Coach Brett Brown and his Sixers are finally starting to see results, with wins in seven of their last nine games (TastyPoutine/Creative Commons).

With every team at or beyond the midpoint of its regular-season schedule, it could not be a better time to assess how each squad measures up. Some teams will be celebrating All-Star starter selections just named, while many others are confronting serious injuries. Amid this crazy time, the 76ers jumped nine slots, leaving the league’s cellar thanks to a mighty strong start to 2017. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic have experienced the league’s steepest declines in recent weeks.

Biggest Jumps: Philadelphia 76ers (+9), Washington Wizards (+4), Detroit Pistons (+4), Denver Nuggets (+4)

Biggest Falls: Sacramento Kings (-8), Charlotte Hornets (-8), Orlando Magic (-7)

Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Jonah Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up to and including Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. There were five contests on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, that are not reflected in the rankings but have been taken into account for the blurbs and team records.

  1. Golden State Warriors (36-6, Previous Rank: 1) – Narrative-wise, the Golden State Warriors may be in the middle of their biggest week in the regular season. On Monday, they faced off against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team to whom they had lost four straight games including their first matchup this season on Christmas Day. This time, the Warriors silenced their critics and won by 35. Wednesday’s game against the Thunder marked just the second time former teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook faced off against each other since the former left for Golden State this offseason. With tensions high and bad blood all around, the Warriors came out with a 21-point win, and Kevin Durant poured in a season-high 40 points, shooting 13-16 overall, 10-10 after being passed to. They close the week against the surprising Houston Rockets on Friday night, but until then they hold the remarkable distinction of being the best team in the NBA in both Offensive and Defensive Rating. – Loren
  2. San Antonio Spurs (33-9, Previous Rank: 3)
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers (30-11, Previous Rank: 4)
  4. Houston Rockets (33-12, Previous Rank: 2)
  5. Toronto Raptors (28-14, Previous Rank: 5)
  6. Boston Celtics (26-16, Previous Rank: 6)
  7. Los Angeles Clippers (29-15, Previous Rank: 10) – With Blake Griffin’s imminent return on the horizon, the Clippers’ outlook was promising. Now Chris Paul will be sidelined for six to eight weeks, and the team is again in panic mode. In the team’s first game without CP3, its seven-game winning streak was snapped by the Karl-Anthony Towns-led Timberwolves. Los Angeles now must survive by utilizing a combination of Raymond Felton and Austin Rivers at point guard. To add insult to injury, literally, the Clippers must contend with an extremely tough schedule in the coming weeks. If the team slips and finishes the season as a sixth seed or worse, it would likely be forced to face Golden State, San Antonio or Houston in the postseason’s opening round. – Joshua
  8. Utah Jazz (27-16, Previous Rank: 7) – In recent years, the Jazz have been devastated by a number of key injuries, this season included. In early January, as the team was looking its healthiest in some time, Utah reeled off wins in three of four contests, including a notable victory over the defending champion Cavaliers. Unfortunately, Rodney Hood sustained a knee injury four days later and has been ruled out for at least the next couple weeks. In George Hill’s return from a three-game concussion absence January 7, he dropped 10 fourth-quarter points (of 19 total) to edge Minnesota. Coming over from the Pacers, Hill has won 15 of the 19 games in which he’s been healthy enough to play. The man is shooting nearly 45 percent from 3 and averaging a career-high 18.1 points per game. If Gordon Hayward’s hot shooting and the team’s strong defense continue, look for Utah to jump ahead of the injury-ravaged Clippers shortly. – Aaron
  9. Atlanta Hawks (24-18, Previous Rank: 11)
  10. Memphis Grizzlies (25-19, Previous Rank: 12)
  11. Oklahoma City Thunder (25-19, Previous Rank: 9)
  12. Washington Wizards (23-19, Previous Rank: 16)
  13. Indiana Pacers (22-19, Previous Rank: 15) – The Pacers have rattled off wins in seven of their past eight games, and in those contests, Monta Ellis has averaged a mere 4.5 field-goal attempts, while sinking 50 percent (other than Ellis’ rookie season, he has never attempted as few as 7.4 shots per game in a season, his current average). During this stretch, Glenn Robinson III has played magnificently as a starting guard for the club. Myles Turner merits strong All-Star consideration and Paul George is still capable of leading Indiana to victory, as he proved with his clutch second-half performance against the Kings on Wednesday. Thaddeus Young has been a defensive terror, amassing two six-steal games in his past four contests . The Pacers have recently fattened up against weaker opponents, with their last eight games coming against sub-.500 squads. – Joshua
  14. Chicago Bulls (21-22, Previous Rank: 14)
  15. Milwaukee Bucks (20-21, Previous Rank: 13)
