2018-19 NBA Power Rankings
Looking for 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings? We’re just hitting the end of the first FULL week of the new season, and while the same size is small, the top 10 teams have made it clear they’re a step ahead of the competition—at least for now.
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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.
1. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors were really the only choice here. They haven’t looked perfect, but they’re 4-1, Stephen Curry might be having his best season ever, and oh by the way, there are still three other All-Stars in the starting lineup and an All-NBA center in DeMarcus Cousins in the waiting.
Until proven otherwise, the Warriors are the best team in the NBA. Hands down.
2. Toronto Raptors
When the 2018-19 NBA season began, one of the biggest debates out there was: Who will be the East’s best player now that LeBron James has gone west?
Early in the year, it’s been Kawhi Leonard, and the Toronto Raptors’ controversial decision to ditch DeMar DeRozan and their head coach is looking like the right move.
The Raptors have been the best team in the Eastern Conference so far this season, and while we expect to see improvements from the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers before too long, neither of them are better than The North at this time.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
If Kawhi Leonard is likely the East’s best player in a post-LeBron world, Giannis Antetokounmpo is right there behind him. The 23-year-old continues to make strides toward becoming a league MVP, and that’s not slowing down any time soon.
He just needs a jumper. If he can develop one—or at least show improvements—before the season ends, the Milwaukee Bucks have a real shot at a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference.
4. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have quietly become the NBA’s most productive team on defense. We only have a small sample size to work with, but this group plays a surprisingly gritty style considering its pace—and the fact that its best player, Nikola Jokic, leaves a lot to be desired on that end of the floor.
Luckily for Denver, Jokic is making up for his defensive flaws with top-five center production on offense. He’s the kind of center who can score on his own or get others involved, and that’s become vitally important for the success of this franchise.
5. New Orleans Pelicans
For those who thought that DeMarcus Cousins’ departure to the Golden State Warriors was going to doom the New Orleans Pelicans, don’t look now. Anthony Davis is his usual MVP-like self, Julius Randle has been a huge pickup and Nikola Mirotic is enjoying his first full season with the Pels.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that Davis is looking like a DPOY candidate as well.
This team is better than advertised.
6. Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell put together a heck of a performance the other night in a win over the Houston Rockets, but what’s been most impressive is that the young guard is finding ways to create for others. This is huge considering efficiency is still a knock on him at this point in his career.
The fact that his game is evolving to make up for his flaws is a sign of big things to come.
7. Boston Celtics
This Boston team has struggled offensively this year. But their top-seven placement on this list is a testament to how good they can be on defense and how deep their rotation goes.
The Celtics will figure out the offense. And when they do, they’ll be a sure-fire top-five team.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have stuck to their annual formula of starting out strong. We can expect a regression at some point—likely around the corner with the team now on its first road trip of the young season—but thus far, Damian Lillard has been his dominant self, Evan Turner has looked like a (nearly) complete floor general and Just Nurkic is posting nice numbers in his first season not on his rookie deal.
9. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets likely deserve a higher placement in our first bi-weekly NBA Power Rankings, but it was just announced that James Harden is set to miss at least a week with injury.
We have to see how well the Rox can plan sans its best player before we give them the benefit of the doubt.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
Markelle Fultz has shown some nice signs of a reformed jumper and ability to jell with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Those are good things, but he still has a long way to go. Either he’ll need to see another leap or his teammates will have to find other ways to make up for his learning curve.
More NBA Power Rankings – Teams #11 – > #30
- 11. Miami Heat
- 12. Indiana Pacers
- 13. San Antonio Spurs
- 14. LA Clippers
- 15. Detroit Pistons
- 16. Los Angeles Lakers
- 17. Memphis Grizzlies
- 18. Oklahoma City Thunder
- 19. Charlotte Hornets
- 20. Minnesota Timberwolves
- 21. Washington Wizards
- 22. Brooklyn Nets
- 23. Dallas Mavericks
- 24. Atlanta Hawks
- 25. Orlando Magic
- 26. New York Knicks
- 27. Phoenix Suns
- 28. Sacramento Kings
- 29. Chicago Bulls
- 30. Cleveland Cavaliers
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