NBA Power Rankings: The Hornets Are Buzzing

Charlotte's four-game winning streak has them rising in our rankings. Which other teams saw movement this week?

With a couple of weeks of the 2020-21 NBA regular season in the books, it's time to take a look at numberFire's power rankings and see which teams saw the most movement since the last week.

Teams will be ranked in terms of nERD, which is our efficiency metric based on in-game data. These ratings allow us to understand which teams and players are performing best. nERD is indicative of a team's expected winning percentage, so an average team will have a nERD score of 50.0.

Here's a look at how each team stacks up.

The Bottom 10

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
30Minnesota Timberwolves3-725.329-1
T28Chicago Bulls4-727.630+2
T28Detroit Pistons2-827.6280
27Oklahoma City Thunder5-531.526-1
26New York Knicks5-635.825-1
25Golden States Warriors6-537.727+2
24Sacramento Kings5-638.717-7
23Memphis Grizzlies4-639.222-1
22Washington Wizards3-842.123+1
21Cleveland Cavaliers5-742.718-3

- The Minnesota Timberwolves have lost seven of their last eight games and currently possess a net rating that's 2.7 points worse than any other team in the league. The Wolves are bottom-six in both offensive and defensive rating, so their struggles extend to both ends of the court.

- Winners of four of their last six, the Golden State Warriors are certainly upping their game. During that stretch, Golden State has defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, and Toronto Raptors.

- Right behind the Wolves in net rating are the Sacramento Kings. To date, Sacramento is dead last in defensive rating. Over their last five, the Kings are allowing an average of 130.4 points. Yikes. That definitely explains their seven-spot drop.

- In a day in age where 21 teams are averaging at least 110 points per game, the Cleveland Cavaliers have not been part of the scoring revolution. The Cavs have failed to record 100 in any of their last nine games, which is almost unheard of these days. Their inability to score has led to Cleveland losing five of their last six.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
T19Charlotte Hornets6-543.024+5
T19San Antonio Spurs6-543.0T190
18Miami Heat4-543.721+3
17Orlando Magic6-544.812-5
16Toronto Raptors2-845.415-1
15Portland Trail Blazers6-448.4T19+4
14Houston Rockets3-650.016+2
13Los Angeles Clippers7-451.910-3
12New Orleans Pelicans4-552.111-1
11Denver Nuggets5-653.613+2

- The Charlotte Hornets are on a four-game win streak and are quietly 14th in the league with a net rating of 0.9. Charlotte is also first in the league in assist percentage -- they're playing like a cohesive unit. That's enough to give them a five-spot bump in our rankings.

- After their hot start, the Orlando Magic continue to plummet back down to earth. Orlando lost three in a row this week by an average of 26 points. Not great, Bob!

- On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland started out a bit slow, but they've now been victorious in each of their last three matchups.

- The Houston Rockets moved up two spots, but I'm writing this as the news of a James Harden trade to the Brooklyn Nets is unfolding. Houston will reportedly be adding Victor Oladipo in the blockbuster deal, so they should be able to stay afloat in the Western Conference.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
T9Boston Celtics7-354.014+5
T9Utah Jazz7-454.090
T7Atlanta Hawks5-559.35-3
T7Phoenix Suns7-459.370
6Indiana Pacers7-460.360
5Philadelphia 76ers8-460.84-1
4Dallas Mavericks5-461.88+4
3Brooklyn Nets6-666.430
2Los Angeles Lakers9-372.020
1Milwaukee Bucks7-479.730

- The Boston Celtics had won four in a row prior to their games being postponed due to COVID -- that's enough to get them into the top tier of our rankings.

- Though they still possess the league's fifth-best net rating, the Atlanta Hawks have lost four of their last five. The silver lining of those losses is that none of them came by double-digits.

- The Indiana Pacers flipped Oladipo for Caris LeVert in the Harden deal, and we'll see in the near future how what kind of impact that will have. As of this writing, Indiana has the fourth-best net rating in the league.

- Since starting 0-2, the Dallas Mavericks have beaten the Clippers, Heat, Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and Magic -- not too shabby. Dallas will be getting Kristaps Porzingis back tonight, so things should only look up from here.

- Now, onto the Brooklyn Nets, who just mortgaged their entire future for James Harden. Brooklyn will be losing LeVert and Jarrett Allen in the deal, which leaves them with only DeAndre Jordan at center -- that could definitely be an area of concern. Neither Harden, Kyrie Irving, or Kevin Durant are known to be among the easiest superstars to work with, so let's get our popcorn ready and enjoy the show!