Power Rankings
Power Rankings
Power Rankings
Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Warriors on top at the quarter pole

john_schuhmann

John Schuhmann NBA.com

Dec 5, 2016 11:55 AM ET

1:14

Take a good look at the standings. It's only Dec. 5, but come April 13, they won't look much different than they do now.

About halfway through Monday's 11-game slate of games, we'll reach the 1/4 mark of the season (308 of 1,230 games). This is the point where we typically have a good idea of where teams stand, who's good and who's not.

Sixteen teams make the playoffs every year. And over the last 10 full seasons (throwing out the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season), an average of 13.6 of the 16 have been in playoff position at the quarter pole. Basically, seven of the top eight teams in each conference at this point in the season will stay there.


At this point last year, Boston (1/2 game out of eighth in the East) and Portland (one game out of eighth in the West) were the only eventual playoff teams that weren't in the top eight in their conference after Dec. 6 (when we had played 303 total games). Two years ago, it was only Boston and New Orleans.

Over those 10 seasons, the '10-11 Memphis Grizzlies climbed out of biggest hole at the quarter mark to reach the playoffs. They were 8-14 at this point, five games in the loss column behind the 11-9, eighth-place Phoenix Suns. That same season, the 16-6 Utah Jazz (who said goodbye to both Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams over the next few months) had the best quarter-mark record of a team that didn't make the playoffs over the last 10 years.

So, while some lower-tier teams (like Orlando and New Orleans) have shown some signs of life over the last couple of weeks, they're not in a favorable spot, even with 60-plus games to play.

Anything can happen between now and April 13. There will be injuries, trades, improvement and regression. But overall, what we're going to see over the next 18 weeks won't be much different than what we've seen over the last six (which has been great, by the way).

  • Hero team of the week: Detroit (3-1) -- Before falling at home to Orlando on Sunday, the Pistons won in Charlotte, Boston and Atlanta. Road wins, especially in your conference against other playoff contenders, are good wins.
  • Zero team of the week: Atlanta (0-4) -- The Hawks went down to the wire at Golden State on Monday, but then also lost in Phoenix and got smoked by the Pistons and Raptors by a total of 80 points.
  • East vs. West: The West is 62-54 (.534) against the East in interconference games, but the East was 14-12 (3-0 against Sacramento) last week.
  • Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. Dallas, 2. Sacramento, 3. L.A. Lakers
  • Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Milwaukee, 2. Chicago, 3. Orlando
  • Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
  • High jumps of the week: Orlando (+9), Detroit (+5), Milwaukee (+5), Oklahoma City (+5), Utah (+5)
  • Free falls of the week: Atlanta (-9), Denver (-5), L.A. Lakers (-5)
  • Team to watch this week: Golden State -- A five-game week is highlighted by Wednesday's trip to L.A. for the Warriors' first meeting of the season with the Clippers. Then it's on to Utah for a great offense-defense matchup.

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Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league is averaging 99.0 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 104.1 points scored per 100 possessions this season.

***

NBA.com's Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man's opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.

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1
Last week:
1

Record: 17-3
Pace: 103.0 (3) OffRtg: 114.8 (1) DefRtg: 102.0 (10) NetRtg: +12.8 (1)

The Warriors will never go under the radar, but last week was a particularly eventful one around the West champs. Draymond Green put a focus on the defensive end of the floor with a couple of late blocks in Monday's win over the Hawks and then got back to his kicking habit against the Rockets and Suns. Steve Kerr grabbed some headlines himself and Kevin Durant actually missed some shots (1-for-7) in the extra 10 minutes of Thursday's loss to Houston. After hosting the Pacers on Monday, they'll have a five-game trip that takes them from L.A. to New Orleans in just seven days.

This week: vs. IND, @ LAC, @ UTA, @ MEM, @ MIN

2
Last week:
3

Record: 16-4
Pace: 95.3 (27) OffRtg: 108.6 (6) DefRtg: 102.5 (13) NetRtg: +6.1 (5)

The Spurs didn't exactly coast through a relatively easy schedule last week. They lost at home to the Magic (on a cold-shooting night), needed a big fourth quarter to win in Dallas, and needed Kawhi Leonard's game winner to beat the Wizards. They've still won 11 of their last 12 games and are 11-0 on the road, where they'll play seven of their next 10 games. Amazingly, they're 16-4 even though their starting bigs - LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Gasol - are a minus-4 together this season. The Spurs allowed 115 points per 100 possessions in 73 minutes in their last three games together.

