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NBA Power Rankings 1.0

It's time for the first iteration of the weekly bballdistrict Power Rankings! We'll count down each team from worst to best, check in on the state of each team, and this week we'll tell you the MVP of all 30 teams thus far this season. (Stay tuned every Sunday for brand new rankings and a new theme!)

30. Houston Rockets (10-29)

MVP: Alperen Sengun

Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Tank for Wembanyama is in full effect.

29. Detroit Pistons (11-31)

MVP: Bojan Bogdanovic

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Pistons didn't have high hopes this year, but their season ended as soon as Cade Cunningham's did.

28. Charlotte Hornets (11-29)

MVP: LaMelo Ball

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Ball has played just 16 games this season, and while the results have been better with him in the lineup, he can't save this roster.

27. Orlando Magic (15-25)

MVP: Paolo Banchero

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Magic are executing a great rebuild, with young talent all over the floor, highlighted by Banchero.

26. San Antonio Spurs (13-27)

MVP: Keldon Johnson

Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Coach Gregg Popovich was right when he told reporters before the season not to bet on the Spurs to win the championship.

25. Toronto Raptors (16-23)

MVP: Pascal Siakam

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Like Orlando, the Raptors have some good young talent. The difference is Toronto was supposed to be good this year.

24. Washington Wizards (17-23)

MVP: Kristaps Porzingis

Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

DC has been snapped back to reality after a red-hot start. If it's any consolation it's fair to say they fleeced Dallas for Porzingis.

23. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-22)

MVP: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Gilgeous-Alexander is a lock for his first All-Star appearance this season. He's led OKC to 120+ point outings in six of their last seven games.

22. Atlanta Hawks (18-21)

MVP: Trae Young

Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Last season was disappointing for Atlanta after making an Eastern Conference Finals in 2020. This year has been even worse, especially with the Dejounte Murray acquisition not paying off.\

21. Minnesota Timberwolves (19-21)

MVP: Anthony Edwards

Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Speaking of trades that didn't pan out... The Rudy Gobert deal has turned into an absolute nightmare for the Timberwolves, who gave up their entire future for a center, despite already having Karl-Anthony Towns.

20. Phoenix Suns (20-20)

MVP: Devin Booker

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

From Cam Johnson's meniscus, to Jae Crowder's holdout, to now Booker's groin, the Suns have struggled to keep players on the floor, and it's showing in the product.

19. Utah Jazz (20-22)

MVP: Lauri Markkanen

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Markkanen has been a very cool story all season, as he's a prime Most Improved Player candidate. He led the Jazz to a 10-3 start, but the shine has worn off as they slowly drop into the substandard quality of play expected of them.

18. Los Angeles Lakers (19-21)

MVP: LeBron James

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Don't look now, but the Lakers have won five straight and are just a game out of a spot in the play-in. Led by James and Anthony Davis - who was playing at an All-NBA level before his foot injury - Los Angeles has righted the ship, at least partially after a horrid start.

17. Portland Trailblazers (19-19)

MVP: Damian Lillard

Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Despite the mediocre record, there's a lot to like up in Portland. Anfernee Simons is playing like a great replacement for CJ McCollum, Jerami Grant is having a career year, and Shaedon Sharpe, a major unknown coming into the 2022 draft, has been very promising.

16. Los Angeles Clippers (21-20)

MVP: Paul George

Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Paul George has been doing what's expected of him, and Ivica Zubac is averaging a double-double, but Kawhi Leonard just can't stay on the floor. It's not fair to blame the Clippers' underwhelming season entirely on Leonard's health, but that's a key reason for LA going from trendy preseason title pick to play-in team.

15. Chicago Bulls (19-21)

MVP: DeMar DeRozan

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Chicago has quietly won three straight, but it's generally been a frustrating season for Bulls fans. Frustrating enough that for weeks there have been rumblings that their front office should consider a hard reset. Should Marc Eversley blow it up? We don't have the answer to that, but clearly something has to change.

14. Miami Heat (21-19)

MVP: Bam Adebayo

Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

If you're sensing a theme here with all the disappointing teams, bear with us, we promise it'll be over soon. Miami hasn't been awful, but 33 year-old Jimmy Butler has been quieter than expected and every one of Kyle Lowry's 36 years on earth are really starting to show. Could Miami's championship window be closing?

13. Golden State Warriors (20-20)

MVP: Stephen Curry

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Ok, ok, one more underwhelming team before we hit you with a few positive surprising squads. Perhaps the worst season relative to expectations belongs to the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Curry has been his usual dominant self, but Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson have been up and down, and the youngins that were supposed to represent the next chapter of the dynasty haven't developed as anticipated.

