The infamous power rankings are here! Yes, the one place where records are not the hierarchy in order. Those rankings that make people go crazy, or agree, daily.
There is not an exact science to plan Power Rankings. That’s why it is a controversial method.
If you want to make your own Power Rankings, it means two things. One, you want the smoke. Second, you need to come up with some criteria to make your PRs. That’s where we come in.
We are giving you some tips to create your power rankings for the 2021 NBA season. Then, we will give you our own, because we want the smoke.
Let’s take a look at some criteria you can use!
One of the most common tips you’ll find is to use the numeric scale. It’s from 1 to 10, where you rank the teams, using 10 as the best grade possible, and 1 as the lowest qualification.
Let’s take a look at the following example: The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending NBA champions. Their big three of PF Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF Khris Middleton, and PG Jrue Holiday remain in the team.
They also are bringing back a lot of rotation players, and HC Mike Budenholzer. Considering all this, you rate them at an 8. On the other hand, the Houston Rockets were the worst record in the league and improved little. Therefore, you give them a 2.
Of course, bringing this strategy alone is not good, it is a very broad thing to judge a franchise as a whole. Still, it’s a good start.
Let’s take our grading system to a deeper extension. You are going to apply the 1-10 in the three most important aspects of a team. The defense, the offense, and the coaching.
In basketball, every area is important. It’s a fast-paced sport, with back-and-forth action, and only five players per team on the court.
Let’s use the Brooklyn Nets as an example. When you have a big three of PG Kyrie Irving, SG James Harden, and SF Kevin Durant, you might be staring at the best offensive team in history. Their offense is a 10.
Defensively, they are not as powerful. Say you give them a 4. Their coach is Steve Nash, who will be in his second season in the NBA. Nash didn’t prove to be great, nor to be bad, so he gets a 5.
The Magic, for instance, is weird. Offensively, they should be at 5 tops. They have some talent but scheme wise and as a whole, they leave doubts in their production.
Their defense is bad. They allow points like crazy. They have a 2 in this regard. Their HC is a debutant in Jamahl Mosley, who has been a longtime assistant in the NBA. A complete unknown coaching is a 3.
To calculate the power rankings in this model, add the three areas qualified—or more if you did an even deeper analysis. Do it with both teams.
For instance, Nets had a 10, 4, and 5. Add it up and it’s a 19. Orlando has 5, 2, and 3, which equals a sum of 8.
We can get the advantage one team has over the other by subtracting the team with the lower grades from the team with the higher total.
In this case, Brooklyn is favored by 11 points according to the power rankings. You can navigate through sportsbooks to find the best lines available.
We use the formula mentioned above to come to terms with our power rankings. But that’s not the only thing we do. We put some other things into consideration and perspective.
We strongly advise you to do some fine-tuning in your evaluations. Every person has his own focal points, its subjective key spots.
Last but not least, remember power rankings have to be adjusted constantly. Each team in the NBA plays an average of 3.5 games a week. Update them weekly to get the best out of it.
Brooklyn Nets – The Nets are the best team in basketball. Let’s assume they stay healthy. How do you stop them? PG Kyrie Irving, SG James Harden, and SF Kevin Durant might well be the best offensive team of all time. They average a combined 75 points per game.
The fact that Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge will serve as the frontcourt is the icing on the cake. The bench has some ballers as well.
SG Joe Harris will get the three points along with newly signed PG Patty Mills.
Meanwhile, PF Paul Millsap takes care of the interior. It’s championship or bust for Brooklyn.
Los Angeles Lakers – If we were back a few years, this team would be unfair. The starting five of PG Russell Westbrook, SG Malik Monk, SF LeBron James, PF Anthony Davis, and C DeAndre Jordan is top-tier still.
Add PG Rajon Rondo, SF Carmelo Anthony, and C Dwight Howard coming from the bench and my God, we have an old team. Also, an elite one, though.
Even if many of the players are past their prime, they are still top players in the league. The question is whether they can stay healthy or avoid fatigue, and how they will manage those situations.
