So far this years offseason has had enough changes to completely alter the landscape of the NBA. New rookies and free-agent signings have changed the dynamics of a number of NBA teams. The power rankings for this upcoming season will look very different than they did last season. A lot of NBA teams feel as though they are in a better position now than they were last season. However, there are an equal number of teams that may have had a better chance of taking home the title last year than they do this year.
In this article, we will be power ranking every NBA team for the upcoming season. We will be using factors such as player development, new rookie signings, and free-agency along with other criteria. This power ranking list is only taking into consideration the team’s talent for the upcoming season. There are several teams with a very bright long-term future that don’t appear on this list, but we will all need to watch out for them in the upcoming years.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this ranking in the comment section, as we would love to hear your thoughts.
Here is the power ranking of every NBA team for the upcoming season.
30. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are in a bad spot right now. Trading away a lot of their picks for players they thought would make them championship contenders a few years ago, the Nets haven’t made a splash in the draft for years now, and it shows. The Nets have a few guys who can score, such as Brook Lopez, but that is not enough considering the Nets went 21-61 last season, and had no draft pick for their struggles.
They acquired Jeremy Lin this offseason to man the point guard position, but is Jeremy Lin the type of guy you want running your starting point guard spot? Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the team’s only real talented young player, and the best he can do is rebound some shots over the course of a game. Due to the Nets’ decision on trading away their draft picks for low impact guys the last couple years, the Nets have nothing to look forward to for a long, long time.
29. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are excited for the future, but this year will again be spent on development and not on winning games. I do believe the Sixers will have a much better season than last year, as they will improve on their 10-72 record. Winning the lottery and getting the 1st pick in this years draft was big for the team, as Ben Simmons is one of the most intriguing prospects we’ve seen in a long time. Being compared to the likes of LeBron James, what team wouldn’t want to have Ben Simmons wearing their jersey? This season will also be the first time fans will get to see Joel Embiid play, as he was injured his entire rookie season. Jahlil Okafor will improve on his already successful rookie season, as Big Jah looks to become one of the best scoring big men in the league. The Sixers’ young players will be a force in the league in a few years, but for this upcoming season…not just yet.
28. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have some solid young pieces, but that doesn’t mean they will be making the playoffs this year. Denver has a plethora of young talent to build around such as Emmanuel Mudiay, who can do it all at the point-guard position. Kenneth Faried is one of the leagues most dominant rebounders, and has the best motors on the team. Nikola Jokic was a total steal for the Nuggets with the 41st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft because he had a very successful rookie season with Denver. The Nuggets success will be based a lot around their leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, who couldn’t seem to stay healthy last year.
The Nuggets are excited to see their rookie Jamal Murray play, as he appears to be one of the best shooters in this year’s draft class. The Nuggets most likely won’t make the playoffs, but they could be a very solid team in years to come.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Unlike the Nets, Lakers fans will be treated to some very successful teams in a few seasons, but as of now, the Lakers aren’t expecting a championship just yet. Getting the 2nd pick in the lottery was big for the Lakers, as they grabbed the lanky scorer from Duke, Brandon Ingram. D’Angelo Russell is only 20 years old, and is already the leader of the team, due to Kobe Bryant retiring last season. D-Loading is going to take a lot of the scoring load through the season, so expect his numbers to rise significantly this year.
The Lakers also have Julius Randle, who was one of the league’s most consistent power forwards last season. The Lakers have a great young core in D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle who will develop a lot this season, and the Lakers poor record this year is not going to bother anybody.
26. Sacramento Kings
Even though Sacramento has the best big man in the league in DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are not one of the better teams in the league. Last season, the Kings went 32-48, which is not impressive at all. Losing Rajon Rondo to free agency this season, the Kings don’t have a true point guard anymore either, which will add to their struggles this season. The Kings are going to be looking for some production out of Willie Cauley-Stein, who will most likely get the starting job at the power forward position. Acquiring the Knicks’ scorer Arron Afflalo will help the Kings out, but I don’t think the Kings will make much progress this season, and may end up having a worse record than they did last year.
The Kings’ starters just aren’t good enough together to string together enough wins, which may convince the Kings to consider trading away some guys for draft picks and start the rebuilding process.
