SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Week 16

SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Week 16
Tue 6th April 2021

We have analysed last week’s action and adjusted our NBA Power Rankings accordingly! There are some big risers and massive falls, but where do we have your team?

Both of the Los Angeles teams see themselves slipping down the rankings while Memphis, Miami and Atlanta have used strong weeks to move up the NBA Power Rankings and the actual standings too.

Here’s where all 30 NBA teams stand heading into Week 16 of the 2020-21 NBA season:

1. Utah Jazz

NBA Championship Odds: +750
Current Record: 38-11
Previous Ranking: 1

The Utah Jazz had a great week, going to 4-0 and extending their winning streak out to nine games. While just one of their wins was against a team currently above 0.500, they did what they needed to and ended the week with an average winning margin of 24.

The Jazz do still have the best net rating, over three points higher than Phoenix in second place, but their next week is a lot tougher and it will allow us to see where they really sit. Games in Dallas and Phoenix before returning home to host Portland give Utah an opportunity to set themselves further ahead of the pack or see some teams bring them back down to earth a little bit.

2. Phoenix Suns

NBA Championship Odds: +3600
Current Record: 34-14
Previous Ranking: 4

Phoenix have moved up the standings after a 3-0 week, taking their current winning streak to six games. While all three opponents are clearly worse off in the standings, the Suns took care of business and even beat the Thunder by a massive 37 points on Friday night. 

Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton have meshed together so well and have the team 3 games behind Utah while sitting 2.5 games above the Clippers, locked into second place in the West. That could all change in a four game week where they play both the Jazz and the Clippers, but they are trending in the right direction. 

3. Brooklyn Nets

NBA Championship Odds: +250
Current Record: 34-16
Previous Ranking: 2

What looked like an easy week on paper turned out to be quite a troublesome week for the Nets. Despite finishing 3-1, James Harden missed two games with a hamstring complaint and his absence, along with Kevin Durant’s, was very noticeable. Positive news is that Durant is expected to return sometime this week and Harden’s hamstring doesn’t look too serious.

However, the playoffs are just around the corner and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the team take a more cautious approach with their superstars, prioritising playoff health over finishing on top of the East. The Nets have an easy three game week this week, all of which are at home, and should remain comfortable, even without their stars. 

4. Denver Nuggets

NBA Championship Odds: +1800
Current Record: 31-18
Previous Ranking: 8

The Denver Nuggets had a perfect 3-0 week and the inclusion of Aaron Gordon from the trade deadline is already paying dividends. The forward is making plays on both ends of the floor and meshing really nicely alongside Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic and his defense will be needed in the playoffs against some good Western Conference wings. 

Wins over both Philadelphia and the Clippers will give Denver a heap of confidence and momentum, two things they will need in their upcoming four game week. A two game home series against the Spurs will be tough before hosting Boston to round it out, but the Nuggets will want to keep winning as they have overtaken the Lakers for fourth in the West and are just one game behind the Clippers. 

5. Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Championship Odds: +1300
Current Record: 34-16
Previous Ranking: 5

While Philadelphia had just a 2-2 week, the positive was Joel Embiid returned from injury successfully and looked great on the floor. A 2-2 week becomes a 1-0 week in games Embiid played and while they will be cautious with his approach, it is all positive signs for the team. 

The Sixers have just a three game week, starting in Boston on Tuesday, so it will be interesting to see how they deploy Embiid and how they go against one of their oldest rivals. Being tied with Brooklyn on top of the East, it may be a battle of who is the healthiest that can finish on top, especially with Milwaukee breathing down their neck in third. 

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6. Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Championship Odds: +600
Current Record: 33-18
Previous Ranking: 3

What started off so well ended up being quite a terrible week for the Clippers. A blowout win over Milwaukee was followed up by a disastrous loss to the Magic where they blew a big lead, eventually going just 2-2 for the week.

Paul George is still yet to hit his stride this season and the role players have had to step up and help Kawhi Leonard, but the team has slipped to 2.5 games behind Phoenix for second in the West. The positive is that they host the Suns on Thursday and will be targeting that game as a must win, but can they actually win it?

7. Milwaukee Bucks

NBA Championship Odds: +850
Current Record: 32-17
Previous Ranking: 6

After a disappointing blowout loss to the Clippers, Milwaukee turned their week around to win three on the trot. Their 18 point win in Portland was very impressive however their victory the next night was arguably their best of the week. With Giannis sitting out the second night of a back to back, on tired legs, the Bucks were led by Jrue Holiday to hold on in Sacramento. 

