We’re just a couple of weeks away from the start of another NBA regular season, so it’s only time we get our NBA preseason power rankings 2022 out there. This may seem way too early, but we can already make some predictions given how the rosters are shaped up.
NBA preseason Power Rankings 2022
The 2022-23 NBA season promises to be one for the ages. Both the Eastern and Western Conferences look up for grabs for the first time in years, and the Golden State Warriors will have to go through hell to try and defend their crown.
Barring some last-minute blockbuster trades or major moves before the deadline, things could get quite complicated for some teams. They’re expected to offload their few veterans and stars to try and get more draft picks, while contenders look to get better and pursue a ring.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at every single NBA team and why we expect them to struggle or thrive in the upcoming campaign.
Our NBA preseason power rankings 2022 start with the San Antonio Spurs at the bottom, which is an unusual spot for one of the winningest franchises in the Association. Their years of contention are far behind them as they enter a long-overdue rebuild with Gregg Popovich still at the helm.
The Spurs will favor player development over wins next season. If anything, they know winning games won’t do much to help their cause, as reports state that they’re all-in on getting French stud Victor Wembanyama in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The Orlando Magic are finally heading somewhere. However, it might take a while before they actually take off. They’ve put together a nice, promising, and well-rounded roster, and adding Paolo Banchero to their squad promises to make them a much-improved team.
But we already know young teams don’t tend to win that many basketball games. The Magic’s offense should be better, and Jalen Suggs should take a step forward, but they’ll still need to develop, grow through their mistakes, and add more veterans before being taken seriously.
The Utah Jazz decided to hit the drawing board and start from scratch once and for all. They traded away both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell and some veterans, and are likely to part ways with Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley at some point as well.
Danny Ainge isn’t focused on winning right now. Instead, he’s gathering a plethora of draft capital to put together a future dynasty, just like he did with the Boston Celtics. This time, however, things could get worse before they get better, as small market teams don’t always come on top after long rebuilds.
The Indiana Pacers also threw in the towel last season. They moved on from Domantas Sabonis to land Tyrese Haliburton, and they’ve made some interesting choices in the NBA Draft, albeit they’re not expected to win that many basketball games this season.
Buddy Hield and Myles Turner are likely to follow Malcolm Brogdon and find a new home before the trade deadline. The Los Angeles Lakers have been rumored to be interested in that pair, with a trade centered around Russell Westbrook. This could be a very long season for Pacers fans.
The Houston Rockets enter our NBA preseason power rankings 2023 as the fourth-worst team in the league, but we believe they won’t be as bad as expected once it’s all said and done. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, maybe it’s just a gut feeling, but this team has some legit dark horse potential.
Don’t get me wrong, by no means will they make the playoffs this season, but they could actually flirt with a play-in spot, at least for the first three months or so. They have the most young talent in the league, and it doesn’t seem like they’re looking to tank anymore.
Sam Presti let it be known that the Oklahoma City Thunder have no intention of trading Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Canadian star has also vowed his commitment and support for the franchise, but we’ve already seen that happen way too many times.
The Thunder need to prove a willingness to win and compete now, not later. That will be a tough task given their young roster, especially with Chet Holmgren sitting out through his entire rookie year. So, will they finally stop stacking up draft picks and compete? Let’s wait and see.
The Sacramento Kings are one of the worst-ran organizations in all sports. So, it doesn’t matter where you rank them; all you need to know is that they’ll lose games they were supposed to win, their locker room will be dysfunctional, and they won’t make the playoffs.
It’s a shame to see guys like De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis wasting years of their prime in that black hole of a franchise. But who knows? Maybe this will be the year they finally prove us all wrong and make a playoff run. I wouldn’t put money on that, though.
The Detroit Pistons traded for Bojan Bogdanovic in a move that looked to send a big message. They’re proving that they want to win some games and even make the playoffs now, and that they trust their young’uns to have a breakout similar to the Memphis Grizzlies’.
On paper, the Pistons have one of the most exciting teams in the league. They could actually upset a contender any given night, especially at home. But once again, we wouldn’t get our hopes too high when we’re talking about such a young roster.
The Washington Wizards will most likely endure another mediocre season full of ups and downs. The team usually goes as Bradley Beal goes, and he’s coming off a major injury last season. Also, you cannot trust Kristaps Porzingis to stay healthy.
This could be a make-or-break season in the nation’s capital. They’ve already committed way too much money to Beal, but they could look to trade Kyle Kuzma and some of their veterans if (when) things start going south prior to the deadline.
