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NBA Power Rankings 2023-2024

NBA Power Rankings 2023-24

In the age of parity, the 5th different NBA team has won the title in the last 5 years making the task of NBA Power Rankings More difficult from year to year. With the new CBA that trend may continue, giving many teams hope. An play in team has a punchers chance moving forward and homecourt seems to carry less importance as well, meaning you may see more DNP-rest in the regular season.

2024
Projections
Power
Rating
1Denver Nuggets56-2622.8
2Boston Celtics54-2821.7
3Milwaukee Bucks53-2921.5
4Phoenix Suns52-3021.4
5Los Angeles Lakers51-3121.5
6Golden State Warriors49-3318.9
7Miami Heat48-3418.8
8Cleveland Cavaliers48-3419.6
9Philadelphia 76ers47-3521.0
10Dallas Mavericks46-3618.9
11Memphis Grizzlies45-3720.2
12Los Angeles Clippers45-3719.9
13New Orleans Pelicans44-3820.3
14Oklahoma City Thunder44-3818.0
15New York Knicks44-3818.1
16Sacramento Kings43-3918.7
17Minnesota Timberwolves43-3919.4
18Atlanta Hawks43-3918.3
19Chicago Bulls38-4417.6
20Brooklyn Nets37-4516.1
21Utah Jazz37-4518.8
22Toronto Raptors36-4615.2
23Indiana Pacers35-4717.7
24Orlando Magic34-4814.5
25Charlotte Hornets31-5115.2
26Houston Rockets30-5215.4
27San Antonio Spurs27-5515.3
28Detroit Pistons26-5613.9
29Washington Wizards24-5813.4
30Portland Trail Blazers22-6017.3

Projected Rotations

Atlanta HawksBoston CelticsBrooklyn Nets
Charlotte HornetsChicago BullsCleveland Cavaliers
Dallas MavericksDenver NuggetsDetroit Pistons
Golden State WarriorsHouston RocketsIndiana Pacers
Los Angeles ClippersLos Angeles LakersMemphis Grizzlies
Miami HeatMilwaukee BucksMinnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans PelicansNew York KnicksOklahoma City Thunder
Orlando MagicPhiladelphia 76ersPhoenix Suns
Portland Trail BlazersSacramento KingsSan Antonio Spurs
Toronto RaptorsUtah JazzWashington Wizards
NBA
Big Three
Age
Trae Young24ATL
Clint Capela28ATL
Dejounte Murray26ATL
Jayson Tatum24BOS
Kristaps Porzingis27BOS
Jaylen Brown26BOS
Nic Claxton23BRK
Mikal Bridges26BRK
Spencer Dinwiddie29BRK
DeMar DeRozan33CHI
Zach LaVine27CHI
Nikola Vucevic32CHI
LaMelo Ball21CHO
Miles Bridges24CHO
Terry Rozier28CHO
Donovan Mitchell26CLE
Jarrett Allen24CLE
Darius Garland23CLE
Luka Doncic23DAL
Kyrie Irving30DAL
Tim Hardaway30DAL
Nikola Jokic27DEN
Aaron Gordon27DEN
Jamal Murray25DEN
Bojan Bogdanovic33DET
Cade Cunningham21DET
Marvin Bagley23DET
Stephen Curry34GSW
Chris Paul37GSW
Klay Thompson32GSW
Alperen Sengun20HOU
Fred VanVleet28HOU
Jalen Green20HOU
Tyrese Haliburton22IND
Myles Turner26IND
Buddy Hield30IND
Kawhi Leonard31LAC
Paul George32LAC
Mason Plumlee32LAC
Anthony Davis29LAL
LeBron James38LAL
Austin Reaves24LAL
Ja Morant23MEM
Jaren Jackson Jr.23MEM
Desmond Bane24MEM
Jimmy Butler33MIA
Bam Adebayo25MIA
Tyler Herro23MIA
Giannis Antetokounmpo28MIL
Jrue Holiday32MIL
Brook Lopez34MIL
Karl-Anthony Towns27MIN
Rudy Gobert30MIN
Anthony Edwards21MIN
Zion Williamson22NOP
Brandon Ingram25NOP
Jonas Valančiūnas30NOP
Jalen Brunson26NYK
Julius Randle28NYK
Mitchell Robinson24NYK
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander24OKC
Josh Giddey20OKC
Jalen Williams21OKC
Wendell Carter Jr.23ORL
Franz Wagner21ORL
Paolo Banchero20ORL
Joel Embiid28PHI
James Harden33PHI
Tyrese Maxey22PHI
Kevin Durant34PHO
Devin Booker26PHO
Bradley Beal29PHO
Damian Lillard32POR
Jerami Grant28POR
Anfernee Simons23POR
Domantas Sabonis26SAC
DeAaron Fox25SAC
Malik Monk24SAC
Victor Wembanyama19SAS
Devin Vassell22SAS
Keldon Johnson23SAS
Pascal Siakam28TOR
Scottie Barnes21TOR
OG Anunoby25TOR
Lauri Markkanen25UTA
Walker Kessler21UTA
John Collins25UTA
Tyus Jones26WAS
Kyle Kuzma27WAS
Jordan Poole23WAS

