A handful of teams at the top of the league are playing great basketball right now. Everyone else is playing very badly, besides the New York Knicks. The NBA is a confusing place. Let’s see where all this chaos has left everybody.

Biggest moves

Positive: Denver Nuggets, 14 spots

Negative: Oklahoma City Thunder, 15 spots

30. Chicago Bulls. Record: 2-9. Net Rating: -12.4.
Power Shift: =
A great win over the Orlando Magic can’t save this team from the gutter. There’s nothing Chicago can do to become a competitive basketball team this year, but they do need to stop letting Justin Holiday shoot 14 times a game. It’s tanking his trade value and taking shots from Lauri Markkanen.

29. Dallas Mavericks. Record: 2-12. Net Rating: -9.5.
Power Shift: =
Dennis Smith Jr. exploded past Jeff Green and got himself a wide open layup to cut the Cleveland Cavaliers lead to two points with 30 seconds left on Saturday night. He put it up off the glass, it hit the front rim, and bounced out right into Green’s hands. It’s just one of those years for the Mavericks.

28. Atlanta Hawks. Record: 2-11. Net Rating: -7.4.
Power Shift: -2
The Hawks have actually had a pretty tough schedule to open their season. There’s reason to believe some wins could be in their future, especially with the strong play of point guard Dennis Schröder. But the tank is definitely on in Atlanta, and rookie John Collins is a great start to a rebuild.

27. Sacramento Kings. Record: 3-9. Net Rating: -11.6.
Power Shift: +1
Dave Joerger’s Kings were cruising for 30th place in these rankings when something magical happened; they won two games in a row. They got a triumphant victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, then De’Aaron Fox hit a game-winner to sink the Philadelphia 76ers. The secret to these two wins: Fox was running the show, with the second highest usage rate in both games.

26. Phoenix Suns. Record: 5-9. Net Rating: -8.0.
Power Shift: +1
The Suns seemed all the way ready to go into a tailspin, losing five in a row after beating the Washington Wizards. Then they pulled out a scrappy win against the uninspired Minnesota Timberwolves. They aren’t good on either side of the floor, not even over the past 11 games when they’ve gone 5-6. But if you let them, they can find a way to beat you.

25. Brooklyn Nets. Record: 5-8. Net Rating: -4.4.
Power Shift: -1
A nice road win in Portland earns this team the 25th spot, but the wheels are falling off this bandwagon pretty quickly. If D’Angelo Russell misses significant time, Brooklyn will be living in Bulls Country on these rankings before long.

24. Utah Jazz. Record: 6-7. Net Rating: -1.6.
Power Shift: -8
For a moment, it looked like the Jazz were really good. Then they stopped scoring. It already looked like they had a long season ahead of them after scoring three points in a quarter against the Miami Heat. Then they found out Rudy Gobert will be out for six-to-eight weeks. Sell all your Jazz stock on the League Pass Market, this team is finished.

23. Oklahoma City Thunder. Record: 6-7. Net Rating: 5.6.
Power Shift: -15
This is harsh, I know, but come on. The Thunder had all but turned the season around at halftime against Boston, then, over the next three and a half games, played the worst stretch of basketball any team has played since Earl Watson got fired. They’re historically bad in crunch time, and they’re currently 4.4 points per 100 possessions better on defense with Carmelo Anthony on the bench. I’m not pounding the “Blow It Up” button or anything, but this is concerning.

22. Los Angeles Clippers. Record: 5-7. Net Rating: 1.6.
Power Shift: -12
Since starting the season 4-0, Blake Griffin and the new look Clippers have gone 1-7. They’ve had a net rating of -7.4, and have had the second worst defense in the entire league. Now their already thin guard rotation is being devastated by injuries. My faith in Blake will never waver, but a promising season has taken a dark turn early.

21. Los Angeles Lakers. Record: 5-8. Net Rating: -3.4.
Power Shift: +4 
The Lakers have stumbled, fumbled, and bumbled their way into a pretty fun young team. They’re not good by any reasonable definition of the word, and this season will have been a failure if Lonzo Ball can’t start making some godforsaken shots. But they keep getting some nice wins.

