NBA Power Rankings – Wemby leads Spurs and the Heat push for the postseason

We’re in the final third of the 2023-24 NBA regular season, and the race for the postseason in both conferences is tight.

In the West, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets are all within a half-game with each other, jostling for the No. 1 spot. And despite an impressive win over the Thunder on Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers remain stuck in the play-in bubble, half a game behind the Dallas Mavericks.

While it appears no team in the East will catch the Boston Celtics, who most recently topped their regular-season dominance with a 52-point win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers — one game apart — could make another surprising postseason run, with the health of the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks still up in the air.

Here’s where all 30 teams stack up this week, with just one month to go.

Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk) is ranking all 30 teams from top to bottom, taking stock of which teams are playing the best basketball and which teams are looking most like title contenders.

Previous rankings: Post-Finals | Nov. 1 | Nov. 8 | Nov. 15 | Nov. 22 | Nov. 29 | Dec. 6 | Dec. 13 | Dec. 20 | Dec. 27 | Jan. 3 | Jan. 10 | Jan. 17 | Jan. 24 | Jan. 31 | Feb. 7 | Feb. 14 | Feb. 28

Jump to a team:


1. Boston Celtics
2023-24 record: 48-13

  • Previous ranking: 1

  • Next games: @ DEN (Mar. 7), @ PHX (Mar. 9), @ POR (Mar. 11), @ UTA (Mar. 12)

Entering Tuesday night’s game in Cleveland, the Celtics had the record for point-differential, outscoring its opponents by 243 points during its 11-game winning streak. Boston is on pace to have a net rating over 10, something few clubs in NBA history have accomplished. The Celtics have the same lead over No. 2 Milwaukee in the East that No. 1 Minnesota has over No. 7 Sacramento in the West — a sign of just how dominant the Celtics have been. — Bontemps

2. Denver Nuggets
2023-24 record: 42-19

The Nuggets suffered their first loss since the All-Star break, snapping a six-game win streak after Phoenix somehow survived in overtime in Denver after blowing a 22-point second-half lead. The Suns managed to do something that has only happened five times all season — force Nikola Jokic to have more turnovers (seven) than assists (five). The Nuggets are now 1-4 in those games. Jokic and Denver will look to rebound in a colossal showdown at home against the Celtics on Thursday. That game will be the end of a six-game gauntlet in which the Nuggets faced the Warriors, Kings, Heat, Lakers and Suns. — Youngmisuk

3. Milwaukee Bucks
2023-24 record: 41-21

  • Previous ranking: 6

  • Next games: @ GS (Mar. 6), @ LAL (Mar. 8), @ LAC (Mar. 10), @ SAC (Mar. 12)

The Bucks have won six consecutive games coming out of the All-Star break, including a victory over the Clippers on Monday without Giannis Antetokounmpo, thanks to a defense that looks back in form. Milwaukee ranks first in defense since the break, giving up 102.6 points per 100 possessions to fuel its winning streak. — Collier

4. Minnesota Timberwolves
2023-24 record: 43-19

  • Previous ranking: 4

  • Next games: @ IND (Mar. 7), @ CLE (Mar. 8), @ LAL (Mar. 10), @ LAC (Mar. 12)

The Timberwolves dropped consecutive home games over the weekend to the Kings and Clippers for just the second time all season before beating the Blazers on Monday to maintain a slight advantage in the race for the No.1 seed in the West. The Wolves, who top the league in defense but rank 17th in offense, begin one of their longest road trips of the season, a six-game set that begins with a back-to-back contests against the Pacers and Cavs on Thursday and Friday. — Collier

5. Oklahoma City Thunder
2023-24 record: 42-19

  • Previous ranking: 2

  • Next games: @ POR (Mar. 6), vs. MIA (Mar. 8), vs. MEM (Mar. 10), vs. IND (Mar. 12)

Oklahoma City has spent a total of two days atop the Western Conference standings this season. The Thunder slipped out of the top spot with Monday’s road loss to the Lakers, a potential first-round foe who won three of the four meetings between the teams this season and the only team to beat Oklahoma City three times. Anthony Davis (27.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game in the series) has been an especially difficult matchup for rookie center Chet Holmgren. — MacMahon

6. LA Clippers
2023-24 record: 39-21

  • Previous ranking: 5

  • Next games: @ HOU (Mar. 6), vs. CHI (Mar. 9), vs. MIL (Mar. 10), vs. MIN (Mar. 12)

