For weeks now, NBA fans across the globe have been waiting to find out if superstars like Damian Lillard or James Harden would be traded this NBA offseason. Well, the NBA Draft has happened, free agency is basically done and NBA Summer League has concluded with neither All-Star being moved. While a deal could still happen before training camp or the start of the new season, there is no time to wait around with a fresh batch of 2023-24 NBA Power Rankings ready to go.
Although Lillard and Harden have not been moved, we’ve seen plenty of All-Stars and big names introduced on new teams this offseason, including Bradley Beal forming a new “Big 3” with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant on the Phoenix Suns, as well as Chris Paul joining the Golden State Warriors.
Free agency delivered us with over $1 billion being spent league-wide within the first few hours, while the NBA Draft was highlighted by Victor Wembanyama ushering in a new era of San Antonio Spurs basketball.
There is just so much talent across the league right now, which is why the 2023-24 season has a chance to be one of the most competitive seasons we have seen in years. Do you think your team has what it takes to win it all and dethrone the champion Denver Nuggets? How have these NBA Power Rankings changed since right after the NBA Finals? Let's take a look, with the change noted in parentheses.
Note: The “offseason additions/new contracts” section will not count extensions that begin in 2024-25.
30. Washington Wizards (-4)
2022-23 Record: 35-47, Result: Missed playoffs (12th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F Kyle Kuzma, G Jordan Poole, G Tyus Jones, G Landry Shamet, F Danilo Gallinari, C Mike Muscala, F Patrick Baldwin Jr., G Ryan Rollins
Draft picks: F Bilal Coulibaly (No. 7), F Tristan Vukcevic (No. 42)
Only one team entered full-blown rebuild mode this offseason, and it was the Washington Wizards. Taking over command of the team’s front office, Michael Winger moved on from All-Star guard Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, actually doing a nice job of acquiring future assets and players who could be flipped at the trade deadline for even more draft capital. Looking ahead, Jordan Poole and first-round pick Bilal Coulibaly figure to be the focal points of this franchise alongside Kyle Kuzma, who now finds himself as the veteran leader of this rebuilding team. It is going to be a while until the Wizards are relevant again, but it does appear as if a plan is finally in place under Winger’s leadership. Still, they bring up the rear in these NBA Power Rankings.
29. Charlotte Hornets (No change)
2022-23 Record: 27-55, Result: Missed playoffs (14th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F Miles Bridges
Draft picks: F Brandon Miller (No. 2), G Nick Smith Jr. (No. 27), Amari Bailey (No. 41)
Other than locking up LaMelo Ball on a max extension, this offseason was a mess and continues to be a mess for the Charlotte Hornets. Second overall pick Brandon Miller drew a lot of criticism for his play in Summer League, both PJ Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. remain free agents and the Hornets brought back Miles Bridges after he sat out the entire 2022-23 season due to domestic violence charges against him. NBA legend Michael Jordan sold his majority stake in the team, so now head coach Steve Clifford and GM Mitch Kupchak appear to be on the clock. Changes are going to be made in Charlotte over the course of the 2023-24 season from both a management and roster standpoint.
28. Portland Trail Blazers (-3)
2022-23 Record: 33-49, Result: Missed playoffs (13th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F Jerami Grant, F Matisse Thybulle
Draft picks: G Scoot Henderson (No. 3), F Kris Murray (No. 23), G/F Rayan Rupert (No. 43)
At this point, it is hard to see the Portland Trail Blazers being able to salvage their relationship with Damian Lillard. No progress has been made on a trade, and it is hard to see Portland maximizing his value in trade discussions given the Miami Heat are his preferred destination. The good news for the Blazers is that they still have Anfernee Simons, who could potentially be moved near the deadline for value, they brought back veteran Jerami Grant in free agency and they added a potential superstar to take over for Lillard in Scoot Henderson. How things play out with Lillard will be interesting, especially since whatever they get back for him will impact Portland’s potential rebuild.
27. Detroit Pistons (+1)
2022-23 Record: 17-65, Result: Missed playoffs (15th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Monte Morris, G/F Joe Harris
Draft picks: G/F Ausar Thompson (No. 5), G Marcus Sasser (No. 25)
Some will say the Detroit Pistons are still the Detroit Pistons, but this team is on the rise. Their NBA-worst 17 wins a season ago may not suggest this, but there is a lot to like about this young group. They have a new head coach in Monty Williams who is going to hold everyone accountable, Cade Cunningham is returning from his shin injury and Ausar Thompson is instantly going to make a difference whenever he is on the floor. Plus, they have a handful of veterans in Joe Harris, Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks and Monte Morris. The Pistons may just be the team that has the most potential for growth this upcoming year.
