NBA Power Rankings

NBA Power Rankings Updated Jan. 15, 2023.

  1. Boston Celtics

    Boston has been No. 1 pretty much from the first game. The Celtics legitimately have five starters who could feasibly average 20-plus points in a season; Derrick White has become a star; and their offensive and defensive talent is elite. Boston still has a huge problem with depth and needs to find two more rotation players.

  2. Los Angeles Clippers

    I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Clippers adding James Harden, but after Russell Westbrook asked Tye Lue to be the sixth man, the team has been excellent and has firmly landed in the contender tier. The Clippers’ depth is still iffy, but their 1-8 players are probably No. 1 in the NBA.

  3. Oklahoma City Thunder

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is probably the league’s No. 2 guard after Luka Doncic and is tracking to be First-Team All-NBA for the second time. Stud rookie center Chet Holmgren is already a two-way star who could be an all-star as well. The improvement from Jalin Williams has given the Thunder a reliable second option, which was essential, and their depth is special. Oklahoma City needs to add a scorer like Jordan Clarkson or Bogdan Bogdanovic to run the second unit, but the team is excellent.

  4. Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets are still my pick to win the NBA championship, with Boston second, but the Clippers and Thunder deserve credit for their excellent play so far. Nikola Jokic is almost boringly brilliant at this point, as is the consistency of Denver’s role players, the main ones – Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Michael Porter Jr. and Reggie Jackson – and their depth guys – Christian Braun, Julian Strawther, Justin Holiday and Payton Watson. The Nuggets are a superior team than the one that won a title.

  5. Milwaukee Bucks

    With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, as well as a healthy Khris Middleton, the Bucks can win a title. There are issues though with defense – replacing Jrue Holiday with Lillard was risky for this reason – as well as consistency. Also, if one of Lillard or Antetokounmpo struggle, the Bucks are in trouble. Regardless, they are still getting used to a very different team and coach, so it will take time to perfect.

  6. Minnesota Timberwolves

    It may be weird to have the West’s No. 1 team ranked sixth, but calling them the No. 6 team in the NBA seems right. Minnesota’s defense, starting with Rudy Gobert, is simply excellent, and Gobert should win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award. Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards have become an elite NBA duo, and as a pair, they’re huge. Naz Reid is one of the stronger reserves in the league, but the Timberwolves’ bench is an issue, as is their offense if Edwards or Towns struggle; they need a third scorer.

  7. Miami Heat

    It is truly incredible how the Heat consistently find cheap role players who become a big piece of their rotation. Obviously, they roll as Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler roll, but Tyler Herro is one of the finest third options in the NBA; rookie Jamie Jacquez has been excellent; and they have strong role players. Miami arguably has superior talent to the squad that just won the East.

  8. Philadelphia 76ers

    So far, Joel Embiid is the favorite to win his second straight MVP, and he’s been incredible; the vote would be unanimous. With a 30-10 big and Tyrese Maxey moving to point guard with far too much ease, Philadelphia’s 1-2 punch is elite. The 76ers really need Tobias Harris or Kelly Oubre Jr. to become that consistent third option though, or trade for one, as they have trouble if Embiid and Maxey have to score 60. Philadelphia’s depth is solid, but the team needs to invest in another scorer at guard.

  9. Sacramento Kings

    The Kings are yet another team that needs a third scorer. There are a lot of rumors of them making a big trade, which they actually have the pieces to make. Sacramento knows that De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis can only get the squad so far.

  10. New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans are one of the few teams in the NBA that have three consistent and excellent scorers with Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and C.J. McCollum. The health of that trio, however, is a consistent question as well. The Pelicans have some really nice role players too, and rookie Jordan Hawkins looks like a potential starter.

  11. Dallas Mavericks

    The Mavericks are one more team in a trend of teams that really needs an elite third option if they want to create some noise when it is playoff season. Luka Doncic is arguably the NBA’s No. 1 guard this season, and Kyrie Irving is playing like an all-star too, but the Mavericks need an offensive forward on their roster.

  12. Indiana Pacers

    The Pacers may be trash defensively, but they are titans on offense with all-star Tyrese Haliburton running it. What’s interesting about them is they have a hodgepodge of guys who could be the second option in one game and their fifth in the next. Bennedict Mathurin has had a very disappointing second season because he was assumed to have that role, but Indiana’s depth helps make that less of a problem.

  13. Orlando Magic

    After a hot start, the Magic have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games. Injuries have hit hard, with Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Harris, Markelle Fultz and most importantly Franz Wagner missing at least half of those 10 games. That has forced young, unproven players like Caleb Houstan and Chuma Okeke to step in. Paolo Banchero is still one of the most underrated players in the NBA, however, and has helped the Magic tread water while they wait for their missing pieces to get healthy.

  14. Phoenix Suns

    The Suns haven’t really been healthy, with their “Big Three” having only played a few games together. Additionally, after Jusuf Nurkic, Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen, the team’s depth is poor. I still assume the Suns will make a run at some point, but they have not been impressive. They somehow only have six players averaging more than six points.

