HomeBasketball TodayCan the Celtics Keep Their Momentum Post-All-Star Break?

Can the Celtics Keep Their Momentum Post-All-Star Break?

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The NBA All-Star break has come and gone. Now, all 30 teams in the league turn their attention to the stretch run of the season, a time that is different for every franchise. For teams like the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, this is a time to evaluate what they have moving forward. For others, such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Denver Nuggets, now is the time for them to stake their claim as the best in the Western Conference. For the Boston Celtics, their only focus is remaining the top team in the NBA Power Rankings.

Once again, the Celtics hold the title as the best team in the league, a position they have been in since the first few weeks of the regular season. Led by All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have shown very few limitations. They are first in offensive rating, third in defensive rating, and Boston’s starting five is arguably the best in the league.

At this point, it is not a surprise that many are choosing the Celtics to be this season’s champions. However, just because they are the best team doesn’t necessarily mean a championship is guaranteed. In addition, Boston needs to be extremely careful when it comes to remaining level-headed.

Although the All-Star break offers teams a chance to rest and reflect on the season at hand, it is also a time when momentum in both conferences begins to shift. After all, injuries are unpredictable, and you never know which teams will get hot at the right time.

There are just under eight weeks left in the 2023-24 regular season, which means the best basketball is right ahead of us coming out of the All-Star break. Here is a refreshed look at the NBA Power Rankings to see where each team chasing the Celtics comes in.

Previous 2023-24 NBA Power Rankings: Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2Week 1

1. Boston Celtics (-)

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 Record: 43-12, Upcoming schedule: at CHI (2/22), at NYK (2/24)

The Celtics are set to come out of the All-Star break riding a six-game win streak. The good news for Boston is that they draw two favorable road matchups against the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. The Celtics destroyed the Bulls by nearly 30 points the last time they played, and the Knicks have seemed to lose a step recently due to all of their injury concerns.

As things stand right now, Tatum and Co. hold a six-game lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers for the best record in the East, and are far ahead in the NBA Power Rankings compared to any other team. With the way the Celtics have played this season, this six-game lead might as well be looked at as if it were eight or nine games because Boston has lost back-to-back games just once this season.

Boston may very well see 60 wins for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves (+5)

2023-24 Record: 39-16, Upcoming schedule: vs. MIL (2/23), vs. BKN (2/24)

The Minnesota Timberwolves had stumbled prior to the All-Star break, and they were beginning to look like a team that could be exposed on the offensive side of the court. Coming off a six-point overtime loss to the Bulls on February 6, the T-Wolves have won four straight games. Two of these wins were against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Defense is the name of the game for Minnesota, as they have held their opponents under 105 points in six of their last nine games. As they say, defense wins championships, which is why the Timberwolves find themselves leading the Western Conference with a 39-16 record. Whether or not they can hold onto this top spot is yet to be seen, especially since we still have a lot to learn about this group.

Can Karl-Anthony Towns be a consistent No. 2 scoring weapon next to Anthony Edwards in games that matter the most? Who will step up and be that third guy offensively to help with the heavy lifting come time for the playoffs? Even though they have been great this season, these questions loom large, which is why championship-seeking teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors may be targeting a matchup with the Timberwolves should they earn a playoff spot via the play-in tournament.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (-1)

2023-24 Record: 36-17, Upcoming schedule: vs. ORL (2/22), at PHI (2/23)

Out of all the teams in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers entered the All-Star break as the hottest. Although their nine-game win streak was snapped by the Philadelphia 76ers, Donovan Mitchell has put Cleveland in a position to contend against the Celtics come time for the postseason.

The Cavs have really grown defensively, and while the numbers may not suggest it, this group has been a dangerous team from beyond the arc. The eye test favors Cleveland tremendously, as actually watching them play versus looking at the stats tells a tale of two different teams. The Cavaliers are much better than their No. 16 ranking in offensive rating may suggest.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Cavs will be looking for redemption against the 76ers, who recently defeated them by scoring 123 points. They are very deserving of this top-five spot in the NBA Power Rankings.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (-1)

2023-24 Record: 37-17, Upcoming schedule: vs. LAC (2/22), vs. WAS (2/23), at HOU (2/25)

When discussing what it takes to win a championship in the NBA, depth is certainly a key factor. Right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder may have the most depth out of any top-tier team, especially with Gordon Hayward preparing to make his debut sometime in the next several games. The Thunder are young, but they have a plethora of athletic and lengthy talent that has really come together nicely.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren are obviously the two names that stick out, but even rookie guard Cason Wallace has stood out and played his role to perfection. Recently, Wallace sat down and spoke with ClutchPoints for an exclusive interview during the All-Star break, detailing how the Thunder can be the best team in the league moving forward.

