Power Rankings: Winless weeks leave Pelicans, Pistons in free fall

Although the Milwaukee Bucks suffered their first loss of the season Thursday night, their top-three spot in the rankings remains safe. But it has been a wild ride for some teams, including a whopping six that saw their rankings rise or fall by at least seven spots this week!

Throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz, Tim MacMahon and Andre Snellings, The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears and FiveThirtyEight's Chris Herring) ranks the league's 30 teams from top to bottom.

Previous rankings: Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Training camp | Free agency

1. Golden State Warriors
2018-19 record: 9-1

One of the feel-good stories of this young NBA season is newcomer forward Alfonzo McKinnie. McKinnie has played in Luxembourg, Mexico and the G League and had a cup of coffee with the Toronto Raptors. With the reigning two-time champs, McKinnie has not only made the playing rotation but is also getting minutes in crunch time and knocking down 3-pointers at an elite clip. -- Spears

2. Toronto Raptors
2018-19 record: 9-1

Kawhi Leonard has yet to play in back-to-back games this season, as the Raptors are determined to exercise caution with their prized offseason acquisition. Toronto is now 2-1 without Leonard, including a shellacking of the Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday night ahead of Monday's matchup at Utah. If the dominant Raptors are looking for some self-improvement, they can start on the defensive glass, where they're currently a bottom-five team. -- Arnovitz

3. Milwaukee Bucks
2018-19 record: 8-1

The Bucks' first loss of the season seemed to raise an important question for the future: How will Milwaukee go about defending teams that can play five-out lineups and launch 3s all game long? The Bucks' pick-and-roll coverage often involves the big sliding down into the paint, inviting teams to pick-and-pop. That strategy fell somewhat flat against Al Horford, despite the loss to the Celtics being a close one. It might be something other teams opt to challenge the Bucks with going forward, since it's one of the few ways you can neutralize Milwaukee's length. -- Herring

4. Boston Celtics
2018-19 record: 6-3

The Celtics have already had the chance to test themselves early against most of their toughest likely playoff competition in the East, winning at home against the Bucks and 76ers but losing on the road to the Raptors and Pacers. Marcus Morris is playing very well of late, averaging 18.8 points (56.1 percent shooting) and 7.6 rebounds per game during the Celtics' past five games to lead the bench in support of their talented starting five. -- Snellings

5. Denver Nuggets
2018-19 record: 8-1

The Nuggets keep rolling along, reeling off four straight wins since their lone loss of the season to the Lakers. They delivered a statement victory in their last outing against the Jazz, trailing by five points entering the fourth quarter, then outscoring them by 20 points down the stretch for the comfortable win. The Nuggets will be tested this week with games against the Celtics, Bucks and the surprisingly strong Grizzlies. -- Snellings

6. Indiana Pacers
2018-19 record: 7-3

To this point, the Pacers are following about the same recipe they did last year: Beat up on the teams you absolutely should beat, and hold your own against everybody else. They've gone 4-1 against teams below .500, with the lone loss coming against a decent -- if not distracted -- Timberwolves team. Last season, when Indiana found itself in the hunt for a top-three seed, the club went 25-11 against clubs with losing records. Dramatic wins like the one Saturday over Boston send a message and are necessary every now and then, but the Pacers will do themselves a huge favor by merely beating the teams they're supposed to beat. -- Herring

7. Portland Trail Blazers
2018-19 record: 7-3

The Blazers are quietly winning at a high rate thanks in large part to a high-octane offense. Oddly, CJ McCollum's scoring has dipped during this start, as he is averaging 19.2 points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field. McCollum has averaged at least 20 points and a 44 percent shooting average per game in each of the previous three seasons. -- Spears

8. San Antonio Spurs
2018-19 record: 6-3

The Spurs, who ranked dead last in defensive efficiency four games into the season, defended like the Spurs of the last two decades during the four-game winning streak that followed, allowing a stingy 95.2 points per 100 possessions. Then San Antonio gave up 117 points in a home loss to the Magic, who shot 50.5 percent. At least DeMar DeRozan's scoring is consistent -- he has had 20-plus points in all but one game, when he finished with 18. -- MacMahon

9. Philadelphia 76ers
2018-19 record: 6-5

After they finished dead last in turnover rate each of the past two seasons, it looked as if these Sixers had kicked the habit, as they entered Sunday ranked a respectable 18th in turnover rate. Then there was Sunday's loss at Brooklyn. Philadelphia turned over possession 27 times, the most in any game by a team this season. The Sixers are now unbeaten at home and winless on the road. -- Arnovitz

