Tag Archives: NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Preseason Edition

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.

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

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.

2023 NBA Schedule Release: Biggest Dates in 2023-24

Early on Thursday morning, the NBA officially released their 2023-24 schedule. This is always an exciting time for basketball fans, as it is one of the first real signifiers of the new season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest dates and matchups on the NBA schedule for the 2023-24 season.

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Opening Week

The 2023-24 NBA schedule will officially kick off with the Nuggets hosting the Lakers on October 24th. Before the game, Denver will be presented with their rings from their 2023 NBA Finals win.

Capping off the opening night double-header, we’ve got the Suns heading to the Bay Area to take on the Warriors. Kevin Durant heads back to play against his old team, and the two teams that lost in the Western Semis will face-off.

NBA In-Season Tournament

The 2023 season will hold the NBA’s first ever in-season tournament. This event will likely change over the coming years, but for now, let’s break down some of the key dates.

The tournament will begin on November 3rd, which is relatively soon after the season itself commences. The semi-finals begin a little over a month later, on December 7th. Finally, December 9th will feature the final game of the tournament, and its first ever champion will be crowned.

Christmas Day Games

Christmas Day is typically one of the bigger dates on the annual NBA calendar. This is a day that is dominated by the NBA, and we see several marquee matchups every year to boot.

As has become a tradition, the day starts with the Knicks hosting the early game, as this year they’ll host Milwaukee. Following that, the defending champion Denver Nuggets will host Golden State.

The Lakers and Celtics take the middle game on the day’s slate, and they’re followed by Philadelphia heading to South Beach to play the Heat. Finally, capping off the day, the Mavericks and Suns will face off in the desert.

Other Key Dates

Rounding out the 2023-24 NBA schedule calendar, we have a few key dates to cover: First, the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend will take place in Indianapolis from February 16-18. Finally, rounding out the schedule, the final day of the NBA’s regular season schedule will take place on April 14th.

NBA Rumors Tracker: Live Offseason Updates

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After the commencement of the NBA Draft, things have finally started to kick into motion this off-season. It was a quiet start to the off-season, but some big names have been flying around the rumor mill. Here’s a collection of some of the most recent NBA rumors.

Wednesday, July 5th

Mo Bamba Signs With 76ers

Mo Bamba is now on his second NBA franchise, after signing a one-year deal with Philadelphia on Wednesday. If Philly isn’t able to hold onto Paul Reed, Bamba is a solid bench option behind Embiid.

Grant Williams Lands in Dallas

The biggest move from the day was the three-team deal that sent Grant Williams to Dallas on a sign-and-trade. Boston landed three second-round picks, and Williams signed a four-year, $53 million deal with the Mavericks.

Tuesday, July 4th

Magic Waive Bol Bol

The only move made on the holiday was Orlando’s release of Bol Bol.

Monday, July 3rd

Anthony Edwards Gets Rookie Max

Anthony Edwards’ bank account is about to get a whole lot bigger. The 21 year-old has taken the league by storm, and he was rewarded with a five-year, $206 million deal. Edwards is surely the Wolves’ franchise cornerstone for years to come at this point.

Sunday, July 2nd

Miles Bridges Signs Qualifying Offer

Miles Bridges has made headlines for all the wrong reasons recently. He’s still facing 10 games left in his suspension for domestic violence issues, but for the first time in a year he has a chance to play NBA basketball, as he signed this qualifying offer. It will be interesting to see how his NBA career takes shape from here on out.

Domantas Sabonis Signs Massive Extension

This year would have been the last under Domantas Sabonis’s current deal. That all changed early Sunday Morning, as Sabonis signed a massive 5-year, $217 million deal with Sacramento. The Kings now have both their stars, Fox and Sabonis, locked up for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, July 1st

Knicks Land Donte DiVincenzo

Donte has had a successful, albeit young NBA career. That will continue in the Big Apple as he signs a four-year, $50 million deal.

Dillon Brooks Signs in Houston

Well, Dillon Brooks did find a home after all. Brooks, much maligned in the media this offseason, managed to somehow get a big payday. $80 million over four years for Brooks.

LaMelo Gets Max Extension

Speaking of getting paid, the Hornets solidified LaMelo Ball as their franchise cornerstone, giving him up to $260 million over five years.

Obi Toppin Heading to Indiana

The Pacers are quietly building a solid team in Indiana. They landed Obi for just two second-round picks from New York, another young guy added to the fold.

Brook Lopez Stays Home

Lopez had plenty of suitors this offseason, with one of them being the Lakers. He decided to run it back in Milwaukee, for $48 million over two years. The Bucks seem to be keeping their core together well.

D’Angelo Russell Stays in LA

It took just a two-year, $37 million offer to keep Russell in his current, and first NBA home. Russell played well towards the end of last season, earning another deal with the Lakers.

