There is no “official” start date for NBA training camps and the start of the 2022-23 season, but training camps will begin near the end of September and we should expect the new regular season to begin near the end of October.
As teams find themselves in the midst of August, many league executives and personnel are taking some time off to spend with their family and wrap up any last-minute summer vacation plans.
Some teams though are still filling out the back of their roster and if you are the Brooklyn Nets or Utah Jazz, you are still dealing with trade drama surrounding your superstar talents.
While it is hard to definitively say who the best team in the league is right now and where each team ranks amongst each other, each team’s offseason moves has put them in a certain position.
Whether they will enter the season as a contending team, a team looking to "buy" assets, a team looking to "sell" assets or finding themselves in the midst of a rebuild, all 30 teams in this league currently have a set goal in mind as they prepare for the 2022-23 season.
In this edition of the Fastbreak NBA Power Rankings, we will take a look at each team’s key additions and departures this offseason, which definitely factor into where they land in these rankings.
Much can change ahead of training camp, especially given the trade speculation around the league right now, but here is where each team finds themselves in our first edition of the 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings:
#30 San Antonio Spurs
2021-22 Record: 34-48
Key Additions: Malaki Branham (Draft), Blake Wesley (Draft), Jeremy Sochan (Draft), Isaiah Roby (Waivers)
Key Departures: Dejounte Murray (Trade - ATL), Lonnie Walker IV (Free Agency - LAL)
Look, by trading away All-Star Dejounte Murray and doing everything they can to free up minutes for their young talents, it is very obvious that the San Antonio Spurs have their sights set on the 2023 NBA Draft and French star Victor Wembanyama. The 2022-23 season will be a rebuilding year for the Spurs and there really is not much else to this.
However, they will learn a lot about themselves this upcoming year, as Malaki Branham, Blake Wesley and Jeremy Sochan are three first-round picks joining this team, all of which have a lot of potential for growth immediately. Look for Tre Jones, Joshua Primo and Devin Vassell to also step up for San Antonio.
#29 Detroit Pistons
2021-22 Record: 23-59
Key Additions: Jaden Ivey (Draft), Jalen Duren (Draft), Alec Burks (Trade - NYK), Nerlens Noel (Trade - NYK)
Key Departures: Jerami Grant (Trade - POR)
They may come in ranking No. 29 here in this edition of the 2022-23 Power Rankings, but by the end of next season, I truly believe fans of the Detroit Pistons will be very happy with the direction of their franchise. Cade Cunningham is an All-Star in the making and with Jaden Ivey by his side in the backcourt, the Pistons will have a level of "swagger" to them that will make them a young, energized team night-in and night-out, similar to the Memphis Grizzlies this past year.
Success will come in time for this group, as they have a solid young core and draft assets to play around with over the next few years. Expect Detroit to flirt with 25 to 33 wins this upcoming season, showing improvements on both sides of the floor and most importantly, from a morale standpoint.
#28 Houston Rockets
2021-22 Record: 20-62
Key Additions: Jabari Smith Jr. (Draft), Tari Eason (Draft), TyTy Washington (Draft), Marquese Chriss (Trade - DAL)
Key Departures: Christian Wood (Trade - DAL), Dennis Schroder (Remains Free Agent)
Another rebuilding year approaches for the Houston Rockets, as they still have a lot of work to do in terms of building a solidified young core. They really did not receive much in return for Christian Wood, as they turned Wood into Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss, TyTy Washington and two future second-round picks.
Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green seem to be the future of this frontcourt, yet there is no sense of direction right now for the Rockets in terms of the question of “what’s next?” They definitely have more talent than they did a season ago, but turning potential into wins takes time. Do not expect to see a lot of winning from Houston this upcoming year.
