Another week of NBA action is done, which means another edition of Bleacher Report's power rankings are here.
As usual, this week's rankings features plenty of movement, but at least one constant is developing, too.
With the exception of a few hiccups on the schedule (including one this week), the Boston Celtics look like a juggernaut.
Based on the same criteria we use every week—championship chances, recent performance, plenty of numbers and plenty of subjectivity—they certainly have a claim to the top spot.
But who will threaten them? And who might be moving closer or further from the current kings of the hill?
Scroll below to find out.
30. Detroit Pistons (2-17)
Previous Rank: 28
Net Rating: -8.7
The Detroit Pistons' current losing streak is borderline disastrous. After starting the season 2-1, they've now dropped 16 straight.
There are only 31 teams in NBA history that put together longer losing streaks.
And while Cade Cunningham had a solid shooting night in Thursday's loss to the New York Knicks (he went 12-of-20), he also turned the ball over seven times. And he now leads the NBA in turnovers per game at 4.5.
The 2021 No. 1 overall pick is in a tough situation, but at a certain point, a bona fide star has to make enough of a difference in one of these games to halt a historic skid like this.
29. San Antonio Spurs (3-15)
Previous Rank: 30
Net Rating: -12.0
The losses keep piling up for the San Antonio Spurs, but that doesn't mean there haven't been reasons for hope during Victor Wembanyama's rookie season.
For one thing, Wembanyama himself has been a bit more selective (and by extension, efficient) of late.
In his last four games, he's averaged 21.8 points on 48.4 percent shooting. But perhaps more importantly, his versatility has taken off. In the same stretch, he's posting 11.8 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals. That's ridiculous.
For another, Jeremy Sochan of the "Jeremy Sochan can be a point guard" experiment had 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Thursday's loss.
He also had five turnovers and was a minus-four for the game (worst among starters). When he's on the floor, Wembanyama's individual numbers are worse. But the loss to the Hawks at least offered a glimpse of Sochan's upside as a creator.
28. Washington Wizards (3-15)
Previous Rank: 29
Net Rating: -7.9
The Washington Wizards won a game over the reeling Detroit Pistons this week, but that hardly makes the outlook on this campaign much brighter.
After getting blown out by the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, the Wizards have now lost 10 of their last 11 games. With the exception of Kyle Kuzma, their veterans aren't doing much to make them competitive.
Tyus Jones, Corey Kispert and Jordan Poole have combined for minus-0.7 estimated wins (the cumulative version of Dunks and Threes' estimated plus-minus, which is one of the most trusted catch-all metrics in NBA front offices).
27. Portland Trail Blazers (6-12)
Previous Rank: 27
Net Rating: -6.9
It still seems all but certain that the Portland Trail Blazers will wind up in the lottery, but they just wrapped up a 2-1 week that included road wins over the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers and a competitive loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
And even if stretches like these are short-lived, they could pay dividends for the Blazers between now and February's trade deadline.
Surely, a couple months from now, teams will be willing to part with assets for a guard like Malcolm Brogdon (17.7 points and 6.4 assists) or a multipositional forward such as Jerami Grant (22.8 points and 2.7 threes, with a 43.0 three-point percentage).
26. Charlotte Hornets (6-11)
Previous Rank: 24
Net Rating: -8.4
Like the Trail Blazers, the Charlotte Hornets have at least a couple veterans who are potentially playing for their trade value right now.
And with LaMelo Ball newly out thanks to an ankle injury, those veterans are getting more of an opportunity to showcase their abilities.
In Thursday's one-point road win over the Brooklyn Nets, Terry Rozier went off for 37 points and 13 assists in 40 minutes. Gordon Hayward added 22 points, six boards and six assists.
Some contender in need of a heat-check guard off the bench or a forward who can guard 3s and 4s and create a bit for others could come calling as trade restrictions on players signed this summer start to lift on December 15.
25. Utah Jazz (6-13)
Previous Rank: 25
Net Rating: -6.8
For most of the last two seasons, the Utah Jazz have rarely felt like a real threat to make the playoffs or even the play-in tournament. But they were at least competitive, thanks in large part to Lauri Markkanen's transformation into one of the best offensive players in the league.
Well, he's now missed four straight games with a hamstring injury, and the extra offensive responsibility for rookie Keyonte George is wreaking havoc on his numbers.
After going 4-of-19 from the field in Thursday's loss, the 20-year-old is now averaging 9.9 points and shooting 34.1 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from three.
Eventually, working through these early-career bumps and bruises may prove useful to George's development. And Utah fans may need to remind themselves of that from time to time.
In the middle of stretches like this, though, it can be tough to watch.
24. Memphis Grizzlies (4-13)
Previous Rank: 26
Net Rating: -7.1
Every win during Ja Morant's suspension has to feel increasingly precious for the Memphis Grizzlies and their fans. They got one on the strength of their defense on Wednesday.
It was against another struggling team without its leading scorer in the Utah Jazz, but the 105-91 victory shouldn't feel any less sweet. Memphis has to scratch and claw its way through eight more contests without Ja, and every percentage point earned in the standings helps.
Right now, despite what's often felt like a disastrous start, the Grizzlies are only four games back of 10th place in the West and a shot at the play-in tournament.
23. Chicago Bulls (6-14)
Previous Rank: 23
Net Rating: -6.4
It's been a nightmarish campaign for the Chicago Bulls and their fans, but they got a reprieve on Thursday when they beat the Milwaukee Bucks without DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.
Or perhaps that's part of why the Bulls emerged victorious for just the second time in their last 10 games.
Led by Alex Caruso (at least on the defensive end), Chicago played with a level of energy and intensity that hasn't shown up much this season. And though he was just 4-of-9 from the field with seven turnovers, his offense proved critical too.
If the Bulls eventually start a full-scale rebuild and make him, LaVine, DeRozan and Nikola Vučević available, given his willingness to play a role and smaller contract, Caruso could prove to be the most valuable on the open trade market.
22. Toronto Raptors (9-10)
Previous Rank: 21
Net Rating: -0.7
For the second year in a row, the Toronto Raptors seem to be one of the more difficult teams to figure out.
On Wednesday, they beat the red-hot Phoenix Suns in Toronto, but they're still below .500. They have plenty of versatility at the forward spots and an early candidate for Most Improved Player in Scottie Barnes, but their point differential is still below zero.
A closer examination of their schedule only reveals two "bad" losses, and they both happened in October (to the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers). The eight other games they've dropped have all been to teams in either playoff or play-in position right now.
You can't have a good season without occasionally beating good teams, but there's still time for the Raptors to gain some traction when the schedule lightens up. Wednesday's win started a stretch in which Toronto will be home for seven of nine games.
21. Brooklyn Nets (9-9)
Previous Rank: 22
Net Rating: +1.0
In his first appearance after a nine-game absence with an ankle injury, Cam Thomas had 26 points in 25 minutes off the bench, but the Brooklyn Nets still lost at home to the Charlotte Hornets.
It was the sort of "one step forward, one step back" performance that has kind of come to encapsulate Brooklyn's young season.
In the Nets' defense, the inconsistency (or perhaps consistent mediocrity) can fairly easily be attributed to injuries. Thomas has only shared the floor with Ben Simmons (currently out with a back problem) and Nic Claxton (who's missed nine games this season) for a total of six minutes.
20. Atlanta Hawks (9-9)
Previous Rank: 19
Net Rating: +0.8
After spending much of last season within one game of a .500 record, the Atlanta Hawks seem to be stuck in that vortex again.
Ever since they lost on November 15 to put them at 6-5, they've been unable to get more than a game of separation from .500.
But enough of regular-season oddities. There's more to talk about with the Hawks, and Trae Young has recently been worthy of conversation.
He averaged 21.7 points and shot 33.6 percent from the field in his first seven games of the season. After going for 45 points and 14 assists in Thursday's win, he's putting up 30.3 points and 10.7 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three in the 10 games since that cold start.
19. Golden State Warriors (9-10)
Previous Rank: 20
Net Rating: +0.2
There's plenty to nitpick or be down on when it comes to the Golden State Warriors, but Klay Thompson does seem to be warming up finally (he's averaged 19.3 points and hit 40.7 percent of his threes over his last six games), Draymond Green's five-game suspension is over and the Chris Paul addition is working.
CP3 has missed the last game and change with a lower leg contusion, but he's worked brilliantly alongside Stephen Curry. No two-man lineup with Curry has a higher raw plus-minus than he and Paul's plus-59.
And when they're sharing the floor, Curry averages 34.9 points per 75 possessions with a 75.7 true shooting percentage. Without CP3, he is averaging 30.1 points per 75 possessions with a 62.5 true shooting percentage.
If he can stay healthy, Green can stay out of trouble and Thompson can stay on target, there's still hope for the Warriors to rejoin the contenders.
