Not all wins are created equal. If they were, the Power Rankings would be rendered useless — a quick look at the standings would quickly indicate the NBA’s best teams. But, as we know, that’s not exactly how it works.
The Golden State Warriors suffered their second loss of the season this week, which, in theory, could have bumped them from the top spot. But the beatdown they put on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center just a couple days later was so impressive that it’s impossible to say they’re not the best team in the league at this point in time. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns went 4-0 this week, but the quality of opponents leaves them just a fingernail’s length behind the Warriors … for now.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Similarly, the Charlotte Hornets rocketed up the rankings this week, thanks to the quality of their three wins, including one against the league-best Warriors. Just as quality wins can help you, quality losses can hurt you. That’s the case for the New York Knicks, who dropped four spots due in large part to a home loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
So if you’re looking through this week’s rankings and find you have some discrepancies, just remember to look at who the wins and losses came against. Here are this week’s NBA Power Rankings.
*Please keep in mind that our Power Rankings are based on the team’s performance the previous week, not the entire season.
|The Warriors walloped the Bulls at home before hitting the road and suffering their second loss of the season to the Hornets in a game where they couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean from 3-point range. Lest you think the loss suggested that their hot start was smoke and mirrors, they made a major statement in a dismantling of the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Steph Curry probably took the reins as the MVP front-runner with his 37-point performance at Barclays, while averaging 33.7 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds this week on 48 percent 3-point shooting.||—||12-2|
|Phoenix took care of business this week, beating the Grizzlies, Rockets, Wolves and the Luka Doncic-less Mavs to bring their winning streak to 10 games. The Suns won two of this week’s games without Deandre Ayton, as JaVale McGee stepped up with 19 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes against Houston. Devin Booker continued his strong play, averaging 24 points, six rebounds and 4.5 assists on 40 percent 3-point shooting in the four wins this week.||2||11-3|
|The Nets were beaten convincingly by the Warriors in their most high-profile game of the season thus far, but they did win their other three games this week against the Pelicans, Thunder and short-handed Cavs. Brooklyn was without Joe Harris for the final two games of the week due to an ankle sprain, removing a much-needed floor-spacer and offensive threat. James Harden and Kevin Durant each averaged over 25 points per game this week, while they and Patty Mills combined to shoot 48 percent from 3-point range in the four games.||2||11-5|
|The Heat narrowly lost to the Clippers to start the week without Jimmy Butler, then picked up a big win in Utah before victories over the Thunder and Pelicans. Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry all missed games this week, which opened up opportunity for Tyler Herro to average 23.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and four assists per game. Butler was brilliant in his return from an ankle injury in Wednesday’s win over New Orleans, putting up 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.||6||10-5|
|Charlotte got off to an excellent start on its homestand, beating three very good teams in the Knicks, Warriors and Wizards in consecutive games. James Borrego has been preaching defensive improvement all season, and it showed this week with a sparkling 97.3 defensive rating. Offensively the attack was balanced, with five players averaging double figures, while LaMelo Ball nearly averaged a triple-double this week with 14.7 points, 10 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 3.3 steals per game.||18||9-7|
|The Mavs beat the Spurs and Nuggets before losing to the Suns without Luka Doncic on Wednesday. This week was all about Kristaps Porzingis, who averaged 27.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and two blocks on 42 percent 3-point shooting, injecting life into a middling Dallas offense. Luka Doncic was no slouch in two games before suffering lower extremity issues, putting up 27.5 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds per game on 40 percent 3-point shooting in the wins.||3||9-5|
|Nikola Jokic is making a strong case for a second consecutive MVP award, powering the Nuggets to a 2-1 week with 28.3 points, 14.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. Denver’s net rating is 25.3 (!) points better per 100 possessions with Jokic on the floor, so his impact is being felt on both ends. Aaron Gordon has also stepped up, averaging 16 points this week on 46 percent 3-point shooting in addition to his sterling defense.||4||9-5|
|Go figure. The Wizards saw their five-game winning streak come to an end in the game that Bradley Beal made his return. They beat the Magic and Pelicans without him to start the week, then ran into a hot Charlotte squad on Wednesday night. Beal came back in great form, putting up 24 points and seven assists on 5-for-11 3-point shooting in the loss, while Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma all stepped up during the two wins in his absence.||6||10-4|
