Ranking all 30 NBA teams before opening night of the 2021/22 season

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant and the Nets are widely considered as title favorites. Photo from Nets Wire.

The NBA power rankings 2021/22 are finally here. The best NBA teams this season will look to prove that they’re contenders and not just pretenders now that we’ll finally have a “normal” full season again.

Throughout history, injuries, trades, and even tough luck have had a huge impact on the NBA title contenders’ aspirations. And, sadly, this season isn’t expected to be the exception to that rule. Even so, it’s clear that some rosters are far better than others, at least on paper.

Most teams made plenty of interesting additions ahead of this season. The NBA draft was full of intriguing prospects, and big moves like the Russell Westbrook trade could be huge game-changers.

Also, Kyrie Irving‘s future and the Ben Simmons saga could also be stories to follow throughout the whole year.

So, now that the upcoming season is finally around the corner, let’s take a look at our NBA power rankings 2021/22, with the usual suspects at the top and some teams expected to take a big step forward this season:

NBA Power Rankings 2021/22

30. Magic

The Orlando Magic are looking at a top-3 pick next season. They have some nice, promising players but most of them play in the same position, so chances are that they’ll make some moves once they figure things out.

They will be lucky to win over 25 games.

29. Cavaliers

Rumors say that the Cleveland Cavaliers are unsure about the Collin Sexton--Darius Garland pairing, while Kevin Love is also expected to force his way out.


They have a logjam in the frontcourt with Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen, and Love.

28. Pistons

The Detroit Pistons will be must-watch television next season. Cade Cunningham is the real deal and could turn the franchise around at some point, and they have enough young players to give their fans plenty of reasons to look up to the future.

Just don’t expect them to win right away.

27. Rockets

The same can be said of the Houston Rockets, who sit 27th in our first edition of NBA power rankings 2021-22.

They were heavily criticized for the return they got for James Harden but they were one of the biggest winners of the draft. Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, Alperen Sengun, and Usman Garuba could all turn out to be stars and don’t sleep on Kevin Porter Jr either.

26. Thunder

Sam Presti has gathered a historical arsenal of draft picks but that doesn’t mean that the Oklahoma City Thunder will be a good team next season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is poised to become a star but it isn’t in their best interest to win games right now.

25. Kings

The Sacramento Kings added Davion Mitchell to their already crowded backcourt, which was a bit of a questionable move.

Now, their three-headed monster will try and put an end to their league-leading playoff drought, which seems unlikely for as long as Luke Walton is their coach.

24. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors have some of the most promising players in the league right now. OG Anunoby looks ready to break out and Scottie Barnes is a dark horse to win Rookie of the Year.

But maybe they’ll be better off letting them grow through their mistakes rather than trying to compete.

23. Wizards

The Washington Wizards ranked near the bottom in most NBA power rankings last season, yet Russell Westbrook went human torch mode and led them to the play-in tournament and the playoffs.

They’re a big question mark this season with all the additions they made. They could be in the mix for a spot in the play-in again.

22. Pelicans

Different year, same-old New Orleans Pelicans. This team got worst in the offseason by losing Lonzo Ball and replacing him with Devonte’ Graham.

Also, Zion Williamson‘s injury will always raise questions and you know they won’t risk their star prospect’s health. They’re looking at another playoff-less season.

21. Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have enough talent to be in the mix for a playoff spot. Then again, they always find ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

Anthony Edwards has vowed to be a top-notch defender next season and D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns will be healthy, so who knows?

20. Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs are far from the dynasty they once were, and some question whether it’s time for Gregg Popovich to just call it a day.

They don’t have a legit go-to-guy right now and could be sellers as we approach the trade deadline.

19. Hornets

LaMelo Ball proved to be one of the league’s finest entertainers right away, and the Charlotte Hornets were one of the most entertaining teams to watch last season.

They’re explosive and will push the pace up, but their defense is still a reason for concern.

18. Pacers

Once again, the Indiana Pacers sit near the bottom of the pack.

They have a good enough roster to make the playoffs and compete with the best NBA teams this season but somehow, someway, they always fall short. They also lack a star next to Domantas Sabonis.

17. Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies are years away from being NBA title contenders but that doesn’t mean that they won’t compete hard night in and night out. Ja Morant is a dog and Jaren Jackson Jr has looked great in the preseason.

They may or may not make the playoffs but they will fight from start to finish.

16. Knicks

Are the New York Knicks for real or was last season a fluke?

We tend to think the first but can’t give them the nod over other teams just yet. Kemba Walker will obviously be a huge upgrade over Elfrid Payton but his health is still a big question mark.

15. Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks made a controversial choice for their new head coach in Jason Kidd. They didn’t do much to improve their roster but every team with Luka Doncic on the roster is a strong playoff candidate.

They’re expected to rely less on the three-ball this season.

14. Trail Blazers

It’s now or never for the Portland Trail Blazers. They either get things together right now or they risk Damian Lillard forcing his way out of the team.

They will be aggressive trying to improve their roster this season but seem like a boom-or-bust team at this point.

12. Celtics

The Boston Celtics regressed last season and it was clear that they needed a change of scenery.

Maybe Ime Udoka would be the breath of fresh air they craved for so long. They have one of the best young duos in the league and are a historic franchise, so they might surprise a lot of people.

12. Bulls

The Chicago Bulls were vastly aggressive in the offseason and their roster is quite revamped. DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball will certainly help them put an end to their playoff drought.

While not NBA title contenders yet, they’re heading in the right direction.

11. Hawks

Injuries have been a concern for the up-and-coming Atlanta Hawks to start the year. But even if they get to a slow start, they’ve shown that they have what it takes to compete against the best teams in the league.

They’ll be back in the playoffs.

10. Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are perhaps the biggest dark horse among the NBA title contenders.

Stephen Curry is coming off a career year and they added more firepower in the offseason. Klay Thompson will be back at some point and this team has championship DNA so don’t rule them out.

9. Heat

NBA GMs said that the Miami Heat made the best moves of the offseason and I won’t be the one to disagree. Adding Kyle Lowry to the core that reached the NBA Finals just two seasons ago will do wonders for Erik Spoelstra’s team.

They’re tough, physical, and ready to go.

8. Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers would be ranked higher in the NBA power rankings 2021/22 if it wasn’t for Kawhi Leonard‘s knee injury.

Tyronn Lue is a great coach and they still have Paul George but they could struggle to keep up in the West without The Klaw.

7. Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets have been pretty solid for years but they might struggle early on the season.

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic will have to do a lot of heavy lifting while Jamal Murray recovers from his ACL injury, while Michael Porter Jr is expected to take a step forward as well.

6. 76ers

One thing’s clear: The Philadelphia 76ers will only trade away Ben Simmons for another All-Star caliber player.

That means that, regardless of who’s running the point in Philadelphia, Doc Rivers‘ squad will be one of the best NBA teams this season.

5. Jazz

The Utah Jazz had the best record in the regular season last year but once again fell short of their goal in the playoffs.

Mike Conley‘s injury took a massive toll on their chances to compete, but we like them again as a top-5 team now that they’re all healthy.

4. Suns

The Phoenix Suns were a couple of wins away from their very first NBA championship last season.

Some think it was a fluke and they caught a big break due to injuries, but their roster is nearly intact entering this campaign. Can Chris Paul do it again? We think so.

3. Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are far from a finished product. Their preseason was dreadful but their Big 3 barely played together.

Once they get on the same page, we don’t want to put our money against LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis. They will be one of the best NBA teams this season, it’s just a matter of when.

Bet on the 2021/22 NBA season here

2. Bucks

People continue to sleep on the Milwaukee Bucks despite being the reigning NBA champions.

Mike Budenholzer’s team has meshed perfectly and will be a tough rival in the playoffs. Giannis Antetokounmpo is back to full strength after his worrisome knee injury.

1. Nets

Even if Kyrie Irving doesn’t suit up all season, the Brooklyn Nets are still the NBA title contenders.

They’re stacked and got even deeper this season, and having Kevin Durant and James Harden fully healthy gives them a shot against anybody else.

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