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 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
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
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
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 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
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
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. 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.
In fact, 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.
What do power rankings mean?
Power rankings, be it for the NBA, MLB, NHL or NFL is a rankings 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 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.
In the end, it didn’t matter in the Play-In as the team’s season was quickly ended by the Bulls. An offseason of great change is likely ahead in Canada.
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 and in these NBA power rankings. And 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 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.
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 get into the tourney, but in the end, fell short of making it into the final eight of the East.
The Bulls now head into the postseason with major questions ahead. Should they make major changes to the roster and trade off one of their All-Star pieces, or make small tweaks and hope for the best in 2023-2024?
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 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.
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
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 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.
However, they did not fare so well to start the tourney with a tough loss to LA. Nevertheless, they were able to gut things out and make it into the tournament for a tough matchup against the Denver Nuggets in Round 1. But the warts again showed and they were easily dispatched by the conference’s best in just five games. It will be interesting to see how the ‘Wolves approach roster improvements this summer.
15. Brooklyn Nets
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 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 team 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. Since the dismissal, the team has seemingly 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.
What was a plus for the Clippers in these playoffs is the fact that they got a Suns team still working out the kinks in their chemistry. But it didn’t matter as Durant and Booker were an outstanding combo and another injury to Leonard sank their playoff chances. They are now stuck with their top two players, injury history, massive contracts, and all.
12. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been strong all season with a deep and talented starting five, and one of the best defenses in the NBA. While they didn’t swing a major trade at the deadline they are well ahead of schedule as an elite squad in the East. Plus, Donovan Mitchell was been 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. While they dominated and were near the top of our NBA power rankings for much of the season, they 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 got on a roll just in time for Morant’s return for the stretch run.
Injuries to their top star again hampered their playoff hopes a bit, but in the end, after being one of the top teams in the West all season long, their season was ended way too early by Lebron James and a defensive-driven Lakers team. It will be interesting to see if Memphis tries to add a major star to the roster 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 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 also made notable roster tweaks to strengthen their chances of a serious playoff run this spring.
No one thought Antetokounmpo’s back injury in Game 1 of their opening series was a sign of terrible things to come, but that’s exactly what it was. Even when he returned later in the series, they could never get back into a groove and the Heat had the built-in confidence to deliver the biggest surprise of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Major changes could be coming to Milwaukee this summer.
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. 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.
Everything was gravy for the Kings from here on out, but they did do their best to advance in the playoffs 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, this was a fantastic season for the Kings.
8. Golden State Warriors
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.
They entered the postseason at full strength and looking ready to defend their crown. However, they were knocked on their heels early by falling into a 2-0 hole against the Kings in their opening-round series. However, the championship beast was awakened and they were able to survive and move on after seven games.
But against a strong defensive unit in the Lakers, 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 right now so changes are likely in the offseason.
7. Phoenix Suns
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 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. In the quarterfinals, they seemed like they did because Booker and Durant were ridiculously good at times. Even in the semis, however, former two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and a less impressive roster were able to outwork and beat the star-studded sons.
6. New York Knicks
After an inconsistent start, the New York Knicks caught fire in December, stumbled a bit in January, and righted themselves in February and down the stretch to get back to the playoffs for the second time in the last three years.
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 was a popular pick to score an upset over the Cavaliers in Round 1 and did just that 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. 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.
They entered the playoffs with serious confidence and as one of the best defenses in basketball over the last couple of months. 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 is the 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 22023-2024.
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. Nevertheless the trio of Embiid, Harden, and head coach Doc Rivers has a lot to prove in the postseason.
Dominating the Nets in Round 1 got them off to a very strong start to proving the doubters wrong. However, despite having a 3-2 series lead and a home opportunity to eliminate the Celtics, they failed at home and played even worse in Game 7. 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 from the Hawks in Round 1, the Celtics showed their excellence by coming back from a 3-2 deficit and punching a ticket to the conference finals in a rematch with the always-tough Jimmy Butler and the Heat.
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 come back to even there 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.
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, and there’s no reason to drop Denver from its position atop our initial offseason NBA power rankings. They could be entering a dynastic era.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.