SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Week 8

SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Week 8
Mon 8th February 2021

Another busy week of NBA action wrapped up on Sunday, with Utah Jazz currently boasting the best record in the NBA through seven weeks of NBA basketball.  

Here’s where all 30 NBA teams stand heading into Week 8 of the 2020-21 NBA season:

1. Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Championship Odds: +240
Current Record: 18-6

The Lakers flexed their muscles last week with an eight-point win over Atlanta and more impressively a 21-point victory over Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Los Angeles were challenged in their third game of the week against Denver, however their experience prevailed with a six point 2OT victory over the Pistons.

LeBron James’ elite level of play has seen the 36 year old Laker shorten to +250 to win the MVP.  

2. Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Championship Odds: +1500
Current Record: 17-7

The 76’ers went 2-1 last week with wins over Charlotte and Brooklyn, as well as a loss to Portland. Joel Embiid has continued his MVP calibre form, with now seven 30+ point games in his last eight (28 points in the outlying game).

With the starting five of Simmons, Embiid, Curry, Harris and Danny Green still undefeated through 13 games, Philly are the best team in the East.

3. Utah Jazz

NBA Championship Odds: +1200
Current Record: 19-5

Utah are currently boasting the best record in the NBA with a 19-5 record. The Jazz went 4-0 from their four games against the Pistons, Hawks, Hornets and the Pacers last week, all of whom have .500 or below records.

Mike Conley (16.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists) has continued his return to form this season, working in unison with All-Star candidates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to give Utah the best record in the West and the league. 

4. Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Championship Odds: +525
Current Record: 17-8

Other than a 23 point win against the Cavaliers, the Clippers were 0-3 last week after their four point losses against both Brooklyn and Boston, as well as a three point loss to the Kings on Sunday.

Despite boasting two of the best two way players in the league (Paul George and Kawhi Leonard), the Clippers still gave up an average of 118.67 points in their three losses, which is some cause for concern.

LA gave up a substantial lead in the third quarter of their game against Boston, which was eerily similar to their unravelling in the Western Conference finals against Denver. Still a great team, but some red flags appeared last week.  

5. Milwaukee Bucks

NBA Championship Odds: +650
Current Record: 15-8

Milwaukee closed out their week with back to back wins against Cleveland to improve to 15-8 and 4-0 last week. Although it is essentially decided that Giannis Antetokounmpo will not be the MVP this season, he was certainly back to his best last week.

He dropped 18 points, four rebounds and six assists in the Bucks 28 point win over Portland, 21, 14 and 10 in their 20 point win over Indiana, 33, 12 and four in their 18 point win over Cavs on Friday and 24, 11 and five in their 25 point win in Cleveland on Saturday.

Milwaukee didn’t get a season defining victory last week, however they beat the teams they should have beaten.

6. Phoenix Suns

NBA Championship Odds: +3300
Current Record: 13-9

Phoenix went 3-1 last week with an 11 point win over the Mavericks, a 22 point loss to the Pelicans, a 17 point victory over the Pistons and a nine point win over the Celtics on Sunday.

The Suns seem to win or lose based on the output of their All-Star backcourt, Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Paul and Booker combined for 58 points against Dallas (Booker hit the game winning shot with 1.5 seconds left), 43 points against the Pistons and just 35 points on 27 shots in their loss to the Pelicans.

Thankfully for Phoenix, Paul and Booker combined for just 33 points against the Celtics on Sunday and were two of five Suns players to hit double figure scoring. Evenly distributed offense will be the key to their success going forward against title contenders.

7. Brooklyn Nets

NBA Championship Odds: +375
Current Record: 14-11

After starting off their week with a four point win over the Clippers, Brooklyn dropped two divisional games against Philadelphia and Toronto. The Nets defense continues to cause them problems having given up 120+ points in each of their three games last week. Due to unknown COVID exposure, Kevin Durant was benched for the first time in his career before the start of the game against Toronto.

