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The champs top our way-too-early Power Rankings — here’s how the rest of the league stacks up

The 2023-24 NBA season came to an end Monday with the Boston Celtics defeating the Dallas Mavericks, 106-88, to claim their NBA-record 18th championship.

With the title, the Celtics retain the top spot, which they’ve held since November, in our way-too-early Power Rankings for next season. But, after Boston the debate begins heading into next season.

Will Luka Doncic and the Mavericks be able to recapture the magic that led them on a Finals run? Can Oklahoma City’s youth continue to develop after earning the top seed in the West? And which teams in the East are best positioned to knock Boston from its perch?

Our writers lay the groundwork for what should be a competitive, unpredictable 2024-25 NBA season.

Note: Our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin, Ohm Youngmisuk, Chris Herring, Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks) is ranking all 30 teams from top to bottom heading into the 2024 offseason.

Jump to a team:
ATL | BOS | BKN | CHA | CHI | CLE
DAL | DEN | DET | GS | HOU | IND
LAC | LAL | MEM | MIA | MIL | MIN
NO | NY | OKC | ORL | PHI | PHX
POR | SAC | SA | TOR | UTA | WAS

1. Boston Celtics
2023-24 record: 64-18
Result: NBA champions
2024 draft picks: No. 30 (own) and No. 54 (via DAL)

After winning title No. 18, the focus for the Celtics will now be on trying to repeat and move two titles ahead of their forever rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the all-time title ranks. With the top seven players fully locked in and under contract, though, and Jayson Tatum a lock to sign a supermax extension this summer, the two questions about the Celtics come in the form of extensions. Specifically: Will Boston be able to get Derrick White, who has one year left on his deal, and Sam Hauser, who has a team option left, committed to long-term deals and remaining a part of Boston’s core? Either way, the Celtics will enter next season as the favorites to win another title. — Tim Bontemps


2. Denver Nuggets
2023-24 record: 57-25
Result: Eliminated in the West semifinals
2024 draft pick: No. 28 (own)

Denver doesn’t have much time to get over the sting of losing Game 7 at home and getting bounced in the second round of the playoffs. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a key contributor to the Nuggets’ 2023 championship, has a $15.4 million player option to decide on by June 29. And Reggie Jackson has a $5.3 million player option to decide on by June 25. The Nuggets’ championship window remains open as long as MVP Nikola Jokic is healthy and Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon are extension eligible. Denver will also have to figure out how to improve its bench. After losing Bruce Brown and Jeff Green last offseason, the Nuggets went young, but they relied heavily on their starters and looked like a tired team at the end of the season. — Ohm Youngmisuk


3. Dallas Mavericks
2023-24 record: 50-32
Result: Lost in the NBA Finals
2024 draft pick: No. 58 (via BOS)

Every player who made an appearance during the Mavs’ run to the NBA Finals is under contract through next season with the exception of starting small forward Derrick Jones Jr. Re-signing Jones, Dallas’ best on-ball defender, will be a priority, but the Mavs might have to maneuver to open up the full mid-level exception to get that done. General manager Nico Harrison feels good about the core that he has constructed around Doncic and coach Jason Kidd, but he’ll continue to search for avenues to upgrade. “If there’s an opportunity to make it better, I’m going do that for sure,” Harrison said. — Tim MacMahon


4. Minnesota Timberwolves
2023-24 record: 56-26
Result: Eliminated in the West finals
2024 draft picks: No. 27 (own) and No. 37 (via MEM)

After a run to the Western Conference finals — first sweeping the Phoenix Suns, then taking out the defending-champion Nuggets in Game 7 — the Wolves were overwhelmed by the Mavericks. However, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards showcased an improved partnership throughout the playoffs, backed by team president Tim Connelly, who reupped his contract for another year. What’s still unsettled is the battle for ownership between Glen Taylor and Alex Rodriguez, Marc Lore and Michael Bloomberg. — Dave McMenamin


