Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Current NBA Power Rankings

Happy New Year, readers! As NBA franchises around the league take stock of where they are sitting in January, let’s take a deep dive into my current NBA power rankings. This is an essential phase in the season. With the All-Star break and trade deadline next month, teams will decide whether they are competing, settling for a play-in, or tanking for Victor Wembanyama. Let’s see which teams fall into each category as of early January.

Current NBA Power Rankings as of January 2nd, 2023

Title Contenders:

1 Boston Celtics

There is little argument against Boston being the top team in the NBA currently. They have the best record in the NBA at 26-11 and lead the league in points per game and a top-10 defense.

Rising superstar Jayson Tatum is playing out of his mind this year and is in the MVP conversation. Averaging 30.9 points per game, and 8.1 rebounds, leading the team in both categories. Tatum is in the top 4 in the NBA in points per game and second in total points.

The reigning NBA finalists for the Eastern Conference have seemingly gotten stronger. Malcolm Brogdon was a nice acquisition in the offseason to add shooting at the guard spot – their only real weakness during their finals loss to Golden State. Now they have Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Brogdon to handle the scoring load. They have elite defenders in every position on the court. Marcus Smart is having a career year in terms of playmaking, averaging 7.4 assists per game to go along with his elite defense. Jaylen Brown remains one of the best two-way players in the league.

2 Denver Nuggets

The best team currently in the Western Conference. 24-12 and coming off a big win against the Celtics. ‘The Joker’ Nikola Jokic is having another MVP-caliber year. He balled out in their win against the Celtics with 30 points, 12 boards, and 12 assists. He also dropped 40 against the Kings. Plus  41 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists against the Suns on Christmas Day. 40 points, 27 rebounds, and ten assists against the Hornets. Overall for the year, Jokic has 25 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 9.5 assists on 62% from the field. Monster numbers.

They are putting a really strong team around Jokic too. Jamal Murray has come back strongly from an ACL injury, and Aaron Gordon has been having a strong season. Current favorites to come out of the West, barring any injuries.

3 Brooklyn Nets

25-12 record 12-game winning streak.

Hiring Jacque Vaughan has changed the trajectory of the Nets’ season. They looked lost and under-prepared for each game under Steve Nash. Since Vaughan has come in, they are on an 11-game winning streak. Durant has been top-5 in the NBA all season long with 29.7 points per game, seven rebounds and five assists, and 56% shooting. He’s put the team on his back. Yuta Watanabe has been valuable off the bench. Royce O’Neal is a solid 3 and D Wing. The mercurial Kyrie Irving – no one knows quite what will happen next with him, but when he’s on, he’s still elite.

This winning streak has shot the Nets right up into among the top teams in the NBA. Whilst I’m still not convinced about their depth for the long haul, Ben Simmons fit, or Kyrie’s engagement – Durant alone is capable of making this team a contender. 12- straight wins is a phenomenal job all around.

4 Milwaukee Bucks

Another MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo is taking names this season. He’s been simply unstoppable on a daily basis. Averaging 32 points and around 12 rebounds on 53% shooting. Against the Bulls and the Timberwolves on the 28th and 30th of December, he combined for 88 points and 42 rebounds, Simply astounding numbers.

However, they are coming off blow-out losses to the Celtics, Cavs, and Nets, all teams they are competing with in the Eastern Conference. Khris Middleton is the X-factor here. He is still hobbled by his re-occurrent knee problem causing him to miss most of the season. If he can get healthy, and they perhaps look at adding a Guard at the deadline, they are a contender.

5 Cleveland Cavaliers

24-14 record

The Donovan Mitchell trade continues to pay off immensely for the Cavs. Averaging 28 points per game, he carried the team until Darius Garland was healthy. Now, the two of them are working on becoming a dynamic duo. Mitchell has been other-worldly this year and was stratospheric, scoring 71 points against the Bulls on the 2nd of January. That’s right…71 points. Incredible.

Whilst there are kinks to work out chemistry-wise, this team, on paper, is so dominant. In the mix, they boast Jarret Allen and Evan Mobley to complete a star-studded lineup that stands up to any team in the league.

I still feel they need another year’s seasoning before I’m fully confident in a title run, but with their talent, it would not surprise me if they put it all together in the second half of the year and dominate.

