As we head into the second phase of regular NBA season for 2019-2020 after All-Star Game, A look at the playoff contenders in a weekly power ranking. For some of the teams, making the playoffs will be a tough mountain to climb.
16. Brooklyn Nets
Record: 25-28, 7th in the east
It won’t be an easy job for Nets to stay strong to there road to playoffs with Kyrie Irving’s season-ending shoulder injury. Kevin Durant has not been available this season as well. The only positive outlook for them is how Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, and Jarrett Allen contribute to the team with maximum playtime available.
15. Portland Trail Blazers
Record: 25-31, 9th in the west
The Western Conference has always been competitive in NBA for playoff contenders. This year is no exception. Damian Lillard was looking fantastic with his big share of points and assists this year getting him to be listed for this year’s all-star games. The recent injury of Lillard puts the burden of leadership and performance on CJ McCollum.
The Trail Blazers have the most home games left in the season and need to utilize it.
14. Memphis Grizzlies
Record: 28-26, 8th in the west
Ja Morant is having a must-watch debut season in the NBA. The Grizzlies are sitting above the Trail Blazers in the standings. Their road to the post-season will be tougher but no less entertaining to watch. The young core of the Memphis Grizzlies has moved on from the Andre Iguodala saga, as the veteran was traded to the Miami Heat prior to the all-star break.
13. Dallas Mavericks
Record: 33-22, 7th in the west
Luka Doncic is having a phenomenal year for Mavericks. The 21-year-old has been included in the MVP talks, with the likes of LeBron James and Giannis Athentekumpo. Kristaps Prozingis is improving his play with Doncic as the season goes by. Seth Curry looks in beautiful momentum to keep their playoffs hope alive. The Mavericks can still fight for a much higher seed in the Western Conference.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder
Record: 33-22, 6th in the west
Chris Paul seems to gel well with his new team and working hard to manage their core. Dennis Schroder gives his helping hand when required which lightens the load on Paul. Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are key players having excellent seasons in allowing the Thunder to punch above their weight.
11. Indian Pacers
Record: 32-23, 6th in the east
With Victor Oladipo back in rotation for Pacers, their only target would be re-integrating him back into the team. Oladipo will play a key role if the Pacers want to experience some post-season success.
10. Houston Rockets
Record: 34-20, 5th in the west
James Harden and Russell Westbrook, are key for the Houston Rockets who want to make a deep playoff run. The team is operating a small-ball line up for the remainder of this season. Despite being in a good position in the Western Conference, the Rockets still face a dilemma. Without a strong center to protect the rim, it could leave them vulnerable in crunch-time situations.
9. Philadelphia 76ers
Record: 34-21, 5th in the east
During the early stages of the season, the 76ers were a top-three team in the East. Their away form has been dismal which has dragged them down the standings in the East and NBA power ranking. Unless they can sort out the issues and unleash their maximum potential, the 76ers hopes of a deep playoff run are not going to materialize.
8. Miami Heat
Record: 35-19, 4th in the east
Jimmy Butler has taken charge of being the leader of the Miami Heat this season. But Tyler Herro is all set to share the workload in his rookie season. The recent acquisitions of Andre Igodula and Jae Crowder will surely help the momentum to shift with veterans’ experience. the only question is are they the most under-rated team of the year?
7. Utah Jazz
Record: 36-18, 4th in the west
Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Mike Conley, and Donovan Mitchell are fighting to keep their hold in Western conference strong, but this team is yet to play to its utmost potential. Will Colney be the person to guide the team in the right direction?
6. Denver Nuggets
Record: 38-17, 2nd in the west
Nikola Jokic is working really hard to keep his team in the top three of the Western Conference. The recent addition of Gary Harris doesn’t seem to be a positive aspect for the Nuggets. The Nuggets are looking for homecourt advantage to some degree in the playoffs this post-season.
5. Boston Celtics
Record: 38-16, 3rd in the east
This year, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have taken charge to move forward and show the rest of the league even young core can be reliable. The loss of Al Horford has been negated as well. Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker are producing solid numbers, which are keeping the Celtics as among the top teams in the East.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
Record: 37-18, 3rd in the west
The most hyped team of the year is still looking to build a strong partnership between Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Patrick Beverly on the other hand still looks fierce from his action which is required by any team to keep the movement strong. Lou Williams again targeting the sixth man of the year is a must-watch.
3. Toronto Raptors
Record: 40-15, 2nd in the east
The 2018-2019 NBA champions were on a cruise mode with 15 games unbeaten streak which was shattered recently by Brooklyn Nets. Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are playing as an elite trio The only strong fight being with Bucks who are leading the Eastern Conference. Will they be champions yet again?
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 41-12, 1st in the west
The Lakers are high up the NBA Power Ranking LeBron James is finally looking towards finishing the second half of the season with Laker’s legacy on his and Anthony Davis’s shoulder and bringing the Purple and Gold back into Western Conference Finals this year after a dismal few seasons. Are they still ready for NBA Finals?
1. Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 46-8, 1st in the east
The Bucks top the NBA Power Ranking. Again repeating the last year’s momentum is never easy. Yet Giannis and his team are working each game day to break a sweat and turn it into Larry O’Brien Trophy. Assuming is that they are nearing to 70 wins in a season leveling it up with 92’Bulls and 16′ Warriors. But can they hold onto this target for long? That would be interesting to see.