NBA Power Rankings

NBA Power Rankings: Where Warriors, Kings sit with 22 games left

Here's how the rankings stand in the NBA as of March 5.

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Two things 28 other NBA teams don't want to see: the Bucks and Nuggets finding rhythm late in the season.

Milwaukee and Denver have each pulled off six straight wins entering early March, a potential sign of things to come.

Both teams haven't dominated in the regular season as they've done before, but that might not matter if they each hit stride come playoff time.

Elsewhere, Washington has lost 15 in a row while the play-in race out West could be scorching.

Let's look at updated 2023-24 NBA Power Rankings:

30. Washington Wizards, 9-52

The Wizards have become that team. With a 15-game losing streak still going, Washington has somehow dethroned the Pistons as the team with the worst record. Kyle Kuzma poked fun at Detroit on social media earlier in the season, and now the tables have turned. Welcome to the bottom, Washington. (Last ranking: 29)

29. Detroit Pistons, 9-51

Somehow the Pistons have managed to climb a spot after being at the bottom since practically November. There's still not much positive to write home about for Monty Williams' squad. (Last ranking: 30)

28. Charlotte Hornets, 15-46

Charlotte has lost four in a row and own the league's worst net rating. With no LaMelo Ball and Mark Williams for a good chunk of the season, only rookie Brandon Miller has been a player worth tuning into. (Last ranking: 26)

27. San Antonio Spurs, 13-48

On the other hand, Victor Wembanyama is like watching five good players in one. The numbers of leaps he's taken in just one season is absurd, but too bad he hasn't been able to enjoy as many wins in his rookie campaign. (Last ranking: 28)

26. Portland Trail Blazers, 17-43

Not much is new in Portland other than hoping Scoot Henderson can end the campaign on a high note once he returns from an injury-related absence. (Last ranking: 27)

25. Memphis Grizzlies, 21-41

Memphis drops two spots as it has picked up only three wins since Jan. 28. It's been a season full of terrible injuries, so the main goal is just to end without additional serious ones. (Last ranking: 23)

24. Brooklyn Nets, 24-37

The Nets stay in the same spot as the last edition as they've done nothing of note to rise or drop. The offseason is the priority. (Last ranking: 24)

23. Toronto Raptors, 23-38

The Raptors recently gave newly acquired Toronto native Kelly Olynyk a two-year, $26.25 million extension. The 32-year-old big man could be a trade candidate again next season if the Raptors stay struggling. (Last ranking: 25)

22. Atlanta Hawks, 26-34

Barring a dramatic late run through the play-in tournament, Atlanta seems destined for another middle-of-the-pack season. Roster reshuffling, mainly via a potential Dejounte Murray trade, will be key in the offseason. (Last ranking: 23)

21. Utah Jazz, 28-34

Utah drops a spot after going 2-8 in its last 10 games, possibly fatal in the play-in race. Keyonte George is looking more and more promising each game, so at least there's one positive from a youth-development perspective. (Last ranking: 20)

20. Houston Rockets, 26-34

Houston remains a top-10 defensive unit but aren't in the thick of the playoff race as the other top teams around it. It boils down to the offense ranking No. 24 in offensive rating, which will be something head coach Ime Udoka needs to fix for 2024-25. (Last ranking: 21)

19. Chicago Bulls, 29-32

DeMar DeRozan and Coby White have delivered some big-time performances in recent weeks, but there's still little optimism the Bulls can deal any serious damage in a potential playoff series. Trades should've been made at the deadline. (Last ranking: 19)

18. Sacramento Kings, 34-26

Teams ranked No. 18 through No. 5 are incredibly tight, so being placed low shouldn't necessarily be deemed too gloomy. But the Kings just can't prove they can deliver consistent performances, especially against teams beneath them record-wise. Not improving on the margins will be their downfall, whenever it comes. (Last ranking: 14)

17. Orlando Magic, 35-26

The Magic did themselves a favor by going 8-2 in their last 10 with Paolo Banchero averaging spectacular numbers. Who knows how Orlando will fare in a potential playoff series, but it is a tough team to beat at home. (Last ranking: 17)