Dame Requests Trade

Damian Lillard told the Blazers on saturday, in a move that many fans have seem coming for a while, that he would like to be traded. Miami, Philadelphia and the Clippers seem like the early frontrunners.

Kings Bring Over Sasha Vezenkov

The Kings acquired Vezenkov’s rights multiple years ago, but just now have put pen to paper. Sasha has been an absolute star in the Euroleague, and should help the Kings tremendously next season.

Max Strus Sign and Trade

In the first move of the day on Saturday, Max Strus landed a whopping $63 million over four years, via a sign and trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Strus represents another part of Miami’s core that got paid this offseason.

Friday, June 30th

Fred Vanvleet Gets $130 Million From Rockets

Friday was a tug-of-war battle between the Rockets and Raptors when it came to Fred VanVleet. Early on, it was revealed that the Rockets had interest, and money to spend. Toronto countered that with a longer deal, but the nearly $44 million AAV from Houston proved too difficult to pass up.

Draymond Green Stays in San Francisco

As soon as free agency officially opened, it was announced that Draymond Green was returning to the Warriors on a four-year, $100 million deal. Draymond, Steph and Klay will all stay together. Golden State will hope Green’s presence helps keep their championship window open a little bit longer.

Phoenix Ditches Landale for Eubanks

In a surprising move, just before free agency opened, the Suns ditched their qualifying offer for Jake Landale. They signed Drew Eubanks in his place, but moving on from Landale is interesting. Perhaps they have something up their sleeve for Karl Anthony Towns?

Toronto Picks Up Dennis Shroder

Dennis may have may have turned down $80 million earlier in his career, but he’ll make $26 million of it back on this two year deal. He’ll likely take Fred VanVleet’s spot.

Herb Jones Stays in New Orleans

Herb Jones signed a sizeable four-year, $54 million deal to remain a Pelican. Jones has been a solid player for New Orleans, and they decided to keep him around.

Nets Trade Joe Harris to Pistons

On Friday morning, the Nets traded Joe Harris alongside two second-round picks to Detroit.

Rui Hachimura Stays in LA

The Lakers opened free agency by keeping Rui Hachimura around. Rui had a solid end to the season last year, and will earn $51 million over three years on his new deal.

Cam Johnson Gets Huge Contract From Nets

Cam Johnson had an excellent, breakout season with the Nets after the departure of their stars. They rewarded their franchise cornerstone with a four-year, $108 million deal.

Jakob Poetl Stays in Canada

The Raptors gave Jakob Poetl a four-year, $80 million deal. With a lot of change in the franchise this offseason, Poetl’s prescence remains a constant.

Khris Middleton Gets $102 Million From Bucks

After a disappointing end to last season, the Bucks can take solace in the fact that Khris Middleton will be around for at least four more seasons after signing this deal.

Pacers Sign Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown, now an NBA champion, will be taking his talents to Indiana. The Pacers are giving him $45 million over two years.

Kyle Kuzma Gets $102 Million From Wizards

After a lot of speculation leading up to this offseason, Kuzma signed a four-year extension in Washington. He got the exact same contract as Khris Middleton

Lakers Signing Cam Reddish

In addition, Los Angeles is picking up Cam Reddish as well. Reddish is one of many players the Lakers have signed so far, and he received a two-year deal.

Heat Signing Josh Richardson

Josh Richardson is heading back home! Richardson heads back to the franchise that drafted him on a two-year deal.

Gabe Vincent Signs With Lakers

In yet another signing by Los Angeles, Gabe Vincent will be added to the mix. He’s signing a three-year, $33 million deal. What a wonderful story for the former undrafted free agent.

Kyrie Stays in Dallas

After some rumors about visits to other teams, everything sorted itself out with Kyrie Irving deciding to stay in Dallas. It’s a three-year, $126 million deal, with a player option for the third year.

Jerami Grant Gets Massive Deal From Portland

Jerami Grant had plenty of suitors this offseason. However, not many of them could offer a five-year, $160 million deal like Portland could, though. He’ll be staying at home with the Blazers.

Coby White Stays In Chicago

Coby White agreed to a three-year, $33 million deal to stay in Chicago. The RFA will be staying home.

Thursday, June 29th

Zach Lavine and Philly?

Zach Lavine and Philadelphia have been linked together, sources say. Lavine is currently in the middle of a massive $40+ million per year contract. He’s under that deal for three more seasons, so only a trade could get him to Philly. With James Harden leaving though, they’ll be in need of a new primary ball-handler, so this move could make sense.

What’s Going on With James Harden?

James Harden’s last few seasons have been mixed around a couple different teams. It seems that theme will continue, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski claiming Harden has “played his last game in Philadelphia.”

