League Pass power rankings: Wizards, Knicks still must-watch

Published March 1, 2021, 11:00 AMJon Carlos Rodriguez

This is NBA.com Philippines' list of top five low-key teams that fans need to be watching on League Pass.

NBA.com Philippines launched League Pass Power Rankings last week, with the Memphis Grizzles as the top must-see team. For this week's edition, we take a look at the squads that were fun to watch based on the games they played from Feb. 22 to 28.


Invoking the power rankings rule to include “under-the-radar teams,” please give it up for the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Sitting quietly at 12th in the West, the Thunder are playing games with both the spectacle of a popcorn movie and the mystique of an indie film.  

Outside of Al Horford, the entire Thunder roster is made up of a diverse, young, scrappy group of overachievers who can turn it up on both ends of the floor. There’s the undeniable, explosive offensive game of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, front and center, giving OKC watchability. Off the frame, there’s the equally undeniable, explosive defense of Lu Dort

The Thunder may or may not make the playoffs, but that’s not the point. The point is they’re an exciting and interesting team to watch, if only to discover the many ways that Darius Bazley, Isaiah Roby, and latest addition Ty Jerome can shock. 


A holdover from last week’s power rankings, the New York Knicks (17-17) is a League Pass favorite this season because of the overall unpredictability they bring every game.

Julius Randle—the All-Star anchor on which the Knicks (18-17) pin their hopes and dreams—is constant, but the other pieces are mercurial. They’re inconsistent, but they make for compelling basketball.

There’s Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and RJ Barrett alternating with new remixes; Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson with the classics. In one game it could be Alec Burks packing heat; the next it could be Reggie Bullock. 

There are games where the Knicks go back to old habits, like that one against the Orlando Magic where absolutely nothing clicked. Then there are games where the Knicks resemble every bit like a playoff team, like that one against the Sacramento Kings where they scored 70 points in the first half. Or that one against the Indiana Pacers where they gave their best impersonation of ‘90s Knicks defense. 

If you’re into mystery and suspense with a bit of coming-of-age, the .500 Knicks should be your go-to League Pass team.


The Miami Heat started the season similar to how they did Game 6 of the 2020 finals: not winning. In the first 21 games, the Heat’s win-loss record was 7-14. 

The very slow, un-Heat Culture start could be part gassed from playing in the finals just four months ago and part just not having the complete team together, with Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro all missing games here and there.

The Heat is slowly getting back on track, if their recent game against the league-leading Utah Jazz was any indication. Miami was still without Herro, but they started to look more and more like Game 5 Heat (three scary words in basketball). Jimmy was in attack mode (five scary words in basketball) and played his best game of the season so far. Bam Adebayo and Dragic, picking up Jimmy’s cue, also went into attack mode. The result was a very much unexpected 124-116 win.

In another universe, any Heat win would no longer be called an “upset” because the bubble happened and the Heat made things happen there. But this particular win versus the Jazz was deemed as such because of how the Jazz are so great this season and the Heat aren’t. At least not yet.

After that horrific start, the Heat have won 10 of their next 13 games and now hold a 17-17 record, good for fifth in the East, which, if you check the standings, is really just code for “they wish to partake in the bloodbath that is the Eastern Conference playoff race.”

The Heat is right back where they belong in the mix, exactly where they were last regular season. Time to tune in.


Why did the Washington Wizards make the League Pass power rankings for the second week in a row? We can check the facts: 

  • Wizards have won seven of their last nine games
  • At 13-19, they’re only only 2.0 games out of the play-in tournament 
  • Russell Westbrook is on one of those familiar do-it-all runs he does, averaging 19.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game
  • Bradley Beal, All-Star starter, is the league’s scoring leader at 32.8 points per game
  • Davis Bertans’ jumper

Or, we can go the simpler route: 

Westbrook and Beal alternating guitar solos (check the end of their overtime game versus the Los Angeles Lakers) demands full League Pass attention. 


At this point in his 15-year career, Chris Paul will thrive in whatever type of environment you put him in. 

Partner him with James Harden and he’d be one healthy hamstring away from the finals. Throw him in with a young, rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder squad and he’d still carry them to the playoffs. 

CP3 is Leonardo DiCaprio, pre-Oscar win. Put him in any role, surround him with whoever, it’s a guarantee he’ll kill it. Will his stint with the Phoenix Suns be the one that finally rewards him with hardware? Will this be his The Revenant? It looks promising.

The Suns are so much fun to watch. Whether it’s to dissect how the All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul-Devin Booker destroys your favorite team’s backcourt or to witness the muted dominance of Deandre Ayton, the element of entertainment is always turned up. Then there’s the supporting cast of Mikal Bridges, Cameron Payne, Cameron Johnson, Dario Saric, and Jae Crowder ready to steal the show, with a chance of Frank Kaminsky.

The Suns have been piling up the Ws (winning 11 of their last 13 games), good for fourth in the West. But even their losses are somehow entertaining. Sure, they might blow a big lead every now and then and, wow, what an adventure that can be. 

Upcoming games for the Suns: the Lakers, Warriors, and Blazers. Strap in and lock in for that crazy stretch.