The Contenders

Denver

The Denver Nuggets have finally won their first NBA championship last season after 47 seasons — the longest in NBA history. As long as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are healthy they will start number one in the Nexus NBA Power Rankings. Powered by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic the Nuggets boast one of the strongest starting lineups in the league, and with all five players signed through at least 2024-25, Denver looks poised to repeat as champions. The Nuggets are primed to repeat with a young core coming off a dominant 16-4 run to the championship and finishing strong at 10-1.

The Nuggets could face several difficulties after the Indiana Pacers signing Bruce Brown and Jeff Green in free agency. Vlatko Čančar who was slotted to help replace some of that production of Jeff Green but tore his ACL this off seasons as well. Furthermore, tough competition lurks in their own Western Conference from the Lakers, Suns, Grizzlies, Clippers, and Pelicans, who also boast star-studded rosters. You can also never count out the Golden State Warriors until Steph Curry is no longer playing at the level he has.

Nikola Jokic is the best player in the NBA though, who could conceivably still even improve some more at his age, and with his game based so much on skill and IQ. As healthy as Jokic is, I would expect them to have the best regular season record as defending champions. The defending champs start first.

Boston

The Boston Celtics gave All-Star forward Jaylen Brown a supermax contract extension this off season. Additionally, the Celtics let restricted free agent Grant Williams wal and traded Marcus Smart for Kristaps Porziņģis. The Celtics roster will look fundamentally different after the offseason. Despite firing head coach Ime Udoka ( Now with the Houston Rockets), the Boston Celtics still had a stellar season last season and deep playoff run. Their offense flourished under the direction of head coach Joe Mazzulla, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both vastly improved from their previous year’s performance and give them young talent.

Boston made it to the conference finals last season after managing to come back from a 3-2 deficit. Despite their best efforts, the Celtics were unable to overcome Miami in the finals. In the offseason they decided to sell early on Marcus Smart and shake the culture up in order to reach their championship goals. Maybe 2023-24 will be better to them in the NBA Power Rankings. I do believe Porziņģis is a much better player in a vacuum but this shake up is risky to the defensive culture and a team that already had few creators. They were only one year removed from an NBA Finals run and still in the Conference Finals this past season.

Milwaukee

Despite finishing with the best record in the NBA, Milwaukee fell way-sooner-than-expected in the playoffs. As such, the Bucks have a new voice at coach to provide a jolt and clearly have faith in long-time assistant Adrian Griffin. With Giannis Antetokounmpo still at an MVP level, the team believes their championship window is still open and will be doing all it can to ensure a return to the Finals. Brook Lopez re signed and the Bucks will bring back much of the team, as an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Bucks re signed Khris Middleton, and re signed Jae Crowder as well.