Giannis will be back in the fold this week and they will need him, as tough games in Golden State and in Dallas round out their road trip. A four game week is always tough, especially when three are on the road, but Milwaukee simply needs to keep winning as home court advantage may be crucial against the Sixers and/or the Nets in the playoffs. 

8. Dallas Mavericks

NBA Championship Odds: +4400
Current Record: 27-21
Previous Ranking: 10

The Mavericks had an incredible week, going 4-0 and collecting wins in both Boston and New York, which have both been tough things to do this season. Those wins have seen the Mavs climb to within two games of the sixth seed and a locked in playoff spot. 

Things don’t get any easier for Dallas though as another four game week approaches, which starts with them hosting the league-leading Jazz. That is followed up with a clash against in-state rivals, Houston, before hosting Milwaukee and their other Texas rivals, the Spurs. It is a massive week for Dallas and a 3-1 outcome would be great, another 4-0 outcome, incredible. 

9. Portland Trail Blazers

NBA Championship Odds: +5500
Current Record: 30-19
Previous Ranking: 9

Just a three game week for the Blazers saw them do what they were supposed to, beat Detroit and OKC but lose to the Bucks to go 2-1. The 18 point loss to Milwaukee was severely disappointing, especially considering they had won four straight in the lead up. However, following it up with a 48 point win over the Thunder was mighty impressive. 

Damian Lillard continues to put his name in the ring for MVP, arguably a top three candidate at the moment, as Portland sits sixth in the West, half a game behind the Lakers, one game behind the Nuggets and just two games behind the Clippers. The test for the Blazers is they open their week against the latter team there and follow that up in Utah, two massive games that Portland would like to steal at least one of.

10. Atlanta Hawks

NBA Championship Odds: +19000
Current Record: 26-24
Previous Ranking: 15

Things were looking bleak for the Hawks in the middle of their massive road trip but following a loss in Phoenix, Atlanta managed to turn things around and win three straight. A 3-1 week saw them end it fourth in the East with different players hitting shots and stepping up for the side. 

Trae Young, Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic have all stepped up to fill the absence of John Collins and if all three continue to do so they have a real possibility of a 4-0 week. Home games against New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago are all winnable before ending the week in Charlotte against a shorthanded Hornets side should be a lock. 

11. Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Championship Odds: +350
Current Record: 31-19
Previous Ranking: 7

Andre Drummond joined the team via buyout however he lasted just 14 minutes into his first contest before going down with injury and missing the remaining two games of the week. The Lakers ended up going just 1-2 for the week, losing to the Bucks and the Clippers but stealing a win in Sacramento. 

Drummond is obviously going to play a big role in keeping the Lakers afloat until both Anthony Davis and LeBron James return, but they now sit just 2.5 games out of the dreaded seventh seed, meaning no automatic playoff qualification. A three game week, all on the road and capped off in Brooklyn may result in trouble for the Lakers. 

12. Boston Celtics

NBA Championship Odds: +4400
Current Record: 25-25
Previous Ranking: 11

Boston had yet another inconsistent week, going 2-2 to sit at 25-25 overall. With all four games at home, where the Celtics have performed much better this season, many would have expected at least three wins from Boston however starting the week with losses to New Orleans and Dallas didn’t fit that script.

Sitting seventh in the East but just one game from fourth and four games from 10th, Boston needs wins now more than ever. A four game week, three of which are against playoff bound teams, will put them to the test and see what they are made of. If they can start things off with a home win against Philly, what would be their third straight win, their season could be turned around. 

13. Miami Heat

NBA Championship Odds: +3000
Current Record: 26-24
Previous Ranking: 16

The continuation of inconsistent basketball out of Miami is baffling, however this week it was of the positive variety. Heading into the week having lost six straight, many were starting to question their abilities but a 4-0 week silenced critics. 

Big wins in New York and in Indiana, teams that they may compete against in Play-In games at the end of the season, will go a long way to helping where this team ends up. Looking at this week, the Heat have just three games and are at home for two of them, against Memphis and the Lakers, before ending the week in Portland. How long will this streak last?

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14. San Antonio Spurs

NBA Championship Odds: +24000
Current Record: 23-24
Previous Ranking: 13

What a heartbreaking week it was for the Spurs. After splitting a home set with the Kings, a double overtime loss to the Hawks was followed by an overtime loss to the Pacers, going just 1-3 for the week and falling below 0.500. San Antonio have now slipped to equal eighth in the West and are just 2.5 games ahead of 11th.

Things don’t look like they will get any better either. Monday’s home game against the Cavs looks like a must win game as it is followed by two in Denver before finishing the week in Dallas. Is another 1-3 week on the cards given their tough schedule?