26. San Antonio Spurs (+1)
2022-23 Record: 22-60, Result: Missed playoffs (14th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G/F Cedi Osman, F Reggie Bullock, G Cam Payne, G Julian Champagnie, F/C Sandro Mamukelishvili
Draft picks: F/C Victor Wembanyama (No. 1), Sidy Cissoko (No. 44)
Victor Wembanyama. That is all you need to know about the San Antonio Spurs. How many hours of sleep he gets, what he eats for breakfast, what his go-to warmup song is, how many shots he makes before the game, what TV show he binges at home. These are all things we will learn from the media’s coverage of Wembanyama this upcoming year. Even though he has not played a single, meaningful game in a Spurs uniform yet, Wemby has changed the energy surrounding this passionate fan base. It is going to take some time for him to get fully adjusted to the NBA world, but this year’s top pick is the real deal.
25. Houston Rockets (+5)
2022-23 Record: 22-60, Result: Missed playoffs (14th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Fred VanVleet, F Dillon Brooks, C Jock Landale, F Jeff Green, G Aaron Holiday
Draft picks: G Amen Thompson (No. 4), F Cam Whitmore (No. 20)
The last few seasons for the Houston Rockets have been about finding a young core to build with. Now, the Rockets are looking to rise up the NBA Power Rankings in the league with Ime Udoka taking over the reins on the sideline and veterans such as Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks joining in free agency. In terms of development, Tari Eason and Jabari Smith Jr. were spectacular in Summer League and will be two young players this organization leans on in their second seasons. The question for Houston will revolve around Amen Thompson and how it looks to integrate the No. 4 overall pick into what has quickly become a crowded backcourt. Unless he moves into a different role with the team, Kevin Porter Jr.’s days with the Rockets may be numbered.
24. Orlando Magic (No change)
2022-23 Record: 34-48, Result: Missed playoffs (13th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G/F Joe Ingles, F/C Moritz Wagner
Draft picks: G Anthony Black (No. 6), G/F Jett Howard (No. 11)
This past year, the Orlando Magic were the “feel good story” in the NBA, as they improved their win total by 12 total games. Entering the 2023-24 season, the Magic will once again be looking to build upon their recent success with pretty much the same core group of Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr. and other youthful talents. Orlando’s overall success depends on health and bench production. Veteran Joe Ingles should be able to help with this, and the Magic have plenty of different talents in their backcourt with Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and No. 6 overall pick Anthony Black.
23. Toronto Raptors (-1)
2022-23 Record: 41-41, Result: Lost in East play-in (9th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: C Jakob Poeltl, G Dennis Schroder, F Jalen McDaniels
Draft picks: G Gradey Dick (No. 13)
What should we make of the Toronto Raptors? They lost Fred VanVleet, they have a rookie head coach and there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Pascal Siakam. Toronto has good players, but nothing really stands out about this team being good enough to be a legitimate threat in a crowded Eastern Conference. This is a team with little cap flexibility when it comes to the roster. In terms of the product they are going to put on the court, they could end up being very offensively challenged, especially from the perimeter. It is hard to imagine this team being much better than they were a season ago.
22. Chicago Bulls (-1)
2022-23 Record: 40-42, Result: Lost in East play-in (10th in the Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: C Nikola Vucevic, G Coby White, G Ayo Dosunmu, G Jevon Carter, F Torrey Craig
Draft picks: Julian Phillips (No. 35)
It is just a matter of time before the Chicago Bulls implode and trade away either DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine. This is the sense around the league, and it is unfortunate that Lonzo Ball hurt his knee in 2022 because this team had the makings of being something special. Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig are two good additions for this team’s bench, yet Chicago’s overall potential is limited at this point. They are not bad, but they are definitely not a top-four team in the conference.
