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NBA Power Rankings: Cavaliers, Trail Blazers rise while Nets, Lakers slide

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

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics
Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert of the Cleveland Cavaliers talk to the media after the game against the Boston Celtics on October 28, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

There have already been some twists and turns early in the 2022-23 NBA season, including some small market teams making big noise while the star-studded franchises find themselves in a tailspin.

The Cleveland Cavaliers saw All-Star point guard Darius Garland suffer an eye injury in the season opener but didn’t fade away. Donovan Mitchell has been on fire to start the year, and the guys around him have stepped up as well. Garland should be back soon, which can only help this team maintain its position in the standings. The Portland Trail Blazers received a big scare when Damian Lillard suffered a calf strain last Friday. Lillard will be out for a week or two, which is great news considering his injury history last year. The Trail Blazers appear to have found a formula that works and should be a playoff threat.

The Brooklyn Nets are dealing with problems on and off the court. Kevin Durant has been great but the team around him has not. Kyrie Irving continues to be a distraction, while Ben Simmons has been slow to mesh with this group offensively. If things don’t turn around quickly, Steve Nash could be gone before 2023 hits. On the other coast, the Los Angeles Lakers remain in the dumps. They were winless entering Sunday’s game against the Nuggets and Anthony Davis is dealing with an injury early. The roster doesn’t fit well and first-year head coach Darvin Ham is immediately under pressure. It’s tough to see this situation turning around even if there are some trades made.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, who played each other in the 2021 NBA Finals, look like they will once again be in contention to make the trip back to that last series of the season. The Bucks have handled every major test early and will get Khris Middleton back at some point, while the Suns are looking solid after some major offseason drama and a brutal Game 7 loss last year.

Here’s a look at the full updated power rankings entering Week 3 the 2022-23 season.

NBA Power Rankings: Week 3

Team Ranking Previous Ranking
Team Ranking Previous Ranking
Milwaukee Bucks 1 2
Phoenix Suns 2 5
Los Angeles Clippers 3 4
New Orleans Pelicans 4 7
Golden State Warriors 5 3
Boston Celtics 6 1
Dallas Mavericks 7 6
Memphis Grizzlies 8 9
Cleveland Cavaliers 9 13
Portland Trail Blazers 10 16
Denver Nuggets 11 12
Atlanta Hawks 12 11
Minnesota Timberwolves 13 10
Toronto Raptors 14 17
Philadelphia 76ers 15 15
Brooklyn Nets 16 8
Miami Heat 17 14
Chicago Bulls 18 21
New York Knicks 19 20
Charlotte Hornets 20 18
Sacramento Kings 21 22
Utah Jazz 22 25
Washington Wizards 23 23
Los Angeles Lakers 24 19
Detroit Pistons 25 24
Indiana Pacers 26 26
Orlando Magic 27 29
San Antonio Spurs 28 27
Oklahoma City Thunder 29 28
Houston Rockets 30 30