This week: @ MIL, @ MIN, @ CHI, vs. BKN

3
Last week:
6

Record: 14-6
Pace: 97.5 (23) OffRtg: 113.8 (2) DefRtg: 103.6 (16) NetRtg: +10.2 (2)

The Raptors have won six straight games, with the league's No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense over that stretch. The last four games have been against the Sixers without Joel Embiid, the Grizzlies without Mike Conley, the Lakers without D'Angelo Russell, and the Hawks without Paul Millsap, but they're taking care of business. Patrick Patterson has always been a plus-minus star (after a bunch of Warriors and Clippers, he ranks second behind Kyle Lowry in raw plus-minus), but has been the league's most effective shooter (minimum 50 FGA) over the last 15 days.

This week: vs. CLE, vs. MIN, @ BOS

4
Last week:
4

Record: 16-6
Pace: 98.6 (18) OffRtg: 109.4 (5) DefRtg: 99.5 (1) NetRtg: +10.0 (3)

The Clippers beat the Cavs and will surely get up for their first meeting with the Warriors on Wednesday. But that game has lost a little luster with the Clips' post-Thanksgiving swoon that has included two losses to Indiana and two more to Detroit and Brooklyn. They rank 17th offensively since the holiday, Chris Paul has had more turnover issues (four or more in six of his last nine games), and their early-season bench magic has worn off. They've been outscored by 21 points per 100 possessions with DeAndre Jordan off the floor over their last six games.

This week: vs. GSW, vs. NOP

5
Last week:
2

Record: 13-5
Pace: 100.0 (11) OffRtg: 109.6 (4) DefRtg: 105.1 (19) NetRtg: +4.5 (6)

It was a rough week for the Cavs' defense, highlighted by J.R. Smith's decision to give Jason Terry some dap in the middle of a play. They were destroyed in the paint by Milwaukee (68 points in the paint) and Chicago (78) and were lazy in transition against the Clippers, allowing 114 points per 100 possessions over the three games. It's hard not to wonder if the slide really started (and bad habits set in) when they took the Sixers lightly (again) last Sunday before escaping with a win. No matter how it started, LeBron James says it needs to end now.

This week: @ TOR, @ NYK, vs. MIA, vs. CHA

6
Last week:
7

Record: 13-7
Pace: 99.5 (13) OffRtg: 110.5 (3) DefRtg: 107.2 (27) NetRtg: +3.3 (7)

Considering how late (early?) they got into Denver after double-overtime in Oakland, the Rockets' easy win over the Nuggets on Friday was just as impressive as their win over the Warriors the night before. They went 4-1 on their road trip, are 3-0 on the second night of a back-to-back, and are now 7-2 with Patrick Beverley. Since his return, Beverley has been on the floor for 96 of the 109 minutes that James Harden has been off the floor, and it's in those minutes where the Rockets have shown incredible improvement.

This week: vs. BOS, vs. LAL, @ OKC, vs. DAL

7
Last week:
9

Record: 12-8
Pace: 98.4 (20) OffRtg: 106.9 (9) DefRtg: 105.0 (18) NetRtg: +2.0 (11)

The Celtics have won six of their last eight games and their starting lineup's offense has been potent since Al Horford's return from a concussion, but this team hasn't exactly hit its stride. All six wins have come against teams currently .500 or worse, only one has been by more than seven points, and the defense has allowed 104.2 points per 100 possessions in that stretch, which has included three games against bottom-10 offenses. The Cs have won five straight road games, with seven of their next nine away from the TD Garden.

This week: @ HOU, @ ORL, vs. TOR, @ OKC

8
Last week:
5

Record: 11-8
Pace: 97.8 (21) OffRtg: 105.4 (11) DefRtg: 102.3 (12) NetRtg: +3.1 (8)

The Bulls are weird. They sandwiched a big win over the Cavs (featuring a "National TV Rondo" triple-double) with losses to the injury-riddled Lakers and Mavs in which they scored less than 90 points per 100 possessions. After they recorded 31 assists on 47 buckets on Friday, they had just nine on 32 a night later (with Dwyane Wade getting a rest). They've alternated wins and losses over their last eight games, but at least their perimeter shooting is consistent. They've hit no more than a third of their 3-point attempts in seven of those eight.

