NBA Power Rankings: It's Getting Cold in Minnesota
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
|28||Golden State Warriors||5-23||23.0||27||-1|
|27||New York Knicks||7-21||24.0||29||+2|
|26||New Orleans Pelicans||6-22||30.7||24||-2|
- 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 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
|19||San Antonio Spurs||10-16||41.5||20||+1|
|17||Portland Trail Blazers||11-16||47.4||18||+1|
|12||Oklahoma City Thunder||12-14||53.3||13||+1|
- 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
|6||Los Angeles Clippers||21-8||64.7||8||+2|
|2||Los Angeles Lakers||24.4||77.9||2||0|
- 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.
- 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.