NBA Power Rankings: Pelicans continue meteoric rise in top 10

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.

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

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 likely put an end to any real plans that the team had to be competitive in 2022-2023. Plus, while off-season acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic has played very well, rookies Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey have not been able to pick up the pieces and push Detroit beyond being a lottery-bound organization.

The team losing seven of eight recently, including many by blowout, is what Detroit fans may have to expect the rest of the season.

29. Charlotte Hornets (LW: 29)

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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 more health setbacks. The team recently lost eight in a row and is still bottom feeders in the league. Troubled and talented guard Miles Bridges could be back soon to try and help Charlotte get out of the NBA cellar.

28. Houston Rockets (LW: 28)

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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. They seemed to show a little life recently with wins over the Suns and Bucks. However, it was immediately followed by a five-game losing skid.

27. San Antonio Spurs (LW: 27)

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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 this season and could be key parts of the team’s eventual turnaround in the future.

26. Orlando Magic (LW: 26)

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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, they have righted their rebuilding ship and are one of the hottest teams in the league after winning eight of nine. Which includes a pair of wins against the league-leading Celtics. Banchero, and fellow top prospect Franz Wagner, are quickly becoming a formidable duo that is deserving of respect.

25. Los Angeles Lakers (LW: 24)

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After a disastrous start to the season where the Los Angeles Lakers were 2-10, LA has been a bit less than terrible in recent weeks. Lebron James is healthy and playing like an All-Star still, and Russell Westbrook hasn’t been a complete hindrance to the team’s success. However, a foot injury to Anthony Davis means they could be without their top player for the foreseeable future.

What once seemed like a playoff-caliber team may now need to swing a trade to be in Play-in Tournament contention later in the season.

24. Washington Wizards (LW: 24)

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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 at one point.

They scored three big wins over the Suns, 76ers, and Kings — all playoff-bound teams — recently. However, another injury to start Bradley Beal could make the strong play short-lived.

23. Oklahoma City Thunder (LW: 23)

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It looks like it will be another season en route to an 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 and made them a competitive squad this season. After a recent five-game skid, they won four of five and scored a win over the Grizzlies. They won’t make the playoffs but the Thunder deserve their opponent’s respect.

22. Chicago Bulls (LW: 22)

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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 is speculated to be sellers at the NBA trade deadline in February.

21. Minnesota Timberwolves (LW: 21)

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Following a calf injury that knocked Karl-Anthony Towns for over a month, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been up and down. Losing streaks are now often followed by runs of the hot play. While they aren’t bad, the fact that Anthony Edwards and Rudy Gobert haven’t been able to lead the team to a better record is worrying.

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. Cleveland Cavaliers – 105.5
  2. Philadelphia 76ers – 108.0
  3. Los Angeles Clippers – 108.6
  4. Miami Heat – 108.9
  5. Dallas Mavericks – 109.9

20. Toronto Raptors (LW: 20)

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Pascal Siakam missing some games this season has certainly had a major impact on Fred VanVleet and the rest of the Toronto Raptors. They currently reside one spot out of the NBA play-in tournament and are not where the team was hoping to be this far in the season, or on our NBA power rankings. As rumors of an OG Anunoby trade swirl, the Raptors could blow things up at some point this season.

19. Atlanta Hawks (LW: 18)

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The Atlanta Hawks have been hit by a plague of injuries to key players at points this season, and it has shown as they have plummeted down the NBA standings and our NBA power rankings in recent weeks. However, the bigger issue may be a growing divide between stars Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. As well as new rumors that Young could be the next superstar asking for a trade.

18. Utah Jazz (LW: 13)

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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 they cooled off after their red-hot start, the Utah Jazz remains one of the best-scoring teams in the NBA and are on course for a shocking playoff appearance next spring.

17. New York Knicks (LW: 12)

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After an inconsistent start, the New York Knicks caught fire to start December. It helped them make a major jump in our NBA power rankings as Julius Randle was playing like the MVP candidate he was two years ago, and Jalen Brunson continued to look like one of the best free-agent signings by any team this summer.

