Power Rankings, week 1: Bucks, Nets, Suns start season ahead

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are ready to defend their championship roost.

Every season almost every team thinks they can be better than the year before. This season, other teams believe in it too.

In the 2021-2022 NBA.com GM survey, 13 different teams received votes for the question “Which team will be the most improved?” »Question. This is the highest total in the history of the survey and almost double the average for the past 10 years (6.7). The Chicago Bulls got the most votes, but only 27% of the total.

There have been no team changes of Kevin Durant, LeBron James or Anthony Davis this season. The two teams that have shaken things up the most are the Los Angeles Bulls and Lakers. But for both of them, you can make a valid point as to why the moves they made won’t work so well. Other teams that received votes have made smaller moves or have young cores that should see improvement year on year.

For all 30 teams in the league, even if you don’t factor in injuries, there are best and worst case scenarios for how the next eight months will play out. Right now, no one knows which teams and players will reach their potential for the 2021-22 season and which ones will disappoint.

But we’ll start to find out on Tuesday. Games matter now, everyone counts, and the very first will feature the two teams that should be the best in the league.

The Brooklyn Nets were No.1 in the Eastern Conference standings this offseason, but Kyrie Irving’s absence is a good excuse to start the season with the defending champions in first place. The Nets, of course, have an immediate opportunity to take it back, visiting Milwaukee on ring night.


Preseason over-under players

  • The right way: Lonzo Ball (CHI) posted a plus-88 rating in four preseason games.
  • Wrong Way: Devonte ‘Graham (NOP) is under-71 in four preseason games.

The pre-season teams

Movement in the rankings

  • Pre-season high jumps: Sacramento (+4), Memphis (+3), Minnesota (+3)
  • Free falls of the preseason: Indiana (-3), New Orleans (-3)

Team of the week 1 to watch

  • LA Lakers – Seeing how LeBron James and Russell Westbrook play side-by-side would be reason enough to tune in. But the Lakers also start their season with games (all at home) against the Warriors (Tuesday), Suns (Friday) and Grizzlies (Sunday).

Previous power rankings


Rhythm: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Points differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league averaged 99.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 111.7 runs scored per 100 possessions last season.


The NBA.com Power Rankings, published every Monday of the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have a problem with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, email him or contact him via Twitter.




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