25. Orlando Magic
Trading Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka this offseason was confusing to say the least, and certainly nobody checked with me before they made the decision. Oladipo is one of the league’s most exciting young players, and to trade him for the aging Ibaka just didn’t seem like the right move for Orlando. The Magic had a very nice and young backcourt with Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, but it has since been split, which Oladipo probably won’t be complaining about considering he will be playing for the Thunder now. Acquiring Bismack Biyombo adds to the Magic’s already deep frontcourt, as he will be joining Serge, Nick Vucevic, and Aaron Gordon. Evan Fournier is a solid scorer at the wing for the Magic, and had a few big games this last season for the team. Aaron Gordon is the team’s most exciting young player, so hopefully he gets the minutes he needs to develop this season.
24. Phoenix Suns
The Suns are absolutely loaded with great young talent, and have the pieces to compete for a championship in a few years. With Eric Bledsoe’s season-ending injury last year, Devin Booker was given a lot of minutes, and showed he could be a premier scorer in the NBA at the young age of 19. The Suns also had two lottery picks in this year’s draft, and picked two exciting prospects in Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss with the 4th and 8th picks. Alex Len had a nice season last year, and at only 23 years of age, he could be the Suns’ center for a long time. Dragan Bender was one of the biggest question marks coming out of the draft, as he has one of the highest ceilings in the league due to his height, athleticism, shooting abilities, and court vision. The Suns are stacked with young prospects, but they aren’t championship contenders just yet.
23. Miami Heat
The Heat were able to retain Hassan Whiteside this offseason, but losing Miami legend Dwyane Wade is going to immensely hurt the Heat’s chances of making the playoffs. The Heat have some exciting young players such as Justice Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Tyler Johnson who have all shown promise throughout their young NBA careers. There are still many question marks around Chris Bosh, who’s lung problems may have sadly put an end to his career. Goran Dragic is a solid NBA point guard, and he is going to have to step it up big time to make up for Wade’s absence.
The Heat may want to think about starting to rebuild, as they have some great young guys to build around. The Heat will not be a bottom dwelling team by any means, but they are going to have to play very well to get a playoff spot in the talented NBA league.
22. Washington Wizards
The Wizards have arguably the best backcourt in the league with John Wall and Bradley Beal, and these two guys will be vital to the Wizards’ success in this upcoming season. Wall is one of the league’s most explosive guards and he has shown that he is an all-star caliber player. The Wizards had a bit of a disappointing season last year with a 41-41 record, but Washington will be ready to get back on track for their fans this year. Their center, Marcin Gortat, is a very solid center who put up a steady rate of double doubles for the Wizards.
The Wizards are still waiting for Otto Porter Jr. to really come into his own, and hopefully he gives them some buckets throughout the season. Even though they didn’t get Kevin Durant, which Wizards fans were so hoping for, Washington has a good enough backcourt and supporting pieces to possibly get themselves a playoff spot.
21. Houston Rockets
Offense, offense, and more offense for this Rockets team. Signing scorers Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson from the Pelicans, the Rockets will be a very dangerous team on the offensive end. James Harden is one of the league’s best superstars and he will no doubt bring in some wins for the Rockets team. Losing Dwight Howard means that Clint Capela will be getting the start at center, which could be a blessing in disguise considering Howard may have been more trouble than the Rockets liked. Houston’s lone point-guard is Patrick Beverley, who is one of the team’s lone defensive minded players. The Rockets will be a middle of the barrel team once again, but they may just improve on their 41-41 record from last year with their new scoring additions. Whatever does happen though, we can expect to see some seriously good numbers from Houston’s star, James Harden, who is a stat-sheet stuffer.
20. New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis has the basketball talent to put the entire Pelicans team on his back, but the team just is not deep enough to be extremely successful in the NBA. Guys like Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans are solid, but after that, it’s a bunch of no name guys that just simply are not very good. Losing key guys such as Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon to free-agency, Anthony Davis will have to have his most dominant season to date if the Pelicans expect to make the playoffs. Injuries absolutely derailed the Pelicans last year, and hopefully they can stay healthy this season. The Pelicans have the superstar factor in Davis, but they still need a few good pieces to build around him because they will be a bit underwhelming this season, unless they make a few changes that could ultimately turn the team in the right direction. Anything is possible.
