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NBA Power Rankings – Dallas rises through the West as the Hawks and Pacers battle in the East

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By jeenmediaa


We’re less than two weeks away from the conclusion of the 2023-24 NBA regular season, and a myriad of possibilities still remain in the West and East playoff seeding.

In the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves have each locked up a postseason berth, while the Dallas Mavericks, powered by Luka Doncic, have surged in the standings.

With Joel Embiid back on the court after a two-month absence due to injury, the Philadelphia 76ers could throw a wrench into an already unsettled Eastern Conference. The No. 3 through No. 8 teams are separated by less than two games, and no team besides the Boston Celtics has clinched a playoff berth.

A handful of contentious head-to-head games in the next week will help determine the final playoff picture. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, positioned for the West’s Nos. 9-10 play-in game, will face each other on Tuesday, and the Indiana Pacers, No. 6 in the East, will see a No. 7 Miami Heat team vying for a playoff spot.

Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk) is ranking all 30 teams from top to bottom, taking stock of which teams are playing the best basketball and which teams are looking most like title contenders.

Previous rankings: Post-Finals | Nov. 1 | Nov. 8 | Nov. 15 | Nov. 22 | Nov. 29 | Dec. 6 | Dec. 13 | Dec. 20 | Dec. 27 | Jan. 3 | Jan. 10 | Jan. 17 | Jan. 24 | Jan. 31 | Feb. 7 | Feb. 14 | Feb. 28 | Mar. 6 | Mar. 13 | Mar. 20 | Mar. 27

Jump to a team:

ATL | BOS | BKN | CHA | CHI | CLE
DAL | DEN | DET | GS | HOU | IND
LAC | LAL | MEM | MIA | MIL | MIN
NO | NY | OKC | ORL | PHI | PHX
POR | SAC | SA | TOR | UTA | WAS

1. Boston Celtics
2023-24 record: 59-16

  • Previous ranking: 1

  • Next games: vs. OKC (Apr. 3), vs. SAC (Apr. 5), vs. POR (Apr. 7), @ MIL (Apr. 9)

While there were lots of reasons to believe that Boston’s new-look starting lineup would be successful this season, it has been every bit as good — and then some — as the Celtics could have realistically hoped for. The grouping of Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis has played the sixth-most minutes of any five-man lineup in the NBA and is outscoring opponents by an impressive 12.6 points per 100 possessions. — Bontemps


2. Denver Nuggets
2023-24 record: 53-23

The Nuggets beat San Antonio for their second win in a row after dropping two straight — to Phoenix and Minnesota — last week. More importantly, though, is making sure they are healthy going into the playoffs. The defending champs played their sixth consecutive game on Tuesday without Jamal Murray, who has been out with a sprained left ankle and swollen right knee. Coach Michael Malone told reporters on Friday he believes his star guard will be back on the floor before the postseason begins. Denver finishes the regular season with four of its remaining six games on the road, starting Thursday at the Clippers. — Youngmisuk


3. Oklahoma City Thunder
2023-24 record: 52-23

  • Previous ranking: 4

  • Next games: @ BOS (Apr. 3), @ IND (Apr. 5), @ CHA (Apr. 7), vs. SAC (Apr. 9)

Josh Giddey is in his best groove of the season, averaging 22.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.4 assists with an effective field goal percentage of 72.2% over the past five games ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting with the 76ers. That span included Giddey setting a season-high scoring total in consecutive games — with 25 points against the Pelicans and 31 versus the Rockets — and registering his second triple-double of the season (16 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists against the Knicks). — MacMahon


4. Minnesota Timberwolves
2023-24 record: 52-23

  • Previous ranking: 5

  • Next games: vs. TOR (Apr. 3), @ PHX (Apr. 5), @ LAL (Apr. 7), vs. WAS (Apr. 9)

The Wolves have gone 9-4 since Karl-Anthony Towns has been sidelined with a knee injury. (He is set to be reevaluated next week.) Minnesota has leaned on its No. 1-ranked defense and emerging superstar Anthony Edwards as it looks to keep pace in the race for the top seed in the conference. The Wolves are now second in the West, half a game behind the Nuggets. With seven games remaining in the regular season, Minnesota has clinched a playoff berth directly after competing in the play-in the past two seasons. — Collier


