Editor's Note: For complete access to Mackenzie's NBA Player Values chart (updated weekly), which assigns point values to the top 80+ players across the league and supplements his free weekly NBA Power Ratings below, click here to learn about our new Betting Predators NBA Premium Package.
For the complete spreadsheet version of my updated NBA 2021 Power Ratings, which include each team's net rating, offensive rating, defensive rating, current record and more, you can view the full sheet here. In order to create a betting line between two of the teams listed below, simply find the difference between the two teams' power rating and give the home team an additional 1.5 points for home court advantage (HCA). Example: the Los Angeles Lakers play the Golden State Warriors in L.A., and the Lakers are 6 points better according to the power ratings. The Lakers are also home, which is worth 1.5 points. The line in this case should be Lakers -7.5 (6 points added for PR difference, plus 1.5 points added for HCA). To adjust for new player injuries, rest days and minutes restrictions throughout the week, I recommend pairing these power ratings below with my weekly NBA Player Line Values in order to create the sharpest lines.
Milwaukee Bucks - Current: 7.5, Last: +6.5, Start: +6.5
For the last week of the regular season, I have made major adjustments to represent the bifurcation between contenders with something to play - like the Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns - as well as down-and-out teams that are no doubt making vacation plans at this point in the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bucks rise to the top of my power ratings this week (despite their blowout road loss to San Antonio on Monday), in addition to having moved Jrue Holiday above Kris Middleton as the team's second most valuable player. Two teams in the NBA have three different players averaging 5+ assists; the Nets with Kyrie/Durant/Harden and the Bucks with Giannis/Holiday/Middleton.
Brooklyn Nets - Current: +7, Last: +6, Start: +4.5
The Brooklyn Nets earned a gritty comeback win over the Denver Nuggets this past weekend after trailing by as many as 21 points in the first half. I completely agreed with KD’s comments after the game, too: it was not the case of the Nets playing lackadaisical in the first half and then picking it up in the second. Rather, the Nets really did play hard throughout, which to me is much more encouraging, considering they should've had some urgency as losers of four straight prior to the game. Why did the Nets get down if they were playing hard though? Well, Nuggets' forward Michael Porter Jr. simply had the En Fuego packed in his bag in the first half, allowing his team to rack up 70+ points just midway through the second quarter.
Phoenix Suns - Current: +7, Last: +6.5, Start: +2
Devin Booker has picked a bad time to go cold, shooting only 8-of-26 (30%) over his last two games as the Phoenix Suns have slipped slightly, now sitting 1.5 games behind the Jazz for the #1 overall seed out west.
LA Clippers - Current: +6.5, Last: +6, Start: +5.5
Kawhi Leonard scored over 20 points for the first time since early April, notching 10 points in the final minute of the Clippers' Sunday matinee with the NY Knicks. Kawhi's outburst turned out to be little too late though, as the Clippers fell to NY 106-100 and currently sit one game ahead of Denver for the #3 seed.
Philadelphia 76ers - Current: +6.5, Last: +5.5, Start: +2.5
Philly Nation straight had me aghast when I thought I heard Ben Simmons compare himself to THE one and only Magic Johnson. Here was the quote: "Before the three-point line was really popular, there was a guy named Magic Johnson. No one cared that he didn't make threes or shoot threes. They just loved how Magic played." I was like 'WHAT?!? Settle down eight assists a game, you're not even Draymond Green at this point.' However it was actually Sixers head coach Doc Rivers who said that about his 24-year old point. That is far more less egregious coming from a coach protecting his player's image in the media.
Denver Nuggets - Current: +4, Last: +4, Start: +3.5
Second-year standout Michael Porter Jr. is who we thought he was - scoring 25 PPG with terrific efficiency over his last 14 games (and since PG Jamal Murray went down for the year). We should not be surprised either. Think about it - prior to his back injury, Porter was expected to be the #1 overall pick in a draft class with Luka Doncic, Trae Young & the actual #1 pick, the "serviceable franchise center," DeAndre Ayton.
Utah Jazz - Current: +4, Last: +3, Start: +2.5
The Utah Jazz earned a big win over the Denver Nuggets last Friday to pull away from the Phoenix Suns in the race for the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Mike Conley’s extended absence has become worrisome, however, as the Jazz need both their all-star guards (Conley & Mitchell) to be firing on all cylinders if they hope to get past a team like the LA Lakers in the playoffs (possible 1st round match-up).
