It doesn't seem like we're a quarter of the way through the 72-game NBA regular season, and perhaps that's because some teams have played fewer than 15 games due to various postponements. With that in mind, this isn't your average quarter-season checkup -- there are teams surrounded by giant question marks because we haven't yet seen them with their full complement of players on a consistent basis.
One team that has benefited from its consistency is the Utah Jazz, who are riding an eight-game winning streak as the hottest team in the league. Their unparalleled offensive efficiency caused them to supplant the Los Angeles Lakers as the top team in our Power Rankings. Right behind the Jazz are the Los Angeles Clippers, who make a convincing case for the top spot this week as well, while the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets round out the top five.
The Oklahoma City Thunder took the biggest fall after a winless week, but the New Orleans Pelicans are seemingly in more trouble, dropping all the way to No. 28. Without further ado, here are this week's NBA Power Rankings.
*Keep in mind that our Power Rankings are based on the team's performance the previous week, not the entire season.
|Make it eight wins in a row for the Jazz, who earn the top spot in this week's rankings after putting on an absolute offensive clinic in three games. They made nearly 17 3s per game and shot 40 percent from deep, while putting up an offensive rating of 122.2. Utah also set an NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a team's first 15 games of the season with 248. Math and logic suggest that they won't be able to keep this up, but, boy, have they been fun to watch. Donovan Mitchell, Shaq criticism aside, averaged 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists while going 13 for 23 from deep this week.
|The Clippers are rolling, winning three more games this week that weren't particularly close. The only thing holding them back from the top spot is the quality of their wins (Kings and Thunder twice) compared to the Jazz, but the Clippers could have easily been No. 1 this week. Paul George had a relatively bad week after a torrid start, but Kawhi Leonard picked up the slack, averaging 32.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists. If we're looking at potential long-term concerns, Lou Williams is still lost off the bench, scoring 20 total points in his last three games.
|The Lakers took their foot off the gas and blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead in Monday's loss to the Warriors, but bounced back with a statement win over the Bucks in Milwaukee before beating the Bulls on Saturday in a game that wasn't as close as the 11-point margin might indicate. Anthony Davis broke out of a mini-slump by scoring a season-high 37 points in his native Chicago on 14-for-21 shooting, while LeBron James continued his hot 3-point marksmanship, hitting 42 percent on 6.3 attempts per game this week. The Warriors game seems to be an anomaly rather than an indication of a larger problem, but a loss is still a loss, so the Lakers drop from No. 1 this week.
|The Sixers rattled off back-to-back wins over the Celtics, then hung on to beat the undermanned Pistons on Saturday for a perfect week. Boston was without Jayson Tatum for both games, but Philly's wins were impressive nonetheless, with Joel Embiid continuing to stake his claim in the MVP race. He averaged an insane 37.7 points and 11.7 rebounds on 61 percent shooting this week, including 44 percent from the 3-point line. Embiid said that he can't explain it, but something's been "different" between him and Ben Simmons this season, and the 76ers are clearly benefiting from the improved chemistry.
|Denver won all three games this week and certainly earned the last two, playing a total of three overtime periods on consecutive nights against the Suns. Nikola Jokic continues to play at an MVP level, averaging 29 points, 14.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists for the week. Jamal Murray struggled with his shooting, but made a clutch pull-up jumper in overtime on Friday before draining a ridiculous 3-pointer to force OT on Saturday. Michael Porter Jr. returned for the wins over the Suns after a 10-game absence, putting up 14 points and 11 rebounds on 3-for-4 3-point shooting in 35 minutes on Saturday.
|It was a disappointing week for the Bucks, who dropped consecutive litmus test games to the Nets and Lakers before beating the Hawks without Trae Young on Sunday. Giannis Antetokounmpo put up good numbers this week, but he struggled down the stretch against the Lakers and turned the ball over nine times, leading to a recurrence of questions surrounding his viability as a late-game offensive option. Jrue Holiday played well against the Lakers and has been steady, averaging 19.7 points and six assists on 40 percent 3-point shooting this week.
|Well, the Big Three era in Brooklyn hasn't gotten off to the best start, as the team dropped back-to-back games to the Cavs before escaping with a narrow victory over the undermanned Heat on Saturday. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been tremendous offensively, while James Harden appears to be embracing more of a facilitator role for the time being, averaging 11.5 assists in four games this week. Prior to Irving's return, the Nets picked up a big win over the Bucks on Monday behind 34 points from Harden, but Brooklyn's defense has been predictably awful since the trade.
|After dropping consecutive games to the 76ers, the Celtics took out their frustrations on the Cavs with a 38-point win on Sunday. Jayson Tatum missed the entire week due to NBA health and safety protocols, and Jaylen Brown picked up the scoring slack, as you would expect. Brown averaged 33.7 points on 11-for-22 3-point shooting in the three games, and set an NBA record with 33 points in 19 minutes in Sunday's blowout. Kemba Walker appears to be getting his legs back underneath him with averages of 19.7 points and five assists in 25 minutes per game this week. Meanwhile Tatum, who last played on Jan. 8, is expected to rejoin the lineup on Monday.
