With the NBA Draft completed and free agency winding down, the landscape for the coming 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 teams added All-Star-level talent this offseason, and with a few potential trades still on the way, the league could 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 Monday, July 24, at 5 p.m. ET and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
NBA Power Rankings
1. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets lost some key pieces this offseason — namely Bruce Brown and Jeff Green — but there’s no doubt that 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 going on to put 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 wants to defeat. Without question, Denver is No. 1.
2. 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 which 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 win the 2024 NBA Finals — the combination of Paul, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green should terrify opposing teams.
Back the Dubs and make this your NBA bet of the day.
3. 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.
Prioritizing offense over defense, Boston traded Marcus Smart and Grant Williams in separate deals and ended up with Kristaps Porziņģis, a seven-foot stretch forward and talented scorer. He’s coming off a career year with the Wizards, averaging over 23 points per game.
With Jayson Tatum leading the way and a relatively deep roster, the Celtics are in a great position entering the 2023-24 campaign. Don’t be surprised if they come out of the Eastern Conference when it’s all said and done.
4. 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.
5. 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 is the reported target, and his presence would elevate this team from title contender to favorite. There’s no guarantee that the Heat will get him, though, as Portland appears content to wait for the best possible offer.
- See where the Heat rank in the latest NBA Eastern Conference odds.
Regardless of where Lillard ends up, it’s hard not to be a believer in the Heat. They remain a significant player in the Eastern Conference.
6. Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee has fallen a bit, but this group should remain one of the Eastern Conference’s top contenders. Between Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton, there’s simply too much top-end talent for the Bucks to fail.
The biggest question mark for Milwaukee as it enters the 2023-24 season is Adrian Griffin, who is replacing Mike Budenholzer. Although he has 15 years of experience as an assistant, this will be Griffin’s first gig as an NBA head coach.
It may take some time for the Bucks to hit their stride, but I don’t expect them to fall much lower than their current spot in my power rankings, if at all.
7. 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 Taurean Prince 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’m expecting Los Angeles to remain in the playoff picture all season.
8. 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 is a great No. 1, 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.
9. 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 duo has plenty of untapped potential.
It helps that this new roster was built with the pairing in mind. Defense is obviously going to be an issue for them, 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’s all going to 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 signal that they’re being slept on.
10. 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.
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 call back 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. Philadelphia 76ers
James Harden’s trade request has overshadowed what has largely been an underwhelming offseason for the 76ers. Of course, Philadelphia can’t do much without knowing whether Harden will be back or not, but the moves have been few and far between.
Barring a Harden trade, the biggest change we’ll see next season is at head coach, with Nick Nurse replacing Doc Rivers. How Joel Embiid and Co. handle the transition remains to be seen, but the hope is that Nurse will guide the Sixers to postseason success.
This is still a great team, but there’s no use in betting on Philly until we have a better understanding of who will and won’t be back in 2023-24.
13. 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, but I need to see more during the regular season before I consider moving them into my top 10.
14. Los Angeles Clippers
Will the Clippers trade for James Harden? And even if they do, will it be enough to finally get this team over the hump?
Either way, time is running out for Los Angeles to field a legitimate title contender. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could both decide to become free agents at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, so the pressure is on.
As long as they stay healthy, the Clippers can only go up from here. 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.
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. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves looked to make 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 well be a thorn in the side of many top contenders.
17. 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 at full strength, New Orleans can be a legitimate title contender.
Because they can go either way, I’m starting the Pelicans out near the middle of my power rankings. They’re worth keeping a close eye on as the season draws near.
18. Indiana Pacers
I’m probably higher than most on the Pacers, but it’s hard to not 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. Rookie Walker Kessler emerged as one of the game’s most threatening rim protectors.
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 then 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 signing Wesley Matthews via free agency.
Atlanta has been the subject of trade rumors for most of the summer, but until something happens, I can’t justify ranking them any higher. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray 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 Most Improved 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.
22. 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.
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. 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. Brooks, on the other hand, is a tone-setter whose on-court antics seemingly cost him a spot on the Grizzlies’ roster.
However, to me, it’s the incumbent talent that 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.
25. 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.
With that said, I’m unsure if this is the year that Orlando makes its playoff push. There are still a lot of unproven players on this roster, and I’m curious as to how the Magic plan to navigate their logjam in the backcourt.
Orlando was quite good over the final few months of the season, 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.
26. 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.
A lot of people are about to find out just how good Devin Vassell and Tre Jones are, not to mention Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan. There are also several talented vets on this roster, including Cedi Osman and Cameron Payne.
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.
27. Portland Trail Blazers
At long last, the Trail Blazers are headed for a rebuild. Damian Lillard has seemingly played his last game for the franchise after requesting a trade, though Portland has yet to move the seven-time All-Star.
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.
It remains to be seen what the Blazers will net in exchange for Lillard, but I highly doubt that Portland will be in a position to contend for anything other than the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft this season.
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. Charlotte Hornets
After a down year in 2022-23 — largely due to LaMelo Ball’s injury-shortened campaign — the Hornets could be in 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.
30. Washington Wizards
The Wizards are my preseason No. 30, but I don’t expect them to live at 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.