21. Brooklyn Nets (-5)
2022-23 Record: 45-37, Result: Lost in first round (6th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F Cam Johnson, G Lonnie Walker IV, G Dennis Smith Jr., F Darius Bazley
Draft picks: F Noah Clowney (No. 21), G/F Dariq Whitehead (No. 22)
Will Ben Simmons play and, more importantly, will he revert back to the Ben Simmons of old? These are the question marks that surround the Brooklyn Nets, as they are paying Simmons over $35 million to just sit around and watch. If they can get something out of him on the floor, Brooklyn actually has a chance to be a sneaky team in the East because of depth. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson are proven scorers on the wing, Cam Thomas showed flashes of what he can do at the shooting guard position a season ago and there is still the possibility of adding more impactful talents with Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale coming up in trade rumors. I like this team’s young core and I like their potential moving forward, especially if they continue to build with Bridges as their focal point.
20. Indiana Pacers (+3)
2022-23 Record: 35-47, Result: Missed playoffs (11th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G/F Bruce Brown, F Obi Toppin
Draft picks: F Jarace Walker (No. 8), G Ben Sheppard (No. 26)
The Indiana Pacers have a chance to do what the New York Knicks did a season ago and rise up the standings in the Eastern Conference, finding themselves as the 5-seed or 6-seed come playoff time. Tyrese Haliburton is one of those players who makes everyone around him better, and the Pacers’ overall depth got better this offseason with the additions of Bruce Brown, Obi Toppin and Jarace Walker. Not to mention, Bennedict Mathurin is going to take a big step forward as Haliburton’s No. 2 guy on the wing. Don’t sleep on Indiana this season because this is a younger, very energetic and fun team to watch.
19. Dallas Mavericks (No change)
2022-23 Record: 38-44, Result: Missed playoffs (11th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Kyrie Irving, F Grant Williams, G Seth Curry, C Dwight Powell, C Richaun Holmes, G Dante Exum
Draft picks: C Dereck Lively II (No. 12), F Olivier Maxence-Prosper (No. 24)
Step 1 for the Dallas Mavericks was to re-sign Kyrie Irving. Step 2 was to add shooting depth, which they did with the signings of Grant Williams and Seth Curry. Step 3 was to add frontcourt help, and they did that too with Richaun Holmes and Dereck Lively II. I actually really like the moves the Mavs made this offseason, yet I by no means am ready to buy into them. This organization quit during the final few weeks of the season last year instead of trying to chase a playoff spot. To me, that’s not a winning culture. Can they be a top-10 team in the league this season? Absolutely! However, it also wouldn’t come as a shock if they struggle with inconsistent play outside of their two stars again. Something still seems off about this team, and they may need to make a trade to add that third key talent alongside Luka Doncic and Kyrie.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (No change)
2022-23 Record: 42-40, Result: Lost in West play-in (9th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: C Naz Reid, G Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G Shake Milton, F Troy Brown Jr.,
Draft picks: F Leonard Miller (No. 32)
Success for the Minnesota Timberwolves revolves around their trio of Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. It is clear that Edwards is the focal point of the franchise after receiving a massive five-year extension that could potentially reach $260 million. As a result, Towns’ days with the T-Wolves could be numbered if this team does not outperform expectations this season. There are definitely pieces to like with this roster, as Mike Conley Jr., Kyle Anderson, Naz Reid and Troy Brown Jr. are all proven, secondary pieces. Until proven otherwise, this is a middle-of-the-pack team in the West that will win some big games over the course of the season, but also suffer some very disappointing losses.
17. Utah Jazz (+3)
2022-23 Record: 37-45, Result: Missed playoffs (12th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F John Collins, G Jordan Clarkson, C Omer Yurtseven
Draft picks: F Taylor Hendricks (No. 9), G Keyonte George (No. 16), F Brice Sensabaugh (No. 28)
Keep buying stock in Will Hardy and the Utah Jazz, because this organization has a sense for knowing what needs to be done. Who cares if the Jazz did not make any big moves in the offseason? They have the blueprint to be successful moving forward. Taylor Hendricks is going to be an impactful forward on both ends of the floor in Utah, Brice Sensabaugh is an underrated scorer on the wing and Keyonte George is my dark horse to win Rookie of the Year. The trio of George, Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson in Utah’s backcourt is going to be a handful to deal with, while All-Star Lauri Markkanen is only going to get better with John Collins being this team’s true power forward now. This is a definite playoff team in the Western Conference, and it’s not crazy to say that they will avoid the play-in tournament altogether.
