The NBA saw several trades executed ahead of the deadline last week, as teams around the league make some final tweaks to prepare for the stretch run of the season.
Of course, the action was highlighted by the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers coming to terms on a deal centered around James Harden and Ben Simmons. Meanwhile, other teams made some smaller deals to improve around the edges.
To further make sense of it all, Rookie Wire took a look at the NBA and ranked each team from worst to first. We will come back each week and provide our latest assessment on the best teams and those that are rising.
Last Rank: 29
The Pistons have taken the driver’s seat in the race for the worst record in the NBA after having lost seven straight. They opted to acquire Marvin Bagley III ahead of the trade deadline, a move that could help resurrect his career after a down year in Sacramento.
Last Rank: 30
Houston has lost eight out of its last nine games and will begin a four-game road trip on Monday in Utah. The team will certainly be looking ahead to All-Star Weekend with several players set to participate in the festivities, including Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and Jae’Sean Tate.
For more coverage on the Rockets, visit Rockets Wire
Last Rank: 28
The Magic have lost four out of their last five games after falling to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. They finish up their four-game road trip with the Denver Nuggets on Monday and will host the Atlanta Hawks in their final matchup before the All-Star break.
Last Rank: 27
The Pacers blew up their roster a bit in an effort to look ahead after trading Caris LeVert and Domantas Sabonis. They picked up Tyrese Haliburton in the process as the second-year guard is averaging 22.5 points, 11 assists and four rebounds in two games since joining the team.
Last Rank: 26
The Thunder have lost five straight but third-year forward Lu Dort is playing well as of late. Since suffering a broken nose, Dort is averaging 21.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 assists in four games. Masked Lu Dort has been something to behold for OKC.
For more coverage on the Thunder, visit Thunder Wire
Last Rank: 25
The Kings are 2-0 since acquiring Domantas Sabonis from the Pacers last week. He is posting 19 points, 12.5 rebounds and six assists in those two contests. Including his time in Indiana, Sabonis has registered eight straight double-doubles.
Last Rank: 24
The Trail Blazers have posted back-to-back wins to wrap up a five-game homestand. Of course, they traded CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans for Josh Hart, who scored 23 points in his debut versus the New York Knicks on Saturday.
Last Rank: 22
New York has lost 11 out of its last 14 games to fall to 12th in the Eastern Conference. Much to the dismay of Knicks fans, the team opted to standpat at the trade deadline last week and keep its roster intact. Time will tell if that was the right move or not.
Last Rank: 23
The Spurs will be represented by Dejounte Murray in the All-Star Game after NBA commissioner Adam Silver named him as a replacement for Draymond Green. He is averaging a career-high 20 points, 9.3 assists, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game this season and leads all players in steals. He is also fourth in assists.
Last Rank: 21
New Orleans made a splash last week after acquiring CJ McCollum ahead of the trade deadline. He is averaging 25.5 points, nine rebounds and five assists in two games, including a season-high 36 points on Saturday. However, they lost both of those games.
Last Rank: 20
The Wizards have lost three of four games with their lone win coming against the Brooklyn Nets, who have dropped 11 in a row. The team also received some bad news when it was announced that Bradley Beal will miss the remainder of the season due to wrist surgery.
Last Rank: 17
The Lakers’ struggles continued last week after dropping three straight games. Included in that streak were two losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, two of the top teams in the league. The Lakers are clearly struggling now and there doesn’t appear to be an immediate fix on the way.
For more coverage on the Lakers, visit LeBron Wire
Last Rank: 16
The Nets’ losing streak has hit 11 games but could help on the way after the team acquired Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers. However, it is unclear when Simmons will ultimately debut with Brooklyn. Kevin Durant has been mum on his return from injury so, for now, the weight of things will be on Kyrie Irving with James Harden gone.
For more coverage on the Nets, visit Nets Wire
Last Rank: 19
The Hawks have lost four of five games and will face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. They will have an easier game on the schedule in the Magic on Wednesday as they look to build some positive momentum heading into the All-Star break.
Last Rank: 14
Charlotte has lost seven of eight games with its lone win coming versus Detroit. The group has two games left before the All-Star break, which could be a good time to reset and regroup for the stretch run of the season. Hornets fans will certainly be tuned into the All-Star Game with LaMelo Ball now part of the festivities.
