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NBA Power Rankings: Suns Rise to the Top

Stan Son updates his 2021-22 NBA power rankings.

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Suns have risen! Actually, they rose a while ago but some cloud formations inhibited the rays of light at different times this season. They have won the last nine games with victories over the Warriors, 76ers, Nuggets and Timberwolves. Chris Paul returned three games ago, so all systems go. The Suns have 62 wins. Only the Grizzlies have more than 50. On the season, Phoenix has the third-best offense and second-best defense. As Bruce Lee had to ascend each level before achieving victory in Game of Death, the Suns have been climbing the championship ladder, culminating in a Finals loss last season. They are poised to defeat the final boss this season.

The Grizzlies have been great all season but I’ve been hesitant to put them in the upper tier. It was akin to the Bank of England artificially buoying the pound in 1992. As George Soros finally broke the dam, so have I as there is no denying what the Grizzlies have done. They are fourth in offensive rating and sixth in defensive rating. They have won six straight, with victories over the Nets, Bucks and Warriors. And all without Ja Morant. On the season, Memphis is 19-2 without Morant in the lineup. Crazy.

The Raptors have won four straight with victories over the Celtics and Timberwolves. Over that span, they have been second in both offensive and defensive rating. The Jazz and Warriors were 0-4 while the Timberwolves were 1-3, so that assisted in the Raptors making a jump.

The moves at the bottom of the rankings were small but we do have a new cellar dweller. The Rockets moved in early on in the season, decorated the place and seemed quite comfortable, but they have had aspirations of moving up in the world. As a result, they began playing defense! Over the last five games, they’ve had the eighth-best defensive rating and won two of those contests against the new inhabitants of the cellar, the Trail Blazers. Injuries have crushed Portland this season, then trades happened and Operation Tank commenced. They have lost five in a row and are 2-15 over the last 17 games. Over the last 15 games, Portland is 30th in defensive rating and 29th in offensive rating. Congrats!

NBA Power Rankings: Week 24

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

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