This week: vs. POR, @ DET, vs. SAS, vs. MIA

9
Last week:
14

Record: 12-9
Pace: 93.2 (30) OffRtg: 107.5 (8) DefRtg: 101.0 (4) NetRtg: +6.6 (4)

After four games back, George Hill is out again (this time with a sprained toe), so Dante Exum went from a DNP-CD on Monday to starting on Thursday and Saturday. Despite that and despite Rodney Hood's perimeter shooting regressing to the mean, the Jazz have been playing their most efficient offense of the season, scoring 123 points per 100 possessions over their last four games. Gordon Hayward has scored 30-plus points in three straight games for the first time in his career. The defense hasn't been great, but Rudy Gobert's rim protection was critical in Tuesday's win over Houston. The Jazz have the league's most home-heavy December schedule and begin their longest homestand of the season (five games) on Tuesday.

This week: @ LAL, vs. PHX, vs. GSW, vs. SAC

10
Last week:
15

Record: 13-8
Pace: 101.7 (4) OffRtg: 103.3 (15) DefRtg: 101.9 (9) NetRtg: +1.4 (13)

Russell Westbrook's averages are at 31.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 11.3 assists and his triple-double streak is at five games. More important is that the Thunder have won all five, scoring 110 points per 100 possessions. Going back to last season, they're 27-2 in games he's recorded a triple-double. Their shooting did go cold and Steven Adams turned an ankle in Sunday's win over New Orleans. Friday's offensive matchup between Westbrook and James Harden will be fun, but watching Avery Bradley defending Westbrook on Sunday could be just as fascinating.

This week: @ ATL, vs. HOU, vs. BOS

11
Last week:
8

Record: 13-8
Pace: 95.2 (28) OffRtg: 100.3 (24) DefRtg: 101.4 (6) NetRtg: -1.1 (15)

The Grizzlies had a very Grizzlies week, losing Mike Conley for six weeks to a nasty injury, losing two games by a total of 34 points, and winning two games by a total of four. They've won their last six games that were within five points in the last five minutes and are now a remarkable (but oh so Grizzlies) 10-3 in those situations. As they try to tread water without Conley, they needed those wins over the Magic and the Lakers. They'll also need the next two games against New Orleans and Philly, because 16 of their following 20 games are against teams currently at or above .500.

This week: @ NOP, vs. PHI, vs. POR, vs. GSW

12
Last week:
17

Record: 11-11
Pace: 96.3 (26) OffRtg: 103.2 (16) DefRtg: 101.1 (5) NetRtg: +1.8 (12)

The Pistons won three straight road games (after starting the season 1-8 away from the Palace) without Reggie Jackson and with Andre Drummond getting ejected in the second quarter in Charlotte on Tuesday, scoring 121 points per 100 possessions. And then they lost at home in Jackson's first game of the season on Sunday, even though their reunited starting lineup was a plus-9 in 12 minutes. The hope is that Jackson's return results in better shots. Only 51 percent of their shots, the lowest rate in the league, have come from the restricted area or 3-point range. That number was 60 percent (52/86) on Sunday.

This week: vs. CHI, @ CHA, @ MIN, vs. PHI

13
Last week:
12

Record: 10-10
Pace: 100.1 (10) OffRtg: 101.5 (21) DefRtg: 104.3 (17) NetRtg: -2.7 (20)

The Pacers got thumped in Portland on Wednesday, but got both Paul George and C.J. Miles back in L.A. on Sunday. And they beat the Clippers a second straight week, with Miles giving them 15 good minutes off the bench and George hitting the dagger three with a minute to go. After some early struggles, the bench may be coming around. Rodney Stuckey and Al Jefferson have combined to average 26.5 points over their last four games, with the Pacers outscoring their opponents by 10.3 points per 100 possessions in their 74 minutes on the floor together.

