With the Golden State Warriors on a 17-game win streak, is it time for them to take home their 4th straight NBA Championship?
The “nba power rankings 2021” is a weekly ranking of the NBA teams. The article will be updated every Monday morning and it will include the standings, record, playoff odds, and more.
Klay Thompson has returned to the court after a 941-day absence. The Golden State Warriors’ Splash Brother made his much-anticipated season debut with 17 points in 20 minutes during the Warriors’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. He hadn’t played in an NBA game since the 2019 Finals due to ACL and Achilles ailments.
How dangerous are the Warriors now that they have co-owned the league’s best record and have added another offensive weapon?
The Memphis Grizzlies, meanwhile, have the league’s longest current victory run outside of San Francisco. The Grizzlies’ victory against the Los Angeles Lakers extended their winning streak to nine games, which featured this amazing block by Ja Morant.
The conference-leading Bulls lost their nine-game winning run against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in the East. The Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors now have the longest current streaks in the conference, each with a six-game run heading into the week.
Check out the current standings of all 30 clubs.
Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin, and Ohm Youngmisuk) will rank all 30 teams from top to bottom, determining which teams are currently playing the best basketball and which teams are most likely to win the championship.
1. Golden State Warriors 2021-22 record: 30-9 Previous ranking: 1
After two and a half years, Klay Thompson is back. The former All-Star provided exactly the kind of jolt Steve Kerr & Co. were hoping to see in his return game Sunday night, scoring 17 points in 20 minutes in a win over the Cavs. The Warriors have to hope the good vibes can keep rolling this week during a tough four-game road stretch that includes games against the Grizzlies, Bucks and Bulls. — Friedell
2. Phoenix Suns 2021-22 record: 30-9 Previous ranking: 2
Devin Booker’s field goal percentage has dropped since his comeback from a hamstring injury on Dec. 19. In his last 11 games, he’s shot 40.8 percent overall, but his 3-point percentage has improved. In his first 21 games, he shot 40.3 percent, and in his last 11, he’s shot 42.0 percent. His total percentage of 41.0 percent for the season would be a career high, surpassing his 38.3 percent from 2017-18 and a significant improvement over the 34.0 percent he shot from beyond the arc previous season. Lopez’s words
3. Chicago Bulls 2021-22 record: 26-11 Previous ranking: 3
On Sunday night, the Bulls lost for the first time since December 11, shattering a nine-game winning run. They’ll be put to the test this week when they host two of the NBA’s best teams: The first battle comes on Wednesday night against the Nets, followed by a meeting with the Warriors on Friday. This season, the Bulls are 2-0 versus Brooklyn, but they lost their one encounter with Golden State earlier in the season. Collier’s
4. Utah Jazz 2021-22 record: 28-12 Previous ranking: 4
The Jazz were the only club in the league not to be affected by COVID-19 this season, but the squad is presently in the middle of an epidemic, with four players, including All-Star center Rudy Gobert, undergoing health and safety measures. Hassan Whiteside has done well as Gobert’s backup, but the Jazz are 0-2 with Whiteside in the starting lineup, with Saturday’s defeat in Indiana being particularly disappointing on defense. MacMahon (MacMahon)
5. Memphis Grizzlies: 28-14 in 2021-22. Previous position: 8
Over the last six weeks, no one has played better than the Grizzlies. Memphis has won 19 of its last 23 games, the most in the league during that time period, and has a net rating of plus-13.1, almost four points higher than any other club. Despite Ja Morant’s numerous high-flying highlights, the Grizzlies’ success has been built on the NBA’s stingiest defense in that six-week period (101.8 points per 100 possessions). MacMahon (MacMahon)
6. Milwaukee Bucks 2021-22 record: 26-16 Previous ranking: 5
If Milwaukee’s return to the NBA Finals involves another series against the Brooklyn Nets, the Bucks must take heart from their first two encounters this season. The Bucks are 2-0 versus the Nets, with victory in Milwaukee on opening night and Brooklyn last week. Winning by an average of 18 points each game serves as a reminder that they are still in contention for the Eastern Conference title. Collier’s
7. Miami Heat 2021-22 record: 25-15 Previous ranking: 7
Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson combined for 60 points in Miami’s victory against the Suns on Saturday, capping up the team’s West Coast tour. With Jimmy Butler still out with an ankle injury, the Heat will have a nice respite until their game against the Hawks on Wednesday. Friedell’s words
8. Brooklyn Nets 2021-22 record: 25-13 Previous ranking: 6
Even if Kyrie Irving is back in Brooklyn, something isn’t quite right with the Nets. They’ve dropped four of their last six games, with just a strong fourth-quarter comeback against Indiana and a near-collapse against San Antonio keeping them from going on a six-game losing skid. There’s still of time to get things right, but this isn’t the Nets the rest of the world was expecting to see this season. — Best wishes
