NBA 2022-23 Power Rankings: What are the favourite teams to win the championship?
The Warriors are heavily favored to repeat as champions, but there are a handful of teams who might have something to say about that.
With the 2022-23 NBA regular season upon us, it’s time to take a look at the Power Rankings and just who is favored to win the whole thing when the curtain comes down next year.
The lay of the land in the 2022-23 NBA Regular Season
Something rather interesting occurred last season. Following an incredible 22 seasons - 1999-00 to 2020-21 - during which time the Western Conference outperformed the Eastern Conference by winning a solid 56.5% of its games, the East finally surpassed the West, by posting a record of 226-224 in interconference games. With that in mind, the East now has good reason to be excited about this season, as its without doubt even stronger than it was last campaign.
To elaborate, 10 teams in the Eastern Conference finished with a winning record last season. While the Charlotte Hornets are obviously on the back foot following Miles Bridges’ legal issues and a less than stellar post season, the reality is the remaining nine teams in the conference are as strong as ever. What’s more is that we’ve also seen both the Cavs and Hawks bring in top tier talent from the West. Even if we consider the fact, that one of the teams in the East won’t be in the playoffs and two will need to go through the Play-In Tournament to qualify, it’s worth noting that last season the team favored to win the title - Brooklyn Nets - and the conference finalists from the year before - Atlanta Hawks - did just that. This is all to say, that the East is as loaded as ever if not more and in just Week 1 alone, there are a whole ton of games between the top 9 teams.
Who is favored to win the NBA title in 2022-23?
Having cleared up the details, let’s get into who’s likely to be hot and who’s not this coming season. Indeed, as much as we spoke before about the Eastern Conference teams and their increased strength, the fact remains that some of the teams in the West simply aren’t playing around. Needless to say, the defending champions are one of them and so is the team that won the year before, with their Greek Freak. Here’s the breakdown:
1. Golden State Warriors
The obvious question on everybody’s mind is going to be, ‘can the Warriors move past the Jordan Poole and Draymond Green incident?’ On the other hand, Golden State didn’t look in the least bit affected on Friday night in their preseason finale and that was with Green back on the court. True though it is that Poole shot just 1-for-10 and they did in fact lose the game, but we’ve got to be honest: there was a lengthy period of ‘small ball’ during the second quarter with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Jonathan Kuminga and Green on the floor with an alternating Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins. The point here is, it would be a mistake to believe that the Warriors won’t be a safe bet to defend the title they won last year.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
If you paid attention to their preseason performance, you might find their inclusion on this list puzzling. Indeed, the Bucks were one of four teams - the Hornets, Pistons and Blazers were the others - to go winless before the season started. Coming in, Milwaukee was ranked 29th defensively and allowed 114.3 points per 100 possessions across their five games. If you’re wondering about Giannis Antetokounmpo, they only allowed 106.7 per 100 with him on the floor, but we should tell you that’s still over the league average of 104.8. On the other hand, it’s worth noting that the Bucks were the team with the lowest percentage of minutes in preseason from their projected rotation. That’s to say that despite the below par performances, this is still the Bucks we know and as such they don’t need to sweat it.
3. Boston Celtics
Like the Warriors, the Celtics have had to deal with their own share of controversy prior to the preseason run, with now former head. If we’re honest, we could probably say they dealt with even more. None the less, there was no sign of any problems when they started their preseason with a 41-point win over the flailing Charlotte Hornets. Indeed, from the very first play the Celtics appeared to have picked up where they left off and especially on defense. Some may point to the game against the Raptors, in which they allowed 137 points to be score, but following two consecutive overtime games, could it be they were just a little tired? Either way, keep an eye on the boys in green as they’re once again going to be contenders.
4. Phoenix Suns
One thing that’s been clear for a little while now, is that the Phoenix Suns don’t have a problem on offense. Where they do have an issue, however, is in defense or at least they did. If we use this postseason as any indication, the Suns are trying new things where defense is concerned. More specifically, Phoenix was one of two teams - the Orlando Magic was the other - to play in excess of 30 possessions of zone defense during the preseason. This is of course very different from what we saw last season, when they were ranked 26th in total zone possessions (107). While their offense didn’t shoot very well in preseason, Chris Paul still posted 30 assists and four turnovers in his three games. That’s to say, they’re just getting warmed up.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
It has to be said, that the Clippers actually have a league-high eight players who shot the league average (35.4%) or better on at least 100 3-point attempts last season. Consider for a moment, that was the case without their star Kawhi Leonard, who has posted 38.1% from 3-point range across his last three seasons. The reason we mention that, is because it’s pretty obvious that the Clips intend to showcase that capacity in earnest this campaign. They were ranked second from beyond the arc with 39.9% of their 3-point drained in the preseason. On the other hand, they did lose two of their games, however, with the aforementioned Leonard now good to go - one of the best defenders in the last 20 years - we’re guessing any defensive frailty will be purged soon enough.
Here is a look at the full list of Power Rankings heading into the 2022-23 NBA Regular Season:
|Rank||Team||Last Season’s record|
|1||Golden State Warriors||53-29|
|5||Los Angeles Clippers||42-40|
|16||New Orleans Pelicans||36-46|
|18||New York Knicks||37-45|
|19||Los Angeles Lakers||33-49|
|21||Portland Trail Blazers||27-55|
|27||Oklahoma City Thunder||24-58|
|30||San Antonio Spurs||34-48|