Utah Jazz – The best record in the NBA last season and eager to take that into championship status. One of the most complete and talented rosters in the league is ready to make yet another push for a ring.
They have it all. PG Mike Conley is a savvy veteran looking to pass the ball and score as a secondary option. That’s because when you have elite SG Donovan Mitchell, you want him to take care of getting the buckets.
Mitchell is entering his prime, and he is a force to be reckoned with. His ability to dribble, score from anywhere and create his own shots is absolutely wonderful.
Combine that with the perimeter threats of forwards Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles. As said, this team has it all. We can’t forget about the fortress that is C Rudy Gobert.
A 3x defensive player of the year who is 7’1’’, and can stop anyone from attacking the rim.
Add the sixth man of the year in PG Jordan Clarkson, and defenders like F Rudy Gay and Royce O’Neale make it a great all-around rotation.
Milwaukee Bucks – The defending champs rank fourth in our power rankings and the reason for it is simple. They earned their chip, but luck was on their side.
The Nets suffered horrible injuries, their path to the chip was relatively easy, and they had to overcome a really young Phoenix Suns in the finals.
This is not a knock on the Bucks, you take what you get. But they are not the best team in the league. Their trio of PG Jrue Holiday, SF Khris Middleton, and PF Giannis Antetokounmpo is elite. Having said so, their rotation is not as strong as the teams above them.
Golden State Warriors – Remember what happened the last time PG Steph Curry, SG Klay Thompson, and PF Draymond Green were together on the court?
Yes, they were at the NBA Finals. When the Splash Bros. are in, they can outscore pretty much any team in the league.
Add a lockdown defender like Green and an excellent coach like Steve Kerr, and you know they are a contender.
Los Angeles Clippers – The infamous load management is their main issue. But this is a championship team. A pitbull at PG came into the team in the form of Eric Bledsoe. He will join the double-trouble of the Clippers, forwards Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
George is fresh off a 23.3 ppg season, with 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Kawhi Leonard scored 24.8 ppg, 6.5 RPG, 5.2 APG, and 1.6 steals per outing.
Having one of—if not—the best head coach in the league is also a big part of the Clippers. Ty Lue knows what to do come playoffs season. The depth is there, the team is there, it’s a great team all around.
Phoenix Suns – The Suns had a trip to the NBA Finals last season and had a 2-0 advantage. The team is pretty much the same for this season.
PG Chris Paul is back at the desert, joining forces in the backfield with SG Devin Booker. These two can take a lot of teams apart.
Add the progression of C DeAndre Ayton and the Suns are a true force. They have savvy veterans like F Jae Crowder, C JaVale McGee, and G Elfrid Payton.
These blend with prospects like G Cameron Payne and G Cameron Johnson. Solid team.
Denver Nuggets – One of the best rosters in the NBA is coming back for another shot at glory. They have the NBA MVP in their squad, as Serbian C Nikola Jokic is the core of the team. The return of PG Jamal Murray boosts this team to new heights.
Miami Heat – This is a stacked starting five, guys. They brought 6x All-Star PG Kyle Lowry to the team. This is a massive addition. Great distributor and an amazing perimeter defender, Lowry is tailor-made for the Heat.
G Victor Oladipo will be healthy and he is a 2x All-Star that can score at will and defend at a high level. SF Jimmy Butler is a 5x All-Star in his prime, who can do both areas of the game at a top-tier rhythm.
The PF is their weak spot, but at C they have 1x All-Star Bam Adebayo. Four All-Stars in their starting five. It’s ludicrous.
Philadelphia 76ers – PG Ben Simmons is looking for a way out in a hostile way, stating he won’t play again for the team. Their stock is instantly diminished. They need to get some stars out of a trade for the Aussie, and then we can revise.
As for now, it will be C Joel Embiid, the one with the task to put this team over the hump. The question is: can the Process continue, or will it implode?
