NBA Power Rankings: Flat Tire in Motor City

The Detroit Pistons have struggled this season, which could lead to them trading their biggest star. Which other teams moved in our rankings?

Nearly half 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 multiple spots 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 Cavaliers10-2719.3300
29Atlanta Hawks8-2919.6290
28Golden State Warriors9-2928.7280
27New York Knicks10-2729.3270
26Charlotte Hornets15-2431.125-1
25Washington Wizards12-2437.023-2
24New Orleans Pelicans12-2538.726+2
23Memphis Grizzlies16-2239.524+1
T22Sacramento Kings15-2339.6220
T22Detroit Pistons14-2439.616-6

- Wins against the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Miami Heat in three of their last five games were not enough to prevent the Washington Wizards from dropping two spots in our rankings. Washington currently sports a defense that is 1.7 points worse than any team in the league in terms of efficiency.

- After going through a patch of games where they lost 13 in a row, the New Orleans Pelicans have been playing respectable basketball of late. Led by Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, the Pels have won six of their last nine, including victories over the Houston Rockets, Nuggets, and Indiana Pacers. With Zion Williamson nearing a return, this team could find themselves moving up several more spots in the not-so-distant future.

- This week's Faller of the Week Award goes to the Detroit Pistons. Not only has Detroit lost 9 of their last 12, but they also lost an already struggling Blake Griffin to what might be a season-ending knee surgery. Trading Andre Drummond seems like the next logical step in what is more than likely a lost season.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
20Minnesota Timberwolves14-2242.421+1
19Chicago Bulls13-2442.520+1
18Brooklyn Nets16-2044.314-4
17Phoenix Suns14-2346.013-4
16Portland Trail Blazers16-2247.217+1
15San Antonio Spurs15-2047.919+4
14Orlando Magic17-2048.418+4
13Oklahoma City Thunder21-1656.112-1
12Utah Jazz24-1256.315+3
11Denver Nuggets25-1157.9110

- After they rattled off 12 wins in 18 games, it looked like there was some hope left for the Kyrie-less Brooklyn Nets. That hope has all but faded with their recent seven-game losing streak. It's not just that Brooklyn has lost seven in a row, it's how they've lost it -- five of those losses were by double-digits, including a 12-point home loss to the New York Knicks.

- The San Antonio Spurs had a stretch where they lost 12 of 14 games in November, but they're 8-6 over their last 14 contests. San Antonio has shown signs of being a formidable opponent, with wins over the Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks during that period. DeMar DeRozan has been a catalyst during that stretch, averaging 21.9, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.9 assists.

- Our Riser of the Week Award goes to the Orlando Magic. After losing six of seven in mid-December, the Magic have won five of their last eight, including defeats of the Heat and Philadelphia 76ers. Orlando's strength has been their defense, which ranks sixth in efficiency through 37 games.

- The Utah Jazz are back to looking like a legitimate playoff contender after a stretch where they lost six of eight at the end of November. Since that eight-game rough patch, Utah has won 11 of 12, including a road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Jazz have the league's best net rating during that stretch, including the second-best offensive efficiency and a league-best 60.6 true shooting percentage.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
T9Philadelphia 76ers24-1459.210+1
T9Miami Heat26-1059.290
8Indiana Pacers23-1460.080
7Los Angeles Clippers26-1262.26-1
6Houston Rockets24-1163.57+1
5Toronto Raptors24-1365.750
4Boston Celtics25-968.240
3Dallas Mavericks23-1369.330
2Los Angeles Lakers30-773.020
1Milwaukee Bucks32-685.010

- There's not much to talk about with this group, as not a single team moved more than one spot.

- Though the Indiana Pacers lost five of their last eight, the fact that two of those wins came against the Toronto Raptors and 76ers keeps them from dropping this week. Victor Oladipo's return at the end of January could propel them inside the top-five in our rankings.

- One of those teams that moved up a spot is the Houston Rockets. Since mid-December, the Rockets have posted wins against the Clippers (in LA), Nuggets, and 76ers. Only the Dallas Mavericks have a better offensive rating than the Rockets to date.

- None of the top-five teams in our rankings moved, as they all continue to play impressive basketball.