NBA Power Rankings: New York Knicks surge into top 15

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 looking 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.

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There are also a ton of other intriguing stories surrounding other contending teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Brooklyn Nets. Without further ado, here is our latest set of NBA power rankings.

30. Detroit Pistons (LW: 30)

nba power rankings: detroit pistons
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A season-ending injury to young star Cade Cunningham and ailments to 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. Charlotte Hornets (LW: 26)

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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 resided in the back end of the Eastern Conference standings.

While hope returned once Ball was back on the court, it wasn’t long before he and fellow star Gordon Hayward suffered long-term injuries. Now the team inches closer to the new year with the worst record in the NBA and closing in on the bottom spot in our NBA power rankings.

28. Orlando Magic (LW: 29)

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The young Orlando Magics, led by top pick Paolo Banchero were mired in an ugly nine-game losing streak to kick off December. However, a new four-game win streak — including a back-to-back sweep of the Raptors — has displayed that the combo of Banchero and fellow lottery pick Franz Wagner have dynamic duo potential.

27. San Antonio Spurs (LW: 28)

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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.

26. Houston Rockets (LW: 27)

nba power rankings: houston rockets
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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 NBA powerhouses the Suns and Bucks.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (LW: 25)

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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 early next year and is looking like a future face of the NBA.

24. Washington Wizards (LW: 21)

NBA: Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets
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The Washington Wizards were a solid squad after the first month of the season. They seemed playoff bound with their star trio of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma playing well together. However, that has changed as they have plummeted down the rankings after losing 11 of 12. If Beal misses games, this team doesn’t have enough to be competitive without him.

23. Chicago Bulls (LW: 24)

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls
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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. This team could be a seller come the NBA trade deadline.

22. Los Angeles Lakers (LW: 22)

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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. Minnesota Timberwolves (LW: 19)

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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 is on Rudy Gobert to pick up the slack and Anthony Edwards must carry even more of the scoring load. It hasn’t happened and the team has a bottom-five record in the West.

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.

  1. Cavaliers – 104.6
  2. Clippers – 108.1
  3. 76ers – 108.2
  4. Bucks – 108.8
  5. Miami Heat – 109.2

20. Toronto Raptors (LW: 18)

nba power rankings: toronto raptors
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Pascal Siakam missing games this season has certainly had a major impact on Fred VanVleet and the rest of the Toronto Raptors. While they currently own a spot in the NBA play-in tournament, this is not where the team was hoping to be a couple of months into the season.

19. Golden State Warriors (LW: 16)

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The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors struggled big time early in the season. They have been bad on the road and their usually solid defense has been one of the worst in the league. However, after a five-game skid, they won nine of 13 and seemed to be righting the ship and looking more like their championship-level selves. That is until superstar Stephen Curry suffered a shoulder injury that will knock him out for weeks and derailed all the positive momentum.

18. Atlanta Hawks (LW: 10)

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The Atlanta Hawks have been hit by a plague of injuries to key players and it has shown as they have plummeted down the NBA standings and our NBA power rankings after losing four of five. Despite Trae Young’s best efforts the team is now under .500 and treading water until they get Dejounte Murray and Clint Capela back in the lineup.

17. Dallas Mavericks (LW: 13)

nba power rankings: dallas mavericks
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The Dallas Mavericks have been an inconsistent group for much of the year. While Luka Doncic has been outstanding, and the team has played well defensively, they have constantly endured hot and cold streaks. It is likely a symptom of the lack of impactful talent around the young superstar. Unless they make a big trade, this could be what the Mavs are all season.

16. Indiana Pacers (LW: 11)

nba power rankings: indiana pacers
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The Indiana Pacers continue to be better than expected and have the makings of a new dynamic duo on their hands in Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Benedict Mathurin. They have the tough luck in being in the same division as powerhouses like the Cavaliers and Bucks, but they have still far exceeded expectations and seem poised for a return to the postseason in 2023.

15. New York Knicks (LW: 23)

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After an inconsistent start, the New York Knicks have been one of the hottest teams in the league recently. That is why they have taken a massive jump up in our latest NBA power rankings. Julius Randle is playing likely the MVP candidate he was two years ago, and Jalen Brunson continues to look like one of the best free-agent signings by any team this summer.

The injection of second-year man Quentin Grimes has also been pivotal in the Knicks’ defense and overall play returning to the high standard head coach Tom Thibodeau is known for.

14. Miami Heat (LW: 20)

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The Miami Heat had been a massive disappointment for much of this season. Sure the loss of veteran PJ Tucker hurt but it should not have been enough to where they sat with a record under .500 for almost two months. However, they seem to have built up momentum in the right direction recently, and Tyler Herro’s hot streak has helped return them to being a top-10 team in the Eastern Conference once again.

13. Utah Jazz (LW: 12)

nba power rankings
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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 Utah Jazz are one of the best-scoring teams in the NBA and on course for a shocking playoff appearance next spring.

12. Los Angeles Clippers (LW: 9)

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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.

Despite the injury issues, their defense has been a saving grace and has kept them competitive as they try to get to full health for an extended amount of time.

11. Sacramento Kings (LW: 8)

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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.

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.

  1. Celtics – 119.4
  2. Jazz – 117.9
  3. Kings – 117.6
  4. Pelicans – 117.4
  5. Warriors – 117.2

NBA power rankings top 10

10. Portland Trail Blazers (LW: 17)

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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 immediately went into a slump soon after.

Now, with their team legend back on the court, they have quickly begun an ascension up our NBA power rankings and back into the top 10 after winning five of six.

9. Philadelphia 76ers (LW: 15)

Feb 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA;  Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) and center Joel Embiid (21) check back into the game in the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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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 future Hall-of-Famer is back on the court, Embiid is playing like an MVP candidate and their defense is elite. This team is a serious force in the East and is not even at full capacity.

8. Brooklyn Nets (LW: 14)

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After being an absolute dumpster fire for more than a month to start the season, the Brooklyn Nets are red-hot. They recently won eight of nine and the team is playing like a well-oiled machine under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn. The early season drama has seemingly awakened a beast and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have started to wreck house every night for this top-five squad in the East.

7. Phoenix Suns (LW: 3)

nba power rankings; phoenix suns
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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 year and Devin Booker deserves talk as a serious MVP candidate this season. If they can add a notable impact player at the deadline, this team is a legit title contender.

6. New Orleans Pelicans (LW: 6)

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at San Antonio Spurs
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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 become an elite unit in the West.

The best part of it all is that Williamson has led the way and playing to his potential for a team that is rushing up the standings and has the fourth-best scoring offense in the NBA.

5. Denver Nuggets (LW: 5)

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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 (17.7) have delivered early and that’s why they have one of the best records in the Western Conference.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (LW: 4)

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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 a premiere defensive squad in the league.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (LW: 7)

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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 stumbled for a couple of weeks entering December, the Grizz are on absolute fire after winning nine of 10 recently. They are again looking like the squad that had NBA Finals potential late last season.

2. Milwaukee Bucks (LW: 2)

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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)

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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 and is republished here with permission.

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