The Clippers’ inconsistent play continued after one of their most impressive wins at Minnesota with a disappointing loss the next night at Milwaukee, where they blew a 15-point second-half lead to a Bucks team playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo. This was the first of four back-to-backs in a month jammed with 17 games in 31 days. The Clippers will miss Russell Westbrook‘s energy and hustle as the former MVP broke his left hand Friday and underwent surgery on Monday. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the hope is Westbrook will return before the postseason starts, giving Bones Hyland an opportunity off the bench. — Youngmisuk

7. Cleveland Cavaliers
2023-24 record: 40-21

  • Previous ranking: 7

  • Next games: @ ATL (Mar. 6), vs. MIN (Mar. 8), vs. BKN (Mar. 10), vs. PHX (Mar. 11)

Cleveland surged up the Eastern Conference standings, thanks to the MVP-caliber play from Donovan Mitchell, despite the absences of Darius Garland and Evan Mobley. Now, while Mitchell recovers from a PRP injection in his left knee, can those two and the rest of the Cavs’ young core return the favor? They failed the first test, losing to the Knicks on Sunday — a scary reminder of how fickle momentum can be, considering what happened in the first round of last year’s playoffs. — McMenamin

8. New Orleans Pelicans
2023-24 record: 37-25

As the Pelicans continue to fight for playoff positioning in the West, the upcoming three-game road trip has fortuitous timing: starting with Tuesday’s win in Toronto against a Raptors squad without Scottie Barnes, followed by games at Philadelphia without Joel Embiid and at Atlanta without Trae Young. New Orleans sits three games behind the LA Clippers for the fourth spot in the West, but just four ahead of Golden State at No. 10. — Lopez

9. New York Knicks
2023-24 record: 36-26

New York, losers of seven of its past 10 games, appeared to catch a significant break when Jalen Brunson‘s awful-looking injury in Sunday’s win over the Cavaliers was deemed to only be a knee bruise. The last thing the Knicks need is to lose another starter, as they are still waiting for OG Anunoby, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson to return from long-term injuries. The hope is all three will be on the court by the end of March, leaving New York trying to hang on until its roster is whole again. — Bontemps

10. Miami Heat
2023-24 record: 35-26

Miami’s defensive identity has played a large part in it being just one game back of the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the playoffs. Since Jan. 31, Miami has held opponents to 106.2 points per 100 possessions, the second-best mark in the league over that stretch. — Lopez

11. Phoenix Suns
2023-24 record: 35-26

Whatever momentum Phoenix built prior to the All-Star break disappeared somewhere in the Indianapolis snow. The Suns are 2-4 since the break with four of their next five games coming against Denver, Cleveland and two against Boston. With Devin Booker currently sidelined with a right ankle sprain, the Suns — No. 6 in the West — are in danger of sliding back into the play-in picture with fewer than 20 games remaining. — McMenamin

12. Orlando Magic
2023-24 record: 36-26

The Magic’s win over the Pistons on Sunday was the team’s 35th of the season, surpassing their win total from a year ago and making them 10 games over .500 for the first time since 2011-12. It was the 17th time the Magic held an opponent under 100 points this season, the third-best mark in the league behind Minnesota (20) and New York (18). Orlando has the fourth-best defense (111.4 points allowed per 100 possessions), which would be its highest ranking since finishing fourth in 2010-11. — Lopez

13. Dallas Mavericks
2023-24 record: 34-28

Dallas has been the worst defensive team in the league since the All-Star break, allowing 124.4 points per 100 possessions in six games entering Tuesday’s matchup with the Pacers. The return of wing Dante Exum, one of the Mavs’ best on-ball defenders, should help, but coach Jason Kidd is hesitant to give Exum heavy minutes after he missed most of the past two months due to foot and knee injuries. The 28-year-old guard had earned a starting role before the injury on Jan. 1, but Kidd said that is no longer the plan.— MacMahon

14. Sacramento Kings
2023-24 record: 34-26

  • Previous ranking: 14

  • Next games: @ LAL (Mar. 6), vs. SA (Mar. 7), vs. HOU (Mar. 10), vs. MIL (Mar. 12)

The Kings are bouncing in and out of the play-in picture, and there’s really no telling where they’ll end up. They’ve been losing to short-handed teams — most recently against an injured Heat squad at home after a road win against the Clippers. After a players-only meeting, they went on to beat the No. 1 Wolves without De’Aaron Fox, only to follow it up by blowing a 22-point lead at home to the Bulls. — Andrews

