NBA Standings 2019-20 ; NBA Power Rankings 2019-20 ; NBA standings today ; Lakers standing

NBA Standings 2019-20 ; NBA Power Rankings 2019-20 ; NBA standings today ; Lakers standing

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NBA Power Rankings: Bucks, Lakers look like championship contenders; Knicks, Warriors sink to bottom of standings
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MILWAUKEE BUCKS
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
TORONTO RAPTORS
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All 30 NBA teams have just about reached the 20-game mark in the 2019-20 season. That's not nearly enough evidence to determine how the title chase will play out, but it offers a nice backdrop for a new edition of Sporting News' NBA Power Rankings.

The first quarter of the regular season has been predictable in some ways (the Lakers and Clippers are — shocker — doing just fine) and surprising in others (the Suns are better than the Warriors). The races to the top of each conference should remain competitive, even as a few basement-dwellers lean into tank jobs.


MORE: Evaluating the top candidates for Rookie of the Year

It's important to note these rankings are not completely reliant on wins and losses. Overall records matter, of course, but other factors such as team performance, injury troubles and potential for major positive and negative swings over the next 60-plus games are also considered. View this list a snapshot rather than anything definitive.

Now that the disclaimer nobody reads is out there, let's dive into the rankings, beginning with star power at the top. (All stats current through Dec. 4.)

NBA Power Rankings: The hot starters
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1. Bucks (18-3)

Number to know: 11.8

Milwaukee easily has the top net rating in the league at 11.8 ahead of the second-place Mavericks (8.4). There will be plenty of MVP debates this year, but Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.8 points, 13.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists per game) should be the favorite at the moment given his absurd production and ability to lift the Bucks regardless of which players are available on a nightly basis.

2. Lakers (18-3)

Number to know: 63

This LeBron James-Anthony Davis partnership is pretty good, huh? James, who leads the league with 10.8 assists per game, has thrown 63 of his 226 total assists to Davis. On top of that, the Lakers are an elite defensive team with Davis as their anchor. "Showtime" is back, baby.

3. Clippers (16-6)

Number to know: 42.3

Since returning with two new robot shoulders (don't fact check that), Paul George is shooting a scorching 42.3 percent from 3-point range on 9.5 attempts per game. George and Kawhi Leonard form a menacing one-two punch defensively on the wing, but the offense is coming along quickly for coach Doc Rivers, too.

4. Raptors (15-5)

Number to know: 8.2

Could Pascal Siakam win Most Improved Player two years in a row? The 25-year-old forward is up to 25.1 points per game, an 8.2 point improvement compared to the 2018-19 season. Leonard is gone, but these Raptors will be a real problem if Siakam can keep this pace.

5. Celtics (14-5)

Number to know: 6.5 and 4.2

The de-Kobe'ing of Jayson Tatum appears to be working. Tatum admitted he made the game too difficult in 2018-19, often settling for contested jumpers when a drive or 3-pointer was available. Through 19 games, Tatum is shooting 6.5 3-pointers (up from 3.9) and 4.2 free throws (up from 2.9), significant improvements for the developing 21-year-old forward. Tatum possesses plenty of talent — it's all about execution for him.

6. Heat (15-5)

Number to know: 10-1

Miami holds a 10-1 record against Eastern Conference opponents, giving the Heat a better winning percentage within the conference than any East team, including the Bucks (12-2). The Heat have also handed the Bucks and Raptors their only home losses this season. They will be a tough out come playoff time.

7. Mavericks (14-6)

Number to know: 116.1

Say hello to the best offense in the NBA. Yes, the Mavericks lead the league with a 116.1 offensive rating behind a second-year surge from Luka Doncic, who is averaging 30.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game as a 20-year-old. Doncic's usage percentage (36.2) is a bit concerning because he ranks third behind James Harden (39.6) and Antetokounmpo (37.5), but he's firing on all cylinders right now.

8. Nuggets (13-5)

Number to know: 2.7 and 5.3

What's the deal with Nikola Jokic? The All-Star center is down to 15.4 points per game after averaging 20.1 last season. Even more concerning, he has often played with sloth-like energy and merely floated rather than attacked. He is shooting just 2.7 free throws per game (lowest since his rookie year) and tallying 5.3 paint touches per game (down from 6.7 last year). Someone give Jokic a Red Bull.

9. 76ers (15-6)

Number to know: 16.5

Philadelphia will likely always suffer to some degree from turnover problems from its spacing issues. Still, the Sixers are a bottom-five team in terms of turnovers per game (16.5). Brett Brown's starting five is elite, but Philly must value possessions if it wants to truly be a championship contender.

10. Rockets (13-7)

Number to know: 14

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