PBT's Week 17 NBA Power Rankings: Celtics jump back up to top spot, Cavs and Timberwolves close behind

This week's NBC Sports NBA power rankings focus on the fallout from the trade deadline, and we will talk about the All-Star Game a lot, but because of the week off that follows it for the league there will not be power rankings next week.

1. Boston Celtics (42-12, Last Week No. 2). Boston is winning everything. They won off the court by adding Xavier Tillman Sr. at the trade deadline, a perfect fit as a reserve big. They are winners on the court, having won five in a row and 10-of-12, with a +8.4 net rating in that stretch, has Boston back on top of these power rankings. In four of those five wins Kristaps Porzingis had 25+ points, he continues to look like a perfect fit on this roster, but that wasn't enough to get him a ticket to Indianapolis for the All-Star Game. Jayson Tatum will be there, voted in as a starter by the fans, as will Jaylen Brown, who the coaches picked as a reserve.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves (38-16, LW 5). Monte Morris was a good pickup by Minnesota at the trade deadline. He's a solid point guard who can shoot the 3 (although he struggled with that this season in Detroit), and he takes some pressure off Mike Conley. Minnesota picked up a quality win over the Clippers on Monday, keeping them on top of the West heading into the All-Star break. Minnesota will have two representatives at the All-Star festivities, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns (the second name in that list raised some eyebrows around the league; he's been worthy, but it was an unexpected selection by the coaches as a reserve).

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (35-17, LW 3). The Cavaliers remain red hot, having won 17-of-19 (despite a loss to a shorthanded 76ers team on Tuesday), and when you're that hot you don't mess with things. Cleveland didn't, standing pat at the trade deadline and on the buyout market. Cleveland finally has its preferred starting five healthy — Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen — but that group has just a +3.2 net rating in 11.8 minutes a night in February (when everyone got healthy). It's something to watch, as will be Donovan Mitchell in Indy for the All-Star Game.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (37-17, LW 6). There was some surprise from other teams after the trade deadline that the Thunder didn't get a traditional big man just to balance out their roster. Instead, they did it a few days later by signing Bismack Biyombo as a free agent, a quality pickup. Oklahoma City will have one All-Star this year in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but in a couple of years we'll be talking about if they deserve three All-Stars with Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams worthy of spots as well.

5. Los Angeles Clippers (35-17, LW 1). A couple of sloppy losses this past week, but what really raised eyebrows was the news that Kawhi Leonard will miss time with a strained adductor (which means a groin strain to most of us). He is out Wednesday against the Warriors, but then comes the All-Star break, so the real question becomes is this serious enough that he misses time on the other side? Way too early to hit that panic button (or the Paul George might leave this summer panic button, for that matter). George and Leonard are All-Stars, but it looks like Adam Silver might have to pick a replacement for Kawhi.

6. Milwaukee Bucks (35-20, LW 10). Ignore the win/loss record (3-4), what matters is that in seven games this February the Milwaukee Bucks have the 10th-best defense in the NBA. Credit Doc Rivers for some of that, getting the team to clean up its transition defense to start. Adding Patrick Beverley at the trade deadline helps by bringing some intensity on that end. Ignore the 23rd-ranked offense in that same stretch, we know they are better on that end and will be fine. A quality win over Denver then an ugly loss this week to the Heat can be taken with a grain of salt, things get extreme the week before the All-Star break when players already have tickets booked to Cancun. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard have tickets that will take them to Indianapolis for the All-Star Game.

7. New Orleans Pelicans (32-22, LW 9). Is this ranking a little too high for the Pelicans? Maybe. But they have won 6-of-7, have a top-10 defense in the league, and are a solid 17-14 against teams above .500. Pelicans decision-maker David Griffin was happy enough with the roster (or unhappy enough with what was available in the market), that he stood pat at the trade deadline. Fans and coaches overlooked the Pelicans as well, they don't have one All-Star. While New Orleans has done most of its damage of late against the bottom half of the league, they deserve some respect for how they are playing.

8. New York Knicks (33-21, LW 4). New York was one of the big winners at the trade deadline, adding veterans Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from Detroit. They needed Bogdanovic now because the injuries are catching up with them, with Julius Randle (shoulder) and OG Anunoby (elbow) out. Other teams are starting to load up on All-Star Jalen Brunson and this is where the Knicks need secondary options, Bogdanovic and Burks give them some in the short term, and depth when Randle and Anunoby do get back. Brunson is headed to the NBA All-Star Game, Randle was selected as a reserve by the coaches but the injury will keep him sidelined.

9. Denver Nuggets (36-18, LW 7). Denver stood pat at the trade deadline, which is fine for the defending champions who are winning at about the same pace in the regular season as they did a year ago. The Nuggets have lost a couple in a row and there are rumblings around the league that this team just doesn't feel the same as year's juggernaut, however, for my money, until someone figures out how to slow the Nicola Jokic/Jamal Murray two-man game they are still the team to beat out West in the playoffs. Only one of those two is in the All-Star Game (Jokic), count Murray among the snubs.