6 Memphis Grizzlies

23-13 record and a game off the number 1 seed in the Western Conference. They are a dominant 15-3 at home. Other than the Cavs, they currently have the best home record in the NBA. Ja Morant continues to be one of the best players in the NBA, and the Grizzlies will go as far as he takes them. Scoring 27 points per game and eight assists, he’s been sublime this season. Including a career-high 17 assists against the Raptors before the New Year.

Does he have enough support around him to really contend for a title? Memphis will continue to need Desmond Bane and Jackson Jr to provide the support to contend. They are likely still a further piece away before I’m comfortable calling them contenders to come out of the West.

7 Philadelphia 76ers

22-14 record

Boasting two superstars in James Harden and Joel Embiid, this duo continues to show nice chemistry together. This was particularly prevalent with their Christmas Day thumping of the Knicks, combining for 64 points. Harden has worked his game into being a facilitating point guard primarily. But he still has the elite scoring ability when he wants to dominate. Embiid was perhaps unlucky to have not won the MVP last season. They will need him to be that candidate for the rest of the season to contend. Tobias Harris has an important role to play as the tertiary scorer. Currently, have them slightly on the outside of a title run; however, they have the talent to do damage if they can stay healthy. Sixers looked strong, defeating the Pelicans.

Current NBA Power Rankings- Solid Playoff teams:

8 New Orleans Pelicans

23-14 record.

Zion Williamson has had an excellent comeback year to this point. Coming off a career-high 43 points against the Wolves. They possess a strong team with elite wing Brandon Ingram, and the underrated CJ McCollum, who scored 42 against the Sixers last week. They’ve drafted well and continue to emerge as a strong and deep team.

9 Dallas Mavericks

22-16 record

The Mavs are on a 7-game winning streak, including the craziest of comeback wins against the Knicks. Down 9 with 23 seconds left, they somehow came back to win in an epic Knick meltdown, and Doncic had a historic night that would make Wilt Chamberlain proud. With A 60-point-triple-double, the first time this has ever happened in NBA history. 61 points, 21 rebounds, and ten assists.

Luca Doncic is doing miraculous things this year, scoring 51 points against the Spurs on New Year’s Eve. For the third time in five games, Doncic has scored at least 50 points. Is this sustainable? He really needs more help for the Mavs to be contenders. Tim Hardaway Jr has been a solid scorer, but Spencer Dinwiddie has struggled from the field, shooting just 41%. Reggie Bullock, the free agent signing from the Knicks, has largely underperformed. However, Christian Wood was an astute pickup, playing well as Luca’s partner. Doncic has to be the favorite for the MVP at this point. I worry about them defensively, as they are seriously deficient defensively. A 3 and D wing and an upgrade to Dwight Powell could propel them further.

10 LA Clippers

21-17 record.

Kawhi Leonard might be more of a load management candidate during the regular season. But playoff Kawhi is a different beast. The two-time NBA Champion is capable of making this team a serious contender. Partnering with him is Paul George, along with John Wall backing up Reggie Jackson at the point. Wall was a smart pickup to add scoring off the bench. Ivica Zubac has had a solid year at center.

Paul George is having an all-star year – averaging 24 points per game, six boards, and five assists. I like the Clippers’ depth, and they are very well-coached with Tyronne Lue.

The Clippers are outside contenders for coming out of the Western Conference if they can get hot in the playoffs.

11 Golden State Warriors

19-18 9th in Western Conference

Last year’s NBA champions suffered from depth issues and size issues defensively even prior to Steph Curry going down with an injury. They have surged of late, winners of four straight as a reaction to blowout losses to both the Knicks and Brooklyn. Their Christmas Day blowout of the Grizzlies was their most impressive win. Draymond is playing better as the main ball-handler, Klay Thompson is improving after a slow start, and Jordan Poole continues to play well in Curry’s absence. I fancy the Warriors, with their championship pedigree, to go on a run once Curry returns as the most exciting player in the league and the best-ever shooter.

I want the Warriors to investigate the trade market to augment their bench before I’m ready to call them contenders.