|San Antonio beat the Blazers and Wizards this week while losing to the Warriors and Mavericks. Six Spurs averaged double figures for the week, with nobody reaching the 20-point-per-game threshold. Rudy Gay and Patty Mills have been spark plugs off the bench, each averaging 15.3 points this week, while Gay shot 53 percent from 3-point range. LaMarcus Aldridge averaged just over 25 minutes per game this week, as Gregg Popovich continues to experiment with different combinations.
|The Blazers only played two games this week, losing to the Spurs by 21 on Monday and beating the Knicks on Sunday. As expected, Damian Lillard picked up his scoring with CJ McCollum sidelined, with Rodney Hood and Carmelo Anthony thriving given the extra opportunity. Anfernee Simons stepped up in the win over the Knicks with 16 points on 4-of-6 3-point shooting. If he can become a consistent contributor, that will go a long way toward staying afloat while McCollum is out.
|Here come the Raptors. After a dismal start to the season, Toronto has won five of its last six games, including a 3-1 week capped by an impressive victory in Indiana with Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam unavailable. Nick Nurse said he felt his team wasn't playing that poorly during the rough beginning, and that's starting to translate to the win column. OG Anunoby broke out for a season-high 30 points on Sunday to finish off a strong week in which he averaged 20.5 points on 64 percent 3-point shooting.
|The Mavs' defense, which appeared to have turned a corner to start the season, backslid this week by allowing 118.3 points per 100 possessions in four games. Solid wins over the Pacers and Spurs were offset by blowout losses to the Raptors and the Rockets without Christian Wood and Victor Oladipo. Dallas' lack of effort on Saturday was concerning, even if it was missing Kristaps Porzingis, who averaged 23.7 points and 10 rebounds on 46 percent 3-point shooting in the three previous games.
|The Pacers went 1-2 this week, and their one win wasn't particularly impressive, in overtime against the Magic. On Sunday they lost to the Raptors without Kyle Lowry or Pascal Siakam, which isn't great either. Indiana has struggled on both ends since trading Victor Oladipo, but Jeremy Lamb made a strong return from an ACL tear this week, averaging 15 points on 52 percent shooting in the three games. Myles Turner was also impressive after missing two games with a hand injury, averaging 23.5 points and 4.5 blocks while shooting 54 percent from 3-point range in the final two games of the week. The Pacers will need both of them to keep up the production as long as Caris LeVert remains out of the lineup.
|After a week off due to health and safety protocols, the Suns returned to the court and looked expectedly rusty in a 1-3 week. The two losses to the Nuggets both went to overtime, so those can be considered toss-ups, but the real concern is losing Devin Booker for perhaps an extended period of time with a hamstring strain. The good news is Deandre Ayton is playing his best basketball of the season, averaging 22 points, 14.8 rebounds and two blocks on 64 percent shooting this week.
|The Cavs picked up consecutive wins over the vaunted Brooklyn Nets, thanks to incredible offensive production from Collin Sexton, who averaged 33.5 points and seven assists in the two victories. Perhaps the celebration drained their energy, since they were blown off the court by the Celtics without Jayson Tatum on Sunday. Jarrett Allen has looked great since coming over in the James Harden trade, and Darius Garland returned to the lineup for the final two games of the week, which should provide Cleveland with some offensive stability.
|The Grizz played just one game this week, a win over the Suns, before having their season halted due to health and safety protocols. Ja Morant went for 17 points and 10 assists in the win, while rookie Xavier Tillman continues to impress in the absence of Jaren Jackson Jr., who said he's "not that far" from returning to the court.
|Any momentum gained from a thrilling comeback road victory over the Lakers and a blowout win over the Spurs was drained following bad losses to the Knicks and Jazz. Steve Kerr has relentlessly been asked about changing his starting lineup, which now has a minus-20.3 (!) net rating in 161 minutes, and he finally admitted it's time to "assess everything" after trailing by as many as 40 points in the loss to Utah. Steph Curry passed Reggie Miller for second in all-time 3-pointers made, but the team was in no mood to celebrate after the drubbing.
|The Bulls have put together some momentum, winning three games in a row before being blown out by the Lakers on Saturday. In addition to his prolific scoring stretches, Zach LaVine has taken on more of a playmaking role this season, averaging a career high in assists. Chicago's defense has put the clamps on as of late, which has allowed it to win despite occasional offensive stagnation. Lauri Markkanen has been up and down since his return, averaging 19.6 points and 6.4 rebounds on 30 percent 3-point shooting in five games.
|After Wednesday's game was postponed, Charlotte lost to the Bulls before beating the Magic on Sunday, when Gordon Hayward scored 39 points, including the game-winning layup with less than a second remaining. Devonte' Graham has begun to find his stroke after a slow start to the season, hitting 41 percent of his 8.5 3-point attempts per game this week. Cody Zeller saw his first action since breaking his hand in the first game of the season, averaging 4.5 points and five rebounds in just under 13 minutes per game.