15. New York Knicks

NBA Championship Odds: +19000
Current Record: 25-25
Previous Ranking: 14

With the way the East standings are, New York started the week in fourth but ended up in equal seventh. Going just 1-3 for the week including losing both home games and in Minnesota is not the way that the team would have liked to have gone. 

Given how far they have slipped and how tight the race in the East is, New York will need to turn things around and do so quickly. That may not be so easy as the week starts in Brooklyn and Boston before tough home games against Memphis and Toronto. This team deserves to make the playoffs and basketball fans want them to get there, but will they give themselves a good chance at it?

16. Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 24-23
Previous Ranking: 19

A very successful week for the Grizzlies, going 3-1 and their loss being by just a few points to the Jazz. A win in Philadelphia to round out the week is the clear highlight and Taylor Jenkins has his team playing some good basketball with even contributions across the board. 

A four game week with all being against Eastern Conference opponents, three of which are on the road, could be tough but after their win in Philly, there is some confidence amongst the group. All four of Miami, New York, Atlanta and Indiana have some tough matchup issues for the team and how they fare this week could determine their final position in the standings.

17. Charlotte Hornets

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 25-24
Previous Ranking: 12

A 2-2 week may not seem so bad for a Hornets side that is wedged in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings, but what has dropped them down and will cause some issues for the side is the loss of Gordon Hayward. Just weeks after losing LaMelo Ball, Hayward is set for at least four weeks on the sidelines. 

After not making any moves to bolster their roster at the deadline, Charlotte may start slipping with two of their starters out. Luckily they have just a three game week however they play in Milwaukee and against the Hawks, two of the hottest teams in the conference at the moment. 

18. Indiana Pacers

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Current Record: 22-26
Previous Ranking: 18

It was a week to forget for the Pacers as they ended up going 1-3 and needed overtime to claim their one victory, in San Antonio. Both Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis missed some time and may be sidelined for part of this week too, but this team needs wins. 

Sitting just three games ahead of 11th place and out of the Play-In games, Indiana needs to turn things around this week. They have four games this week and they should start favorite in at least three of them, hosting Chicago and Minnesota before playing in Orlando and Memphis. 

19. New Orleans Pelicans

NBA Championship Odds: +16000
Current Record: 22-27
Previous Ranking: 21

Another inconsistent week for the Pelicans going just 2-2, however they have some respite. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram missed three of their four games and they still managed to pick up a victory without their two stars. A win in Boston to start the week was unexpected and needed, but the team will be sweating on the return of the two. 

Starting the week in Atlanta, against a Hawks side that just smacked them by 23 points last week, will be a real test of the maturity and heart of the team. It doesn’t get any easier after that as they play in Brooklyn and against Philadelphia, before round the week out with the Cavs. A 2-2 week should be expected as the minimum however 1-3 looks more likely. 

20. Golden State Warriors

NBA Championship Odds: +16000
Current Record: 23-27
Previous Ranking: 17

The Golden State Warriors are in freefall right now. A 1-3 week highlighted by a 77-130 road loss to Toronto, albeit without Curry and Green playing, and a 111-117 loss in Atlanta where they blew a lead late. The Warriors have now lost seven of their last eight games and are in danger of slipping out of Play-In territory.

Just a three game week, all at home, presents as an opportunity for the team to reset and get back on track. First up is the Bucks which could be penciled in as a loss but Washington and Houston after that means this team should go no worse than 2-1. 

21. Chicago Bulls

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 20-28
Previous Ranking: 22

While many thought that the Bulls won the trade deadline by acquiring Nikola Vucevic and Daniel Thies as his back up, the Bulls haven’t been able to translate their moves into wins. A 1-3 week may be somewhat bleak, but they played the three top teams in the league in Utah, Phoenix and Brooklyn as well as the Warriors on the road. 

To steal a victory from the Nets to round out the week was massive for this side but they are still just 10th in the standings and only a game above 11th. Four road games this week will be a massive test and their Thursday matchup with Toronto, who are 11th in the East, will have big ramifications on standings at the end of the season. That is the most important game of the week, but it can’t be their only win.

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22. Sacramento Kings

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 22-28
Previous Ranking: 20

It was always going to be a tough week for the Kings but to finish just with just one win from four games is a bit disappointing. A big 132-115 win in San Antonio kickstarted the week in a positive way but then losing to the same Spurs side two nights later, followed by a 21 point loss when hosting the shorthanded Lakers followed by a narrow home loss to the Bucks, who were without Giannis, is quite terrible.

