Happy New Year! As we tip off the first week of 2023, there have been some shake-ups in the Week 12 NBA Power Rankings. While the Brooklyn Nets remain on top to start 2023, the New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, and Washington Wizards have all moved up in the rankings, and the Atlanta Hawks have taken a nosedive. Let’s take a closer look at how these teams have performed in the past week and how they stack up against the rest of the league. As for the other teams? Well, let’s find out as we rank all 30 teams for the first time in 2023!
Our NBA Power Rankings have seen a lot of movement to end the last week of 2022. Of course, some teams impressed and surprised with their strong play. Meanwhile, others struggled after each defeat. While some teams may feel down about their performance, others seem to have had a successful December. By looking at each team’s performance over the past week, we can get an idea of how they will fare as a new calendar year begins.
Previous 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings: Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2
Now without further ado, let’s look at our 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings entering Week 12 of the new season as 2023 begins.
1. Brooklyn Nets (no change)
The Nets are the best team in the league. They are the best team on the planet. They are going to win the championship. Yada, yada, yada. It’s crazy to think that this team was floundering at 2-6 in early November. What a turnaround, yes? The Nets have one of the best scorers alive along with a rejuvenated Kyrie Irving and a blossoming Nic Claxton. There just does not seem to be anything that can stop the Nets right now. No other team really deserves to be at the top of our Week 12 NBA Power Rankings thanks to their 11-game winning streak.
2. Boston Celtics (+1)
Yes, the Celtics tipped off 2023 with a loss, but it was to one of the best teams in the West As such, we’ll give them a bit of a pass on that. Before losing to the Nuggets, though, they strung together four wins to end 2022. That was enough to put a bit of separation between them and the Nets in the team standings. They also have a nice lineup of games this week. They should win over OKC and the Spurs, though that one against the Mavs looks dangerous.
3. New Orleans Pelicans (+5)
After losing to the Bucks a couple of weeks ago, the Pelicans won five straight before dropping their last 2022 assignment to the Grizzlies. They would have maybe climbed even higher had it not been for that loss. Still, the Pels continue to impress. In that recent five-game winning streak, they had four different leading scorers. CJ McCollum, in fact, had two 40-point games in that stretch. That’s in addition to the brilliance of Zion Williamson and despite the absence of Brandon Ingram.
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Vote for your favorite #Pelicans TODAY!
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— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 1, 2023
4. Denver Nuggets (+2)
The Nuggets have won seven of their last eight games. That includes wins over the Grizzlies, Suns, Heat, and Celtics. We also got some good games from Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope this past week. Clearly, Nikola Jokic is still the anchor of this squad, but if they continue to get high-level production from other talents, this will be a legitimate title-contending unit.
5. Memphis Grizzlies (+2)
The Grizzlies floundered a bit last week with losses to the Warriors and Suns. Afterward, however, they rebounded nicely with a three-game winning streak over the Raptors, Pelicans, and Kings. Now, they are tied for second place in the Western Conference and move up a couple of spots in our Week 12 NBA Power Rankings. They should continue their winning ways with the Hornets, Magic, and Jazz coming up in Week 12.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers (-4)
Christmas was not kind to the Cavs. They lost three in a row to the Raptors, Nets, and Pacers before salvaging the end of 2022 with a W over the Bulls. Remember, however, that they only beat the Bulls by a single point in that game. That’s hardly impressive for a team that has the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference. They have another shot at the Bulls this week to be followed by a gauntlet against the Suns (twice) and the Nuggets.
7. Philadelphia 76ers (-2)
The Sixers slide two spots in our Week 12 NBA Power Rankings after going 1-2 in Week 11. Losses to the Wizards and Pelicans were disappointing before they bounced back against the Thunder to end 2022. For the first time since late November, someone other than Joel Embiid led the squad in scoring as well. Tobias Harris had 23 against OKC. We feel that Philly will need much more of that, though, as we move closer to the mid-point of the season.