He was then allowed to play before he was pulled again in the third quarter for the same reason which certainly cost Brooklyn in their six point loss to Toronto. Durant will be unavailable for the next week having now entered contact tracing. Durant’s omission will make Brooklyn’s defensive issues worse, as the best defender in their newly formed big three. 

8. Denver Nuggets

NBA Championship Odds: +2000
Current Record: 12-10

After a big win over the Jazz to finish Week 6, Denver were 0-2 and one postponement from their three scheduled games last week. After having their game against the 5-15 Pistons postponed, the Nuggets were blown out by the Lakers and defeated by the Kings 119-114.

Nikola Jokic is continuing to make his case for the MVP award, putting up a career high 50 points to go along with 12 assists against Sacramento. However, the loss to the Kings was Denver’s fifth loss in a game that they outscored their opponent during Jokic minutes on the floor. The absence of Jamaal Murray hurt the Nuggets, who need more offensive production from their bench.

9. Boston Celtics

NBA Championship Odds: +1700
Current Record: 12-10

The Celtic’s split their four Week 7 games with two wins over the Warriors and the Clippers, as well as two losses against the Kings and the Suns. Boston are still yet to find any roster continuity with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart both missing games last week. However, this does emphasise the importance of their two wins in Week 7, after trailing to both Golden State and LA by double digits at the first quarter break.

Jayson Tatum had his best week of the season averaging 29.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game, following being sidelined due to COVID-19.

10. Golden State Warriors

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 12-11

In a week highlighted by some fantastic individual scoring efforts, the Golden State Warriors went 1-2 from their three Week 7 games. Steph Curry went for 38 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the Warriors four point loss to the Celtics.

Kelly Oubre Jnr shot a career high 40 points in Golden States 147-116 win over the Mavericks and Curry once again lit it up in a loss, shooting 57 points in their second game against Dallas, which resulted in a two point defeat. When Looney and Wiseman return to the line-up this team will be much more competitive.

11. San Antonio Spurs

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 13-10

San Antonio improved to 13-10 following a 2-1 Week 7. The Spurs opened their week with an embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies, however pegged back some respect with wins over the Timberwolves and Rockets.

DeMar Derozan is back playing like an All-Star, putting up 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists against Minnesota and 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists against the Rockets. None of their three results are very impressive from a team perspective, however a team with a 13-10 record at this point in the season cannot be discounted.

12. Sacramento Kings

NBA Championship Odds: +15000
Current Record: 12-11

The Kings went 4-0 in Week 7, with all four wins coming against quality opponents. Sacramento beat the Pelicans by nine, the Celtics by five, the Nuggets by five and the Clippers by three.

De’Aaron Fox was on a tear last week, putting up 38 points and 12 assists against New Orleans, 26 and 11 against Boston, 24 and five against the Nuggets and 36 and seven against the Clippers. Four big opponents, four solid team wins. Great week for the Kings.

13. Indiana Pacers

NBA Championship Odds: +4000
Current Record: 12-12

After starting off Week 7 with a win over the Grizzlies, Indiana dropped three in a row, with losses coming against Milwaukee, New Orleans and Utah. Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis are still playing at an All-Star level, however the lack of a third avenue to the basket is making things tough for the Pacers on offense.

Sabonis was nullified by the likes of Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert last week and will need to be surrounded by more capable shooting if the Pacers continue to come up against big men with a solid defensive game. 

14. Houston Rockets

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Current Record: 11-11

After a great run of form following the Harden trade, the Rockets have begun to plateau, splitting their four Week 7 games with wins against the Thunder and the Grizzlies, and losses against the Thunder and the Spurs.

An ankle injury that’s side-lined Most Improved Player favorite Christian Wood is costing Houston on both sides of the ball. Defensively this team is formidable with Wood in the lineup, however whether Cousins, Gordon, Wall and Oladipo are capable of keeping Houston around .500 in Wood’s absence remains to be seen. 

15. Portland Trail Blazers

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 12-10

Portland were 2-2 in Week 7, dropping one game they should have one and upsetting a title contender in another. The Blazers lost to the Bucks in their first game last week before beating the Wizards and upsetting the 76’ers.

