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Early Season NBA Power Rankings

Teo Choi

Anthony Davis tries to guard Nikola Jokic on opening night.


We’re officially two weeks into the 2023 to 2024 NBA season. How’s everything looking? 

 

  1. Boston Celtics (5-1) 

So far, the Celtics look absolutely incredible! Despite not playing that many games, they were able to show the world its strengths. Their big four of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, and Kristaps Porzingis look monstrous, and there don’t seem to be many teams that could even challenge this squad. They even have solid supporting pieces with Derrick White, Al Horford, and Payton Pritchard, just to name a few. The losses of great players such as Malcolm Brogdon, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, Grant Williams, and more were deemed to have a huge impact on the record, but it seems like the team, led by Joe Mazzulla, is cruising through the league.  


  1. Denver Nuggets (7-1) 

Obviously, we cannot forget about the defending champions. With the best record in the league, the Nuggets are clearly showing why they won the championship last year. Despite not having a star-studded team like the aforementioned Celtics, the balance of superstars like Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, along with versatile players like Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr., seems to be working for this Nuggets team.  


  1. Philadelphia 76ers (5-1) 

Despite the James Harden drama, the 76ers seem to be doing great. They seem to be winning games with much ease, and it seems like they are smooth sailing. With the reigning MVP in Joel Embiid and young star Tyrese Maxey stepping up, the 76ers successfully quelled the opposition with sheer skill. Through the James Harden trade, they received many key role players, and despite lacking a third star to help, ultimately, it will be their undeniable depth in team members like Tobias Harris, Kelly Oubre Jr., or Robert Covington that will bolster this team.  


  1. Milwaukee Bucks (4-2) 

All that has to be said for this team is Freak Time. The combination of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard just seems like too much for the other teams. With two-time MVP Giannis and a top point guard in the league right now, the teams seem to fear them a lot. With Dame’s ability to knock it down from wherever, and Giannis’ superiority in the paint, opposing teams just can’t catch a break. Despite some inconsistencies, like the 76ers, the depth of this team helps them get by. With borderline all-stars like Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton and solid role players like Pat Connaughton, Malik Beasley, Jae Crowder, and Cameron Payne, this team seems like legitimate contenders. 


  1. Dallas Mavericks (6-1) 

The Dallas Mavericks are a surprisingly great team this season! Despite last season’s disappointments, regarding their inability to even make the play-in, the team has managed to turn it around. They didn’t even make crazy adjustments to the team. Luka Dončić is the wizard he is, and Kyrie Irving is showing why he is still a top player in the league. All in all, the team is cliquing, hence the great record it has.  


  1. Golden State Warriors (6-2) 

The Warriors always have high expectations. The addition of Chris Paul was met with some scrutiny, but with the way the team from the Bay is showing, it seems like it was worth losing Jordan Poole and some change. The Warriors maintained its core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, and with all-star level players like Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins, it wouldn’t be surprising if they put up a fight for the finals spot.  


  1. Atlanta Hawks (4-3) 

Despite Trae Young’s rough start to the season, the Hawks have been faring quite well. Dejounte Murray has been on fire all season, and it seems like the Hawks have the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs. However, it does seem like they are missing that one piece to get them over the hump, maybe some form of veteran leadership.  


  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2) 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are doing well thus far. To be clear, Anthony Edwards has been doing great this year. And that is an understatement. Honestly, Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony Towns have not been much help. I think this season, we can see an All-NBA Selection for the Ant-man. We’ll have to watch and see how long this stretch of wins will last for the Wolves.  


  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3) 

There is no doubt this team has the best future in the league. With maestro GM Sam Presti, the Thunder were able to procure a bunch of picks, which they can use to draft quality young players or trade for a star. For this team, players like Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Josh Giddey, along with Chet Holmgren, are really impressive for this young team. 


  1. New Orleans Pelicans (4-3) 

The Zion Williamson led Pelicans seem to be in better shape than it was in previous years. With players like Brandon Ingram and CJ McCullum, too, the Pels look like they could shoot for a high spot in the Western standings.  


  1. Los Angeles Clippers (4-2) 

With the new addition of James Harden and the stars they have, like Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George, the Clippers are legitimately looking scary. If you think depth is a problem, they still have players like Bones Hyland, Terance Mann, and Norman Powell. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Clips went all the way. But at this moment, health is a big factor. With both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George having lengthy histories of injury, a major question is whether they stay healthy when playoff time comes around. Another problem they may encounter is their imbalance in ball dominance between its stars.  


  1. Los Angeles Lakers (3-4) 

The Los Angeles Lakers had great expectations this season. However, they have not lived up to the hype yet. The team we thought to have the deepest roster showed holes. The absence of Jarred Vanderbilt may have been an excuse, however. When it comes to the Lakers, the ceiling is always high. It’ll be interesting to see if the team can finally turn it around.  


  1. Phoenix Suns (3-4) 

It’s safe to say that the Suns have disappointed. A team of Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal should be able to dominate. However, injuries have riddled this team. I think it’s safe to assume that when healthy, this team can be a real threat to the league.  


  1. Orlando Magic (4-3)  

The Magic have a relatively young team compared to the teams this high on the list. With young players such as Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, this team has a bright future.  


  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4)  

There is always much speculation about the Cavs. However, we can assert for sure that a team with Donovon Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen should be able to make a push.  


  1. Indiana Pacers (4-3) 

  1. Sacramento Kings (2-4) 

  1. New York Knicks (3-4) 

  1. Brooklyn Nets (3-4) 

  1. Toronto Raptors (3-4) 

  1. Miami Heat (3-4) 

  1. Utah Jazz (2-6) 

  1. Portland Trail Blazers (3-4) 

  1. Houston Rockets (3-3) 

  1. Memphis Grizzlies (1-6) 

  1. San Antonio Spurs (3-4)  

  1. Chicago Bulls (3-5)  

  1. Detroit Pistons (2-6) 

  1. Washington Wizards (1-5)  

  1. Charlotte Hornets (2-4)

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