5. Oklahoma City Thunder
2023-24 record: 57-25
Result: Eliminated in the West semifinals
2024 draft pick: No. 12 (via HOU)

With the Thunder becoming the youngest No. 1 seed in NBA history this season, there is now a lot of curiosity around the league to see how GM Sam Presti positions Oklahoma City to take the next steps. He has plenty of options as the Thunder are projected to have $33 million in salary cap space and have a historic collection of future first-round picks and swap rights. One possibility: The Thunder making a run at New York Knicks free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein to address Oklahoma City’s rebounding problems. — MacMahon


6. New York Knicks
2023-24 record: 50-32
Result: Eliminated in the East semifinals
2024 draft picks: No. 24 (via DAL), No. 25 (own) and No. 38 (via UTA)

New York had a tremendous season, but the questions this offseason will revolve around if it can repeat that same level of success with the same roster. Hartenstein was a revelation as the team’s starting center after Mitchell Robinson went down with an ankle injury, but he might have played himself out of New York’s price range (the Knicks are limited to Early Bird rights) as a result. The team’s two All-Stars, Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, are both extension eligible, and coach Tom Thibodeau also should be signing one this summer to keep himself in New York long term. — Bontemps


7. Milwaukee Bucks
2023-24 record: 49-33
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft picks: No. 23 (via NO) and No. 33 (via POR)

How do the Bucks improve around Dame and Giannis? The Bucks reshaped their team over the past year with a pair of major additions, adding star guard Damian Lillard and Hall of Fame coach Doc Rivers to chase a title with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee will need to reevaluate how to best maximize the team around those three. Rivers has already begun to overhaul his coaching staff, and the Bucks will look for ways this offseason to refresh the role players around their star duo — while working on how Lillard and Antetokounmpo can flourish with a full year together under Rivers’ guidance. — Jamal Collier


8. Philadelphia 76ers
2023-24 record: 47-35
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft picks: No. 16 and No. 41 (via CHI)

After another season of MVP-caliber play and injury concerns from superstar big man Joel Embiid, Philadelphia enters the offseason knowing two things: It has a genuine costar in 23-year-old guard Tyrese Maxey, and, with max cap space available, could use a massive free agent upgrade on the wing to replace forward Tobias Harris. Even after their first-round loss to the Knicks, the Sixers are still arguably a title contender when they are fully healthy. The expectations surrounding the franchise would only become greater if Philly were able to convince potential free agents LeBron James or Paul George to head back east. — Chris Herring


9. Indiana Pacers
2023-24 regular-season record: 47-35
Result: Eliminated in the Eastern Conference finals
2024 draft picks: No. 36 (via TOR), No. 49 (via CLE) and No. 50 (via NOP)

What cost will it take to re-sign Pascal Siakam? Indiana went deep in the playoffs, making it to the Eastern Conference finals and giving its young squad a ton of experience. The Pacers will be looking to build on that success this offseason, starting with a move they made at the trade deadline in February when they acquired Siakam from Toronto for three first-round picks. Siakam led Indiana in scoring in the postseason, and the Pacers leaned on his veteran experience during their playoff run. Bringing him back is a priority, but the questions are what will it cost and how would a full maximum contract affect building the rest of their roster? — Collier


10. LA Clippers
2023-24 record: 51-31
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft pick: No. 46 (via IND)

As free agency nears, George’s future remains the top question. George has until July 1 to agree to an extension. But Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations, has called George and James Harden “free agents.” The team signed Kawhi Leonard to a three-year, $150 million extension during the season, and George will likely see if he can get more. But the Clippers can’t afford to lose George or Harden and will want to keep their star trio together to continue building around them.. — Youngmisuk


11. Orlando Magic
2023-24 record: 47-35
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft picks: No. 18 (own) and No. 47 (own)