This week: @ GSW, @ PHX, @ DAL, vs. POR

14
Last week:
10

Record: 11-9
Pace: 99.5 (12) OffRtg: 104.4 (12) DefRtg: 101.7 (7) NetRtg: +2.7 (9)

After a brutal collapse (they were up seven with less than a minute to go in regulation) against the Wolves on Saturday, the Hornets are just 6-6 at home, having allowed Detroit and Minnesota to score 112 points per 100 possessions in home losses last week. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (double-figures in eight of the last nine games) is giving them more consistent offense, but Frank Kaminsky has shot just 34 percent as a starter and the Hornets' starting lineup (with Kaminsky in place of the injured Marvin Williams) has scored just 101.0 points per 100 possessions over the last four games.

This week: @ DAL, vs. DET, vs. ORL, @ CLE

15
Last week:
20

Record: 10-8
Pace: 99.2 (14) OffRtg: 104.0 (14) DefRtg: 101.8 (8) NetRtg: +2.2 (10)

The Bucks have their first four-game winning streak in more than a year, with Jason Kidd's dominance of his former team - he's now 9-1 as Bucks coach against the Nets (after going 3-0 as Nets coach against the Bucks) - responsible for half the streak. Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged 22.8 points during the streak with 70 of his 91 total points coming in the restricted area or at the free throw line. He's the new LeBron James (who he outplayed on Tuesday), in that he can dominate a game without a jump shot (only Luol Deng has shot worse from outside the paint on as many attempts). He doesn't have the shooting around him that James does, but Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell have both hit multiple threes in multiple games recently.

This week: vs. SAS, vs. POR, vs. ATL, @ WAS

16
Last week:
16

Record: 11-9
Pace: 99.1 (15) OffRtg: 104.4 (13) DefRtg: 107.2 (26) NetRtg: -2.8 (21)

After having an 11-point lead turn into a nine-point loss against Oklahoma City on Monday, the Knicks lost a 17-point lead in Minnesota on Wednesday, lost a 16-point lead against the Wolves again on Friday (in The Kyle O'Quinn Game), and had a 21-point lead cut down to one against Sacramento on Sunday. But they managed to win all three of those games, are just a game out of third place in the East, and continue to have a relatively easy December schedule. The Minnesota home-and-home began a stretch of 15 games where only three are against teams currently over .500.

This week: @ MIA, vs. CLE, @ SAC, @ LAL

17
Last week:
19

Record: 11-10
Pace: 101.0 (8) OffRtg: 107.7 (7) DefRtg: 109.6 (30) NetRtg: -1.9 (17)

A home game against the 7-12 Heat should have been a relatively easy start to a tough month. But the Blazers needed a 14-1, closing run to escape with the win that got them back over .500. Now they play eight of their next nine games on the road (where they've lost five of their last six), with nine of their remaining 14 December games against teams that are currently over .500. They've lost six straight games (by an average of 17.5 points) against that group, but could get Al-Farouq Aminu (who returned to practice on Friday) back on a five-game trip that starts Monday.

This week: @ CHI, @ MIL, @ MEM, @ IND

18
Last week:
13

Record: 10-12
Pace: 101.5 (6) OffRtg: 103.2 (17) DefRtg: 108.2 (28) NetRtg: -5.0 (26)

The Lakers have scored just 97.3 points per 100 possessions in their nine games without D'Angelo Russell and are now without Nick Young, but got an out-of-nowhere, defensive win in Chicago on Wednesday. Jose Calderon has shot 48 percent as a starter, but the Lakers have scored a paltry 86 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, with turnovers being a big issue. They have the league's fifth highest turnover rate and the league's fifth highest rate of live-ball turnovers to dead-ball turnovers (59 percent of their turnovers have been live balls).

This week: vs. UTA, @ HOU, vs. PHX, vs. NYK

19
Last week:
28

Record: 9-12
Pace: 96.3 (25) OffRtg: 96.8 (29) DefRtg: 100.8 (3) NetRtg: -4.0 (23)

The Magic have the league's No. 1 defense (by a pretty wide margin) over the last 3 1/2 weeks and have shown some signs of life offensively with their new rotation. They've scored 105.7 points per 100 possessions as they've won three of their last four games, beating both the Spurs and Pistons on the road. The scoring has been pretty balanced, with no player scoring more than 21 points in any of the three wins. They had a chance to win Thursday's game in Memphis too, but blew a 14-point lead with a little more than six minutes to go and turned the ball over with a chance to win in the final seconds.

