NBA Power Rankings: Bucks, Bulls Rising in the East

  • But while those clubs are somewhat easy to peg, where do the rest of the teams fall in our weekly power rankings? 1. Phoenix SunsCurrent record: 19-4Previous ranking: 2After reeling off 18 wins in a row and going undefeated throughout the entire month of November the Suns get an opportunity to begin a new run after falling to the Warriors on Friday. But theyll likely need to do it without Devin Booker, who remains on the mend following a hamstring tweak during the first half of last week victory over Golden State. Phoenix dodged a huge bullet when ace defender Mikal Bridges dislocated but didnt break the pinky finger on his shooting hand late last week.Previous ranking: 9 If there a team that played above its head to start the season out East , it might be Washington. The Wiz passed the eye test early on, taking away opponents three-point opportunities while relying on depth around Bradley Beal. But the advanced numbers point to a regression that were seeing play out. Yes, theyre fourth in the East, at 14-10. But theyve been perfect 5-0 so far in games decided by three points or fewer, and a league-best 11-1 in games that are within five points in the final five minutes of play. It all suggests the good luck may run thin sometime soon. Their negative point differential rare for a team with a winning record also suggests that.10. Cleveland CavaliersCurrent record: 13-11Previous ranking: 16For those waiting or expecting for the Cavaliers to hit a rough patch and fall out of the playoff mix, you could find yourself waiting for quite awhile. For starters, theyve gone a respectable 6-7 since losing Collin Sexton. But perhaps even more important: Theyve gone 13-7 in the games rookie Evan Mobley has played, and sport a 2.9 net rating, one of the 10 best in the league. Having played the NBA toughest schedule so far, they have the easiest remaining slate as they push for a playoff berth.Previous ranking: 12The wins have been coming less frequently for the Clips in recent weeks as Paul George has cooled down from his hot start. Where he shot about 47% overall and 37% from three in his first 12 games of the year, he dipped about 10 percentage points in each category in his 11 games since. Los Angeles won 9 of those first 12 contests, but has won only four of its last 12 without George shooting like a star.18. Dallas Mavericks Current record: 11-11Previous ranking: 11Reggie Bullock, the team biggest offseason player acquisition, has been disappointing to say the least. A career 38.5% three-point shooter, the 30-year-old has hit just 27.5% of his tries this season and just 18.8% over his last eight showings. Without him producing anywhere near his best, the Mavs still feel a key piece or two away from contending at the highest level.19. Los Angeles LakersCurrent record: 12-12Previous ranking: 19Part of what ails the Lakers, who stand at just 12-12 about 30% of the way into the season, is that theyre not getting enough from Talen Horton-Tucker, the 21-year-old they re-signed for three years and almost $31 million. He got a late start to his season, making his debut in mid-November. His first three games were sensational, and he averaged 23.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game on 49% shooting. In the eight games since, he averaged 5.9 points and shot an awful 29.7%. Tellingly , he registered only as a positive in the plus/minus category once in that eight-game window.Previous ranking: 29 It almost certainly wont result in a Rookie of the Year award Evan Mobley is seemingly in a league of his own for that but Franz Wagner has quietly been enjoying a fantastic first season in the league. He been great defensively and efficient as a shooter all season long. But lately, he made a statistical leap as a passer, logging at least four assists in each of his last six contests while posting a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in that span . It a considerable jump from the start of the year, when he was averaging fewer than two dimes, and had worse than a 2-to-1 ratio.29. Detroit PistonsCurrent record: 4-18Previous ranking: 27It may not be resulting in wins lately, but the Pistons have gotten pretty solid play out of No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham his past three games, as he averaging 20 points and 6.7 rebounds on 54.5% shooting and 52.4% from three. On the downside, he been turning the ball over twice as much as he been assisting in that stretch. But Detroit has nothing but time for Cunningham to develop along with so many of his teammates.30. Oklahoma City ThunderCurrent record: 6-16Previous ranking: 26Everyone knows the Thunder had no intent or real hope of reaching the playoffs this season. But no professional team ever expects to be on the receiving end of a 73-point loss. Yes, the Thunder defeat which ranks as the most lopsided loss in NBA history came on a night where Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Rookie of the Month Josh Giddey werent playing . But neither was Memphis star Ja Morant. At least Oklahoma City has a winnable game its next time out; on Monday, the Thunder will play the Pistons, who have a league-low four wins.

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