5. Dallas Mavericks
2023-24 record: 45-29

  • Previous ranking: 8

  • Next games: vs. ATL (Apr. 4), vs. GS (Apr. 5), vs. HOU (Apr. 7), @ CHA (Apr. 9)

Luka Doncic won the Western Conference Player of the Week Award for the second time in March and the fourth time this season. Doncic averaged a 32.5-point triple-double for the month as the Mavs went 11-4, with one of the losses coming when he sat out due to hamstring soreness. Doncic has led Dallas in points, rebounds and assists 35 times this season, the fourth most by a player in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The three players who have topped that number — Russell Westbrook in 2016-17, Nikola Jokic in 2021-22 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1965-66 — all won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. — MacMahon


6. Milwaukee Bucks
2023-24 record: 47-28

  • Previous ranking: 3

  • Next games: vs. MEM (Apr. 3), vs. TOR (Apr. 5), vs. NY (Apr. 7), vs. BOS (Apr. 9)

The Bucks have a 1.5-game lead over Cleveland in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with seven games to play but are still looking to find an extended groove ahead of the playoffs. The Bucks went 8-6 in March and never won or lost more than two consecutive games all month. Milwaukee’s final three home games next week are all against potential playoff foes — New York, Boston and Orlando. — Collier


7. LA Clippers
2023-24 record: 47-28

  • Previous ranking: 10

  • Next games: vs. DEN (Apr. 4), vs. UTA (Apr. 5), vs. CLE (Apr. 7), @ PHX (Apr. 9)

The Clippers finished a four-game trip in Sacramento without their best player and lost to snap a three-game winning streak. Kawhi Leonard went back to Los Angeles to treat right knee soreness, a new injury that popped up during Sunday’s win in Charlotte, according to coach Ty Lue. The Clippers are hopeful that Leonard will return for Thursday’s home matchup against Denver, but their remaining schedule is jam-packed. They play their remaining seven games in 11 days with two back-to-backs. Six of those are at home, but the Clips have been far better on the road over the past month, having dropped five straight at Crypto.com Arena in March. — Youngmisuk


8. New Orleans Pelicans
2023-24 record: 45-30

  • Previous ranking: 6

  • Next games: vs. ORL (Apr. 3), vs. SA (Apr. 5), @ PHX (Apr. 7), @ POR (Apr. 9)

In the middle of an important six-game homestand, the Pelicans have dropped three of their past four — to Oklahoma City, Boston and Phoenix — and are now No. 6 in the Western Conference standings. New Orleans does have games left against San Antonio and Portland but also plays all four teams currently in the play-in spots — the Suns, Kings, Lakers and Warriors — to end the season. — Lopez


9. New York Knicks
2023-24 record: 44-31

  • Previous ranking: 7

  • Next games: vs. SAC (Apr. 4), @ CHI (Apr. 5), @ MIL (Apr. 7), @ CHI (Apr. 9)

New York continues to wait for both OG Anunoby (elbow) and Julius Randle (shoulder) to return to the court. In the meantime, it has seen great success from its current starting five of Jalen Brunson, Miles McBride, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein. Over the past seven games since McBride became a full-time starter, that group has outscored opponents by a staggering 85 points across 126 minutes — making it easily the best performing lineup of any group in the league this season. — Bontemps


10. Phoenix Suns
2023-24 record: 44-31

  • Previous ranking: 13

  • Next games: vs. CLE (Apr. 3), vs. MIN (Apr. 5), vs. NO (Apr. 7), vs. LAC (Apr. 9)

The Suns might have the league’s most difficult schedule down the stretch, but Phoenix showed this past week it came to fight. Following a disappointing road loss to the Spurs, the Suns beat the defending champs in Denver. After a subsequent 25-point loss at Oklahoma City, they bounced back to win at New Orleans, thanks to 52 points from Devin Booker, to finish their five-game trip on a high note. The Suns’ next four contests don’t get any easier, as they face Cleveland, Minnesota, New Orleans and the Clippers at home. — McMenamin