16. Atlanta Hawks (+1)
2022-23 Record: 41-41, Result: Lost in first round (8th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Patty Mills, F Wesley Matthews
Draft picks: G Kobe Bufkin (No. 15), F Mouhamed Gueye (No. 39)
It’s about time the Atlanta Hawks moved on from John Collins, as he was seemingly on the trade block since the day they drafted him. In all seriousness, this was a move the Hawks had to make from a financial perspective. It also does not seem they are done making moves just yet, as they have been connected to Pascal Siakam for quite some time and Clint Capela continues to hear his name linked to the Mavericks. The Hawks are very high on Jalen Johnson, who will step into a bigger role with Collins gone, and they have plenty of movable contracts that they could still leverage to add talent alongside Dejounte Murray and Trae Young. This team is going to be competitive under Quin Snyder and should be much better than a .500 team like they were all of last season.
15. Oklahoma City Thunder (No change)
2022-23 Record: 40-42, Result: Lost in West play-in (10th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Vasilije Micic, F Davis Bertans, G TyTy Washington, G Victor Oladipo, F Usman Garuba, F Jack White
Draft picks: G Cason Wallace (No. 10), F Keyontae Johnson (No. 50)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to lead what many around the league view as the best young core in the Oklahoma City Thunder. This offseason, the Thunder continued to add value and potential, as rookie Cason Wallace is joined by Davis Bertans and EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic as incoming talents. Chet Holmgren will also be making his debut this season after sitting out all of last year with a foot injury. The Thunder have a lot of size, they have plenty of depth and they are going to continue to learn a lot about their young group.
14. New Orleans Pelicans (-3)
2022-23 Record: 42-40, Result: Lost in West play-in (8h in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Herb Jones, C Cody Zeller, F E.J. Liddell
Draft picks: G Jordan Hawkins (No. 14)
Like other teams ranked below them, everything for the New Orleans Pelicans hinders on their overall health. With Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson healthy, this is one of the better teams in the Western Conference, especially with Trey Murphy III beginning to show signs that he can be a real star on the wing in this league. Keep an eye on the Pels entering the year, because they have a ton of draft picks and movable assets such as Kira Lewis Jr. and Jonas Valanciunas. Should a big name become available in trade talks by midseason, New Orleans may push chips in to contend for a title right now.
13. New York Knicks (+1)
2022-23 Record: 47-35, Result: Lost in East semis (5th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Donte DiVincenzo
Draft picks: NONE
Donte DiVincenzo is reunited with his Villanova teammates in Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson, making the New York Knicks an even better team than they were a season ago. Patience has paid off thus far for Leon Rose and the Knicks’ front office, as they have continued to steadily grow year after year. An Evan Fournier trade will be coming at some point, and hopefully the Knicks will be able to add another forward who can contribute off the bench right away. It does not appear as if New York will be going after Damian Lillard or James Harden, so it will be interesting to see which star emerges as their top target moving forward. Could it actually be reigning league MVP Joel Embiid?
12. Miami Heat (-6)
2022-23 Record: 44-38, Result: Lost in NBA Finals (8th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Josh Richardson, F/C Kevin Love, C Thomas Bryant, C Orlando Robinson
Draft picks: G/F Jaime Jaquez Jr. (No. 18)
The Miami Heat ended up being the biggest losers of the NBA offseason not only because they lost two key contributors in Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, but because there is still no clear picture on whether or not they will be able to land Damian Lillard in trade talks with the Blazers. Josh Richardson is a solid veteran, yet he will not be able to replicate what Vincent or Strus did for this team that made it all the way to the Finals a season ago. This roster is incomplete and their bench unit, which was one of the best in the league a season ago, has taken a massive hit. It is hard to look at this group as it is right now (without Lillard) and think they have what it takes to be a top-tier team in the East again. Obviously, this stance can change with one notification saying a certain someone is on their way to South Beach, which would surge the Heat up the NBA Power Rankings.
11. Los Angeles Clippers (-4)
2022-23 Record: 44-38, Result: Lost in West semis (5th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Russell Westbrook, C Mason Plumlee, F Kenyon Martin Jr.
Draft picks: F Kobe Brown (No. 30), G Jordan Miller (No. 48)
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are healthy … right? I mean, if they are healthy alongside Russell Westbrook, there is a lot to like about the Los Angeles Clippers. However, you never know when their “load management” philosophy will take over and when the Clippers will throw games during the regular season, directly resulting in their ultimate playoff demise. In a playoff series against any team in the West, you have to like the Clippers’ chances when Leonard and George are healthy. That has been the problem for them through the years, though, as we have only seen glimpses of Los Angeles’ full potential. Maybe this is finally the year we get to see what owner Steve Ballmer envisioned when his two All-Stars joined the franchise in 2019.