We believe Giannis is on the decline as an athletic player and we saw slippage last season, but he’s still a great player and had he not gotten injured the Bucks would have had a better showing in the playoffs. It’s too soon to put the dirt on the Bucks just yet, but this team is getting old fast even beyond Giannis. Jrue Holiday (33), Khris Middleton (32), Brook Lopez (35). A new unproven coach brings boom and bust potential as well. This team should still be considered a top contender though in our NBA Power Rankings. Antetokoumpo is still a top 3 player in the league. They hope is Griffin will have a better play off voice even if the regular season takes a step back.

Phoenix

The Phoenix Suns enter the off-season with high expectations for their dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. It could be the best duo in the NBA and they added what could be the best third star in the NBA as well with Bradley Beal. Beal has taken a step back but he should look much better with Booker and Durant taking the pressure off of him. It was a deal the Suns had to make for the price they got him for. (Chris Paul and second round picks)

Ayton gives them probably the 4th most talent player any team can boast. With new head coach Frank Vogel at the helm after the departure of Monty Williams, the Suns have the opportunity to reach greater heights. Vogel, a recent Coach of the Year, brings championship experience gained from his time with the Lakers, where he successfully managed the personalities of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. As such, Vogel is expected to bring a level of organization and collaboration that could bring the Suns one step closer to a title.

The Suns had a nice off season in the minimum/ low end market adding Jordan Goodwin, Chimezie Metu, Yuta Watanabe, Keita Bates-Diop, Drew Eubanks, Eric Gordon, and Bol Bol. Eric Gordon seems most likely to be the 5th Beatle so to speak in closing lineups but may start the season as the sixth man.

The Suns did very well with the lack of cap space they had. This could be the most talented roster in the Nexus NBA Power Rankings next season. Staying healthy really is the key, especially in the regular season. Moving Chris Paul who has trouble with the ability to stay healthy is part of that and contributed to moving him. They are certainly a threat to make the NBA Finals.

Miami

The Miami Heat surprised the NBA with one of the most unlikely NBA Finals runs in history last season, becoming only the second No. 8 seed to get to the games ultimate stage on the back of Jimmy Butler‘s incredible leadership. This is the most impressive run considering it was from the play in tournament as well, and the previous 8th seed was during a shortened season. The eighth seeded Miami Heat had a much stronger pedigree than they had shown last season in the regular season.

The core of the team will be back next season and I wouldn’t expect them to need a play in spot to get back to the playoffs even as they have gotten perhaps a little worse in the short term. If they manage to upgrade at point guard, they could be right back in contention next year. Much of that will depend on the Portland Trail Blazers trading Damian Lillard. Will they accept the deal from Miami.

After the plaudits have faded from this memorable postseason run, Pat Riley will had some interesting decisions to make. Max Strus and Gabe Vincent hit free agency and are gone. Tyler Herro needs to work his way back after missing almost the entirety of the playoffs due to a broken hand but will be in any deal for Lillard. That was probably a blessing in disguise. Despite the Finals loss, the Heat can still find a star to pair with Butler if they decide to put together a package for one by the trade deadline. It has been a busy season for the Heat that won’t soon be forgotten.

Now it becomes wait out the Trail Blazers on Damian Lillard and see if they will take it beyond training camp into next season. This is one of the tougher rankings in the NBA power rankings given the questions and Jimmy Bulter’s age, but Heat culture is a real thing Erik Spoelstra is the best coach in the league. I still believe they will land Damian Lillard and find some diamonds in the rough. It’s what they do.

Los Angeles Lakers

The key to the Los Angeles Lakers succeeding on a 2023-2024 title run will be if they are able to find the point guard they need to provide reliable scoring and enhance the existing depth at power forward and center. The Lakers added Gabe Vincent who started on a finals team last season which was a good step forward in their price range for next season.

