At the time of this writing, we are a little over a month shy of the start of the 2023 NBA season. After an exciting end to last season, and some interesting offseason storylines, there’s a lot to look forward to this year. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our current NBA preseason power rankings.
NBA Preseason Power Rankings: 30-16
#30) Detroit Pistons
Unfortunately for Detroit, they come in last on these NBA power rankings. They’ve been in the bottom-third of these rankings for a while now, and remain unable to change that pattern. They have some solid young assets, and some veterans on the team as well. In a couple years they should make some noise, but until then, it looks unlikely.
#29) Portland Trail Blazers
Portland, for the moment, still employs Damian Lillard. Dame wants to go to Miami, but the Blazers are doing the smart thing by waiting for what they think is their best offer. They’ve got Scoot Henderson to help build around their young core, but are likely a few years away from contention in the West.
#28) Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are a team that has seemed to be on the cusp of contention in recent years, yet they’re never able to take that next step. They have a very young roster, with a lot of interesting faces. Right now, they’re on the downtrend.
#27) Houston Rockets
The Rockets made some big splashes in free agency, and they did get better. How much better, has yet to be determined. Fred Vanvleet and Dillon Brooks are the newest faces on the roster, and both are immediately some of the most accomplished players on their new team. Unfortunately, immaturity seems to be the norm, especially with Kevin Porter Jr. recently. These vets may bring some much-needed mentorship, and the team could take a step forward this season. For now, there’s some work to do.
#26) Washington Wizards
The Wizards and Bradley Beal finally parted ways this offseason, and a new era begins in the nation’s capital. They also let go of Kristaps Porzingis, while retaining Kyle Kuzma. Jordan Poole and Tyus Jones have entered the fold, as well. Washington is finally starting their rebuild. It will take time, but at least this team now has a direction.
#25) San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were fortunate enough to land the first overall pick in this year’s draft. They made the right decision, grabbing Victor Wenbanyama. Wenbanyama has the potential to be a generational player, and will certainly be expected to lead this new era of basketball in San Antonio to the playoffs. Right now, there isn’t enough talent or experience in San Antonio for that to happen just yet.
#24) Toronto Raptors
The Raptor’s saw Fred Vanvleet leave this off-season, and they replaced him with Dennis Shröder. Schröder is a good facilitator, but this team will struggle even more at shooting. Vanvleet was the best shooter on a Toronto team that already struggled to score from distance. With him gone, Shröder won’t be enough to remedy that.
#23) Orlando Magic
Orlando has been in a rebuild for what feels like forever. The Magic might finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, though. Orlando has a solid, competent young roster, and added some veteran leadership in Joe Ingles. Anthony Black and Jett Howard join the fold as Orlando’s newest lottery picks this year. This team has potential, but it’s still a year or two away.
#22) Chicago Bulls
Chicago finished last season with a sub-.500 record, and missed the playoffs after becoming the first victims of Jimmy Butler’s playoff tirade. Since then, they’ve continued to commit to the same core group they’ve built around for the past couple of years. Right now, the future looks bleak.
#21) Utah Jazz
The Jazz made some strides last year, and for most of the season they turned a lot of heads. Their strong start floundered towards the end of the year, though, as they missed the play-in. Still, their rebuild seems to have accelerated, and their addition of John Collins over the summer will help that even more. With the load of picks Utah got for Gobert, the future looks bright for the Jazz.
#20) Indiana Pacers
The Pacers, like Utah, were in the race for the playoffs for most of the season. Indiana eventually ran out of gas, but they showed a lot of potential throughout the year. They’ve got Tyrese Haliburton locked down, and also grabbed Bruce Brown in free agency. In a couple of years, this Pacers team might become a legitimate threat in the East.
#19) New Orleans Pelicans
This team really does have the talent and potential to make the playoffs every year in the West, if only they could stay healthy. Zion Williamson has been injured for a large portion of his young career, and Brandon Ingram has battled injuries as well. The Pelicans mostly stood pat in the off-season, so those two need to stay healthy in 2023 for this team to truly contend.
#18) Atlanta Hawks
Ever since their run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, Atlanta hasn’t been able to repeat that success. They’ve become the perennial champions of the play-in tournament, but have failed to get any further than that. Their roster didn’t change much, barring the loss of the aforementioned John Collins. Here’s to hoping year two of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray yields some playoff success.
#17) Minnesota Timberwolves
Every decade has one trade that can be pointed to as the reason a franchise set themselves back multiple years. That Rudy Gobert trade looks like an early strong candidate for the 2020’s. The Wolves are going to need to figure this out, since their draft position for the next half-decade looks very unfortunate. They currently sit in the bottom half of these NBA power rankings, and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.
#16) Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have done a nice job at recovering from the loss of their short-lived “Big Three”. Mikal Bridges made some massive steps, and Cam Johnson has shown loads of potential. If they can revive Ben Simmons from his grave, this team could legitimately make noise in the East this season.