15. Philadelphia 76ers
2023-24 record: 35-25

  • Previous ranking: 13

  • Next games: vs. MEM (Mar. 6), vs. NO (Mar. 8), @ NY (Mar. 10), @ NY (Mar. 12)

After a difficult stretch, Tobias Harris bounced back in a big way with 31 points against Charlotte on Friday and another 28 in Dallas on Sunday — both wins for the 76ers. Philadelphia needs more performances like that from Harris if it wants to remain in the top six of the East — and out of the play-in morass — until it can get Joel Embiid back. — Bontemps

16. Los Angeles Lakers
2023-24 record: 34-29

LA beat the Thunder 116-104 on Monday to close out the season series 3-1 against the No. 2 team in the West. “It’s about us,” Anthony Davis said when asked if the No. 9-seeded Lakers’ success against the Thunder proves anything about their true potential. “We don’t really care what seed we’re in. We proved it last year. It doesn’t matter.” Speaking of seeding, the Lakers have two games in the next week against No. 7 Sacramento. They’re currently 1½ games behind the Kings. — McMenamin

17. Golden State Warriors
2023-24 record: 32-28

  • Previous ranking: 18

  • Next games: vs. MIL (Mar. 6), vs. CHI (Mar. 7), vs. SA (Mar. 9), @ SA (Mar. 11)

Despite their 52-point loss to the Celtics, the Warriors have found something in Jonathan Kuminga, who has emerged as their No. 2 scoring option behind Stephen Curry. After winning 11 of their past 15 games, the Warriors will have a firm grasp of a play-in spot, and could possibly sneak their way into a top-6 seed. — Andrews

18. Indiana Pacers
2023-24 record: 35-28

Tyrese Haliburton is in a shooting slump. He went 0-for-12 from 3 in consecutive losses against the Pelicans and Spurs, the most in a two-game span without a make in team history, joining Danny Granger in March 2011 and Reggie Miller in Dec. 1991. To escape the play-in — they’re one game out of the No. 6 spot — they will need pre-slump Haliburton, starting with a matchup this weekend against the Timberwolves’ top-ranked defense before beginning a road trip through Orlando and Oklahoma City. — Collier

19. Chicago Bulls
2023-24 record: 29-32

  • Previous ranking: 19

  • Next games: @ UTA (Mar. 6), @ GS (Mar. 7), @ LAC (Mar. 9), vs. DAL (Mar. 11)

Coby White’s career-high 37 points and DeMar DeRozan’s 19-point fourth quarter helped the Bulls rally from a 20-point deficit in Monday’s win against the Kings, marking the third 20-point comeback for Chicago this year (tied for the most in the NBA.) The Bulls have alternated in wins and losses in their past six games and have a stronghold on the No. 9 seed in the East, leading by 2½ games over the No. 10 seed and 4½ games back from No. 8. — Collier

20. Houston Rockets
2023-24 record: 27-34

  • Previous ranking: 22

  • Next games: vs. LAC (Mar. 6), @ POR (Mar. 8), @ SAC (Mar. 10), @ SA (Mar. 12)

Second-year forward Tari Eason underwent season-ending surgery Monday to remove a benign growth from his left shin. He is expected to recover in advance of training camp and to be a key role player for the Rockets next season. Eason was limited to only 22 games this season, but Houston outscored opponents by 9.4 points per 100 possessions during his 480 minutes. The Rockets went 12-10 with Eason in the rotation and 14-24 without. — MacMahon

21. Utah Jazz
2023-24 record: 28-34

Jordan Clarkson had 38 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in Monday’s win over the woeful Wizards, joining Campy Russell as the only players in NBA history to have at least a 35-10-5 line off the bench since starters were tracked in 1970-71, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It was a bright spot in what’s been a rough season for the Jazz, losers of eight of their past 10 games, and Clarkson, who has an effective field goal percentage of 47.0%, ranking second to last among 165 players with at least 400 attempts. — MacMahon

22. Atlanta Hawks
2023-24 record: 27-34

After starting off Trae Young’s absence with back-to-back wins, the Hawks dropped back-to-back games to the Nets, who the Hawks are fighting with for the final spot in the East’s play-in tournament. Atlanta is 2½ games ahead of Brooklyn, and despite the losses, ESPN’s BPI odds still give the Hawks a 66% chance to get the No. 10 seed, taking into account Young’s injury. — Lopez

