NBA Power Rankings: Is There Any Hope for the Knicks?

Another terrible week has the Knicks dropping further down our rankings. Is there any hope for New York?

A quarter 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.

Only six teams 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
30Atlanta Hawks5-1619.129-1
29Golden State Warriors4-1823.530+1
28New York Knicks4-1724.525-3
27Cleveland Cavaliers5-1524.826-1
26Charlotte Hornets8-1426.027+1
25Memphis Grizzlies6-1428.028+3
24Chicago Bulls7-1435.123-1
23Sacramento Kings8-1135.524+1
22Washington Wizards6-1336.920-2
21New Orleans Pelicans6-1537.822+1

- Teams in this group went a combined 8-29 this week. Yuck.

- The New York Knicks went 0-4 this week while being outscored by an average of 21.8 points. Their leading scorer is Marcus Morris, who isn't exactly a cornerstone piece. At least they can build their team around Kristaps Porzing...oh. Well, surely they're bad enough to land Zion Williamson in the draf...oops. Of course, they undoubtedly have the assets to acquire Anthony Davis in a trad...oh, hell. At the very least, they'll be able to land one of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, or Kawhi Leonard in free agen...or not.

- Some team had to move up in this group that's best described as a pile of garbage, and that team is the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis had just one win this week, beating the Timberwolves in Minnesota. That said, their other matchups -- against the Clippers, Jazz, and Pacers -- were all competitive.

- The week for the Washington Wizards started with a road win over the Phoenix Suns, but they have since lost three in a row by an average of 18 points. Washington's defensive efficiency rating is 2.2 points worse than any team in the league.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
20San Antonio Spurs8-1440.419-1
19Orlando Magic9-1146.815-4
18Brooklyn Nets10-1047.016-2
17Detroit Pistons8-1347.121+4
16Portland Trail Blazers8-1348.218+2
15Minnesota Timberwolves10-949.217+3
14Oklahoma City Thunder8-1150.0140
13Utah Jazz12-954.210-3
12Phoenix Suns9-1054.911-1
11Philadelphia 76ers15-657.413+2

- The San Antonio Spurs continue to drop down our rankings, but it's worth noting that they've won two of their last three, with those two wins coming against the Clippers and Houston Rockets.

- The Orlando Magic take home our Faller of the Week Award this week. Orlando has been far from stellar defensively, coming in fifth-worst in defensive efficiency rating. They haven't been awful offensively, though they do rank second-to-last in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage.

- On the back of two consecutive wins by 34 and 33 points, respectively, the Detroit Pistons are the winners of our Biggest Riser of the Week award. Detroit has the league's ninth-best offensive rating, eighth-highest rebounding percentage, sixth-best assist ratio, as well as the third-ranked effective field goal and true shooting percentage.

- After a 2-1 week, the Portland Trail Blazers moved up in our rankings. Somehow, someway, Carmelo Anthony won the Western Conference Player of the Week award.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
10Denver Nuggets13-560.79-1
9Houston Rockets13-762.912+3
8Indiana Pacers13-763.280
7Los Angeles Clippers16-664.270
6Boston Celtics14-565.53-3
5Miami Heat15-566.06+1
4Dallas Mavericks14-669.040
3Toronto Raptors15-572.75+2
2Los Angeles Lakers18-375.320
1Milwaukee Bucks18-384.110

- The Houston Rockets finally move back into our top 10, but that's not to say that they're elite just yet. The Rockets haven't had many victories that can be labeled as "impressive." Houston has lost to each of the legitimate contenders they've faced, except for one of the matchups with the Clippers (who were without Paul George at the time).

- The Boston Celtics started the season 10-1, but have won just four of their eight games since. Boston's net rating -- which was tops in the league a couple of weeks ago -- has dropped down to sixth.

- Prior to losing to the Miami Heat last night, the Toronto Raptors had won seven straight. The Raptors are third in the league with a net rating of 7.9.

- Was there any doubt as to what team would be number one? The Milwaukee Bucks have won 12 in a row by an average of 15.1 points. Milwaukee has the league's best net rating, by more than three points. The Deer are also inside the top-five in nearly every statistical category imaginable. While leading the Bucks to the best record in the league, Giannis Antetokounmpo has asserted himself as the frontrunner to win his second consecutive MVP award.