This week: @ WAS, vs. BOS, @ CHA, vs. DEN

20
Last week:
11

Record: 10-11
Pace: 101.5 (7) OffRtg: 99.1 (27) DefRtg: 100.5 (2) NetRtg: -1.4 (16)

Yikes. The Hawks have lost nine of their last 10 games (scoring less than a point per possession in all 10) to fall below .500 and out of the top eight in the East. Paul Millsap (sore hip) has been missed over the last three games, but his absence doesn't exactly explain losses by 36 and 44 points to the Pistons and Raptors over the weekend. The players have cited ball movement as an issue and they've averaged just 2.87 passes per possession over the last 10 games, down from 3.23 in the first eight. This is the second straight season they've seen an offensive efficiency drop-off of more than three points per 100 possessions, from 106.2 in 2014-15 to 103.0 last season to 99.1 this year.

This week: vs. OKC, vs. MIA, @ MIL

21
Last week:
24

Record: 7-13
Pace: 96.4 (24) OffRtg: 100.2 (26) DefRtg: 102.1 (11) NetRtg: -2.0 (18)

With their injuries, the Heat are starting a few guys slated to be reserves. And it was the reserves' reserves (like Wayne Ellington and James Johnson) who helped them win the first two games (in Denver and Utah) of their three-game trip. They almost won the third game with a seven-man rotation, but blew a six-point lead with less than three minutes to go in Portland on Sunday. Despite the injuries and the record, this team is a tough out and could climb toward .500 with some better health and a more favorable stretch of schedule in the second half of December.

This week: vs. NYK, @ ATL, @ CLE, @ CHI

22
Last week:
18

Record: 7-13
Pace: 97.5 (22) OffRtg: 102.6 (18) DefRtg: 106.6 (23) NetRtg: -4.0 (24)

DeMarcus Cousins continues to carry a heavy load for the Kings, ranking third in the league in usage rate at a career-high 37 percent. On their current road trip, the Kings are a plus-24 in 153 minutes with Cousins on the floor and a minus-26 in 44 minutes with him on the bench, a reason why he (and Darren Collison) played the entire second half of Sunday's loss in New York. Of course, that had Cousins gassed and chucking threes as the Kings failed to complete a comeback from a 21-point deficit. They do have a couple of days off before completing their trip in Dallas on Wednesday.

This week: @ DAL, vs. NYK, @ UTA

23
Last week:
23

Record: 7-14
Pace: 100.4 (9) OffRtg: 100.5 (23) DefRtg: 102.8 (14) NetRtg: -2.3 (19)

The Pelicans have followed up their four-game, "Jrue's back!" winning streak with a 1-4 stretch in which they've scored just 96 points per 100 possessions in the four losses. Buddy Hield made some shots (16 points, 4-for-7 on threes) in his return to Oklahoma on Sunday, but Jrue Holiday had a rough weekend against the Clippers and Thunder, and Alvin Gentry has already broken up the Holiday-Tim Frazier backcourt that had a lot of success during the winning streak. E'Twaun Moore started on Sunday and the Pels were in a seven-point hole less than six minutes into the game.

This week: vs. MEM, vs. PHI, @ LAC, @ PHX

24
Last week:
22

Record: 6-14
Pace: 98.5 (19) OffRtg: 106.0 (10) DefRtg: 106.5 (22) NetRtg: -0.5 (14)

The Wolves are defined by their young talent, but they have the league's fourth best aggregate bench NetRtg (behind three really good teams). And it was their bench (four reserves and either Zach LaVine or Andrew Wiggins) that erased a 15-point deficit in a little more than six minutes before the stars took over in clutch time in Charlotte on Saturday. That was their first win in a stretch of 11 straight games against teams currently at or above .500, with six more games in that stretch to go and a 2-10 record against that group thus far.