11. Cleveland Cavaliers
2023-24 record: 46-30

The Cavaliers were up and down last week, losing to the cellar-dwelling Hornets, getting blown out by the Nuggets then stabilizing with wins against Philly and Utah. But the biggest news was the talk of Donovan Mitchell’s future with the franchise. “We think he will extend,” Cavs owner Dan Gilbert told The Associated Press when asked about Mitchell’s contract situation. Mitchell did not commit when asked by reporters about Gilbert’s statement: “I’ll handle that when it comes,” he said. — McMenamin


12. Orlando Magic
2023-24 record: 44-31

  • Previous ranking: 11

  • Next games: @ NO (Apr. 3), @ CHA (Apr. 5), vs. CHI (Apr. 7), @ HOU (Apr. 9)

Not only does Orlando remain in the race for home-court advantage in the playoffs, it could climb as high as No. 3 in the East as it fights for positioning with the Cavaliers and Knicks. ESPN Analytics gives the Magic an 8% chance to get to the third spot, a 20% chance to get to No. 4, a 33% chance to stay at No. 5 and a 22% chance to fall one position to No. 6. But they’ll have to finish strong against a tough stretch of opponents in the Pelicans, Rockets, Bucks and 76ers. — Lopez


13. Sacramento Kings
2023-24 record: 43-31

  • Previous ranking: 9

  • Next games: @ NY (Apr. 4), @ BOS (Apr. 5), @ BKN (Apr. 7), @ OKC (Apr. 9)

The Kings have found themselves fluctuating anywhere from the No. 6 spot to No. 8 in the West. And their already difficult road to securing a playoff spot just got harder with injuries to Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk. Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes will have to help fill those holes along with Trey Lyles and Sasha Vezenkov, who just returned from their own injuries. But will that be enough to make up for Sacramento losing Monk, who was a Sixth Man of the Year contender? — Andrews


14. Los Angeles Lakers
2023-24 record: 43-33

  • Previous ranking: 16

  • Next games: @ WAS (Apr. 3), vs. CLE (Apr. 6), vs. MIN (Apr. 7), vs. GS (Apr. 9)

L.A. beat the Raptors on Tuesday for a seventh win in the past eight games, and it is 10 games above .500 for the first time since May 2021. “Our team spirit is at a very high level,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “The highest it’s been, in my opinion, all year.” The unspoken caveat, of course: The franchise’s disposition will ultimately be decided by what happens in the last six games of the regular season and beyond. — McMenamin


15. Indiana Pacers
2023-24 record: 43-33

  • Previous ranking: 14

  • Next games: @ BKN (Apr. 3), vs. OKC (Apr. 5), vs. MIA (Apr. 7), @ TOR (Apr. 9)

The Pacers won back-to-back games following a loss to Chicago to maintain a half-game advantage for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, staying ahead of Miami and Philadelphia. With six games remaining in the regular season, the Pacers have an even split of home and road contests and will host No. 7 Miami on Sunday in a crucial matchup to try to solidify their spot. — Collier


16. Miami Heat
2023-24 record: 42-33

  • Previous ranking: 15

  • Next games: vs. PHI (Apr. 4), @ HOU (Apr. 5), @ IND (Apr. 7), @ ATL (Apr. 9)

The Heat really got going Friday against Portland, posting 142 points in a franchise-record 60-point victory. It was only the fourth time in team history they’ve scored at least 140 points in a regulation game and the second time this season after beating the Pacers 142-132 on Nov. 30. The Heat have a key matchup against those same Pacers on Sunday, as Miami sits half a game back of Indiana for sixth place in the East standings. — Lopez


17. Golden State Warriors
2023-24 record: 41-34

  • Previous ranking: 19

  • Next games: @ HOU (Apr. 4), @ DAL (Apr. 5), vs. UTA (Apr. 7), @ LAL (Apr. 9)

The Warriors’ last seven games of the season are all must-win matchups, with four coming against Western Conference opponents fighting for playoff positioning. They’ll have to go through the Rockets, Mavericks, Lakers and Pelicans to secure at least a spot in the play-in. It’s long way of saying it’s not going to be easy. Golden State gained some momentum after finishing a five-game trip 4-1, but the next two weeks will determine if the Warriors are postseason-ready. — Andrews