12 Sacramento Kings

The Kings are in the midst of their best season in a long time. They are 19-16 and 5th in the NBA in pace. Playing at a frightening speed in transition with D’Aaron Fox at the point. They have the size and scoring in the paint in Sabonis, who leads the NBA in rebounds. The Kings also have defense on the wings with Davion Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, and Keegan Murray. Alongside them, they boast nice perimeter shooting with Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter. This is one of the deeper teams in the Western Conference.

Current NBA Power Rankings- Play-in or Better:

13 Phoenix Suns


Losers of 11 of 15 games.

Devin Booker‘s injury for the next few weeks has really hurt this team. They just got completely blown out of the building on the road to the Knicks 102-83. They really miss Tae Crowder and Cam Johnson. The Suns will struggle to score without Booker, as seen by their recent performances. Although we should expect a team with Ayton and Chris Paul, and Bridges to play reasonably well despite the injuries. ‘Point God’ Chris Paul is likely not at the stage in his career to carry the load. Ayton has been very inconsistent. It was only a year or two ago when the Suns were an unstoppable force. Now, they are just hoping to tread water until Booker gets healthy. This team needs a trade and Booker to get healthy to boost them into contention.

14 Indiana Pacers


The Pacers are on a 4-game winning streak and boast nice depth. Indiana has scored 119 points per 100 possessions last six games and are 6th in the NBA in pace. They are already just five wins away from their total wins last season. With Benedict Mathurin, an excellent draft pickup,  Indiana boasts tremendous depth, with Myles Turner, Andrew Nembhard, and Jalen Smith adding size. Buddy Hield is an elite 3-point shooter, and Tyrese Haliburton was an immense trade pickup last year from the Kings. Haliburton has averaged over 27 points per game over their last six games and is fast becoming a star young guard with his playmaking, shooting, and defense. Aaron Nesmith‘s form has pushed out Chris Duarte, who played really well last year for the Pacers in his rookie year. Further showing the tremendous depth the Pacers have.

15 Portland Trailblazers


A resurgent year for the Blazers. Jerami Grant has had an excellent year for the Blazers, averaging 22 points. Anfernee Simons is also developing into an exciting young scorer. The 23-year-old is also averaging 22 points per game. Damian Lillard is healthy and leads his team averaging 27 points and seven assists. Nurkic can never be underestimated at the center spot. I still have concerns about the Blazers defensively affecting their ceiling, but offensively they can score with the best of them.

16 New York Knicks


This is who the Knicks are – consistently inconsistent, but a slightly above .500 team overall that can make the 6th seed with a lot of luck, but also drop down to 10th.

Seven straight wins followed by five straight losses, and now two straight wins, including blowouts of the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns most recently. Julius Randle has been terrific this season, playing at an All-Star level. Averaging 24 points and around ten rebounds. His 46.7% FG% is his highest as a Knick. Jalen Brunson has also played at an All-Star level prior to his injury. Brunson has answered much of the Knicks’ desperate needs at PG. RJ Barrett, for the first quarter of the year, was the least efficient high-usage player in the NBA. He then went on a nice run after his bad start, including a 44-point night against the Bulls. I still question why the Knicks felt the need to extend him a year early. He’s a good player, but he hasn’t really improved from last season.

The Knicks have improved their trajectory for the season, playing young players extended minutes, especially Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

The biggest issue with the Knicks is they struggle to close out games. They fell apart after a strong start against the Sixers on Christmas Day. They blew a 20+ point lead against the Mavs and lost by over 20. In clutch spots against the Bulls, they went 0-4 from the free throw line down the stretch, which lost them the game by a single point. It was more difficult to lose that game. The worst example was being the first team in 13,000 games to blow a 9-point lead in the last 23 seconds against the Mavs. They clearly play well enough to start well, but closing games continues to be a problem. They need to make a major trade for a closer to make them a consistent top-6 team. Perhaps a Zach LaVine might become available.

17 Miami Heat


Never count out an Erik Spoelstra coached team with Pat Riley in the Front Office. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler are still stars, but they need a bit more consistent scoring help from Oladipo and Herro. I question their scoring depth and their bench depth despite how terrific Bam and Butler are. A marginal top-6 team or a play-in team barring a trade.

