NBA Power Rankings

Rankings are updated every Monday of the NBA season.

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Rank   Team Record   Change   Comment
1 Golden State Warriors Golden State Warriors 0-0
The Dubs start out No. 1 in the power rankings for the third straight year after claiming their second title in the last three seasons. The Warriors could have their best bench group since their last NBA Finals appearance, as they kept pretty much everyone intact and added veterans Omri Casspi and Nick Young. Golden State opens the season with three of their first four games on the road.
2 Houston Rockets Houston Rockets 0-0
▲ 1
The Rockets made major strides under first-year coach Mike D’Antoni last year, winning 55 games, though they fell to the Spurs in the conference semifinals. Then, in the offseason, the Rockets brought in perennial all-star Chris Paul along with veterans P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute, who should help the team improve their three-point marksmanship and defense. Houston begins the season with back-to-back games on the West Coast against Golden State (Oct. 17) and Sacramento (Oct. 18).
3 San Antonio Spurs San Antonio Spurs 0-0
▼ 1
The Spurs are the most successful NBA team this century, having won 60 or more games six times and reached the playoffs 18 straight seasons. They hold the NBA record with 20 consecutive playoff appearances, dating date back to the 1997-1998 campaign. Two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard leads a veteran-loaded team, which features six players over the age of 30, into the 2017-18 campaign. Leonard is slated to miss the team’s season opener against Minnesota (Oct. 18) with a quadriceps injury.
4 Oklahoma City Thunder Oklahoma City Thunder 0-0
▲ 6
The Thunder made the biggest splash this offseason by pairing 2016-17 MVP Russell Westbrook with recently acquired Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. They also added free agents Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson to go along with veteran holdovers Steven Adams and Andre Roberson. They play three of their first four games at home, starting with the Knicks on (Oct. 19).
5 Boston Celtics Boston Celtics 0-0
▲ 1
The Celtics are coming off their finest season under fifth-year head coach Brad Stevens, winning 53 games and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2012. The C’s dramatically upgraded their roster with the additions of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, along with Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes (trades) as well as Jayson Tatum (draft pick) this offseason. Morris (knee) will miss the first week of the season.
6 Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Cavaliers 0-0
▲ 1
The Cavaliers are the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions, though they have earned just one NBA title during their reign. The Cavs traded away Kyrie Irving, leaving Kevin Love and LeBron James as the only holdovers in the starting lineup. Cleveland did add several veterans this offseason to bolster depth: Dwyane Wade, Jose Calderon, Jeff Green, and Kendrick Perkins. James is dealing with an ankle issue and may not be available for their season opener against Boston on Tuesday.
7 Minnesota Timberwolves Minnesota Timberwolves 0-0
▲ 20
The Timberwolves might be the most improved team in the Western Conference after finishing a disappointing 31-51 in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s first year. This offseason, the Wolves added veterans Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and Jamal Crawford to take pressure of their talented youngsters – Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Minnesota has missed the playoffs 13 straight seasons.
8 Washington Wizards Washington Wizards 0-0
Can John Wall and Bradley Beal lead the Wizards past the conference semifinals for the first time since 1978-79? The Wizards, who went 49-33 last year, are coming off their first division title. Washington will look to avoid another slow start – they started last season losing eight of their first 10 games – as they host Philadelphia and Detroit to start the season.
9 Toronto Raptors Toronto Raptors 0-0
▼ 4
The Raptors had their second-most successful regular season last year, winning 50 games for consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. Yet they had their three-year reign of winning the Atlantic division title come to an end. The Raps didn’t do much this offseason besides re-signing Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, though they did add veteran forward C.J. Miles.
10 Milwaukee Bucks Milwaukee Bucks 0-0
▲ 3
Can Giannis Antetokounmpo lead the Bucks to the next step? The Bucks have not made the playoffs in consecutive years since 2002-03 and 2003-04, and their 42 wins last year are the franchise’s most in seven seasons. Milwaukee will look for 7-foot-1, 20-year-old center Thon Maker to make major strides in his development.
