Our NBA Power Rankings will keep you informed on the league’s changing landscape throughout the season. Each week we will provide valuable updates on where each team stands to help you place the right bets on games and look beyond current records to analyze each team’s potential to win an NBA title.
The 2021-22 NBA season tips off on Oct. 19 with an 82-game slate set to play out in full for the first time in two seasons. With the league back on a typical calendar, the regular season will run to April 10, followed by the play-in tournament from April 12-15. The first round starts on April 16 and the NBA Finals are scheduled to run from June 2 to June 17 (if necessary).
– Nate Weitzer
NBA Power Rankings (October 13)
Here are Nate Weitzer’s NBA Power Rankings as of Wednesday, Oct. 13. The odds listed are each team’s best price to win the NBA title.
1. Brooklyn Nets (): Kyrie Irving’s status is still very much up in the air, but they still have two of the top 10 players in the world in Kevin Durant and James Harden and the rest of the roster has filled out nicely. Patty Mills can hold down the PG spot along with new addition Jevon Carter.
2. Milwaukee Bucks (): The defending champs run it back with a largely similar roster and they can look forward to getting Donte DiVincenzo (calf) back in their lineup early in the season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is starting to really hone his offensive game and that is a scary thought for the other 29 teams.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (): The Lakers open the season with a relatively easy 10-game stretch. The expectation is that LeBron James will take nights off and let Russell Westbrook run the offense and the Lakers certainly have depth with veterans all over their roster.
4. Utah Jazz (): During the regular season last year, the Jazz posted the best average point differential (+7.9) while finishing second in eFG% and eFG% allowed. Quin Snyder is a fantastic coach, even if he couldn’t figure out how to defend the Clippers in the playoffs last spring.
5. Phoenix Suns (): Devin Booker has been unable to play for much of the preseason due to COVID protocols, but the rising superstar should be back soon. Without adding much to their roster, the Suns could improve in regular season by virtue of getting Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges more reps during their Finals run.
6. Philadelphia 76ers (): Ben Simmons has reported for the Sixers and that brings him one step closer to getting traded and removing a gigantic distraction from Philadelphia. Expect the Sixers who are active for these early season games to play with extra vigor as they look to prove that they don’t need the discontented Simmons.
7. Denver Nuggets (): After losing Jamal Murray (ACL) for the season, the Nuggets went 16-8 with the fourth-best offensive rating in Clutch time (the final 5 minutes of games within 5 points) as Nikola Jokic locked up his MVP award.
8. Miami Heat (): If the Lakers are expected to bounce back after being exhausted by their Bubble run two seasons ago, the Heat should also get back to the upper echelon of their conference. Adding Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker will significantly increase the intensity in that locker room.
9. Atlanta Hawks (): Extrapolate their results with Nate McMillan as their coach, and the Hawks would have won 58 regular season games last year to finish first in the Eastern Conference. They should be a confident bunch after Trae Young carried them to the conference finals, and Atlanta will hope De’Andre Hunter (knee) can stay healthy this year.
10. Dallas Mavericks (): We’ll see how the Mavericks respond to Jason Kidd’s coaching after years of disciplined study under Rick Carlisle. Their roster is largely unchanged and Kristaps Porzingis isn’t necessarily happy being a floor spacer while MVP favorite Luka Doncic (+380 at DraftKings Sportsbook) manipulates defenses.
11. Los Angeles Clippers (): The Clippers will fight on without Kawhi Leonard (ACL) until at least March. They’ve proven that they can still be an elite team with Paul George as their Alpha in a spread attack and their offense should be just fine.
12. Boston Celtics (): The Celtics were just 6-13 in games decided by 5 points or fewer, which is in some ways an indictment of their coach. Brad Stevens is now in the front office and he’s given new HC Ime Udoka some good tools with Al Horford joining a slew of centers and Dennis Schroder replacing Kemba Walker at a bargain rate.
13. Memphis Grizzlies (): Much like the Hawks in the East, the Grizzlies are ready to rise in the Western Conference. They get Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) back for a full season and should continue to dominate the paint on both ends with Steven Adams replacing Jonas Valanciunas down low.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (): This is a make-or-break year for the Blazers franchise if they want to retain Damian Lillard. Chauncey Billups has taken over for Terry Stotts in yet another move to bring a younger mind in to replace an older coach that might have lost the ear of his players. Portland has a great starting lineup and a rather lackluster bench.
15. Golden State Warriors (): The Warriors caught fire down the stretch with the best net rating (14.7) in the NBA while Steph Curry hit another level to will his squad into the play-in tournament. They’ve been assigned as the second favorites in the Western Conference according to some oddsmakers, which is apparently based on the assumption that Klay Thompson (Achilles) will return to the height of his powers sometime in 2022.
16. Charlotte Hornets (): Injuries to LaMelo Ball (wrist) and Gordon Hayward (foot) disrupted their rhythm last year, but the Hornets showed plenty of promising signs with the second-best net rating (21.9) and best rebounding rate (54%) in Clutch Time.
17. New York Knicks (): Julius Randle averaged 30.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 6.2 APG while shooting 45.3% from 3-point range to carry the Knicks decrepit offense. If he takes a step back in any way, or if Kemba Walker is unable to resurrect his career following multiple knee procedures, the Knicks will continue to be one of the worst offensive teams in basketball.