“Our competitiveness and hunger to win by any means necessary certainly stand out,” Wallace stated. “Everyone wants to win in the NBA, and there are some really competitive teams out there. But when it comes down to finding a way to win, we have obviously proven to be among the best.”

The Thunder currently rank fourth in scoring, and Gilgeous-Alexander is a favorite to win the MVP award. Just because they are young doesn’t mean this team can’t make a deep postseason run.

5. Los Angeles Clippers (+1)

2023-24 Record: 36-17, Upcoming schedule: at OKC (2/22), at MEM (2/23), vs. SAC (2/25)

Without Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers were able to erase a 15-point deficit against the Golden State Warriors on the road, picking up a huge 130-125 victory in their final game before the All-Star break. While a 3-2 record over their last five at the break is not impressive, the Clippers have proven that they can win in multiple ways.

The schedule Los Angeles faces over the next several weeks is daunting. They will have a back-to-back right out of the All-Star break, with the first game being against the Thunder. This matchup is huge because whoever wins claims the season tiebreaker over the other. Just a half-game separates these two franchises right now, which is why this is a must-win game for both the Clippers and Thunder.

It is not hard to believe that the difference between the 2-seed and 3-seed in the Western Conference could decide who ultimately represents the conference in the NBA Finals this year.

6. Denver Nuggets (-2)

2023-24 Record: 36-19, Upcoming schedule: vs. WAS (2/22), at POR (2/23), at GSW (2/25)

What is going on with the Nuggets? The defending champions limped into the All-Star break, losing three straight games, and they have really lost their mojo on offense. During this recent three-game losing skid, which resulted in two losses to the Sacramento Kings and one to the struggling Bucks, Denver has averaged just 99.7 points per game.

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Jamal Murray has not been assertive like he normally is on offense, and teams are beginning to figure out that Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. are not reliable sources of offensive production. When these two are hitting shots, the Nuggets are one of the best teams in the league. However, their inability to consistently knock down jumpers has been alarming for Denver as of late.

If any team needed a week off to rest, recover, and get their minds right, it was the Nuggets. Now outside the top-five in the NBA Power Rankings, it will be interesting to see how Michael Malone approaches the team’s first few games after the break, especially since they face two teams at the bottom of the standings right away.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) celebrates with Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) during the third quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 Record: 33-22, Upcoming schedule: at DAL (2/22), at HOU (2/23), vs. LAL (2/25)

A gauntlet of playoff-like games approaches for the Phoenix Suns coming out of the All-Star break. Three of their first five games will be against the Houston Rockets, and the Suns won’t face a team not in contention for postseason basketball until March 15 against the Charlotte Hornets.

Offensively, the Suns have been great with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal on the floor. However, this team’s inability to defend is alarming, and they are awful when it comes to closing out games. In fact, Phoenix ranks dead-last at -16.0 in fourth-quarter net rating. The next closest team is the Miami Heat, who find themselves at -7.8 in the fourth-quarter.

If the Suns are unable to figure out how to be better in the final quarter of play, they are going to have an extremely tough time finding ways to win in the playoffs. While they moved up in the NBA Power Rankings, the Suns are one of those teams that are still a question mark.

8. Dallas Mavericks (+2)

2023-24 Record: 32-23, Upcoming schedule: vs. PHX (2/22), at IND (2/25)

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are trending in the right direction right now. This team has won six straight games and has drastically improved on both ends of the court with the additions of PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford. Out of all the trade deadline acquisitions made across the league, Gafford has looked like the best addition, averaging 15.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game in a Mavs uniform.

All the Mavericks needed around Doncic and Kyrie Irving was secondary scoring and a presence in the paint on either end of the court. They have certainly found this, which is why it is time to start having a conversation about how deep this team can go in the playoffs.

Dallas is going to avoid playing in the play-in tournament, assuming they stay healthy, and it is not hard to believe that they can slip inside the top-four in the Western Conference. Will the Mavs be able to make it back to the Western Conference Finals?

