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The previous week in the NBA experienced plenty of highs and lows, from James Harden moving to Brooklyn to several games around the league getting postponed due to health and safety protocols.
In the midst of the drama, some teams are beginning to rise to the top and separate themselves from the rest of the league. Conversely, others are beginning to fall down the standings due to injuries and other related availability issues.
To make sense of it all, Rookie Wire took a look at the league as a whole and ranked each team from worst to best. We will come back each week and provide our latest assessment on the best teams in the NBA and those that are beginning to rise.
Check out our latest Rookie Power Rankings
Washington Wizards (3-8)
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Rank Last Week: 30 Washington had six players test positive for the coronavirus and has not played in a week. Including Monday, the team has had four consecutive games postponed with no certainty they will play Wednesday versus the Charlotte Hornets.
Detroit Pistons (3-9)
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Rank Last Week: 29 Pistons forward Jerami Grant is off to the best start of his career, scoring at least 20 points in 11 straight games, which is the second-longest active streak in the NBA this season. Grant and the Pistons are coming off an impressive 20-point win over the Miami Heat with another matchup looming on Monday.
Minnesota Timberwolves (3-8)
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Rank Last Week: 28 The Timberwolves played one game last week after Friday's contest was postponed due to health and safety protocols. Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns revealed he had tested positive for the coronavirus while team president Gersson Rosas confirmed one other player also returned a positive test. Rosas said Towns is the most important player to the franchise and called it heartbreaking that Towns returned a positive test after the 25-year-old lost multiple members of his family, including his mother, to the virus.
Sacramento Kings (5-9)
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Rank Last Week: 27 After losing on Sunday, the Kings have gone 2-8 since beginning with a 3-1 record. Sacramento has the worst defense in the NBA and is 5.5 points per 100 possessions worse than the Timberwolves, who are ranked 29th. The Kings have issues up and down the roster, and there doesn't appear to be a fix coming anytime soon.
Houston Rockets (4-7)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Rank Last Week: 24 James Harden is gone and the organization can move on without further distractions. The past week has seen undrafted rookies Jae'Sean Tate and Mason Jones step up with multiple starters injured, and that should serve as a bright spot moving forward until the veterans can return.
Atlanta Hawks (5-7)
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Rank Last Week: 22 The Hawks began the season 4-1 but have gone 1-6 since. Trae Young is off to a shaky start, and he has struggled to shoot from 3-point range, as have other players on the roster. Atlanta ranks 15th in offense and 12th in defense, so there is certainly hope the team can turn things around.
Miami Heat (4-7)
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Rank Last Week: 20 The Heat have lost three straight and rank in the bottom third in both offense and defense. Like most teams in the league, Miami has dealt with several injuries and issues related to health and safety protocols that haven't helped its cause to begin the season. Once fully assembled, though, the group figures to bounce back and be one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference.
New Orleans Pelicans (5-7)
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Rank Last Week: 21 New Orleans managed to snap a five-game losing streak on Sunday versus the Sacramento Kings. They have struggled in close-game situations and will need to improve in that area moving forward. Brandon Ingram continues to play out of his mind, but the Pelicans have been unable to get him more help to this point of the season. But, at least, Zion Williamson is healthy...
Toronto Raptors (4-8)
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Rank Last Week: 25 Toronto went 2-1 last week, but both wins were over the Charlotte Hornets, and they just barely got by them. But after struggling to begin the year, the Raptors will certainly take those wins, though we are uncertain what exactly is going on with them. They are too talented to be 4-8 and they have been relatively healthy so things should turn around at some point.
Chicago Bulls (5-8)
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Rank Last Week: 23 Why do the Bulls hate Zach LaVine? The team recently lost four straight games, in which LaVine totaled 150 points to become the third player in team history to reach those numbers in that time frame. They even blew a 10-point lead with under two minutes to go on Friday versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite that, they somehow rebounded and posted an impressive win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
New York Knicks (6-8)
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Rank Last Week: 19 New York snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday and did so by posting a 30-point win over the Boston Celtics. Knicks rookie Immanuel Quickley has been a joy to watch, and he has really come alive after averaging nearly 20 points per game over his last three. Plus, have you seen his floaters this season?
Orlando Magic (6-7)
(AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Rank Last Week: 10 After a tremendous start, the Magic are a hot mess. They have lost five straight games and are still trying to figure out life without Markelle Fultz. The offense has been unorganized without Fultz, and the team is desperately searching for an initiator on that end of the floor. But, hey, they kept it close against the new-look Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, so that should count for something.
Charlotte Hornets (6-8)
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Rank Last Week: 17 After recently winning five straight games, the Hornets have lost three consecutive matchups. They narrowly dropped back-to-back meetings versus the Raptors, and LaMelo Ball seems to have taken a step back since his earlier dominance. Still, the Hornets have been fun to watch and should be alive in the playoff picture this season in the East.
Cleveland Cavaliers (6-7)
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Rank Last Week: 18 Andre Drummond reminded everyone on Friday he can still dominate with the best of them. He posted 33 points and 23 rebounds in a win over the Knicks for his 43rd career game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, the third-most in NBA history.
