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NBA power rankings: Lakers flex championship muscle, Suns and Mavericks dealing with key injuries

Here’s Chinmay Vaidya’s updated power rankings after the seventh week of the 2023-24 season.

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers: Championship - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates a basket against the Indiana Pacers during the fourth quarter in the championship game of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on December 09, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament is in the books and the Los Angeles Lakers are the winners of the first-ever NBA Cup. The Lakers went undefeated in tournament play, using their defense and star power to run through the knockout round and lift the title in Las Vegas Saturday. It felt like the Lakers were stuck in neutral outside of the tournament games, but they showed why they can still be considered title contenders.

Anthony Davis dominated the Pacers Saturday with 41 points and 20 rebounds, completely taking away the interior. LeBron James was somewhat muted but did finish with 24 points and 11 boards, while Austin Reaves battled an illness to put up 28 points off the bench. The Lakers are likely to be in the mix for trades to improve their backcourt, but they’re also set to get Gabe Vincent back to further bolster their defense. Los Angeles is back in the top 10 in the power rankings after flexing their championship muscles on a big stage.

The Dallas Mavericks went up in the power rankings despite an injury to Kyrie Irving, largely because the team believes the star guard avoided a serious setback. Luka Doncic is still in the fold and playing at a MVP level, so the Mavericks should be able to stay afloat until Irving returns. The Phoenix Suns are also dealing with injuries, as Kevin Durant (ankle) and Bradley Beal (back) look to get back on the court. Beal is set to return this week, but he’s been dealing with this issue for a while and has failed to stay healthy in each of the last two seasons. Durant has also had trouble staying on the court, although his problems usually take place in February and March. The Suns haven’t played a single game this season with all three of their stars in the lineup, so we don’t know what they can be at full strength yet. Let’s hope both Durant and Beal get back and stay healthy the rest of the way.

There’s a big logjam in the standings in both conferences, and it’s hard to separate which teams are actually good because one game can still have an outsized impact at this stage of the season. In the East, there are five teams at 13 or 12 wins with three others hovering at nine wins. In the West, there are six teams from 10 to 12 wins. Of these teams, I like the Heat, Suns, Pelicans, Clippers and Warriors are potential contenders.

Here’s a look at the full power rankings after the seventh week.

NBA Power Rankings After Week 7

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