18. Chicago Bulls (): Bulls GM Marc Eversley has been collecting talent over the past few months without much regard for how those pieces might fit on the floor. He’s lucky that he has a savvy basketball mind like Billy Donovan to figure out how to build a system around Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic.
19. New Orleans Pelicans (): The Pelicans continue to creep closer towards a playoff berth in the loaded West and their defense took a huge step forward during the final months of last season. Yet they’re not going anywhere without a healthy Zion Williamson and their explosive forward underwent offseason surgery to address his nagging foot issues.
20. Indiana Pacers (): Caris LeVert (back) is without a timetable, T.J. Warren (foot) hasn’t played in over a year, and now Malcolm Brogdon is dealing with a shoulder sprain. The Pacers have tantalizing potential if they can get all these pieces healthy with new HC Rick Carlisle pulling the strings and could move up our NBA Power Rankings later in the season.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves (): With Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Anthony Edwards all finally playing together, the Wolves reveled in their spoiler role and won 7 of their last 12 games against good competition down the stretch of last season.
22. Washington Wizards (): The Wizards flipped Russell Westbrook for a huge influx of depth with Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope joining the fold. Their frontcourt is particularly deep with Thomas Bryant coming off injury and Spencer Dinwiddie could serve as a great fit alongside Bradley Beal in the backcourt.
23. Sacramento Kings (): The Kings are extremely guard-heavy with Davion Mitchell joining a backcourt that already includes De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Buddy Hield. They posted a rough 114.1 defensive rating in Clutch situations last year and went 13-26 when playing against an opponent on equal rest.
24. San Antonio Spurs (): After ending last season with a 2-10 stretch while posting the fifth-worst net rating (-7.9) in basketball, the Spurs have embraced a youth movement with Dejounte Murray and Derrick White set to lead a team with an average age of 25.5 years. Gregg Popovich is going to take all results with a grain of salt.
25. Toronto Raptors (): The Raptors enter a new era without Kyle Lowry and they’ll have to start the year without Pascal Siakam (shoulder) and Chris Boucher (finger). If things go south, this savvy franchise might start to tank and continue its rebuild. It looks like they will be stuck in the 20s in our NBA Power Rankings all season long.
26. Houston Rockets (): The Rockets are going to be a League Pass team to watch with Kevin Porter Jr. a leading candidate for Most Improved Player (+1000 at DraftKings Sportsbook) and Jalen Green (+275) tied with Cade Cunningham in Rookie of the Year odds.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (): At one point last season, the Cavs lost 11 straight games and failed to cover in 9 of those contests. GM Koby Altman might have shuffled the roster properly to pair athletic rookie Evan Mobley with Jarrett Allen, and his office should be in the mix for a Ben Simmons deal.
28. Detroit Pistons (): In addition to landing Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 overall pick, the Pistons bolstered their roster with Kelly Olynyk and added a veteran lock room presence in Cory Joseph.
29. Orlando Magic (): The Magic committed a $20M cap hit to Gary Harris and did almost nothing else in free agency after selling off their best players at the trade deadline last year. Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac will provide some reinforcements when they return from their respective ACL surgeries.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder (): Sam Presti has compiled an absurd amount of draft picks over the next decade and he seems to have no intentions to try and win in the immediate future. Even Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be dealt in this ruthless small market.
Best NBA betting sites
Here are what our pre-season NBA Power Rankings looked like on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Pre-season NBA Finals odds are also listed.
- Brooklyn Nets +200
- Milwaukee Bucks +900
- LA Lakers +400
- Utah Jazz +1500
- Phoenix Suns +1700
- Philadelphia 76ers +2000
- Denver Nuggets +2000
- Miami Heat +2500
- Atlanta Hawks +3500
- Dallas Mavericks +2800
- LA Clippers +1700
- Boston Celtics +4000
- Memphis Grizzlies +10000
- Portland Trail Blazers +8000
- Golden State Warriors +1100
- Charlotte Hornets +18000
- New York Knicks +10000
- Chicago Bulls +8000
- New Orleans Pelicans +11000
- Indiana Pacers +10000
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Washington Wizards +25000
- Sacramento Kings +25000
- San Antonio Spurs +35000
- Toronto Raptors +25000
- Houston Rockets +100000
- Cleveland Cavaliers +100000
- Detroit Pistons +100000
- Orlando Magic +100000
- Oklahoma City Thunder +100000
How to use Pro Basketball Power Rankings
When placing bets on the NBA, it’s crucial to consider factors such as travel time, home court advantage, and playoff positioning versus the rest that so many stars value. By using these NBA Power Rankings, or creating your own criteria for a Power Rankings system, it can be possible to evaluate the prospects of a team more thoroughly based on those factors.
Oddsmakers tend to overreact in the NBA based on the status of star players, but often underreact to trends such as a teams’ performance on back-to-back sets, or at the end of a long road trip. Read our full NBA Betting Guide for more strategies on gaining an edge against sportsbooks.
If you develop a system that helps you stay a step ahead of oddsmakers, it’s certainly possible to cash on over 50 percent of NBA bets and turn a profit. Trust your data and use our Power Rankings as a guide for identifying value on a nightly basis.
Read more on beginner NBA betting strategies here: