With the most important date of the season already in the history books, let’s take a look at our NBA power rankings post trade deadline 2023.
NBA power rankings post trade deadline 2023
Needless to say, we expect things to get shaken up quite a bit after this week’s events.
Our updated NBA power rankings have the San Antonio Spurs at the bottom of the list, and for a very simple reason: They didn’t get any better, and their future doesn’t seem all that bright, either. They have borderline interesting players but not a true star.
Of course, Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, and Keldon Johnson could all turn out to be great, and that first-overall pick has generational talent potential, but things don’t look good for Gregg Popovich right now.
Likewise, the Charlotte Hornets didn’t do anything to get better, and they pretty much gave up on the season, which makes sense at this point. The drop in talent was evident sans Miles Bridges, and LaMelo Ball‘s injury only made things tougher for them.
This team needs to add some serious depth and some non-injury-prone veterans. Melo is a superstar in the making, but he lacks the supporting cast he needs to thrive in this league.
The Houston Rockets aren’t a good basketball team right now, but they have one of the brightest futures in the league if they manage it well. That means getting rid of Stephen Silas, who has failed to develop his young players or establish any sort of winning culture within the organization.
The Rockets might not win many games until the end of the season, but players like Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith Jr., Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, TyTy Washington, and Kevin Porter Jr. are worth the wait, for sure.
We’re sorry to say that our NBA power rankings post trade deadline in 2023 have the Detroit Pistons once again sitting near the bottom. And we’re sorry because we had high hopes for this young team entering the season, yet Cade Cunningham‘s injury put the last nail in the coffin before they even had a chance.
Still, Pistons fans shouldn’t be worried at all. They’ve gathered a nice set of young, talented players, and will only get better with another potential top-five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The Orlando Magic drew some criticism when they took Paolo Banchero ahead of Chet Holmgren in the NBA Draft, but the Duke product looks like a generational scorer already. He’s been the brightest spot for a Magic team that might only be one piece away from putting together something quite special.
The Magic have built their team with a positionless basketball mindset, stacking talent regardless of the fit. It hasn’t worked yet, but they have plenty of size and a plethora of skilled players, so there’s reasons for optimism.
As expected, the Toronto Raptors pretty much waived the white flag and decided to hit the drawing board again. Masai Ujiri is one of the savviest executives in the league, so he wouldn’t leave his assets to go to waste while he could still get some decent return for them.
This is Scottie Barnes‘ team from now on, and the Raptors will need to be quite careful when putting the pieces around him going forward. Also, coach Nick Nurse’s future in charge of the team is now in question.
The Indiana Pacers got off to a solid start to the season, but most thought it was just a matter of time before they regressed to the mean. Tyrese Haliburton is back on the floor, but that long-overdue regression might be happening in the final stretch of the season.
The Pacers have proven that they can be a solid team and face off against any rival in the league. However, they were better off focusing on developing talent and adding more youngsters instead of making a playoff push.
Different year, same-old Washington Wizards. Once again, they’re in the bottom third of our NBA power rankings post trade deadline 2023, and it doesn’t seem like they will get out of it any time soon. This looks like a franchise doomed for mediocrity and stuck in basketball hell for way too long.
The Wizards need to realize that they will never be competitive unless they fully embrace a rebuild, which means parting ways with Bradley Beal and his mammoth contract for some first-round picks.
The Portland Trail Blazers got off to a promising start to the season, but that’s all a thing of the past now. Chauncey Billups might not be the right guy for the job, and the front office needs to do some soul-searching to try and put together their roster for the future.
We already know that Damian Lillard will never request a trade, but there’s just no way around it anymore. The team needs him gone, and he needs to play for an actual contender.
Most NBA buyout candidates left in the league play for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz got off to a shockingly good start to the season, with Lauri Markkanen playing like a legit All-Star and leading the way as the league’s Most Improved Player. But as it usually happens, that run was short-lived.
They should know better than to try and win more games this season. They should just call it a day, go through the motions, and tank their way to the upcoming NBA Draft, especially considering all the picks they have.
The Chicago Bulls are also stuck in basketball hell. They’re not bad enough to tank and get a top-5 pick, nor good enough to be a legit threat out of the Eastern Conference. All things considered, that’s the worst position any NBA franchise could be in, given the current system.
Arturas Karnisovas has failed to work his magic in the Windy City. The moves haven’t worked out, and the Draft picks have underperformed more often than not. Maybe, it’s time for another rebuild. A serious one this time.
If someone ever needs to have trading NBA draft picks explained, then the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the perfect example. This team has built through the Draft and still has plenty of first-round picks to get more talent or trade for stars, and they’re far ahead of schedule in terms of their current project.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is already one of the prime guards in the league, and Josh Giddey is most definitely their PG for the future. Add Chet Holmgren to that mix, and this team could be special for years to come.
The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA this season. Dejounte Murray and Trae Young were supposed to complement each other and take a leap forward, yet Young has made the news more often for his alleged feud with the front office than his actual play.
The Hawks are still young and talented, but they may need a change of direction and a coach that could hold their stars accountable. They’re on the right path, that’s for sure, but it may take a while.
Some might find this to be controversial, but the Dallas Mavericks got worse, not better. Yeah, trading for Kyrie Irving was a bad move that will come back to haunt them either in the off-season when he leaves or later when he forces his way out of the team if he decides to stay for now.
The Mavs’ defense got a whole lot worse, and they lost some depth to a guy that’s proven to be unreliable, untrustworthy, and toxic wherever he goes. They will regret this, especially in the NBA Draft.
The New Orleans Pelicans have flirted with playoff contention, regardless of who’s on the floor. CJ McCollum has been the veteran leader they needed for years, putting the team on his back when Brandon Ingram and/or Zion Williamson have been unable to play due to their countless injuries.
The Pelicans have a promising, hard-fighting core of players that only needs to stay healthy to be a huge dark horse out of the Western Conference. People don’t talk about them enough, but they’re legit.
Surprisingly, our NBA power rankings post trade deadline 2023 have the reigning champion Golden State Warriors at the middle of the pack. Stephen Curry‘s injury was yet another massive blow for a team that’s failed to find its groove throughout this very complicated season.
Now, it’ll be up to Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson to get some points while Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney anchor their defense. They have the talent, but there’s no margin for error.
Jalen Brunson‘s signing might well be the most impactful of this season, yet no one seems to mention it because it’s the New York Knicks we’re talking about. It’s hard to trust this team and more so with Tom Thibodeau calling the shots, but they’ve been solid and consistent for most of the season.
Of course, there will always be plenty of skepticism about this team, and RJ Barrett might never be a star-caliber player. But this team could be up to something with all that cap space and picks.
Surprisingly, our updated NBA power rankings don’t have the Brooklyn Nets slipping at all after the Kyrie Irving trade. They still have a very interesting roster, and Cam Thomas‘ recent breakout makes us all think that they will be just fine without their trouble-making guard.
Coach Jacque Vaughn has made sure to keep it all about basketball at all times, and the Nets’ improved defense with Nic Claxton and now Mikal Bridges could help them turn plenty of heads come playoff time.
The Miami Heat haven’t been as good or consistent as they always are this season, but we know better than to count Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra out this early in the campaign. They’re the last team you want to meet in a seven-game series, as Spo is a master at making defensive adjustments.
Of course, they’ll need Tyler Herro to take another leap and prove that he can live up to that huge contract he signed. Butler can’t win on his own, and their title window might be closing right before their eyes.
The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t as bad as their record states. They’ve been robbed of several wins, and having Anthony Davis back on the floor should do wonders for their defense. Also, their latest additions put them in a prime position to compete.
While D’Angelo Russell might not be an improvement over Russell Westbrook, they significantly improved their shooting and versatility by adding Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley. Look out for this team.
We’ve been waiting for the Los Angeles Clippers to show up for years now, and we’re starting to believe that it’ll never happen. Yes, they have a deep and talented roster, but there’s no use for that if they’re constantly sitting out games, even when they’re healthy enough to play.
Kawhi Leonard is a part-time player and should be treated as such, and Paul George has become quite injury-prone as of late. They have the playoffs in sight but cannot be taken seriously if they’re never on the floor.
Against all odds, and after a terrible start to the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are actually one of the best NBA teams right now. They had a players-only meeting on New Year’s Eve and started holding each other accountable, which led to this major turnaround.
Karl-Anthony Towns‘ return might not be what Rudy Gobert wants or needs, but they still need to figure out how to play together. They have the talent, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them for the time being.
Barring a major disaster — and we’re not ruling that out because, well, it’s the Kings — the Sacramento Kings will be a playoff team this season. Mike Brown has done an outstanding job in charge of them, and it seems like their woes are a thing of the past.
The Memphis Grizzlies have struggled to keep their foot on the gas as of late, and it’s entirely on them. They started talking a lot of trash despite not even getting past the second round of the playoffs, so rival teams are aiming at them night in and night out.
The Grizzlies have the assets and personnel to take down any contender in the playoffs. But they need to grow up, stop talking, and start playing. They’re not tough guys, just tough basketball players.
Some insiders predicted a very long and disappointing season for the Phoenix Suns, and they haven’t been wrong thus far. From Jae Crowder deciding to sit out to their big string of injuries and Chris Paul‘s poor play, Monty Williams‘ team has failed to live up to its contender status this season.
But adding Kevin Durant changes everything for Phoenix. Even though losing Mikal Bridges was a big blow for their defense and KD will be in the sidelines for a little longer, they’re now legit contenders.
As several insiders predicted, the Cleveland Cavaliers have become a serious dark horse in the National Basketball Association. Darius Garland‘s numbers didn’t get any worse with Donovan Mitchell by his side, and they have one of the best defenses in the league.
Some still doubt their ability to go the distance because they’re quite young, but the Cavs have been solid against contenders, so you better not sleep on them.
James Harden was blatantly snubbed from the All-Star Game. He’s been the league’s best playmaker this season while also putting up 20+ points, helping the Philadephia 76ers climb in the Eastern Conference. And don’t even get me started on Joel Embiid.
The Sixers have a championship-caliber roster and a legit MVP candidate leading the way. The only issue? They also have a bona fide choker in Doc Rivers as their coach.
Talking about poor coaching, we have to tip our hat off to Mike Budenholzer. He’s learned from his mistakes and should no longer be referred to as a regular-season coach. The Milwaukee Bucks deserve championship consideration for as long as he and Giannis Antetokounmpo are there.
No one seems to talk about the Denver Nuggets as a potential championship team, even despite the fact that they have the best player in the league this season and that they’ve been on top of the Western Conference for the better part of the year.
Nikola Jokic has made the Nuggets nearly unbeatable at home. They have a solid, deep roster and might well make their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.
And last but not least, we find the Boston Celtics leading our updated power rankings. We’ve already discussed all the trade deadline winners and losers, but not even all the moves were enough to take the reigning Eastern Conference champions from the no. 1 spot.