NBA POWER RANKINGS: Where all 30 teams stand heading into the Christmas Day games

Perhaps the biggest take-away of this NBA season, which is closer to the midway point than most would know, has been the unexpectedness of much of it.

The Warriors and Cavs don't lead their respective conferences, instead ceding No. 1 seeds to the Celtics and Rockets.

Playoff stalwarts like the Grizzlies and Clippers have fallen off in the West, while teams we were certain would be bad, like the Knicks and Pacers, are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

There's a lot of games to be played, but as we head into the NBA's Christmas Day spectacle and the end of 2017, here's where all 30 teams stand.

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NBA power rankings ahead of Christmas games
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NBA power rankings ahead of Christmas games
30. Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 9-23, 15th in West

Offensive rating: 101.0, 28th

Defensive rating: 105.8, 17th

One thing to know: Since starting 7-4, the Grizzlies have gone 2-19. The firing of David Fizdale looks even more questionable as the team has struggled mightily without Mike Conley, who has played just 12 games this year.

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
29. Atlanta Hawks

Record: 7-24, 15th in East

Offensive rating: 103.5, 18th

Defensive rating: 108.3, 27th

One thing to know: In a rebuilding year for the Hawks, they can take solace in the development of Taurean Prince. The second-year wing is averaging 14 points per game on 44% shooting, 42% from three, with 5.3 rebounds per game.

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
28. Sacramento Kings

Record: 11-20, 12th in West

Offensive rating: 98.9, 30th

Defensive rating: 108.8, 30th

One thing to know: One of the best offseason moves was the Kings' signing of Zach Randolph. Not only is Randolph still plugging away on the court, averaging 16 points and 7 rebounds per game at 36, he's become a mentor to the young Kings, as SB Nation's Kristian Winfield detailed.

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
27. Phoenix Suns

Record: 12-22, 13th in West

Offensive rating: 102.1, 24th

Defensive rating: 108.4, 28th

One thing to know: No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson has been a disappointment for the Suns so far this year. Jackson is shooting just 37% from the field, 24% from three, and the Suns are being outscored by 13 points per 100 possessions with Jackson on the floor, the worst mark of any of their rotation players.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
26. Dallas Mavericks

Record: 9-23, 14th in West

Offensive rating: 102.0, 26th

Defensive rating: 105.5, 16th

One thing to know: The fourth quarter has been trouble for the Mavericks, as they've been outscored by 5 points per 100 possessions in the final frame. They've been outscored by a league-worst 68 points in "clutch" situations — the final five minutes with the score within five points.

(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
25. Orlando Magic

Record: 11-21, 13th in East

Offensive rating: 103.4, 19th

Defensive rating: 107.5, 23rd

One thing to know: After starting 8-4, the Magic have come back down to earth, going 3-17 since. Aaron Gordon, a key to the Magic's long, painful rebuild, has seen his three-point percentage fall from 55% in October, 40% in November, to 29% in December.

(Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
24. Charlotte Hornets

Record: 11-20, 12th in East

Offensive rating: 102.7, 21st

Defensive rating: 104.3, 13th

One thing to know: The Hornets have struggled in predictable ways this season. They rank 26th in assist and three-point percentage. There's just not enough offensive firepower on a night-to-night basis.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
23. Chicago Bulls

Record: 10-21, 14th in East

Offensive rating: 99.5, 29th

Defensive rating: 106.9, 20th

One thing to know: The Bulls are 7-1 since the return of Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic has averaged 19 points on 52.5% shooting, 48% from three this season and the Bulls have been eighth in offensive rating since his return. 

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
22. Brooklyn Nets

Record: 11-19, 11th in East

Offensive rating: 103.1, 20th

Defensive rating: 107.4, 22nd

One thing to know: The Nets haven't gotten to see much of their two biggest acquisitions, D'Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor. Russell is still weeks from a return as he recovers from knee surgery, and Okafor isn't yet in good enough shape to get on the floor.

