League Pass power rankings: Lakers, Hawks are must-watch

Published December 7, 2022, 10:00 AMJon Carlos Rodriguez

The LA Lakers and Atlanta Hawks top this week’s League Pass power rankings.

5. Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic are on a nine-game losing streak, which in no way says, “League Pass team.” However, when you’ve got a 7’2” basketball bag with neat tricks inside, it’ll always be a fun watch. Bol Bol is averaging about 13 points, eight rebounds, and one jaw-dropping play per game. 

Paolo Banchero has also made his return to the court after missing seven straight games for Orlando, which could explain this nosedive in the standings. Orlando is still missing Wendell Carter Jr., so don’t expect the wins to start piling up anytime soon. Missing Carter though will only open up chances for guys like Moe Wagner and Admiral Schofield, who’s in the running for best name award. 

The Magic won’t be putting up much of a fight against the elite teams, but that doesn’t mean their games–and Bol Bol fast breaks–won’t be super entertaining.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder is a team that’ll be gunning for points every time they step on the floor. The Thunder currently ranks sixth overall in points, dropping an average of about 116 points per game–only behind the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, and New Orleans Pelicans.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s cross-country tour of getting buckets is still ongoing, and that alone makes watching OKC games such a treat. This young, energetic, trigger-happy team always got upset in their mind. Next on their calendar are games versus the Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Dallas Mavericks. SGA shootouts against Ja Morant, Donovan Mitchell, and Luka Doncic are looming.

3. Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers will be a League Pass Rankings staple for the foreseeable future. The Pacers are in the middle of the playoff pack in the Eastern Conference, rubbing elbows with the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and the Toronto Raptors. That’s pretty good company. Not a lot predicted Indiana to be in that group of mid-tier teams in the playoff hunt, but there they are, despite missing Myles Turner at the start of the season.

Their rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard are getting extended runs, and have stepped up to provide the Pacers with offensive firepower that other teams can’t seem to figure out yet. The superstar, of course, is Tyrese Haliburton, who’s been turned into a scoring and passing machine. Haliburton and Turner still have a long season ahead of them to work together and be even better. That should be bad news for opposing teams; good news for the League Pass squad.

2. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks fun factor increased immensely with the addition of Dejounte Murray. You can see it each time Murray and Trae Young wreak havoc on opposing backcourts. There’s just too many buckets to go around between these two All-Stars, enough to carry the Hawks to a quiet 13-11 start to the season. 

Injuries to John Collins and De’Andre Hunter would probably put a dent on the Hawks’ winning ways (already dropping a recent one against the OKC Thunder), but not on their exciting ways. Plus, the return of Bogdan Bogdanovic adds another weapon and another recipient of a Young/Murray no-look dime.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

This season of the Los Angeles Lakers went through phases. First phase was the question on whether or not Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley can co-exist. Next was the question on who else can step up for LA: Matt Ryan, Austin Reaves, or Lonnie Walker? Then there’s LeBron James’ quest for stat supremacy. 

Now, we’re in the phase where Anthony Davis is gunning for the MVP award. AD is absolutely going berserk on the stat sheet. This is how his past few games look like:

25 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists

27 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks

44 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks

55 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks

The best part about all of this is that the Lakers won three of these four games. AD is a monster out there. Don’t miss it.