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NBA

NBA Power Rankings: The perfect Christmas Day gift for every team in the league

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Giannis vs. LeBron (NBA Getty Images)

With Christmas just a few days away, we're switching up Power Rankings a little this week.

We're still ranking every team in the league, but instead of telling you why we've ranked every team in the way we have, we're handing out Christmas gifts to all 30 teams.

So, from what the Denver Nuggets need to establish themselves as title contenders again to what can bring some joy to the struggling New Orleans Pelicans, here's what every team should be wishing for on Christmas Day...

10. Philadelphia 76ers

Last week's ranking: 4th

Record: 21-10

Last week: 1-2 (loss vs. MIA, loss vs. DAL, win vs. WAS)

This week: at DET, vs. MIL, at ORL, at MIA

Christmas gift: Spacing for the offence. Whether that is discovered internally or added via trade or the buyout market, the Sixers need room to function.

9. Dallas Mavericks

Last week's ranking: 7th

Record: 19-10

Last week: 2-2 (win at MIL, loss vs. BOS, win at PHI, loss at TOR)

This week: vs SAS, at GSW, at LAL

Christmas gift: Luka Doncic returning from injury with no ill-effects.

With averages of 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists this season, Doncic ranked fourth in our MVP ladder heading into Christmas Day.

The Mavericks have been suprisingly competitive without him, but they're now 2-2 in the games Doncic has missed following their collapse against the Raptors.

8. Denver Nuggets

Last week's ranking: 11th

Record: 20-8

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. ORL, win vs. MIN, win vs. LAL)

This week: at PHX, vs. NOP, vs. MEM, vs. SAC

Christmas gift: The return of Playoff Jokic.

The best Jolly Saint Nik-ola is the one that took on any and all comers in last year's postseason. Fortunately for the Nuggets, it appears as though Jokic has turned a corner. Following a slow start to the season, he's averaging 22.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists over his last nine games.

That's a scary sign for the rest of the league.

7. Toronto Raptors

Last week's ranking: 9th

Record: 21-8

Last week: 4-0 (win vs. CLE, win at DET, win vs. WAS, win vs. DAL)

This week: at IND, vs. BOS, at, BOS, vs. OKC

Christmas gift: Health.

Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell ... everyone's been banged up! The Raptors are hoping for a clean bill of health. It's that simple.

And yet, despite their recent run of injuries, the Raptors have won five straight games, capped off by a historic win against the Mavericks on Sunday. This team has no quit.

6. Houston Rockets

Last week's ranking: 8th

Record: 20-9

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. SAS, win at LAC, win at PHX)

This week: at SAC, at GSW, vs. BKN, at NOP

Christmas gift: A tunnel runway worthy of Fashion Week in Paris.

This is the league's most stylish team. A simple red carpet isn't going to cut it for fashionistas like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, PJ Tucker and Austin Rivers.

5. Boston Celtics

Last week's ranking: 6th

Record: 20-7

Last week: 3-0 (win at DAL, win vs. DET, win vs. CHA)

This week: at TOR, vs. CLE, vs. TOR

Christmas gift: Some help on the inside.

Whether it's via trade or the buyout market, another big would ease some Joel Embiid-sized concerns for the Celtics. In two games against Boston this season, Embiid is averaging 26.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in only 29.7 minutes of play.

If only the Celtics didn't have to get rid of Aron Baynes to create the cap space they needed to sign Kemba Walker...

4. Miami Heat

Last week's ranking: 5th

Record: 21-8

Last week: 2-1 (loss at MEM, win at PHI, win vs. NYK)

This week: vs. UTA, vs. IND, vs. PHI

Christmas gift: An All-Star invitation for Bam Adebayo.

The third-year big man continues to be a revelation starring alongside Jimmy Butler. He's now averaging 15.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 blocks per game this season. The only other players currently putting up those numbers are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Karl-Anthony Towns, both of whom are locks to make the All-Star team.

3. LA Clippers

Last week's ranking: 3rd

Record: 22-10

Last week: 2-2 (win vs. PHX, loss vs. HOU, win at SAS, loss at OKC)

This week: at LAL, vs. UTA

Christmas gift: Another big man.

Ideally, one who can hold their own in the playoffs against the likes of Anthony Davis, Clint Capela, Nikola Jokic, Kristaps Porzingis, Rudy Gobert or whomever they may face.

