2016-17 NBA Power Rankings: Bulls, Grizzlies Rise In Week 5

In Week 5 of our 2016-17 NBA Power Rankings, the Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers are on the rise.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 16, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) celebrates after a three point basket in the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Grizzlies won 111-107. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016-17 regular season isn’t even a month old yet, and already we’ve seen plenty of week-to-week fluctuation in our NBA Power Rankings.

Teams that seemed like borderline threats to miss the playoffs like the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies are starting to prove they’re trustworthy, the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks are attempting to find themselves, and injuries have once again devastated high hopes for the Utah Jazz.

The title contenders are right at the top where we assumed they’d be, but there’s plenty of parity to go around outside of our power four teams — the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.

The question is, where does everyone wind up after another full week of NBA action that included blowouts, new milestones and plenty of upsets? Here’s a look at our Week 5 2016-17 NBA Power Rankings.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 18, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) and forward Harrison Barnes (40) and guard Seth Curry (30) check the scoreboard during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at the American Airlines Center. The Grizzlies defeat the Mavericks 80-64. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

30

Dallas Mavericks

2-10

Last week: 0-4
Last rank: 27th

It took exactly 11 games for Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut to suffer as many losses with the Dallas Mavericks (nine) as they did all of last season with the Golden State Warriors. With J.J. Barea out at least six weeks due to a calf strain and Dirk Nowitzki still sidelined, things have gotten incredibly bleak in Big D.

How bleak? Here’s how bleak: The Mavs didn’t crack 90 points in any of their four games this week, and if not for Nicolas Brussino‘s three-pointer with 24 seconds left against Memphis, Dallas would’ve set a new franchise-low for points scored in a single game with 61, surpassing their previous mark of 62.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 17, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots a layup against the New York Knicks during the second half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

29

Washington Wizards

3-9

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 28th

Losses to the Sixers and Heat are sure to help what is rapidly becoming the most depressing team in the Eastern Conference, right? Now that the Pelicans have Jrue Holiday back and more wins on the season than the Washington Wizards, we may want to think about moving John Wall ahead of Anthony Davis on the list of NBA superstars we feel most sorry for.

He probably won’t catch DeMarcus Cousins in that No. 1 spot, but even with Wall and Bradley Beal scoring 34 points apiece in their most recent contest, it still wasn’t enough to beat Miami. The play of their bench — which boasts the second-fewest points per game and third-worst point differential in the NBA — is a fair indicator that Marcin Gortat‘s assessment was justified after all.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 19, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) dunks after the whistle against the Phoenix Suns during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

28

Philadelphia 76ers

3-10

Last week: 2-2
Last rank: 30th

Joel Embiid‘s career-high 26 points in just 20 minutes (and his monster block on Devin Booker) were the main story of the week for the Philadelphia 76ers, as was their recent 2-2 spurt after starting the season 1-8.

However, don’t lose sight of Dario Saric, who is averaging 13.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in his three appearances off the bench so far, nor should we ignore Nik Stauskas, who has scored at least 12 points in his last six games.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 16, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) walks off the court after being ejected from the game during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 120-104. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

27

Phoenix Suns

4-10

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 26th

Do we put more stock in the Phoenix Suns’ 20-point win in Indiana (with no Paul George), or their 15-point loss to the Embiid-led Sixers the following night in Philly? Do we find encouragement in Brandon Knight‘s season-high 32 points off the bench in Denver, or focus more on Devin Booker’s ongoing struggles and ejection in that same game?

Not much was expected of the Suns, nor of Phoenix native Alan Williams, who has recorded a double-double off the bench in each of his last two games, but as the losses continue to pile up and Dragan Bender continues to ride the bench, it’s starting to feel like MAYBE the Suns should’ve put more due diligence into their head coaching search last spring.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 12, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (left) looks on next to Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (right) during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Nets won 122-104. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

26

Brooklyn Nets

4-9

Last week: 0-4
Last rank: 20th

If last week was the honeymoon phase for the Brooklyn Nets, this week was the moment you realize your spouse has gained 25 pounds, that you’re unhappy, and that it’s time to start brainstorming possible grounds for an annulment.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t THAT bad, but the Nets went 0-4 and were outscored in those games by a combined 78 points. Until Jeremy Lin returns, my advice for Brooklyn fans would be to enjoy Robin Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic, because this past week was a cold dose of reality otherwise.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 18, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) talks to his teammates in the second half of their game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

25

New Orleans Pelicans

4-10

Last week: 3-1
Last rank: 29th

The New Orleans Pelicans still have major ground to make up in the Western Conference playoff picture thanks to their 1-9 start, but with Jrue Holiday back and the Pellies going 3-1 on the week, there’s some reason for optimism in the Big Easy.

