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NBA Power Rankings: Bucks maintain top spot, Lakers creating buzz in West

Chinmay Vaidya updates his NBA power rankings for the 2022-23 season.

Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic on March 19, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re in the final stretch of the regular season and while most of the teams have chosen their paths to close the year, there could be a few more tankers waiting to see how things shake out over the next week before mailing it in. We’ll continue looking at the league from the lens of contenders, fringe contenders, pretenders and tankers.


1. Milwaukee Bucks (1 last week)
2. Philadelphia 76ers (4)
3. Denver Nuggets (2)
4. Boston Celtics (3)
5. Phoenix Suns (5)

We’ve still only got five teams in this tier, but the 76ers are gaining the most momentum heading into the postseason. If Joel Embiid, who has now become the odds-on MVP favorite, can stay healthy, this team is a legitimate threat. The Nuggets and Celtics have slipped a bit lately, while the Suns could be getting Kevin Durant back soon.


6. Cleveland Cavaliers (6)
7. Sacramento Kings (7)
8. Los Angeles Clippers (9)
9. New York Knicks (13)
10. Memphis Grizzlies (10)
11. Golden State Warriors (8)
12. Dallas Mavericks (11)
13. Miami Heat (12)
14. Los Angeles Lakers (16)

There’s a lot happening here. The Lakers have moved into this tier after racking up some big wins, and head coach Darvin Ham said LeBron James is expected to be back at some point this season. The Warriors continue to struggle on the road, so they’ve been knocked down. The Grizzlies and Mavericks have the biggest chances to improve, as Ja Morant and Luka Doncic are set to return soon.


15. New Orleans Pelicans (17)
16. Atlanta Hawks (15)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (18)
18. Chicago Bulls (20)
19. Toronto Raptors (19)
20. Brooklyn Nets (14)
21. Washington Wizards (21)
22. Portland Trail Blazers (22)

The Wizards and Trail Blazers could join the tank race if things don’t improve for them, while the Pelicans likely could get into the fringe contender tier if Zion Williamson comes back soon.


These teams are just waiting for the lottery.

23. Indiana Pacers
24. Oklahoma City Thunder
25. Utah Jazz
26. Charlotte Hornets
27. Orlando Magic
28. Detroit Pistons
29. Houston Rockets
30. San Antonio Spurs