The 2024 trade deadline is over, which means contenders have cemented their rotations as they prepare for the stretch run of the regular season and playoffs.
The 2024 All-Star break is also fast approaching, as the four-day extravaganza will be held in Indiana this upcoming weekend.
Out East, the Boston Celtics continue to be the best team in the league as they’re the first to reach 40 wins. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the hottest teams in the league recently.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets are in a four-team logjam for the top of the West. The first-placed and fourth-placed teams are separated by just half a game.
Let’s look at this week’s edition of Thunder Wire’s NBA power rankings for the week of Feb. 5-11:
Washington Wizards (9-43)
Previous ranking: 29
The Wizards continue to reach new lows this season. This time, they’ve surpassed the Pistons for the worst spot of these power rankings. Washington has lost six in a row as it miraculously only trails the Pistons by one game in the reverse standings.
Detroit Pistons (8-44)
Previous ranking: 30
Despite a historic 28-game losing streak, the Pistons still aren’t far and away the worst team in the league. Recently, Detroit has played like a respectable foe, going 4-6 in its last 10 games. The Pistons hope to enter the draft lottery with top-three odds at worst.
San Antonio Spurs (10-43)
Previous ranking: 27
The Spurs own the second-longest active losing streak in the league at seven. San Antonio has been one of the worst teams this season. Despite this, Victor Wembanyama’s phenomenal season has given them plenty of primetime contests. Expect the 2023 No. 1 pick to be the favorite for Rookie of the Year.
Charlotte Hornets (11-41)
Previous ranking: 28
The Hornets had a busy trade deadline as they departed with often-injured Gordon Hayward. The veteran wing has been out since Christmas with a calf strain. Charlotte recently snapped a nine-game losing streak with a win over the Grizzlies. Brandon Miller has been a great scorer for them in recent months.
Memphis Grizzlies (18-35)
Previous ranking: 24
At this point, the Grizzlies are hoping to rack up as many losses as they can. They’ve waved the white flag on their season for a while now. That was further cemented this week when they dealt Xavier Tillman as a light seller. Memphis owns the longest active losing streak in the league at eight.
Portland Trail Blazers (15-37)
Previous ranking: 23
The Trail Blazers were surprisingly quiet at the trade deadline despite having veteran pieces they could sell off. Instead, Portland stood pat with one of the worst rosters in the league. They’ve lost four consecutive and injuries to Malcolm Brogdon and Shaedon Sharpe continue to worsen its losing season.
Toronto Raptors (19-34)
Previous ranking: 26
Even though it’s clear that the Raptors need to start over, a weird trade deadline where they added Kelly Olynyk continues to confuse most. The Raptors already did the hard work of tearing down the roots by trading away Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, but for some reason, they acquired the expiring bench big in a lost season.
Brooklyn Nets (21-31)
Previous ranking: 25
The Nets were seen as a popular team for the trade deadline, but they only made one minor move by trading Royce O’Neale. A questionable strategy considering they have plenty of veteran wings who’d help out contenders. Brooklyn kept most of its roster despite it being a losing season.
Houston Rockets (23-29)
Previous ranking: 19
The Rockets have experienced a slide recently, losing four consecutive. They lost veteran guard Fred VanVleet to a thigh injury that’ll keep him out of action for a while. It’s been a rough few weeks for Houston as it hopes to stay within play-in tournament range.
Atlanta Hawks (24-29)
Previous ranking: 20
The Hawks also were seen as a popular team heading into the trade deadline, but they ended up staying quiet and not moving any of their major names. A surprising decision considering Dejounte Murray was talked about for weeks as a trade candidate. Atlanta continues to stay around mediocrity. At least Trae Youn was named as an All-Star, albeit an injury replacement.
Chicago Bulls (25-28)
Previous ranking: 22
The Bulls didn’t make any major moves despite rostering players who could help out contenders. Instead, Chicago will ride it out with its core minus Zach LaVine as it hopes to make the playoffs. At least Coby White has looked awesome for the Bulls as a Most Improved Player candidate.
Utah Jazz (26-27)
Previous ranking: 18
It was a productive deadline for the Jazz, who shipped out Olynyk and Simone Fontecchio for draft picks. Lauri Markannen could return a hefty haul, but it seems like Utah would rather keep its franchise wing. The Jazz picked up a pair of impressive wins over the Bucks and Thunder this past week.
Los Angeles Lakers (28-26)
Previous ranking: 17
The Lakers didn’t make a trade, but they added to their roster when they signed Spencer Dinwiddie, who was bought out by the Raptors. Rob Pelinka cited a lack of right moves presented during the deadline. They’ve won four of their last five contests and unveiled a Kobe Bryant statue this past week.