9. Philadelphia 76ers 2021-22 record: 22-16 Previous ranking: 9
This season, Philadelphia is 19-8 with Joel Embiid in the lineup and 3-8 without him. With a month before the trade deadline, the 76ers’ only concern is whether Ben Simmons will be dealt before the deadline, providing Embiid with reinforcements for the stretch run and playoffs, or will this drama go on until the summer. — Best wishes
10. Dallas Mavericks 2021-22 record: 22-18 Previous ranking: 16
The Mavs have a season-high six-game winning run, which includes victory against the Warriors and Bulls. During the stretch, the Mavs have kept five of their six opponents under 100 points, averaging 93.0 points per game. Dallas has improved their defensive efficiency to seventh in the league (107.1). MacMahon (MacMahon)
11. Cleveland Cavaliers 2021-22 record: 22-18 Previous ranking: 10
In Klay Thompson’s comeback game for the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, Cleveland lost for the fifth time in its last seven games. However, in his first two games with the Cavs, new guard Rajon Rondo has had an instant impact, averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
12. Denver Nuggets 2021-22 record: 20-18 Previous ranking: 11
The Nuggets won their sixth game in a row on Sunday, and Nikola Jokic’s MVP run continues. Despite teams throwing all they can at the MVP, he has averaged 25.7 points and 16.7 rebounds in those seven games. The Nuggets are sending Bol Bol to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Rodney McGruder, and DeMarcus Cousins might be signed to a 10-day contract shortly to aid Jokic. Denver’s next six games are against the Clippers twice, the Blazers once, the Lakers once, the Jazz once, and the Grizzlies once, so they’ll have a better idea of where they are in the West during this time. Youngmisuk’s remark
The Los Angeles Lakers had a 21-20 record in 2021-22. 14th place before.
Wednesday, January 12th, 7:30 p.m., Mavericks vs. Knicks 10 p.m., Nets vs. Bulls
Warriors at Bulls, 7:30 p.m.; Mavericks at Grizzlies, 10 p.m.
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
The Lakers won four straight games against four teams who are a combined 24 games below.500, before losing by as many as 29 points to a Grizzlies club that is 14 games above.500 on Sunday. With the Lakers facing a back-to-back slate of equally difficult opponents, Russell Westbrook was asked what the team has to do to contend in both games. “I don’t have an explanation for it,” he said. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
20-17 record for the Toronto Raptors in 2021-22. Previous position: 18
The fact that the Raptors have won six straight games and are now three games above.500 despite the fact that their best three players — Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam — have only played nine games together shows their potential if they can stay healthy in the second half of the season. — Best wishes
15. Charlotte Hornets 2021-22 record: 21-19 Previous ranking: 13
Charlotte has shown it can score against anybody, as seen by the 254 points scored in two consecutive victories against the Pistons and Bucks. Terry Rozier had 44 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds in those victories. The bigger question for the Hornets is whether they can defend at a high enough level. The team has surrendered an average of 118.5 points per game in their first four games of the month. Friedell’s words
16. Minnesota Timberwolves 2021-22 record: 20-20 Previous ranking: 19
Although Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell has a career-low shooting percentage from the field (39.3) and is shooting several points below his career average from three (33.7 percent vs. 35.8%), Minnesota has clearly benefited from having him on the floor this season, outscoring opponents by 16.7 points per 100 possessions with Russell on the floor. When he plays, the Timberwolves are 17-12, and when he sits, they are 2-8. Collier’s
17. Los Angeles Clippers, 2021-22, 20-21, 20-21, 20-21, 20-21, 20-21, 20-21, 20 Previous position: 12
On Sunday, the Clippers ruined Lou Williams’ comeback by defeating the Hawks in a much-needed win. It helped to stop the bleeding from a nine-game losing streak for the Clippers. The Clippers are progressively regaining some players. Apart from Tyronn Lue, who was released from health and safety procedures last week, Ivica Zubac was also freed from protocols, while Nicolas Batum was allowed to return from injury. However, with Paul George (elbow), Luke Kennard (protocols), and Isaiah Hartenstein (ankle) remaining out, Lue will have his job cut out for him to avoid the Clippers from falling farther behind in the standings. Youngmisuk’s remark
18. Washington Wizards 2021-22 record: 20-20 Previous ranking: 15
Washington is still in the game. However, reinforcements are on their way. After missing almost half of the season due to personal reasons, Rui Hachimura has returned. Thomas Bryant is on his way back, and Montrezl Harrell is out of health and safety procedures. Kyle Kuzma is also having a career-best season, coming off a 27-point, 22-rebound performance in Washington’s victory over Orlando. With a record of 20-20, Washington is in the hunt for a postseason berth (ninth in the East). Youngmisuk’s remark