  15. Golden State Warriors

    The Warriors are a mess. The roster has gotten old, and the young guys the team actually has are now wanting trades. Additionally, Draymond Green has been in NBA prison, and Stephen Curry has no help. Golden State is also stuck with Green for four more seasons; Chris Paul is injured; and the team is just not special at this point. You have to feel sorry for Curry.

  16. Brooklyn Nets

    The issue with the Nets is that they aren’t really a team with purpose. They have some excellent younger pieces like Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Nic Claxton, but they also have an expensive former superstar who can’t stay healthy in Ben Simmons, three rookies who aren’t being used and quite a few valuable older guys. There’s no rhyme or reason to Brooklyn’s roster, and although Bridges is a star, the team needs a stronger first option.

  17. Houston Rockets

    For $300 million or so, Houston has become a .500 team. The point is that adding a bunch of older players to an incredibly talented young roster was a mistake. The Rockets had a chance to develop a championship-caliber roster in a few seasons, but ruined that at a chance to get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

  18. Cleveland Cavaliers

    It looks like the Cavaliers are starting to understand that their roster as constructed has no chance of yielding more than a mediocre playoff team in the East. This is due to Donovan Mitchell trade rumors. The Mitchell trade was bold, but it’s made the Cavaliers assetless in the way of draft capital, and additions like Max Strus aren’t the answer. Mitchell is a solid player, but he isn’t a superstar and a team cannot win if it lacks someone of that caliber.

  19. New York Knicks

    This is convenient, as the Knicks are the team you hear about the most when it comes to Donovan Mitchell. Really, Mitchell should have been with the Knicks for awhile now, but they were just too frightened to pay the heavy pick price. Regardless with the trade for O.G. Anunoby, who looks like a perfect fit, the Knicks are one big piece from calling themselves contenders. Mitchell, Zach Lavine and Pascal Siakam are excellent options.

  20. Los Angeles Lakers

    Since winning the useless in-season tournament, the Lakers have been playing poorly. They simply lack talent. They will be making a big move soon, and they should because Austin Reaves should not be a third option on a winning team. Pascal Siakam or Zach Lavine would fit nicely

  21. Chicago Bulls

    The Bulls have been hot since Zach Lavine was injured, as Coby White has been a stud for them. Patrick Williams has shown huge improvement, plus Chicago has played more like a team. A one-two combo of DeMar DeRozan and Coby White has worked very well, so I expect Lavine to be traded soon.

  22. Toronto Raptors

    I’m a huge fan of the recent R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley trade, which gave Toronto strong second and third scorers who are young and will be a lot less expensive. They fit the age range for current star guard/forward Scottie Barnes, and now we get to see what the Raptors decide to trad Pascal Siakam for.

  23. Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks are looking set for a re-tool around all-star point guard Trae Young. Apparently, he and Jalen Johnson are the only players not for sale, which is somewhat odd as Atlanta just signed Dejounte Murray to a massive contract. Regardless, the team consistently loses despite Young having video game numbers and won’t be winning much soon. My question is if Young will want to wait through another several-season roster build.

  24. Utah Jazz

    The Jazz need to rebuild. This means trading John Collins, Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton, Kelly Olynyk and more, possibly Lauri Markkanen if the value is solid. Utah has some nice really young pieces like Keyonte George, Walker Kessler and Tyler Hendricks, along with several more. Danny Ainge needs to keep adding to the franchise’s stash of first-rounders and rookie-contract talents.

  25. Portland Trail Blazers

    Scoot Henderson is still struggling with efficiency as a scorer and playmaker, but he is improving. Deandre Ayton and Anfernee Simons have been excellent when healthy, but the team has had a number of injury issues. The Trail Blazers should trade Malcolm Brogdon and Jerami Grant, but they have several strong young pieces to build around. This is a season for development.

  26. Memphis Grizzlies

    I had the Grizzlies at about No. 15, but with Ja Morant missing the season, their year is over. Memphis already proved it could not win without him when Morant was suspended for 25 games. The Grizzlies should start selling off their veteran assets and and add assets to improve when Morant is healthy.

  27. Charlotte Hornets

    The Hornets hve been ravaged by injury, including star point guard LaMelo Ball and promising center Mark Williams. The controversial Miles Bridges is having a huge season; Brandon Miller is as advertised as a scorer; and Terry Rozier has some big numbers; but the team is a mess. Even when healthy, the Hornets aren’t special.

  28. Washington Wizards

    Jordan Poole has the lowest +/- in the NBA and is having just about as disappointing of a season as he could. Kyle Kuzma is performing well, but will likely be traded soon. Regardless, the Wizards have and are about gathering pieces like Bilal Coulibaly. They could easily get some nice pieces if they traded Kyle Kuzma, Tyus Jones and more. Washington will be pathetic for awhile.

  29. Detroit Pistons

    The Pistons may have set the record for most losses in a row in one season at 28, but they played some solid games at the end of that steak, plus Cade Cunningham looks like a potential All-Pro guard. For some reason, Detroit is looking to add veteran help, but really the team should continue to give Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart and Ausar Thompson as much playing time as they can take.

  30. San Antonio Spurs

    Somehow, Victor Wembanyama is having a stronger rookie season than I assumed possible. He is first among rookies in points, blocks, rebounds and steals, but he just has no help. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell are decent secondary pieces, but the rest of the roster is a bit of a mess.