So if you were one of those people who thought the Nets were sacrificing too much when they acquired James Harden, and that the lack of depth and potential defensive issues would hurt Brooklyn, how are you feeling now? 

I was one of those who didn’t love the idea of the Nets giving up so much to get the 2018 NBA MVP, but it’s worked out beautifully for Brooklyn—so far—since they’ve been playing like juggernauts the past two weeks and haven’t even had the services of Kevin Durant. The Nets are an elite team, a nightmare on offense and a capable defensive squad, and took a noticeable leap near the top of our latest rankings while the middle remains a jumbled mess and the Rockets are a disaster. 

Quick note regarding these power rankings: If you’re unfamiliar with net rating, know that it’s a team’s average point differential, or more specifically the difference between a team’s offensive rating per 100 possessions compared to its defensive rating per 100 possessions. We’re featuring it because NBA champions almost always end up owning a top 5 net rating—team’s that barely score more points than they allow usually do not end up having deep playoff runs. So it’s kind of noteworthy/important.

We’ll be updating the rankings every other week, so there are no massive knee jerk reactions to a few bad games. Take a break from scouting NBA Top Shot for a minute to find out where we stand six days before Sunday’s All-Star showcase in Atlanta.