The NBA began play again on July 30 after over three months off, and 22 teams wrapped up their regular seasons in Orlando.
Each team played eight regular season games to determine seeding for the 16 playoff and six “bubble” teams. The quarterfinals of the 2019-20 postseason have started to wrap up and in a few days there will be just eight teams remaining.
Our NBA Power Rankings, which have kept you informed on the league’s changing landscape throughout the season, can provide valuable updates on where each of these teams stand to help you place the right bets during the final part of this unprecedented 2019-2020 season.
These NBA Power Rankings look beyond records by analyzing each team’s potential to win an NBA championship in this new format. Chemistry and health will be huge factors after such a long layoff and there will be no home court advantage or fans throughout the rest of the season. Leadership will also play a huge role in keeping teams focused and on track to compete for a championship, since any players who leave the campus and potentially contract COVID-19 could wind up infecting their teammates and forced to quarantine for 14 days during a critical time.
As the NBA playoffs progress, we will continue to analyze the performance and potential of each team while updating our rankings. Futures odds will change on sportsbooks with injuries and testing playing a huge factor in this NBA season, so stay tuned for updates each week.
– Nate Weitzer
NBA Power Rankings 2020
1. Los Angeles Clippers: With Patrick Beverley (calf) out and Paul George struggling, the Clippers have looked quite beatable in the first round. It certainly helps that Dallas has a transcendent superstar in Luka Doncic, who has willed his team to a pair of wins. The Clips are still the deepest and most talented team in the league on paper, they just need Beverley to get healthy and PG to find his rhythm in the playoffs.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Dropping Game 1 of their first round series against the Magic seemed to provide the spark the Bucks needed. After going 3-5 during the seeding games, Milwaukee is back to playing dominant basketball with Giannis Antetokounmpo dominating the paint on both ends.
3. Toronto Raptors: The Raptors have looked like the best team in the Bubble and have the best net rating (20.2) in the playoffs after sweeping the Nets in the first round. Nick Nurse was deservedly anointed as the 2019-2020 NBA Coach of the Year and he could lead this team on another deep run despite losing Kawhi Leonard during the offseason. Kyle Lowry suffered an ankle injury in their series finale, but will have several days to rest before Game 1 of their ECF semifinal against Boston.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James and Anthony Davis are playing like superstars once again and the Lakers have taken control of their first round series by dominating defensively. If they dispatch the Blazers, they could face a similar – but more formidable – challenge in the form of the small ball Rockets.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic has taken the league by storm this year and has taken his team to a new level with his leadership in the Bubble. The Mavs are giving the Clippers a legitimate scare and Doncic is asserting himself as a top five player.
6. Houston Rockets: The Rockets have impressed early in the playoffs despite the absence of Russell Westbrook (quad). Jeff Green has become a vital part of their small-ball style by giving them enough size and rebounding to defend and enough outside shooting to exploit opposing big men.
7. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum continues to dominate at both ends and Kemba Walker (knee) looks healthier than he has since the calendar turned to 2020. Jaylen Brown has also taken a huge leap forward as a two-way star. Marcus Smart can fill the void created by Gordon Hayward’s multi-week ankle injury, but that gives Brad Stevens far fewer options off the bench.
8. Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo continues to redefine the center position in today’s NBA and Jimmy Butler has been clutch in the playoffs per usual. But the biggest factor in Miami’s rapid improvement is the play of young guards Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, as well as steady point guard play from Goran Dragic.
9. Utah Jazz: It’s difficult to tell if the Jazz have suddenly become contenders, or are simply exploiting Denver’s horrendous defense. The Nuggets, who posted the worst defensive rating during the seeding games, have made Donovan Mitchell look like an MVP candidate and allowed Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley to gain ample confidence as well.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder: Oklahoma City’s offense has sputtered throughout the restart and is now officially struggling with Chris Paul getting little help from his young running mates in the backcourt. Steven Adams (knee) is banged up and is an awkward fit in a series against the small-ball Rockets.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers stole Game 1 from the Lakers, but have been bullied in the succeeding matchups. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are eating in this cake matchup, yet the Blazers have even less depth than the Lakers and may not have the physicality necessary to stop LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
12. Indiana Pacers: Victor Oladipo (quad) was finally rounding back into form for Indy, but it was too little, too late. Without Domantas Sabonis (foot), this squad was unable to match up with a surging Heat team.
13. Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray is showing his potential and working well with Nikola Jokic to carry Denver’s offense. However, without Gary Harris (hip), the Nuggets have become arguably the worst defensive team left in the playoffs and have given up 124-plus points to Utah in each game of their first round series.
