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NBA Power Rankings: Bucks, Warriors, Heat rise while Celtics, Knicks fall

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

Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors strips the ball from Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Chase Center on March 12, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

I’m going to stick with last week’s power rankings format for this week and keep it going through the regular season. The contender, pretender and tanker categories will stay the same, although the teams within in group will move around a bit. Here’s a look at how the league shapes up as the regular season reaches the last few weeks.


There are still only five contenders at this moment, although the Suns might drop out of this category if Kevin Durant does not return from his injury in time for the postseason. The Bucks are the big mover here, jumping to the top of the Eastern Conference behind a massive winning streak. The Heat have also jumped into the fringe contender section, with Kyle Lowry coming back into the mix at a crucial time.

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


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


There hasn’t been much movement in this tier, although the Lakers and Bulls did get a slight bump this week. The Nets have maintained their edge despite losing their superstars, but they’ll likely get overwhelmed in the postseason. If Zion Williamson returns, the Pelicans could move into the fringe contender section.

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


The rankings here are largely the same, and they don’t really matter for these teams. The lottery is the only event these teams are looking forward to.

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