Ebene Magazine – NBA Power Rankings: Nets Fall With Another James Harden Injury


There’s a new team at the top of our NBA power rankings this week. The Nets’ ongoing inconsistency, coupled with the loss of James Harden to injury, has put the Suns at the top of the list. Phoenix continues to treat the regular season with the utmost urgency and has only lost three games since the All-Star break. Nobody plays basketball better than the suns.

Even so, there have been many great performances in the NBA over the past week. The Utah Jazz improved by one place after a strong week, while the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets pushed forward after unbeaten weeks.

Here’s a look at the top 5 in the league, the Knicks of course.

The victories keep coming, so the suns have made their way to the top of the power rankings. Phoenix led the league in offensive efficiency last week, averaging 1.3 points per possession against the Bulls, Thunder and Rockets. The opponents weren’t great, but we’ll be answering a few questions this week. The suns will face the jazz and clippers in games that weigh heavily in the west.

Injuries and inconsistent play have displaced the nets from the top. It took them a 12-0 run in the third quarter to get past the missiles, lost to the cops and barely got past the Knicks. This week is part of a larger 3-10 ATS slide, and the failure of the nets was the culprit. An average of 113.6 points per 100 possessions would be fine for any team, but if you give up 112.1 on the same track, you’re barely going to get away with it.

Utah got the second best net rating of the week at 13.5, however the performance evaluation is at its peak. This is illustrated by a 1-3 ATS record despite such a statistically dominant week. The Jazz defense had apparently got itself back into shape before the end of the week, but the Mavericks boiled it up for 1.22 points per possession. Is that a sign of the future?

Joel Embiid is back in the mix, but without him the 76ers were listless on the offensive when they lost to the Grizzlies. Their defense has also declined a bit in the last two games. The Grizzlies and Timberwolves averaged 1,162 points per possession against the Sixers this week. You face the Celtics, Pelicans, and Mavericks for the next week with one more situation on the agenda. It could be another uneven week for Philadelphia.

The only flaw last week was a win over the Kings that Milwaukee didn’t report on, but Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t on the ground. The Bucks’ 127-109 win over the Trail Blazers was very impressive. The bucks crushed her inside by going 23 out of 26 on the edge and scoring 58 points in color, but their defensive efforts were even better. Milwaukee has a great week on the horizon with some bottom feeders on the horizon.

The Knicks used two poor defenses to end the week, averaging 1,247 points per possession in some covers, but it’s pretty clear that the problems that plague the kinks at that end of the floor still persist. The losses are starting to add up, and their position in the conference is worth monitoring. The Knicks were only 3½ games ahead of the bulls, who were in 10th place in the east.

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