2019 NBA Power Rankings
Looking for 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings? The final portion of the season is upon us, and this league continues to be as exciting as ever. One week removed from the trade deadline, we’ve seen plenty of shakeup around the league—both as far as players and spots in our rankings go.
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As always, our rankings will look at the entire body of work for all 30 teams, with a specific emphasis on recent trends.
*All stats and records are current as of this writing at 9:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
Although the Golden State Warriors would likely be favored in a Finals series with the Milwaukee Bucks, it’s the latter that has played the best, most consistent basketball over the course of the 2018-19 season. And that theme hasn’t changed as of late. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the odds-on favorite to win MVP as of this writing and Mike Budenholzer has created a system that flourishes around him.
2. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have a one-game lead over the Denver Nuggets out West, but they’re also coming off a bad—if not downright shocking—loss to the conference’s worst team, the Phoenix Suns. That loss wasn’t bad enough to knock the Dubs out of the top two, but it’s actually quite close. The Warriors have lost six of their last 10.
3. Toronto Raptors
If Kawhi Leonard had played more games this season, he’d be just as much an MVPV favorite as Antatokounmpo and James Harden. Then again, if he’d been playing more, his body may have worn down—not to mention his patience. (Remember, the main reason for his demanding out of San Antonio was that he felt the team didn’t treat his injuries properly by rushing him back too soon.) The Raptors may be the East’s best team, but we have no way of knowing it until they face off against someone in a series with Kawhi for all seven games. These Raptors could be a very strong tier-2 dark horse when it comes to championship odds by the end of the season.
4. Denver Nuggets
Speaking of sneaky tier-2 contenders, enter the Denver Nuggets. The truth is, they are a huge mystery considering they’ve never been near the top of the conference. Some questioned whether or not this team would even make its return to the postseason in 2019, but now they’re actually a very dangerous matchup for the Warriors. They’ve earned a top-five spot in our Power Rankings—no doubt about that. But they need to prove they are legitimate when it matters most.
5. Houston Rockets
Houston has been playing some money basketball as of late. And maybe not so coincidentally, they’re doing it while James Harden has stepped back to “really really good basketball” status instead of “Houston prepare for take-off out of this universe” status. Houston is healthy, Chris Paul is proving he’s still a difference-maker and Clint Capela is reminding people why he earned his bag this summer.
6. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the All-Star break. They have just two losses in that span, one coming in odd fashion against the Memphis Grizzlies and the other in close fashion to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Damian Lillard had 51 points in that loss to OKC, and CJ McCollum took over No. 1 option against the LA Clippers—in the fourth quarter, at least. McCollum had 24 points in the fourth alone and kept this team rolling.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid is back for the first time since the All-Star break and that’s good news for a team looking it prove its preseason expectations weren’t a year ahead of schedule. So far this year, Philly has struggled to be consistent but has also remained in a spot to compete for home-court advantage in the first round. This team has too much talent to be out of the Top 10 in our power rankings, but we need to see something from them over the next few weeks to give us much hope for a championship.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Brooklyn Nets looked like they were going to give the Oklahoma City Thunder a bit of a scare there on Wednesday night, but OKC finished strong and came out ahead, 108-96. The Thunder have a couple of recent impressive wins under their belts and Paul George remains the consensus third-place favorite for MVP. Russell Westbrook’s efficiency on offense will continue to be a talking point, and that won’t stop in the playoffs, but if he can find a way to be more efficient, this team can be very dangerous in the postseason.
9. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs feel like they’re in their final season as perennial playoff contenders. The Sacramento Kings are still hopeful that they can leapfrog San Antonio or one of the other fringe Western Conference playoff teams, but that seems like a longshot at this point in the 2018-19 campaign. The good news for Spurs fans is that this team has avoided any sort of real drama and has continued to play solid, professional basketball. Neither of those were necessarily the case last season. As of this writing, the Spurs own the No. 6 seed out West and are 2.5 games behind the No. 6 Blazers and just one game ahead of the No. 8 Utah Jazz.
10. Boston Celtics
Boston just might be figuring this thing out. That’s not to say they should be considered the all-of-a-sudden favorites out East, but it does mean that they’re clicking at the right time, and momentum is vitally important heading into the postseason. If the Celtics continue to prove they’re living up to expectations, it won’t matter what seed they are in the first round. They should be a lock for Round 2, which will be the ultimate test and will tell us a lot about this team.
More NBA Power Rankings – Teams #11 – > #30
- 11. Indiana Pacers
- 12. LA Clippers
- 13. Utah Jazz
- 14. Brooklyn Nets
- 15. Sacramento Kings
- 16. Detroit Pistons
- 17. Orlando Magic
- 18. Miami Heat
- 19. Minnesota Timberwolves
- 20. New Orleans Pelicans
- 21. Memphis Grizzlies
- 22. Charlotte Hornets
- 23. Washington Wizards
- 24. Los Angeles Lakers
- 25. Dallas Mavericks
- 26. Chicago Bulls
- 27. Cleveland Cavaliers
- 28. Atlanta Hawks
- 29. New York Knicks
- 30. Phoenix Suns
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