14. Phoenix Suns: The Suns were the indisputable surprise of the Bubble with an 8-0 record that still wasn’t good enough to qualify for a play-in game. Devin Booker is going to be a star for years to come and he has a very good supporting cast with which to build.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: With Ben Simmons (knee) out, Joel Embiid performed well but provided very little leadership while his Sixers were swept out of the first round. Brett Brown was fired Monday and the organization may opt to “blow it up” by moving one of those young stars to build around the other.
16. New Orleans Pelicans: The young Pelicans got invaluable experience this year and will hope to take the limitations off Zion Williamson heading into next season. New Orleans is also looking for a new coach after letting go of Alvin Gentry.
17. Memphis Grizzlies: It’s not surprising that the Grizzlies failed to make the playoffs considering how they fared against teams with winning records all season. Losing Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) during the seeding games certainly hurt as well.
18. Brooklyn Nets: Even without Kyrie Irving (shoulder), Kevin Durant (Achilles), Spencer Dinwiddie (COVID), and DeAndre Jordan (COVID), the Nets were quite competitive in the Bubble. Combine those players with Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, and you’ll have a potential championship contender next season.
19. Sacramento Kings: The Kings front office will forever be ridiculed for taking Marvin Bagley with the second overall pick when Doncic was still on the board. Bagley has been constantly bothered by foot injuries and Sacramento is still seeking a big man to compete in the new NBA.
20. Orlando Magic: After stunning the Bucks in Game 1 of their first round series, the Magic have been handled, much like they were after defeating the Raptors in Game 1 of the first round last season. Orlando fans can look ahead to a 2020-21 season in which they should have Jonathan Isaac, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Aaron Gordon back from injury.
21. San Antonio Spurs: Their 22-year playoff streak came to an end despite a 5-3 record and solid 3.5 net rating in the seeding games, but the Spurs will almost certainly be back in the postseason mix next year.
22. Golden State Warriors: If the Warriors were invited to Orlando, they might have been able to activate Klay Thompson (ACL) along with Steph Curry (hand) and really give fans something to watch. They will clearly be a contender when the 2020-21 season starts later this year.
23. Washington Wizards: With news that Bradley Beal (shoulder) will sit out the restart, John Wall (achilles) also declined to return this summer and the Wizards basically punted on their long shot to force a play-in game and make the playoffs.
24. Minnesota Timberwolves: The Wolves were in free fall most of the year, but flashed potential after an aggressive approach at the trade deadline landed them D’Angelo Russell and other key pieces. Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) will be ready to team up with Russell next season.
25. Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young should spend the offseason working on his pick-and-roll game with new addition Clint Capela. The Hawks are on the rise even if they may be a couple years away from playoff contention.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers: While Collin Sexton caught fire before the season was suspended, the Cavs should have questions about his ability to fit next to Darius Garland long term. Their frontcourt situation also needs to be sorted out with Andre Drummond joining Kevin Love, Larry Nance, and Tristan Thompson in a crowded frontcourt.
27. Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine is a superstar on the rise and the Bulls have promising frontcourt players around him. They just need a better coach.
28. Charlotte Hornets: A solid young team that plays tough, the Hornets are badly missing an offensive center piece since they declined to pay Kemba Walker the max.
29. New York Knicks: The Knicks should be docked points for James Dolan’s ridiculous refusal to make a statement against racism. It’s surprising that a respected coach like Tom Thibodeau took the job in New York.
30. Detroit Pistons: The Pistons unloaded Drummond and began tanking for the future. Will Blake Griffin (knee) ever be healthy enough to serve as a piece to build around? Or will his contract become an albatross for this franchise.
How to use NBA Power Rankings
When placing bets on the NBA, it’s crucial to consider factors such as travel time, home court advantage, and playoff positioning versus the rest that so many stars value. By using these rankings, or creating your own criteria for a Power Rankings system, it can be possible to evaluate the prospects of a team more thoroughly based on those factors.
Oddsmakers tend to overreact in the NBA based on the status of star players, but often underreact to trends such as a teams’ performance on back-to-back sets, or at the end of a long road trip. Read our full NBA Betting Guide for more strategies on gaining an edge against sportsbooks.
If you develop a system that helps you stay a step ahead of oddsmakers, it’s certainly possible to cash on over 50 percent of NBA bets and turn a profit. Trust your data and use our Power Rankings as a guide for identifying value on a nightly basis.
Read more on beginner NBA betting strategies here: