The NBA power rankings are back and with a new week comes the start of Round 2 in the playoffs. With Jimmy Butler on his way to Minnesota, nearly every team has improved so far this season. The Heat have had a stellar year but their schedule is tough from here until April.
The “nba playoff power rankings” is a weekly ranking of the National Basketball Association teams. The list ranks the teams based on their performance during the previous week.
We’re delivering our newest NBA Power Rankings with an emphasis on the deep ball as Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry continues his quest of Ray Allen’s all-time 3-point record — Curry is presently six behind the mark.
Which players are on the verge of becoming their team’s 3s leader? Which series’ trademarks could be indestructible? Who will be the next Hall of Famers to be passed on the all-time list?
Following the Warriors’ defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, the league now has a new No. 1 team: the Phoenix Suns, who start this week with the NBA’s best record of 21-4. Phoenix has won 20 of its last 21 games, leading a group of Western Conference clubs who have pulled themselves from the pack (Golden State and Utah Jazz are the others).
The Brooklyn Nets still lead the Eastern Conference, but the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks are just behind them. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks have won 12 of their last 14 games.
Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin, and Ohm Youngmisuk) will rank all 30 teams from top to bottom, determining which teams are currently playing the best basketball and which teams are most likely to win the championship. ESPN Stats & Information Research supplied the statistics.
The Phoenix Suns had a 21-4 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 2 Steve Nash is the franchise’s 3-point leader (1,051)
Devin Booker is on course to become the Suns’ lifetime leader in 3-point field goals at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, despite the fact that it is unlikely to happen this season. Booker is remains 206 points behind Steve Nash for the top slot, after passing Dan Majerle for second place on the list in the Suns’ third game of the season. Lopez’s words
This week’s tweets are from @LAC, @POR, WAS, and CHA.
2. Golden State Warriors: 21-5 in 2021-22. Previous position: 1 Stephen Curry leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (2,967)
Steph Curry is seven 3-pointers shy of breaking Ray Allen’s all-time 3-point mark. Klay Thompson is set to return in the coming weeks after a 22-year absence. The Warriors’ big surprise is guard Jordan Poole’s continuous growth. In his last ten games, the University of Michigan product is shooting 42.7 percent from outside the arc and averaging 19.3 points while stepping in for Thompson. Friedell’s words
@IND, @NY, @BOS, and @TOR are the teams to watch this week.
3. Utah Jazz: 19-7 in 2021-22. Previous position: 6 Joe Ingles is the franchise’s 3-point leader (1,045)
Last season, Joe Ingles beat John Stockton’s all-time club record for 3-pointers made, although Ingles is likely only filling in for Donovan Mitchell. Ingles has made 1,045 three-pointers in his career, just 237 more than Mitchell. Mitchell (82 3s this season) is also on track to break Jordan Clarkson’s single-season 3s record of 208, which he established last season. MacMahon (MacMahon)
LAC, SA, and WAS are the teams to watch this week.
4. Brooklyn Nets: 19-8 in 2021-22. 3rd place before. Joe Harris is the franchise’s 3-point leader (842)
Stephen Curry’s chase of the all-time record has deservedly gotten a lot of attention, but James Harden isn’t far behind. Harden trails Reggie Miller by 51 treys for third place all-time, a mark he could reach before the All-Star break. — Best wishes
TOR, PHI, ORL, and DEN are the stocks to watch this week.