Unfortunately, the team followed up its hot streak with a five-game skid. They are stumbling again, and the more time Jalen Brunson misses with an injury, the further they could fall in the rankings.

16. Indiana Pacers (LW: 15)

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 of being in the same division as powerhouses like the Cavaliers and Bucks, but they have nonetheless far exceeded expectations and seem poised for a return to the postseason in 2023.

Things are so positive that the organization has shifted from wanting to trade veteran star Myles Turner to actually engaging in talks about a contract extension.

15. Miami Heat (LW: 16)

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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 are back to being a top-10 team in the Eastern Conference once again.

This group is one big trade away from being a force in the East again. The question is, do they have the assets to land the impact player they need?

14. Golden State Warriors (LW: 19)

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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 at least a few weeks and derailed all the positive momentum. Yet, that too seemed short-lived and young star Jordan Poole has got them back on track with some outstanding play in Curry’s absence.

13. Portland Trail Blazers (LW: 14)

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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 stabilized their recent freefall and are back among the 10 best squads in the Western Conference heading into the new year.

12. Dallas Mavericks (LW: 17)

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 — including making NBA history recently — 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.

They are in the midst of another upswing after winning five straight recently. But, unless they make a big trade, the Mavs could run hot and cold all season long.

11. Sacramento Kings (LW: 11)

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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 hold right around the top 10 of our NBA power rankings.

However, a recent injury to young star Domantas Sabonis could derail their strong play offensively in the coming weeks.

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 right now.

  1. Boston Celtics – 118.9
  2. Sacramento Kings – 118.0
  3. New Orleans Pelicans – 117.8
  4. Utah Jazz – 116.9
  5. Golden State Warriors – 116.4

NBA power rankings top 10

10. Phoenix Suns (LW: 9)

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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, and with Chris Paul finally in a sharp decline 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 trade deadline, this team is a legit title contender.

9. Los Angeles Clippers (LW: 10)

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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, but the talent is there for the Clippers to be serious title contenders this season. With their key players staying on the court more often, they seem to be on a major upswing as they are winning the matchups they should, week in and week out.

While Leonard continues to regain his superstar form, the Clippers’ elite defense has also helped them be a highly competitive team every night.

8. Philadelphia 76ers (LW: 8)

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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 one of the best in the NBA. This team is a serious force in the East and is about to get back Maxey. Philly could be near the top of our NBA rankings soon.

7. 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 all season long 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 NBA.

6. 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.

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. (16.5) and Murray (17.8) have delivered in their returns, and Aaron Gordon has continued to be an impact player for a Nuggets team that is very deep

4. New Orleans Pelicans (LW: 6)

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The New Orleans Pelicans are becoming one of the biggest stories in the NBA this season. The talent is there, but the question entering the season was could head coach Willie Green mold stars like Zion Williamson, CJ McCollom, and Brandon Ingram into a winning unit. So far so good because New Orleans is one of the top teams in the West heading into 2023.

All three are averaging over 20 points a game, and the best part is that Williamson is playing the role of franchise face for a winning team that could make some serious noise in the playoffs.

3. 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 racked up a bunch of wins without Kris Middleton. Now, with their second-best player back, the Bucks are sure to be hanging around the top of our NBA power rankings all season long.

2. Brooklyn Nets (LW: 3)

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After being an absolute dumpster fire for more than a month to start the season, the Brooklyn Nets are the hottest team in the sport after winning 10 straight. The early season drama has seemingly awakened a beast and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have started to wreck house every night with interim head coach Jacque Vaughn guiding them back to elite status in the league.

As long as Irving can stay healthy — always a big if — the Nets are one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA heading into 2023.

1. Boston Celtics (LW: 1)

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Even without suspended head coach Ime Udoka, the Celtics are off to another fantastic start this season. Their offense is 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. Boston is the team to beat in the NBA and has been all season long.

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

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