NBA Power Rankings: Suns reclaim No. 1 spot after Warriors’ struggles

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With the NBA now in the second half of the season, teams and players alike continue to put up impressive performances on a nightly basis. As a result, some have really started to separate themselves in the standings.

The Memphis Grizzlies continue to stay hot, while the Golden State Warriors have struggled a bit as of late. Elsewhere, the Cleveland Cavaliers have started to turn things around again and now own the longest winning streak at five games.

To further make sense of it all, Rookie Wire took a look at the NBA and ranked each team from worst to first. We will come back each week and provide our latest assessment on the best teams and those that are rising.

Orlando Magic (8-36)

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Last Rank: 30

The Magic snapped a 10-game losing streak on Friday with a win over the Charlotte Hornets as the Wagner brothers combined to score 45 points. The team got a huge addition with Jalen Suggs returning in that contest as the group is getting healthier. Also of note: Orlando has the 11th-best defense in the NBA over its last seven games.

Oklahoma City Thunder (14-28)

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 27

The Thunder posted a big win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday but have mostly struggled as of late, losing six out of their last seven games. However, rookie Josh Giddey continues to perform well this season. He is averaging 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists and currently on pace to become just the fourth rookie in history to average those numbers, joining Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Ben Simmons.

For more coverage on the Thunder, visit Thunder Wire

Houston Rockets (13-32)

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Last Rank: 29

The Rockets have gotten to full strength for the first time this season and have won two out of their last three games. With a clean injury report, the team hopes to start to build positive momentum moving forward but has a tough upcoming schedule with the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors looming.

For more coverage on the Rockets, visit Rockets Wire

Detroit Pistons (10-32)

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 28

No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham last week turned in his first signature performance after scoring a career-high 29 points to lead the Pistons to a win over the Jazz. The Pistons have gone 5-4 over their last nine games and appear to be trending upward. They should also get Jerami Grant back soon, which will be a big return for the group.

Indiana Pacers (15-28)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 23

The Pacers are in the midst of a tough spell, losing nine out of their last 10 games. To make matters worse, they begin a five-game West Coast road trip on Monday with the Los Angeles Clippers so they face a tough stretch this week.

Atlanta Hawks (17-25)

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Last Rank: 22

The Hawks have turned into one of the coldest teams in the NBA, losing five straight entering a matchup on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks. The team is simply not playing well at the moment and does not appear to have the answers on how to turn it around.

San Antonio Spurs (16-27)

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 21

The Spurs snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, which was just their second win since Dec. 26. The team continues to get tremendous production from Dejounte Murray, who is averaging 24.6 points, nine assists, 8.8 rebounds and two steals over his last five games.

New Orleans Pelicans (16-28)

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 25

The Pelicans went 2-2 last week as the highlight of the action came on Tuesday as Brandon Ingram hit the game-winning shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is averaging 23.2 points, 6.6 assists and 5.6 rebounds on 43.5% shooting from 3-point range over his last five games.

Sacramento Kings (18-28)

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 24

The Kings went 2-2 last week, picking up wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. The team made headlines after its arena operator played “Cold as Ice” each time Russell Westbrook missed a shot, which was heard a lot after he went 2-of-14 from the field. However, Westbrook had a great response to that gesture.

Portland Trail Blazers (17-25)

Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Last Rank: 26

CJ McCollum is back for the Trail Blazers after missing the last 18 games. He returns just as the team appears to be on an upward trend after winning three out of their last four games. They could keep that going on Monday with the Magic on the schedule.

Minnesota Timberwolves (21-22)

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 18

The Timberwolves are coming off a win over the Golden State Warriors as they have won five out of their last seven games. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds in that win and has now scored at least 25 points in four straight games.

Los Angeles Clippers (21-23)

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 16

The highlight of last week certainly came on Tuesday after the Clippers overcame a 25-point deficit to defeat the Denver Nuggets at home. Despite missing several players, they continue to hang around and have played hard as of late.

Los Angeles Lakers (21-22)

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 14

After winning four straight games, and five of six, the Lakers have since dropped three in a row. They have the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers at home before a six-game East Coast road trip starting Friday in Orlando. We’ll see if they can get back on track.

For more coverage on the Lakers, visit LeBron Wire

Boston Celtics (23-22)

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 20

The Celtics look to be turning things around having won five out of their last six games. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way, the Celtics are above for the first time in over a month so the group looks to be on the right track now.

