NBA Power Rankings 2024

Last Updated: Oct 4, 2023

It’s October, and the landscape for the fast-approaching 2023-24 NBA season is coming into focus.

The Denver Nuggets, fresh off winning their first NBA title in franchise history, are the team to beat. And there will be many coming for them.

Several top contenders added superstar-level talent this offseason, meaning the league will look quite different when opening night comes around.

With that in mind, here are my latest NBA power rankings.

All NBA odds and statistics are current as of Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 1 p.m. ET and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

NBA Power Rankings

1. Milwaukee Bucks

No team made a bigger splash this offseason than the Bucks, who emerged from the shadows and snatched top-prize point guard Damian Lillard. Milwaukee did have to part with a few key pieces to make it happen, but they’ve paired Giannis Antetokounmpo with one of the best players in the NBA as a result.

It’s difficult to imagine a more perfect complement to Antetokounmpo than Lillard. Each covers the other’s weaknesses, and opposing defenses will now have to pick their poison when it comes to being bullied in the paint or giving up three-pointers from way downtown.

The Bucks still have former All-Star forward Khris Middleton and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Brook Lopez on the roster and a relatively deep bench. Considering Milwaukee already led the league with 58 wins last season, there’s no other choice for my No. 1 team entering the 2023-24 campaign.

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2. Boston Celtics

The Celtics fell short of reaching the 2023 NBA Finals, but after retooling this summer, they should be right back in the thick of the conversation in 2024.

Boston added two All-Star-caliber talents to the mix in Kristaps Porziņģis and Jrue Holiday, the latter of whom landed with the Celtics in the aftermath of the Lillard trade. Boston was thought to be taking a step back at point guard after dealing Marcus Smart earlier this summer, but the opposite is true.

I have some questions about the Celtics’ frontcourt depth now that Robert Williams III is in Portland, but there may not be a better starting five in the NBA. Boston is terrifying.

3. Golden State Warriors

The Warriors pulled off a shocking move this summer, acquiring veteran guard Chris Paul from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Jordan Poole. It’s a win-now move — Paul is 38 — and one that could end up paying huge dividends in the long run.

Although he’s never earned an NBA title in his 18-year career, Paul is as smart a player as they come. His on-court intensity may rub some the wrong way, but his presence is exactly what Golden State needs following an underwhelming season.

It’s fair to wonder whether Golden State’s latest experiment will pan out. I, however, am fully on board with the notion that the Warriors will make the 2024 NBA Finals — the combination of Paul, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green should terrify opposing teams.

4. Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets lost some key pieces this offseason — namely Bruce Brown and Jeff Green — but there’s no doubt they’ll recover. There are more than a few solid, young players on this roster, including standout Christian Braun.

Regardless of its depth, Denver still has arguably the best player in basketball, Nikola Jokić. The 28-year-old big nearly averaged a triple-double in the regular season before putting up 30.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game in the playoffs.

Time will tell if the Nuggets can repeat as NBA champions, but when the season begins in October, they’ll be the team that every other still wants to defeat — even if they aren’t my No. 1 team.

5. Phoenix Suns

I wasn’t particularly high on Phoenix entering the summer — depth was a massive issue in the playoffs, and only a select few players from last year’s roster were under contract for 2023-24.

The Suns then went on to shape up the roster in a major way via free agency and trades, bringing in All-Star guard Bradley Beal and solid veterans in Eric Gordon and Keita Bates-Diop.

Once again, I’m aboard Phoenix’s hype train. Kevin Durant has to stay healthy, and the team may want to find a more natural point guard down the line, but this squad could be a serious problem for many.

6. Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers, fresh off a surprise trip to the Western Conference Finals, had perhaps the most underrated summer of any other contender.

Re-signing Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura — to team-friendly deals, no less — was massive, and adding Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes, and Christian Wood raised this team’s floor by a considerable margin.

Time will tell if last year’s late-season stretch was merely a fluke, but I expect Los Angeles to remain in the playoff picture all season.

7. Sacramento Kings

The Kings far surpassed expectations this past year, returning to the postseason for the first time since 2006. However, things will be different for Sacramento in 2023-24 — now, anything short of another playoff appearance will be seen as a major disappointment.

Fortunately, the Kings have the personnel to make it happen. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis form a strong duo, and the rest of the roster offers a great blend of veteran leadership (Harrison Barnes) and exciting, young talent (Keegan Murray).

