26 in the 131 minutes that Russell Westbrook and James Harden have shared the floor -- which is #notgood.

- Back-to-back wins against the New Orleans Pelicans and Orlando Magic have the Oklahoma City Thunder moving up into the top half of our rankings this week. OKC currently sports the third-best defensive rating in the NBA at 99.4.

- A 15-point loss to the Pelicans surely contributed to the Denver Nuggets dropping five spots out of the top-10. Denver, currently 10th-worst in offensive efficiency, will need to play better on that side of the ball in order to move back up.

- After starting the season 19th, the Dallas Mavericks have jumped all the way to 11th in our rankings in the second week of the season. The Mavs currently have the top-ranked offense (in terms of efficiency) in the league.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
10Phoenix Suns5-257.323+13
9San Antonio Spurs4-357.490
8Toronto Raptors4-258.613+5
7Boston Celtics5-161.08+1
6Philadelphia 76ers5-162.360
5Miami Heat5-262.712+7
4Utah Jazz4-364.43-1
3Los Angeles Clippers5-269.01-2
2Milwaukee Bucks5-270.45+3
1Los Angeles Lakers6-176.12+1

- Our Biggest Riser of the Week award goes to the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix has an impressive resume, with wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, Warriors (with Curry), and Philadelphia 76ers (without Joel Embiid). The Suns' only two losses have come by a combined two points to the Nuggets and Utah Jazz. In terms of efficiency rating, Phoenix currently has the league's fifth-ranked defense and ninth-ranked offense.

- Speaking of impressive resumes, the Miami Heat and their fourth-ranked defense beat the Bucks in Milwaukee (sans Jimmy Butler) and crushed the Rockets by 29 on Sunday. That'll play.

- After a sluggish start to their season that saw them blow two 15-point leads, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves second in our rankings. The Bucks are second in both offensive efficiency and net rating coming into today. Giannis Antetokounmpo looks like he's on a mission to win a second consecutive MVP award, as he's averaging 33 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists over his last three games (all wins), while shooting 69 percent from the field.

- The Los Angeles Lakers have won six in a row after losing the opener to the Clippers. Within that six-game winning streak, the Lakers have beaten the Jazz, Mavericks, and Spurs. The Lakers currently have an above-average offense to along with the league's second-ranked defense.