NBA Pre Season Power Rankings 30-15
15. Los Angeles Lakers
One of the most disappointing teams last season, the Lakers look to rebound off of the struggles they had. They made one of the most notable moves this offseason in signing Pat Beverly. With added veteran help to the already talented roster, head coach Darvin Ham will look to get showtime back on track. It is very reasonable to think that this team may in fact compete for a title again in year 20 for Lebron James.
16. Atlanta Hawks
Arguably one of the best offseasons in the league, Atlanta made some additions that will let them compete for the eastern conference. Dejounte Murray coming to Atlanta creates a scary backcourt as he will be alongside Trae Young. The frontcourt features a great supporting cast with John Collins and Clint Capela. De’Andre Hunter has also been developing nicely averaging 13 points a game last season. Expect Atlanta to compete and be challenging for the top teams in the east.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves
The T-wolves popped into the play-in and impressed late into the year. Anthony Edwards stands out as one of the best young guards in basketball averaging 21 points a game with a field goal percentage of 44%. The addition of Rudy Gobert provides a scary frontcourt alongside Karl Anthony-Towns. D’Angelo Russell averaged 7 assists a game last year showing that he is still a big-time court general. Minnesota will most definitely be in play-in contention and may even be shooting for a higher seed.
18. New Orleans Pelicans
Hold the foam! Zion Williamson may in fact be playing on a court again. When we last saw him, he averaged 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists a game. The Pels can easily make it into the playoffs if he stays healthy. The keyword is “if.” Along with Williamson, this team has the depth to make a push. They took the Suns, the best regular season team last year, to six games without him in the postseason. They will be incredible to watch and a dark horse contender.
19. Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball runs the show in the queen city. He is coming off an all-star season and he is in control of the tempo when he is on the floor. The bottom line is this, the Hornets always have a shot when he is playing well. He also has a great supporting cast with Kelly Oubre, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, etc. The scary thing about Charlotte is the bareness at center. They often started Mason Plumlee who would put up okay numbers. Drafting Mark Williams out of Duke will help, but not for a couple years. Teams will figure out quickly to run through the post to score and outpace this squad.
20. Washington Wizards
Washington comes into the year with an intriguing roster. Bradley Beal returns as one of the best shooters in the eastern conference. Kyle Kuzma also will help fill the holes at the forward spot. They have potential as a whole but the lack of depth at forward and down low at center hurts them. Cause just how much can Kristaps Porzingis and the aging Taj Gibson do. Rui Hachimura seems promising, but he still lacks proper experience to make an impact.
21. Portland Trail Blazers
Is it rebuilding time in the Northwest? Is it not? Who knows. Damian Lillard is entering year eleven and he has a supporting cast of young guys that no one has a lot of knowledge about. Greg Brown III is an athletic forward who will get way more playing time. They drafted Shaedon Sharpe out of Kentucky who has sky high potential and could be Lillard’s successor. The filled a dire need for depth at center with signing Cody Zeller who will help Jusuf Nurkic out. Are they rebuilding? Maybe. But they will be fighting hard and playing everyone in the league down to the wire.
22. New York Knicks
The Knicks continue to find themselves in a rut. They finished 11th in the eastern conference after a roller coaster of a season but the team is still looking to compete heavily for a lower seed. RJ Barrett is starting to steal the show in the big apple coming off a year averaging 20 points a game and can be the Knicks’ go-to scorer that the have been looking for. There are questions about the frontcourt though with aging veterans like Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson and unproven young guys like Obi Toppin. This may be what holds them back.
23. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons sat at the bottom of the east all of last season. There were lots of evaluations made on guys who could make an impact though. Saddiq Bey stepped up big averaging 16.1 points a game. Cade Cunningham had a promising rookie year averaging 17.4 points a game and 5 rebounds and assists a game. Rookie Jaden Ivey should have an instant impact especially being mentored by Kemba Walker. This team could push for a play-in spot come the end of the season.
24. Utah Jazz
Gone is the Donovan Mitchell-Rudy Gobert era in Utah. Enter the likes of Collin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen who the team received in the Mitchell trade with Cleveland. Will Hardy replaces Quin Snyder and is the youngest coach in the league trying to keep the team competitive. The mixture of veterans (Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley, etc.) with young rookies (Ochai Agbaji, Walker Kessler) is a healthy mixture. It will be an exciting team, but they will have their work cut out for them without their top two stars.
25. Sacramento Kings
It has been 16 years since Kings fans have seen playoff basketball. The roster has potential with Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox leading the charge. Keegan Murray was selected fourth overall by the team in this year’s draft. He is a towering small forward who not only scores, but also rebounds at a high level. The talent is there, but whether or not it gels together is still a major, unanswered question.
26. Houston Rockets
A strong core is building in the lone star state’s capital. Rookie Jabari Smith Jr. is a scorer and will have instant impact. Jalen Green is another vital piece at guard as he comes off a year averaging 17.3 points a game his rookie year along with a 34.3 shooting percentage for three. The team also has leadership with Eric Gordon and Kenyon Martin on the roster. Will they be exciting? Yes. But will not be as competitive in the always tough western conference.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder
General manager Sam Presti is doing what he does best, gets draft picks and uses them wisely. Missing Chet Holmgren for the year will keep them back a ways. However, Jaylin Williams, the former Arkansas Razorback center, will be interesting to watch. Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are a sneaky good guard duo in the western conference. Overall, they will not be doing anything significant.
28. Orlando Magic
The Magic have a young roster. Emphasis on the young. With an average age of 24, they need experience to make an impact as far as competing goes. Head coach Jamahl Mosley has them in the right direction, but they have some years to go. First overall pick Paolo Banchero should have an exciting rookie season.
29. San Antonio Spurs
The team shipped Dejounte Murray to Atlanta this offseason, DeMar DeRozan to the Bulls last season, and Derrick White to the Celtics at last year’s deadline. As you can see, it is rebuild season in West Texas. Keldon Johnson is expected to miss portions of this season with a dislocated shoulder. It doesn’t help when your own coach says, “Don’t bet on us to win the championship.”
30. Indiana Pacers
The organization has entered full rebuild mode. Tyrese Haliburton was given to them in the trade with Sacramento last season and is one chess piece they have in their arsenal. Trade rumors have already started surrounding Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, another player from the trade with the Kings. However, this team will not be doing anything anytime soon.