With the 2022-2023 season in the books, our NBA power rankings are finalized heading into the offseason. The Denver Nuggets won their first ever NBA title. Where do they stand among the 30 teams?
Now, let’s get to our latest NBA power rankings for all 30 teams in the top professional basketball league in the world.
30. Detroit Pistons
A season-ending injury to young star Cade Cunningham put an end to any real plans that the team ever had to be competitive in 2022-2023. Plus, while off-season acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic played very well, rookies Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey did not do much in their rookie campaigns.
It cost head coach Dwane Casey his job but they replaced him with Monty Williams, a coach just a season removed from winning coach of the year. With a high draft pick and some cash, Williams could be key in helping to turn this team around immediately.
29. San Antonio Spurs
After a surprisingly fast start to the season, the San Antonio Spurs regressed to where many analysts figured they would be this season. At or near the bottom of the Western Conference. It has been another unimpressive year in San Antonio as the team slogs through another rebuilding season.
With the season over the only clear way out of the basement will be through the NBA Draft, and the Spurs landed the ultimate trump card as they scored the top pick in June. They will now get the best prospect since Lebron James in French phenom Victor Wembanyama and could be a far more competitive team next season. Especially, since they also have a solid amount of cap space to use.
28. Houston Rockets
While young stars like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter, Jr. have been solid in 2022-2023, neither they nor first-round pick Jabari Smith has done anywhere close to what is needed to make the Houston Rockets a competitive squad this season.
After another bottom-of-the-barrel season, the Rockets are expected to be major players in the NBA free agent market and on the trade block this offseason. As the front office has a directive to get the team back into the playoffs next season and plans to use their massive amount of cap space this summer.
27. Charlotte Hornets
After such a promising showing last season, there was hope that the Charlotte Hornets could take another step forward in their development in 2022-2023. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened as the team only had star guard LaMelo Ball for 36 games. The only bright side to this lost season will be the chance to pair another young star with Ball through the 2023 draft.
26. Portland Trail Blazers
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 never recovered, even when he was back in the lineup.
While players like Anfernee Simmons and rookie Shaedon Sharpe had nice development steps forward, Portland was shockingly a lottery team at the end of the season despite the notable talent on the roster in ’22-’23. There could be some major decisions on the horizon for the team in June.
25. Orlando Magic
The young Orlando Magics, led by top pick Paolo Banchero was inconsistent throughout the season but that is to be expected with a team in a complete rebuild and full of prospects. However, there were many instances during the season where the Magic performed exceptionally well against elite teams and gave the Orlando fanbase something to hang their hat on heading into another rebuilding season in 2023-2024.
With a lottery pick and bunch of cap space, the Magic could be players in the summer so that they can be playoff contenders next season.
24. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers were riding high for the first few months of the season, as they surprised the league and were close to the top 10 of our NBA power rankings. However, All-Star candidate Tyrese Haliburton suffered a pair of injuries in January and the team could just never bounce back from that setback.
Instead, ’22-’23 will go down as a very frustrating season for Indiana after showing so much promise before they spiraled into oblivion in the second half of the season. They are no longer ahead of schedule and still are mired in a rebuild heading into the summer. The team has some money to burn and maybe they end up being players in free agency this summer.
23. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards were a solid squad after the first month of the season and they seemed playoff bound with their talented trio of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma playing well together. That unfortunately did not last long as many of their top stars missed close to 20 games each, with Beal sidelined for over 30.
Now they head into the offseason with Kuzma a free agent, extension talks ongoing with Porzingis, and Beal seeming like a player that needs to be traded while he still has value to some teams around the NBA.
22. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz were one of the best stories in the NBA power rankings for much of the season. They got off to a far better start than expected due to outstanding performances from All-Star Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson. As well as great leadership from new head coach Will Hardy.
Unfortunately, as the season progressed and the team hit the stretch run they fell into a sharp decline, and reality set in. Nevertheless, there are a lot of upsides all of a sudden for Utah who has a couple of nice young chips and a boatload of assets to use in possible trades.
21. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks were an inconsistent group for much of the year and rarely reached the top 10 in our NBA power rankings. And they only got worse when they swung a deadline blockbuster for Kyrie Irving.
They then tanked their way out of the postseason and into a lottery spot to end a tumultuous and terrible season. Dallas is expected to dangle their pick at 10 in the NBA Draft as they pursue a star to add to the team.
What do power rankings mean?
Power rankings, be it for the NBA, MLB, NHL or NFL is a ranking based on performance, competition, and potential for each team in a particular league. In this article’s case, we are ranking all 30 teams currently in the NBA during the 2022-2023 season.