10. Phoenix Suns (32-22, LW 8). The Suns' front office did what it could with limited cap space at the trade deadline, making some solid additions in Royce O'Neale and David Roddy (O'Neale, in particular, helps on the wing). Then they went and got Thaddeus Young on the buyout market, another solid veteran who can give them some depth and minutes. It's nice, but does any of that move the needle for the Suns in the West? Phoenix has two players at the All-Star Game in Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, and both unquestionably belong there.

11. Dallas Mavericks (31-23, LW 15). The Mavericks have won five in a row and a lot of things are part of that — Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have been incredible, and the front office added real frontline depth at the trade deadline with Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington. Overlooked in this is a healthy Maxi Kleber — he is +75 in those five wins, third best on the team (Doncic is +78 and Irving +77). He's started with Dereck Lively II out and has thrived. The Mavericks have one representative at the All-Star Game in Indianapolis, Doncic, who will try to make plays like this.

12. Philadelphia 76ers (32-21, LW 13). Philadelphia trading for Buddy Hield at the deadline was the clearest sign yet that the 76ers expect Joel Embiid back for a postseason run — that was a win-now pickup (but one that doesn't mess with their max cap space this summer. The Sixers have gone 3-4 since Embiid went out to have knee surgery — including a quality win Tuesday against the Cavaliers — and have kept their heads above water. Philadelphia wants to stay in the top six and avoid the play-in, right now they sit 3.5 games up on Miami (the seven seed) and need to rack up wins over the final 29 games to hold on to that top-six spot.

13. Los Angeles Lakers (29-26, LW 14). There was plenty of drama around the Lakers — including the Warriors calling to see of LeBron James was available — but in the end the Lakers stood pat at the trade deadline. It was the smart play, there is no available player who would suddenly make this Lakers roster a contender, and this summer they have three first-round picks they can trade, but it's hard to do when LeBron is 39 and tweeting hourglass emojis. Spencer Dinwiddie is a solid pickup on the buyout market, adding some more shot creation to the mix. LeBron is sitting out Wednesday against Utah, we can only assume to rest up for his All-Star Game minutes this Sunday.

14. Miami Heat (29-25, LW 16). The Heat made their big trade well before the deadline, landing Terry Rozier... although he is now out for a stretch with a sprained knee, and he hadn't found his rhythm with the team yet anyway (12.6 points per game on 35.9% shooting). Miami is 5-6 since trading for Rozier. Josh Richardson also will miss time with a dislocated shoulder, and Jimmy Butler is away from the team due to a death in the family. Bam Adebayo is headed to Indianapolis for the All-Star Game.

15. Golden State Warriors (26-25, LW 19). The Warriors have won five in a row and 7-of-8, and with that moved up into the play-in (10th in the league). Add to that they have the second easiest schedule in the West the rest of the way — they are positioned to make a run (they are not climbing into the top six, but they can move up in the standings). A few things have gone right for them during this run, but moving Draymond Green into the starting center role and bringing Kevon Looney off the bench has them playing faster and more freely. It also helps to have Stephen Curry feeling it and draining game-winners.

16. Orlando Magic (29-25, LW 17). While speculation about a big, win-now Orlando move at the trade deadline was out there, the Magic stood pat at the deadline and continued to build around All-Star Paolo Banchero and the someday All-Star Franz Wagner. Orlando sits eighth in the East and doesn't appear in danger of falling out of the play-in (they have a 7.5 game lead over 11-seed Brooklyn), so it becomes about seeding for the play-in, then seeing how this young team handles a first trip to the postseason.

17. Indiana Pacers (30-25, LW 11). The NBA is coming to Indianapolis and it will be a moment in the sun for Tyrese Haliburton, who was voted a starter in his breakout year. Haliburton has been playing well of late, as has Pascal Siakam for the most part, but the Pacers have dropped 4-of-5 and have just been flat on the offensive end, not covering up for an improved but still unimpressive defense. This is a team where the All-Star break and a couple of practices before they return could help Indiana hold on to the No. 6 seed in the East over the season's final stretch.

18. Sacramento Kings (30-23, LW 12). These Kings remain hard to pin down, a true Jekyll-and-Hyde team that looks threatening one night and dreadful the next. This past week they beat the Nuggets and lost to the Pistons, all within three days of each other. What's concerning is that in a run of games against some of the better teams in the league the Kings have dropped 4-of-5, not a good sign as they hope to climb out of the play-in and back into the top eight. The Kings got snubbed by the coaches with neither Domantas Sabonis nor De'Aaron Fox making the All-Star game yet, but if Kawhi Leonard can't play (groin strain) then Sabonis might be the replacement.