11 Utah Jazz Utah Jazz 0-0
▼ 2
The Jazz will have a totally new look heading into the 2017-18 season after ending a four-year playoff drought last year. Newly acquired point guard Ricky Rubio is now running the show in Utah, though the strength of the team is in the frontcourt, with Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Rodney Favors. The Jazz, who had the top-scoring defense last season, are expected to have a more open offensive due to increase of athleticism.
12 Denver Nuggets Denver Nuggets 0-0
▲ 6
The Nuggets look to take the next step -- ending their four-year playoff drought in 2017-18. The Nuggets are a very talented offensive team, finishing third in scoring at 111.1 points per game last year. Center Nikola Jokic, who produced 39 double-doubles and six triple-doubles in 2016-17, leads the way, though he has plenty of help, starting with newly acquire Paul Millsap. If the Nuggets struggle early, coach Mike Malone could start feeling some heat. Denver plays just two games this week, opening at Utah on Oct. 18.
13 Charlotte Hornets Charlotte Hornets 0-0
▲ 7
Is this the year the Hornets find some consistency under fifth-year head coach Steve Clifford? Clifford has done a very good job with the Hornets, leading the team to two playoff appearances -- he is the third-longest-tenured coach in franchise history and needs 10 wins to become the second-winningest coach. Kemba Walker, who is coming off a career year in 2016-17, and Dwight Howard will look to return Charlotte to postseason for the fourth time since re-gaining entry into the league.
14 Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Clippers 0-0
▼ 10
Are the Clippers, after trading away star Chris Paul and perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford, in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years? While the Clips enjoyed unprecedented success with Paul running the show, they never finished higher than third in the Western Conference or reached the conference finals. Los Angeles will have a new look this year with just five returning players from last year’s squad. Serbian sensation Milos Teodosic replaces Paul at point guard.
15 Memphis Grizzlies Memphis Grizzlies 0-0
▼ 1
The Grizzlies will look to extend their franchise-record playoff streak to eight in 2017-18. Can the Griz stay healthy, and do they have enough shooting? Last year, Memphis finished last in the league in field goal percentage at 43.5%. The Grizzlies will have a semi-new identity after ridding themselves of long-time members Tony Allen and Zach Randolph as well as old timer Vince Carter this offseason.
16 Miami Heat Miami Heat 0-0
▲ 1
The Heat missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, after getting off to a 11-30 start, though they turned things around in the second half to finish with a .500 record (41-41). Goran Dragic will look to build off his terrific EuroBaskets campaign this summer, while Hassan Whiteside has improved markedly in each of his three seasons with the franchise. The big question this the year: Will Justise Winslow finds some consistency?
17 New Orleans Pelicans New Orleans Pelicans 0-0
▲ 4
The Pelicans are hoping that DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis can lead them back to the playoffs for the first time in three years. The Pelicans went 7-10 with both big men in the lineup after the team acquired Cousins midseason. Cousins is a tantalizing talent, and it remains to be seen if he and Davis can make things work. New Orleans’ other main issues are health, shooting and depth. Starting point guard Rajon Rondo is out 4-to-6 weeks with a sports hernia injury.
18 Portland Trail Blazers Portland Trail Blazers 0-0
▼ 3
The Trail Blazers have seen their win total decrease in each of the last four years (going from 54 wins in 2013-14 to 41 in 2016-17). The Blazers have started slow the last two years, though they closed strong enough to extend their playoff streak to four straight years. Dynamic guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are the catalysts, though Jusuf Nurkic, who averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds in 20 games after coming over from Denver at the trade deadline, may be the key.
19 Detroit Pistons Detroit Pistons 0-0
A year after ending their six-year run without a playoff appearance, the Pistons once again failed to live up to expectations in 2016-17. Is this the year center Andre Drummond has the monster year he’s capable of having? The Pistons added Avery Bradley to give the team a perimeter shooter to complement the slashing styles of Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson and Tobias Harris.
