NBA Power Rankings: It's Getting Cold in Minnesota

Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves have lost seven consecutive games. How far did they drop in our rankings?

One third 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 eight teams moved more than one spot in the rankings since last week, which is the least amount of movement we've had all season. Let’s take a look at how each team stacks up.

The Bottom 10

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
30Cleveland Cavaliers6-2115.1300
29Atlanta Hawks6-2219.728-1
28Golden State Warriors5-2323.027-1
27New York Knicks7-2124.029+2
26New Orleans Pelicans6-2230.724-2
25Charlotte Hornets13-1731.626+1
24Memphis Grizzlies10-1733.325+1
23Washington Wizards8-1734.7230
22Sacramento Kings12-1538.5220
21Minnesota Timberwolves10-1540.919-3

- The Cleveland Cavaliers are now 4-19 since the start of November, with 10 of those losses coming by at least double-digits. The Cavs have the second-worst defensive rating in the league and the fifth-worst offensive rating. In other words, they're not doing anything well.

- The Atlanta Hawks lost each of their four games this week, by an average of 18 points. The team has promised Trae Young that they'd get him some help, but I'll believe it when I see it.

- The New York Knicks had an uncharacteristically good week, earning them our Riser of the Week Award. The Knickerbockers won as many games this week as they'd won in their previous 20 contests. New York's only loss came by six points to the Denver Nuggets on the road.

- Riding the second-longest losing streak in the league, the Minnesota Timberwolves are "honored" with our Faller of the Week Award for the second consecutive week. After looking like a possible playoff contender to begin the season, Minnesota now has the 10th-worst net rating in the league. Efficiency has been an issue for the Wolves, as they have the eighth-lowest field goal percentage in the NBA as well as the third-lowest three-point percentage.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
20Chicago Bulls10-1941.021+1
19San Antonio Spurs10-1641.520+1
18Orlando Magic12-1545.117-1
17Portland Trail Blazers11-1647.418+1
16Detroit Pistons11-1648.115-1
15Utah Jazz16-1150.116+1
14Brooklyn Nets15-1250.4140
13Phoenix Suns11-1651.912-1
12Oklahoma City Thunder12-1453.313+1
11Denver Nuggets17-860.8110

- Not a single team in this tier moved more than one spot in our rankings.

- Since winning four in a row to start the month of December, the Orlando Magic lost four of their last five. Orlando is now 6.5 games behind the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

- Are things starting to look up for the Utah Jazz again? After losing six of their last eight coming into last week, the Jazz won three in a row -- though none of those came against teams above .500.

- Since starting the season 7-4, the Phoenix Suns are 4-12 -- including losers of four straight contests. The return of Deandre Ayton could help, but if the Suns keep dropping games, they'll find themselves free-falling down our rankings.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
10Philadelphia 76ers20-862.17-3
9Miami Heat19-862.26-3
8Indiana Pacers19-962.510+2
7Houston Rockets18-962.69+2
6Los Angeles Clippers21-864.78+2
5Toronto Raptors18-867.050
4Boston Celtics17-768.040
3Dallas Mavericks18-873.730
2Los Angeles Lakers24.477.920
1Milwaukee Bucks24-488.110

- After starting their week with an impressive road win against the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers finished it with a lackluster loss at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets. That said, a three-spot drop doesn't quite mean much here, as each of the bottom teams of this tier are clustered together in terms of their nERD rating.

- With so many teams clustered together, a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies is bound to drop you a few spots in the rankings -- and that is exactly what happened to the Miami Heat.

- The Indiana Pacers went 4-0 this week, including victories over the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Indiana managed to limit the Lakers to 102 points on Tuesday, which is 11 points below their season average.

- The fact that our algorithm has the Los Angeles Clippers behind the Toronto Raptors is a bit puzzling, given that the Clips beat down on the Raptors by 20 in Toronto last week. Although it makes sense to value season-long sample size versus just one game, if the Clippers continue to play like they did against Toronto, they'll find themselves inside the top-three soon enough.

- None of the top-five teams in our rankings moved, as they are all having impressive seasons in their own rights.