NBA Power Rankings: Where Do Surging Nuggets Stand?

January 19 Edition

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Team records and standings don’t tell the whole story when betting on the NBA. Level of competition, schedule quirks, and injuries can throw things out of whack when trying to evaluate a team. Here we try to simplify the matter with our NBA Power Rankings. The goal is to rank teams in order of current strength. If both teams played on a neutral court tonight, who would be favored?

NBA Power Rankings

Here are Nate Weitzer’s NBA Power Rankings as of Jan. 20, 2023.

  1. Boston Celtics

Few teams, if any, can rival the Celtics in terms of depth and defensive versatility, which is why Boston was overwhelmingly voted as the top team in the NBA in an anonymous survey of 30 media members at They are currently eighth in defensive rating and first in offense.

  1. Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic is running away with a third straight MVP by averaging a triple double with the best offensive rating (135.5) in basketball. The Nuggets are riding a 15-game home win streak and maintained their current 8-game win streak by beating the Clippers without Joker.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Since they lost back-to-back games around Christmas, the Grizzlies have been absolutely dominant while climbing to the top of the NBA in terms of defensive efficiency. Jaren Jackson Jr. (-150) is the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year and the Grizz finally have a healthy backcourt with Desmond Bane back. 

  1. Milwaukee Bucks

While their offense has struggled in the absence of Khris Middleton (wrist/knee), the Bucks seem to be slowly turning a corner. Jrue Holiday posted back-to-back season highs in the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) and Joe Ingles has helped with his playmaking. 

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Jarrett Allen anchors the top scoring defense in the league and Donovan Mitchell has given Cleveland a completely different dynamic offensively. The Cavs are 19-4 at home and third in scoring margin (+4.5). 

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  1. Philadelphia 76ers

James Harden and Joel Embiid look unstoppable on offense and the Sixers have shifted Tyrese Maxey (elbow) to a sixth-man role, which has helped shore up some of their defensive issues. They’ve won 9 of their last 11 and look locked into a top three spot in the East. 

  1. Golden State Warriors 

The defending champs are starting to show signs of competing on the road after opening with a ridiculous 3-16 record away from home. Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole seemed to find their offensive rhythm while Steph Curry (shoulder) was out. 

  1. Sacramento Kings 

Domantas Sabonis (134 offensive rating) is right behind Jokic in terms of offensive efficiency and he leads the NBA in rebounding. The Kings are now third in the Western Conference and seem destined to snap their 16-year playoff drought. 

  1. Miami Heat 

Jimmy Butler has led the Heat during a 4-1 stretch that included consecutive wins over Milwaukee. Health remains an ongoing issue for the Heat, but Eric Spoelstra’s bunch will be a tough out in the playoffs. 

  1. New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans clearly have limitations when both Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe) are out. They have limitless potential if they can get both of those star forwards back in the lineup alongside C.J. McCollum, who is carrying a heavy load while they’ve been out. 

  1. New York Knicks

Jalen Brunson is averaging 30.8 PPG on 50/48/81% shooting splits over his last 10 appearances and the Knicks are 6-4 in those games. They’re 16-8 against teams with losing records.

  1. Dallas Mavericks 

Take away Luka Doncic, and the Mavs could easily be one of the worst teams in basketball. By leading the NBA in points, minutes, and usage rate, Doncic has dragged this flawed roster to a top-five spot in the West. 

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi Leonard is starting to regain his form, yet the Clips have still lost 11 of 13 and they’ve actually lost five straight when Paul George (hamstring) has been able to play. 

  1. Atlanta Hawks

With help from Dejounte Murray and the newly-returned Clint Capela (calf), Trae Young got a win at Dallas and a modicum of vindication by beating Luka Doncic. The Hawks are starting to pull out of their tailspin and are sitting firmly in eighth place in the East. 

  1. Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard is averaging 39 PPG over his last six outings and the Blazers are only 2-4 in that span with both wins coming against a Mavs team that pulled Luka Doncic for 1.5 games of their back-to-back set in Portland. 

  1. Utah Jazz

Lauri Markkanen has blossomed into a star and Utah is hanging tough in the Western Conference playoff picture with a 24-24 record. Walker Kessler is also blossoming into a defensive anchor who could someday replace Rudy Gobert. 

  1. Phoenix Suns

Without Devin Booker (groin) and Chris Paul (hip), the Suns have had little chance to earn wins during a rough 2-12 stretch. Their issues go beyond the availability of their star backcourt, with Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder notably disgruntled with the coaching staff and ownership. 

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves are 6-3 over their last nine games, although one of those losses is a head-scratcher against a shorthanded and tanking Pistons squad. They’re still 18th in offensive rating but are third in overall FG% with Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) due back soon. 

  1. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have won 4 of 6 with trade rumors swirling around Fred VanVleet and other key pieces. If Masai Ujiri decides to go for another playoff berth, he would be wise to add more shooters rather than flipping his sharpshooting point guard. 

  1. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets looked like a top-five team before Kevin Durant (MCL) went down for about a month. Without their MVP, they look like one of the worst offensive teams in the league. 

  1. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have talent across the roster and a great coach in Billy Donovan, but they’ve been inconsistent on both sides of the ball, leading some pundits to wonder if GM Marc Eversley will break up the newly-acquired core trio of Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan. 

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James is playing some of the best ball of his career and the Lakers are still struggling to climb into play-in position. Anthony Davis (foot) remains out indefinitely, but Thomas Bryant and Wenyen Gabriel are shoring up a leaky interior defense. 

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder 

When defenses have started selling out to stop Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Josh Giddey and the Thunder’s young wings have stepped up in a couple of notable upsets. OKC is 23-10 ATS this season when listed as an underdog. 

  1. Washington Wizards

The Wizards went 4-1 when Bradley Beal was out with COVID, but they’re doing far worse with their star SG sidelined over a month with a wrist injury. They’ve lost 11 of their last 12 games and could become sellers ahead of the trade deadline.  

  1. Charlotte Hornets 

Once again, the Hornets are playing an exciting brand of offense with LaMelo Ball leading the way and they’re playing almost no defense while coughing up the third-most PPG (118.9) this season. 

  1. Indiana Pacers 

The Pacers were catching a lot of teams by surprise with a dynamic led by Tyrese Haliburton, but their PG is out a couple of weeks with an elbow injury and that might become a nice segway for the front office to embrace a tank down the stretch. 

  1. Orlando Magic

Paolo Banchero (-1200) is a huge favorite for Rookie of the Year with averages of 21.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 3.8 APG on a sizable Magic team that continues to experiment with big rotations. 

  1. San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are dead last in defensive rating and PPG allowed, but Gregg Popovich continues to coach his young guys with a smile. 

  1. Detroit Pistons

With the second-worst defensive rating in basketball, the Pistons need more firepower to keep pace with teams, but they haven’t found much to replace Cade Cunningham (shin). 

  1. Houston Rockets

Already rocking the worst record in the NBA, the Rockets have lost Kevin Porter Jr. (foot) for some time, leaving Jalen Green to hoist shots at an even higher volume.

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Preseason rankings

Here are what our pre-season NBA Power Rankings looked like on October 6. Preseason NBA title odds for each team are also listed.

RankingTeamNBA Title Odds
2.Bucks +800
4.Clippers +550
5.Grizzlies +2200
19.Trail Blazers+8000
22.Knicks +15000

How to use Pro Basketball 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 NBA Power 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.