For more coverage on the Celtics, visit Celtics Wire

New York Knicks (22-22)

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Last Rank: 19

The Knicks have gone 6-4 over their last 10 games with some impressive victories in that stretch, including a win over the Dallas Mavericks to snap their six-game winning streak.

Denver Nuggets (22-20)

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank 13

The Nuggets blew a 25-point lead to the Clippers on Tuesday but responded with season-highs in points (140) and 3-pointers (21) in a win over the Trail Blazers. They continue to play well without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. with several players stepping up.

Toronto Raptors (21-19)

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 15

The Raptors continue to soar following the remarkable play of Fred VanVleet. They have gone 7-3 over their last 10 games and will wrap up a five-game road trip later this week. VanVleet recently joined James Harden and Stephen Curry as the only players in history to hit at least four 3-pointers in nine straight games. Not bad company, to say the least.

Washington Wizards (22-21)

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 17

The Wizards have won four out of their last five games and have done so without Bradley Beal in the lineup due to the health and safety protocol. Kyle Kuzma has stepped up as of late after averaging 24.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists over his last 10 games.

Charlotte Hornets (24-20)

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 12

The Hornets have played particularly well recently after winning five out of their last six games. They have gotten plenty of production across the lineup with a different player stepping up each night. From Miles Bridges to Terry Rozier, the Hornets have been fun to watch.

For more coverage on the Hornets, visit Lonzo Wire

Brooklyn Nets (27-16)

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 9

The Nets continue to look unbeatable when their Big 3 plays, but that suffered a hit with the knee injury to Kevin Durant. The initial timeline had Durant returning in 4-6 weeks, which means James Harden and, on a part-time basis, Kyrie Irving will need to step up in the interim.

For more coverage on the Nets, visit Nets Wire

Dallas Mavericks (24-19)

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 10

The Mavericks saw their six-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday to the Knicks but responded by beating the Grizzlies and ending their 10-game winning streak two nights later. They are 9-2 over their last 11 games and look to be rolling at the moment.

Cleveland Cavaliers (27-18)

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Last Rank: 11

The Cavaliers are back in the top 10 this week after reeling off five straight wins. They struggled at the end of last month and the beginning of 2022 but look to be on the right track now after a strong start to the season.

Milwaukee Bucks (27-18)

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 7

Milwaukee responded to a couple of losses to the Hornets by dominating the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with his third triple-double of the season in that win, tallying 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in 30 minutes of work.

Miami Heat (27-16)

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 8

Tyler Herro continues to play great off the bench after nearing his first career triple-double with 21 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. The team gets Bam Adebayo back on Monday as Miami is getting back to full strength.

Chicago Bulls (27-14)

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Last Rank: 3

After rolling to start the season, the Bulls have hit a bit of a rough patch after dropping their last four games. In fact, they lost to the Nets and Warriors by a combined 68 points. Given their star power, it seems like only a matter of time before things will turn around.

Philadelphia 76ers (25-18)

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 6

Joel Embiid has scored at least 30 points in eight of his last 10 games, setting a team record for the longest streak of 30-point games. They are 10-3 since Dec. 20 and have the third-best record in the NBA over that span so they look to have put a slow start to the season behind them.

Utah Jazz (29-14)

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 5

The Jazz snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday after beating the Nuggets. The team likely felt at rock bottom on Monday after losing to the Pistons but will look to get things back on track this week.

Golden State Warriors (31-12)

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 1

The Warriors‘ reign atop our power rankings ended after dropping five of their last seven games. While the team has hit a bit of a rough patch, they are certainly happy to see Klay Thompson back on the court. He is averaging 13.8 points, three rebounds and 1.8 assists on 35.7% shooting from 3-point range since returning.

For more coverage on the Warriors, visit Warriors Wire

Memphis Grizzlies (30-15)

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 4

The Grizzlies‘ winning streak reached 11 games last week before they lost to the Mavericks. While Ja Morant is playing like an All-Star, Jaren Jackson Jr. has also come on as of late for the team. He has recorded at least 20 points and five blocks in three different games recently for the Grizzlies.

Phoenix Suns (33-9)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Last Rank: 2

The Suns have won six out of their last seven games to retake the top spot in the Western Conference. Devin Booker has dropped back-to-back 30-point games as Phoenix looks to be rounding back into form.

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