5. Milwaukee Bucks: 18-10 in 2021-22. Previous position: 5 Khris Middleton is the franchise’s 3-point leader (1,086)
One of Ray Allen’s 3-point records had already been broken earlier in the season, when Khris Middleton broke the Bucks club record for most made 3-pointers. Allen achieved it in less games (494) than Middleton (566), but it didn’t diminish his achievement in passing one of the all-time great sharpshooters. After overtaking Allen, Middleton commented, “Being able to break a record like that is something you certainly fantasize about as a youngster.” “Now it’s simply a matter of attempting to add to that list or advance up the NBA rankings.” Collier’s
This week’s theme: BOSTON, INDIANAPOLIS, NEW ORLEANS, and CINCINNATI
6. Miami Heat: 16-11 in 2021-22. Previous position: 7 Tim Hardaway leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (806)
The Heat are allowing 13.7 3-pointers per game, putting them on pace for their third consecutive season of allowing at least 13 3-pointers per game. They have never let up more than nine goals per game until the 2017-18 season. Friedell’s words
This week’s theme: @CLE, @PHI, @ORL, @DET, @PHI, @PHI, @ORL, @DET, @PHI,
7. Chicago Bulls: 17-10 in 2021-22. Previous position: 4 Kirk Hinrich is the franchise’s 3-point leader (1,049)
Zach LaVine is just in his fifth season with the Chicago Bulls, but he overtook Michael Jordan (555) on the franchise’s all-time 3-point record earlier this year. If LaVine (625 career 3s with the Bulls) continues to shoot at the same rate as the previous three seasons, he would overtake Scottie Pippen (664) for third place on the franchise’s all-time record. LaVine, on the other hand, has a long way to go to catch Kirk Hinrich’s all-time record. Collier’s
DET, @TOR, and LAL are the teams to watch this week.
The Philadelphia 76ers had a 15-12 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 9 Allen Iverson is the franchise’s 3-point leader (885)
Stephen Curry is on his way to become the NBA’s all-time 3-point leader, but he isn’t the greatest shooter in his own family, at least not by percentage. Seth Curry has a 44 percent lifetime 3-point shooting percentage, compared to 43.2 percent for his elder brother. — Best wishes
This week’s theme: @MEM, MIA, @BKN, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO
The Memphis Grizzlies had a 16-11 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 10 Mike Conley leads the league in 3-point shooting (1,086)
Desmond Bane, a second-year winger who has 71 3-pointers this season, might wind up rewriting Memphis’ 3-point record book. He’s on track to surpass Mike Miller’s record for most three-pointers made in a season (202). Bane has already established himself as a key member of the Grizzlies’ lineup, so he’ll most likely be in Memphis for many seasons. Bane, who has shot 42 percent from three-point range in 94 career games, is now a contender to shatter Mike Conley’s lifetime team record. MacMahon (MacMahon)
PHI, @POR, @SAC, POR, POR, POR, POR, POR, POR, POR, POR, POR, P
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a 16-12 record in 2021-22. 15th place before. LeBron James leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (1,251)
Cleveland, the NBA’s greatest surprise success story, is averaging 12 three-pointers per game, good for 16th in the league. To put that in perspective, the Cavs’ championship squad in 2016 averaged just 10.7 three-pointers per game throughout the regular season on route to the franchise’s only championship. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
MIA, HOU, @MIL, and @ATL are the cities to watch this week.
The Washington Wizards had a 15-12 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 8 Bradley Beal leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (1,406)
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 15: Lakers at Mavericks At 10 p.m., the Clippers will face the Jazz.
Warriors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 17 T-Wolves against. Lakers, 10 p.m.
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
In future Wizards games, there may be less 3-pointers made. On Saturday, Kyle Kuzma, who leads the club with 5.8 3-point tries per game and recently scored the game-winning shot against Detroit, entered health and safety procedures. The Wizards already have the fewest 3-pointers made per game (10.1), but Wes Unseld Jr.’s defense is allowing the fewest 10.2 3-pointers per game in the NBA this season. Youngmisuk’s remark
This week’s theme: DEN, SAC, PHX, and UTAH
12. Los Angeles Clippers: 15-12 in 2021-22. Previous position: 16 Eric Piatkowski is the franchise’s 3-point leader (738)
Due to great performances from Brandon Boston Jr. and Reggie Jackson, the Clippers were able to pull together a three-game winning streak last week despite Paul George missing two games due to an elbow injury. The Clippers’ top swingman was averaging 3.1 made 3-pointers per game before to George’s absence. In what will be George’s fourth season with the Clippers, he is on track to beat Eric Piatkowski’s club record sometime next season. Youngmisuk’s remark
PHX, @UTAH, and @OKC are the teams to watch this week.