Anthony Davis is still their big bad monster, tallying 38 points in back-to-back games to close the week, but in Jrue Holiday’s first two games back, he’s put up 43 points and 16 assists on 17-of-31 shooting. Archie Goodwin not getting much run before being waived is disappointing, but things are finally looking up for the Pellies — especially after that impressive OT win over the Hornets.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 17, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (32) dunks over Philadelphia 76ers guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (20) during the fourth quarter at Target Center. The Timberwolves defeated the 76ers 110-86. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

24

Minnesota Timberwolves

4-8

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 19th

Much has been made of Andrew Wiggins taking the next step in his game thanks to a vastly improved three-point shot, but what of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ once top-5 offense failing to put up 90 points in their last two games?

On the bright side, at least one of those games was a 22-point win over the Sixers, in which Karl-Anthony Towns murdered The Process in a highly anticipated matchup of the unicorns:

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 17, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters (11) reacts after being fouled during the second half against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 96-73. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

23

Miami Heat

4-8

Last week: 2-2
Last rank: 24th

Pretty impressive week for the Miami Heat, who started 0-2 against superior teams in the Spurs and Hawks before finishing 2-0 with Goran Dragic back on the floor.

Aside from the return of the Dragon and Hassan Whiteside‘s gaudy 18-16-3 stat line though, the Dion Waiters revival is worth keeping an eye on. In his last four games, Waiters is averaging 19.3 points and 4.3 assists per game…albeit on .415/.250/.571 shooting splits.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 20, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts after being fouled by the Toronto Raptors during the third quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Kings won 102-99. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

22

Sacramento Kings

5-9

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 22nd

At what point in the season do the Sacramento Kings realize it’s time to do everyone — including themselves — a solid and trade DeMarcus Cousins to go all-in on a full-scale rebuild? Knowing this front office, probably far too late after they should have.

In the meantime, the Kings did put together a reasonably competitive week, falling to the Spurs and Clippers by a combined 11 points behind monster nights from Boogie before beating the Raptors on a controversial final play. Head coach Dave Joerger’s switch to a small-ball starting lineup might be Sacramento’s last-ditch effort to rejoin the playoff hunt before the Kings are forced to finally face their own inadequacy, so….fingers crossed?

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 16, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) high fives center Nikola Vucevic (9) against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Amway Center. The Magic won 89-82. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

21

Orlando Magic

6-7

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 25th

Don’t look now, but the Orlando Magic are suddenly only a win away from improving to .500 on the season. Unfortunately, five of their six wins have come against the lowly Sixers, Kings, Wizards, Pelicans and Mavericks, with the lone exception being Serge Ibaka‘s revenge game against the Thunder.

On the bright side though, as Frank Vogel’s squad continues to find its footing, they’ve got an awfully favorite stretch of games coming up, which includes the Bucks (twice), Suns, Wizards (twice) and Sixers in their next nine contests.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 17, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd (right) talks with Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova (left) during the second half against Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 96-73. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

20

Milwaukee Bucks

5-7

Last week: 0-3
Last rank: 16th

In their three games this week, Giannis Antetokounmpo added more fuel to this unstoppable freight train heading toward the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award, averaging 23.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. Meanwhile, Jabari Parker put up 20.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in that same span.

Unfortunately, none of that translated into wins for the Milwaukee Bucks, who aren’t doing a very good job showcasing Greg Monroe to boost his trade value back up. Monroe has played a grand total of nine minutes over the last three games, and when you add all of this up, it’s hard to feel good about playing the Warriors so well for the second year in a row.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 12, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) looks to shoot the ball during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. The Pistons won 106-95. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

19

Detroit Pistons

6-8

Last week: 1-3
Last rank: 17th

Have we mentioned how badly the Detroit Pistons need Reggie Jackson back? Because it bears repeating after their second consecutive 1-3 week.