19. Detroit Pistons
Even though they were swept easily by the Cavaliers in last year’s first round of the playoffs, the Pistons will be a more dangerous team this season. Andre Drummond is arguably the league’s best big man, and having him manning the paint is a big advantage night-in and night-out for the Pistons. Reggie Jackson is a solid option for Detroit at the point guard position, and he will show much improvement this year from his play compared to last season. Adding Ish Smith was a great move for the Pistons, as he had a very solid season with the Pelicans and then with the Sixers for the second half of the year. Tobias Harris is a great forward in this league and other supporting pieces to the Pistons could garner Detroit a pretty successful basketball season for fans of this team. Expect to see Detroit have a better showing in the playoffs this upcoming season.
18. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks added a few pieces that could really propel them into having a very successful 2016-17 NBA season. Keeping their core players such as Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Mathews, and Deron Williams, the Mavs also added both Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes from the Warriors. Harrison Barnes is the most interesting player, in my opinion, on the Mavericks because this will be his first real chance to be a consistent scorer on a team. Usually overshadowed by the star power on Golden State, Barnes could possibly average over 20 points a game this season with his new team because Barnes was able to show significant scoring talent during his college career at UNC.
There is no doubt the Mavericks are aging and a rebuild will be coming soon, but for now, the Mavericks have a lot of veteran guys that will make sure the team wins more games than they lose this upcoming year.
17. Atlanta Hawks
Even though the Hawks signed center Dwight Howard to fill the hole left by Al Horford, the Hawks are in a worse position than they were last season. Jeff Teague is gone as well, which means Dennis Schroder will be getting a lot more minutes to grow as a player this year. Paul Millsap is one of the league’s most dominant power forwards, and Kent Bazemore showed flashes of some serious talent last season. Adding Jarrett Jack to backup Schroder was a good move, as Jack is a good veteran player who could teach Schroder a lot about the game of basketball throughout the year. The Hawks have been one of the more respected teams in the league for a few years now, and this season will be no different as they most likely win enough games to get themselves a 4th or 5th seed in the very good Eastern Conference.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves may be in the best position for success later on in the league, as they have the last two Rookie of the Year award winners, and possibly a third in a row with their recent draft pick of point-guard Kris Dunn. Karl Anthony-Towns is already one of the best centers in the league right now, and will have an even better season this year than his rookie campaign. The young core of KAT, Andrew Wiggins, and Kris Dunn will garner the Timberwolves enough wins to crack the playoffs this year. While I do not expect them to pass the first round considering they will be playing a #1 or #2 seed, the playoff appearance will be a big step forward for the young team, who could be one of the most dominant teams in the league in a few years from now. I would watch out for this team.
15. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets lost both Al Jefferson and Jeremy Lin to free agency, but they retained most of their core group that played pretty well together last year. Kemba Walker will lead the team again this year, which is good for the Hornets considering he is one of the best offensive guards in the league. While I do see the Hornets winning some games throughout this season, I do not believe that they have the depth at point-guard anymore nor do they have a real scorer for their frontcourt. Still, Jeremy Lamb is an intriguing prospect for the Hornets, as he had a few real good games last year scoring wise with his pure stroke, and Charlotte is hoping he can do the same or even more for them this year. The Hornets will most likely grab a playoff spot, but they will be missing Al and Jeremy a lot throughout the season.
14. New York Knicks
The Knicks look a lot different than they did last year, which is good, considering they were not very good. The Knicks have a lot of good guys past their prime on the team, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get it done this season. Derrick Rose could have a resurgence on his new team, and a healthy Rose can be very dangerous to opposing teams. Joakim Noah is one of the more versatile bigs in the league, and will do a lot of things for New York that will help them out greatly.