Los Angeles Lakers had a 15-13 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 18 Kobe Bryant leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (1,827)
LeBron James has improved as a 3-point shooter late in his career, to the point that he is in the top 10 all-time in the category with 2,023 attempts. James is in 11th place, 86 points behind Damian Lillard and within striking distance of his old foe Paul Pierce, who is ninth with 2,143 points. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
@DAL, @MIN, @CHI this week
The Charlotte Hornets had a 15-13 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 13 Kemba Walker leads the franchise in 3-point shooting (1,283)
So far this month, Kelly Oubre Jr. has averaged 26.4 points per game, providing offensive consistency for a Charlotte club that has been coping with many COVID-19 protocol-related absences. Oubre’s difference this season is that he’s shot the ball considerably better from long range. With the Hornets, Oubre is shooting 38.6% from three-point range, up from a chilly 31.6 percent with the Warriors last season. Friedell’s words
@DAL, @SA, @POR, @PHX this week
The Atlanta Hawks had a 13-13 record in 2021-22. Mookie Blaylock leads the franchise in 3-pointers with 12. (1,050)
Atlanta’s Trae Young is one guy who may be able to catch Steph Curry. Young has made 568 3-pointers on 1,631 tries in 230 career games. Curry made 527 three-pointers in his first 230 games, albeit on 1,191 attempts. Lopez’s words
HOU, ORL, DEN, and CLE are the teams to watch this week.
The Denver Nuggets had a 13-13 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 17 JR Smith is the franchise’s 3-point leader (768)
Jamal Murray’s comeback date after ACL surgery is still unknown, but he is continuing to rehab and shoot. When he returns, the Nuggets’ star point guard will continue his quest to become the franchise’s all-time leading 3-point shooter. Murray is 96 treys away from surpassing JR Smith’s team record, which he crossed earlier this season when Will Barton overtook him for second on the team’s list. Youngmisuk’s remark
This week’s theme: @MIN, @ATL, @BKN, WAS, MIN, MIN, MIN, MIN, MIN, MIN, MIN
Boston Celtics had a 13-14 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 11 Paul Pierce leads the league in 3-point shooting (1,823)
Both Jayson Tatum (fifth) and Marcus Smart (fourth) have a chance to pass Ray Allen for fifth place on Boston’s all-time 3-pointers list, with Tatum, who is 42 points behind Smart, likely to pass both of them by the end of the season. — Best wishes
MIL, GS, and NY this week
The Dallas Mavericks had a 13-13 record in 2021-22. 14th place before. Dirk Nowitzki leads the league in 3-point shooting (1,982)
The Mavs’ single-season record most made 3-pointers was established before the turn of the century, which is a rarity. Only four players in the league made more than 200 3s in 1995-96, and George McCloud currently owns the record with 257. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the only other player in team history to hit more than 200 three-pointers in a single season, and he did it twice. MacMahon (MacMahon)
CHA, LAL, and @MIN are the words of the week.
The Toronto Raptors had a 12-14 record in 2021-22. 22nd in the previous ranking Kyle Lowry leads the league in 3-point shooting (1,518)
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This season, Fred VanVleet (632) could overtake Morris Peterson for second place on Toronto’s all-time list, but he’ll still be a long way from Kyle Lowry’s club record. — Best wishes
SAC, @BKN, CHI, and GS are the teams to watch this week.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: 12-15 in 2021-22. Previous position: 19 Karl-Anthony Towns leads the league in 3-point shooting (692)
Despite just playing in seven games, Karl-Anthony Towns has already put his imprint on Minnesota’s record books, owning the top mark for 3-point attempts and makes in Timberwolves history. In an indication of the current NBA, second-year forward Anthony Edwards is already in the team’s top 10 in 3-point attempts. Collier’s
@DEN, LAL, and DAL are the teams to watch this week.
The New York Knicks had a 12-15 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 20 John Starks is the franchise’s 3-point leader (982)
New York has struggled defensively this season, which is unusual for a Tom Thibodeau club, and opponent 3-point shooting has played a role, as the Knicks are among the league’s lowest 10 teams in terms of 3-pointers made and attempted. — Best wishes
GS, @HOU, and @BOS are the teams to watch this week.