20. Indiana Pacers. Record: 6-8. Net Rating: -0.4.
Power Shift: -2
The first of the season’s fun early surprises has fallen. Indiana is 1-5 since beating Cleveland, with their only win coming against the worst team in the league. The good news; Victor Oladipo has continued to play well despite cooling down, putting up 22.8 points, 3.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 47.4-percent from the field and 36.7-percent from three over the last six games.

19. Charlotte Hornets. Record: 5-7. Net Rating: -0.1.
Power Shift: -9
Nic Batum. Is. Back. So ignore the four-game losing streak. Ignore the fact that Charlotte gets outscored by 24 points per 100 possessions with Kemba Walker on the bench. The Hornets’ second-best player is back and a really good team is ready to start playing like it.

18. Cleveland Cavaliers. Record: 6-7. Net Rating: -3.1.
Power Shift: -3
Just when it looked like the Cavs were ready to prove they can beat any good team they feel is worthy of being beaten, they lose a brutal one to the Houston Rockets. They got their first win over a bad team by beating the Mavericks, but, as mentioned earlier, it wasn’t exactly triumphant. They’re trending up, but they still need to start winning games consistently.

17. Miami Heat. Record: 6-7. Net Rating: -2.2.
Power Shift: +6
13 games into the season, and Miami doesn’t have an impressive win on the resume. They also don’t really have a bad loss. That’s the team they are. They play the same game every night — hard, focused basketball with high execution but pretty limited talent. They’re going to outwork bad teams and get beaten by good teams. They’re a .500 team, just like last year.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves. Record: 7-5. Net Rating: -2.6.
Power Shift: +1
If it’s possible for there to be a good time to lose to the Phoenix Suns, the Wolves just discovered it. They’ve been playing badly all season and pulling a lot of weird wins out of thin air. They needed a wake-up call, and the Suns gave it to them. Right now, their biggest problem is Andrew Wiggins. He’s bad, and he’s playing like he’s their best player. Jimmy Butler needs to take over eventually.

15. Milwaukee Bucks. Record: 6-6. Net Rating: -0.8.
Power Shift: -6
In the two games Eric Bledsoe has played with the Bucks, they have two wins and an absurd defensive rating of 88.9. Bledsoe doesn’t solve all of their problems, but he might be enough to get a reeling team back on track.

14. Portland Trail Blazers. Record: 6-6. Net Rating: 4.1.
Power Shift: =
Portland continues to be one of the strangest teams in the league. After having the worst defense in the NBA before last year’s trade deadline, they are now consistently winning games with their fourth ranked defense in spite of their average offense. The issue here is clear: a team that makes its money at the three point line is 27th in the league in Effective Field Goal percentage, and weirdly 25th in the league in three pointers attempted per game. So will the shooting go back to usual, or will the defense? That question will define their season.

13. Philadelphia 76ers. Record: 6-6. Net Rating: -1.0.
Power Shift: +9
Ben Simmons is a generational talent. He’s so much better already than anyone could have ever expected. I’ll remain skeptical of this team’s playoff chances for a while, but Simmons and Joel Embiid are adding so many wins right now, it’s hard not to get excited.

12. New Orleans Pelicans. Record: 7-6. Net Rating: 1.1.
Power Shift: +3
New Orleans might be starting to put something together. They’re 4-1 over their last five, and their one loss came on the road to a very good Toronto team. They could be 5-0, but at the same time, they’re one Robin Lopez bucket away from being 3-2 over that stretch with their worst loss of the season. The Pelicans are constantly teetering on the edge of disaster and competency, but they’re on the right side of the line for now.

11. New York Knicks. Record: 7-5. Net Rating: -0.3.
Power Shift: +9
The Knicks! My god, the Knicks! They’re 7-2 in their last nine, outscoring opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions. Who knows if they can keep this going, but, right now, who cares? New York will always have November.