Memphis Grizzlies (6-6)
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Rank Last Week: 26 Ja Morant is back after an eight-game absence from an ankle injury, and the Grizzlies are rolling, having won four straight games. Included in the winning streak are victories over the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers with a key matchup looming on Monday versus the Phoenix Suns. A win over the Suns would keep the Grizz moving in the right direction.
Denver Nuggets (6-7)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Rank Last Week: 16 Denver narrowly lost to the Utah Jazz on Sunday, but looks to be on the right track after a 1-4 start. The loss of Michael Porter Jr. due to health and safety protocols has been huge, but the Nuggets figure to be set up well once he returns from quarantine.
Oklahoma City Thunder (6-6)
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Rank Last Week: 13 The Thunder don't want to hear that they are rebuilding. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is earning All-Star buzz, Luguentz Dort is draining 3-pointers and Hamidou Diallo has carved out a nice role with the team. Remember that monumental loss the Bulls suffered to the Thunder we told you about earlier? That was the fifth-largest comeback in Thunder history, so this team clearly isn't giving up this season.
Golden State Warriors (6-6)
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Rank Last Week: 12 The Warriors rebounded from a tough start, winning four of five games, but have since dropped two straight. The team still looks to be figuring things out on both ends of the floor, though it is certainly always good with Stephen Curry in the picture. Watching them versus the Lakers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be a good barometer to see how they stack up against the best team in the league.
Dallas Mavericks (6-6)
AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Rank Last Week: 8 Just when Dallas looked to be rolling, the team suffered two straight losses, including one to the Bulls on Sunday. Luka Doncic appears in midseason form, having posted triple-doubles in each of the last three games. Doncic took full responsibility for the loss on Sunday and vowed to be better moving forward.
San Antonio Spurs (7-6)
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Rank Last Week: 14 Since losing four straight earlier this season, the Spurs have gone 5-2 and have gotten the job done seemingly with a new player stepping up each night. From DeMar DeRozan to Keldon Johnson, the Spurs have several guys capable of leading the team and that should prove beneficial throughout the year.
Indiana Pacers (8-5)
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Rank Last Week: 7 Indiana went .500 last week at 2-2 and even had a game postponed due to contact tracing within the Phoenix Suns. The organization traded Victor Oladipo in the four-team James Harden deal, but discovered that newcomer Caris LeVert from the Brooklyn Nets had a small mass on his kidney. LeVert is out indefinitely, but the trade was truly a blessing in disguise.
Portland Trail Blazers (8-5)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Rank Last Week: 11 Portland has won five out of its last six games and appears in a groove. However, Jusuf Nurkic is out eight weeks after suffering a fractured wrist and C.J. McCollum is out on Monday due to a foot injury, so the Trail Blazers' depth will be tested in the short term.
Brooklyn Nets (8-6)
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Rank Last Week: 15 The Nets got their man in James Harden, and now appear to be the favorites in the East. Harden wasted no time getting started, becoming the first player in NBA history to produce a 30-point triple-double in a debut with a new team. Oh, and Kevin Durant dropped 42 points in that win over the Magic. As Harden said afterward, it is scary hours in Brooklyn now.
Philadelphia 76ers (9-5)
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Rank Last Week: 3 The Sixers got off to a quick start this season, but have since struggled due to various injuries and ongoing issues with the coronavirus. The team's game on Sunday in Oklahoma City was called off after the team couldn't produce the league-minimum eight available players. While they have dealt with availability problems, the Sixers have been among the best teams in the league and should be a problem again once they can get fully assembled.
Boston Celtics (8-4)
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Rank Last Week: 4 The Celtics missed most of last week due to health and safety protocols but returned on Friday by dominating the Magic. However, they followed that performance with a dud against the Knicks on Sunday, so we're not really sure what to make of that. Kemba Walker returned in that game, at least, so Boston is beginning to get healthy after a week-long hiatus.
Phoenix Suns (7-4)
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Rank Last Week: 2 The Suns haven't played since losing last Monday to the Washington Wizards due to health and safety protocols. They are set to return on MLK Day with a contest versus the Grizzlies, who are one of the marquee teams to play each year on the holiday.
Utah Jazz (9-4)
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Rank Last Week: 9 The Jazz had a 3-0 week and have won five straight games overall. Donovan Mitchell had a huge second half on Sunday to lead Utah to victory as the team begins to lock in this season. The group ranks inside the top 10 in both offense and defense and is in a position to chase the two L.A. teams for the best record in the league.
Milwaukee Bucks (9-4)
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Rank Last Week: 6 Milwaukee held on late Friday versus the Mavericks for its fourth straight victory. The team appears to be rolling after posting seven wins over its last eight contests. They have the best offense in the NBA and rank seventh in defense, which just about sums up a team coached by Mike Budenholzer.
Los Angeles Clippers (10-4)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Rank Last Week: 5 The Clippers finally look to be jelling on the court and that has resulted in four straight wins. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George look in midseason form with both players averaging 24 points per game over their last three.
Los Angeles Lakers (11-3)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Rank Last Week: 1 After LeBron James gave the Lakers a grade of a B+ last week, it is safe to say the defending champions are up to at least an A- grade by now. The Lakers have won five straight and are winning so handily that James and Anthony Davis are resting in the fourth quarters. That's probably not good for the rest of the league.