10. Memphis Grizzlies
2018-19 record: 5-3

Grit 'N' Grind is going strong again with the Grizzlies, who rank fourth in the NBA in defensive rating (103.8 points allowed per 100 possessions) and second to last in pace (96.8 possessions per game). Another staple from the Grizzlies' good days: following up an impressive win (on the road at Utah, again) with a head-scratching loss (to the Suns). -- MacMahon

11. Utah Jazz
2018-19 record: 4-5

What a brutal week for the Jazz. Derrick Rose dropped 50 on Utah, while the Timberwolves proved that they could actually win without Jimmy Butler. For the second time this season, the Grizzlies handed the Jazz a home loss. And the Nuggets went on a 24-3 run in the fourth quarter to make sure the Jazz went winless for the week. Silver lining: Neither of the Donovan Mitchell injury scares (hamstring, ankle) were serious. -- MacMahon

12. Houston Rockets
2018-19 record: 3-5

The back-to-back road wins in Brooklyn and Chicago weren't works of beauty, but the Rockets weren't exactly in a position to count style points after their 1-5 start. A Houston defense that had been horrible dominated the second half of both games, holding the Nets and Bulls to a combined 82 points on 30 percent shooting after halftime. Carmelo Anthony (22.5 points per game, 65.4 percent shooting) looked like Olympic Melo in the wins, and James Harden is healthy again. Now let's see if the Rockets can hold up against playoff-caliber competition with the Pacers (twice), Thunder and Spurs on the schedule this week. -- MacMahon

13. Oklahoma City Thunder
2018-19 record: 4-4

The Thunder have finally awakened. After a winless start (0-4) that had them in the league's basement, the Thunder have won four straight games by an average of 13 points. Dennis Schroder (16.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds) and Jerami Grant (14.5 points per game, 61.8 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds per game) have both played well during the win streak, with Alex Abrines and Nerlens Noel also flashing in needed supporting roles. -- Snellings

14. LA Clippers
2018-19 record: 5-4

The Clips salvaged their three-game road trip last week with a drubbing of Orlando. Boban Marjanovic, the NBA's biggest folk hero -- both literally and figuratively -- played more than 20 minutes in each of the past two games for the first time since the end of the 2016-17 season, recording a pair of double-doubles. Among the 10 guys in the Clippers' regular rotation, Marjanovic leads in both net rating and player efficiency rating. -- Arnovitz

15. Los Angeles Lakers
2018-19 record: 4-6

Confrontational meetings! LeBron's game-winning free throws! A quarterback controversy! A veteran signing! A Sunday beatdown at home! The storylines are swirling in Los Angeles, and Thanksgiving is still more than two weeks away. But it's not drama that's holding the Lakers back -- it's defense, where the Lakers rank squarely in the bottom 10 of the league. -- Arnovitz

16. New Orleans Pelicans
2018-19 record: 4-5

The Pelicans are doomed without a healthy, dominant Anthony Davis. A sprained right elbow has sidelined Davis for three of New Orleans' five straight losses, and it clearly bothered him in the other two games, as he averaged 17.0 points on 37.9 percent shooting. New Orleans has been awful without Davis defensively, allowing 118.8 points per 100 possessions. -- MacMahon

17. Sacramento Kings
2018-19 record: 6-4

The young Kings have opened in perhaps the most surprising fashion in the NBA with a 6-4 record after having a five-game win streak snapped against the Bucks on Sunday. Second-year point guard De'Aaron Fox seems like an early candidate for Most Improved Player, as he is averaging 19.0 points on 50.4 percent shooting from the field, 7.8 rebounds, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals entering this week. -- Spears

18. Detroit Pistons
2018-19 record: 4-4

Even with Blake Griffin's torrid start to the season, which features career bests in scoring average and true shooting percentage, the Pistons are 25th in offensive efficiency and 29th in effective field goal percentage three weeks in. Outside of Griffin's sparkling 46 percent mark from deep, the Pistons are only shooting 27 percent from the perimeter this season. With that in mind, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard will be welcome additions to the lineup once back from injuries. -- Herring

19. Charlotte Hornets
2018-19 record: 5-5

Talk about confusing statistics. After 10 games, the Hornets are sixth leaguewide in net efficiency rating and are outscoring opponents by an average of 7.6 points per game. That being said, the Hornets don't have the record to show for those aforementioned statistics at 5-5. -- Spears

20. Minnesota Timberwolves
2018-19 record: 4-6

Going off what we've seen thus far, this week -- during which Minnesota will continue its West Coast trip -- will be a massive a challenge for the Timberwolves. After Sunday night's loss in Portland, they dropped to 0-5 on the road, with the second-worst defensive rating in the league, yet they are 4-1 at home. Still left to go on this trip: The Clippers, Lakers and the resurgent Kings, who have won six of their first 10 games to start the season. -- Herring

