Jazz and Nets dominate final regular-season list; stable Lakers lurk; Knicks stun everybody


The film will premiere in late December. COVID-related postponements are endless. A shortened calendar. Regardless of the obstacles, every NBA team ended the regular season on Sunday with 72 games completed, and the play-in tournament and playoffs await. All concerned deserves a standing ovation, as this was not an enjoyable season to get through.
Since the season is over, we’re going to deviate from the traditional week-to-week Power Rankings and have a look back at the entire season. When we do so, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Utah Jazz is the best team in the NBA. What happens in the playoffs remains to be seen, but Utah was as dominant as any top team in recent memory, finishing the season with a plus-nine net rating.

The Brooklyn Nets are right behind them, not because of their last record, but because of how well they played with all three of their superstars in the lineup. The Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers round out the top five, leaving us with the unusual case of the Los Angeles Lakers. They were fantastic when they were well, but it was a rare occurrence this season, so they finished in seventh place.

Surprises this season include the New York Knicks, who finished 11th, and the 14th-ranked Atlanta Hawks, who will face in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

It was a strange, often surprising, and volatile season, and with what’s happened in the world in the last year and a half, we must try to be thankful for every second we get to watch the sport we love.