The Portland Trail Blazers had an 11-16 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 21 Damian Lillard leads the league in 3-point shooting (2,109)
After missing five games due to a lower abdomen ailment, Damian Lillard returned on Sunday. After losing CJ McCollum indefinitely due to a collapsed lung, the Blazers urgently needed him. So far, Portland’s season has been a disaster, but if Lillard stays healthy, he might soon overtake a Hall of Famer on the all-time 3-pointers list: He’s 35 3s away from passing Paul Pierce for seventh place after Sunday. Youngmisuk’s remark Youngmisuk’s remark
PHX, MEM, CHA, and @MEM are the teams to watch this week.
San Antonio Spurs had a 10-16 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 23 Manu Ginobili leads the team in 3-point shooting (1,495)
How has the league evolved over the last ten years or so? With 29.0 3-point attempts per game, the Spurs are in last place this season. With 28.4 attempts last season, they were also bottom. Both figures would have outperformed the Rockets’ league-leading 26.6 attempts in the 2013-14 season by a large amount. Lopez’s words
CHA, @UTAH, and @SAC are the teams to watch this week.
The Indiana Pacers had a 12-16 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 24 Reggie Miller leads the league in three-point shooting (2,560)
Reggie Miller’s franchise milestone is not in jeopardy. Myles Turner, Indiana’s closest active danger, is 2,180 3-pointers shy of eclipsing the Hall of Fame sniper. Collier’s
GS, @MIL, and DET are the teams to watch this week.
Sacramento Kings have an 11-16 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 25 Buddy Hield is the franchise’s 3-point leader (1,160)
Peja Stojakovic was a part of the Kings’ front office when Buddy Hield was moved to Sacramento from New Orleans during his rookie season in 2017. In his stint with the Kings, Hield eclipsed Stojakovic, who has since stepped down as the team’s deputy general manager, as the franchise’s all-time leader in 3-point attempts. McMenamin, McMenamin, McMenamin, Mc
This week’s highlights include: @TOR, WAS, MEM, and SA.
The Houston Rockets had an 8-18 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 26 James Harden leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (2,029)
Houston’s lifetime 3-point record may be held by James Harden indefinitely. During his time with the Rockets, “The Beard” hit over 2,000 3-pointers, making his step-back 3 one of the league’s most devastating weapons. With 896 points, Eric Gordon is in second place. MacMahon (MacMahon)
@ATL, @CLE, NY, and @DET are the teams to watch this week.
The New Orleans Pelicans had an 8-21 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 27 Jrue Holiday is the franchise’s 3-point leader (628)
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This season, Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has a 46.3 percent 3-point shooting percentage. If he maintains that % for the remainder of the season, he will have the greatest percentage by a 6-foot-11 or taller player in an NBA season that qualifies for the league lead. Troy Murphy holds the current record, hitting 45 percent of his 3-pointers for Indiana in the 2008-09 season. Lopez’s words
@OKC, MIL, and @PHI are the teams to watch this week.
Oklahoma City Thunder, 28th, with an 8-18 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 29 Kevin Durant leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (1,143)
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Thunder are allowing 14.6 made 3s per game, which is on pace to be the second highest in NBA history for a season. Oklahoma City also has the lowest 3-point percentage in the league (.307). That’s the type of combination that will almost certainly result in a high lottery selection. MacMahon (MacMahon)
This week’s theme: YES, LAC
The Orlando Magic had a 5-23 record in 2021-22. Previous position: 28 Dennis Scott is the franchise’s 3-point leader (981)
Cole Anthony’s strong long-range shooting has helped him enhance his game this season. The second-year guard had shot 41.7 percent from outside the arc this month heading into Sunday’s game, and he continues to seem more at ease on the court for the rebuilding squad. Anthony has improved his long-range shooting from 33.7 percent last season to 37.7 percent so far this season. Friedell’s words
ATL, MIA, and @BKN are the teams to watch this week.
The Detroit Pistons had a 4-22 record in 2021-22. 30th in the previous ranking Joe Dumars is the franchise’s 3-point leader (990)
This season, the Pistons have been a terrible 3-point shooting club. The Pistons are 29th in the NBA in 3-point percentage, just ahead of the Thunder for last place, and have already established a franchise record for futility this season. During a game against the Bucks, Detroit went 8-for-47 (17 percent) from three-point range; no other team in NBA history has shot so many 3s while hitting so few. Collier’s
@CHI, @IND, HOU, MIA this week
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