NBA Power Rankings: Milwaukee Bucks top rankings to start 2023 NBA Playoffs

With the 2022-2023 season underway, our NBA power rankings are active, and here to let you know who are the top teams right now in the association.

Along with the latest pecking order around the league, you can also keep up to date with the current NBA standings, and take an early look at the NBA Draft.

Related: NBA scores – Get the latest results from last night’s NBA action

Now, let’s take a look at the NBA power rankings for all 30 teams in the top professional basketball league in the world.

30. Detroit Pistons (LW: 30)

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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 have not done much in their rookie campaigns.

Unsurprisingly, being the worst team in the league this season led to Dwane Casey losing his job as head coach. Fortunately for him, he was allowed to step away and take a different role in the organization instead of being outright fired. Pistons fans will be hoping this team can win this year’s lottery and land can’t-miss prospect Victor Wembanyama in the NBA Draft.

29. San Antonio Spurs (LW: 28)

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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 will have as good a chance as any team to get Wembanyama. Landing the French star may be the only way this franchise gets back on the right track.

28. Houston Rockets (LW: 29)

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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.

27. Charlotte Hornets (LW: 27)

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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 (LW: 25)

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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 is 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 the summer.

25. Orlando Magic (LW: 26)

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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.

24. Indiana Pacers (LW: 24)

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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 (LW: 23)

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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 (LW: 22)

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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 (LW: 21)

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The Dallas Mavericks were an inconsistent group for much of the year. While Luka Doncic was often outstanding — including making NBA history recently — they constantly endured hot and cold streaks. Yet nothing changed when they swung a deadline blockbuster for Kyrie Irving. But the deal actually made them worst and the Western Conference finalists from the season before tanked their way out of the postseason and into a lottery spot to end a tumultuous and terrible season. This will be a massive off-season for Dallas.

20. Toronto Raptors (LW: 18)

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While the Toronto Raptors were solid for the first few months of the season, they struggled mightily heading into 2023. They have battled injuries to key players and it had an effect. Nevertheless, their overall play has not been where they expected despite having an elite coach in Nick Nurse.

While they were the epicenter of trade rumors, the Raptors did not ship off any of their top players at the deadline and instead added sought-after big man Jakob Poeltl. That move has helped to lift the team in the final month of the season as Poeltl and Fred VanVleet have been a dynamic combo since the trade.

19. Oklahoma City Thunder (LW: 20)

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Despite not having first-round pick Chet Holmgren all season long, the Oklahoma City Thunder were way better than anyone expected this season. And that without a doubt is thanks to head coach Mark Daigneault and budding superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

SGA was been a revelation in ’22-’23 as the first-time All-Star has turned the Thunder into a far more competitive team than they ever should have been. They are in this year’s Play-In tourney and will be a dangerous squad in their one-off matchups.

18. Chicago Bulls (LW: 19)

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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.

With Ball out for the rest of the season the Bulls had to figure things out and try to find their way into the Play-In. With the help of free agent addition Patrick Beverley, they were able to punch a ticket to the postseason. However, chances are they don’t go very far as a back-of-the-bracket seed in an ultra-strong Eastern Conference.

17. Brooklyn Nets (LW: 17)

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After being an absolute dumpster fire for more than a month to start the season, the Brooklyn Nets made some key adjustments in their coaching staff and mindset and returned to prominence in the NBA power rankings. As head coach, Jacque Vaughn was able to tap into the best of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and the duo was dominant at times after the organization dismissed Steve Nash.

Then the drama returned again in February and the team was forced to move both superstars in shocking blockbuster deals. Ever since they have been trying to keep their head above water and make it to the postseason. Mission accomplished but they will have a monster task in front of them in the Philadelphia 76ers.

16. Atlanta Hawks (LW: 16)

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The Atlanta Hawks have been 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. Since the dismissal, the team has seemingly played a bit better as they tried to salvage a disappointing 2022-2023 season.

They are set up for an NBA Play-In Tournament game and need to build some momentum to improve on their quick exit from the postseason last year.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves (LW: 15)

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At the deadline, the Minnesota Timberwolves chose to go with age over youth in swapping out D’Angelo Russell and bringing in veteran floor general Mike Conley to lead the offense. It took some time, but the Timberwolves have been trending in the right direction to kick off March.

Now, with Karl-Anthony Towns back from months away with a calf injury, this group needs to try and find some quick chemistry before their NBA Play-in Tournament matchup.

14. New Orleans Pelicans (LW: 13)

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The New Orleans Pelicans were one of the biggest stories in the NBA this season. Zion Williamson, CJ McCollom, and Brandon Ingram all hovered around averaging over 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.

If Williamson can get back and return to form in time for the last few games of the season, New Orleans could end up making some big noise this spring as a dark horse in the Western Conference.

13. Miami Heat (LW: 10)

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After a rough couple of months to start the season, the Miami Heat are looking much more like the team that went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in the spring. Bam Adebayo has played very well this season and has been key in getting them back among the eight best in the conference.

The Miami Heat will be a tough out in the NBA Playoffs due to the talents of Jimmy Butler and the improved play of Adebayo. But Kevin Love won’t be enough to make them a serious Finals threat in a deep east.

12. Los Angeles Lakers (LW: 14)

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After a disastrous start to the season the Los Angeles Lakers slowly but surely rounded into a far more competitive squad. But, they unsurprisingly had to battle injuries to their top players and needed to revise the roster during this year’s trade deadline to finally get some consistently effective lineups.