8. Milwaukee Bucks (-4)
The Bucks have been a pretty much middling team since their 9-0 start to the season. They’ve gone 1-5 in their last six outings. Most of their losses were to elite teams, but they also dropped games to the Bulls and Wizards. Yes, they had to sit Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Wizards, but that was still a disappointing loss for what many believe should be the best team in the East.
9. Dallas Mavericks (+7)
Luka Doncic is just awesome, yes? There are no arguments against that, right? I mean, the Slovenian Sensation scored 32+ points in five of the Mavs’ last six games — all wins. That includes two 50-point games and one 60-pointer. It’s like Santa Claus came down the Doncic family chimney, sprinkled some pixie dust on Luka, and he just popped like crazy afterward. He has just been a living, breathing yuletide bucket for the Mavs.
10. Golden State Warriors (+11)
As good as Luka & Co. have been, however, they’re not the highest climbers in our Week 12 NBA Power Rankings. That honor belongs to the defending champions, who have been on a tear. Golden State has won four games in a row, including a big one over the Grizzlies. The Dubs sans Steph Curry just are not supposed to be this good, and yet here we are. They have re-entered playoff contention in the West and trail just the Portland Trail Blazers for the No. 8 spot in the conference.
Day 1 of the New Year ✨
How we feeling?
» https://t.co/ocDF2EHeJH pic.twitter.com/uZo8oKHhm5
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 1, 2023
11. Phoenix Suns (-2)
Much like the Bucks, the Suns continue to fade. They slide down just two spots but make no mistake: this team has not looked very dangerous since beating the Pelicans in mid-December. Phoenix has lost five of its last six contests and is now outside the West’s top six teams. Their wing depth has just taken a big hit with injuries to Devin Booker, Cam Johnson, and Cam Payne, among others.
12. Indiana Pacers (+2)
Losing to the Pelicans by 20 points in Week 11 was bad. However, they have bounced back big time since then. The Pacers currently own a three-game winning streak, with the Hawks, Cavs, and Clippers among their latest victims. Tyrese Haliburton has also gotten a ton of help from Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, and Bennedict Mathurin.
13. Sacramento Kings (-2)
The Kings had an okay week, going 2-2. “Okay,” however, won’t be enough to move them up in such tight standings and rankings. Sactown is currently clinging to the sixth spot in the West, thanks to back-to-back wins over the Nuggets and Jazz in Week 11. They could have added a bit more separation from the Suns had they not lost to the Grizzlies to start 2023.
14. New York Knicks (-4)
After putting together an amazing eight-game win streak, the Knicks are now mired in quicksand. They have dropped five of their last six games, with a win over the Rockets snapping their slump to end 2022. At 19-18, this team just doesn’t look all too dangerous right now. What we seem to have is a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation with NYK. That’s certainly NOT a good thing.
15. Washington Wizards (+10)
Not too long ago, we were writing about how terrible the Wizards have been in December. Now, they have suddenly turned things around. They have won six of their last seven games, including five in a row bridging 2022 and 2023. That’s the main reason they rise a meteoric 10 spots in our Week 12 NBA Power Rankings. Of course, this team is still a few wins away from .500. However, they do have a ton of momentum heading into their games this week against the reeling Bucks and Thunder.
have a night, @kylekuzma 😮💨
2nd career triple-double.
career-high 11 assists. #DCAboveAll | @CapitalOne pic.twitter.com/oYP87byz5Y
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 2, 2023
16. Los Angeles Clippers (-3)
Yes, the Clippers are at the top of the Pacific Division. However, that’s not really saying much considering they are fifth overall in the West. They have also lost back-to-back games to the Celtics and Pacers heading into Week 12. What awaits them? The rising Heat, conference-leading Nuggets, and the skidding Wolves.
17. Miami Heat (+2)
The Heat have won three of their last four games after losing back-to-back games in Week 10. Yes, their wins were only against the Wolves, Lakers, and Jazz. Still, Miami will take wins where they can. Remember that they are barely hanging on to the Southwest Division lead and are outside the top six teams in the East.
