SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Week 9

SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Week 9
Tue 16th February 2021

Another busy week of NBA action wrapped up on Sunday. The Utah Jazz continue to boast the best record in the NBA after a 3-0 week, earning them the No. 1 spot on the SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings

Here’s where all 30 NBA teams stand heading into Week 9 of the 2020-21 NBA season:

1. Utah Jazz

NBA Championship Odds: +1200
Current Record: 22-5
Previous Ranking: 3

Despite missing the vastly improved Mike Conley this week, the Utah Jazz improved to 22-5 after a 3-0 Week 8 that saw Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale making great contributions.

Donovan Mitchell’s 36 point, nine assist game against the Celtics was the standout performance of the week for Utah, with Mitchell averaging 29 points through the Jazz’s three games, despite the drop in his three-point shooting numbers. The Jazz have now won 18 of their past 19 games, 16 of which have been by double digit margins.  

2. Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Championship Odds: +240
Current Record: 21-7
Previous Ranking: 1

The Lakers seven game win streak was snapped by the Nuggets on Sunday, as Los Angeles finished the week with a 3-1 record to improve to 21-7. However, during their streak the Lakers went to overtime in three consecutive games against two below .500 teams (Detroit and OKC twice) and needed to overcome a 20 point deficit to defeat the 11-11 Grizzlies.

They aren’t playing at a championship level right now but they are still securing wins. LeBron James will have to shoulder more of the load for the Lakers in the coming weeks with Anthony Davis (who missed both OKC games) expected to miss 2-3 weeks due to an aggravated Achilles injury.

The Lakers role players will be put to the test in the coming weeks without Davis, however if Los Angeles are still amongst the No. 1 seed in the league upon Davis’ return, LeBron’s MVP case will be even stronger.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Championship Odds: +525
Current Record: 20-8
Previous Ranking: 4

The Clippers responded from a disappointing Week 7 to win all three of their Week 8 games, improving their record to 20-8. Kawhi Leonard played just two of the three games this week and Paul George played zero, allowing Lou Williams more opportunity on offense.

Williams averaged 24.7 points on 45.5% three point shooting to go along with 6.3 assists this week, while Leonard stood up in George’s absence, averaging 34.5 points on 50% three point shooting in his two games.

The Clippers have won 14 of their past 18 games despite minimal roster continuity, making them a scary prospect for any opposition when they get their best line-up on the court.

4. Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Championship Odds: +1500
Current Record: 18-9
Previous Ranking: 2

Philadelphia started off their week with a victory over the Kings, before closing it out with back to back losses against the in form Suns and Blazers. Joel Embiid was the standout player for the 76’ers, having averaged just shy of 32 points and 11.3 rebounds in Philly’s three games.

The 76’ers are still one of the top two teams in the East and there is no shame in losses to Phoenix and Portland. However, things get tougher for Philadelphia in Week 9, starting their week with a game against the Jazz in Utah.

Philly are still a dominant force in the East, however they need to show that they can match it with the league’s best. And there is no better test at the moment then the Jazz. 

5. Phoenix Suns

NBA Championship Odds: +3300
Current Record: 17-9
Previous Ranking: 6

Phoenix improved to a 17-9 record this week after winning all four of their Week 9 matches. Their two All-Star guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul continued to look like one of the best backcourt duos in the league, with Booker averaging 32.3 points on 48% three-point shooting this week, while Paul averaged 19.3 points on 57% three point to go along with 8.7 assists.

The Suns welcomed back Dario Saric in Week 8, who scored 15 points in 20 minutes against the Sixers.

6. Portland Trail Blazers

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 16-10
Previous Ranking: 15

The Blazers were the biggest climber in the power rankings after Week 8, improving to a 16-10 record after winning all four of their games last week. Portland returning to the five seed in the West is even more impressive given that CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins are still side-lined through injury.

Damian Lillard has thrown his name into the MVP conversation averaging 30 points and 7.3 assists this week, while Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jnr continue to pick up McCollum’s load on offense. If Portland’s role player can continue to contribute when McCollum and Nurkic return, the Blazers should be a top six team in the West come the playoffs.