However, Portland closed out the week with an embarrassing 11 point loss to the Knicks. The Blazers are eagerly awaiting CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic return alongside Damian Lillard, however their absence has provided great opportunity for Gary Trent Jnr, Nas Little and veteran Carmelo Anthony. Portland will be a much more competitive team when healthy. 

16. Atlanta Hawks

NBA Championship Odds: +8000
Current Record: 11-12

The Hawks dropped their opening three games of Week 7 against the Lakers, Mavericks and Jazz before ending the week on a high with a 132-121 win over the Raptors.

Clint Capela looks to have found his role in the team, however John Collins was the best big man for Atlanta last week, putting up 35 points and 12 rebounds against Dallas.

The Suns are eagerly awaiting the return of De’Andre Hunter who is averaging 17.2 points and 5.4 rebounds this season. With Hunter back in the lineup alongside Young, Capela, Collins and Hueter, the Hawks will be much more competitive.

 17. New Orleans Pelicans

NBA Championship Odds: +7000
Current Record: 10-12

New Orleans dropped their opening game of Week 7 to the in form Sacramento Kings, before defeating the Suns, Pacers and Grizzlies to improve their record to 10-12.

Their dynamic young forwards led the way last week with Brandon Ingram putting up 25.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 blocks per game and Zion Williamson averaging 23.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 blocks through the Pels four games.

18. Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Current Record: 9-9

Memphis went 1-3 from their four games in Week 7, starting off with a 31 point win over the Spurs before dropping three in a row against the Pacers, Rockets and Pelicans.

Their seven game winning streak from earlier in the season is beginning to look like a distant memory. Ja Morant hasn’t looked as explosive since his return from injury, averaging just 13.5 and 6.5 assists last week.  

19. Toronto Raptors

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 10-13

After a 2-1 Week 7, the Raptors still find themselves three games below .500. Toronto beat Orlando and Brooklyn earlier in the week before closing it out with a loss to the Hawks.

The story of the week for the Raptors was Fred Van Vleet scoring franchise-record 54 points against the Orlando Magic, which is also the highest point total for any un-drafted player in the history of the league. Toronto needs to see more out of Lowry and Siakam if they want to start climbing the table in the East.

20. Charlotte Hornets

NBA Championship Odds: +20000
Current Record: 11-13

The Hornets bookended their week with wins, starting off with an overtime victory against the Heat and finishing off with a 22 point win over the Wizards. Unfortunately for Charlotte they lost their two games in between, going down by seven points against Philadelphia and 17 points against Utah.

Malik Monk went off for 36 points in the win over Miami and with Terry Rozier on the side lines, LaMelo Ball moved into the starting lineup and put up 23.3 points, 6.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Including a career high 34 points against the Jazz.

21. Dallas Mavericks

NBA Championship Odds: +4500
Current Record: 10-14

Despite having the preseason MVP favorite playing for them, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks are four games below .500 following a 2-2 Week 7. Dallas dropped games against Phoenix and Golden State while also registering wins against Golden State and Atlanta. It could’ve very easily been a 3-1 week for the Mavs, as Devin Booker beat them at the Buzzer.

Doncic is playing well, but needs more from his teammates as was evident in Dallas’ win against the Warriors which saw the Slovenian sensation put up 42 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, while no other Maverick scored 20+ points.

22. New York Knicks

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Current Record: 11-14

New York opened their week with a back to back against Chicago that saw them lose the first and win the second, before they defeated Portland and lost to Miami, closing out their week 2-2.

Knicks rookie Immanuel Quickley had a solid week and will soon be joined at the guard position by recently signed Knick and former MVP, Derrick Rose. The team is still heavily reliant on RJ Barrett and Julius Randle offensively, however it is a feistier Knicks team than what we have seen in the past few years. 

23. Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Championship Odds: +30000
Current Record: 10-14

Cleveland did what most non title contending NBA team’s would do last week, as they beat the Timberwolves, lost both of their games against the Bucks and lost their one game against the Clippers.