19. Atlanta Hawks (24-30, LW 22). No team was more at the center of trade speculation running up to the deadline than the Hawks, who then decided to hang onto Dejounte Murray and everyone else anyway. This summer, Murray, Clint Capela, and De'Andre Hunter could be on the move, although the speculation now is about Trae Young being available. Young's talents will be on display in Indianapolis, he is there as an injury replacement but, let's be real, deserved to be there anyway with his numbers.

20. Chicago Bulls (26-28, LW 20). Bulls fans, I feel for you. This team has not made a trade of any kind since 2021 and at the deadline could have made a deal or two to start setting things up for the long term. Instead, they decided to keep everyone — Zach LaVine (to be fair, there was no market for him), DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, Nikola Vucevic, and all that so they can chase the play-in. The Bulls sit as the ninth seed and that's exactly what the franchise is with this core, a play-in team. But apparently, that's good enough for the front office and ownership, who talked themselves into standing pat. Again.

21. Houston Rockets (24-29, LW 21). Houston made no moves at the trade deadline, but don't expect that to be the case next summer — this team wants to land big-name players to go with Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, and Alperen Şengün. VanVleet has been out injured and rookie Amen Thompson has stepped up in his absence and has played well (10.3 points and 11.5 rebounds a game, with 4.5 assists). The talented rookie might be starting to find his game in the NBA, and ultimately that might be the star the Rockets really want to chase.

22. Utah Jazz (26-28, LW 18). Utah were sellers at the trade deadline, sending Kelly Olynyk and Simone Fontecchio out to bring in more draft picks and free up more cap space for next summer. What that means on the court is a return to the massive front line of Walker Kessler, John Collins and Lauri Markkanen, which has never meshed all that well. Expect the 11th-seed Jazz to slide a little (it was going to be tough to catch the Lakers and Warriors at 9 and 10, anyway).

23. Brooklyn Nets (21-32, LW 23). Trading out Spencer Dinwiddie to bring in Dennis Schroder could help this team reach the postseason, they have brought in a steadier hand on offense and a better defender. Brooklyn sits 2.5 games back of Atlanta for the 10 seed in the East and it's possible they can climb into the play-in — and Ben Simmons can help with that if he stays healthy. He's no longer an All-Star level player but provides some value as a passer and rebounder.

24. Toronto Raptors (19-35, LW 26). Toronto has reshaped its roster in the last month around Scottie Barnes, but everyone is still trying to find a comfort level. RJ Barrett is averaging 20.4 points a game and shooting 55% from the floor but isn't always moving the ball, Immanuel Quickley is averaging 16.3 points a game but on 39.9% shooting, and overall the Raptors have lost 5-of-7. None of this is bad long term (Quickley didn't forget how to shoot), it just looks like it's going to take some time for everything to mesh together in Toronto.

25. Portland Trail Blazers (15-38, LW 24). There were all kinds of Malcolm Brogdon rumors ramping up to the trade deadline, but Portland held on to him and everyone else in the end. When healthy this team has a solid rotation, but right now Brogdon, Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons are all out, which has Jerami Grant trying to do everything, like his 49-point game against Detroit recently.

26. Memphis Grizzlies (18-36, LW 25). The Grizzlies couldn't afford to trade anyone at the deadline, they are already too shorthanded due to injuries. The one bright spot in this season may be Vince Williams Jr.'s emergence on the wing. Forced into a starting role, he's averaged 12.5 points and 6.4 rebounds a game, and is an efficient shooter. There's good reason the Grizzlies inked him to a four-year deal.

27. San Antonio Spurs (11-43, LW 27). Another week, another Victor Wembanyama highlight — a triple-double with 10 blocks. He is going to Indianapolis to participate in the All-Star Saturday night Skills Competition, but this year is probably the last for a very long time Wembanyama is not playing in the Sunday All-Star Game.

28. Detroit Pistons (8-45, LW 29). What was the best move the Detroit front office made this past week? Waiving Killian Hayes, forcing Monty Williams to stop playing him in front of other guards and starting to develop something that can be part of the future. Adding Quentin Grimes and Simone Fontecchio are solid pickups as well. Detroit has gone 4-6 in its last 10 (doubling its win total) and it may be finding some momentum it can carry into the summer and then next season.

29. Charlotte Hornets (12-41, LW 30). The big shift expected in Charlotte has started, with Mitch Kupchak stepping aside and the new ownership group about to bring in its new GM. More changes are coming (sorry Steve Clifford), and the changes have come to the roster as well by sending out Terry Rozier and P.J. Washington for first-round picks as they start to retool the roster around Brandon Miller. The question of whether LaMelo Ball is part of the future will be put off until another day.

30. Washington Wizards (9-40, LW 28). The Washington Wizards picked up a first-round pick in trading Daniel Gafford, but they couldn't get one in the Bradley Beal trade? Still, the Gafford trade was the kind of deal a rebuilding team should make, it was a good decision. Holding onto Kyle Kuzma and Tyus Jones... not so sure those were good ideas. Maybe there are better trades coming up for them, but neither is part of the franchise's long-term future.