NBA Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers (01/17/17)

By Mark Dankenbring

NBA Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers

We bring to you our weekly NBA Power Rankings for the third week of January. Our Power Rankings are developed using players on the active depth chart, which causes fluctuation week-to-week based on injuries and who is in and out of the lineup. To see a full description of how our Power Rankings are created, as well as this week's full list of rankings, please visit Power Rankings 1/17/2017.

Within our rankings every week, there are noticeable risers and fallers throughout. The goal of this article is to identify who has gained or lost the most ground in the Association, whether it be due to injury or just a decline in team performance. Each article will include to Top 3 risers and fallers in the rankings, no matter where they started or finished.

Our rankings indicate that the top four spots are unchanged from last week's rankings, and we have movement in every position from 5-10. The majority of the movement occurs from teams lower on the list, but there are still some significant changes to cover. Let's start off by taking a look at the three teams who jumped most in our rankings this week.

Top 3 Risers

Los Angeles Clippers - #12 up to #6

The Clippers have had a volatile last few weeks, dropping all the way to 22nd in our Power Rankings after losing Chris Paul and going on a six game skid, and now rebounding all the way up to 6th after winning their last seven games. The Clippers have handled opponents with ease over their winning streak, winning all but one game by eight points or more. J.J. Redick has really played well for the Clips over this stretch, averaging 19.6 points on 43% shooting from behind the arc. DeAndre Jordan has been on a tear in the paint lately, averaging 17.6 rebounds per game in their winning streak while shooting just under 75% from the floor. The Clippers will look to retain their 4th seed in the West and continue their winning streak against the Timberwolves on Thursday before they head out to play 10 of their next 11 games on the road.

Charlotte Hornets - #16 up to #11

The Hornets find themselves having lost five in a row and seven of eight, but they've jumped up to #11 in our Power Rankings for the week. Even though they have dropped out of a playoff spot due to their recent skid, three of their losses have come against the Spurs, Rockets, and Cavaliers, who are all within the Top 5 of our rankings. Also, the Hornets have spent their last five games on the road. Their roster is nearly back to full strength with Nicolas Batum, Cody Zeller, and Marco Belinelli returning from a brief stint on the sidelines. Kemba Walker leads the way offensively, averaging a career high 23.0 points per game on 45.9% shooting and 41.3% shooting from behind the arc, both career highs as well. Despite their recent struggles, look for the Hornets to bounce back with a five-game home stand and reclaim a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

New Orleans Pelicans - #22 up to #19

The Pelicans just wrapped up a five game Eastern Conference road trip in which they finished 2-3. Tyreke Evans has found his stride coming off the bench during this stretch, averaging 14.2 points and 4.6 assists in just 23 minutes a game. The Pelicans remain one of the strongest defensive teams in the NBA, coming it at #2 on our Defensive Efficiency ratings, and have allowed under 100 points in three of their last four games. Cracking our Top 20 isn't anything to get too excited about, but New Orleans will start a six game home stand on Wednesday against the Magic as they hope to enter the 8th spot in the West, as they're only a game and a half behind the Trail Blazers at the moment.

Top 3 Fallers

Detroit Pistons - #13 down to #24

Detroit sees themselves dip all the way down to #24 in our rankings this week after having lost three of their last four. Their offensive and defensive efficiency rankings have plummeted since last week with the injuries to Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Jon Leuer. Their O-Rank has dropped from 10 to 24, while their D-Rank also dropped from 16 to 22. The team was hoping the return of Reggie Jackson would jumpstart their season, but the Pistons have struggled since his return, posting a measly 8-14 record. Detroit has lost three of four largely due to their offensive struggles, as they've only averaged 95 points while allowing opponents to score 108.5 points on average. Andre Drummond isn't carrying the weight a $127 million player should, as he's averaging just 11.3 points per game over this four game stretch. The Pistons will try and bounce back from their tough week as they host the Hawks, Wizards, and Kings all at home this week.

Atlanta Hawks - #11 down to #16

We saw the Hawks rise from #17 so last week, so they basically just fall back to where they were. The Hawks are still trying to manage their rotation with the addition of Mike Dunleavy and the injury to Mike Muscala. Dennis Schroder also had a blip in the radar this past week as he combined for just 10 points and nine assists in their games against the Celtics and Bucks. Atlanta has started off 2017 hot, going 7-1 in their first eight games, but five of those wins have come against teams ranked 19th or lower in our current Power Rankings. The Hawks still hold a solid defensive rating, but their offensive efficiency ranking drops down another spot to 5th worst in the league. Atlanta will try to hold on to their 4th spot in the East this week as they square off against the Pistons, Bulls, and 76ers.

New York Knicks - #21 down to #27

After another drama-filled week in New York, the Knicks find themselves tumbling in all sorts of standings. Losing to the Hawks on Dennis Schroder's game winning 3-pointer left Carmelo Anthony sulking off the court realizing they've now lost 11 of 13 and are six games under .500 for the season. The Knicks are mixing and matching their rotation with Kristaps Porzingis in and out and Lance Thomas' missing the last two with a broken orbital bone. Ron Baker saw his first career NBA start and Mindaugas Kuzminskas saw 38 minutes against the Bulls after only playing more than 24 once in his career. This experimentation has done nothing to fix their porous defense, as they continue to rank 4th worst in the NBA in Defensive Efficiency. We'll see if Carmelo's talks with Phil Jackson this week will spark a revolution in the locker room and put them back on track, but as of now they appear as more of a bottom-feeder in the East than a contender.