#27 Oklahoma City Thunder
2021-22 Record: 24-58
Key Additions: Chet Holmgren (Draft), Ousmane Dieng (Draft), Jalen Williams (Draft), Jaylin Williams (Draft)
Key Departures: Isaiah Roby (Waived - SAS)
Sam Presti continues to work his magic in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s front-office, as this young Thunder team suddenly has a clearer vision. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has a chance to be a first-time All-Star and not only do they have a potential Rookie of the Year candidate in Chet Holmgren as well, but Oklahoma City has a plethora of youthful talent.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, Luguentz Dort, Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, Darius Bazley, Aleksej Pokusevski, Ousmane Dieng, Jalen Williams and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl make up, at least in my mind, the best young core in the league right now and as they gain more experience together, the Thunder are only going to get better. Much like the teams we already talked about above, it will take time for this group to reach their full potential amongst one another, but come 2025, we could be talking about the Thunder being a real title threat once again.
#26 Indiana Pacers
2021-22 Record: 25-57
Key Additions: Bennedict Mathurin (Draft), Aaron Nesmith (Trade - BOS), Andrew Nembhard (Draft)
Key Departures: Malcolm Brogdon (Trade - BOS), T.J. Warren (Free Agency - BKN)
While trade rumors surrounding Myles Turner and Buddy Hield continue to be ongoing, it does appear as both veterans will be with the Indiana Pacers to begin the 2022-23 season. Alongside Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Bennedict Mathurin, the Pacers may not end up being as bad as they were a season ago, especially if they can stay healthy.
Haliburton is the “real-deal” at the point guard position and if the Pacers can get production from some of their other young unknowns like Jalen Smith, Aaron Nesmith and Isaiah Jackson, then this team could wind up being competitive enough for a Play-In Tournament spot. As of right now though, it is safe to say that Indiana is rebuilding for the future.
#25 Orlando Magic
2021-22 Record: 22-60
Key Additions: Paolo Banchero (Draft), Caleb Houstan (Draft)
Key Departures: Robin Lopez (Free Agency - CLE)
I know they have only won 43 games over the last two seasons, but if the Orlando Magic can stay healthy and show a level of growth each month of the 2022-23 season, I could realistically see this team winning 30-plus games and maybe coming close to the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. The Magic have a lot of young, talented players, there is no doubt about that, but can this young group put things together?
They brought back veteran Gary Harris in the offseason and the Magic also re-signed both Mo Bamba and Bol Bol at the center position. Having depth at every position, high-potential players on rookie contracts and this year’s No. 1 overall pick in Paolo Banchero, there is a lot to like long-term about this Orlando Magic franchise.
#24 Charlotte Hornets
2021-22 Record: 43-39
Key Additions: Mark Williams (Draft), Bryce McGowens (Draft)
Key Departures: Miles Bridges (Remains Free Agent)
The Charlotte Hornets have a new head coach in Steve Clifford, who coached the team for three seasons from 2018-2021, and they will definitely have a new look and feel due to the fact that Miles Bridges very likely will not be returning to the organziation because of domestic violence charges he currently faces. All-Star LaMelo Ball will look to lead this Hornets team that enters the 2022-23 season with a ton of question marks about where they are going as a franchise.
What will their frontcourt look like with Mason Plumlee still under contract and the Hornets drafting both Kai Jones and Mark Williams in back-to-back years? Who will replace Miles Bridges’ production? Does Charlotte look to move Gordon Hayward and his massive contract?
There are too many questions surrounding this organization right now to be overly confident in their abilities to improve from the 2021-22 season.
#23 Washington Wizards
2021-22 Record: 35-47
Key Additions: Will Barton (Trade - DEN), Monte Morris (Trade - DEN), Johnny Davis (Draft), Delon Wright (Free Agency)
Key Departures: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Trade - DEN), Ish Smith (Trade - DEN), Thomas Bryant (Free Agency - LAL)
Bradley Beal signed a five-year, $251 million supermax contract extension with the Washington Wizards this offseason, proving his loyalty to the franchise that drafted him third overall in 2012. Will Barton and Monte Morris are also two very underrated additions for this Wizards team, but it still seems like they are missing something.
Health will play a major factor for them, as Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis have been injured through the years and have had trouble staying on the floor. The Wizards definitely look like a playoff team on paper, however, the Eastern Conference is loaded with talented teams and it is hard to imagine that Washington’s ceiling is higher than simply making the playoffs.
