League Pass power rankings: Watch Nuggets, Grizzlies for entertaining basketball

Published January 18, 2023, 9:30 AMMiguel Flores
Miguel Flores

The Nuggets and Grizzlies—two teams that are on a hot run—conquer this week’s list.


5. New York Knicks

I had Marie Kondo-d the Knicks out of my rotation since last season. I was cautious about getting my hopes up for them, even after their solid run in December.

But the Knicks bring joy again and deserve their spot in this space of fun teams in the league. Winning isn't always what makes a team fun to watch but just having good vibes again at Madison Square Garden certainly helps the viewing experience for Knicks games.

The one player that epitomizes the Knicks this season is Jalen Brunson, recently crowned Eastern Conference Player of the Week for averaging 34 points over their last four games. Brunson’s bag is best described as Tony Parker in Timbs – a lot of floaters and fadeaways in the lane with the occasional change-of-pace dribble mixed in with the frequent physical play.

Other Knicks like Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson are also great, but if you need just one reason, watch the Knicks to see how much of a problem Brunson is.

4. Sacramento Kings

The Kings have beamed up more opponents than James Doohan and we’re all better off for it. With more than half of the season elapsed, we’re getting closer to the reality of the Kings ending their 16-season playoff drought.

How they've gone about their turnaround has been the most encouraging. They didn’t need to draft a generational talent or any other mad luck, they just had good sense. The Domantas Sabonis trade, while still incredibly risky due to the asset they gave up, made good basketball sense. Hiring a players’ coach with a sound system in Mike Brown made good sense. For a franchise bogged down with questionable decisions for almost two decades, that's a good enough jump-off point. 

They play with an egalitarian system with as much ball movement as there is player movement on offense. The Kings have also bought in defensively. They swept their last four games and could pick a few more wins with a relatively soft schedule coming up.

Sabonis, the Western Conference Player of the Week, and De’Aaron Fox deserve to be on the All-Star team, regardless if they get a lot of votes on the NBA App.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC isn’t a good team now, but they’re so much fun to watch.

The prime catalyst is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Canadian love child of Nick Van Exel and Shaun Livingston. There are very few players in the league who can boast a deeper bag than SGA, but the great thing about Maple Magic is he has restraint. He doesn’t pound the ball so much that his teammates end up becoming spectators. He’s like John Wick; he only uses the most practical means for a kill.

Then there are the other dudes that make OKC must-watch. Josh Giddey (Timothee Chalamet) has turned into a funky backcourt partner for SGA. The shooting is still suspect but the creativity with his playmaking and his willingness to do work off the ball are more than enough to keep him a lock for the Thunder’s future plans. Lu Dort, despite his propensity for contested shots, is still one of the peskiest defenders in the league.

Get in on the OKC Thunder now. It may be too late to call yourself an early investor but you won’t regret watching the early chapters of the NBA’s next beloved team.

2. Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant.

1. Denver Nuggets

More than anything, this placement is a PSA: STOP PLAYING WITH THE JOKER.

At this point, citing voter fatigue as a reason to not have him as the MVP frontrunner is plain lazy. Pointing out his lack of postseason success is also just as asinine. The MVP is a regular season award.

What Nikola Jokic has been doing is truly unprecedented. He has flashes of Dirk Nowitzki, Arvydas Sabonis, and Hakeem Olajuwon in his game. He also puts up ridiculous numbers on an everyday basis.

He has fun targets at Denver, as well, with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. getting back into their rhythm and Aaron Gordon finding his NBA home as Jokic’s do-it-all Robin. Give the Nuggets a watch. Nikola Jokic never disappoints.