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NBA Power Rankings: Hawks, 76ers making strides in East ahead of trade deadline

Chinmay Vaidya updates his NBA power rankings after the 15th week of the 2021-22 regular season.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers
Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers talk during Round 2, Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs on June 16, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks have a seven-game win streak earlier in the season to take them from 4-9 to above .500. They were unable to turn that into extended consistent play but hope to for different results this time around. The Hawks are once again on a seven-game winning streak. Their next 10 games feature several contests that one would consider toss-ups. If the Hawks want to make this rise in the power rankings real, they’ll have to come out of that stretch with wins in those 50-50 contests.

The Philadelphia 76ers are making a different push. While Ben Simmons trade rumors continue to swirl, Joel Embiid is determined to create MVP buzz for himself while taking his team to the top of the conference. The 76ers are just a few games back of the Miami Heat for the No. 1 seed in the East. With the way Embiid is playing, it feels like Philadelphia has to get him some help at the trade deadline to avoid throwing away this year.

Elsewhere, the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors remain consistent atop the Western Conference. They’ve experienced minimal hiccups along the way and look like the two best teams in the association. This could be a conference finals preview, making home-court advantage huge.

Let’s take a look at Chinmay Vaidya’s power rankings for Week 16 of the NBA season.

NBA Power Rankings: Week 16

Rank Team Previous Rank
Rank Team Previous Rank
1 Phoenix Suns 1
2 Golden State Warriors 2
3 Miami Heat 6
4 Memphis Grizzlies 5
5 Milwaukee Bucks 3
6 Philadephia 76ers 9
7 Utah Jazz 7
8 Chicago Bulls 8
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 10
10 Brooklyn Nets 4
11 Charlotte Hornets 11
12 Denver Nuggets 13
13 Toronto Raptors 14
14 Dallas Mavericks 12
15 Los Angeles Clippers 17
16 Atlanta Hawks 20
17 Boston Celtics 16
18 Minnesota Timberwolves 21
19 Los Angeles Lakers 18
20 Washington Wizards 15
21 New York Knicks 19
22 Portland Trail Blazers 22
23 Indiana Pacers 24
24 San Antonio Spurs 25
25 New Orleans Pelicans 26
26 Sacramento Kings 23
27 Orlando Magic 28
28 Oklahoma City Thunder 27
29 Detroit Pistons 29
30 Houston Rockets 30