7. Denver Nuggets

NBA Championship Odds: +2000
Current Record: 15-11
Previous Ranking: 8

After dropping their opening game of Week 8, the Nuggets finished off the week with a three game winning streak, including a revenge victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Nikola Jokic picked up his sixth triple double of the season against the Lakers, while Jamal Murray gave the first glimpse of his 2020 NBA Bubble form, putting up 22 and 25 points in Denver’s last two games. Paul Millsap left the Lakers games with a sprained right knee, which will test Denver’s depth in this coming week, given that Gary Harris is already side-lined. 

8. Milwaukee Bucks

NBA Championship Odds: +650
Current Record: 16-11

Previous Ranking: 5

Despite starting off the week with a win over Denver on the road, Milwaukee closed out their week with three consecutive losses against the Suns, Jazz and most surprisingly the under-manned Thunder.

Jrue Holiday’s absence due to the league’s health and safety protocols was noticed on both offense and defense. While a 32.5 point, 13 rebound and 5.3 assists per game week from Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t enough for the Bucks in Week 8. 

9. Brooklyn Nets

NBA Championship Odds: +375
Current Record: 16-12
Previous Ranking: 7

After opening up the week with a loss to the Pistons (where they gave up 122 points), Brooklyn looked much more solidified on defense in their wins over the Pacers and Warriors, largely thanks to the return of Kevin Durant from health and safety protocols.

The Nets are now 16-12 for the season thanks to a 2-1 week and 5-2 for the season when Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving play together. Although he just came back, Durant will miss the next two games at least with a hamstring injury. Durant will unfortunately miss most, if not all of Brooklyn’s West coast road trip in Week 9, with upcoming matches against the Suns, Lakers and Clippers.

10. San Antonio Spurs

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 16-11
Previous Ranking: 11

San Antonio continue to fly under the radar in the 2020-21 season, improving to 16-11 after a 3-1 Week 8. The Spurs have found a new look lineup given that LaMarcus Aldridge is out with a hip injury as San Antonio are now 4-0 this season when starting Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl.

DeMar Derozan has returned to All-Star quality this season, while Derrick White had his best game of the year in the Spurs win over Charlotte, dropping 25 points in 27 minutes.

11. Golden State Warriors

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 14-13
Previous Ranking: 10

Golden State’s Week 8 results really summed up where they are at this season. The Warriors were blown out by the Nets, split their two games with the Spurs and comfortably beat the under-manned Magic.

Steph Curry continues his return to MVP caliber form, averaging 32.8 points on 45% three point shooting for the week. And on a team with Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green, Kelly Oubre Jr. continues to prove himself as the Warriors second star, averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds for last week. Rookie James Wiseman continues to sit out with a wrist injury.

12. Indiana Pacers

NBA Championship Odds: +4000
Current Record: 14-13

Previous Ranking: 13

The Pacers started the week with their fourth consecutive loss after going down to the Nets, before closing out Week 8 with two much needed wins on the road against the Pistons and the Hawks.

Jeremy Lamb entering the starting line-up and TJ McConnell’s increasing his production off the bench were the two changes that led to Indiana snapping their losing streak. Domantas Sabonis continues to make his case to be a back to back All-Star putting up 20.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists throughout the season so far. 

13. Boston Celtics

NBA Championship Odds: +1700
Current Record: 13-13

Previous Ranking: 9

A 1-3 Week 8 has resulted in the Celtics slipping to a 13-13 record with just one win from their past six games. Boston closed out Week 8 with their second loss of the season against the Pistons on Friday and backed that up with a loss to the Wizards on Sunday.

Kemba Walker returned to some scoring form, with back to back 20 point games to finish the week, however Walker shot 38% from the field this week and Jayson Tatum shot just 35%. The Celtics shooting needs to improve and their defense is missing Marcus Smart, who is apparently not going to be returning anytime soon.

14. Dallas Mavericks

NBA Championship Odds: +4500
Current Record: 13-15

Previous Ranking: 21

Luka Doncic missed an open three-pointer late in the Mavericks game against Portland on Sunday, which essentially cost Dallas a 4-0 Week 8 record. However, Doncic deserves no blame for Sunday’s loss as the Slovenian sensation is single handedly keeping Dallas’ season afloat.

Doncic scored 90 points over the weekend which was the most by any Maverick in franchise history over a two game span. Across all four games, Doncic averaged 36 points, 9 assists and 8.3 rebounds on 43% three point shooting.