The Charlotte Hornets would’ve been a lot higher on this NBA preseason power rankings 2022-23 if it wasn’t for the Miles Bridges situation. We don’t condone his actions and would understand if he’s banned from the league if found guilty, but it’s still a massive blow for the Hornets.
They’ve now lost their second-best player and the guy who led them in several major categories last season. LaMelo Ball could still lead them to a win any given night, but he’ll need another scoring threat by his side if they want to make the play-in tournament.
The New York Knicks are certainly something. Once again, they couldn’t get the guy they coveted the most, and they wound up overpaying for mediocre players instead. I mean, that Big 3 of Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett reeks of a loss in the play-in tournament, and that’s the best-case-scenario.
The Knicks have been a disaster for decades, and it doesn’t seem things will change anytime soon. Tom Thibodeau is on the hot seat to start the season and we wouldn’t be shocked to see him pack his bags and be fired two months into the campaign.
The Portland Trail Blazers will have their leader back on the floor now that Damian Lillard is fully healed, but they’ll be a big question mark next season. Their roster looks better on paper, but there are still questions regarding their ability to keep up in the Wild Wild West.
Lillard is one of the best scorers of the past two decades, and he’s single-handedly led them to the playoffs before. But what if they get off to another slow start? Will the new front office continue to trust him, or will they overhaul the roster again?
Zion Williamson looks like he’s in the best shape of his career, and that’s reason alone to have the New Orleans Pelicans as a potential playoff team this season. He’s a special, dominant player who could turn around an ever-struggling franchise if healthy.
The Pelicans looked much better after CJ McCollum arrived in the Big Easy, and Jose Alvarado and Herbert Jones were also huge pickups to improve their defense. Barring injury, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas will round up a very promising roster for the Pelicans.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the subject of mixed predictions for the 2022-23 NBA season. Some believe they’ll be just fine now that Anthony Davis is back and Frank Vogel is out of town; some believe they’re not all that much better than last season.
Truth be told, it’s hard to read a team like this. They do have LeBron James, so they’ll be in the mix for a playoff spot for sure. But are they good enough to keep up with the rest of the powerhouses in the West? Are they better than, say, the Clippers and Warriors?
Every rebuilding team should take a page out of the Toronto Raptors’ book. They’ve done an outstanding job of finding value with their draft picks, and they’ve managed to stay competitive and be a borderline playoff team while also building for the future.
They have one of the best young players in the league in Scottie Barnes, and should be in the mix for a playoff berth in the East again next season. Of course, that could all change if they find a trade offer that’s good enough to steal Pascal Siakam away.
The Chicago Bulls could either be a menace or a big bust next season; there’s no in-between. They were the best team in the East when Lonzo Ball was healthy, but now they don’t even know whether he’s going to play at all after undergoing yet another knee surgery.
Of course, the DeMar DeRozan–Zach LaVine pairing will still make them a big threat night in and night out, and adding Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond makes them better. But they still seem like they’re a tier below those legit contenders in the Eastern Conference.
The Dallas Mavericks lost their starting point guard, but Jason Kidd has proven that he’s a much better coach than we all thought at first. He worked his magic and instilled a defensive identity while filling Rick Carlisle‘s shoes, which was way easier said than done.
The Mavericks will continue to have Luka Doncic, and that will always give them an opportunity to compete at the highest level. He’s a generational talent and a guy who won’t blink under pressure, and the main reason why they’re so high on our power rankings.
The Cleveland Cavaliers might well be one of the best NBA teams in 2022-23 and finish the season in the top 10 of our rankings. They were one of the biggest surprises in the league last season and have only gotten better ahead of this campaign.
Pairing Donovan Mitchell with Darius Garland figures to do wonders for their offense. Evan Mobley should also take another leap forward in year two, and he’s got the potential to be a Kevin Garnett/Anthony Davis kind of two-way superstar. They’ll be must-watch TV.
A couple of seasons ago, the Atlanta Hawks vowed to give Trae Young more help. Now, they’ve finally delivered, pairing him with a guy that’s tailor-made to play by his side: Dejounte Murray. This backcourt is near-perfect, at least from a basketball standpoint.
The Hawks needed to hide Young’s defensive flaws and responded by landing one of the best backcourt stoppers in the game. They now have a lot of length and depth and should be an entertaining team to watch on both ends of the floor. Don’t sleep on them.