After a promising start to the season, a 1-3 week really hurts the Cavs who are now four games below .500 and 10th in the Eastern Conference. With Drummond, Allen and McGee still on their squad, Cleveland will need to move one of their talented centres on, allowing the team to add players to positions where they lack depth.

 24. Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA Championship Odds: +15000
Current Record: 10-12

OKC had two two-game series last week, with a pair of games against the Rockets and the Timberwolves. The Thunder dropped their opening games against both Houston and Minnesota before defeating both teams in their second encounter.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed the loss to the Timberwolves, however posted 31 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and a steal to lead OKC to their win over Minnesota in their second game. SGA shoulders a lot of responsibility for this Thunder team and has been performing admirably to keep them close to .500

25. Miami Heat

NBA Championship Odds: +3300
Current Record: 9-14

Due to COVID-19 and injuries, Miami have struggled a lot this season to get their full strength roster on the court, which has resulted in them sitting with a 9-14 record heading into Week 8. The Heat dropped an overtime game against Charlotte as well as a three point loss to the lowly Wizards before closing out their week with a 27 point win over Washington and six point win over the Knicks.

At six games below .500 and with 10 fewer games in this regular season, Miami needs to start putting a higher price on each win and more emphasis on each loss if they are going to defend their Eastern Conference championship crown.

26. Orlando Magic

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 9-15

Orlando got the full wrath of Fred Van Vleet (54 points) in their opening game last week, going down to the Raptors before splitting their two games against the Bulls for a 1-2 record in Week 7.

Nikola Vucevic put up 43 points and 19 rebounds in their victory against Chicago, however that was the only positive for Orlando last week, now 9-15 and 13th in the Eastern Conference. 

27. Chicago Bulls

NBA Championship Odds: +30000
Current Record: 9-13

Chicago had two two-game series last week, with a pair of games against the Knicks and the Magic. The Bulls split each mini series 1-1, for a 2-2 record in Week 7.

No. 4 pick in last year’s draft, Patrick Williams scored 10+ points in all four of the Bulls games last week including a career high 20 points against Orlando on Friday. As has been the case for the past two years, Chicago are a better team with Wendell Carter Jnr and Lauri Markkanen on the court, both of whom have missed multiple games already this season.

28. Washington Wizards

NBA Championship Odds: +20000
Current Record: 5-15

Washington recorded their fifth win of the season last week as well as their 16th and 17th loss. The Wizards went down to Portland by a point, before winning their first of two games against Miami, with the Heat claiming victory in their second encounter.

Russell Westbrook recorded his seventh triple double in a loss this season against the Blazers, while Bradley Beal missed his first 13 shots in the Wizards loss to the Heat, finishing with just seven points in their 27 point loss.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Championship Odds: +50000
Current Record: 6-17

The T-wolves went 1-3 last week, losing to the Cavs and Spurs before splitting their two game mini series against the Thunder. The absence of Karl Anthony Towns continues to hurt Minnesota who are currently at the bottom of the Western Conference.

However, number one pick Anthony Edwards is beginning to shine as an NBA player having averaged 14.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists through his last 10 games.

30. Detroit Pistons

NBA Championship Odds: +50000
Current Record: 5-18

Detroit currently sits comfortably at the bottom of the league standings for the 2020-21 season with a 5-18 record. The Pistons lost all three of their games last week with a six point, double overtime loss against the Lakers all they can pride themselves on from Week 7.

28 points for Josh Jackson and 32 points for Jerami Grant were not enough to defeat the reigning champions. Detroit made headlines last week, trading Derrick Rose to the Knicks, however this roster needs a lot more alterations to even be considered competent in the NBA. 

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Bet365

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Jesse is and always has been a lover of sports. No matter the league, no matter the game, Jesse is constantly keeping up to date with the latest odds, news, injuries and stats. He has a strong interest in the NBA and the NFL, and he will always strive to keep you up to date with the best news, odds, predictions and picks that the ever engaging sporting world has to offer.