After a rocky start before the All Star break last season, they Lakers were able to make moves and become a threat pushing through to the playoffs with a strong defensive group. The Lakers were swept by the champion Denver Nuggets, but were fairly competitive.

LeBron James will be 39 next season but I do believe he has enough left in the tank for one more serious threat contending. A healthy LeBron will give them more of a shot, but the health question of LeBron and Anthony Davis who just extended are the question. Free Agent Austin Reeves re signed as part of the biggest news in the off season. The Lakers probably need another step forward from Reeves to really threaten Denver.

Golden State

Following Bob Myers’ decision to step aside, the Golden State Warriors are looking to the future with the same core group led by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. With the Warriors struggling at times in the ’22-’23 season, their usually formidable defense was one of the worst in the league. Jordan Poole who is the biggest hole in the defense, and locker room, led to changes in the off-season. He was pretty much a salary dump for Chris Paul. It was a smart move in our opinion. While we expect Poole to rebound into form some, you couldn’t take the chance if he didn’t or the price would be steep to move off of him. The Warriors are a proud team with playoff DNA and have no time to waste. The addition of Chris Paul should help improve them. If he plays less hopefully he can have better health in the playoffs as well.

Philadelphia

The Philadelphia 76ers were faced with numerous challenges early on in the season. Despite these, they managed to remain among the top contenders in the Eastern Conference, establishing a dominating presence against the Nets in the first round of the playoffs and being close to taking the championship title in the semis, where they ultimately lost their series lead to the Celtics. The resulting change in management, with the dismissal of Doc Rivers and the hire of Nick Nurse, there will be a shake up. James Harden has requested a trade as well but has little leverage.

This will be interesting to see what actually happens but with the defending MVP Joel Embiid there is little reason from a logic sense to trade him before training camp. It will depend on how difficult James Harden makes it. Darryl Morey has shown the willingness to be uncomfortable. Will he risk alienating Embiid while holding out for a Harden trade. If you only get quarters back for James Harden that would prove just as risky with Embiid talking about potentially leaving as well. The New York Knicks have the ammo to get him too. It will be a fascinating dance. How much pressure will Harden apply and can he afford to play lazy with no contract and few teams he would consider with cap space above a mid level exception next season.

Memphis

The Memphis Grizzlies have forged a reputation as one of the most formidable teams in the Western Conference with the help of Ja Morant‘s explosive play last season. Even with potential discipline from the league looming over Ja Morant, the Grizzlies are well-positioned to make a playoff push with the continued progression of Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. However, off the court, the team has been dealing with distractions, forcing GM Zach Kleiman to investigate a trade for Dillon Brooks‘ replacement (who won free agency) and negotiated a contract extension for Desmond Bane. Marcus Smart was that replacement for Brooks via trade. He should sure up the perimeter defense. We like the defensive roster construction with Smart and Jackson.

While these distractions may hinder the Grizzlies’ progress this is still the best young core in the league. As a result, the Grizzlies remain optimistic that they can make noise in the West despite the upheavals and issue they should take another step forward given where they are in their age progression with young players and a strong defensive team. This team easily has the best young players nucleus in the league in our opinion. It would be hard not to see them make a step forward past the first round even with distractions last season.

Others

Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers will need Paul George and Kawahi Leonard stay healthy, but they have never been able to. Paul George coming off a foot injury. They are perhaps the only team desparate enough for an over pay for a Harden.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The thunder are ready to make the next step, with a young core and emerging super star last season in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. How ready Chet Holgren is will probably expidite that or slow play it. Oklahoma City has a stock of draft picks, so I would expect them try this season and shoot up the power rankings. They are as stocked with draft picks as anyone in NBA history.