|The Bulls went 2-2 this week as they navigated life without Nikola Vucevic, who is out due to health and safety protocols. They lost to the Warriors and Blazers, while beating the L.A. teams on consecutive nights at Staples Center. DeMar DeRozan kept up his spectacular early season performance, averaging 28.3 points and 5.3 assists on 53.5 percent shooting this week, while Zach LaVine added 27 points per game on scorching 21-for-42 3-point shooting.||1||10-5|
|The Clippers have now gone 8-1 over their last nine games, including three wins this week, with their only loss coming to the Bulls on Sunday. The defense has been stingy all year, and the offense did just enough this week behind Paul George and Reggie Jackson. Eric Bledsoe also seems to be finding his groove in his second stint with the Clippers, averaging 16.8 points this week on 37 percent 3-point shooting. Rookie Brandon Boston Jr. impressed during his first major opportunity of the season in Tuesday’s win over the Spurs, putting up 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting in just under 20 minutes.||1||9-5|
|Utah’s skid continued to start the week, with losses to the Pacers and Heat, but it demolished a short-handed 76ers team at home on Tuesday to get back on the winning track. The normally-stout Jazz defense wasn’t as locked in during the losses, giving up 111 points in each game, but it was able to hold Philly to just 85 points. Bojan Bogdanovic had a great week, averaging over 20 points on 12-for-22 3-point shooting, while Rudy Gobert put up 16 points, 14 rebounds and almost two blocks per game.||5||9-5|
|Despite their roster falling apart at the seams, the Cavs managed to go 2-2 this week by beating the Pistons, splitting with the Celtics, then losing to the Nets. Already missing Collin Sexton, Cleveland will now be without standout rookie Evan Mobley for at least a couple weeks due to an elbow injury, just as he was really starting to find his groove offensively. As a result, Darius Garland and Ricky Rubio are going to be the team’s main scoring threats, while the Cavs hope that Kevin Love, who returned from health and safety protocols on Wednesday, will be able to contribute meaningful minutes.||—||9-7|
|Portland put together a 3-1 week, capped by a comeback effort against the Bulls in a game that looked like a lost cause in the first half. Head coach Chauncey Billups has been experimenting with more time for Larry Nance Jr., and the Blazers’ net rating was a whopping 22 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor in the past four games. Damian Lillard is starting to find the range, averaging 22 points this week on 42 percent 3-point shooting, though he missed Sunday’s blowout loss to the Nuggets due to an abdominal injury.||5||8-8|
|The Hawks saw their losing streak reach six games in a loss to the Nuggets to start the week, but snapped out of it with consecutive wins over the Bucks, Magic and Celtics to build some momentum. The offense looked great, with Trae Young leading the way with 28.3 points and nine assists per game on 45 percent 3-point shooting. Clint Capela was a monster on the interior, putting up 13.8 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in the four games.||12||7-9|
|The Celtics narrowly hung on to beat the Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo in overtime, thanks to 38 points from Dennis Schroder, before splitting consecutive games with the Cavs and losing to the Hawks. Schroder has stepped up offensively in Jaylen Brown’s absence, averaging 23.8 points this week on 54 percent shooting. Jayson Tatum continues to shoulder the brunt of the scoring load, averaging 26.3 points per game this week. Both Schroder and Tatum had more turnovers than assists, however, which helps explain the team’s recent offensive struggles.||1||7-8|
|The Bucks have been banged up all year, and it showed again in a 1-2 week, but they’re slowly but surely starting to get healthy. Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo both returned in Wednesday night’s win over the Lakers, with Giannis putting up 47 points on an absurd 18-for-23 shooting, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range, and 8 for 11 from the free throw line. With the stars back on the floor, the Bucks need to start stringing together some wins if they want to make a move in the Eastern Conference.||1||7-8|
|The Knicks have now dropped six of nine games after rough losses to the Hornets and Magic this week, with a win over the Pacers in between. The offense, which started the season so well, has stalled, putting up just 99 points per 100 possessions in three games this week. Julius Randle has been chief among those struggling, averaging 11.3 points on 32 percent shooting from the field this week. Kemba Walker scored a season-high 26 points in the loss to Charlotte, but managed just five points on 2-for-7 shooting in Wednesday’s home loss to Orlando.||4||8-7|
|LeBron James is reportedly close to a return, and the Lakers need him in the worst way. They lost three more games this week, including a 24-point drubbing by the Timberwolves at Staples Center (let’s call it that while we still can). In addition to LeBron’s impending return, the Lakers already received a boost from Talen Horton-Tucker, who averaged 23.3 points and 7.3 rebounds on 40 percent 3-point shooting this week in his first three games of the season. Defensively, the Lakers have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game in the NBA, and it showed as Giannis Antetokounmpo steamrolled his way to 47 points against them on Wednesday.||4||8-8|
|Joel Embiid’s absence caught up to the Sixers this week in losses to the Raptors, Pacers and Jazz. Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris each averaged over 20 points in the three games, doing all they could to carry the offense, but it just wasn’t enough against three potent offensive teams. Embiid may not be able to rejoin the team before next week, which means more rough sledding ahead for Philadelphia.||12||8-7|
