Now that the 2022-23 season has kicked off our NBA power rankings are active and here to let you know who are the top teams right now in the association.
The Golden State Warriors are coming off their fourth championship in eight years and are the favorite to make it back to the finals — despite their recent locker-room drama. Back east, the Boston Celtics are once again legit contenders who will be moving forward without suspended head coach Ime Udoka.
There are also a ton of other intriguing stories surrounding other contending teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Brooklyn Nets.
Without further ado, here is our latest set of NBA power rankings with NBA seasons underway.
30. Detroit Pistons (LW: 30)
Injuries to young star Cade Cunningham and key players like Alec Burks and Marvin Bagley III have severely hampered the Detroit Pistons in 2022. Plus, while off-season acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic has been a benefit for the squad, rookies Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey have not been able to pick up the pieces and push Detroit to be a more competitive unit.
29. Orland Magic (LW: 28)
The young Orlando Magics, led by top pick Paolo Banchero showed some signs of improvement in wins over the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks but followed that upswing with a major slump and lost five of six. This is likely how the entire season will play out as they try and develop a core for years to come.
28. San Antonio Spurs (LW: 26)
After a surprisingly fast start to the season, the San Antonio Spurs have since regressed to where many analysts figured they would be this season. At or near the bottom of the Western Conference. The team lost 11 straight games recently and seems on pace for a record-setting bad season. However, despite the poor results, Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson have been bright spots (scoring 20 points a game each) so far this season.
27. Houston Rockets (LW: 29)
While young stars like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter, Jr. have been solid in 2022, neither they nor first-round pick Jabari Smith has truly elevated their games to the level needed to make the Houston Rockets a competitive squad for much of the season. However, they have shown some signs of life recently with impressive wins over playoff-bound squads like the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks.
26. Charlotte Hornets (LW: 27)
Being without LaMelo Ball to begin the season was killer for the Charlotte Hornets. And despite the best efforts of the rest of the team, the Hornets reside in the back end of the Eastern Conference standings.
Ball is finally back, but now the injury bug has once again bitten Gordon Hayward and the veteran forward will miss significant time with a shoulder fracture. Charlotte is in a bad place after such a positive campaign last season and it will be a tough task for the young star to help dig them out of it.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (LW: 24)
It looks like it will be another season en route to the NBA lottery pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder heading into 2023. Yet, despite the rough start and losing their top pick before the season, incumbent star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been a revelation. He will undoubtedly earn an All-Star spot this winter and is looking like a future face of the NBA.
24. Chicago Bulls (LW: 22)
The Chicago Bulls’ poor start has been a product of several issues hindering the team. Certainly, Lonzo Ball’s absence has hurt, but no one expected them to be playing like this at this juncture of the season. Demar DeRozan and Zach Lavine are filling up the stat sheet, but the Bulls don’t at all have the same kind of bite as they did en route to the playoffs last season.
23. New York Knicks (LW: 21)
The New York Knicks are a very frustrating group. They have played well against several playoff-bound teams, but they have also been absolutely horrid at times on defense. Free agent addition Jalen Brunson has played near an All-Star level and has been what they hoped for. However, the big worry is what seems like a regression in the game of young star RJ Barrett after landing a massive long-term deal this summer.
22. Los Angeles Lakers (LW: 25)
After a disastrous start to the season where the Los Angeles Lakers were 2-10, LA seems to finally be gelling as a unit despite more injuries to key players like Lebron James. It has created enough positive momentum that this group actually seems playoff-caliber again and is expected to swing some moves to improve the roster soon.
21. Washington Wizards (LW: 17)
The Washington Wizards have been a solid squad after the first month of the season. They seem playoff bound with their star trio of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma playing well together. However, after them, they have a very weak roster and if any of those three get injured for a prolonged period of time, this group could quickly plummet in our NBA power rankings.
2022 NBA team stats: Best NBA defenses
While the NBA is geared toward offense more than it has been before, the defense still wins championships. With that in mind, let’s look at the five teams giving up the least points per game.