I’m eager to see how this team reacts to the new pressure, and I’m optimistic that they won’t be too fazed. Mike Brown is one heck of a guy to have on the sidelines, and as LeBron James’ former coach, he knows all about pressure.

8. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks were abysmal down the stretch of the 2022-23 season, but I’m not ready to give up on Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving just yet. This pairing has plenty of untapped potential.

It helps that this new roster was built with them in mind. The defense will be an issue, so I have nothing but good things to say about the franchise’s decision to go out and add former Celtic Grant Williams.

I still have questions about how it will all work, but the front office’s seemingly quick decision to re-sign Irving leaves me feeling as though Dallas is confident in this group’s ability to win now. And if you’re looking to bet on them, their position in the NBA Western Conference odds is a sign that they’re being slept on.

9. New York Knicks

The Knicks didn’t make any dramatic changes this summer, but quite honestly, they didn’t need to. With a new star running the show in Jalen Brunson, New York instead needs to focus on the margins — and that’s precisely what it did.

Reuniting Donte DiVincenzo with former Villanova teammates Brunson and Josh Hart made for a nice story, but it should also pay off on the court. Additionally, by washing their hands of Obi Toppin, the frontcourt looks much cleaner.

I worry that the Knicks came close to reaching their ceiling in 2022-23, but even if all they manage is a repeat performance, they’ll still be a darn good team.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers

Despite winning 51 games in 2022-23, Cleveland’s season ultimately ended in disappointment as it was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Their early exit prompted a handful of changes this offseason, including the decision to add former Heat sharpshooter Max Strus via free agency. Considering the Cavaliers ranked 25th in scoring last season, they need all the help they can get on offense.

Cleveland figures to be a playoff team once again in 2023-24, and I’m banking on a breakout season from Evan Mobley, helping them secure another top-four seed.

11. Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant’s suspension will undoubtedly hurt this group in the short term, but with Marcus Smart in the picture and Dillon Brooks out of it, I believe we’ll see a much more focused and mature Grizzlies team take the floor this season.

If Memphis is going to be a riser this year, it’ll need to continue focusing on the defensive end of the floor. Pairing Smart with Jaren Jackson Jr. is a brilliant reference to the Grit and Grind era, and getting the whole squad to adopt that mindset will be paramount.

So long as Morant can keep the controversies behind him once he returns in early December, the sky is the limit for the Grizz.

12. Los Angeles Clippers

Time is running out for Los Angeles to field a legitimate title contender. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could decide to become free agents after the 2023-24 season, so the pressure is on.

Rumors of a potential trade to acquire James Harden from the 76ers have persisted, but for now, the Clippers don’t appear to be in a hurry to add him. Instead, the organization appears content to have Russell Westbrook running the offense when the season begins.

Los Angeles can only go up from here as long as the team stays healthy. This is a deep roster, and they have championship-level potential. There’s just no way of knowing if they’ll put it all together.

13. Philadelphia 76ers

Your guess is as good as mine as to what will come from the 76ers this year. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have the potential to be one of the NBA’s best duos, but James Harden’s presence — or lack thereof — is casting a nasty cloud over the organization.

The former MVP reportedly wants to make Philadelphia “uncomfortable" so that it ends up trading him, but it remains to be seen what exactly Harden means by that. Regardless, the distraction of his demands could negatively affect this team’s performance until he eventually departs.

Even once he’s gone, though, it’s difficult to envision the Sixers being as successful as they were this past season now that Milwaukee and Boston have made such dramatic improvements. The title window may be shut in the City of Brotherly Love.

14. Miami Heat

After scraping their way into the postseason via the Play-In Tournament, the Heat made a miraculous run to the NBA Finals this past year. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were phenomenal, but it was clear that Miami could benefit from adding more star power.

Damian Lillard was the reported target, but he’s since ended up with one of the Heat’s top rivals — as has Jrue Holiday, who could’ve been one heck of a consolation prize.

Never say never, but it looks like Miami has effectively been shut out of securing another NBA Finals berth. The Heat may have gone through both the Bucks and Celtics in 2022-23, but it’s hard to see them surpassing the new-and-improved versions of those teams in 2023-24.

15. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City is quickly becoming one of the scarier teams in the NBA. After winning just 24 games in 2021-22, the Thunder went 40-42 this past season, securing a spot in the Play-In Tournament.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s meteoric rise coincided with Oklahoma City’s stellar season, earning First Team All-NBA honors after averaging a career-high 31.4 points per game.

Between SGA, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, and the anticipated debut of rookie Chet Holmgren, there’s a lot to like about this Thunder squad. They may well be building a juggernaut in OKC.

16. New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans was defined by its highs and lows in 2022-23. At times, the Pelicans looked like the best team in the Western Conference. They also went nearly a month without a win between January and February.

Health remains an enormous factor — neither Zion Williamson nor Brandon Ingram could stay on the floor for long periods last season — but New Orleans can be a legitimate title contender at full strength.

Because they can go either way, I’m starting the Pelicans out near the middle of my power rankings. The preseason should help us learn a few things about this team’s direction in 2023-24.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves made minor improvements this summer, clearly satisfied with the emergence of Anthony Edwards as the team’s undisputed No. 1 option.

In addition to signing the young superstar to a five-year extension, Minnesota also retained Naz Reid and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the former of which looks like one of the most underrated moves of the summer.

Karl-Anthony Towns’ health will likely dictate how much the Timberwolves accomplish this season, but they could be a thorn in the side of many top contenders.

18. Indiana Pacers

I’m probably higher than most on the Pacers, but it’s hard not to be a believer in Indiana’s young core. Tyrese Haliburton made the All-Star leap as a 22-year-old, and second-year swingman Bennedict Mathurin oozes potential.

The Pacers have some impressive depth, too, including former Nuggets wing Bruce Brown, who joined the team via free agency. The ceiling may not be all that high, but the floor certainly is.

I’d be shocked if Indiana comes up short of a play-in appearance.

19. Utah Jazz

The Jazz fizzled out down the stretch of the 2022-23 season, but this group showed genuine glimpses of playoff-caliber ability, and I’m curious to see how they can build upon that moving forward.

A lot of the big pieces are already there. Lauri Markkanen looked spectacular in his first year in Utah. Jordan Clarkson averaged close to 21 points per game, and rookie Walker Kessler emerged as one of the game’s most threatening rim protectors.

There’s also the addition of John Collins, who occasionally flashed All-Star potential in Atlanta. Utah helped Markkanen make a big jump in his first year with the franchise, so perhaps the organization can do the same with Collins.

The West is deep this year, and the Jazz are part of the reason why. I’m unsure if their season will end with a playoff appearance, but they should at least be one of the more interesting teams to watch this year.

20. Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta had an up-and-down year in 2022-23, finishing 41-41 before being eliminated by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks have made little progress on improving since then, trading John Collins to the Jazz and adding Wesley Matthews and Patty Mills.

Trae Young and Dejounte Murray form a pretty stellar backcourt, but overall, they don’t move the needle for me.

I am, however, a believer in Quin Snyder, who accomplished great things during the regular season over his eight years with the Jazz. I’m curious to see how he elevates this team in his first full season.

21. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets are formally moving on from their superteam era, though the franchise may have already found the star of its next title contender in NBA MIP odds leader Mikal Bridges. The former Suns forward was spectacular for Brooklyn last year, averaging 26.1 points per game in 27 appearances.

However, the Nets clearly aren’t ready to compete just yet. Brooklyn went 12-15 down the stretch of the regular season before being swept out of the first round, and there’s not a lot of other top-end talent on this roster.

Unless Ben Simmons can return to All-Star form — or the Nets trade for the next disgruntled superstar — I would expect Brooklyn to be a sub-.500 squad in 2023-24. Do keep an eye out for Nic Claxton, though, who oozes defensive potential.

22. Houston Rockets

Houston made a handful of drastic changes this summer, but the decisions to sign Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks stand out above the rest. In doing so, the Rockets have potentially turned themselves into a playoff contender.

VanVleet, while undersized at 6-foot-1 (and coming off a horrid shooting season), is an All-Star talent with a penchant for hoisting it from deep. On the other hand, Brooks is a tone-setter whose on-court antics seemingly cost him a spot on the Grizzlies’ roster.

However, to me, the incumbent talent will decide which way the season goes in Houston. Jabari Smith Jr., Jalen Green, and Alperen Şengün all have bright futures, and they’ll need to take the next step this year for this team to truly compete.