Harden picked up his player option for the upcoming season, but will be working with the team on a trade. The Clippers, Knicks, and Suns are three teams that were reported to be in on Harden as soon as the news broke. Shams Charania has also mentioned the Heat as a potential suitor.

Lakers Interested in Brook Lopez

According to Dave McNenamin of ESPN, the Lakers are interested in adding an “impact player” like Brook Lopez.

After an extremely disappointing first round exit, Lopez will enter free agency and may seek a change of scenery. The Lakers are coming off a solid playoff run, and Lopez would be a great addition.

Eric Gordon Receiving Interest From Several Teams

After news broke last night that the Clippers decided not to guarantee his $21 million deal for next season, Eric Gordon immediately became one of the top free agents to enter the market.

Since then, he’s received interest from the Lakers, Wolves, Suns, and Bucks. At this point in his career, he would be a solid fit for one of these contending teams as a scorer off the bench.

Could Karl-Anthony Towns Land in Phoenix or Dallas?

The Timberwolves find themselves in an interesting spot. After their massive trade for Rudy Gobert they seemed ready to take the next step, but have failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs.

With that in mind, sources say the idea of Karl-Anthony Towns being shipped to the Suns or Mavericks has been floated. KAT is an excellent player, but has yet to show the ability to lead a team on his own. He would be an excellent third option in both Phoenix and Dallas though, although it might take some salary-cap adjusting. This is one of the more intriguing NBA rumors.

NBA Draft: Winners/Losers, Surprises, Storylines

Victor Wembanyama, first pick in the 2023 NBA draft
Photo Credit: Christian Liewig-Cortis/Getty Images

On Thursday night, both rounds of the 2023 NBA draft took place. This, along with free agency, is one of the pinnacles of the off-season. It’s a sign of hope for teams that lack it, and it shows of a glimpse of some players who may develop into household names. With that in mind, let’s take a look at everything that happened on draft night.

NBA Draft Winners


The Spurs won the draft as soon as the lottery took place, when they secured the first overall pick. That allowed them to take Victor Wembanyama, who is easily the most talented player in the draft. San Antonio will now build their future around the young phenom.

Trail Blazers

Aside from San Antonio, Portland could be considered the biggest winner for both the lottery and the draft as a whole. Landing the third pick was massive for the franchise, but it seemed all for naught in what looked like a draft with two prospects who were above the rest of the field.

That is until Charlotte, holding the second pick, passed on Scoot Henderson in favor or Brandon Miller. Miller might turn out to be an excellent player, and this is not a slight on him. However, Portland had a gem of a player in Henderson fall right into their hands. Starting with Henderson, and the core they already have in Portland, things might finally be looking up in the Pacific Northwest.


Although Dallas didn’t make as many waves as the previous two, they had an excellent night. Most importantly, they opened up some cap space by getting rid of Davis Bertans’ $80 million contract, and only dropped two spots in the process.

With the 12th pick, they landed Dereck Lively, who, according to reports, was their target all along. Then, they made another trade, with Sacramento, taking over the 24th pick and grabbing Richaun Holmes in the process. With that pick, they selected Olivier-Maxence Prosper. Dallas did an excellent job of navigating out of a tricky situation here.

NBA Draft Losers


This seems like an easy pick. Brandon Miller should turn into a very good, possibly even very great player. He might be so good that the NBA world forgets about this whole draft-night saga.

However, passing on Scoot Henderson seems like a bad decision. Instead of taking the best player available at the second spot, Charlotte drafted for fit, which just isn’t smart this high in the draft. The Hornets will have to hope Miller turns out well, or this might be an infamous miss for Charlotte.

Almost Every Team Besides the Rockets

Truth be told, the Rockets were a good candidate to find themselves in the “winners” section of this piece. Every year, there seems to be one player that drops off the face of the map on draft night. This year it was Cam Whitmore.

The Rockets were likely stunned, and they could not believe their luck when he fell to them at the 20th pick. Whitmore has his reported health concerns, and he didn’t have the best season at Villanova. Still, his upside is tremendous, and he seems like a great fit with Ime Udoka in Houston. The Rockets got unbelievably good value here with the 20th selection.

Damian Lillard

In the sense regarding Lillard’s future in Portland, he’s a loser in this scenario. Dame has been patiently waiting for the Blazers to build a contender around him, and when they landed the third pick, myriad things could have been done to do just that.

Portland made great use of their selection; don’t get it twisted. However, it doesn’t seem like Lillard and the Blazers interests are perfectly aligned. Dame wants to contend, and the franchise used their best asset on a player who could very well be his replacement. If Henderson doesn’t make an immediate impact in Portland, this move might mark the end of the Lillard era.

NBA Draft Biggest Surprises

The Fall of Cam Whitmore

As was mentioned earlier, one of the biggest surprises from draft night was the fall of Cam Whitmore. Whitmore, up until just a few weeks ago, was found in the top-5 in mock drafts. His drop to 20th surprised the NBA world.