|Memphis ran its losing streak to three games with an ugly loss to the Pelicans on Saturday, but bounced back for a much-needed blowout win over the Rockets. Ja Morant continues to look tremendous, averaging 23.3 points, nine rebounds and 7.3 assists this week on 7-for-13 3-point shooting, while Dillon Brooks has shown no ill effects from his injury, averaging nearly 20 points in two games this week. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane struggled shooting the ball, but the defense has been the real issue for the Grizzlies all season long.||3||7-7|
|The Raptors started the week with a win over the short-handed 76ers, but followed that up with a rough home loss to the Pistons and a road loss to the Blazers. Giving up 127 points to Detroit, who is near the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency, seems almost unfathomable for a long, active Toronto defense, but here we are. Pascal Siakam appears to be working his way back into shape, averaging 22.5 points and nine rebounds on 4-for-9 3-point shooting this week, while Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. also averaged more than 20 points per game.||2||7-8|
|The Pacers have been a weird team this year, evidenced by their tough road win over the Jazz followed by a loss to the Pistons less than a week later. The offense abandoned them in their two losses this week, averaging just 86.5 points, partly due to Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert both struggling from the field with rookie Chris Duarte missing both games with a shoulder injury. Domantas Sabonis averaged a double-double of 15 points and 11.3 rebounds in the Pacers’ 2-2 week.||2||6-10|
|So OKC is really doing this again, huh? A 2-2 week keeps the Thunder hovering around .500, and that’s with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaging 17.5 points on 37 percent shooting this week. Lu Dort had a monster performance in Wednesday’s win over the Rockets, scoring 34 points on 14-for-22 shooting, and he averaged 24 points for the week. OKC is proving it can beat the lower-tier teams in the league, which is impressive considering its roster is specifically engineered for tanking.||3||6-8|
|The Wolves destroyed the Lakers at Staples Center to start the week, with another win over the Kings to go with losses to the Clippers and Suns. The defense looked good outside of a 129-point effort from the Clippers, as Karl-Anthony Towns carried the offense with 23.5 points per game on 38.5 percent 3-point shooting. Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell both struggled from the field, however, as they continue to look for a balance from their three-pronged offensive attack.||3||5-9|
|Hard to believe, but this year’s edition of “Luke Walton Hot Seat Season” is already upon us, as the Kings went 1-2 this week with losses to the Thunder and Wolves and a win over the Pistons. Walton has gone to a double-big starting lineup for the last three games, inserting Chimezie Metu next to Richaun Holmes, and the team has been 10.7 points better with Metu on the floor over that stretch, so maybe he’s on to something. De’Aaron Fox led the team with 21 points per game this week, while Buddy Hield averaged 17.3 points on 45.5 percent 3-point shooting.||3||6-9|
|The Pistons doubled their win total this week with victories over the Raptors and Pacers, while they lost by 20-plus points to both the Cavs and Kings. Cade Cunningham is starting to look like the No. 1 pick, averaging 15 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists this week, including a career-high 25 points in the Sacramento loss. Jerami Grant was very good in the wins this week and not so good in the losses, which might be how this season goes for Detroit given its youth and lack of established offensive weapons.||2||4-10|
|Orlando lost to the Wizards and Hawks before a huge win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Seven Magic players scored in double figures in the win, led by 19 points from Terrence Ross. Cole Anthony continued his streaky shooting while averaging 22 points, 8.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds for the week. Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. each averaged 14.3 points for the week, and they went a combined 11 for 19 from 3-point range.||2||4-11|
|The Spurs lost to the Mavericks at home before taking two more Ls at Staples Center to the Lakers and Clippers. Dejounte Murray has been one of the few bright spots for San Antonio in the early season, averaging 21 points, nine rebounds and 7.7 assists on 51 percent shooting this week. Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Doug McDermott also caught fire from 3-point range this week, but it wasn’t enough to translate into a win. A silver lining is that Jakob Poeltl should be making his way back from health and safety protocols in the near future.||7||4-10|
|Any week with a win is a good week for the Pelicans at this point. They beat the Grizzlies in Brandon Ingram’s return to the lineup, but also failed to capitalize on opportunities against the Wizards and Heat, who were both missing significant pieces. Ingram averaged 23 points in his three games this week, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker put up 16.3 points on 39 percent 3-point shooting. The league-worst defense continues to be the main issue.||1||2-14|
|Welp. The Rockets are officially the worst team in the NBA after four more double-digit losses, including one to the Thunder on Wednesday. The Houston offense was as futile as it gets this week, scoring just 91 points per 100 possessions while allowing 111.2 defensively — not a formula for success. Jalen Green led the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game in the four losses, but he shot 38 percent from the field and 26 percent from 3-point range. Christian Wood is in a major slump as well, averaging just 11.5 points per game this week on 2-for-19 3-point shooting.||1||1-14|