Miami Heat (28-25)
Previous ranking: 16
The Heat have struggled recently, going 4-6 in their last 10 contests. They didn’t make any last-second moves during the trade deadline, but the addition of Terry Rozier was their big in-season move. Jimmy Butler will be away from the team for an unknown amount of time as he deals with a personal matter. Miami will need to survive in his absence.
Golden State Warriors (25-25)
Previous ranking: 21
After being below .500 for most of the season, the Warriors are back at the mark thanks to a four-game winning streak and winning seven of their last 10 contests. Steph Curry continues to add chapters to his monster season with a 42-point outing in a win over the Pacers and hitting a game-winning 3-pointer against the Suns.
Philadelphia 76ers (31-21)
Previous ranking: 10
The Sixers are living their worst nightmare. It sounds like Joel Embiid will miss months from knee surgery as they hope he returns for a playoff run. But Philly, who’s gone 2-8 in its last 10 contests, will need to make the playoffs first for that to happen.
Sacramento Kings (30-22)
Previous ranking: 11
The Kings have struggled recently, including losing three of their last four contests. This featured an awful loss to the lowly Pistons. Sacramento bounced back with a blowout win over the Nuggets, but it’s been an up-and-down season.
Orlando Magic (29-24)
Previous ranking: 13
The Magic have won five of their last six games during a soft stretch of their schedule. Orlando took advantage of it and padded some wins to its record. Franz Wagner scored 36 points in an overtime win over the Bulls on Saturday.
Indiana Pacers (30-24)
Previous ranking: 14
The Pacers have won three of their last four games, including an impressive win over the Knicks. Tyrese Haliburton has knocked off any rust from the hamstring injury he suffered last month. The All-Star starter will have a busy week when Indiana hosts the weekend festivities.
New Orleans Pelicans (31-22)
Previous ranking: 12
The Pelicans have won five of their last six contests, including a win over the red-hot Clippers. New Orleans has been one of the best teams this season as Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson have stayed relatively healthy for most of the season.
Phoenix Suns (31-22)
Previous ranking: 9
The Suns have won three of their last four contests. This features quality wins over the Bucks and Jazz. Phoenix suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Warriors that included Draymond Green and Jusuf Nurkic going at it in a kerfuffle.
Dallas Mavericks (30-23)
Previous ranking: 15
It was a productive week for the Mavericks. On the court, they collected a pair of nice wins over the Knicks and Thunder. Off the court, they acquired P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford in trades to boost their depth. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving continue to be one of the best duos in the league.
Milwaukee Bucks (34-19)
Previous ranking: 8
Despite Doc Rivers’ arrival, the Bucks have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games. Milwaukee is still feeling out about its new head coach after the shocking move to dismiss Adrian Griffin. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard continue to play like one of the best duos in the league.
New York Knicks (33-20)
Previous ranking: 7
After a nine-game winning streak, the Knicks have lost three of their last four contests. A tough week was made even worse when it was announced OG Anunoby underwent elbow surgery. He’ll be evaluated in a few weeks. Perhaps this explains the acquisitions of Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks to bolster New York’s depth in preparation for a playoff run.
Minnesota Timberwolves (36-16)
Previous ranking: 4
After being in first place for most of the season, the Timberwolves are starting to feel some breathing down their necks by other teams. Minnesota’s gone a modest 6-4 in its last 10 contests, including an ugly loss to the Bulls this past week. It added Monte Morris during the trade deadline as guard depth.
Oklahoma City Thunder (36-17)
Previous ranking: 2
The Thunder snapped a two-game winning streak with a win over the Kings on Sunday. OKC is still in the fight for the first seed as the top of the Western Conference standings is tight. They also added Gordon Hayward from the trade deadline, a veteran wing who could provide points.
Denver Nuggets (36-17)
Previous ranking: 5
The Nuggets continue to stack up wins as they’ve won three of their last four contests. Denver continues to have the Lakers’ number as it secured another win over them this past week. The reigning NBA champions are still within reach for the first seed.
LA Clippers (35-16)
Previous ranking: 3
The Clippers have won their way to being within reach of the first seed. They won eight of their last 10 contests as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have stayed relatively healthy this season. The former has even received some MVP buzz for LA’s success.
Cleveland Cavaliers (35-16)
Previous ranking: 6
The Cavaliers have been the hottest team in the league for over a month now and Donovan Mitchell has played like an MVP candidate. Cleveland has the longest active winning streak in the league at nine. The Cavaliers are a true contender this season.
Boston Celtics (41-12)
Previous ranking: 1
The one consistent from this season has been the Celtics. They’ve been the best team in the league for the entire season and are the first team to reach 40 wins. Boston has won eight of its last 10 contests, including an active four-game winning streak. Expect the Celtics to enter the playoffs as title favorites.