NBA Top 10 Rankings: Jan. 20

Story posted January 21, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Daniel Maiorana

Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies are continuing to make a name for themselves not only in the Western Conference but across the entire league.

Recent wins against the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors have given opposing teams the notion that Memphis is the team to beat.

Here are the latest top-10 power rankings in the NBA.

1. Memphis Grizzlies

With a recent 11-game win streak as well as two wins over the Warriors, the Grizzles have ignored the dreadful mid-season slump.

Ja Morant is on MVP watch every week, and young players such as Jaren Jackson Jr. and Zaire Williams are giving this undervalued squad lots of recognition.

2. Phoenix Suns

The Suns are the only team who rank top six on both sides of the court, being first offensively and third defensively.

Sitting atop of the Western Conference with a 34-9 record, the Suns have a head full a steam with a lethal big man crew as well as star player Devin Booker, who averages 24.6 points per game.

3. Golden State Warriors

The splash bros are back, but with Stephen Curry being in a mini-slump and Draymond Green out with an injury, the previous No. 1 team has fallen in the rankings.

The Warriors will rely on patience to get their star players back to 100%, but short term, opponents will look to capitalize on Golden State’s problems.

4. Philadelphia 76ers

A seven-game win streak recently came to an end for the 76ers, but that is not to look past the fact that it has won nine of its last 10 games.

Philadelphia ranks second defensively since Christmas day, thanks to Embiid averaging 31.8 points since then and other players such as Tobias Harris putting up great numbers.

5. Miami Heat

Rising in the rankings, even though Bam Adebayo has missed the last 22 games, only brings more hope to Miami and its fans.

Omer Yurtseven has filled Adebayo’s role, who will return this week, putting up a double-double during his significant time on the floor.

The Heat is looking to grab the No. 1 spot in the East but will have to keep up its high-paced offense to do so.

6. Brooklyn Nets

With Kevin Durant out for some time due to a sprained MCL in his left knee, the Nets will have to rely on other star players James Harden and Kyrie Irving even more.

17 of 22 games going into the All-Star break are on the road, which means Irving will have more opportunities to impact the Nets’ record as well as its rise in the Eastern Conference and Power Rankings.

7. Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks are continuing to improve as the year goes by, dealing with minor adversity here and there. Jrue Holiday has been nursing a sore left ankle for some time, leaving Giannis Antetokounmpo accountable for carrying the Bucks even more.

Clutch plays from star players will have to be resurrected soon if it wants to be the talk of the East in the playoffs.

8. Chicago Bulls

Dropping games against big-name teams as of late has been the Bulls’ biggest problem.

Chicago is struggling to protect the basket but with Alex Caruso returning this week, it’s 27th ranking in the league of turnover rate should improve, leading to more offense and victories.

9. Utah Jazz

No Rudy Gobert means low-quality defense, and across its last five games without the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, its main weakness has been discovered.

As long as Gobert stays healthy, the defense will allow fewer points and more opportunities will be created for its offense with the likes of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers

A team that not many believed would be a top contender in the East, the Cavaliers have wheeled together a great season for what its strengths are.

Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen make a lethal big combo, but the main ballhandlers have been a toss-up as of late.

The Cavaliers have relied on Darius Garland and its big men to protect the rim and generate offense thanks the Ricky Rubio being out for the year.

Daniel Maiorana is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email dkm5903@psu.edu.