Melo will continue to be a dominant scorer and solid rebounder for New York, and Kristaps Porzingis will hopefully show improvement from his successful rookie season. I’m glad the Knicks are finally a respectable team again, as we will most likely see them in the playoffs this season if all of their aging talent can stay healthy.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder
When looking at the Thunder’s roster, it is actually pretty ridiculous to think they had Kevin Durant on the team just a few weeks ago. Russell Westbrook is the most explosive point-guard in the NBA whose stats could be outstanding this season, and he will now be paired up with the defensive minded Victor Oladipo creating an elite Thunder backcourt. The Thunder did lose the defensive presence of Serge Ibaka to get Oladipo, but this will open up some minutes for Enes Kanter, who is a very skilled offensive big. Steven Adams gained a lot of publicity throughout the playoffs for his great play and also by being targeted by Draymond Green’s foot a multitude of times. Adams could average a double-double every night and this could be his best season to date.
The Thunder added Ersan Ilyasova, who can score from anywhere and will take some of the load off of Westbrook. Even with Durant’s departure, the Thunder are still a very good team in this league.
12. Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the league with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Both of these players are very valuable to the Blazers team, as they are both young and very talented. Mason Plumlee had a great showing in the playoffs this last season, and will most likely be the starting center for the team. Evan Turner is the new face on the team for the Blazers this year, and I expect him to have a great season on his new team. Turner can do it all on the court, and he will be a great “glue” guy to bring it all together for his new Portland team.
The Blazers don’t have a great bench, but their starting five led by one of the best players in the league in Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers will win enough games to make the playoffs this year.
11. Chicago Bulls
Even though the Bulls lost Pau Gasol to free agency, Chicago did a great job of acquiring some talent this offseason. Bringing home Chicago native Dwyane Wade will definitely put some meat in the seats, but will D-Wade really be a game changer for the Bulls? Rajon Rondo is another aging star the Bulls got through free agency, and hopefully he doesn’t bring any turmoil with him like he did with the Kings. The Bulls have a lot of talented players on their team, but it looks like it may be all for naught, considering they won’t have the chemistry nor the real firepower to compete.
Expect to see the Bulls hover around the 6th of 7th seed for the next few seasons, but hey, anything is possible in the playoffs, and maybe Chicago brings home a championship for the first time since Michael Jordan wore the iconic red jersey.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee made probably the most interesting draft selection this year, as they selected Thon Maker with their 10th pick in this years draft. Thon had a great summer league, as his work ethic is definitely there. The Bucks also have a lot of great young players who will develop a lot this upcoming season such as Jabari Parker, Giannis and Khris Middleton. The Bucks want Giannis running their point-guard position, which would make the Bucks the tallest starting five in the league if they give Thon Maker the starting center job.
Forget small ball, the Bucks are going big! It was definitely a disappointing season for the Bucks last year however, as they failed to make the playoffs like they did two seasons ago. I do believe the Bucks will have a bounce back season, and maybe even make a deep run in the Playoffs.
9. Utah Jazz
The Jazz have a lot of young talent on their team, and this may be the year they show the rest of the league how good they can be. Dante Exum is primed to break out, and Rudy Gobert can be one of the most dominant centers in the league when he is healthy. Gordon Hayward has proven time and time again that he can score, and he will have to be doing a lot of that if the Jazz are going to win games. Trey Lyles had an incredible showing at this year’s NBA Summer League tournament, and he will show much improvement this year than from his rookie season.
The Jazz also added veterans George Hill and Joe Johnson to their team, which will add some serious depth to this Utah team. The core that the Jazz’s front office has built over the last few years will increase the chances they have a very successful season this year.
8. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies were held back by injuries last season immensely and hopefully they can stay healthy this year. Signing Mike Conley to a max contract, the Grizzlies retained all of their star players. Even though their front court has aged significantly, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph can still do some serious damage when it comes to winning games. Both of them are successful veterans who are vital to the Grizzlies’ success. In my opinion, the Grizzlies’ best move was signing Chandler Parsons, who can score from deep and also slash inside when needed. Injuries and staying healthy will be incredibly important for the Grizzlies, because as we saw last year, injuries completely ruined Memphis’ season.
If everything goes as planned for the Grizzlies, they will be one of the best teams in the league, but if not, they could be at the bottom of the standings for sure.
7. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have made some great strides in becoming a contender in the league, as they added two former all-stars in Jeff Teague and Al Horford. Led by NBA superstar Paul George, the Pacers have a solid veteran roster that will win a hefty amount of games this season. Thaddeus Young also had a great season with the struggling Brooklyn Nets, and he will be a valuable cog in the Pacers machine this upcoming year. Myles Turner had a solid rookie year, but with all the new pieces he may not get much of a minute upgrade this season. The Pacers could be a big surprise to many fans, as they have a great roster that could upset some big name teams this season. Larry Bird and the rest of the Pacers front office did a great job in revamping the roster, making Indiana a top ten team in the league.
6. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors did not make much of a splash in this year’s offseason, but they still kept their talented core of players. The Raptors have probably the best backcourt in the league with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas looks to be ready to take a big step forward with his game this season. The Raptors will be a tough team to beat, and while they will most likely go deep into the playoffs, teams such as the Celtics and the Cavaliers may be the reasons the Raptors don’t make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals. Jared Sullinger could be a nice addition to the team, as he showed some serious promise last year with his old team in the Boston Celtics. Toronto fans will be treated to another successful season, but other top teams have made moves that may end up leaving the Raptors in the dust come playoff time.
5. Boston Celtics
The Celtics were a great team last year, but they will be new and improved this season due to their signing of all-star Al Horford this past free-agency. The Celtics have a great core of players that know how to win games, and Al Horford may be the final piece needed for the Celtics to make it to the championship out of the East. Isaiah Thomas is due for another great season, and Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley could have their best seasons to date. What is crazy about the Celtics is even with their success last season, a previous trade with the Nets got the Celtics the 3rd pick in this years draft.
Going with Jaylen Brown from California, the Celtics didn’t go for a high ceiling guy such as Dragan Bender or Kris Dunn, but they did get an NBA ready defender in Brown, who is perfect for a championship contending team such as the Celtics.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will continue to be a dominant team in the West, due to their great combination of Chris Paul’s passing ability and the finishing skill of the Clippers big men. Blake Griffin had an odd year last season, as he only played 35 games due to injuries, and he was even suspended for four games because he punched the Clippers equipment manager…yeah, he really did that. Hopefully Blake can stay on the right path this season, because at full strength, Blake Griffin is one of the best power forwards in the game. The Clippers roster hasn’t changed much from last season, which isn’t such a bad thing considering the team won 53 games last season.
Lob City is one of the most exciting teams in the league, and the Clippers have the talent to go deep into the playoffs, and fans of the team are hoping they can bring home a championship this season.
3. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have been one of the most successful franchises in the NBA for the past couple of decades, and the team will still be contending for a championship even with their beloved Tim Duncan retiring recently. Kawhi Leonard has grown into one of the league’s most elite players, and this year could be his best season of his career. Adding Pau Gasol was a great move for San Antonio this offseason, and he will be paired up with the equally talented LaMarcus Aldridge creating a solid front court. The timeless Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli will still help continue to steer the team to the top of the NBA mountain, as the Spurs will still get over the 60 win mark again this season.
The Spurs will be feeling the Big Fundamental’s absence throughout the season, but San Antonio will still be one of the best teams in the entire league.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Fresh off their historic comeback series win against the Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be ready to go at it again this year. LeBron James is the best player in the world, and having him on the team is a luxury for Cleveland. Kyrie Irving played like a man possessed in the NBA Finals this year, and expect him to have a whole new confidence this season. The Cavaliers’ chemistry will be at an all-time high and the team will be hitting on all cylinders throughout the year. I know Kevin Love is in a totally different situation now than he was in with Minnesota, but if the team could tap into the old Love, the Cavaliers would be almost unstoppable.
The Cavaliers will most likely come out on top of the East this year, but the team will have to play lights out to beat the Warriors for the second year in a row.
1. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are absolutely stacked this year, and you shouldn’t be surprised their sitting pretty at the #1 spot on this list. On paper, the Warriors’ new look team is the best group of players ever assembled. Adding former MVP Kevin Durant to the already successful Warriors team was surprising to say the least. The team did lose a lot of its talented bench to get Durant, but they did add a few pieces such as David West to fill some holes left.
While the Warriors will be spending a few games early in the season working out the kinks that will come with the new added talent, the Warriors have an opportunity to dominate the rest of the league if they play the right way. It is still unknown how the all-stars of the Warriors will all play together, but right now, it’s not hard to say Golden State is the best team in the league.
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