NBA Power Rankings: Bucks, Lakers look like championship contenders; Knicks, Warriors sink to the bottom of the rankings

All 30 NBA teams have almost reached the 20-game mark in the 2019-20 season. This is not enough to determine how the title will go, but it does provide a nice backdrop for a new edition of Sporting News’ NBA Power Rankings.

The first quarter of the regular season is predictable in some ways (the Lakers and Clippers are – shocker – doing well) and amazing in others (the sun is better than the warriors). The races at the top of each conference should remain competitive, even when some degraded residents rely on tank work.

MORE: Top Rookie of the Year nominees

It is important to note that these scores are not entirely dependent on wins and losses. In general the records are important, of course, but other factors such as team performance, injury problems and the likelihood of significant positive and negative swings in the next 60 games are also addressed. See this list for a snapshot of nothing definitive.

Now that the disclaimer nobody reads is out there, let’s dive into the rankings, starting with the star power at the top. (All statistics are valid until December 4th)

NBA Power Rankings: Hot starters

1. Bucks (18-3)

Number to know: 11.8

Milwaukee easily tops the league in clean sheets at 11.8 ahead of second-placed Mavericks (8.4). There will be plenty of talk about the MVP this year, but Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.8 points, 13.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists per game) should be a favorite at the moment given his absurd production and ability to lift the Bucks regardless of which players are available on a nightly basis.

2. Lakers (18-3)

Number to know: 63

That LeBron James-Anthony Davis relationship is pretty good, huh? James, who leads the league with 10.8 assists per game, has thrown 63 of his 226 total assists at Davis. Aside from that, the Lakers are a long-distance defensive team with Davis as an anchor. “Showtime” is back, baby.

3. Clamps (16-6)

Number to know: 42.3

Since returning with two new robot shoulders (not checking this out), Paul George is scoring a hot 42.3% from 3 points in 9.5 attempts per game. George and Kawhi Leonard form an undefeated one-two punch in the wing, but the offense comes quickly for coach Doc Rivers.

4. Raptors (15-5)

Number to know: 8.2

Can Pascal Siakam win “Improved Player” two years in a row? The 25-year-old is up 25.1 points per game, up 8.2 points from the 2018-19 season. Leonard is gone, but these Raptors will be a real problem if Siakam can keep up.

5. Celtics (14-5)

Number to know: 6.5 and 4.2

Jayson Tatum’s de-Kobe’ing seems to work. Tatum admitted he made the game very difficult in 2018-19, often settling for jumper contests when a disc or 3-pointer was available. Through 19 games, Tatum kills 6.5 3 points (3.9 over) and 4.2 free throws (2.9), significant improvements for the 21-year-old forward. Tatum has plenty of talent – it’s a matter of execution for him.

6. Heat (15-5)

Number to know: 10-1

Miami has a 10-1 record against Eastern Conference opponents, giving the Heat a better conference win rate than any Eastern team, including the Bucks (12-2). The heat also gave the Bucks and Raptors the only losses at home this season. It will be a tough time to come to the playoffs.

7. Mavericks (14-6)

Number to know: 116.1

Say hello to the best offense in the NBA. Yes, the Mavericks lead the league with a 116.1 offensive rating behind a second wave by Luka Doncic, who averages 30.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game over a 20-year period. old. Doncic’s usage rate (36.2) is somewhat worrying, as he ranks third behind James Harden (39.6) and Antetokounmpo (37.5), but shoots all cylinders right now.

8. Nuggets (13-5)

Number to know: 2.7 and 5.3

What’s the deal with Nikola Jokic? The All-Star center has dropped to 15.4 points per game after a 20.1 average season last season. Even more, he has often played with energy like vitiligo and just floated instead of attacking. He records just 2.7 free throws per game (down from the beginning of the year) and recording 5.3 touchdowns per game (down 6.7 last year). Someone gives Jokic a Red Bull.

9. 76ers (15-6)

Number to know: 16.5

Philadelphia is likely to always suffer some degree of turnover problems from distance issues. Still, the Sixers are a group of five based on turnovers per game (16.5). Brett Brown’s top five are elite, but Philly has to appreciate her possessions if she wants to be a true champion.

10. Missiles (13-7)

Number to know: 14

James Harden is on pace to become the first player to have averaged more than 14 3-point attempts and 14 free throws for an entire season. He has scored more 3 points (285) than Joel Embiid has scored total goals (271). It is rated 40 degrees as easy as that. Sure, hunting is annoying and its style is not aesthetically pleasing to many basketball fans, but these statistics are bananas.

11. Pacemakers (13-7)

Number to know: 26.4

Malcolm Brogdon’s new contract enjoys the best time of his career. Brogdon’s usage rate is currently 26.4, well above its maximum use in Milwaukee (20.7 in 2018-19). The 26-year-old guard averages 19.4 points, 8.0 assists and 4.9 rebounds as the leader of the offense with Victor Oladipo out.

NBA Rankings: A mixed bag

12. Jazz (12-9)

13. Wooden Stones (10-9)

14. Suns (9-10)

15. Nets (10-10)

16. Magic (9-11)

17. Kings (8-11)

18. Trail Blazers (8-13)

19. Storm (8-11)

20. Horns (8-14)

The reduction: Utah really needs Mike Conley to play more like Mike Conley … Karl-Anthony Towns throws 8.9 3-pointers per game and hits 42.1% of those attempts. The modern NBA … Can the sun damage the storm? Phoenix have lost six of their last eight after a 7-4 start … Spencer Dinwiddie has appeared as a distributor for Brooklyn, but his situation could be complicated when Lord Rivid returns … leading the NBA in blocks per game: Magic forward Jonathan Isaac at 2.78, right in front of Davis (2.70) … Can Buddy Hield catch fire? He has dropped to 36.5% from 3-point range after scoring more than 42% from deep in each of the last two seasons … Carmelo Anthony was decent! Give the man credit … Shai Gilgeous-Alexander posted 18.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game at the age of 21. This kid is good … Players averaging at least 3 times and 7 assists per game this season: Harden, Doncic, Damian Lillard, Trae Young, Kyle Lowry and Hornets guard Devonte ‘Graham.

NBA Power Rankings: That’s not going well

21. Tar (8-13)

22. Spirals (8-14)

23. Magicians (6-13)

24. Pelicans (6-15)

25. Grizzlies (6-14)

26. Bulls (7-14)

27. Cavaliers (5-15)

28. Hawks (5-16)

29. Warriors (4-18)

30. Knicks (4-17)

The reduction: Andre Drummond is a double-double machine for Detroit, but could become a commercial target if things go south … The Spurs have a worse defensive rating (113.0) than the Knicks (112.0). They can’t get to the playoffs in the Western Conference that way … Speaking of defense, will the Magicians try to stop everyone, ever? … Zion Williamson is likely to make his Pelicans debut outside of the initial 6-8 week schedule for his knee injury. Bummer … Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke are also for a while. Although Jim Boylen may not seem to be the Bulls’ best coach, but good luck imagining what the front office will do … Watch Tristan Thompson in trade talks. It could be valuable for a candidate … Trae Young quickly rejected the idea of ​​a secondary drop with an average odds of 28.2 points, 8.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. It could use some help … Warrior fans should continue to watch these old league championships … New York is a mess, and David Fizdale could leave every day. Other than that, it’s awesome.

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