The NBA season is about to begin, and that means it’s time for some predictions. Where will each team finish in the standings? Let’s roll out our predictions alongside our very first edition of our NBA Power Rankings: how many wins will each team have by the time the regular season ends?
Note that this is not a ranking of how strong each team will be in the playoffs, or how likely each team is to win the title. It’s simply all 30 teams ordered by my projections for their final record, factoring in team quality, health, potential moves and external incentives. We start at the bottom with a team finally embracing a rebuild.
The Wizards hope to be the worst team in the league as they need high-end talent in the worst way. That will mean a lot of Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma shots and not a lot of defense. Keep an eye on the development of Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert at the forward spots, and expect them to trade a few veteran point guards by the deadline.
In terms of pure talent on the roster, the Trail Blazers as currently constituted are a better team than 25 wins suggests. Their momentum is to gain as high of a draft pick as possible to pair a forward with Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe and Deandre Ayton. Veterans from Malcolm Brogdon and Jerami Grant to Robert Williams III and even Anfernee Simons could be moved during the year.
Cade Cunningham is going to have a bounce-back season and is my pick to win Most Improved Player, but the primary pieces of this roster are young and raw. Add in a packed frontcourt of bigs that should all be playing center and you get a team that isn’t quite ready for the big step forward.