19. Boston Celtics 2021-22 record: 19-21 Previous ranking: 17
No matter what mix of players has been available this season, Boston has continued to underwhelm and has been unable to get its offense going consistently. However, for the first time this season, the team’s core is healthy for a lengthy period of time, which might be cause for hope. — Best wishes
20. New York Knicks 2021-22 record: 19-21 Previous ranking: 21
Despite a run of COVID-19 cases and injuries, New York has gone 7-5 in its last 12 games, missing Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, and Derrick Rose for Saturday’s defeat in Boston. RJ Barrett and Julius Randle must start shooting closer to what they did last season, when they shot over 40% from 3-point range, rather than the low 30s they are at this season, if the Knicks are to take any more strides ahead. — Best wishes
The Atlanta Hawks had a 17-22 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 20
In a defeat against the Trail Blazers on Jan. 3, Trae Young scored 56 points and 14 assists. His 14 assists were the most in any NBA game with 55 points or more. He also became the third-youngest player in NBA history (23 years, 106 days) to score 50 points and dish out 10 assists, behind only Kevin Porter (20 years, 360 days in 2001) and LeBron James (23 years, 106 days) (23 years, 66 days in 2008). Lopez’s words
22. San Antonio Spurs 2021-22 record: 15-24 Previous ranking: 22
Dejounte Murray was forced to sit out five games for San Antonio because of league health and safety standards and reconditioning. The Spurs ended a four-game losing run as soon as he returned to the starting lineup. Murray has averaged 22.7 points, 11 assists, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.7 steals in three games since his return. Lopez’s words
23. Sacramento Kings 2021-22 record: 16-26 Previous ranking: 23
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Sacramento has lost four consecutive games and is now 10 games below.500 after being blasted out by Portland on Sunday. When head coach Luke Walton was sacked, the Kings were 6-11, and they’ve gone 10-15 since then. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
24. Indiana Pacers 2021-22 record: 15-25 Previous ranking: 24
Lance Stephenson had a victorious comeback to Indiana this week, playing in his third season with the Pacers and his first games with the team since 2018. He averaged 14.3 points and six assists on 55.8% shooting in four games, including a 30-point performance off the bench against Brooklyn on Wednesday, helping to energize Pacers fans with whom he has a long history. Collier’s
25. Portland Trail Blazers 2021-22 record: 15-24 Previous ranking: 25
The Blazers have lost Norman Powell to health and safety regulations after already losing Damian Lillard (abdomen) and CJ McCollum. However, Anfernee Simons scored 31 points to lead Portland to a victory against Sacramento and give the Blazers something to cheer about. Portland has lost 16 of its previous 21 games coming into Sunday. The Blazers are on the road for six consecutive games after a home game against the Nets with a healthy Kyrie Irving. If Lillard and McCollum do not return soon, it will continue to be Simons’ show. Youngmisuk’s remark
26. New Orleans Pelicans 2021-22 record: 14-25 Previous ranking: 26
Josh Hart has scored in double digits in 12 straight games, his longest stretch in the league. His previous high was nine games with the Lakers, while his prior low was four games with New Orleans. Hart is averaging 15.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in those 12 games, while shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. Lopez’s words
27. Oklahoma City Thunder 2021-22 record: 13-26 Previous ranking: 27
The Thunder have gone 0-for-2022 in January, losing all four games, but youngster Josh Giddey has been a bright light. During the four-game losing run, Giddey is averaging 12.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 8.3 assists. The kid has the most assists (6.4 per game), is third in rebounding (7.5), and is ninth in scoring among rookies this season (11.1). MacMahon (MacMahon)
28. Houston Rockets 2021-22 record: 11-30 Previous ranking: 28
Since their seven-game winning run was ended, the Rockets have gone 3-14. During that time, Houston’s defense has been notably bad, allowing 122.8 points per 100 possessions, which is one of the reasons the Rockets have lost 11 of their 14 games by double digits. MacMahon (MacMahon)
29. Detroit Pistons 2021-22 record: 8-30 Previous ranking: 30
The Pistons had a roller-coaster week that included an upset win over the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, back-to-back 59-point defeats to Charlotte and Memphis, and a win over the Magic in a meeting of the league’s two poorest teams. Collier’s
30. Orlando Magic 2021-22 record: 7-34 Previous ranking: 29
Orlando has dropped nine games in a row and is failing to establish any kind of consistency. Is there a modest bright spot? In his first five games of 2022, Gary Harris has averaged 20 points per game. Friedell’s words
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