Photo via Gary A. Vasquez
We are almost a month into the NBA season, so it is time for a new edition of power rankings. I will be updating this list weekly, and I will be sharing what I believe to be the 10 best teams in the league. There are a few notable omissions. The Denver Nuggets will finish as a team on this list, but they just haven’t performed well enough to justify being on it right now. Michael Porter Jr. hasn’t played much due to COVID, Jamal Murray hasn’t looked right physically and they’ve lost a bunch of close games. The Miami Heat are another one of these teams, and they have just had such bad injury luck that it has led to their poor record. I expect they will rebound from this when they start getting some guys back. With that said, here are the 10 best teams in the NBA right now.
10. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have had a fair number of injuries, but they look to be getting healthy. Kristaps Porzingis recently returned to action for the team, a very welcome sight in Dallas. Luka Doncic is the favorite to win MVP, and Dallas is much better than their current record.
9. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have been somewhat of a surprise this season. They lost T.J. Warren to injury, Victor Oladipo was recently traded, yet the Pacers still find themselves with the fourth-best record in the East. Domantas Sabonis is looking like a baby Nikola Jokic, and with him and Malcolm Brogdon leading the way, the Pacers are a legitimately good team this year.
8. Phoenix Suns
The Suns have had a few games postponed due to COVID protocols, yet they have been great in the games they’ve played. Surprisingly, they have been better on the defensive end. This team seemed built to be a great offensive team, and if they maintain this level of defense, while controlling the pace of the game, they are going to be a tough team to beat in the playoffs.
7. Utah Jazz
This team isn’t flashy, but they have great continuity and keep churning out wins. Donavan Mitchell hasn’t even played that well this year, yet they still have the third-best record in the West. The Jazz aren’t a flashy team, or even a generally exciting one, but they have been too good this year to have any lower on this list.
6. Boston Celtics
Despite a lackluster offseason, the Celtics have come out of the gates fantastically this season. Jayson Tatum has been good, but Jaylen Brown has been great. They are a very solid team with good depth, and they should continue this success throughout the season.
5. Brooklyn Nets
Well, the Nets pulled it off. They made the trade for James Harden, and now it’s time to see how he meshes with Kevin Durant and an ever-frustrating Kyrie Irving. This trio is one of the most lethal offensive combinations in the history of the league, and most of the questions surrounding this new team will be on the defensive side. The Nets will win a lot of games with this potent offense, but it remains to be seen how this move will manifest as far as results in the playoffs.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia has been very solid this season. They’ve had a relatively easy schedule, but they’ve been getting it done with their revamped roster. The role players are shooting really well, and Ben Simmons seems satisfied taking a backseat on the offensive side and letting Joel Embiid run the show. The 76ers are a great team, and I am excited to see how far they can go this year.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
As expected, the Bucks are having another solid regular season. Their defense hasn’t been up to their standards, but their shooting has been phenomenal. The Bucks have proven they are this team in the regular season. Ultimately, they can’t improve their standing until they show this level of production in the playoffs.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers did something very impressive last night: they won their fourth-straight game. Why is this such a big deal? This has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league over the last couple of years. They will win one game by 30, then lose by 20 the next. This sustained run from them bodes very well, and it shows that they are taking this regular season more seriously, and the chemistry issues are sorting themselves out. Paul George has looked great, the depth of the team has been getting it done, and the Clippers look like they are a real threat to win it all this season.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have the best record in the league. They have the best roster in the league. They have the best player in the league, and another that is at least top seven. There is no reason to overthink this; the Lakers are the best team in the league.