Sacramento Kings:. The Kings were able to go seven games with then defending champ Warriors last season. For a franchise that hadn’t been to the playoff since George Bush was in office that was progress, especially with a relatively young team. I think they could slip back this season some in the power rankings. Harrison Barnes returns as the top free agents signing.

New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans started 18-8 but injuries brought them back down to earth. Zion Williamson‘s health is everything in this prediction, and he’s not proven he can remain healthy to this point.

Brooklyn Nets ; The Net’s have a lot of supporting parts, but lack a star. They also have no incentive to bottom out with what they owe in the draft.

Dallas Mavericks re signed Kyrie Irving and are making their pitch to Luka Doncic longterm. If he wants to remain in Dallas will probably depend on how well this next season goes with the Kyrie partnership.

Utah Jazz: The Utah Jazz made a nice move to pick up John Collins. It was a move they just took him into cap space. That was essentially their free agents signing. We like John Collins as a player. Hopefully the hand injury will be in the past and his three point shooting looks much better. The Jazz are still in a bit of no man’s land in the power rankings similar to last season. They are to talented to bottom out, but they are going to have a hard time making the playoffs much like last season. Free agency is usually not kind to Utah either.

Minnesota Timerwolves: The wolves sold out their future drafts to pick up Rudy Gobert. The fit with Karl Anthony Towns is a tough one, but they never really got to see it for an extend period after town went down in just five games last season. Watch for them to give it a longer try this season and if it doesn’t work look to move Karl Anthony Towns.

San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama looked great in summer league, but it’s summer league. Even with a great coach like Pop, it’s still to soon to put San Antonio higher in the power rankings.

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls have decided to run it back, and it’s not nearly enough to matter as aging stars went or are going into free agency. Their position will continue to get worse.

In Season Methodolgy

Here is a general overview of how the Nexus NBA power rankings will determined in the season:

  1. Overall team performance: This includes factors such as win-loss record, points per game, defensive and offensive rankings, and recent performance.
  2. Strength of schedule: Teams that have faced tougher opponents and performed well may receive higher rankings.
  3. Player performance: The performance of individual players, including their statistics, impact on the game, and injuries, can also affect a team’s ranking.
  4. Head-to-head matchups: Teams that have faced each other and have a clear winner may impact the rankings.
  5. Coaching and strategy: The coaching and strategy employed by a team can also affect their overall performance and subsequently their ranking.

It’s important to note that NBA power rankings are subjective. Different factors may carry more weight for different NBA power rankings. It’s also important to consider that NBA power rankings are constantly changing as teams’ performance and circumstances evolve throughout the season.

Going into the season before any data is in we have to take into account what these teams did last season as well as in free agency. There will also need to be an accounting for the natural decline of some players like LeBron James even from the West Finals. Not to single just LeBron James out but he is the oldest player in the NBA now, and basically any player over 30 will expect some decline from year to year. Including teammate Anthony Davis, or one of the fellow older players in Kevin Durant , Rudy Gay, or Jeff Green. Kevin Durant on a much more gradual decline. Even Jimmy Butler at his age. Others to watch like Draymond Green after re signing, Eric Gordon. Eric Gordon is very important on a team in the Suns on the second unit with little depth around the franchise player types as they go for one of the best records after a coaching change from Monty Williams.

Especially those players with extensive injury histories and availability issues like Davis, Michael Porter Jr, Charlotte Hornets Lamelo Ball, Lonzo Ball, John Collins or Los Angeles Clippers Paul George. Players like Jaren Jackson Jr or De’aaron Fox on the rise and continued development or bigger roles like Grant Williams should be in line for as key contributors. Minnesota Timberwolves getting Townes for a full season and how that will look. Will that come with improved offense? The supporting cast matters around the stars. Kevin Porter Jr moving to the bench as the Rockets look to improve.

