Pre-Season NBA Power Rankings

NBA Power Rankings: #20-11

Photo is courtesy of Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

A week ago, here at ATB Network, we started our NBA power rankings series. In that piece, we ranked the bottom third of the league. This time, we take a step up and rank the #20-11 teams in the league. Here is the second installment of these NBA power rankings:

#20 Sacramento Kings

It may have come as a surprise to see the kings exempt from the bottom third of this list. Being ranked in the top 20 is a bit of a surprise for Sacramento, but the team does have some solid talent this year. A duo of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will be joined by an electric rookie in Keegan Murray. This team should be able to contend for a play-in spot.

#19 New York Knicks

The Knicks disappointed a bit last season, failing to make even the play-in tournament after landing the fourth seed in the 2021 playoffs. New York did add Jalen Brunson to the mix this season, so their offense should finally have some form of identity. The Knicks have the potential to exceed this ranking, but they’ll have to prove me wrong.

#18 Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook on their roster. Still, it’s really hard to get excited about this team. They failed to compete for anything last year, and made no major additions or changes this offseason. They did snag a new head coach in Devin Ham, which seems like an upgrade. Still, only time will tell.

#17 New Orleans Pelicans

If the league wasn’t as talented as it is, the Pelicans would be far higher on this list. New Orleans made it out of the play-in last year, and proceeded to put up a legitimate fight against the first seed in the west. What’s more impressive? They did it all without Zion Williamson, who will return to the fold this season. The Pelicans should be fun to watch in 2022.

#16 Chicago Bulls

Chicago got off to an electric start last season, and there was even a time in which Chicago had sole possession of the first seed in the east. After that, they unfortunately fell back to earth and crashed out of the playoffs in the first round. With no major additions and the health of Lonzo Ball in question, this team should face a similar fate this time around.

#15 Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks made the playoffs for the second time in a row last season, but their success was far shorter than the season before. However, Atlanta did add Dejounte Murray, forming an exceptional backcourt with Trae Young. The Hawks have the potential to make a legitimate run in the Eastern Conference this season.

#14 Toronto Raptors

The Raptors had an exciting season last year. Toronto put up a decent fight against the 76ers, but weren’t able to make it past the first round . However, the Raptors have a very exciting young core, led by Scottie Barnes. They should be able to improve this season.

#13 Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s incredibly rare to see Cleveland this high on this list without Lebron, but their new core has a ton of potential. The new piece of that core is Donovan Mitchell, who now has the chance to lead his own team. If this team can stay healthy and put it all together, they have a real chance to contend in the East this season.

#12 Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota made a surprising playoff run last spring, and they really should have beaten the Memphis Grizzlies. The Wolves then went ahead and added Rudy Gobert, immediately giving them one of the best backcourts in the league. Now, the Wolves should be primed to take the next step.

#11 Brooklyn Nets

Slightly less than two years ago, the Nets looked like straight-up favorites for the championship. Brooklyn had a trio at that time, which has now been reduced to two players that both wanted to leave at one point this off-season, but now have decided to stay. Brooklyn still has a ton of talent, but they need to prove themselves this year. Brooklyn comes in at 11 on these NBA power rankings.

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