#22 Sacramento Kings
2021-22 Record: 30-52
Key Additions: Kevin Huerter (Trade - ATL), Malik Monk (Free Agency), Keegan Murray (Draft), Kent Bazemore (Free Agency)
Key Departures: Donte DiVincenzo (Free Agency - GSW), Justin Holiday (Trade - ATL), Mo Harkless (Trade - ATL)
Bringing in former Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown to become the new head coach of the franchise and then going out and not only making a big move in the NBA Draft, but in offseason trades and free agency as well, the Sacramento Kings had a terrific offseason.
Wait… did you just feel that? I think the world just experienced an earthquake because the Kings actually did something right!
On a serious note though, Sacramento added Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, Kent Bazemore, Matthew Dellavedova and a head coach that believes in his players and gets the most out of them. Call me crazy, but I believe the Kings’ 16-year playoff drought comes to an end during the 2022-23 season.
#21 New York Knicks
2021-22 Record: 37-45
Key Additions: Jalen Brunson (Free Agency), Isaiah Hartenstein (Free Agency), Trevor Keels (Draft)
Key Departures: Alec Burks (Trade - DET), Nerlens Noel (Trade - DET), Kemba Walker (Trade - DET), Taj Gibson (Waived - WAS)
Making the playoffs as the 4-seed in 2021 not only seems like forever ago for the New York Knicks, but it is starting to look like an anomaly. New York took a step back during the 2021-22 season and now, after going "all-in" financially to sign Jalen Brunson, the Knicks find themselves at a point where a lack of production could cause the front-office to begin blowing things up.
Obviously trading for All-Star Donovan Mitchell could change everything for this franchise, but as of right now, the Knicks find themselves in a similar category as the Wizards in the Eastern Conference where making the playoffs may very well be their ceiling. The Knicks truly are one of the teams to watch during the 2022-23 season because of the fact that there is no way to project how they will play. From a talent perspective though, this team has what it needs to make the playoffs.
#20 Portland Trail Blazers
2021-22 Record: 27-55
Key Additions: Jerami Grant (Trade - DET), Gary Payton II (Free Agency), Shaedon Sharpe (Draft),
Key Departures: Eric Bledsoe (Waived)
Re-signing Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic, as well as giving Damian Lillard a new two-year, $112 million extension that keeps him under contract through the 2026-27 season, newly appointed general manager Joe Cronin had himself a busy offseason with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland believes that they can be a contending team if they can remain healthy and with the additions of Jerami Grant and Gary Payton II, this team could very well make it back to the playoffs. The question for the Blazers lies in their second-unit and if guys like Nassir Little, Trendon Watford and Justise Winslow can step up in big moments over the course of the season.
#19 Utah Jazz
2021-22 Record: 49-33
Key Additions: Jarred Vanderbilt (Trade - MIN), Patrick Beverley (Trade - MIN), Malik Beasley (Trade - MIN), Leandro Bolmaro (Trade - MIN), Walker Kessler (Trade - MIN),
Key Departures: Rudy Gobert (Trade - MIN), Royce O’Neale (Trade - BKN), Eric Paschall (Free Agency - MIN), Danuel House Jr. (Free Agency - PHI), Juancho Hernangomez (Free Agency - TOR)
The Utah Jazz moved Rudy Gobert for a ton of players and draft assets this offseason, a trade that could wind up paying off big time down the road, but what is the plan here for Utah? They really don’t have any proven talent in their frontcourt now and not only do they have a first-time head coach in Will Hardy after Quin Snyder resigned, but Donovan Mitchell could be on the move in the near future as well.
This franchise is heading towards a full-scale rebuild, which is quite sad given that they had the best record in the NBA during the 2020-21 season. Hardy is definitely a good fit for this franchise, but Donovan Mitchell will very likely be wearing a new uniform within the next year, possibly the next month, and the Jazz will face a brutal up-hill climb given that they are a small-market team that has let All-Star-level talent go through the years.