10. Memphis Grizzlies (-1)
2022-23 Record: 51-31, Result: Lost in first round (2nd in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Marcus Smart, G Derrick Rose, G Josh Christopher, F Isaiah Todd
Draft picks: F G.G. Jackson (No. 45), Tarik Biberovic (No. 56)
It's tough to see Tyus Jones go after years spent as one of the best backup point guards in the NBA. Marcus Smart, however, is definitely an upgrade for a team who believes they are in the hunt for a championship. Everything for this organization revolves around Ja Morant, though, and his suspension is going to loom large for quite some time. They are a great team and have proven so the last few seasons, but immaturity and in-game frustrations continue to limit Memphis’ overall potential.
9. Philadelphia 76ers (+1)
2022-23 Record: 54-28, Result: Lost in East semis (3rd in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Patrick Beverley, F/C Paul Reed, C Montrezl Harrell, C Mo Bamba, F/C Filip Petrusev
Draft picks: NONE
What exactly did the Philadelphia 76ers do this offseason that should have their fans excited about the new season approaching? They did not replace Georges Niang, James Harden wants to be traded and Joel Embiid’s future continues to be debated amongst NBA circles. It is worth noting that Philly added some frontcourt help, which should finally give Embiid rest during the regular season so he is not always injured come time for the playoffs. With a new head coach and philosophy coming in with Nick Nurse and not the right personnel to match how he likes to play, the Sixers seem destined for postseason disappointment yet again.
8. Golden State Warriors (No change)
2022-23 Record: 44-38, Result: Lost in West semis (6th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Chris Paul, G Cory Joseph, F/C Dario Saric
Draft picks: G Brandin Podizemski (No. 19), F Trayce Jackson-Davis (No. 57)
Look, I know the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is getting older, but I am still not ready to write off the Golden State Warriors just yet. All of the headlines of their dynasty being over is certainly false, as that is what everyone was saying in 2021 before they came back and won the 2022 NBA Finals. The Warriors will always have championship DNA and still have a sense of direction even without Bob Myers leading the front office. New GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. is a very, very smart basketball mind, and there was a central purpose behind moving Jordan Poole for Chris Paul other than from a financial standpoint. Golden State is up to something, and it would not come as a shock if Paul is just a rental for a couple of months before the Warriors go all-in and move him for a championship like player, similar to what they did with D’Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins a couple of years back. Let’s see what Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga and this bench looks like before we begin to have conversations about writing the Warriors off.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (+6)
2022-23 Record: 51-31, Result: Lost in first round (4th in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Max Strus, G/F Caris LeVert, G Ty Jerome, F George Niang, C Damian Jones
Draft picks: F Emoni Bates (No. 49)
This is going to be a very big year for the Cleveland Cavaliers, especially with a potential contract extension on the horizon for Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen hearing his name in trade rumors this offseason. Cleveland’s disappointing playoff loss definitely looms large over this franchise right now. They acknowledged that by adding key contributors on the perimeter such as Max Strus, Georges Niang and Ty Jerome. Rookie Emoni Bates and Sam Merrill may also be able to help with the team’s lack of shooting depth, as they were two of the best performers at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Playing hard every single night and becoming an aggressive team that crashes the glass on both ends will elevate the Cavaliers to being a real contending team.
6. Los Angeles Lakers (+6)
2022-23 Record: 43-39, Result: Lost in West Finals (7th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Gabe Vincent, G D’Angelo Russell, G Austin Reaves, F Rui Hachimura, F Taurean Prince, G/F Cam Reddish, C Jaxson Hayes
Draft picks: G Jalen Hood-Schifino (No. 17), F Maxwell Lewis (No. 40)
Out of all 30 teams in the league, the Los Angeles Lakers may have had the best offseason and make a big jump up the NBA Power Rankings. They not only brought back Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and Angelo Russell on new contracts, but they replaced Dennis Schroder with Gabe Vincent, Troy Brown Jr. with Taurean Prince and added depth with Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes. Unlike the fringe playoff team they entered the season as last year, the Lakers enter the 2023-24 season with high title aspirations and are going to do everything they can do in order to capitalize on LeBron James’ final few years in the NBA. This should be a top-four team in the West, so anything less than an appearance in the Western Conference Finals will be a major disappointment.