Jon Leuer has been playing extremely well off the bench, but aside from that and Andre Drummond passing Shaquille O’Neal as the youngest NBA player since 1983-84 to reach 4,000 points and 4,000 rebounds, Detroit’s miserable 1-7 road record looms large.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 16, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 120-104. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

18

Denver Nuggets

5-8

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 23rd

The news that Gary Harris would be out for about four weeks was somewhat softened by double-digit wins over the Suns and Jazz, not to mention a competitive overtime loss to the Raptors and Jamal Murray‘s 18-point performance on Sunday.

However, as guys like Danilo Gallinari, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried and Nikola Jokic waver back and forth between big nights and mediocre performances, it’s worth mentioning that Wilson Chandler — averaging 17.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game off the bench — has rapidly become the Denver Nuggets’ most consistent performer.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 14, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Trey Lyles (41) goes up for a shot during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Memphis won 102-96. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

17

Utah Jazz

7-8

Last week: 0-4
Last rank: 8th

We’re not ready to hit the panic button on the Utah Jazz just yet, but good Lord, can this team ever stay healthy? Aside from the obvious continued absence of Alec Burks, the Jazz have also been playing without George Hill — who had been lighting it up for his new team early on — and Derrick Favors.

Expectations shouldn’t be high based on those standards, but even Trey Lyles‘ impressive play couldn’t prevent an ugly 0-4 week with each margin of defeat getting progressively worse. It’s not time to panic just yet, but if Utah’s injury luck doesn’t change — and soon — we could be looking at another disappointing season derailed by bad luck.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 20, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) gestures after a three point basket during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 104-94. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

16

New York Knicks

6-7

Last week: 3-1
Last rank: 21st

Are the New York Knicks starting to figure things out? They’re only one win below .500 now, with an impressive victory over the Hawks moving them to a four-game win streak at home and a three-win week.

Seeing Carmelo Anthony go off for a season-high 31 points in that game was something of a relief, especially compared to the more efficient Kristaps Porzingis. Through 13 games, KP has totaled 263 points on 194 shots, compared to Melo’s 298 points on 232 shots. How long before Jeff Hornacek keeps Joakim Noah on the bench and moves KP to the 5 where he belongs?

NBA Power Rankings

November 18, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Louis Williams (23) moves the ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

15

Los Angeles Lakers

7-7

Last week: 1-2
Last rank: 15th

We’ve mentioned a few Sixth Man of the Year candidates, but somehow Lou Williams — and his 16.9 points per game off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers — has stayed under the radar. We seek to change that in Week 5, humbly submitting his name among the top candidates early on in 2016-17.

In other news, kudos to head coach Luke Walton and his young team for hanging tough with the Spurs and Bulls, and also to Julius Randle, who recorded his second career triple-double in that win against Brooklyn. Even the staunchest of Laker haters have to admit this team is kind of fun.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 17, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) advances the ball upcourt against the Houston Rockets during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

14

Portland Trail Blazers

8-7

Last week: 1-3
Last rank: 10th

Damian Lillard was probably on to something when he said the Portland Trail Blazers “kind of suck right now.” Aside from a 20-point win in Brooklyn to salvage the week, Rip City got steamrolled by 25, 17 and 12 points in increasingly embarrassing losses to the Bulls, Rockets and Pelicans, respectively.

As it turns out, that porous backcourt defense matters a lot more when Lillard and C.J. McCollum aren’t firing on all cylinders. With that model starting to look a bit more unsustainable, we should point out that Dame has failed to reach 20 points in three of his last four games…after reaching the 30-point mark in seven of his first 11.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 16, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Jeff Teague (44) shoots the ball while Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) and guard Jordan McRae (12) defend in the second half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. the Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-93. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

13

Indiana Pacers

7-7

Last week: 3-1
Last rank: 18th

Back to .500 for the Indiana Pacers, who somehow went 1-1 in their two games without Paul George…with the loss coming to the Suns and the win coming against the Thunder, surprisingly enough.

Aside from Glenn Robinson III starting to make a name for himself, we have to acknowledge Jeff Teague, who has looked far more like the point guard Indiana envisioned over the last seven games (20.7 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.9 RPG, .511/.375/.902 shooting) than he did in his first seven (11.3 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.1 RPG, .325/.231/.760 shooting).