This week: vs. SAS, @ TOR, vs. DET, vs. GSW

25
Last week:
25

Record: 6-12
Pace: 98.8 (17) OffRtg: 102.2 (20) DefRtg: 105.4 (22) NetRtg: -3.2 (22)

Bradley Beal has averaged 28.6 points on 51 percent shooting over the last seven games and the Wizards have been a somewhat better team as a result. Their bench remains bad, but that's not the only reason they have the league's best defense in the first quarter (92.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) and the league's worst defense after that (109.8). Two heartbreaking losses in Oklahoma City and San Antonio (where they couldn't get the stops they needed late) have them struggling to gain any traction in the East, so it's a make-or-break month, with 12 of their next 14 games within the conference.

This week: @ BKN, vs. ORL, vs. DEN, vs. MIL

26
Last week:
21

Record: 7-13
Pace: 101.5 (5) OffRtg: 102.2 (19) DefRtg: 107.1 (25) NetRtg: -4.8 (25)

It says a lot about the slow start that this rookie class is off to when the Rookies of the Month for October-November were a guy - Joel Embiid - who played (limited minutes) in only 12 of his team's first 18 games and a guy - Jamal Murray, who missed his first 17 shots and averaged just 20 minutes and 7.0 points through his team's first 12. Murray has now missed 13 of his last 14 shots and the Nuggets have lost three straight games, even though Wilson Chandler (averaging 18.6 points with a career-high effective field goal percentage of 52.7 percent) continues to be really, really good.

This week: @ PHI, @ BKN, @ WAS, @ ORL

27
Last week:
27

Record: 6-14
Pace: 104.3 (1) OffRtg: 101.0 (22) DefRtg: 106.2 (21) NetRtg: -5.1 (27)

The Suns were able to feed on another struggling Eastern Conference team (Atlanta) on Wednesday, but have lost their last seven games (and are 2-11 for the season) within the West after Saturday's loss at Golden State. After starting Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Brandon Knight together for a few games, Knight has been back on the bench for the last three. That means more minutes of him playing without the other two. The Suns have been outscored by 21 points per 100 possessions in 133 minutes with Knight on the floor and both Bledsoe and Booker on the bench.

This week: @ UTA, vs. IND, @ LAL, vs. NOP

28
Last week:
29

Record: 5-14
Pace: 103.9 (2) OffRtg: 100.2 (25) DefRtg: 108.7 (29) NetRtg: -8.5 (29)

The Sean Kilpatrick Game (38 points - 31 after the third quarter) put an end to the Nets' losing streak in double-overtime. But Kilpatrick and Brook Lopez combined to shoot 15-for-52 (29 percent) in the Nets' two losses to the Bucks last week. Kenny Atkinson is trying to play a little more conservatively defensively, and that helped against Paul-Jordan pick-and-rolls on Tuesday, when the Clippers were held under a point per possession. But Brooklyn has still allowed 111 points per 100 possessions over its last five games.

This week: vs. WAS, vs. DEN, @ SAS

29
Last week:
30

Record: 4-15
Pace: 93.9 (29) OffRtg: 97.4 (28) DefRtg: 103.6 (15) NetRtg: -6.2 (28)

The Mavs have been playing slower than the Jazz over the last few weeks, walking the ball up the floor and, as usual, playing zone more than any team in the league (and for an extended period of time in Thursday's loss in Charlotte). But they still need Deron Williams to get them some early offense and be a creator off the dribble, like he was in dishing out 15 assists in Saturday's win over Chicago. If Williams could make some shots too (he's 3-for-27 from 3-point range since an 11-for-22 start), this would be a much more dangerous offensive team, with or without Dirk Nowitzki (who is out indefinitely with his Achilles injury).

This week: vs. CHA, vs. SAC, vs. IND, @ HOU

30
Last week:
26

Record: 4-16
Pace: 99.0 (16) OffRtg: 96.5 (30) DefRtg: 106.9 (24) NetRtg: -10.5 (30)

Nerlens Noel is close to returning and Joel Embiid's minutes are increasing, so the frontcourt logjam issue is once again front and center in Philly. But Brett Brown may be trying to dispel the idea that none of his three young centers can play together. Embiid and Jahlil Okafor were a plus-3 in 13 minutes together against Orlando on Friday, successfully working high-low a couple of times (here and here) in the second quarter. The Sixers have lost six straight, but Dario Saric had a break-out game (21 points and 12 rebounds) against Boston on Saturday.

This week: vs. DEN, @ MEM, @ NOP, @ DET


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