Doncic received some support for the first time this season, as Kristaps Porzingis is beginning to look healthy again. Porzingis averaged 24 points per game and nailed a career high eight threes against New Orleans.

15. Charlotte Hornets

NBA Championship Odds: +20000
Current Record: 13-15

Previous Ranking: 20

The Charlotte Hornets are undeniably one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA, splitting their four games this week to improve to 13-15 record. Terry Rozier was on a scoring tear last week scoring 34, 41 and 33 points in the final three games of the week shooting at a staggering 71.4% from behind the three point line.

Rookie guard LaMelo Ball had another huge week himself, averaging 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists in the Hornets four games. Consistency is the missing link for Charlotte at the moment, however with Rozier, Ball and Gordon Hayward all contributing offensively, the Hornets are starting to look like a team capable of contending for the playoffs.

16. Toronto Raptors

NBA Championship Odds: +6000
Current Record: 12-15
Previous Ranking: 19

After starting their week with two straight wins, Toronto dropped their final two games of Week 8 to split their four games and improve to a 12-15 record. Pascal Siakam missed an open game tying layup against the Timberwolves, which ultimately cost Totonro a chance at a 3-1 record for the week.

However, Siakam was the best Raptor through their four Week 8 games, averaging 24.8 points on 58% three point shooting. Toronto are allegedly speaking to Cleveland about acquiring Andre Drummond from the Cavs. Drummond would be a valuable asset for the Raptors, who lost Marc Gasol over the offseason. 

17. New York Knicks

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Current Record: 13-15
Previous Ranking: 22

The addition of Derrick Rose has immediately sparked New York’s bench production, as the Knicks have improved to 13-15 after a 2-1 week. Rose averaged 14.7 points and 4.0 assists in the first three games of his return to New York.

It is a good sign for the Knicks that they had a 2-1 record last week, given that Mitchell Robinson was ruled out with a fractured right hand and Julius Randle shot just 40% from the field. Robinson’s absence will allow rookie Obi Toppin to expand his role as the Knicks look to remain in the race for a playoff berth in the East (currently seven seed).

18. Miami Heat

NBA Championship Odds: +3300
Current Record: 11-15
Previous Ranking: 25

Miami began to climb up the Eastern Conference table with wins against the Knicks and Rockets in their opening two games before finishing Week 8 with a loss to the in form Jazz. A 2-1 week improves the Heat to 11-15. 

Thanks to triple double against Houston, Jimmy Butler averaged 22.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists for the week. While on defense, Miami looks to have corrected their early season woes, allowing an average of just 100.5 points over their past six games. 

19. Sacramento Kings

NBA Championship Odds: +15000
Current Record: 12-14

Previous Ranking: 12

After a string of great performances in Week 7, the Kings were brought back to reality with losses in each of their Week 8 matches against Philadelphia, Orlando and Memphis.

Sacramento’s awful early season defense returned in the second half of last week and the production of De’Aaron Fox declined offensively, in what was a  polar opposite week for the Kings. On a positive note for Sacramento, Tyrese Haliburton continues to look like one of the steals of the draft.

20. New Orleans Pelicans

NBA Championship Odds: +7000
Current Record: 11-15

Previous Ranking: 17

Just as the Pelican’s looked to have worked out their offense, Week 8 of the NBA season saw their defense regress, which has resulted in a 1-3 week and a 11-15 record.

Although Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe are considered defensive guards, New Orleans gave up 67 three pointers through their current three game losing streak, which is the most made three allowed over a three-game stretch in NBA history.

Although Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been solid on offense, the Pelicans are the 29th ranked defense team in the league and are simply leaking too many points to be competitive.

21. Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Current Record: 11-11
Previous Ranking: 18

After missing several games due to health and safety protocols, Jonas Valanciunas was the best player for the Grizzlies last week, leading Memphis to a 2-2 week while averaging 21.5 points and 14 rebounds per game.

Ja Morant found Valanciunas for an assist on 12 occasions last week while Dillon Brooks chipped in with 19 points per game. The Grizzlies are now 11-11 and .5 of a game behind the eighth seed in the West. 

22. Atlanta Hawks

NBA Championship Odds: +8000
Current Record: 11-15
Previous Ranking: 16

Injuries continue to hinder the Hawks this season, as Atlanta dropped all three of their games this week, slipping to 11-15. Free agent signings Danillo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo have played just 14 games each this season, Bogdan Bogdanovic has played just nine and Kendrick Nunn has played zero.

