NBA Power Rankings Update – January 3

While things are pretty much the same in the Western Conference with Golden State and Phoenix battling it out for the top spot, the Eastern Conference has seen a lot of movement in the standings over the holidays. The Chicago Bulls are surging and are one game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the East after Sunday night thanks to a seven-game winning streak. Chicago is 22-1 to win the NBA title at this point, but the Bulls might see their odds continue to drop if they keep it up.

1. Brooklyn Nets

This Week’s Odds: +265

Last Week’s Odds: +275

Even though James Harden is out of shape, he has started to pick up his play. Harden isn’t shooting that well, hitting a career-low 33.6% of his threes and just 41.6% of his field goals to this point, but he is doling out 9.9 APG and pulling down 8.3 RPG. His triple-doubles aren’t as meaningless as former teammate Russell Westbrook if you watch them both, yet the Brooklyn Nets do need him to rediscover some of his old form to complement Kevin Durant.

2. Golden State Warriors

This Week’s Odds: +350

Last Week’s Odds: +400

Klay Thompson might return to the court this Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s been a long time coming for Thompson and Golden State, as he has had to rehab from two season-ending injuries. If Thompson is even 80% of himself, then the Warriors are a serious NBA title contender. Draymond Green returned from COVID protocols on Sunday, and there is a little depth on the roster.

3. Milwaukee Bucks

This Week’s Odds: +750

Last Week’s Odds: +700

The Bucks have won six straight games to keep pace with Chicago in the East. Milwaukee is currently tied with Brooklyn for second place in the conference, and the Bucks will be heavily favored to win their next two games before taking on the Nets in Brooklyn this Friday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been dominant with at least 33 points and 12 rebounds in three of his last four games.

4. Phoenix Suns

This Week’s Odds: +800

Last Week’s Odds: +700

Phoenix is finally starting to stumble a little bit. The Suns have lost three of their last four games, but things will get much easier after this weekend. They don’t play a team over .500 after Saturday’s tilt with Miami for more than two weeks. There is a lot of talent on this team, but there is currently some real trouble in the frontcourt with Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, JaVale McGee, and Abdel Nader all out.

5. Utah Jazz

This Week’s Odds: +1200 (No Change)

A six-game winning streak for Utah came to an end against Golden State in Salt Lake City on Saturday. The Jazz are set to embark on a five-game road trip, and their depth will be tested with Eric Paschall, Hassan Whiteside, and Udoka Azubuike sidelined either by injuries or personal matters.

6. Los Angeles Lakers

This Week’s Odds: +1200 (No Change)

This is a bad spot for the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s clear they need to add depth and youth to their roster, but they are stretched to the max after the Russell Westbrook deal. LeBron James’ penchant to play general manager has blown up once again, and it might take years for the Lakers to navigate their way out of this cap mess.

7. Miami Heat

This Week’s Odds: +1400

Last Week’s Odds: +1200

There are several teams dealing with a lot of COVID issues, and Miami is one of them. The Heat have been forced to add a few journeymen to 10-day contracts with nine players out, including fan favorite Udonis Haslem. The Heat have somehow managed to win five of their last six games, but Omer Yurtseven was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder on Sunday.

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