18. Portland Trail Blazers (-1)
The Blazers had just two games in Week 11, and they went 1-1. As expected, they won over the Hornets at home, but they fell short against the Dubs on the road afterward. Damian Lillard continues to be a walking bucket, but Anfernee Simons seems to have hit a bit of a rough patch in the past couple of weeks. An injury to Jusuf Nurkic also doesn’t bode well for the Blazers.
19. Utah Jazz (-7)
Do we still think the Jazz are serious about staying among the top 10 teams in the West? To be honest, we’re not sold anymore. Utah has dropped its last four games and is barely in 10th place in the conference. They will likely lose that spot in Week 12 as they face the Kings, Rockets, Bulls, and Grizzlies. It was good while it lasted, I guess.
20. Chicago Bulls (no change)
What a week it was for the Bulls. This is a team that can beat a very good team like the Bucks. At the same time, they can also lose to a very bad team like the Rockets. As the trade deadline looms, we also feel like the Bulls will choose to blow everything up. This squad just won’t make much noise this season as it is currently constructed.
21. Toronto Raptors (+1)
A win over the Suns close to the end of 2022 is the only reason the Raptors move up one spot in our Week 12 NBA Power Rankings. Gary Trent Jr. was rock-solid in that W with 35 points. That likely won’t happen again, though. Like the Bulls, we also feel the Raptors might be sellers as we close in on the trade deadline. We’ll see how things shake up north of the border.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves (-4)
The Wolves continue to walk wounded this season. They are surely feeling the pinch of Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury. Minnesota has lost its last six games. Most of those are against teams higher than them in these NBA Power Rankings. However, they also just lost to the Pistons. That is just a new low for a team grossly underperforming.
23. Atlanta Hawks (-8)
The Hawks are the East’s version of the Wolves. Well, sort of. At least the Hawks are still in the playoff hunt. They sit at No. 9 in the East. Still, that doesn’t excuse the fact that ATL has lost four of its last five outings, including losing at home to the Lakers near the end of 2022. Injuries to Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter are not going to help, too, and there are rumors of Nate McMillan’s issues as the coach.
24. Los Angeles Lakers (+2)
It was a relatively good week for the Lakers. They went 2-1 in Week 11, beating the Magic and Hawks to sandwich a loss to the Heat. The big story, of course, has been none other than LeBron James, who continues to amaze at 38 years old. Or is it more of his greatness is being wasted by being on a team as bad as this?
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (-2)
The Thunder started Week 11 with a win over the Spurs. Afterward, however, they absorbed back-to-back losses to the Hornets and Sixers. The backcourt duo of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey looks really good, though. That’s something to build around for the future.
26. Orlando Magic (-2)
The Magic were on a wild, unexpected climb for much of December, but they have since crashed back to earth. Orlando has dropped its last three games. All of those were against teams with losing records. Ouch, right? They bloated their fans’ expectations only to end 2022 flopping and floundering. There was absolutely nothing magical about that.
27. San Antonio Spurs (+1)
It was a pretty decent Week 11 for the Spurs, considering everything. Wins over the Jazz and Knicks were pleasant surprises to temper losses to the Thunder and Mavs. Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson have surely boosted their stock as well. Meanwhile, big man Jakob Poetl might be on the move soon, if trade rumors come to fruition.
28. Charlotte Hornets (-1)
Beating the Thunder was impressive, but it was the only bright spot in a week that also saw them lose to the Blazers, Warriors, and Nets. At least LaMelo is ballin’ right now. Get it? Yeah, well, that’s just about the only good thing about this team right now.
29. Detroit Pistons (+1)
We chose to shove the Pistons up a spot after they won two of their last three games. Yes, their victims were nowhere near the elite teams in the league, but these are the Pistons, guys. Any win is a WIN for them. And two in one week? Break out the champagne!
30. Houston Rockets (-1)
At least the Rockets won over the Bulls after Christmas, right? This is still a helluva fun team to watch, especially with athletes like Jalen Green and Jabari Smith, Jr. Other than pure entertainment value, though, Houston just has nothing but hot air.