Power Rankings, Week 9: Jazz jumps the Lakers to No. 1 spot; The sun enters the Top 5

Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have led Utah to an 18-1 record since early January.

The Utah Jazz had been pretty healthy. By February 5, their top nine guys had been missing a total of eight games, four from Joe Ingles and two each from Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors. It had earned their 18-5 record at the time, but compared to other teams, they had been lucky in terms of health.

Then they lost Mike Conley, the guy who at the time led the league in on-off differentiation where the Jazz had been 23.6 points pr. 100 possessions better with him on the floor (+17.7) than they had been with him from the floor (-5.9). And a hoarding problem has had Conley out of each of the last four games.

But the Jazz are just about to roll together and have beaten four good teams to drive their current winning streak to seven games, tied for the second longest winning streak so far. The longest was, of course, the Jazz’s 11 streak ahead of it.

So yes, Jazz is finally No. 1 in Power Rankings. And they have three more tough games on the schedule this week, where they host the Sixers on Monday and then face the Clippers twice in LA. Getting to No. 1 is one thing. Living there is another.

Plus-Minus Players of the Week

Team of the week

  • Do the last forever: Portland (4-0) – The Blazers continue to turn lemons into lemonade.
  • Something is just not right: Houston (0-4) – All four losses were to teams with lost records, and three of the four were with 22 points or more.

East to west

Plan strength through week 8

  • Coolest: 1. Detroit, 2. Denver, 3. Oklahoma City
  • Easiest: 1. Orlando, 2. Philadelphia, 3. Toronto
  • The time strength is based on cumulative opponent record and adjusted to home vs. out and rest days before a game.

Movement in the ranking

  • The highest jump of the week: Dallas (+6), Miami (+5), Detroit (+4), Phoenix (+4)
  • Free fall of the week: Houston (-9), Sacramento (-5), Cleveland (-4)

Week 9 Keep watching

  • Toronto – The Raptors made some hay with a 5-1 stretch, but have taken a step back with losses to the Celtics (who have fought themselves) and the Wolves (eternal battle). So it feels like a big week and it brings some old rivals and an opportunity to get back one of the games they dropped last week. Rapeseed has a two-game series in Milwaukee Tuesday and Thursday. Then they visit Minnesota on Friday and return to Tampa for a game against the Sixers on Sunday.

Previous Power Rankings

Statistics key

Tempo: Possessions per. 48 minutes (league rank)
OffRtg: Point scored per. 100 possessions (league rank)
DefRtg: Permitted points per. 100 possessions (league rank)
NetRtg: Point difference per 100 possessions (league rank)

The league has averaged 100.1 possessions (per team) per game. 48 minutes and 111.1 points scored per. 100 possessions this season.

NBA.com’s Power Rankings, which are released every Monday during the season, are just a man’s opinion. If you have a problem with the location, or have a question or comment about John Schuhmann, send him an email or contact him via Twitter.

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