Free Agency also comes in many cases with new situations which can impact a player’s straight season. Franchise history plays a part if the core is similar for instance like on Golden State. New coaches like head coach Ime Udoka or Coach Nick Nurse. Did the team unexpectedly go out in the first round like the Milwaukee Bucks. How a busy offseason basketball operations and the front office. New Starting Lineups, first round picks, signing Bruce Brown in Free Agency, last season etc for example many aspects will play a factor in the preseason. Did you have a play in tournament team on the rise like the Thunder or a play in tournament team like the Bulls who are on the decline?

It’s how we will project out going into the season. There will be an entirely different shake up at the trade deadline near the All Star break where play in caliber teams go all in to avoid the play in tournament. Teams that should have made the choice earlier like the Washington Wizards decided too late on Bradley Beal and should have the last of the last few years that should have made moves in season before free agency. Damian Lillard and the Blazers in a similar situation the last few years as well with both re sign. The Toronto Raptors lost Fred Vanvleet for nothing when he didn’t re sign and they didn’t trade him.

What will New Orleans do? Everyone likes Zion Williamson but the injuries. San Antonio’s future and how this first team season goes will be key and what kind of first round pick lottery pick they get to pair with likely rookie of the year Victor Wembanyama. Points per game seems less important for someone like Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. They may need to limit the points per game against. The last team and starting lineup wasn’t cutting it around him will be important. The last three games of two seasons ago makes that clear. Marcus Smart on a new team for the first time in Memphis to help set culture. Derrick Rose has also been brought on to mentor.

Points per go down the last week for the last three seasons. Lower offensive rating and net rating as some of the basketball becomes unwatchable. The team’s chances are known at that point and some teams like the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, or Trailblazers have gone into tank mode to position in the draft lottery hoping for the right pick and a future breakout campaign or hot start and build chemistry.

Players to Watch:

Nikola Jokic, Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray, , Jayson Tatum, Mikal Bridges, Brooks Lopez, Cade Cunningham, Lauri Markkanen, Austin Reaves, Cam Johnson, Domantas Sabonis, Anthony Edwards, Trey Murphy iii, Josh Giddy Miles Bridges, Justin Holiday, Herb Jones, Aaron Gordon, Bruce Brown, Jerami Grant, Joe Harris, Troy Brown Jr, Drew Eubanks, Shake Milton, Dennis Smith Jr, Jrue Holiday, James Harden, Kelly Oubre Jr, Wendell Carter Jr, Donte Divincenzo, Obi Toppin, Max Strus, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Josh Hart, Dillon Brooks, Dorian Finney-Smith, Myles Turner, Darius Garland, Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent, TyTy Washington, Jamal Murray, Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tyus Jones, Jeremy Sochan, and Devin Vassell, Torrey Craig, KJ martin, and Thomas Bryant.

Players: John Collins, Bradley Beal, Michael Winger, Donte Divincenzo, Obi Toppin, Zion Williamson, Mike Brown, Josh Giddey, Taurean Prince, Brook Lopez, Fred VanVleet, Devin Booker, Kyle Anderson, Chet Holmgren, Cedi Osman, Dennis Smith Jr, Klay Thompson, Jalen Brunson, Jordan Poole, Stephen Curry, Seth Curry, Christian Braun, Jordan Clarkson, Derrick White, Kyle Kuzma, Desmond Bane, Jock Landale, Kevin Huerter, Jaden Ivey, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tyrese Haliburton, Paolo Banchero, Chris Duarte, Demar Derozan, Quentin Grimes, Franz Wagner, Jalen Williams, Immanuel Quickley, Luka Doncic, Bennedict Mathurin, Markelle Fultz, Yuta Watanabe, Victor Oladipo, Donovan Mitchell, Trade Lillard, Joe Ingles, Pascal Siakam, Ja Morant, Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Jalen Green, Kenyon Martin Jr, Reggie Bullock, Dejounte Murray, Andrew Nembhard, Lonnie Walker IV, and Richaun Holmes.

Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Hawks, Lead, Wolves, Thunder, Knicks, Kings, Rockets.

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