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
21. Los Angeles Clippers

Record: 12-18, 10th in West

Offensive rating: 104.3, 15th

Defensive rating: 106.2, 19th

One thing to know: The Clippers preferred starting lineup of Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan has played just 147 minutes together this season and outscored opponents by 8 points per 100 possessions. Unfortunately, Beverley is out for the season, and Griffin is out at least another month. This team just can't avoid injuries.

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
20. Los Angeles Lakers

Record: 11-18, 11th in West

Offensive rating: 101.1, 27th

Defensive rating: 103.3, 8th

One thing to know: The Lakers have five losses decided by five or fewer points, including three overtime losses. Give or take a few baskets, and the young, surprisingly competitive Lakers would be in the thick of the playoff race.

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
19. Utah Jazz

Record: 15-18, 9th in West

Offensive rating: 104.8, 13th

Defensive rating: 103.4, 9th

One thing to know: The Jazz have a positive point differential, despite owning a losing record. Their offense has been the biggest surprise, as they were expected to struggle without Gordon Hayward and George Hill. Reserve wing Alec Burks has been huge for Utah; they have a 111 offensive rating when he's on the court.

(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
18. New Orleans Pelicans

Record: 15-16, 8th in West

Offensive rating: 107.7, 8th

Defensive rating: 107.9, 26th

One thing to know: The Pelicans' big man experiment with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis remains one of the most compelling in the NBA. The two survive together on offense and have been a positive on the floor together, and while the Pelicans have been good with just Davis on the floor, they've been bad in Cousins-only lineups.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
17. Miami Heat

Record: 16-15, 9th in East

Offensive rating: 102.0, 25th

Defensive rating: 103.9, 11th

One thing to know: Unfortunately for the Heat, they haven't gotten the same Dion Waiters that they had last season. Waiters' effective field goal percentage is down, his turnovers are up, and he's been a net negative on the floor for the Heat.

(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
16. Philadelphia 76ers

Record: 14-17, 10th in East

Offensive rating: 104.0, 17th

Defensive rating: 104.2, 12th

One thing to know: It's not complicated with the 76ers — they're good when Joel Embiid plays and not so good when he's out. They're 1-7 when the 22-year-old center sits out.

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
15. Denver Nuggets

Record: 16-15, 7th in West

Offensive rating: 107.3, 9th

Defensive rating: 107.5, 24th

One thing to know: The Nuggets have struggled to find any consistency, likely a result from a big injury to Paul Millsap and nagging injuries to Nikola Jokic, Wilson Chandler, and others. A home-heavy stretch against some weaker opponents over the next 20 games could get the Nuggets back on track.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
14. Detroit Pistons

Record: 17-14, 7th in East

Offensive rating: 104.2, 16th

Defensive rating: 104.9, 14th

One thing to know: The Nuggets are 3-8 in December and they've been 27th in offensive rating during the month. Leading scorer Tobias Harris, on fire to start the season, has shot 40% from the field and 35% from three in December.

(Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
13. New York Knicks

Record: 17-14, 8th in East

Offensive rating: 105.3, 11th

Defensive rating: 105.0, 15th

One thing to know: An encouraging sign for the often downtrodden Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina, their two most recent lottery picks, have a 14.6 net rating when they share the floor. A road-heavy schedule against tough opponents in January could decide the Knicks' season — they're 15-5 at home, 2-9 on the road this year.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder

Record: 16-15, 6th in West

Offensive rating: 102.6, 23rd

Defensive rating: 100.8, 1st

One thing to know: For all of the fretting about the Thunder — and there are some issues, particularly in depth and on offense — they're above-.500 with the league's best defense, with a 7-3 record in their last 10. Maybe this new assortment of players just needs time to figure it out.

