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NBA Power Rankings: 76ers, Clippers rising while Raptors, Pelicans slide

Chinmay Vaidya updates his NBA power rankings for the 2022-23 season.

Denver Nuggets v Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center on January 28, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

After dealing with several major injuries for the last few months, the Philadelphia 76ers are suddenly the hottest team in the NBA. They’ve won seven straight games, with their most recent victory being a comeback win over the Denver Nuggets. Joel Embiid was the star with 47 points and 18 rebounds, showing no signs of foot soreness as he made a statement against two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. If Embiid can stay healthy, the 76ers will like their chances in the postseason against any team.

The Los Angeles Clippers have started looking like the team many thought they’d be at the beginning of the season. The Clippers lost to the 76ers and Jazz before starting a five-game winning streak of their own. They dropped Sunday’s game to the Cavaliers after ruling all their key guys out but it seems like Tyronn Lue’s team is starting to gel.

On the flip side of the rankings, the Toronto Raptors continue to sink further into oblivion. Toronto is now five games back of the No. 6 spot in the East and has plenty of decisions to make at the trade deadline. The Raptors are likely going to keep this core together and fight out the season but this has been a tough look for Toronto.

The New Orleans Pelicans are also experiencing some tough times with Zion Williamson out. Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum didn’t play Sunday, resulting in their seventh straight defeat. At one point, the Pelicans looked like true title contenders and are now just another team in what is shaping up to be a fierce playoff battle out West.

Here’s a look at the updated power rankings for the 2022-23 season.

NBA Power Rankings: Week 16

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