NBA Power Rankings: February


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Luke Smith, Sports Writer

January was a big month in the NBA in terms of trades. First was the mega deal that sent superstar guard James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets for guard Caris LeVert and forward Rodions Kurucs, as well as three first-round draft picks (2022,2024,2026) and four first-round pick swaps (2021,2023,2025,2027) to the Houston Rockets. The Nets also sent center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 2024 second-round pick to finalize the trade. A few days later, the Rockets acquired all-star guard Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers for Caris LeVert and two second-round picks. The NBA trade deadline is March 25th, so it’s definitely possible that there will be more big trades. These trades have been exciting to follow as they helped to shape the current NBA power rankings.



PPG=points per game

RPG=rebounds per game

APG=assists per game

  • Los Angeles Clippers 

The superstar forward duo of Kawhi Leonard (26 PPG, 5 RPG, 5 APG) and Paul George (23.6 PPG, 6 RPG, 5 APG) has been rolling as the Clippers have won 10 of their last 12 games. The Clippers have proven to be a top contender in the West against the Los Angeles Lakers.


  • Los Angeles Lakers

After losing two straight games for the first time in late January, the Lakers bounced back with a big win against the Boston Celtics. Much like the Clippers, the superstar forward duo of Lebron James (25 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 7.5 APG) and Anthony Davis (22 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3 APG) has many considering the Lakers the best team in the league. 


  • Philadelphia 76ers

The MVP-caliber performance of superstar center Joel Embiid (28 PPG, 11 RPG, 3 APG) has propelled the Sixers to the top of the Eastern Conference. With other star players such as point guard Ben Simmons (13 PPG, 8 RPG, 8 APG) and small forward Tobias Harris (20 PPG, 7 RPG, 2.7 APG) filling out the roster, the Sixers have a very good lineup.


  • Utah Jazz

The Jazz has one of the best records in the league and is currently one of the top teams in the Western Conference. However, people don’t talk about them as much because they don’t have superstar players like the Lakers, Clippers, and Sixers. Still, the Jazz has won 11 of their last 12 games. With star center Rudy Gobert (13.5 PPG, 14 RPG, 1.4 APG and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell (23 PPG, 4 RPG, 5 APG), along with underrated contributors such as point guard Mike Conley (16.6 PPG, 4 RPG, 6 APG) and forward Bojan Bogdonavich (14.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2 APG), the Jazz have a solid all-around lineup and can compete with any team.

  • Denver Nuggets

After a slow start to the season, the Nuggets have gained momentum and are gaining attention across the league, winning 9 of their last 12 games. Superstar center Nikola Jokic (27 PPG, 12 RPG, 8.6 APG) is the key part of this team as he mounts an MVP campaign. Star guard Jamal Murray (19 PPG, 4 RPG, 4 APG) also plays an important role on this team as the Nuggets contend in the Western Conference. 


  • Brooklyn Nets

As expected, the Nets have done well since trading for superstar guard James Harden(24 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 11 APG) on January 13th, winning 7 of their last 10 games. However, they’ve had some suspect losses since the trade, losing both games in a two game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers and losing a meltdown game against the Washington Wizards in which they blew a five point lead with ten seconds left. Since the Harden trade, the Nets have had the best offense and worst defense in the league. Either way, a team with three superstars (Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kevin Durant) should be considered a championship contender.


  • Milwaukee Bucks

Last season, the Bucks were the top seed in the East. This season, they have more competition for the top spot in the conference with the Sixers, Nets, and Celtics in contention. Superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (27 PPG, 11 RPG, 6 APG) is the biggest reason the Bucks are in contention. The Greek Freak will go for his third consecutive MVP award, with only three players in NBA history (Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird) having accomplished this.


  • Boston Celtics

The Celtics have been fairly lackluster recently, losing six of their last nine games. However, it’s hard to overlook their talented roster led by star forward Jayson Tatum (27 PPG, 7 RPG, 4 APG) and Jaylen Brown (26 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.6 APG). Point guard Kemba Walker has been decent since his return from injury (15 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4 APG), but he should be able to turn his performance up a notch. 


  • Indiana Pacers

Much like the Jazz, the Pacers are a team most people don’t typically talk about that deserve more recognition. Star center Myles Turner is having an incredible defensive season \, averaging 14 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 4 blocks per game. Power forward Domantas Sabonis (21.6 PPG, 12 RPG, 5.7 APG) is having a breakout season. Underrated guard Malcolm Brogdon (22 PPG, 4 RPG, 7 APG) has also been impressive this season. This team may lack all-star talent but they shouldn’t be overlooked.


  • Phoenix Suns

The Suns have a good combination of young, rising stars with guard Devin Booker (23 PPG, 3 RPG, 4 APG) and center Deandre Ayton (14 PPG, 13 RPG). Veteran point guard Chris Paul (16 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.5 APG) has picked up his performance recently. The Suns are by no means a top tier team, but they’re definitely improving from the past few years.