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 20, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Anthony Morrow (2) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) react after a play against the Indiana Pacers during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

12

Oklahoma City Thunder

8-6

Last week: 2-2
Last rank: 9th

Busy week for the Oklahoma City Thunder, mostly because of Russell Westbrook (shocking, I know!). When he wasn’t dunking basketballs so hard they disappeared into the stands, he was putting up a 33-15-8 line in a loss to the Pistons without Andre Drummond, a 30-9-7 in a close win over James Harden and the Rockets, joining the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, earning high praise from Michael Jordan during said induction, and racking up back-to-back triple-doubles against the Nets and Pacers.

Unfortunately, that OT performance against Indiana came in a loss, so let’s just focus instead on the most vicious dagger dunk we’ve seen in quite some time and ignore, for now, how much help Russ still needs.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 19, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) goes to the basket as Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) defends during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

11

Boston Celtics

7-6

Last week: 2-2
Last rank: 11th

Sigh of relief for the Boston Celtics, who somehow made it through that lengthy stretch without Al Horford and Jae Crawford while still preserving their winning record. Of course, it helped to have both those guys back in the lineup for win No. 7, with Horford supplying the go-ahead basket in Detroit with 1.3 seconds remaining before blocking Aron Baynes‘ game-tying attempt at the buzzer on the very next play.

Now Isaiah Thomas has a little more help, as does newly appointed double-double machine Avery Bradley. Here’s hoping the returns of two of Boston’s three best defenders helps boost the NBA’s 18th ranked defense back into more familiar top-5 territory.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 20, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts after being called for a foul during the fourth quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center the Sacramento Kings defeated the Toronto Raptors 102 to 99. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

10

Toronto Raptors

8-5

Last week: 1-3
Last rank: 5th

Pretty much a bummer all-around for the Toronto Raptors this week, who saw just how far they still have to go with close losses to both the Cavaliers and the Warriors. DeMar DeRozan is no longer the league’s leading scorer thanks to his first sub-20-point game of the year, it took overtime to beat the Nuggets and there’s still no definitive answer for what Toronto needs to do at the power forward spot.

Finally, We The North was denied its chance at overtime against Sacramento thanks to a controversial finish, which ended with Terrence Ross‘ desperation three-pointer being ruled late when DeMarcus Cousins tipped the inbounds pass but the clock didn’t start until Ross caught the ball. It’s probably best to just move on…to the brutal final three games of the Raptors’ ongoing road trip.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 14, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

9

Houston Rockets

8-5

Last week: 3-1
Last rank: 12th

So far, so good for Mike D’Antoni‘s NBA return, the Houston Rockets’ high-powered offense, Eric Gordon‘s scoring impact off the bench and James Harden’s MVP candidacy. Despite that narrow road loss to the Beard’s former Thunder teammate, Russell Westbrook, the Rockets beat the Sixers, Blazers and Jazz by an average margin of 17.7 points per game.

Those weren’t the toughest of opponents, but Harden registering a 33-9-7, a 26-14-12 triple-double and a 31 and 10 double-double more than made up for Andre Roberson‘s lockdown job against him in OKC, when he was limited to 13 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds on 4-of-16 shooting.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 17, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) reacts to hitting a three-point shot at the first-half buzzer against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

8

Chicago Bulls

9-5

Last week: 3-1
Last rank: 13th

Who knew that shipping off Derrick Rose and letting Joakim Noah walk would tap into unfathomable depths of Jimmy Butler‘s game and/or leadership for the Chicago Bulls? (*Everyone quietly raises hand*.) Oh well, in any case, Butler has been sensational lately, filling up the stat sheet night in and night out to help this team continue defying preseason expectations.

Jimmy Buckets has quickly put the whole “Three Alphas” concern to rest, but there is one thing worth pointing out: The Bulls are a +1.8 with Rajon Rondo on the court, and a whopping +11.6 with him off it. Jerian Grant, who filled in as starter for a few games this week? A +14.5 on the court and a +4.4 off it. Just saying.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 18, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) yells at the officials during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

7

Memphis Grizzlies

8-5

Last week: 4-0
Last rank: 14th

Heck of a week for the Memphis Grizzlies, who won as many games in the last seven days as they did in the first three weeks of the season. Not only did they beat the Jazz and the league’s best team — on their own court — with a win over the Clippers, but even double-digit victories over the Mavs and Timberwolves saw Memphis hold their opponents to 64 and 71 points, respectively.