10. Orlando Magic. Record: 8-5. Net Rating: 3.8.
Power Shift: -8
The little engine that could continues to chug along in Orlando. Their schedule has been absolute cake so far in November, but they are still beating the teams they should — besides that nasty loss to Chicago. The only big concern; the Magic still have the second-best three point percentage in the league at 40.6-percent, and have already started to lose games. If that number regresses towards last year’s mark of 32.8-percent, this team is in trouble.

9. Memphis Grizzlies. Record: 7-5. Net Rating: 2.6.
Power Shift: -7
After a beautiful start to the season, Memphis has returned to earth, going 2-4 over their last six. But they went 2-2 on a tough road trip, and still hold the fifth best defensive rating in the league despite matching up with the Houston Rockets for three of their 12 games. With the return of JaMychal Green still on the horizon, there is only good to come for the Grizz.

8. Toronto Raptors. Record: 7-5. Net Rating: 4.4.
Power Shift: -4
Sunday’s loss to the Boston Celtics was Toronto’s first really concerning moment of the season. It’s the type of game the Raptors cash their checks on, with Boston missing their starting point guard. All the same, the Raptors are set up for another great regular season, with a solid start despite working in a young supporting cast and the struggles of star point guard Kyle Lowry. But if Lowry doesn’t pick it up sometime this month, there could be reason to worry.

7. Washington Wizards. Record: 7-5. Net Rating: 3.8.
Power Shift: -2
Have the Wizards finally shown up to the 2017-18 NBA season? Teams as good as the Wiz are not supposed to lose to teams as bad as the Mavericks at home — or on the road. But the Wizards did, and it is sticking out like a sore thumb. They’re still 3-1 after getting sonned by King James, but they would be three or four spots higher if they could take care of business more consistently.

6. San Antonio Spurs. Record: 8-5. Net Rating: 3.3.
Power Shift: +7
The Spurs lost four in a row. Kawhi Leonard didn’t come back. Then they went 3-1 over their next four. And they have the seventh best defense in the league. Coach Gregg Popovich has set the bar for this team so high that I still find their start to be a bit underwhelming. But they’ll be right on track for 55 wins if Leonard ever gets back.

5. Denver Nuggets. Record: 8-5. Net Rating: 1.8.
Power Shift: +14
Questions answered. After a slow-as-molasses start, the Nuggets have gotten back on track. They have the eighth best offense in the league in November, and their only loss this month doesn’t count because it was against the Warriors. During their November homestand, they’ve had a net rating of 5.8 with Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap on the floor together, the most encouraging sign they could have asked for. Now it’s time to test it out on the road.

4. Detroit Pistons. Record: 10-3. Net Rating: 5.0.
Power Shift: +8
Against all odds, this Detroit team is extremely fun to watch. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson are having the best individual seasons of their careers, and their pick and roll chemistry is decidedly back. They’ve also got awesome guys in their second unit like Ish Smith, Langston Galloway, and Anthony Tolliver. Don’t start looking up their conference finals odds quite yet, but I’m glad to say Stan Van Gundy is back.

3. Houston Rockets. Record: 11-3. Net Rating: 8.0.
Power Shift: +4
I regarded this team as the second best in the league before the year, and they’re proving me right. They’re unstoppable right now. But they’re also in possession of maybe the most interesting narrative, league-wide. How will Chris Paul’s impending return affect this juggernaut? I have faith in a basketball savant like Paul, but it will be essential viewing no matter which way it goes.

2. Boston Celtics. Record: 12-2. Net Rating: 8.0.
Power Shift: +4
Are the Celtics morphing into the East Coast Spurs in front of our eyes? I’m not saying they’re going to win five titles, it’s just about the way they play. They have incredible top shelf talent in Kyrie Irving, and Al Horford, who is somehow having the best year of his career. But it doesn’t seem like they actually need any of them to play. It’s always next guy up, and they always win, for twelve games in a row now. Their future is incredible, and their present is pretty great too.

1. Golden State Warriors. Record: 10-3. Net Rating: 14.4.
Power Shift: =
Delete your drafts. The champs started trying again, and during their six-game winning streak they have the league’s second best offense, the best defense, and a net rating of 22.7. Just hope these guys don’t care about beating your team, because otherwise they’re taking home the W.

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