16. Los Angeles Lakers, 34-29

You never know what version of the Lakers you'll get, which is ultimately both good and bad and will probably be the reason for their downfall (along with coaching concerns). (Last ranking: 15)

15. Golden State Warriors, 32-28

Milwaukee and Denver dominated the discourse earlier about teams peaking, but the Warriors are also dark-horse contenders. They've been in fine form since before the All-Star break and are set to get back Andrew Wiggins, which is key to their wing depth. Let's see if they can keep climbing. (Last ranking: 18)

14. Indiana Pacers, 34-28

Indiana has played up and down in recent weeks, with Tyrese Haliburton's shaky shooting coinciding with the stretch. It'll need to figure things out soon to avoid further slipping down the ladder. (Last ranking: 13)

13. Miami Heat, 34-26

The Heat have an excellent track record of peaking at the right time, which could be the case again this season. They're 10-3 in their last 13 and just added sharpshooter Patty Mills to the bench. He's proven before he can shoot his way to a team playoff win. (Last ranking: 16)

12. Dallas Mavericks, 34-27

The Mavericks drop a spot after losing four of their last five. They had won seven in a row prior to that stretch, which included victories over teams like Philadelphia, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and New York. A turnaround is needed soon. (Last ranking: 11)

11. Philadelphia 76ers, 35-25

The 76ers have consistently dropped down the ladder after Joel Embiid's knee injury. They just need to stay afloat until he returns, then hope he can stay injury-free and go on a run. (Last ranking: 10)

10. New York Knicks, 36-25

The Knicks are also enduring an injury crisis of their own, and they're extremely fortunate Jalen Brunson's recent scare wasn't more serious. Like Philly, they'll need to stay afloat and string a run when the key players are intact. (Last ranking: 9)

9. Phoenix Suns, 35-26

Phoenix lost four of its last six while playing Houston three times in that span. The Suns went just 1-2, though, with one loss at home. Those are the wins Phoenix should be claiming because, with how tight the West is, one loss could be the difference from play-in tournament safety. (Last ranking: 8)

8. New Orleans Pelicans, 36-25

New Orleans is a key riser having gone 10-4 in its last 14. The focal point for the Pelicans has always been keeping Zion Williamson healthy, especially when the run-in begins. Let's see if the team can keep this form going. (Last ranking: 12)

7. Cleveland Cavaliers, 39-21

Cleveland used to be the No. 2 seed out East, but a recent average run of form coupled with Milwaukee's hot stretch sees it drop. Getting Donovan Mitchell back healthy is key. (Last ranking: 6)

6. Los Angeles Clippers, 39-21

The Clippers are 5-6 in their last 11, though each loss has come against a potential playoff team. But with other teams around them in better form, L.A. falls three spots. (Last ranking: 3)

5. Milwaukee Bucks, 41-21

Milwaukee has won six in a row to take back the No. 2 seed, though there's still plenty of work to do to catch up to No. 1. Two of those wins came against a lowly Hornets side, but the wins included at Minnesota, at Philadelphia, at Chicago and vs. the Clippers without Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks need to keep going if they want a higher ranking, but they're back in the top five for now. (Last ranking: 7)

4. Oklahoma City Thunder, 42-19

Ranking the top three teams out West is ridiculously difficult because of how close the race is. Oklahoma City has been great lately, but it doesn't jump from last time out. Losing at San Antonio definitely hurts. (Last ranking: 4)

3. Minnesota Timberwolves, 43-19

Minnesota's recent three losses were all at home to Milwaukee, Sacramento and the Clippers. Otherwise, they took care of business, including three wins over Portland since Feb. 13. But it's not enough to be ranked the best out West. (Last ranking: 2)

2. Denver Nuggets, 42-19

The defending champions are surging again having won six in a row. Remember, the Nuggets' total dominance didn't fully kick in last season until the playoffs. Then they locked things down. But last season Denver didn't face a serious threat in the West, which has changed this year. It'll be interesting to see how Denver fares this time around. (Last ranking: 5)

1. Boston Celtics, 48-12

The Celtics stay first for the eighth edition running. Their starting five has the perfect balance in each position, and they're currently on a league-best 11-game winning streak. As long as they stay the course, this is their premier shot at Banner No. 18. (Last ranking: 1)

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