For more coverage on LaMelo Ball and the Hornets, visit Lonzo Wire
Last Rank: 18
The Clippers snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a win over the Dallas Mavericks. Reggie Jackson put up 24 points in that contest to split the back-to-back set. LA will face the Warriors, Suns and Rockets before entering the All-Star break.
Last Rank: 15
Anthony Edwards put up 37 points on Sunday to lead the Timberwolves to a win over the Pacers. He has scored at least 30 points in consecutive games for the first time in his career as Minnesota has gone 6-2 over its last eight games.
Last Rank: 12
Denver has won three out of its last four games. The turnaround follows a three-game losing streak as rookie Bones Hyland has given the team strong contributions as of late. He is averaging 14.3 points, four rebounds and 2.3 assists over his last three games.
Last Rank: 13
The Raptors saw their eight-game winning streak snapped on Saturday but have played very well as of late. Pascal Siakam has helped lead the way for Toronto, averaging 26.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and one blocked shot over his last nine games.
Last Rank: 9
Luka Doncic dropped a career-high 51 points on Thursday to lead the Mavericks to a win over the Clippers with 28 points alone in the first quarter. Doncic followed that up with 45 points in a loss to the Clippers in the second game of a back-to-back. The Mavericks will have some reinforcements on the way after acquiring Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans from the Wizards. They are expected to debut this week.
Last Rank: 11
The Jazz have won five straight games after dropping five straight recently. Included in that streak is a win over the Warriors to snap their nine-game winning streak. Hassan Whiteside had nine points, 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots in that win.
Last Rank: 10
The Celtics are one of the hottest teams in the NBA having won eight straight games. They blew out the Nets on Tuesday and even led 28-2 to start that contest. They will have the 76ers and Pistons to wrap things up before the All-Star break and could be riding a 10-game winning streak at that point.
For more coverage on the Celtics, visit Celtics Wire
Last Rank: 7
Daryl Morey got All-Star Joel Embiid his long-awaited help last week after acquiring James Harden from the Nets. Harden went through parts of practice with the Sixers on Monday but isn’t expected to debut until after the All-Star break due to his hamstring injury. He will not play in the All-Star Game.
— Ky Carlin (@Ky_Carlin) February 14, 2022
For more coverage on the 76ers, visit Sixers Wire
Last Rank: 6
Two nights after the Bucks smoked the Lakers, and Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 44 points, Milwaukee suffered a 24-point loss to the Suns in a rematch of the NBA Finals. The two teams face each other again on March 6, which will be a key test for Milwaukee to see if they can bounce back.
Last Rank: 8
The Bulls have won three straight behind the excellent play of DeMar DeRozan. He has scored at least 35 points in five straight games, the longest such streak by a Bulls player since Michael Jordan.
For more coverage on the Bulls, visit Lonzo Wire
Last Rank: 5
Cleveland has gone 7-3 over its last 10 games to maintain ground at third in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers added Caris LeVert into the mix as the former Pacers guard is averaging 14.7 points, 4.3 assists, two rebounds and two steals in three games with the team.
Last Rank: 4
The Heat have posted five straight wins after knocking off the Nets on Saturday. Erik Spoelstra was even named one of the top 15 coaches in NBA history last week, as voted on by a panel of 43 current and former head coaches and the Coaches Association.
Last Rank: 3
Memphis continues to perform like one of the top teams in the NBA after winning five straight. Ja Morant has led the team in scoring during that span while Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane have also contributed at a high level. The Grizzlies will be represented during the All-Star Game with Morant while Bane is competing in the Rising Stars game and 3-Point Contest.
Klay Thompson turned into vintage Klay Thompson on Saturday after scoring 16 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors defeated the Lakers. Overall, Golden State has gone 10-2 over its last 12 games to stay second in the Western Conference.
For more coverage on the Warriors, visit Warriors Wire
Last Ranks: 1
The Suns continue to build on their NBA-best 46-10 record this season after winning five straight. They knocked off the Bucks in that span in a rematch of the NBA Finals and look to be the team to beat in the league.