9. New Orleans Pelicans (-)

2023-24 Record: 33-22, Upcoming schedule: vs. HOU (2/22), vs. MIA (2/23), vs. CHI (2/25)

There is a lot to like about the New Orleans Pelicans right now. New Orleans has what it takes to be a top defensive team in this league, they are finally healthy, and this team quietly lurks in the Western Conference standings as the six-seed, tied with the Suns record-wise.

The good news for the Pelicans is that they will come out of the All-Star break rejuvenated and facing a favorable schedule. Four of their next six games are at home, where they are 16-10 on the season, and they really won’t face that tough of a matchup for at least two weeks. Teams like the Rockets, Knicks, and Indiana Pacers are all capable of defeating the Pelicans, but New Orleans will be favored in these matchups.

Now is the time for Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram to prove that they have what it takes to be one of the best-scoring duos in the league. Keep an eye on the Pelicans as a sneaky team to rise up in the NBA Power Rankings over the next few weeks.

10. Indiana Pacers (+1)

2023-24 Record: 31-25, Upcoming schedule: vs. DET (2/22), vs. DAL (2/25)

Who are the Pacers? We know what to expect from Tyrese Haliburton and Pascal Siakam, but the Pacers as a whole have underachieved since making the finals of the first-ever In-Season Tournament. Once again, the underlying factor contributing to their various losses is Indiana’s defense, which takes away from the fact that they are the league’s top offensive team.

The thing about Indiana is that nobody really fears them around the league because they don’t necessarily have secondary talents who can take over a game alongside Haliburton and Siakam. It is also not hard to believe that this team got worse at the trade deadline, moving Buddy Hield for Doug McDermott and future draft compensation.

This team will not be able to solely rely on Haliburton to bail them out of bad situations down the stretch.

11. Milwaukee Bucks (+2)

2023-24 Record: 35-21, Upcoming schedule: at MIN (2/23), at PHI (2/25)

It seems pretty evident that Adrian Griffin was not the problem for the Bucks, given that Doc Rivers has gone 3-7 since becoming the head coach of the team. Giannis Antetokounmpo can only do so much for Milwaukee, a team that just doesn’t seem to have the will to fight every night like they did in previous years. The Bucks don’t keep their foot on the gas pedal offensively, and it is shocking to see teams simply attack them on the interior.

A win over Denver ahead of the All-Star break was very much needed, but then the Bucks lost two straight to the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies. Every time this group takes a step forward, they wind up taking two steps backward.

Just because the Bucks moved up two spots in the NBA Power Rankings compared to last week doesn’t necessarily mean they are on the rise. This is still very much a team that has a lot to work on if they are to avoid losing in the first round of the playoffs.

12. New York Knicks (-7)

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) controls the ball during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 Record: 33-22, Upcoming schedule: at PHI (2/22), vs. BOS (2/24)

Injuries are piling up for the New York Knicks. Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, Isaiah Hartenstein, Donte DiVincenzo, and B0jan Bogdanovic all missed games heading into the All-Star break, leaving Jalen Brunson as this team’s only source of scoring. As a result, the Knicks have lost four straight games and five of their last six overall. One of these losses was the controversial game played against the Houston Rockets, which the team has since protested.

This season for the Knicks and their chances of contending for a title are going to come down to who is available. The team is hopeful that Randle will be back in the next few weeks, but Anunoby’s elbow injury has suddenly turned into a borderline red flag. Bogdanovic yet again dealing with a calf injury is also alarming for this franchise. The veteran sharpshooter dealt with a calf injury that sidelined him for the first several weeks of this season with the Detroit Pistons.

When healthy, the Knicks have proven to be one of the best teams in this league. Their recent decline in the NBA Power Rankings is solely due to injuries contributing to losses.

13. Miami Heat (+2)

2023-24 Record: 30-25, Upcoming schedule: at NOP (2/23)

Another team that has been hit hard with injuries in recent games is the Miami Heat. However, the Heat rallied behind their depth to pick up wins over the Bucks and Sixers heading into the All-Star break.

Josh Richardson is out a few weeks with a shoulder injury, as is Terry Rozier with a sprained knee. Star wing Jimmy Butler has missed the last couple of games due to a death in his family. Right when the Heat were beginning to build chemistry and were on the right path to success, they now find themselves having to deal with players being out of their rotation at inopportune times.

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Nothing is going to be easy for the Heat coming out of the All-Star break, especially with four straight Western Conference road games staring them down.

