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NBA power rankings: Knicks, Clippers on fire as trade deadline approaches

We’re sorting the contenders, pretenders and tankers as the NBA season moves along.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks
Precious Achiuwa, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart of the New York Knicks react against the Miami Heat in the second half at Madison Square Garden on January 27, 2024 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Heat 125-109.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 2023-24 NBA season is about to enter February and that means trade season really starts to heat up. Contenders will be looking to make the final moves as they attempt to set up their roster for a playoff run, while the tankers will be hoping to sell of the assets they can afford to part with for future compensation. The pretenders are in the biggest lurch during this time period, as they likely are straddling between two scenarios with neither looking particularly promising.

The New York Knicks find themselves in the contender circle at the moment, rattling off six straight wins as of this writing and looking like a complete unit. The Julius Randle injury is concerning but New York has enough depth to withstand a short absence. Jalen Brunson has continued to build on his 2022-23 campaign, and OG Anunoby has added an important dimension to this squad. The Los Angeles Clippers have quietly climbed into the top 3 in the West as of this writing, winning five in a row. The Clippers have talent, but we know health has been their major issue. James Harden and Paul George have struggled historically in the postseason, and they’ll be hoping to change that narrative this season.

Something needs to change for the Miami Heat, who made a run to the Finals a year ago as the No. 8 seed in the East. “Playoff Jimmy” is definitely a thing, but the Heat can’t afford to slip up too much in the regular season. After losing six in a row, the Heat are 2.5 games back of the last automatic playoff berth. They should try to avoid the play-in again to make their path a bit more favorable. Miami made a move to add Terry Rozier but it’s too early to know if that has been good or not.

Here’s our third championship index for the 2023-24 NBA season.


1. Boston Celtics (+300 to win title at DraftKings Sportsbook)

2. Denver Nuggets (+425)

3. Los Angeles Clippers (+750)

4. Phoenix Suns (+1300)

5. Milwaukee Bucks (+475)

6. Philadelphia 76ers (+1100)

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (+2000)

8. Oklahoma City Thunder (+1800)

9. New York Knicks (+3500)

Fringe Contenders

10. Sacramento Kings (+4500)

11. New Orleans Pelicans (+6000)

12. Cleveland Cavaliers (+6000)

13. Los Angeles Lakers (+2500)

14. Miami Heat (+3000)

15. Dallas Mavericks (+3500)

16. Indiana Pacers (+7500)

17. Orlando Magic (+20000)


18. Chicago Bulls (+60000)

19. Atlanta Hawks (+25000)

20. Utah Jazz (+50000)

21. Golden State Warriors (+6000)

22. Houston Rockets (+40000)

23. Brooklyn Nets (+70000)


24. Grizzlies (+100000)

25. Raptors (+80000)

26. Hornets (+100000)

27. Trail Blazers (+100000)

28. Wizards (+100000)

29. Spurs (+100000)

30. Pistons (+100000)