  16. Charlotte Hornets (21-21, Previous Rank: 8) – Charlotte has lost seven of its previous nine games, but three of these losses came against the elite Cavaliers, Spurs and Rockets. Excuses aside, the Hornets’ defense, coach Steve Clifford’s calling card, has been abysmal. Prior to Charlotte’s most recent game, a blowout victory against Portland, it allowed 112.4 points over its past eight games. Over an entire season, this average would rank the Hornets 29th in the NBA. While leader Kemba Walker’s scoring and shooting have remained strong, his turnover rate has risen, coinciding with the team’s recent losing run. – Joshua
  17. Detroit Pistons (20-24, Previous Rank: 21)
  18. Denver Nuggets (17-24, Previous Rank: 22) – With all the talk of young NBA unicorns primed to take over the league, Denver’s Nikola Jokic is sometimes lost in the discussion of the other outstanding 21-year-old centers, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid. Of that foursome, Jokic has the best True Shooting Percentage (65.4) and the best Assist Percentage (22.9) by a large margin, and trails only Towns in Total Rebounding Percentage (18.2). As Adam Mares of Denver Stiffs pointed out, we’ve only seen his combination of per game points, rebounds, assists and True Shooting Percentage in five total seasons by Charles Barkley (three times), LeBron James (once) and Kevin Durant (this season). That does not even take into consideration that Jokic somehow spent 14 games this season coming off the bench and still only averages under 26 minutes per game. The casual fan may have finally caught wind of Jokic during his last three games in which he’s averaged 31.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. The Nuggets have ridden that wave up our rankings and into the West’s eighth seed, which sounds nice until you realize that they are still closer to last place than seventh. – Loren
  19. Philadelphia 76ers (14-26, Previous Rank: 28) – As talk of No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons’ highly anticipated debut heats up, Brett Brown’s group of lovable losers is suddenly winning. The Sixers have now notched victories in seven of their last nine contests after achieving just seven wins through their first 31 games. Things are starting to click for our highest-rising team this edition. Over the past couple weeks, Philly led Boston by double-digits at halftime, only to narrowly fall on the road, and most recently they upset the Raptors Wednesday night, limiting that elite Toronto offense to 89 points. In the calendar year, Joel Embiid is averaging 23.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, while shooting 45.0 percent from the field. Over the same stretch, the 76ers are boasting the league’s 12th best Net Rating (who would’ve thought?) and virtually all of that rise in the category can be attributed to the team’s 98.3 Defensive Rating (No. 2 in the NBA) over its last eight games. Clearly, the offense still needs to show growth. – Aaron
  20. New Orleans Pelicans (17-26, Previous Rank: 18)
  21. Portland Trail Blazers (18-26, Previous Rank: 23)
  22. New York Knicks (19-25, Previous Rank: 20) – These last two weeks have been a period of turmoil for the New York Knicks, to say the least. To start, starting point guard Derrick Rose went missing, later explaining that he needed to tend to a family emergency (that’s fine, but probably warrants letting the team know). Next, shooting guard Courtney Lee posted (and later deleted) to Instagram a picture from “Dumb and Dumber,” surmised to be referring to coach Jeff Hornacek and President Phil Jackson, and subsequently lost his starting spot to Westchester Knick call-up Ron Baker. Finally, after a scathing article against Carmelo Anthony by Charley Rosen, Anthony was called to a “summit” by Jackson to discuss the possibility of waiving his no-trade clause, which Carmelo ultimately declined to do unless the trade was to either the Cavaliers or the Clippers. Ultimately to Knicks fans, though, all of this drama may be worthwhile as long as they are able to hold onto and develop Kristaps Porzingis, who continually looks more and more like an era-defining franchise cornerstone. – Loren
  23. Dallas Mavericks (14-28, Previous Rank: 24)
  24. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-28, Previous Rank: 25)
  25. Sacramento Kings (16-25, Previous Rank: 17) – Within a game of the eighth spot in the West, the Kings were dealt a devastating blow when Rudy Gay was declared out for the rest of the season with a fully torn Achilles, effectively ending his career in “basketball hell.” In Sacramento’s most recent loss, it blew a 19-point halftime edge. DeMarcus Cousins had a triple-double in the game, but went 0-9 and committed six of his game-worst nine turnovers in the aforementioned disastrous second half. For its recent performance, the Kings are this edition’s biggest faller, dropping eight spots to 25th. – Joshua
  26. Orlando Magic (17-27, Previous Rank: 19) – Although Aaron Gordon’s offense is still wildly inconsistent – likely due to his youth as well as Orlando’s misusing him as a small forward given its glut of big men – he has improved his scoring average every month this season. Unfortunately, his enhanced scoring has not translated into wins for the Magic. This season, the team ranks third-to-last in True Shooting Percentage and 26th in Effective Field-Goal Percentage. So that’s already not very good, but now its most accurate 3-point shooter, Jodie Meeks, will be sidelined four to six weeks with two sprained ligaments in his right thumb. To make matters worse, sharpshooting Evan Fournier is suffering through a lingering heel injury. – Aaron
  27. Phoenix Suns (13-29, Previous Rank: 27)
  28. Los Angeles Lakers (15-31, Previous Rank: 26)
  29. Miami Heat (13-30, Previous Rank: 29)
  30. Brooklyn Nets (8-33, Previous Rank: 30)

Thanks for visiting and reading. Links to the previous editions of our power rankings can be found here.