When Lebron James and D’Angelo Russell went down with injuries, it seemed likely the team would again suffer setbacks in the standings. However, Anthony Davis was outstanding in their absence. Now, with both back in the fold, the Lakers are hitting their stride and could be very dangerous over the next few weeks.

11. Los Angeles Clippers (LW: 12)

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More than any team in the NBA, health is the biggest story surrounding the Los Angeles Clippers. The talent is there for the Clippers to be serious title contenders this season, but both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George dealt with injuries off and on this season.

However, they have played better recently and Leonard seems to be finding his vintage form with several 30-plus point outbursts in February. But, just when they and their trade deadline additions seemed to be gelling, Paul George suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for at least the rest of the regular season.

Nevertheless, some of the trade deadline and after additions — like Russell Westbrook — have proven beneficial and the team heads down the stretch and into the postseason playing very well. If George can return, they will be a dark horse team in the playoffs.

NBA power rankings top 10

10. Golden State Warriors (LW: 11)

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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. Yet, they seemed to circle the wags on their season and were headed in the right direction until a pair of injuries sidelined superstar Stephen Curry and threw things back into disarray.

With their team icon finally back, the team has caught fire at just the right time and has steadily been climbing up the NBA power rankings. The unit that looked highly unlikely to go far in the playoffs seems to be rounding into form at just the right time, and this is a very scary thing from the league’s current dynasty team.

9. New York Knicks (LW: 8)

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After an inconsistent start, the New York Knicks caught fire in December, stumbled a bit in January, and righted themselves in February with another strong finish to the month. While they don’t have a superstar-level player on the roster, they have a well-rounded starting five led by Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson and have legitimate upside to be even better than they have been so far this season.

The end of Feb. and early March has looked much like Dec. with the team playing some of their best basketball of the season as they have clinched a second playoff birth in three seasons. However, with Randle having a sprained ankle that could keep him out a couple of weeks, New York’s run in the postseason could be short in 2023.

8. Phoenix Suns (LW: 9)

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What head coach Monty Williams and the Phoenix Suns were able to do early this season, despite the Jae Crowder drama and with Chris Paul in a sharp decline, was remarkable. But then MVP candidate Devin Booker was sidelined with a groin injury for nearly a month and they plummeted in the standings.

However, they made a massive jump in the NBA power rankings not just for their improved play after Booker’s return, but by swinging the biggest deal of the 2023 NBA trade deadline for MVP candidate Kevin Durant. While another injury to Durant recently has to make one wonder about his durability for the rest of the season, the team has been dominant with him on the roster.

7. Sacramento Kings (LW: 7)

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After a slow start to the ’22-’23 season, the young gun Sacramento Kings have become one of the best stories in the league this season. Both De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis are playing like an All-Stars, and it has led to Sacramento being a top-10 team in the NBA. It’s been a long time since that was a reality, but this team and their high-powered offense are legit and unlikely to slip from this lofty perch.

The Kings have been the best scoring team in the league all season and in this era of the NBA, that makes them a very dangerous team in today’s game.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers (LW: 6)

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have been strong all season with a deep and talented starting five. While they didn’t swing a major trade at the deadline they are well ahead of schedule as an elite squad in the East. Donovan Mitchell has been everything they expected and more as he has seemingly taken his game to a new level this season.

They have flown under the radar all season as a consistent elite-level team that has played well over the last few weeks. Maintaining their spot in the top three in the conference will be the goal to finish the season for this ultra-talented group.

5. Memphis Grizzlies (LW: 5)

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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. While they dominated and were near the top of our NBA power rankings for much of the early winter, they have stumbled often in 2023.

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 have gotten on a roll just in time for Morant’s return for the stretch run of the season.

4. Denver Nuggets (LW: 3)

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It’s been another year of MVP-level performances from reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. The big man is a triple-double machine again in ’22-’23, however, the big difference compared to last season is the play of secondary stars like Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Aaron Gordon.

All season long they have been the cream of the Western Conference crop. The big question with just a few games left. Can they show the same dominance in the postseason and finally be the first Denver Nuggets squad to storm through the conference to the finals?

3. Philadelphia 76ers (LW: 4)

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The Philadelphia 76ers dealt with a lot early in 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 and then Tyrese Maxey was forced to the sideline for weeks as well after his own hot start.

However, they recovered from all of that and eventually rose up to be a true elite in the East. Nevertheless the trio of Embiid, Harden, and head coach Doc Rivers has a lot to prove in this postseason. Overcoming the Bucks in a likely second-round series will be the first major hurdle for the 76ers in these playoffs.

2. Boston Celtics (LW: 2)

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Even without suspended head coach Ime Udoka, the Celtics had another fantastic 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. That is why the team gave an extension to interim coach Joe Mazzulla.

At this point, it would be shocking if they don’t make it all the way to the conference finals, but if the Bucks are there waiting for them it could be a pick ’em for who represents the East in the championship series.

1. Milwaukee Bucks (LW: 1)

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Unsurprisingly, the Milwaukee Bucks are again an elite squad this 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 has also made notable roster tweaks to strengthen their chances of a serious playoff run.

There are some concerns about Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton’s health heading into the postseason, but if they can avoid any setbacks, they are a strong favorite to make their way through the Eastern Conference and on to the NBA Finals this spring.

This article was originally published on and is republished here with permission.

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