Ultimate NBA Power Rankings: Which Teams are on the Rise?

With the regular NBA 2022/23 season coming to a close, the eyes of basketball fans move to the upcoming play-in tournament and postseason games to come. Each franchise has a good chance of making deep runs in the playoffs by receiving the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences and home-court advantage throughout the tournament.

While the NBA odds are seeing these two teams be favorites, many other squads have catapulted themselves into a better position than expected, giving them high hopes for the games they have to come. No matter how the outcome sets out to be, let us take a quick look at some of the NBA power rankings from the regular season.

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Detroit Pistons, 17-65

They may not want to accept, but the reward for the worst regular-season record goes to the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons only took off through part of the season, made worse with Cade Cunningham’s season-ending injury. Detroit has only won one of the last 13 games, which meant the departure of head coach Dwane Casey. Hopefully, the next coach can turn this team around.

San Antonio Spurs, 22-60

Like its Texas counterparts, San Antonio finished the season with a similar record. They started the year very well, but this quickly changed, giving the fans a false sense of what was to come. The lack of depth in the frontcourt has been an issue all season long. Victor Wembanyama could be the person to change all of this.

Toronto Raptors, 41-41

The Raptors have adopted a cruel inability to win games away from their home of Scotiabank Arena, which ultimately cost them this season, grabbing that lustrous No. 7 seed. If they had stepped up one more seed, they would have had a much more favorable first-round matchup, but their momentum lasted only a short time, still enough for them to make a considerable effect. A changeup in coaching is looking to come this summer, with playoffs needing to be secured.

Miami Heat, 44-38

This year has not been the greatest for last season’s No. 1 seed out of the East, which could be down to them not strengthening their roster over the summer. Their overall form when up against the more elite squads, even with a full team, does not look highly positive should they retain the No. 7 seed within the postseason.

Brooklyn Nets, 45-37

The Nets have been beating teams they should be beating towards the end of the season but looked shaky against opponents at the same or a higher level. With the losses of Kevin Durant and Irvine, these results were expected, making for an exciting future regarding who will step up come the postseason – besides Mikal Bridges, of course. The first round comes against Philidelphia, a decent team that could pose some struggles if each player is not on their A-game.

Los Angeles Lakers, 43-39

The LA Lakers are steeped in history, and it does not look to change, with them having the best record in the West after the All-Star break. If Anthony Davis and LeBron James can stay fit and healthy, the Lakers could have a long stint in the postseason, especially with the new acquisitions of D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Rui Hachimura elevating the squad’s skill and depth.

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Cleveland Cavaliers, 51-31

Similar to the playoff drought that Sacramento ended, the Cavaliers look to have finally gotten over their LeBron James history by finally making the postseason without him for the first-ever time since his departure in 2018. The team is well-balanced across the board, which is very positive, them looking the part last year before they were the victim of some devastating injury blows. The Cavaliers will be one of the most exciting teams to watch.
Denver Nuggets, 53-29

It was more plain and straightforward than they would have wanted, but the Denver Nuggets managed to hold onto the top seed, despite a few scares in the last few games of the regular season. Their defense could be problematic for the team, but this is the last chance for Nikola Jokic to reach the NBA Finals. Could this be the year? His team is fit and healthy, giving them the best chance possible.

Philadelphia 76ers, 54-28

The Philadelphia 76ers have had a nack of booking great through the regular season until seeing a fall from grace when the playoffs come around. There has been some worry among fans that this will happen again this year, despite them having a tremendous record. There has been a heavy dependence on the delivery of Joel Embiid, but other names, such as James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, must continue their flawless form if the 76ers look to go the distance. One of the stresses with this team is that they do not have the depth we have seen in previous seasons, imposing less of a threat.

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Boston Celtics, 57-25

The Celtics look to have all the ammunition to cause some upset this year and win the title, even with the room for error slimmer than usual. Malcolm Brogdon is a wonderful addition off the bench, but the frontcourt needs to step up and do its part in aiding Jaylen Brown & Jayson Tatum.

Milwaukee Bucks, 58-24

Milwaukee has, without doubt, been the best team in the league, holding the most outstanding record, even without Khris Middleton being at his best due to his ongoing battle with injuries. Milwaukee has a tougher path to the NBA finals than its Western counterpart. However, their depth in the squad with players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo makes them still as dominant as possible.