NBA Power Rankings: Rocketing to the Top

James Harden's insane scoring barrage has the Houston Rockets shooting up our rankings. Which other teams saw significant movement?

A month of the 2019-20 NBA season is 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.

For the most part, the top of our rankings remained the same, though only two teams in the bottom-two tiers maintained the same rank as 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
30Golden State Warriors3-1222.329-1
29New York Knicks4-1025.930+1
28Memphis Grizzlies5-927.3280
27Charlotte Hornets6-830.126-1
26Atlanta Hawks4-931.120-6
25Sacramento Kings6-732.627+2
24Chicago Bulls4-1036.2240
23Cleveland Cavaliers4-937.622-1
22Detroit Pistons4-938.721-1
21Washington Wizards3-838.825+4

- The Golden State Warriors have officially hit rock-bottom. At 3-12, Golden State has the worst record in the league. Perhaps it's time for Draymond Green to go to the parking lot and call in some reinforcements.

- After starting the season 3-3, the Atlanta Hawks have lost six of their last seven games. Two of those losses were on their home court to the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings by an average of 16 points. Atlanta's -9.0 net rating is worst in the league, earning them our Faller of the Week Award.

- Having won six of their eight November games, the Sacramento Kings continue to climb up our rankings. Included in those six wins were impressive victories against the Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and Boston Celtics. Their only two losses this month were on the road against the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers -- by a combined six points.

- While they haven't been winning much, the Washington Wizards do have plenty to be excited about. Washington's offensive efficiency rating of 113.2 is second behind only the Mavericks. Their stellar offensive play explains their four-spot jump, though they would be ranked even higher if they're able to improve upon their 30th-ranked defense.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
20New Orleans Pelicans5-939.523+3
19Brooklyn Nets5-843.216-3
17Minnesota Timberwolves8-644.919+1
17Portland Trail Blazers5-1044.915-2
16San Antonio Spurs5-945.614-2
15Philadelphia 76ers8-550.413-2
14Orlando Magic5-650.816+2
13Oklahoma City Thunder5-952.011-2
12Dallas Mavericks8-555.610-2
11Denver Nuggets9-356.512+1

- The New Orleans Pelicans have suffered through a heap of injuries in 2019, but that hasn't stopped them from winning four of their last six. Though it came at home, a win against Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers is bound to push any team up our rankings.

- After winning three of their first four games in November, the Brooklyn Nets have lost four of their last five, including a 29-point thrashing at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. Brooklyn is bottom-12 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

- If you get to the point where you're desperate enough to sign Carmelo Anthony and immediately give him 20-plus minutes, you're going to drop in our rankings -- which is exactly what happened to the 5-10 Portland Trail Blazers.

- Losers of eight of their last nine, the San Antonio Spurs continue to free-fall down our rankings, coming in at 16th this week. San Antonio's six-game losing streak is the longest such streak in the NBA right now. Uncharacteristic of a Gregg Popovich-led squad, the Spurs are only getting worse defensively, with the fourth-worst defensive rating in the league.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
10Houston Rockets11-357.118+8
9Indiana Pacers8-659.390
8Los Angeles Clippers9-560.580
7Utah Jazz8-561.76-1
6Toronto Raptors9-463.97+1
5Phoenix Suns7-664.250
4Miami Heat9-366.840
3Boston Celtics11-272.530
2Los Angeles Lakers12-277.720
1Milwaukee Bucks10-378.300

- Our Biggest Riser of the Week award goes to the Houston Rockets. I mentioned in last week's piece that Houston would move up in our rankings if they started beating formidable opponents, and that's exactly what they did. Currently on a league-best eight-game winning streak, the Rockets have beaten the Clippers, Pacers, Timberwolves, and Blazers over their last four contests. Houston's 112.9 offensive rating is third-best in the league.

- The Los Angeles Clippers have not been as dominant as they could be, but with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard finally playing their first game together, they could move up our rankings in no time.

- The Lakers and Bucks have won five and four games in a row, respectively. They are the only two teams in the league with net ratings of 9.0 or better.