We’re one week away from the most wonderful time of the year.
Holiday season, yes. But more importantly, next Monday will be when NBA teams have played an average of 20 games! It’s the quarter pole of the season and it’s when we can really have a solid idea of who’s good and who’s not.
Team and player evaluation starts from Day 1, of course. And the Sacramento Kings didn’t wait until the 20-game mark to decide they needed a change on the bench. But with seven teams holding a 9-8 record through Week 5, we could really use these next seven days to sort things out a little further.
Of course, there’s no question about who the two best teams in the league have been thus far. It’s the 15-2 Warriors and the 13-3 Suns at the top of the Power Rankings.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Right Way: D’Angelo Russell (MIN) was a plus-79 in four games last week.
- Wrong Way: Jalen Green (HOU) was a minus-62 in three games last week.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Minnesota (3-1) — One week of good basketball does not equal a season turnaround, but it’s better than the alternative.
- Something Just Ain’t Right: Denver (0-4) — The MVP is missed.
East vs. West
- The East is 44-36 (0.550) against the West in interconference games after going 13-11 last week.
Schedule strength through Week 5
- Toughest: 1. New Orleans, 2. Miami, 3. Houston
- Easiest: 1. Phoenix, 2. Golden State, 3. Utah
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: Boston (+7), Milwaukee (+7), Atlanta (+5)
- Free falls of the week: Cleveland (-6), L.A. Lakers (-6), Denver (-4)
Week 6 Team to Watch
- New York — The Knicks remain in a tenuous state, with a starting lineup that continues to struggle. They’ll hit the 20-game mark with a very interesting week of games. They host the similarly unsettled Lakers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT) and the streaking Suns on Friday. Then they head to Atlanta for their first meeting (Saturday) with the team that eliminated them from the playoffs.
Previous Power Rankings
- Last week: Warriors on top as Bulls, Suns ascend
- Thursday’s notebook: Suns’ early offense, plus on-off leaders
- The archive: NBA.com Power Rankings
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 has averaged 99.1 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 107.2 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.