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
11. Portland Trail Blazers

Record: 16-15, 5th in West

Offensive rating: 102.7, 22nd

Defensive rating: 101.6, 5th

One thing to know: The Blazers are a curious team. Their offense has regressed, and as ESPN's Zach Lowe noted, they boast an inefficient shot profile. However, the defense has improved, so if the offense drifts back toward above-average, the Blazers might be dangerous.

(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
10. Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 16-13, 5th in East

Offensive rating: 107.7, 7th

Defensive rating: 107.0, 21st

One thing to know: The Bucks' offense has been just fine this season, but the defense, designed to cause turnovers with aggression and the Bucks' length, needs work. They give up a high number of shots from 0-5 feet and corner threes.

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
9. Minnesota Timberwolves

Record: 19-13, 4th in West

Offensive rating: 109.1, 5th

Defensive rating: 107.7, 25th

One thing to know: True to a Tom Thibodeau team, the Wolves have three players in the top 15 in minutes per game. Some believe the high minutes have caused the Wolves to falter late in games.

(Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
8. Indiana Pacers

Record: 18-14, 4th in East

Offensive rating: 108.4, 6th

Defensive rating: 105.9, 18th

One thing to know: The Pacers continue to look like the winners of the Paul George trade. Victor Oladipo should be a lock for an All-Star spot, as he's averaging 25 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists per game while shooting 43% from three.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
7. Washington Wizards

Record: 17-14, 6th in East

Offensive rating: 105.5, 10th

Defensive rating: 103.4, 10th

One thing to know: The Wizards survived a stretch of games without John Wall and are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Wizards lineup of Wall, Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter, and Marcin Gortat, their starting lineup to begin the season, has outscored opponents by 21 points per 100 possessions.

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
6. San Antonio Spurs

Record: 22-11, 3rd in West

Offensive rating: 104.6, 14th

Defensive rating: 101.3, 4th

One thing to know: Gregg Popovich has always said he hates the three-pointer, and maybe he means it. The Spurs are 26th in threes attempted per game and 24th in makes per game, a big reason for their offensive slippage this season.

 (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
5. Toronto Raptors

Record: 22-8, 2nd in East

Offensive rating: 111.1, 4th

Defensive rating: 102.5, 6th

One thing to know: The Raptors have remade themselves into a more modern offense, passing the ball more and taking more threes. But the regular season has never been the Raptors' problem; we may need to withhold judgment until the playoffs, where they often struggle.

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
4. Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 24-9, 3rd in East

Offensive rating: 111.9, 3rd

Defensive rating: 108.5, 29th

One thing to know: After a rough beginning to the season, the Cavs are 19-2 since November 11, with the league's second-best offense and 14th-best defense. With LeBron James having one of the best seasons of his career (not hyperbole), the Cavs only need to be average on defense, which they're proving they can be after a lackluster start.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
3. Boston Celtics

Record: 26-9, 1st in East

Offensive rating: 105.3, 12th

Defensive rating: 101.0, 2nd

One thing to know: Kyrie Irving has become more aggressive on offense in December, averaging nearly 28 points per game on an efficient 50% shooting, but it hasn't necessarily translated to wins. The Celtics are 7-5 in December and their stout defense has been 14th this month.

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
2. Golden State Warriors

Record: 25-6, 2nd in West

Offensive rating: 113.5, 2nd

Defensive rating: 101.0, 3rd

One thing to know: If this is the Warriors' championship hangover, the rest of the league is in trouble. Even with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant all missing time this year, and even with some strange on-court blowups, the Warriors haven't experienced any sort of statistical slip. They're a machine, even when they don't look like one.

(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
1. Houston Rockets

Record: 25-5, 1st in West

Offensive rating: 113.6, 1st

Defensive rating: 103.0, 7th

One thing to know: The Warriors may claim this spot eventually, but for now, it belongs to the Rockets. Houston has gone 20-2 since November 1, their offense rains three-pointers and this year, they have the defensive tools to make life difficult on opponents. They're also 15-1 when Chris Paul and James Harden play together. Mark your calendars for January 4 — when the Rockets and Warriors next meet.

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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