Zach Randolph continues on his Sixth Man of the Year tear, Vince Carter is relevant again, and to top it all off, Marc Gasol‘s dagger three against Lob City — and subsequent Conor McGregor-inspired celebration — put the Grizz back on our radars in the Western Conference. Here’s hoping another two weeks missed for Chandler Parsons doesn’t spoil it.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 18, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) reacts to a foul call in the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. The Hornets defeated the Hawks 100-96. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

6

Atlanta Hawks

9-4

Last week: 2-2
Last rank: 6th

Single-digit wins over inconsistent teams like the Heat and Bucks quickly gave way to back-to-back road losses in Charlotte and New York, one of which spiraled downhill after a late-game Dwight Howard ejection turned the tide of momentum in the Hornets’ favor.

That being said, even the most optimistic of Atlanta Hawks fans would admit this 9-4 start, the immediate defensive chemistry and Howard’s resurgence in his hometown have gone about as well as could’ve been expected. Plus, FLYING DUNKS OF DOOM!

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 18, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) reacts to a basket in the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at Spectrum Center. The Hornets defeated the Hawks 100-96. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

5

Charlotte Hornets

8-4

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 7th

Add Frank Kaminsky to an ever-expanding list of potential Sixth Man of the Year dark horses, with the former Wisconsin star scoring 15 and 20 points in two of his three games this week. That five-point OT loss to the lowly Pelicans soured what would’ve been a perfect week, but the Charlotte Hornets passed their most important test against Atlanta.

Cody Zeller has been balling out of late, and we can’t say enough about Kemba Walker‘s imminent first All-Star appearance, built on his 25.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game, which just so happen to come with a sense of consistency that used to feel uncharacteristic.

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 16, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) pushes the ball up court during the fourth quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Sacramento Kings 110-105. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

4

San Antonio Spurs

10-3

Last week: 3-0
Last rank: 4th

It was a quietly efficient week for the San Antonio Spurs, who were a perfect 3-0 despite those single-digit wins over the Heat, Kings and Lakers being less than dominant.

On the bright side, Pau Gasol is regularly putting up solid numbers again, Gregg Popovich just passed Larry Brown on the NBA’s all-time head coaching wins list with No. 1,099, and we could be witnessing a much-needed Tony Parker revival now that the future Hall of Famer has reached double figures in each of his last four games on 23-of-39 shooting (59 percent).

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 18, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) goes to the basket past Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

3

Golden State Warriors

11-2

Last week: 3-0
Last rank: 3rd

We could talk about the Golden State Warriors’ current seven-game win streak. We could talk about how the last three have been on the road, how one was an impressive win over the Raptors, how Klay Thompson is busting out of his early season slump, or even about how the Dubs’ 20th-ranked defense somehow hasn’t been a concern thanks to their league-leading offense.

Instead, we need to give a shout out to Zaza Pachulia — he of 4.5 points per game — for two of the four points he scored in a romp over the Celtics that prompted the best, most unnecessary celebration of the week:

NBA Power Rankings

Nov 16, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and guard J.R. Smith (5) talk on the bench in the first half of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. the Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-93. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2

Cleveland Cavaliers

10-2

Last week: 2-1
Last rank: 2nd

Much was made of LeBron James being a healthy scratch in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 10-point loss to Indiana, but a simple look to the monsters assembling out West in Los Angeles, Oakland and San Antonio serves as a pretty great reminder of why keeping an eye on the prize is paramount for the defending champs.

In the wake of yet another win against Toronto and a blowout over Detroit with a healthy LeBron, we shouldn’t lose sight of Cleveland’s 10-1 record in games in which the King suits up. Oh, and Tristan Thompson posters are fun too:

NBA Power Rankings

November 19, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) celebrates with forward Blake Griffin (32) after scoring a basket against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

1

Los Angeles Clippers

12-2

Last week: 3-1
Last rank: 1st

Getting beat on their own floor by their former playoff rival, the Memphis Grizzlies, was a bit of a stinger, especially the night after yours truly wrote about the various reasons the Los Angeles Clippers could be the NBA’s Chicago Cubs (This is their year!). That being said, a 32-point smackdown of Brooklyn, plus hard-fought wins over the Kings and Bulls, got the Clips back into familiar, dominant territory.

With an improved bench, Chris Paul as efficient as ever and Blake Griffin enjoying a full force, bounce-back season, the Clippers retain their No. 1 spot. Also, R.I.P. to Robin Lopez, who was sent to an early grave Saturday by the Flyin’ Lion.

Where does your favorite NBA team land in Week 5 and where SHOULD they be? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

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