The Minnesota Timberwolves pretty much shook the entire trade market. Paying that much for Rudy Gobert all but killed every hope to trade for Kevin Durant, as there was no way a team could top that massive trade package the Utah Jazz got for the defensive standout.
The Timberwolves made a big gamble, both figuratively and literally. But if that pairing with Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns works, they might well win close to 50 games this season, especially with Anthony Edwards continuing to improve as a defender.
Nikola Jokic has already proved that he’s the best passing big man of all time and one of the most unique talents ever. So, imagine what he can do now that he’s in the best shape of his career and both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are finally healthy again.
The Denver Nuggets always have a big edge on their homecourt but have struggled to find that success away from the rocky mountains. That shouldn’t be an issue anymore, as they’re quite deep and stacked with talent at every single position.
People continue to count the Memphis Grizzlies out, so they keep proving them wrong over and over. Not even missing Ja Morant for a big stretch of last season was enough to keep them away from contention, so why would this year be any different?
Of course, Jaren Jackson Jr. was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate last season, so not having him around could be a big blow. But the young Grizzlies are deep enough to make up for it, and their team effort and Morant’s rise to stardom will once again lead them to the postseason.
The Miami Heat tried to land Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell and failed both times. So, they signed Tyler Herro to a big contract extension that will come with an even bigger responsibility. He needs to prove that he can be the 25+ scorer Erik Spoelstra needs for this roster.
We already know the Heat will always be a tough defensive team, and you better believe they’ll find some undrafted players that’ll help them be a top-five team in the East again. But do they have enough to make it back to the NBA Finals? It doesn’t seem likely.
The NBA preseason power rankings 2023 have the Phoenix Suns as the seventh-best team in the Association, but they could drastically drop considering how tough it’s been for them lately. It seems like they just don’t get along, and all the Deandre Ayton controversy could come back to haunt them.
Monty Williams has done wonders to flip this franchise’s culture, but there are just too many distractions going on right now. Maybe, this team peaked already, and losing in the NBA Finals will be as far as they’ll ever get. It’s up to them to prove us wrong.
Once again, people are overlooking the Milwaukee Bucks. They seem to forget that this team won the NBA Finals just two seasons ago and that they could’ve gotten further last season if it wasn’t for injuries. Also, that guy Giannis Antetokounmpo is supposed to be pretty good.
The Bucks will be without Khris Middleton for the first stretch of the season, but they have one of the best Big 3s in the league when they’re at full strength. They play physical, pesky defense and are tough to beat at home, so maybe it’s time people stop sleeping on them.
Looking at their roster, the Brooklyn Nets should be considered the best among the best NBA teams right now. However, they still need to prove that they can coexist and that their egos won’t stand in the way of their championship aspirations again.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will thrive with Ben Simmons next to them. He’s an elite playmaker and defender and the missing piece they craved to fix their woes last season. However, it seems like there’s always a story, some drama, and something that keeps this team from reaching its ceiling.
The Boston Celtics are fresh off a trip to the NBA Finals, and they were one of the biggest winners of the offseason with that Malcolm Brogdon trade. Nonetheless, the Ime Udoka controversy was a major blow for their aspirations, as he’ll be suspended for the whole year and isn’t even likely to coach in the league again.
Still, the Celtics have Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, which should be more than enough to get a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference. They had the best defense in the league in the second half of last season, but they could be due for some regression.
The Philadelphia 76ers had a near-perfect offseason. James Harden‘s pay cut allowed them to address every single need on their roster, and they figure to be the best team in the Eastern Conference next year, even with Doc Rivers still calling the shots.
Harden seems in the best shape of his career and more motivated than ever. Joel Embiid is arguably the best big man in the league, and Tyrese Maxey is reportedly ready to wreak havoc after an impressive training camp. The East could be theirs to lose.
The Los Angeles Clippers enter the NBA preseason power rankings 2022-23 as the second-best team in the league, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see them take that first spot by the first month. They basically have three All-Star reinforcements in John Wall, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George.
Tyronn Lue is an excellent coach and managed to keep his team in playoff contention despite missing its two best players. They’re now stacked and have one of the best 10-man rotations in the Association, not to mention two of the best two-way players.
And even though some believe they got worst in the offseason, the Golden State Warriors will continue to be the team to beat until further notice. One should know better than to keep counting them out and predicting the end of the dynasty.
The Dubs will lean more heavily into their youngsters like Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga, but they’ll still have their championship core plus Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole. They have an elite coach and the best shooter of all time, so what’s not to like?