The Golden State Warriors’ championship celebrations are still in full swing, but talk of the NBA keeps moving on.
Before the league settles up for the winter, the Warriors will return to the Bay Area for their celebratory parade the next week. There is currently less than a week until the 2022 draught on June 23 and subsequent free agency and Summer League.
The start of a new season is already around the corner, which means teams will soon be getting back together for training camp.
Therefore, future thinking should be done at any time. In light of that, we’ve compiled some post-Finals power rankings to assess each team’s position heading into the offseason and provide a glimpse into the upcoming 2022-23 NBA season.
- 1 Champions’ Contenders
- 2 On the Cusp of the Postseason
- 3 Aspiring Participants
- 4 Playing the Lottery Again
There doesn’t appear to be a clear frontrunner for the upcoming season’s championship. Even though it’s too early to declare any of these teams as legitimate contenders for the championship, they do have the best chances of any teams in their conferences to earn the top seed.
1: Golden State Warriors:
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the team’s triumvirate of superstars, will all return (although a year older) next season, and the young supporting cast will only get better with a year of championship experience under their belts.
2: The Bucks of Milwaukee:
At age 27, Giannis Antetokounmpo is just entering his peak and will ensure that the defending champions return to the playoffs next season. Their starting backcourt of Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Khris Thomas is among the league’s finest.
3: Boston Celtics
Will the disappointment of losing the NBA Finals drive them to improve next year? Both Jayson Tatum (age 24) and Jaylen Brown (age 25) are rising players who have already amassed a wealth of professional experience.
4: The Suns of Phoenix:
The 25-year-old Devin Booker is among the league’s top young players and contributes to a lofty standard, particularly during the regular season. However, the state of Chris Paul’s health and Deandre Ayton’s contract negotiations remain offseason concerns.
5: Nets, Brooklyn.
They appear to have as much top-tier talent as everyone else. Both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are among the top scorers in the league. However, Ben Simmons’ future is in serious doubt because he saw no game action last year.
6: Miami Heat:
They can always rely on their defence, tenacity, and, yeah, Heat culture. Although Jimmy Butler’s leadership was on full display in the playoffs, the team might benefit from adding more scoring options in the offseason.
On the Cusp of the Postseason
If things go well for them next year, some of these clubs have a legitimate shot of competing at the highest levels. However, due to the large number of teams fighting for few spots, a select few will be forced to participate in a play-in tournament.
However, they should all be serious contenders for one of the top six spots and an automatic playoff berth.
7: Clippers of Los Angeles
It’s unclear how quickly Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be able to lead the Clippers back to the top of the Western Conference following their respective returns from injury.
8: Dallas Mavericks:
They took a giant step forward by making it to the conference finals, and Luka Doncic was outstanding once again in the postseason, proving he can be the best player in a series. The front office can now focus on strengthening the team around him.
9: 76ers of Philadelphia
Joel Embiid, an All-Star centre, was a potential MVP candidate and will likely be again next season unless he suffers an injury. Even if James Harden has lost part of his explosiveness, he and the team may still be dangerous if he can regain even half of it.
10: The Memphis Grizzlies
The group led by Ja Morant and co. was the season’s most surprising success story. Even if they regress after a significant improvement to 56 wins, the Grizzlies should still be in the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff battle.
11: Nuggets of Denver
Both of Nikola Jokic’s MVP awards have come, but all he cares about is bringing home a championship. Next season, with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back in the lineup, that should be less of a burden. In 2019-2020, their lineups sounded excellent thanks to Murray and Porter.
12: Utah Jazz:
With speculations persisting about the team’s plans for Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, significant shifts could be on the horizon. They can still compete for a championship, but they need a new head coach.
13: The Cleveland Cavaliers,
Led by youthful studs like Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, have made significant strides as of late. They have some wiggle room to make changes this offseason, but they do need to figure out what to do with Collin Sexton’s contract.
14: NBA Team, Chicago Bulls.
