NBA

NBA Power Rankings: How far will the Warriors fall?

Cracks are showing for the Golden State Warriors and a new power class is emerging at the top of the NBA. Who is moving up and down in our latest NBA power rankings?

30

Chicago Bulls 4-13

Last week: 0-3
Last rank: 25

It was one of those weeks for the Chicago Bulls — losing all three games and getting outscored by an average of 27.3 points per 100 possessions. Adding insult to injury, ESPN released the first round of Real Plus-Minus figures and estimated that Jabari Parker has been the worst player in the league by a fairly significant margin.

29

Atlanta Hawks 3-14

Last week: 0-4
Last rank: 28

On one hand, the Hawks lost all four of their games this week, by an average of 14.6 points per 100 possessions. On the other hand, 538 now projects the Hawks to finish with the worst record in the league, placing them among the pool of teams with the best odds of the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

28

New York Knicks 4-13

Last week: 0-3
Last rank: 24

Losing can be productive if it gives a team an opportunity to feed opportunities and reps to their young players, building up experience for the future. Unfortunately for the Knicks, the reps their players are getting have been rather ugly — Frank Ntilikina scored eight points in 58 minutes this week. Kevin Knox, Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier all shot under 40 percent across three games.

27

Phoenix Suns 3-13

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 30

Emblematic of the Suns’ struggles this season — Josh Jackson is shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 30.3 percent on 3-pointers. He has more turnovers than assists or rebounds. Also, Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza are shooting under 35 percent on 3s. Ugh.

26

Cleveland Cavaliers 2-13

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 29

The Cavaliers still aren’t winning games but since dismissing head coach Ty Lue, rookie Collin Sexton is averaging 14.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, shooting 46.2 percent from the field and hitting two-thirds of his 3-pointers. That’s not nothing.

25

Washington Wizards 5-11

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 26

The Wizards won a game and finished with a positive point differential this week despite the other two losses. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the team might be ready to start exploring trades and everyone on the roster could be available — a sign that management still isn’t feeling optimistic. Who can blame them?

24

Minnesota Timberwolves 7-10

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 27

With the Jimmy Butler trade behind them, things have appeared to be flowing much better for the Timberwolves. Robert Covington and Dario Saric are assertive decision-makers in the offense, moving the ball and not hesitating to take shots. They’ve collectively hit 17-of-35 3s since joining the team, a huge boon to Minnesota’s spacing.

23

Miami Heat 6-10

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 18

The Heat have continued to slide and if they’re not careful they could find themselves with too much ground to cover to get back into the playoff race. Their offense struggled mightily this week and turnovers were a huge problem for their egalitarian approach to shot creation.

22

Brooklyn Nets 7-10

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 20

The Nets offense looked surprisingly resilient this week without Caris LeVert. D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie picked up quite a bit of slack and, with the news that LeVert could possibly return this season, they just need to hang around for a late-season playoff push.

21

Detroit Pistons 8-6

Last week: 2-0
Last rank: 19

The Pistons won both of their games this week but still slid two spots, mostly because their season-long statistical resume continues to be uninspiring. They’re two games over .500 but have a perfectly even point differential for the season.

20

Sacramento Kings 9-8

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 17

It was fun while it lasted but the Kings have started to tail off. Rumors are that the front office is considering dismissing Dave Joerger over disagreements about how Marvin Bagley is being used. This is the same Marvin Bagley who has the second-worst Real Plus-Minus in the entire league.

19

Orlando Magic 9-8

Last week: 3-0
Last rank: 23

The Magic may have quietly turned the corner. They are over .500 after winning seven of their last nine games, including wins over the Spurs, Lakers and 76ers. Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon have been key over this stretch, combining for 41.9 points, 17.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game and hitting 28 of their 67 3-point attempts.

18

San Antonio Spurs 8-8

Last week: 1-3
Last rank: 8

LaMarcus Aldridge’s struggles have officially moved from the “curious” category to the “concerning” one. He’s hitting the glass hard but was just 18-of-54 from the field across the Spurs’ 1-3 week, and is just a touch over 40 percent for the season. San Antonio’s margin for error is slim and they need him to be at their best to survive.

17

Utah Jazz 8-9

Last week: 1-3
Last rank: 12

Only the lowly Bulls had a worse point differential over the past week (minus-17.7) courtesy of the Jazz’s 50-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Donovan Mitchell has not been the same player this season and the offense has been crumbling without him excelling at the point of attack.

16

Dallas Mavericks 7-9

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 21

The aforementioned 50-point whupping of the Utah Jazz has kicked the Mavericks up a few spots. Luka Doncic continues to look like an All-Star and Harrison Barnes has had a solid week, helping add some secondary scoring punch to Dallas’ offense.

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