18. Philadelphia 76ers
2023-24 record: 41-35

  • Previous ranking: 18

  • Next games: @ MIA (Apr. 4), @ MEM (Apr. 6), @ SA (Apr. 7), vs. DET (Apr. 9)

Tyrese Maxey has had a stellar season, including making his first All-Star appearance and leading the 76ers without reigning MVP Joel Embiid. But the absence of Embiid — who returned Tuesday night after being sidelined the past two months due to injury — made life difficult for the Sixers just the same. Through January, Philadelphia was scoring 122.3 points per 100 possessions when Maxey was on the court. But since the start of February, the 76ers without Embiid are scoring just 110.9 points per 100 possessions with Maxey on the court — a sign of not only the big man’s missing presence but also the increased attention on Maxey from defenses. — Bontemps


19. Houston Rockets
2023-24 record: 38-37

  • Previous ranking: 17

  • Next games: vs. GS (Apr. 4), vs. MIA (Apr. 5), @ DAL (Apr. 7), vs. ORL (Apr. 9)

Jalen Green, 22, became the NBA’s youngest player to average at least 30 points over an 11-game span, surpassing Hall of Famers Bob McAdoo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Green averaged 30.2 points while shooting 50.4% from the floor and 45.0% from 3-point range during the Rockets’ recent 11-game winning streak. Houston averaged 123.7 points per 100 possessions with Green on the floor in March, during which the Rockets posted a 13-2 record. — MacMahon


20. Atlanta Hawks
2023-24 record: 35-40

  • Previous ranking: 20

  • Next games: vs. DET (Apr. 3), @ DAL (Apr. 4), @ DEN (Apr. 6), vs. MIA (Apr. 9)

Atlanta has won five of its past six games — including a pair of thrillers against the league-leading Celtics last week — and continue to battle the Bulls for the right to host the East’s Nos. 9-10 play-in game. Atlanta gained a game on the Bulls on Monday with a win at Chicago’s United Center. Two-way guard Vit Krejci had a career high 18 points for Atlanta on 6-for-6 shooting from 3. The Hawks will again be tested this week as they hit the road against the Mavericks and Nuggets. — Lopez


21. Chicago Bulls
2023-24 record: 36-40

The Bulls officially locked their spot in the play-in tournament on Tuesday night in ironic fashion after a loss to the Hawks, as that pairing almost certainly will constitute the East’s Nos. 9-10 play-in matchup. Chicago currently holds the No. 9 seed and the tiebreaker, which would give it home-court advantage in that single-elimination postseason contest. However, the Bulls’ lead over Atlanta has dwindled to just half a game, and they face the Knicks three times and the Magic once in their last six games of the regular season. — Collier


22. Brooklyn Nets
2023-24 record: 29-47

It’s been a season to forget for Brooklyn, but one bright spot has been the play of third-year guard Cam Thomas. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard has posted career highs across the board, averaging 22 points per game and becoming one of the team’s go-to scoring options alongside forward Mikal Bridges. The question will be whether Brooklyn can get an extension done with Thomas heading into the final year of his rookie deal next season. — Bontemps


23. Memphis Grizzlies
2023-24 record: 25-50

  • Previous ranking: 24

  • Next games: @ MIL (Apr. 3), vs. DET (Apr. 5), vs. PHI (Apr. 6), vs. SA (Apr. 9)

The Grizzlies broke an NBA record that no team wants when guard Zavier Simpson checked into Saturday’s loss to the Magic. He was the 31st player to see game action for Memphis this season, the most by any team in league history. Simpson is one of 10 players to sign 10-day deals as the team has dealt with a myriad of injuries throughout the campaign. Memphis has had 21 different players serve as starters. In their final seven games, the Grizz will have to face the Bucks, Cavs and Nuggets. — MacMahon


24. Utah Jazz
2023-24 record: 29-47

Screening will be a focal point for second-year center Walker Kessler’s summer development. The Jazz have averaged only 0.93 points off of Kessler screens this season, according to Second Spectrum tracking, which ranks in the 33rd percentile. For Kessler, who has proved he can impact games as a rim protector, screening is an especially important skill for a big man who doesn’t have the shooting range to stretch the floor — MacMahon