14. Philadelphia 76ers (-)

2023-24 Record: 32-22, Upcoming schedule: vs. NYK (2/22), vs. CLE (2/23), vs. MIL (2/25)

The Philadelphia 76ers are searching for their identity without Joel Embiid. A two-point win over the surging Cavs certainly built a lot of confidence for this team, but the fact of the matter is that Philly is not a contender with Embiid out of the lineup. Although Tyrese Maxey is an All-Star in his own right, this team was built around their MVP big man.

Since the start of February, the Sixers are just 3-5, and they have struggled to find consistent offensive production at times. What will be interesting to see is if the addition of veteran guard Kyle Lowry helps make a difference in solving some of these offensive lapses, especially since he can create opportunities for others.

What we should expect from the 76ers moving forward will be seen in their first three games out of the All-Star break, three games which are against the best of the best in the conference.

15. Orlando Magic (-3)

2023-24 Record: 30-25, Upcoming schedule: at CLE (2/22), at DET (2/24), at ATL (2/25)

The Orlando Magic are another team that continues to jockey back and forth in the NBA Power Rankings. One week, the Magic look like real threats who could possibly avoid the play-in tournament and claim an actual playoff spot in the East. Other weeks, like the one before the All-Star break, they look like a team that is still trying to figure out who they can be. This is expected from a young team, though, as the Magic are still learning about the talent on their roster.

The key to the Magic continuing to grow into the force that they could possibly be lies in their offense. Defensively, Orlando has already proven that they can be one of the best teams in the league. If the Magic can continue to see Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner dictate the flow of the game on offense, as well as receive consistent shooting from the perimeter, this team will wind up holding on to one of the better records down the stretch run of the season.

The good news for Orlando is that seven of their next eight games are against teams currently under .500 on the year. This is a great opportunity for the Magic to surge ahead in the NBA Power Rankings.

16. Sacramento Kings (+1)

2023-24 Record: 31-23, Upcoming schedule: vs. SAS (2/22), at LAC (2/25)

The Kings picked up two victories prior to the All-Star break over the Nuggets. One of these wins was by 29 points, and the other was by four points. They also lost a game by 14 points to the Thunder and another game by five points to the Suns before the break. Once again, we are stuck looking at the Kings and scratching our heads since this team is a complete wild card.

On any given night, the Kings could beat the best team in the league. At the same time, they could also wind up losing to the worst team in the league. This is their fatal flaw.

Whether or not the Kings can live up to the hype of last year’s squad depends on Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter. These two must be involved more offensively for Sacramento to be legitimate threats in the Western Conference. Until that happens, they will continue to look and perform like an average team that finds itself in the middle of the NBA Power Rankings.

17. Los Angeles Lakers (+2)

 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after a dunk in the first half against the Detroit Pistons at Crypto.com Arena.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 Record: 30-26, Upcoming schedule: at GSW (2/22), vs. SAS (2/23), at PHX (2/25)

The Los Angeles Lakers currently own the ninth-best record in the Western Conference at 30-26. However, they won six out of seven before the All-Star break, with their only loss coming against the Nuggets. The Lakers’ most impressive win of the season may have been their final game before the break, as they took down the Utah Jazz 138-122 on the road without LeBron James.

Even though there is a lot of outside noise surrounding the Lakers and their future with James, this team is playing some of their best basketball of the season. Austin Reaves has quietly been heating up, and D’Angelo Russell continues to show out despite all the trade rumors he was involved in over the course of the last month.

When LeBron gets back out on the court, he is going to be giving it his all to help the Lakers make it back to the playoffs. After all, Los Angeles recently made the Western Conference Finals last year after everyone thought they were going to miss the playoffs completely. A very similar run could be in store for the Lakers this season.

18. Golden State Warriors (-)

2023-24 Record: 27-26, Upcoming schedule: vs. LAL (2/22), vs. CHA (2/23), vs. DEN (2/25)

Out of all the teams in the league, the Golden State Warriors remain the one team in the NBA Power Rankings that we can’t give up on yet. Stephen Curry is just too good to throw in the towel on the Warriors’ season, and they have actually been one of the best teams in the league since Draymond Green returned from his suspension. Over their last 10 games, the Warriors have gone 8-2, and their defense has drastically improved.