12. Sacramento Kings (20-18)

MVP: Domantas Sabonis

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Remember when NBA fans everywhere sentenced the Kings to 20 more years of poverty for getting fleeced in their trade for Sabonis? Well apparently GMs who make trades for a living know what they're doing every once in a while. The Kings are the darling of the league this season, stringing together wins behind Sabonis and Fox, leading the entire planet to call for Sacramento to "LIGHT THE BEAM"!

11. Indiana Pacers (22-17)

MVP: Tyrese Haliburton

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The other half of the Sabonis deal has been working out pretty well too, as Rick Carlisle has his guys hooping. The Pacers were most talked about in the preseason for being the employers of primary Lakers trade targets Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. Now, after a few months of basketball, the NBA world (except Lakers fans) is finally starting to realize that Haliburton and company aren't a novelty act.

10. New York Knicks (22-18)

MVP: Jalen Brunson

Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The New York Knickerbockers just might be a good basketball team. The Knicks are riding a four game win streak, and currently have possession of the six seed in the Eastern Conference, the final non play-in postseason spot. Brunson, whose deal was much maligned by outside observers, is having an outstanding season, and Julius Randle has a strong case to make the All-Star game.

9. Philadelphia 76ers (23-15)

MVP: Joel Embiid

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Philly has dealt with numerous injuries this season, with their big three of Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey each missing double-digit games, including Embiid's current bout with foot soreness. Nonetheless, each of those players has thrived at various points throughout the season, propelling the 76ers to a solid first half of their season.

8. New Orleans Pelicans (24-16)

MVP: Zion Williamson

Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

New Orleans has been a fun surprise for most this season, as they find themselves in line to be one of the top seeds in the West come playoff time. But while they've survived Brandon Ingram's 24 missed games, it remains to be seen how well they handle the absence of Williamson, who is expected to miss at least three weeks with a strained hamstring.

7. Dallas Mavericks (23-17)

MVP: Luka Doncic

Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Doncic is carrying his team like few others have ever done before. His 34 points per game lead the NBA, and he supplements his scoring with eight rebounds and eight assists per outing. Dallas may not be the most conventionally built team, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

6. Milwaukee Bucks (25-14)

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Milwaukee has been scuffling lately, including allowing the Hornets to break their franchise points record on Friday, but that can't overshadow the rest of their body of work this season. The Bucks have performed up to their championship level standards all season despite their secondary star, Khris Middleton, having played only seven games due to wrist and ankle injuries.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers (25-15)

MVP: Donovan Mitchell

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

It's safe to say the city of Cleveland feels like they won the Mitchell trade. He's a surefire All-Star starter, who punctuated his already phenomenal Cavs tenure with a 71 point, 11 assist game, arguably the greatest performance in a season of absurd stat lines. It hasn't always been pretty, but Cleveland's 6-0 record in overtime games has helped them prove they're always up to the task at hand.

4. Memphis Grizzlies (25-13)

MVP: Ja Morant

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Morant is doing Morant things, Jaren Jackson Jr is looking like an All-Defensive first team lock, and Memphis is riding a five game win streak, which is the longest current stretch of consecutive wins among any team in the league. Whether you love or hate their high energy and off court personalities, the Grizzlies are a team nobody wants to see on their upcoming schedule.

3. Brooklyn Nets (26-13)

MVP: Kevin Durant

Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are scorching hot. They've won nine of their last 10, and are an incredible 19-4 since Kyrie Irving made his return from suspension. Of course, while Irving has been instrumental in their success, Durant, who's averaging 30 points per game this season, has been the driving force behind Brooklyn's rise from a 1-5 start to a team competing to be the NBA's best.

2. Boston Celtics (28-12)

MVP: Jayson Tatum

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

If Boston wins the Eastern Conference for a second straight year, it certainly won't be the "started from the bottom story" that it was last season. With newly minted head coach Joe Mazulla at the helm, the Celtics are holding onto the number one seed in the East. Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both playing like MVP candidates, and Boston's deep squad has complimented them well.

1. Denver Nuggets (26-13)

MVP: Nikola Jokic

Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nuggets have been on a tear lately, having won nine of their last 11 games. Jokic is on MVP watch once again, as he's just a half assist per game away from averaging a triple-double. Jamal Murray hasn't quite been the player he was before his injury, but Aaron Gordon's potentially All-Star caliber season combined with the efficient offensive play of Michael Porter Jr have Denver sitting atop the Western Conference.

That does it for the first ever bballdistrict Power Rankings! Come back next week to see the updated rankings, risers and fallers, and to find out who each team's most underrated player is!


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