NBA Power Rankings: December 25

1. Timberwolves: The most pleasant surprise and best story in the NBA in the early season.

2. Celtics: Look better and more balanced than 2022 Finals team.

3. Bucks: Is Damian Lillard addition the move that puts them over the top?

4. Nuggets: Defending champs still don’t get enough credit, but have a great shot to repeat.

5. 76ers: Haven’t missed a beat without James Harden.

6. Thunder: Bad home loss to Lakers but otherwise have been brilliant.

7. Clippers: Have been a different team since Russell Westbrook started coming off bench.

8. Heat: Starting to show a little more consistency since Tyler Herro‘s return.

9. Mavericks: Year 2 of the Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving experiment going better, but can Kyrie stay on court?

10. Kings: Still flying under radar but could end up winning Pacific Division again.

11. Magic: Suddenly, anything less than the Play-In tournament would be considered a disappointment. 

12. Knicks: Want to make a trade for a star player and likely need to do so if they hope to truly contend.

13. Pelicans: With good health has come (mostly) good things.

14. Cavaliers: Won’t know the full picture until they get fully healthy. Will that ever happen?

15. Lakers: Look a lot like last season — LeBron James, Anthony Davis and inconsistent role players.

16. Warriors: Have been at their best this season recently, without Draymond Green.

17. Rockets: Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks and new coach Ime Udoka have changed the culture and belief.

18. Suns: So far, the league’s newest Big Three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal Big has been a bust.

19. Pacers: Will highlight of the season turn out to be appearance in first In-Season Tournament title game?

20. Nets: The very definition of average, with little of hope going beyond that.

21. Bulls: Better, but still incredibly up-and-down, without top trade candidate Zach LaVine.

22. Hawks: The NBA’s most disappointing team needs to consider gutting the roster.

23. Jazz: Collin Sexton has greatly increased his trade value over the past two weeks. That’s been about the only good news.

24. Raptors: If Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby are on roster after trade deadline, consider it a stunner.

25. Grizzlies: Ja Morant is back to save the season, and he just might do it.

26. Trail Blazers: Haven’t been anything resembling a threat since firing former coach Terry Stotts.

27. Hornets: How much longer can they be bad, because it feels like 100 years already?

28. Wizards: Haven’t hit the 50-win mark since 1979 and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

29. Spurs: Victor Wembanyama is surrounded by a bunch of G League reserves.

30. Pistons: Gut the roster. Start over. Couldn’t be any worse.

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