Dallas Mavericks – When you have a player like NBA MVP candidate PG Lula Doncic, it is hard to overlook you. New Head Coach Jason Kidd has the task to get Doncic to an even higher level and get the Mavs to new heights with it. Also, if PF Kristaps Porzingis manages to stay healthy, there is a solid no.2 option for Dallas.
Atlanta Hawks – PG Trae Young is on the verge of becoming a superstar. He is the heart and soul of this team. He will shine, shoot the lights out of the building, dribble, and assist the other great shooters the Hawks have.
Playoff team, but not enough to come out of the east.
Boston Celtics – Celtics’ fans shouldn’t be thrilled after this offseason. They lost PG Kemba Walker and gained PG Dennis Schroder, which is a downgrade, but not a major one.
The Celtics will pose somewhat of a threat as long as SG Jaylen Brown and SF Jayson Tatum are healthy. Those two can give you 50 a night combined, but if one is missing, well it’s not good.
New York Knicks – They acquired Kemba to join PF Julius Randle, PG Derrick Rose, and SG Evan Fournier. Pretty good lineup to showcase their talents at MSG.
Their defense is top-notch, and their coach Tim Thibodeau is a very disciplined one.
Portland Trail Blazers – One of the best backcourts in the league with PG Damian Lillard and SG CJ McCollum will get the Blazers to the postseason once again.
Chicago Bulls – The new starter combo of PG Lonzo Ball, SG Zach LaVine, SF DeMar DeRozan, and C Nikola Vucevic is one to watch in the Eastern Conference. They can be a good team to watch, maybe even compete.
Memphis Grizzlies – The young duo of PG Ja Morant and PF Jaren Jackson Jr. will bring a lot of pace to the court. They also got rebound monster in C Steven Adams. They are aiming for the postseason and can steal a game here and there.
Indiana Pacers – Thin roster, but solid starting five capable of fighting for the playoffs in the east. The duo of PG Malcolm Brogdon and PF Domantas Sabonis is effective, and that’s what they’ll rely on while SG Caris LeVert gets his scoring going.
New Orleans Pelicans – The Pels have a lot of changes in their roster, which can lead to a chemistry-forming period. Nevertheless, the dynamic duo of PF Zion Williamson and SF Brandon Ingram is still one to watch, as they will continue their progression.
Washington Wizards – A new, revamped team that still has all-world SG Bradley Beal and plays in the east. The Wizards can be an underdog of sorts. They have a solid team now, not a one-man show.
Minnesota Timberwolves – The Wolves may surprise a few people if their two stars remain healthy. C Karl-Anthony Towns and PG D’Angelo Russell are former All-Stars and have pieces to feed like second-year SG Anthony Edwards.
Charlotte Hornets – They have PG LaMelo Ball and a good scorer in SF Gordon Hayward. Their role players are nice and young, but the Hornets are still a few years away from getting relevant.
Sacramento Kings – Fast basketball, decent backcourt, and lots to learn still. That’s the Kings. Sometimes, they’ll be fun to watch, others it will be frustrating.
Toronto Raptors – SG Fred VanVleet and PF Pascal Siakam will have to deal with not much to lean on than each other. The Raptors are a very young side who are miles away from competing.
San Antonio Spurs – If this team didn’t have Gregg Popovich as head coach, they’ll be nearing the last place in the power rankings.
Orlando Magic – They have a couple of young talents like G Cole Anthony and C Mo Bamba. They need to develop, but they won’t get near an over .500 season.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Filled with decent big men, and an undersized but fast backcourt, it’s time for the Cavs to become more mature. They are a couple of years away from having a shot at the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Rebuilding team, they’re not in the “winning games” business for now. The less, the merrier.
Houston Rockets – Second overall pick Jalen Green is a guard with lots of potential. In the future, he can make a productive partnership with PF Christian Wood. Not in 2021, though.
Detroit Pistons – Two to three players to watch in a 16-man roster. Not good. However, having the no.1 overall pick, G/F Cade Cunningham will bring some eyes to them.