We're just about a week into the 2022-23 NBA season, and here we'll look at our NBA Power Rankings Week 2. Some teams have lived up to preseason expectations like the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, while some have severely underwhelmed like the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers. Also, a few have actually exceeded expectations like the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers. Yes, while the sample size is still quite small, there's still value in looking at how each team has started out of the gates this year.
At the back of the minds of several team owners and general managers, they're also considering the possibility of winning the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes in 2023. Keep in mind that the young Frenchman's recent two-game stint in Las Vegas only helped to highlight what a great and unique talent he is. His potential and specter make our weekly rankings even spicier.
Now without further ado, let's look at our 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings entering Week 2 of the new season.
1. Boston Celtics
The defending Eastern Conference champions have looked excellent to start the season. They've beaten two contenders (76ers and Heat) while keeping the upstart Magic at bay as well. No signs of distractions from the Ime Udoka incident so far as Boston sits atop these NBA Power Rankings.
2. Golden State Warriors
Sure, the Dubs aren't 3-0 like some other teams on this list, but they've still looked plenty dangerous, especially on Ring Night against the hapless Lakers. Also, Steph Curry is shooting the lights out with 5.3 triples per game.
33 PTS | 11-22 FG | 7-12 3FG
Stephen got buckets on #WarriorsGround @UAbasketball || Second Look pic.twitter.com/qb1R5dIVqq
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 24, 2022
3. Milwaukee Bucks
To nobody's surprise, Giannis Antetokounmpo looks and plays like the best player on the planet. He just makes things look so easy, and consequently, he makes the Bucks look so good. Who cares if they were 0-5 in the preseason? They're now 2-0 to start the season.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers established themselves as THE Los Angeles team and then beat the Kings before falling to the Suns. John Wall and Kawhi Leonard are slowly being integrated into the team as well, which means they'll be even stronger with each passing game.
5. Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant & Co. looked sharp starting the season 2-0 before getting blown out by the Mavs on Sunday. The Grizzlies may not be among the top five in the coming weeks, but at least for now, they've looked plenty good.
6. Phoenix Suns
The Suns should have been 3-0 had it not been for Damian Lillard's 41 points a couple of nights ago. Still, Phoenix is looking pretty sharp. They hope to remain that way as they face the Warriors next in what should be a titanic tussle.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell fits like a glove in the Land. And it seems his entry was quite timely as they have missed Darius Garland for a couple of games (and maybe more). An opening loss to the Raptors didn't dampen their spirits as they won over the Bulls and Wizards thereafter.
8. Denver Nuggets
Raise your hand if you expected the Nuggets to lose to the Jazz in their opener. Crazy, right? They seem to have righted the ship, though, getting wins over no less than the Warriors and then the Thunder.
9. Utah Jazz
Who says they're tanking for Wembanyama? The Jazz want everyone to take note that they're aiming for the NBA title. Okay, maybe not, though beating the Nuggets and Timberwolves aren't anything to scoff at. This run won't last long, right? All the more reason to enjoy it while it does.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
Holy heck Damian Lillard, right? The dude's averaging 34.0 points and 4.0 triples per game as his team has gone 3-0. How's that for numerical symmetry? Like the Jazz, this run won't last long, though.
11. Atlanta Hawks
Let's forget that the Hawks won over “just” the Rockets and Magic, okay? Right now, the duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray seems to click. Also, John Collins is hitting shots. Maybe they have a big three after all?
12. Minnesota Timberwolves
Like the Nuggets, the Timberwolves fell victim to a surprising Jazz side. It's nice that Minnesota got two wins already, but is it comforting to know that both have been at the expense of the Thunder? We have our doubts.
13. Dallas Mavericks
We thought the Mavs should have won against the Suns, but they bounced back big time with a 41-point shellacking of the Grizzlies. Luka is also putting up 33.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 3.0 triples, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 block per game. What!?
14. Charlotte Hornets
Don't sleep on these Hornets early in the season. Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier have both turned heads in the absence of LaMelo Ball, while they've looked solid. Winning over the Hawks by 17 was especially impressive.
15. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pels looked good going 2-0 after wins over no less than the Nets and the Hornets. And then they fell short against, who else, but the Jazz. On the bright side, Zion Williamson is looking strong and springy. He'll have a helluva good season. Let's just hope this injury is nothing.
16. Washington Wizards
Wins over the Pacers and Bulls look really good on their slate, while a loss to the Cavs wasn't unexpected. Good to see Rui Hachimura back in action, while Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma have put up good numbers so far.
17. Miami Heat
We should honestly be placing the Heat much higher in the NBA Power Rankings, but we cannot do that until they actually own a winning record. That might still take some time as they face the Raptors, Blazers, and Warriors this week.
18. Philadelphia 76ers
Are we ranking a 0-3 team too high at No. 18? It feels like it, but it also feels like a team led by Joel Embiid and James Harden deserves the benefit of the doubt. They should get a W against the Pacers next before back-to-back tough ones north of the border.
19. San Antonio Spurs
Much like the Jazz, the Spurs haven't been playing like they want Wembanyama that badly. An opening loss to the Hornets was par for the course, but then they upset the Pacers and 76ers. How can it be so hard to tank, right?
20. Brooklyn Nets
We cannot believe we've ranked the Jazz and Spurs ahead of the Nets so far, but truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. Also, Ben Simmons has been a dud. What the heck is up with that guy?
21. New York Knicks
We do not think for a minute that the New York Knicks will be all that good this season. However, a tight loss to the Grizzlies and a rout of the Pistons got us thinking for a minute. And then we realized Julius Randle is still leading this team in scoring. Welp.
22. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors could have easily been 0-3 had it not been for a late surge against the Cavs. Pascal Siakam is starting strong, while Scottie Barnes and Fred VanVleet have been a tad underwhelming so far.
23. Chicago Bulls
A great first win over the Heat has been tempered by losses to the Wizards and the Cavs. The Bulls have not really looked terrible by any stretch, but it has been a slow start. Oh, and they also clearly miss Lonzo Ball.
24. Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin form the collective future of this franchise. After just three games, that much is already clear. It also looks quite certain they won't make much noise this season.
25. Detroit Pistons
A close win over a non-contender (Magic) doesn't do much to counterbalance losses to a couple of other non-contenders (Knicks and Pacers). Also, is Bojan Bogdanovic really going to lead this team in scoring this season?!
26. Los Angeles Lakers
Tempted to put them at the very bottom of these NBA Power Rankings but decided to prop them up a few spots. Not much is going right when Lonnie Walker IV is your team's third-leading scorer after three losses. Also, they're dead last in field goal shooting (40.7 percent).
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 23, 2022
27. Oklahoma City Thunder
Competitive losses — that might be the theme of the season for the Thunder. Also, “What if?” What if Chet Holmgren were around, right? Oh well, at least Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has looked really good in the two games he has played.
28. Houston Rockets
The Rockets' 3-1 preseason record seems like a mirage. Now they're 0-3 to start the season, and while that's not shocking, it's still a bit disappointing. Jalen Green is so far making good on his promise to be an explosive scorer this season, though.
29. Sacramento Kings
Three single-digit losses don't sound too bad for a team with cellar-level expectations. Things don't get easier with the Grizzlies and Heat up next. At least De'Aaron Fox is averaging 31.7 points per game.
30. Orlando Magic
Maybe we're being too hard on the young Magic. Two of their three losses came at the hands of the Hawks and Celtics after all. Or maybe we're just being realistic about what to expect. However, we do like how Paolo Banchero is already scoring 23.3 points per game.