18. Cleveland Cavaliers (10-9)
Previous Rank: 18
Net Rating: -1.0
Ending the week with a home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers was discouraging, but the Cleveland Cavaliers had won six of their last eight prior to Thursday.
And despite the team's overall negative point differential, each of its top six scorers (Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Caris LeVert, Max Strus and Jarrett Allen) are all in the black in the season-long plus-minus column.
Of course, winning their minutes together more convincingly would lead to more wins and a net rating closer to last season's, but the outline of a playoff lock is still there.
If Mitchell, Garland and Allen can stay healthy for a sustained period, they should get on track.
17. Houston Rockets (8-8)
Previous Rank: 14
Net Rating: +3.4
There seems to be two distinct versions of the 2023-24 Houston Rockets.
At home, they're 8-1. There, Jalen Green is averaging 22.0 points and 2.4 made threes per game while shooting 37.3 percent from deep. The whole team is shooting 38.2 percent in the friendly confines of the Toyota Center.
On the road, Houston is 0-7. In those games, Green is putting up 16.4 points and shooting 34.1 percent from deep. The team's road three-point percentage is 33.1.
There's no question the Rockets are better this season. They're on pace to smash their 31.5 win total from the preseason. But right now, they're plagued with inconsistency on the road.
That's hardly surprising, though. Houston is far from the first young team to struggle away from home. This is just part of a process that's moving faster than most could've expected.
16. Los Angeles Lakers (11-9)
Previous Rank: 13
Net Rating: -1.6
It's largely due to a recent road-heavy schedule and injuries to supporting players like Rui Hachimura, Cam Reddish and Gabe Vincent, but the Los Angeles Lakers are in a bit of a rough patch.
After getting blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, they've now dropped three of their last five.
And what maybe can't be explained away quite as easily is the fact that their 111.0 points per 100 possessions ranks in the bottom 10 of the league.
Dreadful three-point shooting and the fact that the attack falls off a cliff without LeBron James are to blame more than D'Angelo Russell, but he remains the team's most obvious trade candidate (unless they surprise everyone and make Austin Reaves available).
At this point, it's starting to feel like some kind of move will be a requirement to getting a contender-level offense.
15. Sacramento Kings (10-7)
Previous Rank: 16
Net Rating: -0.6
Last week's edition of the power rankings may have been a little too low on the Sacramento Kings, but they're 2-3 in their last five games, including blowout losses to the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers.
They're on the verge of having a bottom-10 defense, and their offense is nowhere near as potent as last season's historic output.
Some of that can still be attributed to De'Aaron Fox's five-game absence with an ankle injury earlier this season. When he's on the floor, the Kings score 7.8 more points per 100 possessions.
But the Kings have to find more reliable sources of creation and scoring when he's out to repeat last season's top-three finish in the West.
14. Los Angeles Clippers (8-10)
Previous Rank: 17
Net Rating: +3.2
The climb has been slow, but it does feel like the Los Angeles Clippers are getting better and more used to life with James Harden in the lineup.
They lost a competitive game to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, but this week included blowout wins over the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings. And in their last eight, L.A. is a respectable 5-3 overall.
What may be more important than all of that, though, is the fact that both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have appeared in each and every Clippers game this season. And L.A. is plus-12.3 points per 100 possessions when both are on the floor.
If they keep up with this kind of durability, they'll get more reps alongside Harden than perhaps expected. And that could mean quicker adaptation to each other's games for all three.
13. New Orleans Pelicans (10-9)
Previous Rank: 15
Net Rating: +0.7
Joel Embiid being sidelined with an illness obviously helped, but Zion Williamson dropped 33 points on 11-of-12 shooting in the New Orleans Pelicans' 124-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
After a slow start to the season, Zion is starting to look like the offensive force that helped New Orleans rise to first in the West in the early portion of the 2022-23 campaign.
He's still posting what would be a career-low effective field-goal percentage, but that number is skyrocketing. Over his last five appearances, Williamson has put up 28.4 points, 5.8 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 64.7 percent from the field.
If this version of the big man is going to stick around for a while, the Pelicans (who are 6-3 in their last nine games) should keep slowly moving up the standings.
The returns of CJ McCollum (who scored 20 points in his first game back on Wednesday) and Trey Murphy III (who plans to come back Friday) will help too.
12. Indiana Pacers (9-8)
Previous Rank: 11
Net Rating: +2.4
The Indiana Pacers are a sight to behold. On offense, they score seemingly at will, led by what appears to be a point guard performance for the ages from Tyrese Haliburton.