The thing about the Warriors is that they have changed for the better, given all the adversity they have faced. Jonathan Kuminga has emerged as a key starter for them, Andrew Wiggins has started to play more consistently, and Klay Thompson embraced his sixth man role off the bench in their final game before the All-Star break, pouring in a season-high 35 points against the Jazz.

Keep an eye on the Warriors, as they could crack the Top 15 of the NBA Power Rankings for the first time in a long time if they are able to defeat the Lakers and Nuggets coming out of the All-Star break.

19. Chicago Bulls (+1)

2023-24 Record: 26-29, Upcoming schedule: vs. BOS (2/22), at NOP (2/25)

The Chicago Bulls will likely be making the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference because of how bad the bottom half of the conference is. While the Bulls have played better as of late, they are still just a shell of the team their front office thought of them to be. That is why it is surprising that DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, and others remained on this roster past the trade deadline.

How the Bulls perform during the final 20-30 games of the season will tell the tale of what to expect from them in the offseason. Big decisions are to be made about LaVine’s future, as well as DeRozan’s, since he is about to enter unrestricted free agency with no extension looming on the horizon.

20. Atlanta Hawks (+2)

2023-24 Record: 24-31, Upcoming schedule: vs. TOR (2/23), vs. ORL (2/25)

Much like the Bulls, the Atlanta Hawks did not make any drastic changes to their roster involving Dejounte Murray at the trade deadline. Now, not only is Murray’s future in question, but Trae Young’s future has become arguably the biggest talking point amongst NBA media members.

The Hawks are not in a position to contend, nor are they viewed as a growing threat in the Eastern Conference. This is simply a decent team that can score in bunches and can’t defend anyone to save their lives. While they have some great wins this season, like their recent victory over the 76ers ahead of the All-Star break, they also have some very bad losses, like their most recent game against the Hornets, which they lost by 23 points on the road.

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Nothing will be easy for Atlanta moving forward, as their best chance of making the playoffs will be via the play-in tournament.

21. Utah Jazz (-5)

2023-24 Record: 25-30, Upcoming schedule: vs. CHA (2/22), vs. SAS (2/25)

A hot stretch at the start of January had everyone believing that the Jazz were turning things on at the right moment. Now, it is clear to see that Utah is still in the midst of its retooling phase, searching for viable talent alongside Lauri Markkanen.

The Jazz have lost 10 of their last 14 games, and they entered the All-Star break on a four-game losing streak. It has been over three weeks since this team has won a road game, and they are now 2.5 games behind the Warriors for the final spot in the play-in tournament. At this point, it is hard to believe that Utah can drastically change their immediate future, as this team looks like one that will be back in the draft lottery after missing the playoffs.

22. Houston Rockets (-1)

2023-24 Record: 24-30, Upcoming schedule: at NOP (2/22), vs. PHX (2/23), vs. OKC (2/25)

Speaking of slipping down in the standings, the Houston Rockets have lost five of their last six games. Although they have been really solid on defense at times this season, the Rockets’ point of attack on offense has been dreadful.

Jalen Green has had a very confusing season due to the Rockets not playing to his strengths, and it seems like Jabari Smith Jr.’s growth has been stunted due to Houston trying to fit him into a box on the wing. The Rockets are only going to grow and get better if they believe in the youth they have invested in.

Until Ime Udoka and his coaching staff do this, the Rockets will be a sub-.500 team that struggles to remain relevant pertaining to the playoff race.

23. Memphis Grizzlies (+4)

2023-24 Record: 20-36, Upcoming schedule: vs. LAC (2/23)

Give Taylor Jenkins and the Memphis Grizzlies a ton of credit for not giving up on the season at hand. Even with Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, and others on the injury report, and likely done for the season, the Grizzlies have remained a tough team to face night in and night out.

If you want an example of this, look at what they did to the Bucks ahead of the All-Star break. A lineup of Santi Aldama, Ziaire Williams, Jordan Goodwin, Trey Jemison, and Vince Williams Jr. were able to take down a championship-caliber group highlighted by All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard on national television.

This was extremely embarrassing for the Bucks, but it was arguably the highlight of the Grizzlies’ season to this point. Memphis, although banged up, has proven that they still deserve respect across the league.

24. Brooklyn Nets (-)

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn watches from the sideline at they take on the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 Record: 21-33, Upcoming schedule: at TOR (2/22), at MIN (2/24)

The Brooklyn Nets are in shambles. Not only are they on the verge of missing the postseason entirely, but they are now without a head coach after firing Jacque Vaughn on Monday, practically a whole year after they gave him a multi-year extension. Nothing has gone right for the Nets, which now leads to questions about Mikal Bridges’ future with the organization.