Current NBA power rankings- Scraping for a Play-in:

18 Atlanta Hawks


Problems could be brewing with the relationship between star Trae Young and his Coach Nate McMillan. It’s hard to understand how an All-Star backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray with John Collins as their third scorer, is struggling this much. But chemistry is not the same on this team, and fingers need to be pointed. The talent is there, but the performances aren’t.

19 Utah Jazz


Losers of 4 straight to take them below .500. As good as their offense is, they cannot defend, ranking 27th in defensive rating.

They have overall been a positive story on the season. Trading Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert would make many believe they would be tanking, but they have been surprisingly competitive night in and night out. Testament to good coaching and a solid front office vision.


20 LA Lakers


The Lakers are in a tough spot. They don’t have the assets to make the trades they desperately need to climb up into the Western Conference conversation. LeBron James has been Lebron, remarkably consistent at 38 years old. He’s still among the best players in the league, coming off a monster 47-point scoring performance against the Hawks. He alone can carry them to enough wins for a play-in. He’s been let down by a poor job by Rob Pelinka in putting a team around him lacking enough depth after AD.

Lumbered with Russell Westbrook’s contract, which is an albatross due to his decline from All-NBA to bench player at $ 47 million. Anthony Davis was having a monster year until his annual injury. If AD can get healthy, he and Lebron should be able to push them into a play-in spot. Their ceiling is fairly low due to their lack of depth and perimeter shooting. Patrick Beverley was a head-scratching acquisition as he notoriously doesn’t get on with Westbrook, and his best years are long since behind him.

However, I cannot count out a team with Lebron. So they still have a shot.

21 Toronto Raptors


Fred VanFleet and OG Anonoby are excellent two-way players. Pascal Siakam is still a terrific scorer at the Power Forward Spot. The Raptors could be a solid play-in team if they can hit their shots more consistently and play better defensively.

22 Chicago Bulls

16-21 record

Another example of poor chemistry ruining excellent talent on this team. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine with Nikola Vucevic should not be 16-21. A lot of the problems lie with the loss of Lonzo Ball. His injury changed how the Bulls operated their offense, and they simply cannot defend at all.

I can see their two stars being moved sooner or later.

23 Washington Wizards


A resurgent year from Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma gives them an outside chance to make the play-in. Still lacking depth and overall talent.

24 Minnesota Timberwolves


Losers of six straight, the Timberwolves have upset their strong start to the year. Now the Wolves are in the midst of locker room problems and a lack of accountability from top to bottom. After a 12-point embarrassing loss to the tanking Pistons, inquests will continue. It’s a shame because the talent is there, but the chemistry isn’t, especially with Rudy Gobert not working well with Karl Anthony Towns. The Gobert trade seemed like a massive overpay, and considering their record, it could be a costly one.

Current NBA Power Rankings- Tank Commanders:

25- Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous Alexander is phenomenal, but this team is still a ways away from contention. SGA’s partnership with Josh Giddey should make them an exciting team going forward, but the Thunder need another offseason of solid drafting and talent acquisition.

26 Detroit Pistons

I’m a fan of Cade Cunningham (currently out injured) and Jaden Ivey. Bojan Bogdanovic has been an excellent pickup for that veteran presence. The pistons have a bright future if they can continue to draft well. They are still a long way away from competing, however, which their 10-29 record attests to. They have beaten the Magic by 20 last week, which puts them ahead of the Magic in my rankings.

27 Orlando Magic

13-24 record. A long rebuild ahead. Very long rebuild. Perhaps Banchero, Bol Bol, and Suggs can provide a positive future.

28  San Antonio Spurs

12-25 Tremendously coached, but they are seriously lacking talent or players to build around. If they can luck out in the lottery and get a potential star in the draft like Victor Wembanyama, that could change their current steep decline.

29 Charlotte Hornets


Completely lost as a team when LaMelo Ball was injured, now he’s back and putting up numbers alongside Terry Rozier, yet they are still losing. By a lot. If they land Wembanya, they will be right up in the Eastern Conference next year, however.

30 Houston Rockets


Rockets are getting bombed more often than not lately. Lost by 30 against the Knicks, lost by 24 to the Celtics, and 15 to the Mavs. Houston has no identity after trading away James Harden.



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