21. Miami Heat
2018-19 record: 3-5

The Heat have gotten more out of less in recent seasons, but Goran Dragic's nagging foot injury doesn't bode well for a team that endured a horrific 0-3 week that included a home loss to Sacramento followed by a couple of losses on the road to Charlotte and Atlanta. Looking for a silver lining? Josh Richardson scored a career-high 31 points in the Sacramento loss, then topped it in Atlanta on Saturday night with 32. -- Arnovitz

22. Brooklyn Nets
2018-19 record: 4-6

Brooklyn has allowed at least 115 points to opponents in four of its past five games while ranking 20th in the NBA in defensive rating (111.2 points allowed per 100 possessions). The Nets are relying on sophomore Jarrett Allen to grow into their defensive anchor in the middle, and despite the team's struggles, he is showing positive signs early with increased averages of 10.2 defensive rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots per 100 possessions. -- Snellings

23. New York Knicks
2018-19 record: 3-7

The Knicks won twice this week to triple their win total from the first two weeks. Their strong play has been sparked by solid contributions from sophomores Frank Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson in addition to rookies Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier. Coach David Fizdale has switched things up of late, moving veterans Enes Kanter and Trey Burke to bench roles and relying more on his younger players. So far they are playing up to the challenge. -- Snellings

24. Atlanta Hawks
2018-19 record: 3-6

The Hawks eked out a gutsy win at home over Miami on Saturday to finish their week, snapping a four-game losing streak. In this turbo-charged NBA season, Atlanta leads the pack in pace with a scorching 108.3 possessions per game. Despite the youth and new faces, 10 teams entered Sunday with a worse defensive rating than Atlanta. One reason? The Hawks are forcing turnovers at a healthy rate. -- Arnovitz

25. Dallas Mavericks
2018-19 record: 2-7

Is it too early to talk about the Mavs hanging on to the top-five-protected pick they owe the Hawks from the Luka Doncic deal? Dallas has already lost to three projected high-lottery teams (the Suns and Knicks by double digits and the Hawks after blowing a 26-point lead), and the 2-7 Mavs are on a six-game losing streak that matches their longest skid from last season. At least Doncic (19.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game) looks like the real deal. -- MacMahon

26. Orlando Magic
2018-19 record: 3-6

The Magic are one of five NBA teams with a scoring margin of minus-9 or worse, indicating that not only are they losing, they also are having trouble being competitive on a game-to-game basis. Their schedule has not helped them, as their first nine opponents have a combined record of 44-27. Their next five opponents are a combined 10-32, so there might be a chance to get on track soon. -- Snellings

27. Washington Wizards
2018-19 record: 2-7

Well, well, well, the Wizards finally woke up on defense with a win over the Knicks on Sunday. Washington finally played some solid defense, holding New York to 95 points after allowing an average of 124 over its past eight games. Perhaps helping the defensive charge was center Dwight Howard, who had a block and seven defensive rebounds in 27 minutes. -- Spears

28. Chicago Bulls
2018-19 record: 2-8

Even after their embarrassing loss to Golden State this past week, in which the Warriors had 149 points and Klay Thompson dropped 52 points in 27 minutes, the young Bulls are tied for the Eastern Conference lead in close games so far. They've played in seven contests in which the margin was within five points in the final five minutes of play, according to NBA Advanced Stats. The Bulls' leading scorer, Zach LaVine, one of the league's premier slashers, has played 23 minutes of clutch time so far but has taken only two free throws over that span. Drawing fouls in those key moments could help in those scenarios. -- Herring

29. Phoenix Suns
2018-19 record: 2-7

Lost in all the Suns' issues is a strong start by the No. 1 pick in the draft, Deandre Ayton. The 7-foot-1 center entered the week averaging a double-double of 16.9 points and 11 rebounds with 3.1 assists. Ayton is proving that centers still have a place in today's fast-paced, 3-pointer-filled NBA. -- Spears

30. Cleveland Cavaliers
2018-19 record: 1-8

If this isn't rock bottom for the Cavs, figuring out what is will be a true adventure. No. 1 option Kevin Love just had surgery on his foot, which will keep him out at least six weeks. JR Smith acknowledged openly that he wants to be traded. As such -- with the team 1-8, its best player out and a handful of players unhappy with their roles in this rebuild -- interim coach Larry Drew wisely requested a deal that would give him security beyond just this season, which already appears to be lost. -- Herring