5. Sacramento Kings (No change)
2022-23 Record: 48-34, Result: Lost in first round (3rd in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F/C Domantas Sabonis, F Harrison Barnes, F Sasha Vezenkov, G Chris Duarte, F Trey Lyles, C Alex Len
Draft picks: G Colby Jones (No. 34)
In terms of contracts, this was not a good offseason for the Sacramento Kings. They bid against themselves by giving Domantas Sabonis a $217 million contract and ended up having to give Harrison Barnes $54 million in order to keep him around. The good news for the Kings is that they finally got Sasha Vezenkov to come over from EuroLeague, they added Chris Duarte for shooting depth and they still have their entire core group together. Plus, Keegan Murray is preparing to have a massive second season in the league. As long as they play with the same energy they played with a season ago and as long as they have their “light the beam” tradition, I am not rooting against this group.
4. Boston Celtics (-1)
2022-23 Record: 57-25, Result: Lost in East Finals (2nd in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F/C Kristaps Porzingis, G Dalano Banton, F Oshae Brissett
Draft picks: F Jordan Walsh (No. 38)
Even though they traded away Marcus Smart, the Boston Celtics found a way to improve by bringing in former All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis. The biggest question mark facing this group revolves around Porzingis’ health and whether or not he will be available when it matters most. On paper, this team has everything they need to win a championship, especially since Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon are more than capable of leading the backcourt in wake of Smart’s departure. Expectations for this organization have never been higher, as their fans are expecting them to win title No. 18 this season, especially after agreeing to a five-year, $304 million supermax extension with Jaylen Brown.
3. Phoenix Suns (+1)
2022-23 Record: 45-37, Result: Lost in West semis (4th in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Bradley Beal, G Eric Gordon, G Jordan Goodwin, C Bol Bol, C Drew Eubanks, F Josh Okogie, F Keita Bates-Diop, F Yuta Watanabe, G Damion Lee, F/C Chimezie Metu
Draft picks: F Toumani Camara (No. 52)
Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. That is the new “Big 3” teams across the league will have to face when they play the Phoenix Suns this season. Quite honestly, this trio may wind up averaging over 100 points per game combined this season. This team has a championship head coach in Frank Vogel and a championship-worthy core to win a title, but will they have the necessary depth to win a seven-game series against the best of the best? Eric Gordon, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop and Bol Bol are all going to have to hold huge roles over the course of the season in order for Phoenix to meet expectations. On paper, it will be hard to look at the Suns and not pick them to win any series against any team at full-strength.
2. Milwaukee Bucks (No change)
2022-23 Record: 58-24, Result: Lost in first round (1st in Eastern Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: F Khris Middleton, C Brook Lopez, F Jae Crowder, G Malik Beasley, F Thanasis Antetokounmpo, G A.J. Green
Draft picks: G Andre Jackson (No. 36), F Chris Livingston (No. 58)
As long as Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the Milwaukee Bucks, they will have a chance to win a title. The 2022-23 season ended in major disappointment for the Bucks, as they fell in the first round to the 8-seeded Miami Heat after winning an NBA-best 58 games. Keeping Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez in free agency was essential, and Milwaukee was able to keep both players for the foreseeable future. Adrian Griffin is a first-year head coach, but he has an experienced, veteran group to help ease some of the troubles a rookie coach may have early on. This team still has everything they need to make it to the NBA Finals. Should their season end in yet another disappointing loss, conversations regarding Giannis’ future will begin to rise.
1. Denver Nuggets (No change)
2022-23 Record: 53-29, Result: NBA champions (1st in Western Conference)
Offseason additions/new contracts: G Reggie Jackson, G Justin Holiday, C DeAndre Jordan
Draft picks: G Julian Strawther (No. 29), G Jalen Pickett (No. 32), F Hunter Tyson (No. 37)
How the Denver Nuggets replace Bruce Brown in their rotations will be interesting, especially since he was such a huge part of their championship run. But until they are beaten in the playoffs, the Nuggets remain the best team in the NBA and Nikola Jokic is not going anywhere anytime soon. In addition to losing Brown, the Nuggets also lost veteran Jeff Green this offseason, which means 2022 draft picks Christian Braun and Peyton Watson figure to hold bigger roles in the main rotation. Julian Strawther and Hunter Tyson are two rookies the team is high on as well given their natural shooting abilities. There is no reason to fix what is not broken, and this is the mindset regarding the Nuggets and their core. Next to Jokic, Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. are all returning, which is why Denver will enter the new season on top of these NBA Power Rankings and with a chance to become the 14th team to win back-to-back titles.