After exploding for 44 points and 10 assists on Thursday, the 23-year-old is averaging 27.0 points, 11.8 assists and 3.9 threes, while shooting 44.7 percent from deep.
His orchestration of the attack leads to open looks, many of them threes, on the bulk of Indiana's possessions. And generally speaking, his kickout targets, including Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, have been reliable. Indiana leads the league in effective field-goal percentage.
As good as they are offensively, though, the Pacers have also been horrendous on the other end of the floor. After surrendering 142 points in regulation to the Miami Heat on Thursday, they are 29th in points allowed per 100 possessions.
Opponents routinely break the first line of defense, put Turner in a compromised position and find the next open man.
Just about every game becomes a shootout.
Given the age of much of the rotation, that's probably fine. But if the Pacers are going to have a chance of a postseason series, they'll have to at least be passable on defense.
11. Dallas Mavericks (11-6)
Previous Rank: 9
Net Rating: +1.2
The Dallas Mavericks have cooled off a bit after their 8-2 start, but they remain one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the league. On any given night (or any given playoff series), Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving can provide enough firepower to put Dallas over.
When those two are on the floor, the Mavericks score 119.2 points per 100 possessions, which ranks in the 81st percentile leaguewide. Luka and Kyrie are tied for third and tied for 13th, respectively, in Dunks and Threes' offensive estimated plus-minus.
After dropping 68 points on the Houston Rockets in Tuesday's win, they're averaging a combined 55.7 points per game.
10. Miami Heat (11-8)
Previous Rank: 8
Net Rating: +2.2
The Miami Heat seem to have taken the mantle of obscure(ish) player development held by the San Antonio Spurs for years.
For much of last season, the story on them was how many undrafted players were contributing to their success. This season, at least through the first month and change, the story has to be non-lottery pick Jaime Jaquez Jr.
The 22-year-old is already a fixture in Miami's rotation, plays with the poise of a multiyear vet and adds to the versatility of any lineup he's in.
On Thursday, he scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter of a win over the Indiana Pacers. In his last 12 games, he's averaging 15.6 points, 2.9 assists and 1.6 threes, while shooting 47.5 percent from deep.
9. New York Knicks (11-7)
Previous Rank: 12
Net Rating: +5.4
Jalen Brunson is rapidly securing his place in New York Knicks lore with a second straight star season since joining the team prior to 2022-23.
After going off for 42 points and eight assists in Thursday's win over the Detroit Pistons, he's up to 25.1 points, 5.4 assists and 3.3 threes, while shooting 48.0 percent from deep, on the season.
If Brunson maintains those marks, he'll be the first player in Knicks history with 100-plus three-point attempts and averages of at least 25 points and five assists in a season.
8. Milwaukee Bucks (13-6)
Previous Rank: 6
Net Rating: +2.5
The Milwaukee Bucks' win percentage has outpaced their net rating for most of this season (they're fourth in the former and 11th in the latter).
And after playing with fire in tight wins over the Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat to start this week, they closed it with a loss to the now 6-14 Chicago Bulls.
Generally speaking, the issues seem pretty obvious. Though things have improved a bit in recent weeks, the Bucks still have a bottom-half-of-the-league defense.
And while that may not matter on a ton of regular-season nights when you have Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo on the other end, it could be a problem in a seven-game series against a contender.
7. Orlando Magic (13-5)
Previous Rank: 10
Net Rating: +6.2
It's still probably too early to look at the Orlando Magic as a title contender, but they're certainly not plucky up-and-comers anymore, either.
Orlando has won eight straight, including victories over the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics during that streak.
Thanks to an intense, swarming defense buoyed by the athleticism and switchability of players like Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, the Magic have a .625 winning percentage on the road.
Defense typically travels better than offense, and this team has shown enough to suggest theirs will travel all season. Right now, Orlando's 107.6 points allowed per 100 possessions ranks third in the league.
6. Phoenix Suns (11-7)
Previous Rank: 7
Net Rating: +3.6
The Phoenix Suns finally had a minor hiccup on Wednesday when they dropped a road game to the Toronto Raptors, 112-105.
But they'd won seven straight before that, including a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. And they have two players putting up All-NBA-caliber numbers in Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
KD is averaging 31.3 points, 5.5 assists and 2.3 threes while shooting 49.3 percent from deep. Booker is putting up 27.3 points, 8.5 assists and 2.0 threes with a 40.0 three-point percentage.