Miami Heat - Current: +3.5, Last: +2.5, Start: +4
Prior to last year, Jimmy Butler had never averaged more than 5 assists. Over the past two years he has averaged almost 7, making up for a team that lacks a premiere PG. Just another example of Jimmy Buckets being the ultimate Swiss army knife, and doing whatever needs to be done for any given NBA franchise.
Atlanta Hawks - Current: +3, Last: +2, Start: +0
The Hawks are tied for the division lead with the aforementioned Heat, and that will be a key race to look at as Atlanta will be close to a PK'em to advance if they face a team like the Knicks. The Hawks have a 0% (you read that correctly, 0%) chance to beat a team like the Bucks in the first round if they fall to #6 seed though. If the playoffs started today (Thursday, May 13th), then it would indeed be the division rival Hawks/Heat facing off in round one, with Atlanta winning the regular season series 2-1 over Miami.
Dallas Mavericks - Current: +3, Last: +2, Start: +1.5
The Mavs are gelling at the perfect time, winning 8 of 10 and likely avoiding the play-in tournament. As of Wednesday night they are one game ahead of the Lakers and both teams each have two left to play. With those last two against Minnesota and Toronto, Dallas has a better chance to get the 5th seed over Portland than they do slipping to the 7th seed, especially with the Blazers closing with Phoenix/Denver.
Portland Blazers - Current: +3, Last: +2.5, Start: +1.5
Since our last Portland update, the Blazers have won 6 of 7 and 9 of 10 overall, with an average net rating of +12. All signs point Damian Lillard & CJ McCollum regaining their backcourt chemistry while Jusuf Nurkic has played himself into mid-season form. The Blazers trio has catapulted Portland from borderline play-in status to the #5 seed and currently own the tiebreaker over Dallas with each team having two games left to play, and the 6th seed likely getting the Clippers instead of the Murray-less Nuggets in round one.
Memphis Grizzlies - Current: +2.5, Last: +1.5, Start: -3
Third year phenom Jaren Jackson Jr. continues to work himself into form and was rewarded by coach Taylor Jenkins on Saturday, giving Jackson his first start of the season. Look for the Grizzlies to be a tough out in the play-in tournament, provided they are firing on all cylinders with Jackson (arguably their best player) back in the fold. Memphis sits a half game behind Golden State in the #9 seed but with the same amount of losses (33) as the Warriors. They are a perfect 3-0 and +44 with Jackson back this week as well.
NY Knicks - Current: +2, Last: +1.5, Start: -7
Kawhi on Julius Randle: 'You can definitely tell how much he's been working. The game has really slowed down (for him). He's trusting his teammates, and just playing really well over there.' (@YoungNBA)
Boston Celtics - Current: +1.5, Last: +1.5, Start: +4
Boston faces difficult road down the stretch, especially with the abrupt end to Jaylen Brown's '21 season.
GS Warriors - Current: +1.5, Last: +1, Start: -1
Since our last power ratings writeup the Golden State Warriors had posted a +21 Net Rating for the week to go along with a 6-1 record and have reeled four straight victories. Helps when you get to play the historically awful OKC Thunder twice though. Winning games doesn't really change the Dubs' playoff-chase dynamic, since they're unlikely to play their way out of the play-in tournament. It might be important, however, that they are playing their bet ball at the right time of the season. Maybe most importantly, Curry is playing the best basketball of his LIFE, scoring 49 points in 29 minutes on Saturday.
Washington Wizards - Current: +0.5, Last: -0.5, Start: -2
By the time you read this, the great Russell Westbrook has already set the all-time record for NBA Triple-Doubles. Russ is a seemingly -400 to -500 favorite now to earn a triple double every time on the court.
LA Lakers - Current: 0, Last: -1, Start: +6.5
By eye test alone, the last two games have been the best Anthony Davis has looked all season. The numbers back it up too: Davis scored a season-high 78 points to go along with 3 steals and 4 blocks over those two games, before helping the Lakers' secure an overtime victory over the Knicks on Tuesday.