Their recent 50-point blowout to the Celtics basically sums up how this season has gone for the Nets. While they have talented players, the Nets are heading back to the drawing boards to try and come up with a path to victory.

25. Toronto Raptors (-2)

2023-24 Record: 19-36, Upcoming schedule: vs. BKN (2/22), at ATL (2/23)

Since the start of January, the Toronto Raptors have posted a 7-16 record. Defensively, the Raptors have been horrid, and they don’t have an “it” factor on offense to attempt to mask most of their problems.

There is nothing about the Raptors that you can look at right now and feel confident about the direction this franchise is trending in right now. Sure, Scottie Barnes was named an All-Star replacement this season, but he is not the type of player that is going to drastically impact his team’s chances of winning on a nightly basis, nor is he a No. 1 option like other stars in the Eastern Conference.

This upcoming offseason is going to be critical for the Raptors, as how they allocate funds and make trades will tell the tale for years to come.

26. San Antonio Spurs (-)

2023-24 Record: 11-44, Upcoming schedule: at SAC (2/22), at LAL (2/23), at UTA (2/25)

Victor Wembanyama continues to prove that he is going to be a perennial All-Star moving forward. Over his last 12 games, Wemby has recorded eight double-doubles, including a historic triple-double against the Raptors.

In this game, Wembanyama had 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, and five assists, becoming the first player in NBA history to record such numbers in under 30 minutes. The rookie also continues to lead the league in blocked shots.

The San Antonio Spurs continue to grow under Wemby’s leadership. In time, they will be a force in the Western Conference once again, especially if they can land a star like Trae Young in a trade this offseason.

27. Portland Trail Blazers (-2)

2023-24 Record: 15-39, Upcoming schedule: vs. DEN (2/23), vs. CHA (2/25)

After their shocking win over the Bucks a few weeks ago, the Portland Trail Blazers have since lost six straight games. Coming out of the All-Star break, it doesn’t appear as if matters are going to get any better.

Following a matchup with the Nuggets, the Blazers will play a red-hot Hornets team and then the Heat. The Trail Blazers then hit the road for three games, two of which will be against the Grizzlies.

Portland is rebuilding right now and will have decisions to make on their veterans in Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon this summer.

28. Charlotte Hornets (+1)

2023-24 Record: 13-41, Upcoming schedule: at UTA (2/22), at GSW (2/23), at POR (2/25)

The Hornets dealt PJ Washington away at the trade deadline, and all of a sudden, they have been rattling off win after win. Winning three straight ahead of the All-Star break, the Hornets own the second-longest win streak in the Eastern Conference right now, behind the Celtics’ six-game win streak.

Grant Williams has really played well since coming to Charlotte, and rookie Brandon Miller continues to grow into an all-around offensive weapon with LaMelo Ball out of the lineup. Miller has dropped at least 20 points in seven of his last 10 games, proving that he is going to be a difference-maker moving forward.

29. Detroit Pistons (-1)

2023-24 Record: 8-46, Upcoming schedule: at IND (2/22), vs. ORL (2/24)

The Detroit Pistons only have eight wins, the fewest out of any team in the league this season. However, they are by no means the worst team in the NBA Power Rankings because of the talent that exists on their roster.

Jalen Duren is a double-double machine, Cade Cunningham is a growing star, and Ausar Thompson is a two-way rookie that is going to be an impactful player for many years to come. Although their record says otherwise, the Pistons have been a pretty competitive team for most of the season. Losing by just six points to both the Clippers and Suns says a lot about the fight this team still has this season.

30. Washington Wizards (-)

2023-24 Record: 9-45, Upcoming schedule: at DEN (2/22), at OKC (2/23), vs. CLE (2/25)

The Wizards entered the All-Star break on an eight-game losing streak. Coming out of the break, the Wizards are set to face the Nuggets, Thunder, and Cavaliers, three teams that are among the best of the best in the NBA Power Rankings. After these three games, Washington then faces the Warriors, followed by a two-game trip to face off against the two Los Angeles teams.

When the Wizards will pick up their next victory is a major question mark right now, as they may not do so until March. Quite honestly, it is not hard to believe that the Pistons will pass the Wizards for total wins this season.

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