20. Toronto Raptors
While the Toronto Raptors were solid for the first few months of the season, they struggled mightily heading into 2023. They battled injuries to key players and it had an effect. Nevertheless, their overall play was not where they expected despite having an elite coach in Nick Nurse.
In the end, they fell short of reaching the postseason and were one of several teams that cut ties with their head coach. They will now move forward with a first-time head coach and many questions on what to do with the roster in the offseason.
19. Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite not having first-round pick Chet Holmgren all season long, the Oklahoma City Thunder were way better than anyone expected this season. That without a doubt is thanks to head coach Mark Daigneault and budding superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
SGA was a revelation in ’22-’23 as the first-time All-Star turned the Thunder into a far more competitive team than they ever should have been. They fell just short of making it into the final eight in the West, but they finished much higher than most expected in the NBA power rankings, and head into next season looking like a team on the rise and ahead of schedule.
18. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls’ poor showing for much of the season was a product of several issues hindering the team. Certainly, Lonzo Ball’s absence was a major problem but no one expected the chemistry from last season between Demar DeRozan and Zach Lavine to completely disappear.
The Bulls now head into the summer with major questions ahead, including if Ball will ever play again. Should they make major changes to the roster and trade off one of their All-Star pieces, they could land some strong assets for a rebuild.
17. New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans were one of the biggest stories in the NBA early this season. Zion Williamson, CJ McCollom, and Brandon Ingram all hovered around 20 points a game and were a three-headed monster that flew up the Western Conference standings. Unfortunately, that old injury bug hit Williamson and everything was derailed.
With Williamson dealing with physical and confidence issues, he missed their Play-in game and what seemed like a dark horse team for the playoffs ended up being ousted from the postseason far earlier than people would have expected earlier this year.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves
It took some time, but the Timberwolves ended up trending in the right direction to kick off March. Once Karl Anthony-Towns returned after months away, the team was back to full health and ready for a run in the Play-In Tourney.
But the warts again showed and they were easily dispatched by the conference’s best in just five games after reaching the round of 16. It will be interesting to see how the ‘Wolves approach roster improvements this summer.
15. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets went through a major overhaul in February when they traded off their top two stars. Afterward, they were trying to keep their head above water and make it to the postseason. Mission accomplished but they had a monster task in front of them in the Philadelphia 76ers.
Unsurprisingly, they were the first ousted in the playoffs. The Nets will be a team to watch this summer as several rumors are already circulating about possible targets, including future Hall-of-Famer Damian Lillard.
14. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks were hit by a plague of drama this season and its shows in their place in the NBA standings and in recent rankings. It came to a head recently when the team fired head coach Nate McMillan in February. After the dismissal, the team played a bit better as they tried to salvage a disappointing 2022-2023 season.
They showed their progress under new head coach Quinn Snyder when they walked into Miami and beat the Heat in their Play-In Tourney opener. They then showed some guts by scrapping out two wins against an outstanding Celtics team. Will that be enough to build off of with a full summer of Snyder running the show?
13. Los Angeles Clippers
More than any team in the NBA, health was the biggest story surrounding the Los Angeles Clippers this season. The talent is there for the Clippers to be title contenders, but both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George dealt with injuries throughout the season and into the playoffs and it was another disappointing showing for this expensive team. They are stuck with their top two players, injury history, massive contracts, and all.
12. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers were strong all season with a deep and talented starting five, and one of the best defenses in the NBA, and Donovan Mitchell was everything they expected and more as he seemingly took his game to a new level this season.
However, many around the league thought the Cavs could be upset in the first round and that is what exactly happened. While major change won’t come to the roster this summer, this experience will be a key learning moment for this developing team.
11. Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant has become one of the best players in the league and that automatically makes the Memphis Grizzlies a contender in the West. Yet, things got rough in March with Morant embroiled in several off-the-court scandals that landed him a suspension and investigation. Despite the off-the-court drama the team rallied around each other and got on a roll just in time for Morant’s return for the stretch run.
It didn’t matter in the playoffs and they were quickly bounced by LA. With Morant getting himself in more trouble after the season and expected to get a massive suspension, Memphis could take some steps back next season.
Who is the strongest team in NBA?
For much of the season, the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Denver Nuggets were the top teams in the NBA. However, when the playoffs arrived, the Bucks quickly fell by the waist side and the Celtics could soon do the same. With only a few games left in the season, the Denver Nuggets still remain strong and look to be the strongest team in the NBA in 2022-2023.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Unsurprisingly, the Milwaukee Bucks were again an elite squad this past season. Giannis Antetokounmpo has played like a legitimate MVP candidate and the team’s defense is one of the best in the league. Before and after the trade deadline, the team also made notable roster tweaks to strengthen their chances of a serious playoff run this spring.