23. Chicago Bulls

Chicago has some great pieces — Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vučević are All-Star talents — but consistency has been a significant factor in their lack of success as a trio. The Bulls’ style of play is something of an issue, too.

Chicago ranked dead-last in three-point makes and attempts in 2022-23, sinking about 10.5 per game. Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig should help the Bulls improve on that front, but that’s hardly their only problem.

With little room for improvement, while Lonzo Ball remains sidelined, I’m projecting another lackluster season for Chicago. Don’t be surprised if a big mid-season trade sees them part ways with one of their big three.

24. Toronto Raptors

The outlook isn’t great in Toronto. Fred VanVleet departed via free agency, and with little faith in the front office, fans are beginning to wonder if blowing it up would be the best option.

As currently constructed, the Raptors are unlikely to be a playoff team. Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes are all great players, but the offense was so atrocious this past year that there’s little room for optimism.

I’m of the opinion that Toronto is closer to competing than not, but there needs to be a few changes before that can happen.

25. Portland Trail Blazers

Call me crazy, but I’m genuinely excited to watch the Trail Blazers this year. The Lillard trade netted this team some real talent, including Deandre Ayton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Robert Williams III.

However, this roster will be defined by its youth in 2023-24, with No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson likely leading the way. Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe highlight the remaining young talent, though there should be plenty of opportunity for others to break out.

They won’t be a playoff team this year, but the Blazers are likely only a few seasons away. In the meantime, enjoy the show.

26. Orlando Magic

All the Magic can do right now is be patient and wait for their youth to blossom. Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner are already there, and it likely won’t be long before others follow.

That said, I’m unsure if this is the year Orlando makes its playoff push. There are still a lot of unproven players on this roster, and I’m curious how the Magic plan to navigate their logjam in the backcourt.

Orlando was quite good over the season’s final few months, though, winning 29 of its final 57 games. If the Magic can match that pace in 2023-24, a return to the postseason could be in sight.

27. San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama’s Summer League debut may not have been as great as some would have hoped, but make no mistake: The Spurs are a certified sleeper. It’s not just because of the NBA Rookie of the Year odds leader, either.

Many people are about to find out just how good Devin Vassell and Tre Jones are, not to mention Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan. Several talented vets are also on this roster, including Cedi Osman and Doug McDermott.

With Wemby serving as the two-way centerpiece, it wouldn’t surprise me to see San Antonio win 30-plus games this year. Don’t expect them to hang around the depths of my power rankings for long.

28. Detroit Pistons

After winning a league-worst 17 games in 2022-23, Detroit appears to be taking steps in the right direction. Not only is Cade Cunningham healthy, but the franchise brought in 2021-22 Coach of the Year Monty Williams as well.

The Pistons will ultimately go as far as their young talent can take them this season. Beyond Cunningham, guys like Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, James Wiseman, and Ausar Thompson will be worth keeping an eye on.

Don’t expect a playoff appearance, but the optimist in me wants to believe that Detroit can push for its first 30-win season since 2019.

29. Washington Wizards

The Wizards are my preseason No. 29, but I don’t expect them to live near the bottom of the standings forever. On paper, this is not a bad roster.

Kyle Kuzma, Jordan Poole, and Tyus Jones are all pretty great, and I could see them leading this team to a few more wins than expected.

With that said Washington also isn’t heading in any discernable direction — at least, not a positive one. Most of the young talent is just so-so, and veterans like Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, and Delon Wright will surely have contenders clamoring for them by mid-season.

By all means, this is a transition year for the Wizards. I wouldn’t rule out an above-average start for them, but I fully expect them to be in full-on tank mode by year’s end.

30. Charlotte Hornets

After a down year in 2022-23 — largely due to LaMelo Ball’s injury-shortened campaign — the Hornets could be in a position to have a bounce-back season. I have some concerns about how well everything will come together, though.

Gordon Hayward hasn’t played more than 52 games since 2019-20. Miles Bridges will need time to acclimate after spending a year away from the team. There’s a logjam at several positions.

I need to see it before I believe it, but at least No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller will give fans a reason to be optimistic about the year ahead.


Garrett Chorpenning

Garrett Chorpenning is the Lead NBA Editor for The Game Day. His previous work includes covering the LA Clippers for Sports Illustrated and FanSided. He graduated from Ball State University in 2021.

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