Trae Young averaged 21.7 points and 10.7 assists with just 2.7 turnovers per game last week, however the Hawks offense can’t offset their dismal defense.

23. Houston Rockets

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Current Record: 11-15
Previous Ranking: 14

Four losses last week has extended the Rockets losing streak to five consecutive games since losing Christian Wood to a sprained ankle injury.

Even with John Wall averaging 22.7 points and 5.7 assists during his three games last week, Houston’s offense is averaging just 98.8 points as a team over their five game losing streak. Three of their five recent losses have come by a margin of 20 points or more. 

 24. Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA Championship Odds: +15000
Current Record: 11-15
Previous Ranking: 24

Despite finishing the week with a 1-3 record, the Thunder could have very easily have been 4-0 from their four games against three quality opponents. OKC lost consecutive games to the Lakers in overtime, followed by a two point loss to the Nuggets, before finally getting a five point win over the Bucks.

What is most promising for the Thunder is that these results came with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander only playing the first game against the Lakers. SGA is averaging 22.6 points on 50.6% shooting from the field to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists this season. 

25. Chicago Bulls

NBA Championship Odds: +30000
Current Record: 10-15

Previous Ranking: 27

Despite some highlight worthy individual performances this week, Chicago won just one of their three games in Week 8, improving their record to 10-15. Zach Lavine averaged nearly 36 points in the Bulls three games, including a 46 points, nine three pointer performance against New Orleans.

In the same game, Coby White added eight three pointers of his own, helping set a franchise-record 25 three pointers on the night, while Lavine and White became the first duo in NBA history to make at least 8+ threes each in the same game. 

26. Orlando Magic

NBA Championship Odds: +25000
Current Record: 10-18

Previous Ranking: 26

In what was a similar script to Week 7, Orlando struggled to put up wins despite the All-Star level of play from Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic averaged 27 points and 11.8 rebounds per game this week, including a 42 point night in the Magic’s singular victory over the Kings.

However, injury is starting to take its toll in Orlando, as the Magic had just eight non injured players during their blowout loss to the Suns on Sunday night.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Championship Odds: +30000
Current Record: 10-18

Previous Ranking: 23

An 0-4 week for Cleveland has dropped their record to 1-9 from their past 10 games and 10-18 for the season.

The Cavs last three losses in Week 8 came by an average margin of 25 points and having now seen what life is like with both Andre Drummond and Jarrett Allen in the starting line-up, Cleveland have stated that they will not be playing Drummond until a suitable trade is agreed upon. The Cavs are currently talking to Toronto about acquiring Drummond.

28. Detroit Pistons

NBA Championship Odds: +50000
Current Record: 8-19
Previous Ranking: 30

The Pistons have moved off the bottom of the power rankings this week thanks to a 3-1 Week 8, improving their record to 8-19. Detroit still have the second worst record in the East, however wins against the Nets, Celtics and Pelicans are certainly impressive for a team that came into last week with just a 5-18 record.

Rookie Saddiq Bey had a breakout week, putting up a career high 30 points against the Celtics, while Mason Plumlee recorded his first career triple double against the Pelicans.

29. Washington Wizards

NBA Championship Odds: +20000
Current Record: 7-17
Previous Ranking: 28

Washington split their four games this week, defeating the Bulls and the Celtics while suffering losses against the Raptors and the Knicks. Things are looking to be improving in Washington, with Bradley Beal averaging 31.3 points and 5.7 assists from the three games that he played last week, as the Wizards are now 7-17 while boasting a top 10 defensive rating for the week (104.5).

However, as long as Russell Westbrook continues to shoot at 41% from the field and 21% from the three point line, wins will continue to be hard to come by in Washington.

30. Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Championship Odds: +50000
Current Record: 7-20

Previous Ranking: 29

After recovering from COVID-19, Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the court for the Timberwolves and helped Minnesota snap a four game losing streak. Unfortunately for the T-Wolves that would be their only win for the week to go along with three losses, which now leaves them with a 7-20 record.

Towns averaged 21 points and 9.7 rebounds in 31.9 minutes through his three games last week, however D’Angelo Russell played just five minutes before being side-lined by a leg injury. Towns and Russell have played just four games together this season, in which Minnesota are 2-2. 

*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.