20 Philadelphia 76ers Philadelphia 76ers 0-0
▲ 9
The 76ers have the most talent on their roster that they have had in years. Can their young stars stay healthy -- especially center Joel Embiid, who has only played in 12.8% of the team’s games the last three years? The Sixers did some nice things this offseason by adding shooter J.J. Redick and power forward Amir Johnson to the fold.
21 Dallas Mavericks Dallas Mavericks 0-0
▲ 2
Where are the Mavericks going to find some offense? The Mavs averaged a league-worst 97.8 points a game last year, which was 2.6 points worse than anyone else. Harrison Barnes, who led the team in scoring with 19.4 points a game last season, is an outstanding shooter who is coming off a career season. Their second- leading scorer, Dirk Nowitzki, is 39-years-old and past his prime. Rookie Dennis Smith will be counted on heavily.
22 Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles Lakers 0-0
▲ 4
Can the Lakers fix their defense? Los Angeles allowed 111.5 points a game, which was the 28th most, and ranked 30th in defensive rating. The Lakers did do some nice things in the draft this summer and acquired veterans Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Lonzo Ball is a wizard with the ball and will be in the conversation for ROY all season, while Kyle Kuzma could be steal of the draft.
23 Sacramento Kings Sacramento Kings 0-0
▼ 1
The Kings closed the season 8-17, following the Cousins trade, marking the 11th straight season that they have missed the playoffs. The good news is that 2016 first-round pick Buddy Hield, who was acquired in the trade with Pelicans, along with youngsters Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere, started to show the growth that was expected of them late in the season. Sacramento added a few veterans this offseason, along with three rookies who are likely to play a major role -- De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin Jackson.
24 Brooklyn Nets Brooklyn Nets 0-0
▲ 1
The Nets are looking to turn things around after winning 41 games the last two years. Twenty of the victories came last year, after making the playoffs the first three years in New York. D’Angelo Russell was a very good pickup in the Brook Lopez trade, however, Allen Crabbe was their only other major addition.
25 Orlando Magic Orlando Magic 0-0
▲ 3
The Magic (29-53) took a step back last year under Frank Vogel, with six wins fewer than the previous season. Elfrid Payton took a small step in his development last year, and Aaron Gordon has been fantastic this preseason. Orlando added a pair of scorers off the bench in Jonathan Simmons and Marreese Speights.
26 New York Knicks New York Knicks 0-0
▼ 2
The Carmelo Anthony era ends with three playoff appearances in seven years, though none in the last four seasons. The team now belongs to Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and 18-year-old rookie Frank Ntilikina. Willy Hernangomez is also a nice piece as is Doug McDermott when he is making shots.
27 Indiana Pacers Indiana Pacers 0-0
▼ 15
With Paul George gone, the Pacers will likely turn to 21-year-old center Myles Turner as the No. 1 offensive option, though Victor Oladipo will likely put up a bunch of shots. Turner is not a bad No. 1 option, as he is very talented and his game is still evolving. Free agent acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic gives Indiana another perimeter option, though Glenn Robinson III is likely out 3-to-4 months following ankle injuries.
28 Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns 0-0
▲ 2
Do the Suns have a rebuilding plan? Phoenix has a talented group of youngsters, led by third-year shooting guard Devin Booker, plus Eric Bledsoe, but they don’t appear to have a definitive direction. They are pretty well set in the backcourt and on the wing, but are relatively thin upfront. Guard Brandon Knight will miss the season with a torn ACL that he suffered during a charitable event this summer.
29 Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Hawks 0-0
▼ 18
The Hawks have the second-longest current playoff streak going at 10 straight appearances, but they were unable able to re-sign Paul Millsap and traded Dwight Howard. Atlanta really doesn’t have a lot of talent, though they appear to be committed to point guard Dennis Schroder leading the troops.
30 Chicago Bulls Chicago Bulls 0-0
▼ 14
How hot is coach Fred Hoiberg’s seat? Chicago is 81-82 in two years under Hoiberg, though they reached the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight years after finishing with a 41-41 record. However, the Bulls look like they are finally embracing the rebuilding process, as they traded away star Jimmy Butler, bought out Dwyane Wade and waived Rajon Rondo.


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