NBA Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers (01/10/17)

By Mark Dankenbring
NBA Power Rankings - Risers and Fallers

In our second week of January basketball, we bring to you our weekly NBA Power Rankings. 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 1/10/17 .

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

Memphis Grizzlies - #14 up to #8

With the return of Mike Conley and a victory over the 32-6 Golden State Warriors, the Grizzlies find themselves as the 5th seed in the West, and 8th in our Power Rankings this week. Memphis rallied from a 19-point 4th quarter deficit against the Warriors to win the game in overtime at Golden State. With that win and a home win over the Jazz, Memphis has won four of six and now sits two games behind the Clippers for the 4-seed in the West. Mike Conley has made a big impact as he's now back full-time, and has averaged 21 points and 11 assists in their last three games. Usually known as defense-first team, the Grizzlies have actually shot up our offensive efficiency rankings as well, as they now sit at 5th in the NBA.

Atlanta Hawks - #17 up to #11

The Hawks have yet to be defeated in 2017, as they've now won six in a row and 8 of their last 10, including a big win at home against the Spurs. The Hawks have played exceptional defense over their six-game winning streak, as they've only allowed one team to eclipse the 100-point mark against them, and that was the Spurs, who currently sit at #1 in our offensive efficiency rankings. This defensive effectiveness has moved the Hawks all the way up to 2nd on our defensive efficiency list for this week. Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder have led the Hawks to this win streak, as Millsap has averaged 20.5/9.5/4.3 (pts/rebs/assts) in his last four games, with Schroder averaging 19.3/4.5/6.0 splits over that same stretch. Tim Hardaway Jr. seems to have found his stroke as well, as he's come off the bench to average 19.3 points on 59.6% shooting from the field and 65.4% from behind the 3-point line in their last four games.

Los Angeles Clippers - #22 up to #12

The Clippers fell 15 spots last week to find themselves at #22, but with the return of Chris Paul, they find themselves sniffing the Top 10 once again. The Clippers have won four in a row, including the two games since Paul has returned. J.J. Redick has also been instrumental in the Clippers' turnaround, as he's averaged 21.3 points in their four game winning streak. The return of Chris Paul has really kick-started their defense, which has allowed an average of 92 points in their last two games. He's also kick-started their offense, dishing out 30 assists in his two games back. With their next two games coming at home against the Magic and Lakers, look for the Clippers to remain right around the Top 10 in time for next week's rankings.

Top 3 Fallers

Detroit Pistons - #7 down to #13

Detroit essentially switches positions with the Grizzlies from last week, as they find themselves out of the Top 10 at #13 in week two of January. The Pistons have gone 2-1 since our rankings last week, but have still struggled on defense, as they've dropped down to 16th in our defensive efficiency ratings. The Pistons have allowed an average of 119.6 points per game in the last week, with one of those games being a double-OT win against the Trail Blazers. This drop has more to do with the teams surrounding them then the Pistons' performance, but it's hard to argue Detroit should be in the Top 10 as they wouldn't make the playoffs in the East if they were to start today.

Charlotte Hornets - #10 down to #16

After losing four of their last five, the Hornets drop to 6th in the East and 16th in our Power Rankings. Marco Belinelli just returned for the Hornets, but starting SG Nicolas Batum went down with a knee injury that will require him to sit out at least a week or two. Batum is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and assists this season, averaging 15.1/7.4/5.8 per game this season. With one of their best players out, the Hornets will travel to Houston and Boston in the next week, which will both be tough road games for the Hornets. There's only one game separating the 5-9 seeds in the East, so this stretch could hurt the Hornets even more in their playoff positioning. If the Hornets can mitigate the effects of Batum's injury, it will have to be done on the defensive end, as they've allowed over 113 points per game in their last five.

Denver Nuggets - #21 down to #27

All of our fallers have dropped six spots this week, and the Nuggets round out our list week as they've dropped to #27 in the NBA. The Nuggets have really struggled in their last five games on defense, allowing 120+ points in every one, with three of those five coming at home. This stretch has knocked the Nuggets all the way to 26th in our defensive efficiency numbers. The lone bright spot for Denver this season has come in the form of Nikola Jokic, who is averaging 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists this season. They'll try to get back on track this week as they'll face the Pacers and Magic at home, and maybe they'll show more effort on defense as they only play two games in an 8-day span.