When both are on the floor, the Suns are outscoring opponents by 9.7 points per 100 possessions.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (12-6)
Previous Rank: 3
Net Rating: +8.5
There are plenty of stories and numbers that point to how good the Oklahoma City Thunder have been during their breakout season, but Dunks and Threes' estimated plus-minus may be the most striking.
Just over a month into the season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren are third and fifth, respectively.
There's understandably been plenty of talk about Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray or Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey being this season's best duo, but these two young Thunder players may be forcing their way into the conversation.
SGA is a relentless attacker and multipositional defender, while Holmgren spaces the floor and finishes lobs for him on one end and protects the rim on the other.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-4)
Previous Rank: 2
Net Rating: +6.5
Even without Anthony Edwards, who suffered a hip injury after Oklahoma City Thunder big Jaylin Williams slid under him on a dunk attempt, the Minnesota Timberwolves won their 13th game out of their last 15 on Thursday, holding the Utah Jazz to 90 points in the process.
And while it would be preferable for Edwards to have never been hurt, Minnesota figuring out how to win some minutes without him could be important in the long run.
Prior to Thursday's win, the T-Wolves were plus-12.5 points per 100 possessions with the 2020 No. 1 overall pick on the floor and minus-7.5 with him off.
3. Philadelphia 76ers (12-6)
Previous Rank: 5
Net Rating: +7.8
The Philadelphia 76ers are 4-5 in their last nine games, but it certainly doesn't feel like the sky is falling for them.
They're still third in the league in net rating. Joel Embiid is on track for a third straight scoring title and is posting career highs in assists per game (6.6) and box plus/minus (10.9). Tyrese Maxey's breakout doesn't seem to be slowing down, as he's currently averaging 27.0 points and 6.7 assists. And a supporting cast bolstered by the James Harden trade fits the star duo well.
De'Anthony Melton, Robert Covington and Nicolas Batum—the latter two of whom came to Philly in the Harden deal—are adding exactly the kind of three-and-D versatility needed for Embiid and Maxey to focus on the more glamorous parts of the game.
2. Denver Nuggets (13-6)
Previous Rank: 4
Net Rating: +5.0
Jamal Murray returned from an 11-game absence because of a hamstring injury on Wednesday, and he promptly rolled an ankle in the first quarter.
The good news is that he finished the game and scored 16 points in 22 minutes. The bad news is that he just can't seem to get and stay fully healthy.
Whenever that does happen, you can expect the Denver Nuggets to look like a surefire title contender again.
Even as Murray moved around on his injured ankle and worked through some rust, he added another layer of unpredictability for Denver's offense during its 134-124 win over the Houston Rockets.
When Murray shares the floor with Nikola Jokić (who had a ho-hum 32 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds and zero turnovers in the win), the Nuggets are plus-9.3 points per 100 possessions.
1. Boston Celtics (14-4)
Previous Rank: 1
Net Rating: +9.7
Few, if any, lineups in the NBA look as utterly dominant as the Boston Celtics starters have so far this season.
We're still in the "small sample theater" portion of the season, but when Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porziņģis are all on the floor, Boston is a whopping plus-28.2 points per 100 possessions.
Even when one or two of the above are unavailable, as Porziņģis was for the team's final in-season tournament group game on Tuesday, the Celtics have just enough depth and balance to remain dominant.
With Al Horford in KP's place, Boston crushed the reeling Chicago Bulls by 27 points, securing its place in the knockout round of the new tournament.
Now that they're officially one of the final eight teams, they're unsurprisingly the favorite to win the whole thing.
Stat of the Week
There haven't been many who've ever flummoxed Nikola Jokić, especially over the last four or five seasons. But during Sunday's game between Jokić's Denver Nuggets and Victor Wembanyama's San Antonio Spurs, there was an unusual adjustment period.
On more than one occasion, a passing lane or floater opportunity that looked open suddenly closed the moment the ball left the hand of Jokić or one of his teammates.
The two-time MVP eventually adjusted to the rookie, started knocking him off balance more and added a bit more loft to his floaters. He finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but Wembanyama had seven defensive rebounds, six steals and four blocks.
The performance was one of the most vivid displays of the kind of impact Wembanyama can have on defense. And through just over a month of the season, he has a 29.3 defensive rebounding percentage, an 8.2 block percentage and a 2.1 steal percentage.
No one in NBA history, regardless of experience, matched or exceeded all three of those marks for an entire season.