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NBA Power Rankings: Suns rise, Lakers flounder as Thanksgiving week begins

Chinmay Vaidya updates his NBA power rankings after the fifth week of the 2021-22 regular season.

Los Angeles Lakers v Detroit Pistons
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers warms up prior to the game against the Detroit Pistons on November 21, 2021 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Through five weeks of the 2021-22 NBA season, both conferences have started to show some separation in the standings. The Nets, Wizards, Heat and Bulls have risen above the 8-team cluster hovering around .500 in the East, while the Warriors, Suns and Jazz look to be the biggest threats to come out of the West. That wasn’t the conventional thinking of most around the NBA when the season began.

The Lakers opened the season as favorites to win the West, according to DraftKings Sportsbook and are now sitting at 9-9 through almost a quarter of the season. Things are not going well for a lot of reasons in Tinseltown, but Russell Westbrook’s fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis is chief among them. Frank Vogel might not last long if this keeps up, although a coaching change is not the solution to this mess. The Lakers aren’t quite at the level of the Kings or Magic but this is not the way the season was supposed to start.

The Suns have quietly climbed to second in the West, winning 12 in a row after a rough start to the season. Chris Paul and Devin Booker form a dynamic backcourt, and Deandre Ayton appears to have gotten over his leg injury. Phoenix will get a chance to test itself against the Warriors on Christmas Day. The Bucks and Hawks have also gone on winning streaks recently to join the middle of the pack in the East.

Let’s take a look at Chinmay Vaidya’s power rankings for Week 6 of the NBA season.

NBA Power Rankings: Week 6

Rank Team Previous Rank
Rank Team Previous Rank
1 Golden State Warriors 1
2 Phoenix Suns 5
3 Brooklyn Nets 2
4 Utah Jazz 3
5 Chicago Bulls 6
6 Miami Heat 8
7 Milwaukee Bucks 7
8 Washington Wizards 12
9 Denver Nuggets 4
10 Philadelphia 76ers 9
11 Charlotte Hornets 16
12 Atlanta Hawks 17
13 Los Angeles Clippers 11
14 Dallas Mavericks 13
15 New York Knicks 15
16 Cleveland Cavaliers 14
17 Boston Celtics 20
18 Portland Trail Blazers 22
19 Los Angeles Lakers 10
20 Memphis Grizzlies 18
21 Toronto Raptors 19
22 Indiana Pacers 21
23 Minnesota Timberwolves 23
24 Sacramento Kings 24
25 Oklahoma City Thunder 26
26 Detroit Pistons 28
27 San Antonio Spurs 25
28 Orlando Magic 27
29 New Orleans Pelicans 29
30 Houston Rockets 30