NBA Power Rankings 2021: Discover the Top 8 Teams
Discover the best 8 teams who experienced major improvements and are on track for great success this NBA season. Continue reading our 2022 NBA predictions guide of the league’s present landscape and learn who may come out on top.
8. Atlanta Hawks
It’s not very easy to decide whether the Hawks’ Eastern Conference finals appearance last season was a one-off or whether it was an indication of what’s to come. In Trae Young, the franchise has one of the best offensive guards in the league, and he will be crucial in determining how their 2021/22 season plays out. Another thing that bodes very well for Atlanta’s chances is the depth of their rotation. With John Collins, Clint Capela, and De’Andre Hunter, the Hawks can boast of an elite frontcourt that could very well take Nate McMillan’s squad deep into the playoffs. Who knows, perhaps a surprise Finals appearance could be on the cards.
7. Denver Nuggets
Should Jamal Murray stay healthy, the Nuggets could well come out top in the Western Conference and book a spot in the Finals. In Nikola Jokić, Denver has a natural All-NBA talent who seems to be getting better and better. Michael Porter Jr. has improved as a scorer, and Jeff Green’s addition should bring some significant depth to Mike Malone’s roster. The Nuggets are arguably the strongest non-LA team in the West, and if things break right, they could appear in the Finals of next season.
6. Miami Heat
Admittedly, Miami is not likely to sweep aside too many teams in the regular season, but on the flip side, not too many teams will be eager to take them on in the playoffs. P.J. Tucker and Kyle Lowry are two of the most tenacious defenders in the league. Between Jimmy Butler, Lowry, and Bam Adebayo, the Heat should have enough playmaking firepower to ease shooting worries. Tyler Herro is likely to improve under a less defensive spotlight, as is Duncan Robinson. The Nets and Bucks remain top of the pecking order in the East but write off the team from Miami at your peril.
5. Phoenix Suns
Chris Paul and the Suns come into 2021-22 firmly within the category of championship contenders in the West. But considering Paul’s age and injury record, a second consecutive run to the Finals does not look guaranteed. The Suns have made some pretty intelligent additions in the offseason, with Landry Shamet and Cam Payne joining as quality backcourt backup and JaVale McGee adding some much-needed rim defense. Monty Williams’s rotation will be secretly confident of repeating last year’s heroics and going all the way in the Western Conference this year.
4. Utah Jazz
The last time the Jazz were in action, they had no answer for Terance Mann’s Game 6 39-point scorcher in the Western Conference semifinals. Will this be the season they finally break their 23-year Finals exile? Well, they stand as good a chance as any other team. Retaining free agent Mike Conley with a three-year deal worth $72 million was a smart piece of business, and if he stays healthy, the Jazz should be at the top-end of the Western Conference at the end of the regular season. This roster has the depth and talent to put together a run to the Finals next season.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers may have been shifted off their perch as the best team in the NBA, but they remain one of the most interesting teams in the league. LeBron James will return for his 19th year hungry to prove that he’s still the most elite force in the league, and Anthony Davis will be hoping to log an entire season of good health. Carmelo Anthony will be looking to stick in Frank Vogel’s plan, and the polarizing Russell Westbrook will be hot on the search for his first-ever championship. The Lakers have a roster dripping with A-class talent, and that makes them favorites in the West. But, it also comes with the potential for a considerable implosion.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
Ranking the Bucks second could seem a little disrespectful, considering that the title-winning franchise has retained its core and added some excellent depth in Grayson Allen and Rodney Hood. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a dominant force who’ll be rearing to build on the 2020/21 season’s success, and in Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, he’s got adequate support. The Bucks may have ranked second here, but no one will be even the slightest bit surprised to see them cruise into a second consecutive Finals appearance next season.
1. Brooklyn Nets
Not to disrespect Milwaukee’s glorious achievement, but in a very credible alternate timeline, where Kevin Durant plays with smaller sneakers, we’d be approaching the new season mulling over the possibility of a Nets dynasty. Durant is arguably the best player alive, having high 2022 NBA MVP odds, and James Harden could reach close to Rockets levels in his first full season with the Nets. Kyrie Irving remains a world-class point guard when fully fit, and the rest of Brooklyn’s roster includes quality players that can complement their star duo. As was confirmed in previous seasons, health can be quite the defining quality. But from a talent point of view, it’s impossible to look past the Nets as winners of the Larry O’Brien Trophy next summer.
Discover the best 8 teams who experienced major improvements and are on track for great success this NBA season. Continue reading our 2022 NBA predictions guide of the league’s present landscape and learn who may come out on top. 8. Atlanta Hawks It’s not very easy to decide whether the Hawks’ Eastern Conference finals appearance…