Re-signing Zach LaVine, who is a free agent, is the offseason’s top goal. They would love to keep LaVine and try to make a run with the same team that played well together early in the season before being decimated by injuries down the stretch.
Teams at this level have drastically varying levels of expectations. Some people will be let down that they didn’t make the top six.
Many others will be ecstatic just to have qualified for the play-in round. No matter where each team believes it should be seeded, the play-in round will likely be their best shot at making the playoffs.
15: Los Angeles Lakers:
Teaming together LeBron James and Anthony Davis is a tall order. They are confident in their own estimation of their superiority. But Davis has been afflicted by injuries the last two season, and the roster fit around him and James remains poor.
16: Minnesota Timberwolves:
One of the top young duos in the league consists of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. They have enough cap space to make some minor roster tweaks in the offseason in the aim of making the playoffs again next year.
17: Spot, We have the Toronto Raptors.
After a rough patch, the team was able to turn things around and make the playoffs again. With stars like Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes at the helm, the Raptors have a starting five that might shock again and grab a top-six berth in the Eastern Conference.
18: New Orleans Pelicans
Fans are hopeful for the future after a late-season push and a close first-round series against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, and Zion Williamson’s return to play alongside Brandon Ingram and C.J. McCollum.
19: The Atlanta Hawks:
It was a disheartening relapse to the play-in round after making it all the way to the East finals the year before. They have showed they are willing to be proactive in their pursuit of a roster centred on point guard Trae Young.
20: Charlotte Hornets
After losing the first play-in game for the second year in a row, they still need a new coach. After reaching an agreement with Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, it was reported on Saturday that Atkinson has elected to remain with his current team.
The emergence of LaMelo Ball as a franchise cornerstone makes it all the more important to keep a crucial player like Miles Bridges under contract.
21: San Antonio Spurs:
It’s not a terrible situation, considering they have three promising young players in Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, and Jakob Poeltl and a large surplus of cash. However, they are unable to improve because they are neither a playoff team nor a disaster waiting to happen.
22: New York Knicks:
The offence improved greatly thanks to R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, but the defence was a disaster, and the team ended up 11th in the East. If and when a famous person becomes available, they will be the first to pounce.
23: The Trail Blazers of Portland are the Best Team in the NBA.
Their season has gone down the drain, thus making the playoffs will be a major goal for them this year. The front staff has indicated its willingness to make win-now moves, like as selling the No. 7 selection, in order to build pieces around Damian Lillard.
Playing the Lottery Again
Not all hope is lost for teams at the bottom of the league, as several of them have embarked on encouraging upswings as they begin the rebuilding process.
Others, though, are less confident in this course of action.
24: The Sacto-Rivals
Even with the recent acquisition of Domantas Sabonis to play alongside De’Aaron Fox, the franchise’s ownership is still facing an uphill battle in the Western Conference.
25: The Indiana Pacers
The trade deadline acquisition of Tyrese Haliburton represented a shift toward a more modern and youthful strategy. They expect to be back in postseason contention quickly thanks to the No. 6 pick and possibly another trade (Malcolm Brogdon?).
26: Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal’s possible upcoming free agency casts a shadow on the team’s prospects. He has consistently stated that he intends to remain with the Wizards, so his decision to go would be devastating.
27: He Ranked Oklahoma City Thunder:
With the second overall choice, they can speed up their lengthy reconstruction by adding another elite prospect to play alongside young players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.
28: In the Spot, the Houston Rockets have
Jalen Green finished his rookie year strong, demonstrating that he can be a scoring threat. Houston has big expectations for Green and is using numerous draught picks, including the No. 3 pick this year, to build around him.
29: The Ranked Pistons of Detroit.
Cade Cunningham, last year’s first overall pick, has become the foundational player for the team. It’s time to construct the team around the 6-foot-6 point guard. This offseason, Jerami Grant could be traded for additional youth and/or draught picks.
30: We have the Orlando Magic.
Last year’s first-round draught picks Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner are promising new additions. They can give this reconstruction a sense of purpose by selecting a franchise cornerstone with the first overall choice this year.