NBA Power Rankings: Are the Jazz Elite?

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 Timberwolves3-1026.6300
29Detroit Pistons3-1127.6T28-1
28Sacramento Kings5-1030.324-4
27Oklahoma City Thunder6-730.8270
26Chicago Bulls6-833.0T28+2
25Orlando Magic7-834.517-8
24Cleveland Cavaliers7-738.521-3
23New York Knicks7-838.726+3
22Golden State Warriors8-640.025+3
21Miami Heat5-740.418-3

- The Sacramento Kings continue to free-fall down our rankings, as they've now dropped 9 of their last 11 -- including five losses by at least 19 points. At -9.5, the Kings now possess the worst net rating in the league.

- Winners of consecutive games over the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets, the Chicago Bulls are moving up. While Chicago did lose four in a row prior to that, none of those came by more than four points.

- A week-high eight-spot drop has the Orlando Magic in the bottom tier of our rankings. Orlando has lost six of their last seven matchups by an average of 19.8 points. Yikes. After a hot start, the Magic now have the worst net rating in the Eastern Conference.

- The New York Knicks are an enigma this season. They've had convincing and impressive wins over the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Utah Jazz, and Boston Celtics, but they also have four losses by more than 15 points. To date, New York has the fifth-best defensive rating in the Association.

The Middle of the Pack

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
20Houston Rockets4-945.114-6
19Charlotte Hornets6-846.0T190
18Memphis Grizzlies7-646.223+5
17Washington Wizards3-846.322+5
16New Orleans Pelicans5-846.412-4
15Portland Trail Blazers8-648.2150
14Toronto Raptors5-948.416+2
13San Antonio Spurs8-750.0T19+6
12Boston Celtics8-553.6T9-3
11Atlanta Hawks7-753.7T7-4

- The Houston Rockets have lost seven of their last nine, including three of four since they traded James Harden. Without Harden, Houston's 24th-ranked offense is probably going to get worse before it gets better.

- Whenever they play next, the Memphis Grizzlies will tip-off having won five in a row. Having Ja Morant back in the fold certainly doesn't hurt.

- The New Orleans Pelicans have been victorious just once in their last seven contests, and they're currently below league-average in both offensive and defensive rating.

- After a 2-8 start, the Toronto Raptors have won three of their last four. Even Toronto's losses seemed a bit deceiving, as only two of them came by double-digits. Despite being 13th in the East, the Raptors possess the league's 13th-best net rating.

The Best of the Best

RankingTeamRecordnERDLast RankingPlus/Minus
10Phoenix Suns8-555.2T7-3
9Denver Nuggets7-756.311+2
8Indiana Pacers8-656.56-2
7Philadelphia 76ers10-557.85-2
6Dallas Mavericks7-759.04-2
5Los Angeles Clippers11-463.313+8
4Utah Jazz10-463.5T9+5
3Brooklyn Nets9-764.630
2Los Angeles Lakers11-477.020
1Milwaukee Bucks9-577.610

- Ranking fifth in net rating, the Denver Nuggets have won six of their last nine after a 1-4 start. Denver is being led by Nikola Jokic's torrid pace, as the Serbian is averaging 25.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 10.0 assists while shooting 57.3% from the field.

- After starting 7-1, the Philadelphia 76ers have cooled off a bit recently, going 3-4 over their last seven outings. Nevertheless, Philly ranks seventh in net rating and third in defensive rating.

- Finally showing some sustained consistency, the Los Angeles Clippers are currently riding a five-game win streak. On the season, the Clips rank third in net rating and second in offensive efficiency.

- The only team that can one-up the Clippers' five-game win streak is the Utah Jazz, who have won each of their last six. Utah currently ranks fourth in net rating, and their win streak started with a 13-point win over the team in our top spot -- the Bucks.