- Cavaliers – 104.9
- 76ers – 107.6
- Bucks – 107.8
- Mavericks – 108.7
- Clippers – 108.8
20. Miami Heat (LW: 23)
The Miami Heat have been a massive disappointment this season. Sure the loss of veteran PJ Tucker hurt but it should not have been enough to where they sit with a record under .500 this far into the season. Plus, Jimmy Butler was knocked out for a handful of games which only made matter worse. However, the team’s superstar is back and they have started to “heat” up in the last week with big wins over the Hawks and Celtics.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves (LW: 19)
The Minnesota Timberwolves seemed to finally be building chemistry in recent weeks until All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns suffered a calf injury that will sideline him for a significant amount of time. Now the onus will be on Rudy Gobert to pick up the slack and Anthony Edwards must carry even more of the scoring load. They could drop even more in our NBA power rankings before all is said and done.
18. Toronto Raptors (LW: 116)
Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors remain a strong team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference and Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have been great again in 2022 — as long as they are on the court. That has been difficult at times with both missing quite a few games. Unsurprisingly, it has led to a fall in the standings and our NBA power rankings.
17. Portland Trail Blazers (LW: 9)
Back from a season-ending injury, Damian Lillard was playing like a monster to start the NBA season and helped the Portland Trailblazer gets off to a very fast start. However, he suffered a hamstring injury recently and the team immediately went into a slump soon after.
While Portland has gotten strong contributions from Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simmons, this group is completely different without Lillard and what was once a top-10 squad is falling to the back of the top 20.
16. Golden State Warriors (LW: 15)
The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors struggled big time early in the season. They were bad on the road and their usually solid defense was one of the worst in the league. However, after a five-game skid, they won nine of 13 and seem to be righting the ship and looking more like their championship-level selves.
15. Philadelphia 76ers (LW: 12)
The Philadelphia 76ers have dealt with a lot so far this season. Joel Embiid got off to a slow start. James Harden was playing terrifically before a foot injury knocked him out for a month. Then Tyrese Maxey was forced to the sideline for weeks as well after his own hot start. However, the 76ers have endured and been led by one of the best defenses in the league. When they get back to full health, this team could be terrifying.
14. Brooklyn Nets (LW: 18)
After being an absolute dumpster fire for a month and change the Brooklyn Nets seem to be headed in the right direction. New head coach Jacque Vaughn has his player’s respect and a kinder, gentler, and humbled Kyrie Irving is back in the lineup and helping them win again. However, Vaughn has the same challenge as Steve Nash before him. He must somehow turn Kevin Durant, Irving, and Ben Simmons into a dominant and unified trio of stars or this is another failed season in BK.
13. Dallas Mavericks (LW: 20)
For a while, the outstanding gifts of Luka Doncic were helping to keep the Dallas Mavericks above water and highly competitive. Unfortunately, a quartet of games against some of the league’s best (Nuggets, Celtics, Raptors, Bucks) resulted in four straight defeats. It led to a fall in our NBA power rankings, however, they quickly bounced back with a trio of victories and jumped right back up the top 20.
Surprisingly, their strong play has been led by their top-five defense so far this season.
12. Utah Jazz (LW: 11)
The Utah Jazz continues to be the biggest surprise of the young season. They have gotten off to a far better start than expected due to outstanding performances from Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson. As well as great leadership from new head coach Will Hardy. While losses have started to pile up far more now than a few weeks ago, the Jazz is still one of the best stories in the NBA this season.
11. Indiana Pacers (LW: 8)
The Indiana Pacers continue to get better each week and have the makings of a new dynamic duo on their hands in Tyrese Haliburton — who’s playing like an All-Star — and rookie Benedict Mathurin is making a case for Rookie of the Year. If not for being in the same division as the Bucks and Cavs, Indiana would be the first-place team in most divisions. That is how good they have been this season.
2022 NBA team stats: Best NBA offenses
At its most basic level, the NBA is all about putting the ball in the basket. The teams that are the best at it have a leg up on their rivals. Let’s look at the best-scoring squads in the NBA.