|The Hawks started off the week on a three-game winning streak, and then lost to the Bucks on Sunday with Trae Young and Clint Capela getting the day off. They weren't the most impressive wins -- the Wolves twice and the Pistons in overtime -- but Atlanta will take every victory it can get at this juncture. Considering the rough shooting start for Young and the injury problems they've had, the Hawks should feel pretty good about having a .500 record. Speaking of which, Young broke out of that slump this week, averaging 33.7 points on 13-for-22 3-point shooting.
|Without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro for all four games this week, the Heat beat the Pistons, split with the Raptors and gave Brooklyn a run for their money in the fourth quarter before losing. Bam Adebayo proved he can be a No. 1 scoring option by putting up a career-high 41 points to go with nine assists in Saturday's loss to the Nets, and he averaged 24.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists for the week. Kendrick Nunn has taken advantage of the extra opportunity, averaging 21.5 points on 44 percent 3-point shooting in nearly 35 minutes per game this week, while Duncan Robinson went 16 for 32 from 3-point range.
|The Knicks extended their winning streak to three games with victories over the Magic and Warriors to start the week, but they scored only 94 points in a loss to the Kings, who have defended at historically poor levels so far this season, then lost to the Blazers on Sunday. Alec Burks returned to the lineup this week, which should help the offense, and as long as the Knicks keep defending at a high level, they should give themselves a chance to win on most nights.
|The Rockets split four games this week, none of which were played with a full, healthy roster. Houston was missing John Wall, Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood at various points, but they were able to pick up a narrow win over the Pistons and an emphatic victory over the Mavericks on Saturday. Eric Gordon suddenly found his shooting stroke, averaging 24 points on 45 percent 3-pointers in four games this week, while DeMarcus Cousins had a throwback performance against the Mavs, putting up 28 points, 17 rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes. That has to feel good for both Boogie and the Rockets.
|OKC dropped all three games this week, losing once to the Nuggets and twice to the Clippers. Al Horford was out for all three games, and 22.3 points and 7.3 assists per game from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wasn't enough to get the Thunder a win. Not surprisingly, generating offense was particularly difficult, but George Hill shot the lights out, making 7-of-12 3-pointers in the three losses.
|Orlando has now lost eight of its last nine games, and the win was by a single point over the Timberwolves minus Karl-Anthony Towns. The Magic were on their way to an impressive win without Aaron Gordon on Sunday, but watched a 20-point lead evaporate as Gordon Hayward hit a last-second layup to give the Hornets the win. The offense has been dreadful, but Evan Fournier returned to the lineup for the final three games of the week to average 23.7 points and 5.7 assists per game, next to Nikola Vucevic's 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds on 42 percent 3-point shooting.
|The Kings split two games this week before their matchup against the Grizzlies was postponed, and the real miracle was that they only allowed 94 points in a win over the Knicks. It's the first time Sacramento has allowed fewer than 100 points all season, and it had allowed an average of 129.4 points over its previous nine games. New York's offense doesn't exactly set the world on fire, but the Kings should relish any semblance of defensive improvement. De'Aaron Fox averaged 23.5 points and seven assists on 46 percent 3-point shooting in the two games.
|The Wolves salvaged what would have been a winless week with an improbable victory over the Pelicans on Sunday with Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell sidelined. Naz Reid tied a career high with 20 points in the win, while Jarred Vanderbilt had 16 points and 11 rebounds in just 21 minutes. The 120-point effort was a welcome sight for an offense that failed to crack 100 points in the three previous games.
|Losing back-to-back games to the red-hot Jazz in Utah is understandable, but allowing 120 points in a loss to the Timberwolves without their two leading scorers is inexcusable. The effort in the second half was non-existent, and coach Stan Van Gundy called the performance "extremely, extremely disappointing." Losers of eight of their last nine games, the Pelicans are struggling on both ends of the court, but the team's "disposition," as Van Gundy likes to say, is what really stands out.
|The Wizards returned to the court for the first time in nearly two weeks on Sunday, and ran out of gas late in a loss to the Spurs. Bradley Beal got back to his high-scoring ways with 31 points, though there was some evident rust. Russell Westbrook played 25 minutes coming off a quad injury, putting up nine points, eight rebounds and six assists on 3-for-11 shooting. Washington was still without several key players in the loss, and it might still be a while before it has a full roster to work with.
|The Pistons went 0-4 this week, but, man, do they compete. Not all losses are created equal, and Dwane Casey has to be proud of his team for the effort they're putting forth. That being said, they have a league-worst 3-13 record. Jerami Grant's efficiency has dipped a bit now that defenses recognize him as a true No. 1 option, and he needs to figure out ways to handle the extra pressure. Wayne Ellington was a human torch this week, making 21-of-36 3-pointers in the four games, while averaging nearly 19 points.