23. Brooklyn Nets
2023-24 record: 24-37

With Ben Simmons in the middle of yet another lengthy injury absence — again because of a nerve issue in his back — it’s become another lost season for the former All-NBA forward. Simmons has shown he can be a useful player when he’s on the court this season, averaging 7.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists. But the absolute lack of shooting outside the immediate paint area — 48 of his 74 shots this season are at the rim, and only four of them are more than 10 feet away from the basket — make it hard to see how Simmons can be a reliable contributor on a regular basis.— Bontemps

24. Toronto Raptors
2023-24 record: 23-39

Scottie Barnes likely saw his season come to an end after undergoing surgery Monday to repair the third metacarpal bone in his left hand. Still, Toronto has to be thrilled about the growth it has seen this season from Barnes, averaging career highs in points (19.9), rebounds (8.2), assists (6.1) and blocks (1.5), with significant jumps in 3-point percentage (34.1) and attempts (4.9) per game. With Barnes, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, Toronto has a young core to build around. — Bontemps

25. Memphis Grizzlies
2023-24 record: 21-41

  • Previous ranking: 25

  • Next games: @ PHI (Mar. 6), vs. ATL (Mar. 8), @ OKC (Mar. 10), vs. WAS (Mar. 12)

Forward Jake LaRavia, the No. 19 pick in the 2022 draft who spent most of the season assigned to the G League or injured, has been getting rotation minutes since the All-Star break. He has averaged 9.8 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 34% from the floor in those six games, five of which have been losses for Memphis. The Grizzlies moved on from David Roddy, another forward selected in the first round of that draft, at the trade deadline. Memphis, which has the sixth-best lottery odds, could target that position again in this year’s draft. — MacMahon

26. San Antonio Spurs
2023-24 record: 13-49

  • Previous ranking: 28

  • Next games: @ SAC (Mar. 7), @ GS (Mar. 9), vs. GS (Mar. 11), vs. HOU (Mar. 12)

In the Spurs’ 132-118 victory over Oklahoma City on Feb. 29, Victor Wembanyama, Tre Jones, Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan scored all 34 of the team’s points in the fourth quarter. That lineup combination has been effective for the Spurs this season. In 462 minutes, that four-man group has a plus-6.6 net rating and are plus-79. Add sixth man Keldon Johnson to the lineup, and the plus-minus is 50 (in just 107 minutes) and a plus-20.2 net rating. — Lopez

27. Portland Trail Blazers
2023-24 record: 17-43

  • Previous ranking: 27

  • Next games: vs. OKC (Mar. 6), vs. HOU (Mar. 8), vs. TOR (Mar. 9), vs. BOS (Mar. 11)

The Blazers failed to register one win in February, and silver linings, even amid a descent to the bottom of the standings, are becoming harder to identify. Scoot Henderson, who has missed the past six games, is not living up to expectations, averaging just 12.9 points on 37.5% shooting this season. As topsy-turvy as this season has been, it’s hard to tell if this young core can work long term — Andrews

28. Charlotte Hornets
2023-24 record: 15-47

The Hornets have dropped five straight games but have an opportunity to break that slide in their next four games. They hit the road to play the Wizards, who have lost 15 straight contests. After that, they play the Nets, Pistons and Grizzlies. With LaMelo Ball still out, Vasilije Micic has found new life in Charlotte after starting the season in OKC. In a start against Orlando on Tuesday, Micic had 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He is averaging 15.3 points and 5.6 assists in his past two games.— Youngmisuk

29. Detroit Pistons
2023-24 record: 9-52

For the first time since early November, the Pistons do NOT have the worst record in the NBA. A victory over Chicago on Tuesday night got Detroit — which dropped 28 games in a row at one point — out of the basement of the Eastern Conference, vaulting them past Washington. And the Pistons could even build some space between them and the Wizards. After returning from Miami, the Pistons begin a six-game homestand this week, beginning with games against the Nets, Mavericks, Hornets and Raptors. — Collier

30. Washington Wizards
2023-24 record: 9-52

  • Previous ranking: 30

  • Next games: vs. ORL (Mar. 6), vs. CHA (Mar. 8), @ MIA (Mar. 10), @ MEM (Mar. 12)

The Wizards’ losing streak has reached 15 straight. If Washington can’t snap the slide against Orlando on Wednesday, Friday’s home game against Charlotte looms large because after that game, they go on a four-game road swing at Miami, Memphis, Houston and Chicago. Despite the losing streak, Tyus Jones has been playing his best basketball, averaging 11.6 assists in his past nine games, and during that stretch, he has three games of 15 or more assists. — Youngmisuk


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