- Celtics – 120.6
- Kings – 119.6
- Jazz – 117.7
- Pelicans – 117.3
- Warriors – 117.2
NBA power rankings top 10
10. Atlanta Hawks (LW: 11)
The Atlanta Hawks have one of the best backcourts in the sport with Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Both have been strong this season, averaging well over 20 points per game (27.8 for Young) and racking up a bunch of assists each night. However, after them, the contributions from their secondary players have not been as impactful as they would prefer. Plus, their bench has been a major weakness this season.
9. Los Angeles Clippers (LW: 10)
More than any team in the NBA, health is the biggest story surrounding the Los Angeles Clippers. Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have again dealt with injuries this season. The talent is there for the Clippers to be serious title contenders, however, they are as haunted as any squad in the league by constant injury woes.
While they are currently the lowest-scoring team in the league, their defense has been exceptional and one of the best in the league so far this season.
8. Sacramento Kings (LW: 13)
After a slow start to the ’22-’23 season, the young gun Sacramento Kings have started to catch fire. They head into the second month of the season with a record over .500 and De’Aaron Fox playing at an All-Star starter level. The Kings very much look like they could end their 16-year playoff drought as they continue to rise up our NBA power rankings and part of the reason why is an offensive attack that is one of the best in the league heading into December.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (LW: 4)
Ja Morant has become one of the best players in the league and that automatically gives the Memphis Grizzlies a leg up on most teams every night. However, he can’t do it all alone and the recent injuries to Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. have certainly hampered Memphis. It is why they have been inconsistent this season and other players on the roster have not picked up their production with those impact players sidelined.
6. New Orleans Pelicans (LW: 6)
If the New Orleans Pelicans can keep Zion Williamson on the court their upside is incredible. It will be a tough balancing act for head coach Willie Green to make this assemblage of serious talent build chemistry and win games while sacrificing some of their stats for the greater good. However, so far so good as the team has started heating up in recent weeks by winning six of eight.
The best part of it all is that Williamson has led the way for a team that is rushing up the standings and has the fifth-best scoring offense in the NBA.
5. Denver Nuggets (LW: 3)
With the reigning league MVP on the squad, the Denver Nuggets are sure to rack up wins this season. But with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr. back healthy, they have a real chance to reach the NBA Finals. The contributions they give behind Nikola Jokic will make or break their title hopes in 2022-2023. Porter Jr. (16.4) and Murray (17.9) have delivered early and that’s why they have one of the best records in the Western Conference.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (LW: 4)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the dark horse team not just in the East, but in the whole NBA. That is just how deep and talented they are in the starting five. That has shown already in the season as they have one of the best records in the Eastern Conference and look to be well ahead of schedule as a title contender now and not later.
Mitchell has been everything they hoped for and more, plus the backcourt of him and Darius Garland has been the best in the game this season. However, the big surprise has been this group becoming the premiere defensive squad in the league.
3. Phoenix Suns (LW: 5)
What head coach Monty Williams and the Phoenix Suns have been able to do this season despite the Jae Crowder drama, Chris Paul in decline and oft-injured has been remarkable. They have had one of, if not the best, records in the West for much of the season and Devin Booker deserves talk as a serious MVP candidate this season.
2. Milwaukee Bucks (LW: 2)
Unsurprisingly, the Milwaukee Bucks are again an elite squad again this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing at an MVP level and the team’s defense is one of the best in the league. However, what has been impressive is they have done it all without Kris Middleton. Now, with their second-best player back, it seems like a matter of time before they return to the top of the standings and our NBA power rankings.
1. Boston Celtics (LW: 1)
Even without suspended head coach Ime Udoka, the Celtics are off to another strong start this season. They already earned statement victories over top teams in the Eastern Conference, and the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been unbelievable so far. While the Celtics have often been revered for their defensive effort throughout the organization’s history, this group is surprisingly leading the NBA in points per game.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.