25. San Antonio Spurs
2023-24 record: 18-58

  • Previous ranking: 25

  • Next games: @ NO (Apr. 5), vs. PHI (Apr. 7), @ MEM (Apr. 9), @ OKC (Apr. 10)

As the Spurs enter the final stretch in Victor Wembanyama‘s rookie season, they’ll do so without injured starters Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan. Vassell was averaging a career-best 19.5 points and had 87 assists to Wembanyama, while Sochan had settled into a defensive role after starting the campaign as the team’s point guard. Tre Jones, first on the team in assists per game (6.1), will play a key role in helping Wembanyama and the team in their efforts to finish the season strong. — Lopez


26. Toronto Raptors
2023-24 record: 23-52

  • Previous ranking: 26

  • Next games: @ MIN (Apr. 3), @ MIL (Apr. 5), vs. WAS (Apr. 7), vs. IND (Apr. 9)

Toronto enjoyed having both RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley back in the lineup on Tuesday against the Lakers as it plays out the string. More importantly, Toronto has slipped into sixth place in NBA draft lottery positioning. If the Raptors are able to maintain that spot, it would give them a good chance of keeping their top-six-protected first-round pick that they sent to the Spurs at last season’s trade deadline for Jakob Poeltl. — Bontemps


27. Charlotte Hornets
2023-24 record: 18-57

  • Previous ranking: 28

  • Next games: vs. POR (Apr. 3), vs. ORL (Apr. 5), vs. OKC (Apr. 7), vs. DAL (Apr. 9)

Brandon Miller has made it no secret that Paul George is his GOAT, and Miller is one of a growing number of tall wings who emulate George. On Sunday, Miller got a chance to go up against George in what turned into a memorable duel, as George exploded for a season-high 41 points in a Clippers win while Miller impressed with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. “He’s going to be really good, ton of talent. Can’t wait to see him fully blossomed and be one of those guys that carry the league for a long time,” George said of Miller after the game. “He can play make, score, shoot it from deep, put the ball on the ground — and he’s still figuring it out.” — Youngmisuk


28. Portland Trail Blazers
2023-24 record: 19-56

  • Previous ranking: 27

  • Next games: @ CHA (Apr. 3), @ WAS (Apr. 5), @ BOS (Apr. 7), vs. NO (Apr. 9)

A 10-game losing streak has the Blazers looking toward next season and what they can do with Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simmons and DeAndre Ayton. There have been glimpses of their potential, but injuries have hindered Portland’s efforts. The team will have to do some offseason work to build around their young core — especially Henderson, whose minus-58 point differential in a loss to Miami last week was the lowest in NBA history for a single game. — Andrews


29. Washington Wizards
2023-24 record: 15-61

  • Previous ranking: 29

  • Next games: vs. LAL (Apr. 3), vs. POR (Apr. 5), @ TOR (Apr. 7), @ MIN (Apr. 9)

While rookie Bilal Coulibaly‘s season ended due to a right wrist fracture a couple of weeks ago, the promising 6-foot-8 guard is seeing what he can glean from these final matchups. “I’m learning just by watching the game,” he told Monumental Sports Network. “I’m seeing things I wasn’t when I was playing. It’s an opportunity to get better.” Coulibaly averaged 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 63 games this season. “I’m proud of myself because I’ve proved that I belong in the NBA,” he said. “I proved that I can guard the best players on each team. Just proving that I can be a good player offensively too.”— Youngmisuk


30. Detroit Pistons
2023-24 record: 13-62

  • Previous ranking: 30

  • Next games: @ ATL (Apr. 3), @ MEM (Apr. 5), @ BKN (Apr. 6), @ PHI (Apr. 9)

The Pistons beat the Wizards last week to snap an eight-game losing streak thanks to former No. 1 draft pick Cade Cunningham, who has put up 30 points in three straight outings. Cunningham has scored at least 30 in 18 games this season, the most by any Pistons player since Blake Griffin (2018-19) and a silver lining for a team trying to avoid finishing with the worst record in the league in back-to-back seasons. — Collier



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