The Clippers' Christmas Day matchup with the Lakers will be a good test for them for that very reason.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Last week's ranking: 2nd

Record: 24-6

Last week: 0-3 (loss at IND, loss at MIL, vs. loss DEN)

This week: vs. LAC, at POR, vs. DAL

Christmas gift: A big enough cushion in the standings for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to take the pedal off the metal.

It's particularly relevant now that James is dealing with a thoracic muscle strain. The Lakers can't afford for James and Davis to be anything less than full strength in the playoffs.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

Last week's ranking: 1st

Record: 27-4

Last week: 3-1 (loss vs. DAL, win vs. LAL, win at NYK, win vs. IND)

This week: at PHI, at ATL, vs. ORL

Christmas gift: That Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe are the second and third stars Milwaukee needs to go far in the playoffs.

Bledsoe, in particular, has a lot to prove because we know how teams are going to defend him in the playoffs - help off of him to send multiple defenders at Giannis Antetokounmpo in the paint. Bledsoe is an improved 3-point shooter this season, but he's been far more effective off the dribble (37.5 percent) than he has on spot-ups (26.8 percent).

Rest of the NBA

11. Indiana Pacers

Christmas gift: The return of a healthy Victor Oladipo that shows no signs of slowing down following his injury.

The last time we saw Oladipo, he was averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. There's still no word on when he will return, but he has the potential to take this Pacers team to another level in the new year.

12. Utah Jazz

Christmas gift: A healthy Mike Conley. It was already a rough start to the season for Conley and now the injury bug has bitten. They need their marquee acquisition to get it going.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder

Christmas gift: More Chris Paul turn back the clock games. Less face it ... that fourth quarter eruption vs. Chicago made it feel like 2009. It felt nice.

14. Brooklyn Nets

Christmas gift: A real-life NBA 2K-like simulation feature where the Nets can sim through the end of this season and next offseason to get to 2020-21 with a fully healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

15. Portland Trail Blazers

Christmas gift: The sight of Jusuf Nurkic rumbling down the floor with no ill effects from his broken leg.

16. Sacramento Kings

Christmas gift: Clarity. They rebounded from a slow start, but the Kings have now lost seven of their last 11 games.

17. Charlotte Hornets

Christmas gift: On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: FIIIIIIIVVVVE DE-VON-TE' GRAHAMS! Seriously, four more clones of Graham would be quite the gift.

18. San Antonio Spurs

Christmas gift: Enough wins to make the playoffs. History is on the line.

19. Orlando Magic

Christmas gift: More of this from Markelle Fultz:

20. Detroit Pistons

Christmas gift: Blake Griffin returns to his 2018-19 form when he averaged a career-best 24.5 points per game and made the All-NBA Third Team.

griffin-122219-ftr-getty.jpg21. Phoenix Suns

Christmas gift: Continued chemistry building between Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. The veterans have been huge, but these two are the centrepieces of the franchise.

22. Memphis Grizzlies

Christmas gift: Ja Morant learning how to fall. The dunks over 7-footers are awesome. The awkward falls are not.

23. Minnesota Timberwolves

Christmas gift: A serviceable starting point guard. It seems as though the Timberwolves have been asking for this gift for quite some time but Santa keeps giving them wings and bigs instead.

24. Chicago Bulls

Christmas gift: Learn how to hold on to leads.

25. Washington Wizards

Christmas gift: Davis Bertans continues to be the Latvian Stephen Curry.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers

Christmas gift: The trade market heats up for Kevin Love. Getting a draft pick and/or a young prospect - as the Cavaliers are reportedly looking for - would help move along this rebuild. Here are some trade destinations for the five-time All-Star.

27. New York Knicks

Christmas gift: An industrial-sized bag of Kingsford Match Light charcoal.

28. Atlanta Hawks

Christmas gift: An entire crop of new toys for Trae Young to play with. He's tired of playing with the ones he has now and needs upgrades as soon as possible - although having John Collins back will help.

29. Golden State Warriors

Christmas gift: Stephen Curry returning in 2020 and bringing some much-needed joy.

30. New Orleans Pelicans

Christmas gift: Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" on repeat with the entire city of New Orleans pointing at Zion Williamson.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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