As we reach the midpoint of November, NBA teams are starting to settle into rotations and get their offseason acquisitions acclimated. For now, we’re seeing that not much has changed from a year ago in terms of the balance of power in the league.
Last week saw many of the anticipated powers establish their dominance with winning streaks. Below are Contest General’s updated NBA Power Rankings.
Movin’ On Up
The Pistons have been a bit of a surprise in the East. The consensus was that they should be better due to health, but Detroit looks like a top-4 team in the conference. Tobias Harris (20.1 points) is having a career year as a high-level scorer, Andre Drummond has been one of the best interior presences in the league and welcome back Reggie Jackson (16.3 points, 6.1 assists). The Pistons are top-10 in the NBA in both offensive and defensive rating (points per 100 possessions) and own a win over Golden State.
Denver has figured it out offensively and a great frontcourt coupled with a talented, youthful backcourt has produced wins. It’s not fluff either. The Nuggets have beaten the Raptors, Thunder and Magic already, averaging nearly 119 points in those three wins. Paul Millsap seems to be getting comfortable playing next to Nikola Jokic. Maybe most importantly, the Nuggets move the ball better than almost anyone besides Golden State with six guys averaging double figures. This is a team that was one game out of the playoffs last year, so the Nuggets are right where they should be with the addition of Millsap.
Movin’ On Down
Los Angeles Clippers
This could be considered a slight overreaction, but the Clippers have lost five straight games entering this week and the same elite defensive rating that they started the season with has now plummeted to No. 23 in the league. Los Angeles hasn’t looked as good it did early in the season, but four of those five losses came to the Grizzlies, Spurs, Thunder and Pelicans. The Clips are currently without three of their top nine players due to injury. Their health will dictate how quickly they recover.
This is another team that has battled injury problems, but it’s tough to use that as an excuse. The Hornets have lost four consecutive games. The good news is that all four came on the road to teams that should make the playoffs. However, Charlotte is 1-6 away from home this season and that is a trend that could keep the Hornets out of the playoffs. They also need to improve on their 22nd ranked offensive rating.
NBA Power Rankings (Updated 11/13)
1: Boston Celtics (12-2) (LW: 2)
2: Golden State Warriors (10-3) (LW: 1)
3: Houston Rockets (11-3) (LW 3)
4: Detroit Pistons (10-3) (LW: 5)
5: San Antonio Spurs (8-5) (LW: 7)
6: Washington Wizards (7-5) (LW: 9)
7: Minnesota Timberwolves (7-5) (LW: 4)
8: Orlando Magic (8-5) (LW: 11)
9: Portland Trail Blazers (6-6) (LW: 6)
10: Memphis Grizzlies (7-5) (LW: 8)
11: Toronto Raptors (7-5) (LW: 12)
12: Philadelphia 76ers (6-6) (LW: 13)
13: Cleveland Cavaliers (6-7) (LW: 14)
14: Denver Nuggets (8-5) (LW: 23)
15: Milwaukee Bucks (6-6) (LW: 17)
16: New Orleans Pelicans (7-6) (LW: 15)
17: New York Knicks (7-5) (LW: 18)
18: Oklahoma City Thunder (6-7) (LW: 16)
19: Indiana Pacers (6-8) (LW: 20)
20: Los Angeles Clippers (5-7) (LW: 10)
21: Utah Jazz (6-7) (LW: 21)
22: Miami Heat (6-7) (LW: 24)
23: Charlotte Hornets (5-7) (LW: 19)
24: Phoenix Suns (5-9) (LW: 25)
25: Los Angeles Lakers (5-8) (LW: 22)
26: Brooklyn Nets (5-8) (W: 28)
27: Sacramento Kings (3-9) (LW: 29)
28: Chicago Bulls (2-9) (LW: 26)
29: Atlanta Hawks (2-11) (LW: 27)
30: Dallas Mavericks (2-12) (LW: 30)