Yet it all came crashing down in a first-round ouster to the Heat. It cost Mike Budenholzer his job as head coach and he was replaced by long-time assistant Adrian Griffin. This will be a pivotal summer for the Bucks.
9. Sacramento Kings
After a slow start to the ’22-’23 season, the young gun Sacramento Kings became the best surprise story in the league this season. Both De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis played like All-Stars, and it led to Sacramento being a top-10 team in the NBA all year.
Everything was gravy for the Kings by reaching the playoffs, but they did do their best to advance by taking the defending champions to seven games in the quarterfinals. In the end, it took a historic performance from Stephen Curry to eliminate them. All in all, it was a fantastic season for the Kings.
8. Golden State Warriors
The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors struggled often in ’22-’23. They were bad on the road and their usually solid defense was one of the worst in the league. Yet, they seemed to right the ship late entered the postseason at full strength and looking ready to defend their crown.
But against a strong defensive unit in the Lakers in the semis, the Warriors were not able to overcome with their offensive might. While they are still an elite team in the NBA, they aren’t a championship one right now so big changes could come in the offseason.
7. Phoenix Suns
What head coach Monty Williams and the Phoenix Suns were able to do last season, despite the Jae Crowder drama and with Chris Paul in a sharp decline, was remarkable. They battled through rough sees, circled the wagons, and even added superstar Kevin Durant for a strong finish to the season.
The big question heading into the playoffs was if they got enough time to develop the necessary chemistry to beat elite teams. While they were great at times, they weren’t just yet it cost Williams his job. He was replaced by former Lakers coach Frank Vogel and it will be interesting to see what are the possible changes to the roster. Which could include trading Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul.
6. New York Knicks
After an inconsistent start, the New York Knicks were one of the East’s best. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson deserved most of the credit, but they also got strong play from several young players, including sixth-man of the year contender Immanuel Quickly.
New York upset the Cavaliers in Round 1 dominantly. However, they could not get by the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in the semis. The team has an outstanding building block in Jalen Brunson, the big question going into the offseason will be seeing if they can find a better second-star than Julius Randle, who disappeared again at times in the postseason.
5. Los Angeles Lakers
After a disastrous start to the season the Los Angeles Lakers slowly but surely rounded into a far more competitive squad. They entered the playoffs with serious confidence and as one of the best defenses in basketball. It showed in being able to force out the second-seeded Grizzlies in six games, then beat the defending champion Warriors in the semifinals.
Everything seemed to be going perfectly for the Lakers until they ran into the buzzsaw that was the champion Denver Nuggets. Now, they will need to work hard to keep this group whole for next season and hope it satisfies James enough to make another run at the title worth it in 2023-2024.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers dealt with a lot early in this season. However, they recovered from all of that and eventually rose up to be a true elite in the East. They dominated the Nets in Round 1 of the playoffs but blew a series lead to the Celtics in the semis. It cost Rivers his job and left the door wide open for Harden’s exit.
Yet, in hiring former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, the team took a strong lateral move and remains in a strong position to be contenders again in 2023-2024 if they can retain Harden in free agency or add a different impact player.
3. Boston Celtics
Even without suspended head coach Ime Udoka, the Celtics were near or at the top of our NBA power rankings all season. Their offense was one of the best in the league and the combo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are playing like a pair of All-Stars who learned a lot and got better from their NBA Finals defeat earlier this year.
After solid resistance in Round 1, the Celtics showed their excellence by coming back from a 3-2 deficit and punching a ticket to the conference finals. However, unlike last year they could not overcome the Heat and were even down 3-0 at one point. While they put together a miraculous comeback to even their series, Boston has some big questions heading into the offseason as they came up short of their championship goals again this season.
2. Miami Heat
For much of the season, the Miami Heat could not recapture the elite form they had in 2021-22 and seemed to be a shell of the team that made the conference finals in 2022. However, when the playoffs came around, it became a very different story.
They stunned the top-seeded Bucks in the opening round. Beat a red-hot Knicks squad in the semis, and then bumped off the Celtics in the conference finals and avoided being on the wrong end of history in the process. While Miami fell to Denver in the NBA Finals, they can’t be disappointed about how the 2022-23 season went. They overachieved and are likely one good piece from being right back in contention next year.
1. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets won their first NBA title by taking out the Miami Heat in the 2023 NBA Finals. Nikola Jokic and Co. were on a completely different level, winning the series in five games. Jokic earned the NBA Finals MVP while Jamal Murray played at an elite level.
Moving forward into the summer, there’s no reason to drop Denver from its position atop our initial offseason NBA power rankings. They could be entering a dynastic era and have a strong core and coach to lead them through the next five years.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.