NBA Power Rankings 2023-24: Top 10 teams ahead of opening night

NBA Power Rankings 2023-24: Top 10 teams
NBA Power Rankings 2023-24: Top 10 teams

The 2023-24 NBA season is only a week away from tip-off. It seems like a promising year, with several legitimate contenders from across the league improving their rosters significantly. Any of those teams could make a surprising title run.

Much of it will depend on health, team chemistry and luck as well, which will only be known when the season begins. We have seen that nearly every season since the Golden State Warriors juggernaut ended in 2019. The NBA has had five different winners since then: Toronto Raptors, LA Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Warriors and the Denver Nuggets.

None of them were hot favorites in the preceding preseason to claim the championship. That's what makes the NBA so exciting to look forward to. This year could be no different.


NBA Power Rankings 2023-24: Top 10 teams ahead of opening night

It's preseason power rankings time. Here's a look at the top 10 teams with the opening night just a week away.

10) Sacramento Kings

The Kings have established themselves as a playoff contender. They nearly outclassed the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. They have the team, pieces that fit and the balance needed to win games consistently.

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However, the Kings still lack experience compared to their rivals. They might hold the edge in the regular season, but it might be a different scenario come playoff time.

It will be interesting to see how the Kings fare next season and if they have adapted from their mistakes in the 2023 postseason.

9) Miami Heat

The Miami Heat could've surged up the ranking had they acquired their dream offseason target, Damian Lillard, this summer, but it wasn't meant to be.

The Heat missed the chance at signing Lillard and saw crucial components of their finals run from last season, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, leave in free agency.

The Heat have gone another offseason without making a significant addition. However, as long as Jimmy Butler's on the team, the Heat can't be ruled out for giving their rivals a run for their money.

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Erik Spoelstra remains an elite coach who has gotten the best out of underrated prospects. Miami has done better than any other team when the odds are stacked against them, and it won't be surprising if they pull off a shocking run again.

8) LA Clippers

The LA Clippers remain a threat, provided they are healthy. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are two of the most talented two-way players in the NBA. They still have one of the most reliable-supporting casts and one of the league's best coaches in Ty Lue.

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Leonard has proved himself in the playoffs as an elite performer. However, injuries have derailed him from guiding the Clippers to a final run despite the team boasting adequate depth, shooting and size on defense.

The Clippers also match up well against other teams in the NBA if Leonard and George avoid injuries.

7) Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies face a stern challenge next season, with Ja Morant sidelined suspended for the first 25 games of the NBA season. The Grizzlies might struggle in the regular season but have done an excellent job of retooling their roster accordingly.

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They did that by trading for Marcus Smart and acquiring Derrick Rose in free agency.

The Grizzlies got the veteran leadership they needed in the locker room. Memphis has shown they can be competitive in the absence of Morant, so they might have enough to survive the stacked Western Conference before Morant returns to pick up the pace.

6) Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors can never be counted out from championship sweepstakes when 100% healthy. They faced significant bumps last season en route their conference semis run, but the Warriors seem adamant on bouncing back.

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They made a bold move by acquiring Chris Paul this summer, shipping young guard Jordan Poole in exchange.

The Warriors bench has looked impressive this preseason, and it certainly seems like the CP3 effect. The Warriors starting lineup is as good as anyone's in the NBA, and if Paul can get the second unit up to speed, the Dubs could challenge the best teams.

5) LA Lakers

The LA Lakers have surged back into the preseason favorites category. They continue to trend upward after the series of trades they made at the deadline last season, which turned them into a contender.

The Lakers reached the conference finals as the seventh seed after starting the year 2-10, when they had a 0.3% chance of making the playoffs.

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LA has marginally upgraded their roster this offseason. They re-signed their top free agents, D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura and added coveted role players like Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince and Christian Wood. The Lakers probably have the deepest and most well-balanced roster.

That gives their stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the cushion of not playing playoff minutes early in the year, decreasing their chances of sustaining a season-derailing injury.

4) Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns went all out in maximizing their title window this summer, with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker set to play their first full season as co-stars.

They made a flurry of moves, flipping Chris Paul for Bradley Beal and Jusuf Nurkic for Deandre Ayton and also added quality role players like Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon and Yuta Watanabe.

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In their limited preseason minutes together, the Suns have looked unstoppable offensively.

Teams can't afford to overhelp on either of their superstars, who're all three-level scoring threats. Meanwhile, coach Frank Vogel, a defensive mastermind, has done a decent job in organizing the team defensively.

3) Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets are the defending NBA champions. The Nuggets' odds have dropped compared to the Celtics and Bucks due to their big-name additions.

However, the Nuggets still have their core in place that's coming off a title run. Nikola Jokic is still the best player in the NBA, while Jamal Murray has left no stone unturned in proving that he has successfully made a comeback from injury.

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The Nuggets have lost invaluable members from the championship roster, like Bruce Brown Jr. and Jeff Green, in free agency, which raises concerns about their lack of depth.

However, they have other pieces like Christian Braun, Payton Watson and Reggie Jackson who could play a significant role.

2) Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks have the best one-two punch in the NBA right now. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, who were both among the 30-point per game scorers in the NBA, will lead the Bucks' charge together. Their skill sets make them a seamless fit.

Lillard stretches the floor due to his 3-point shooting, which should open up driving lanes for Antetokounmpo to attack the rim more. Teams can't clog the paint anymore to limit the "Greek Freak's" threat.

The Bucks have also retained crucial members of their 2021 championship core, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, in free agency.

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Meanwhile, the Bucks ensured they didn't lose too much depth. They signed Malik Beasley and Cam Payne and brought back Jae Crowder, while Marjon Beauchamp looks ready to make the sophomore leap.

Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton haven't gone elsewhere either, so the Bucks look as good as anyone else on paper this year.

1) Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are arguably the best team in the NBA right now. They seemed to lose some depth after the trade for Kristaps Porzingis, with locker room leader Marcus Smart leaving.

However, they have turned the tables around again by replacing Smart's leadership and defensive prowess with Jrue Holiday's.

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The former Milwaukee Bucks guard's presence means the Celtics have four All-Star caliber players in their starting lineup.

Derrick White, the fifth starter, is one of the most elite role players in the league. The C's also have bench stability, with veteran Al Horford and rising star Payton Pritchard leading the second unit.

Boston also has other reliable players like Wenyen Gabriel, Luke Kornet and Lamar Stevens.

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Edited by Arhaan Raje