Charlotte Hornets - Current: -0.5, Last: -1, Start: -5.5
LaMelo gets a lot of credit for his style and incredible passes, with some people comparing him to a young Magic. Over the weekend, I was also amazed by how polished Ball's scoring ability is already at his young age. Current scoring leader Steph Curry only scored 17.5 points per 36 minutes as a rookie. Ball - with his array of floaters and custom finishes - has scored 20 points per 36 minutes so far in his rookie campaign.
Chicago Bulls - Current: -0.5, Last: -2.5, Start: -4.5
The Bulls are 3-1 SU & ATS since LaVine returned to the fray last Thursday, including blowout wins vs. playoff contenders in the Celtics & Hornets. A home loss to the Nets on Sunday, however, all but eliminated Chicago from play-in contention, especially with 2 of their final 3 games vs. the Nets/Bucks.
San Antonio Spurs - Current: -0.5, Last: -0.5, Start: -2
Shout to Dave Essler, with a great call on the Spurs missing the playoffs around the All-Star break. Since then, the Spurs have won just 14 of 35 games. Per FiveThirtyEight, San Antonio has gone from a 45% to make the playoffs prior to the AS break, to only a 7% currently. Pop's bunch currently has just a two-game cushion over the Sacramento Kings for the #10 seed with three regular season games left for each team.
Indiana Pacers - Current: -1, Last: -1, Start: +1
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that head coach Nate Bjorkgren had lost control of his team. The Indiana Pacers responded surprisingly decently to the hubub, covering two of their next three games including upset win over the Atlanta Hawks and the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76'ers.
Sacramento Kings - Current: -2, Last: -2, Start: -2
Unlike the other worst teams in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings are playing as hard as ever and still haven't been eliminated from the play-in tournament out west. That will likely change sooner than later though, with the young Kings' final three regular season games remaining vs. Utah and Memphis (twice).
Toronto Raptors - Current: -2, Last -1, Start: +2.5
The Raptors waived the white flag on the 2020-2021 season last Friday, opting to rest Kyle Lowry vs. the Washington Wizards in a game that they had to win to pull themselves back into the play-in tournament.
New Orleans Pelicans - Current: -3.5, Last: 0, Start: 0
The Pelicans are 4-1 ATS since Zion was declared out with a broken finger. I don't expect that to continue too long though - rteplacement-level players can often step up for a few games to make up for a big absence. Eventually, however, water finds its level, just as it did in a 125-107 loss to Dallas on Wednesday.
Minnesota T’Wolves - Current: -4.5, Last: -5.5, Start: -2.5
Over two years the T'Wolves are a winning team when KAT & DLO both play (11-10 SU record). When either player sits, however, the team wins only a quarter of their games (29-82, 26% winning percentage).
Detroit Pistons - Current: -7.5, Last: -6.5, Start: -6
The Detroit Pistons, aka "the tanking team that tries."
Cleveland Cavs - Current: -9, Last: -7, Start: -6
Since our last power ratings, the Cleveland Cavaliers had lost five games in a row by an average of around 20 points per game until upsetting a depleted Boston Celtics squad on Wednesday this week. Debatable HOF'er Kevin Love missed two of those games with a knee injury and shot only 2-for-9 in his return.
Houston Rockets - Current: -9, Last: -8.5, Start: -1.5
The Houston Rockets have tied an NBA record of 28 different players having played at least one game for the team. Some might use that as an excuse for first-year head coach Stephen Silas, but I view it differently - Silas has been given all sorts of ingredients and has seldom made a meal worth eating.
Orlando Magic - Current: -11, Last: -8.5, Start: -1.5
The Magic have waived the white flag, announcing last week that almost all of their key rotation players - Michael Carter Williams, Otto Porter, etc - may be done for the rest of the year due to various injuries.
OKC Thunder - Current: -12, Last: -11.5, Start: -3.5
From ESPN: "the Thunder have been outscored by 490 points in their past 25 games, the worst margin of defeat by any team in any 25-game span in NBA history. " That pretty much sums it up. Those 25 games almost exactly correlate to the twenty-six games the Oklahoma City Thunder have played since their best player, Shae Gilgeous-Alexander, went down 'presumably' for the rest of the year with a foot injury.