The Rise of Bilal Coulibaly

On the flip side, Bilal Coulibaly being selected with the 7th pick was a surprise, as well. Coulibaly is obviously a very talented player, but most didn’t expect him to go that high. His draft stock has been on the come-up over the past couple of weeks, and that proved to be true on NBA draft night.

No Trades, but a lot of Guards

Finally, there was a lack of two things during this draft: trades and centers. This draft was almost entirely guards and wing players, and besides a couple trades late in the first round, the trade market was barren.

Storylines Heading Into 2023 Season

Did the Hornets Make the Right Decision?

As Brandon Miller begins his time in Charlotte, he’ll be faced with immense pressure as the guy picked ahead of Scoot. This will be a lot for him to take, and only time will tell which of these would have been the better choice. A good first year would be a great start for Miller.

The NBA Debut of Victor Wembanyama

Following that up, eyes from around the basketball universe will be all over the first pick of the NBA draft, Victor Wembanyama, in his rookie season. Talk about pressure. Wembanyama is the most talked-about prospect in recent memory, and most fans will be watching him live for the first time this coming season.

Around the Block Network is a proud supporter of our LGBTQIA+ contributors, friends, family, and fans. This pride month, we would like to encourage you to make a donation to organizations helping fight for equality across the country, including the ACLUHuman Rights Campaign, and the Trevor Project.

Bradley Beal: Analyzing the Suns’ Roster

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In a move that shocked the NBA world earlier this week, the Suns acquired Bradley Beal from the Wizards in a trade. Beal has been a star for quite sometime now, but due to his contract, the Wizards didn’t get as much as one might have thought.

In return, Washington landed Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and some second-round picks and pick swaps. In all honesty, the Suns didn’t give up much, which the Wizards might not be too unhappy about. Washington, who is currently in a rebuild, badly needed to get rid of his $251 million contract that went into effect last offseason. They did so with this trade, and now Beal is a Sun. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Suns will fare with their new big three.

Analyzing the Bradley Beal Trade

A New Big Three In Phoenix

First of all, at the cost of nearly all their depth, Phoenix has a legitimate big three that can contend for a title. It started with their acquisition of Kevin Durant before the trade deadline last season, pairing Devin Booker and Durant together. In a championship window that began while spearheaded with the combo of just Booker and Paul, some trades have now turned the team around. Depth has been lost, but the Suns also have the most overqualified third star in the league.

In the 2020-21 season, Bradley Beal averaged over 31 points per game. His scoring has leveled off over the past two seasons, but his average of around 23 points a game over the last two years is more than enough for a player who will now be considered the third scoring option on his team.

How Much Will Their Lack of Depth Matter With Bradley Beal?

It was abundantly clear in the playoffs, especially against the Nuggets, that depth was an issue for Phoenix. They struggled mightily when Booker and Durant weren’t on the floor, and the Bradley Beal trade doesn’t help the depth at all.

While there’s plenty of time to move some money around, Phoenix has over $160 million committed to Booker, Durant, Ayton, and Beal alone. That is an astronomically high price. One that puts them well above the luxury tax, and it’s in just four players. At this point, it would be nearly impossible to field an adequate second-unit with their financial situation.

The 2023 season is still a ways away, though. Phoenix might already have some trades worked out elsewhere, and there’s plenty of time to play with some money. However, work definitely needs to be done to build a competent bench unit, which will be necessary to win an NBA title.

What About Defense?

When talking about the unit as a whole, one of the first concerns that comes to mind is how well the Suns’ defense will fare with their new roster.

There wasn’t much defense on the roster originally, which is something that showed during their loss to Denver in the second round. Shamet was a solid defender, and Bradley Beal hasn’t made much of an impact on defense throughout his career. Keeping in mind the lack of defensive prowess from Durant and Booker, there are legitimate reasons for concern here.

Fortunately, Frank Vogel is a defense-oriented coach. DeAndre Ayton has found himself in trade rumors constantly, but if he remains on the team, he’ll be a solid anchor in the paint.

Is This Team Ready to Compete for a Championship?

Ultimately, it depends on how well the bench is filled out during the off-season. For the sake of an argument though, it’s fair to say this team is an instant championship contender.

The defense has question marks, but there’s a solid chance it’s good enough to contend anyway. And with all their scoring power, offense might be their best defense anyways.

Besides Denver, is there a team in the West that is clearly better than this Suns team? It doesn’t appear so at the moment, but only time will tell.

Around the Block Network is a proud supporter of our LGBTQIA+ contributors, friends, family, and fans. This pride month, we would like to encourage you to make a donation to organizations helping fight for equality across the country, including the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, and the Trevor Project.