Grizzlies, Kings crack top five in 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings

76ers stay in top 10 of 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings originally appeared on NBC SportsPhiladelphia

The NBA season is marching towards All-Star Weekend.

All 30 teams have played over half of the 82-game season, but parity remains the dominant theme as February approaches.

the Boston Celtics are emerging as the top dog from the Eastern Conference, while the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies are picking up steam out west, with the latter rattling off 11 straight wins. Even the Sacramento Kings have momentarily grabbed the No. 3 seed.

Ahead of the Celtics-Warriors NBA Finals rematch, let’s update the 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings:

30. Houston Rockets, 10-35: No change here. Houston is having a problem, but that would change should Victor Wembanyama become a Rocket. Keep an eye on Eric Gordon getting traded. (Last ranking: 30)

29. San Antonio Spurs, 14-31: Not much has changed for San Antonio, either. And not a great start for the Texas teams. Collecting assets for Jakob Poeltl would be nice, but their frontcourt depth would be even thinner than it already is. (Last ranking: 28)

28. Charlotte Hornets, 12-34: The Hornets lost LaMelo Ball again to his third ankle injury of the season. They might as well rest him and maintain its top-14 protected first-round pick. (Last ranking: 27)

27. Detroit Pistons, 12-35: The Pistons will hover around these bottom spots with Cade Cunningham out for the year. They’re at least more watchable than the previous teams. (Last ranking: 29)

26. Orlando Magic, 16-28: Orlando should be in for a better season next year, but nonetheless, it’s been a promising campaign thus far despite what the record indicates. (Last ranking: 26)

25.Washington Wizards, 19-26: Washington would be smart to become sellers ahead of the deadline and rebuild … again. The roster construction right now won’t work. (Last ranking: 20)

24. Chicago Bulls, 20-24: The Windy City also needs to pick a direction. The Bulls still aren’t exactly convincing. (Last rankings: 24)

23. Toronto Raptors, 20-25: The Raptors were in this type of position last season before catapulting into the top-end of the conference at the right time. The jury’s still out on if they can do it again, but they come in here for now. (Last ranking: 22)

22. Los Angeles Lakers, 20-25: LeBron James’ hunt for the all-time scoring record is the only reason to tune in to Lakers games right now, especially with Anthony Davis out. (Last rankings: 24)

21Minnesota Timberwolves, 22-24: The Rudy Gobert-Karl-Anthony Towns duo will still require tinkering upon the latter’s return. If they continue to struggle, snagging a play-in tournament spot could get them back in the playoffs. (Last ranking: 18)

20. Indiana Pacers, 23-23: This is harsh on Indiana as it nearly cracked the top 10 in the last edition, but losing five in a row drops it here. The Pacers should be good enough for a play-in spot barring a steep drop off. (Last rankings: 11)

19. Atlanta Hawks, 23-22: Atlanta convinces you in one game, then shows up with the complete opposite type of performance the next. Its current four-game winning streak is good enough to rise by the same number of spots. (Last ranking: 23)

18. Oklahoma City Thunder, 22-23: Someone tell Sam Presti a high draft pick is the main goal this season. (Last rankings: 21)

17. Los Angeles Clippers, 23-24: It’s been another rough patch for the Clippers as of late, though they should turn things around eventually. (Last rankings: 12)

16. Phoenix Suns, 21-24: The Suns are understandably struggling without key figures like Devin Booker and Cam Johnson, though the latter is nearing a much-needed return. (Last ranking: 13)

15. Portland Trail Blazers, 21-23: It feels like Portland should be solid enough for a play-in spot, but it needs to find more consistency. (Last ranking: 15)

14. Utah Jazz, 24-24: The dip in form of other teams has seen the Jazz string their way five spots higher, though they should also consider the prospect of selling at the deadline. (Last ranking: 19)

13. Golden State Warriors, 22-22: If Stephen Curry can stay healthy, the Dubs will gradually claw their way back into the top 10, where they haven’t been since the first edition at the start of the campaign. (Last ranking: 16)

12. Miami Heat, 25-21: The Heat are beginning to find a rhythm lately. The matter, though, is sustaining it. (Last ranking: 17)

11. Dallas Mavericks, 24-22: Luka Doncic will carry this team as far as he can take them. Will the Mavericks make a sneaky-good move at the deadline? (Last ranking: 10)

10. New York Knicks, 25-21: The Knicks are still a suspicious group. It seems like they’re punching above their weight with their current record, and that’s supported with their 11-13 at home. Can they maintain this identity? (Last rankings: 14)

9. New Orleans Pelicans, 26-19: The Pelicans just need to stay above .500 with Zion Williamson sidelined. They’re legit. (Last rankings: 7)

8Cleveland Cavaliers, 28-18: Cleveland falls from the top five, but not because of its play. Other teams have been in much better form to leapfrog the Cavs. (Last rankings: 3)

7.Philadelphia 76ers, 28-16: The 76ers’ trend of climbing in the power rankings continues, as they’ve managed to take hold of a top-three seed in the East. (Last rankings: 8)

6. Milwaukee Bucks, 29-16: Milwaukee has not been playing its best ball as of late. After just staying in the top five last time, the Bucks have crashed out. (Last rankings: 5)

5. Sacramento Kings, 25-18: Well, how about this. The Kings are genuinely good – they proved they can win without Domantas Sabonis and still have the highest scoring offense in the league. They’ve lit their way to a top-five spot for the first time this season. (Last rankings: 9)

4.Brooklyn Nets, 27-16: The Nets leapt into first place last time after a stellar unbeaten run, but their recent skid sees them fall to No. 4. (Last rankings: 1)

3Denver Nuggets, 32-13: Nikola Jokic finally has a strong core around him, and the results are manifesting on the court. The Nuggets just need to stay healthy compared to the last few seasons. (Last rankings: 4)

2. Memphis Grizzlies, 31-13: Memphis, on the other hand, is finally healthy with Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. logging more games under their belt, and it has helped them pull off 11 W’s in a row. They get a deserved bump in this edition. (Last rankings: 6)

1.Boston Celtics, 33-12: In a season aimed at parity, the C’s have been the most consistent team in the league. It won’t be easy, but they should be the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals for the second straight season. (Last rankings: 2)

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