De’Aaron Fox shot just 38% from the field for the week while averaging over three turnovers per night. As the leader of the team he needs to perform better if the Kings are to climb the standings and games against Minnesota and Detroit to start the week should end in victory. 

23. Toronto Raptors

NBA Championship Odds: +12000
Current Record: 19-30
Previous Ranking: 23

It is really difficult to understand what this Toronto team is following a disappointing 1-2 week. Losses in Detroit and Oklahoma, against teams that are trying to lose, are really unacceptable. While they picked up a 130-77 thumping of the Warriors to finish the week, Golden State were missing both Curry and Green from the lineup and aren’t an NBA-level team without them.

A rare five game week for the Raptors gives them an opportunity to turn their season around and continue their push to make a Play-In seed. Home games against Washington, the Lakers, Chicago and Cleveland should see them start favorite in all and the game against the Bulls, who sit just one game ahead of them in the standings, is the big one. Finishing the week in New York isn’t great but if they have already got four wins then it is a success regardless. 

24. Washington Wizards

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 17-31
Previous Ranking: 25

Bradley Beal has now missed five straight games with a hip injury and the Wizards suffered a 1-3 week because of his absence. A win over the Pacers, led by an incredible night from Russell Westbrook, gave this team some hope but losses to Charlotte, Detroit and Dallas dimmed that flame. 

The loss in Detroit was the most alarming, losing to a team who is trying to tank by 29 points. Beal could return this week and provide a much needed boost on a four road trip this week, but does that really mean much at this stage of the season. 

25. Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 17-32
Previous Ranking: 26

A really disappointing week for the Cavaliers who are still chasing a Play-In seed in the East. It is hard to say that anything other than a 0-3 week was expected though, playing in Utah, against the Sixers and in Miami. 

Kevin Love returned to the lineup to help hide the fact that both Larry Nance Jr and Jarrett Allen are out injured, but this team is playing a bunch of kids right now and looking towards the future. A four game week could see some similar results, given they play in San Antonio and against the Pelicans however games against the Thunder and Raptors should be seen as achievable and must win.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 20-29
Previous Ranking: 24

This could very well be the worst week of the season and the worst week in franchise history for the Thunder. While they still picked up a win in a 1-3 week, losing to Dallas by 21, in Phoenix by 37 and in Portland by 48 is just ridiculous.

Obviously from a business perspective, sitting out a healthy 34-year-old Al Horford makes sense for the future, and the injury to SGA is unavoidable, but this roster is seriously terrible. A four game week, all at home, should bring at least one win, especially when hosting teams like Detroit, Charlotte and Cleveland, but it wouldn’t surprise to see this tanking team go 0-4. 

27. Orlando Magic

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 17-33
Previous Ranking: 28

The Orlando Magic have some really talented young pieces and a 2-2 week is a great result for a side that traded out four of their starters at the deadline. In what was always going to be a tough week, playing four road games against Western Conference opponents, three of which are in the top five, turned out to be a success. 

The win over the Clippers to start the week was the clear brightspot but being able to back it up in New Orleans was just as good. There are some really positive signs for this Orlando side and while results really don’t matter, it is good to see the Magic getting them. 

28. Detroit Pistons

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 14-35
Previous Ranking: 30

Don’t look now but the Pistons are now just two wins behind both Orlando and Washington in the Eastern Conference standings. A 2-2 week is a massive result and with Killian Hayes taking the court for the first time since the first month of the season, there are positive signs everywhere. 

While the front office would prefer the team to lose more games and help their draft positioning, it is great to see the team trying hard on the floor. A massive five game week should see at least one or two more wins with games against the Thunder and Kings tucked in there. 

29. Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 12-38
Previous Ranking: 29

While a 1-3 week doesn’t look good on paper, it wasn’t all that bad for the Timberwolves. Losing by just five to the Nets before defeating the Knicks is a great start to the week. Losses in Memphis and Philadelphia hurt but are also expected so you have to roll with the punches. 

The news that D’Angelo Russell will return to the lineup after missing 30 games so far is only positive news but Malik Beasley going down with a hamstring injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the season is no good. This team has a lot of promising, young pieces but they just need to be able to get them all on the court at the same time.

30. Houston Rockets

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 13-36
Previous Ranking: 27

The downward spiral for Houston continues, going 0-4 last week and losing by an average of 11.25 points. The Rockets have good players on the roster but can’t seem to piece it together and while they look towards the future, they are playing their future now and it isn’t coming together. 

Things don’t look any better with games against Phoenix, Dallas, the Clippers and Golden State this week, all of which are playoff teams and it could get ugly. 

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL, UFC and all sports, Tim covers it from every angle, staying in the loop to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions on the market.