In just his second season, Paolo Banchero transformed into a star, leading a scrappy Magic team in regular-season total points (1,804), rebounds (554) and assists (431) as the organization made its first playoff appearance since 2020 and pushed the Cavs to a seventh game in the first round. The Magic were among the stingiest teams in basketball, finishing third in regular-season defensive efficiency (110.8). But aspects of the offense, namely shooting, could use some work. This season’s team finished 24th in 3-point percentage, 29th in 3-point attempts and dead last in 3-point makes. The team’s need for improved offense combined with Banchero’s stated desire to play off the ball could make someone like potential free agent D’Angelo Russell a compelling fit with the Magic. — Herring


12. Cleveland Cavaliers
2023-24 record: 48-34
Result: Eliminated in the East semifinals
2024 draft pick: No. 20 (own)

All eyes are on Donovan Mitchell, who is eligible to sign a four-year extension worth a projected $200-plus million starting on July 6. If Mitchell declines, the Cavaliers will have to explore trade options to avoid him potentially leaving as an unrestricted free agent in 2025. It would also force Cleveland to consider trading fellow guard Darius Garland, who saw his production drop last season with the ball in Mitchell’s hands more frequently. A Garland deal could help the Cavaliers put more size and shooting around Mitchell and the frontcourt duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. — Kevin Pelton


13. New Orleans Pelicans
2023-24 record: 49-33
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft picks: No. 17 (via LAL) and No. 21 (via MIL)

While there has been plenty of speculation about the future of Brandon Ingram in New Orleans, the main question the Pelicans have to focus on is what they will do at the center position moving forward. Last season’s starting center, Jonas Valanciunas, will be a free agent and he was already losing minutes down the stretch of the season. New Orleans has Larry Nance Jr. under contract but will still need to add depth to the position. The Pelicans could do so via trade or in the draft, but bringing in someone who is capable of switching more on defense — coach Willie Green’s preferred playing style — is a must. — Andrew Lopez


14. Phoenix Suns
2023-24 record: 49-33
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft pick: No. 22 (own)

Mike Budenholzer replaced Frank Vogel as head coach after the Suns were swept out of the first round by the Timberwolves. He will try to bring Phoenix’s defense — which finished No. 13 in defensive rating last season — to the stingy standards he had the Bucks performing at last season. Now the Suns must address their depth after finishing last in bench scoring at just 26.3 points per game from their reserves. — McMenamin


15. Los Angeles Lakers
2023-24 record: 47-35
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft picks: No. 17 (own) and No. 55 (via LAC)

The Lakers’ future is very murky at the moment. The most obvious unknown is who will be the head coach next season after the Lakers fired Darvin Ham last month and Dan Hurley turned them down. Secondly, they are still awaiting LeBron James‘ contract decision on whether he’ll opt in. And lastly, for a team that had championship aspirations to start the season but lost in the first round of the playoffs, improving the roster is a must. Can that happen through the draft at No. 17 or is a trade necessary? — McMenamin


16. Miami Heat
2023-24 record: 46-36
Result: Eliminated in first round
2024 draft picks: No. 15 (own) and No. 43 (own)

How expensive will this Miami team get with its top stars? As Bobby Marks pointed out in his offseason review of the Heat, Jimmy Butler can decline his $52.4 million player option for 2025-26 and sign up to a two-year, $112.9 extension. Bam Adebayo is in line for a maximum three-year, $165 million extension starting in July as well. The Adebayo extension seems like a no-brainer, but Butler hasn’t played more than 64 games in any of the five seasons he has been in Miami (he played 58 in 2019-20 and 50 of in 2020-21). The success Miami has had with him healthy has been undeniable — especially in the postseason — but what does their long-term future with Butler look like?— Lopez


17. Sacramento Kings
2023-24 record: 46-36
Result: Eliminated in play-in tournament
2024 draft picks: No. 13 and No. 45

The Kings took care of the biggest offseason item on their to-do list by re-signing head coach Mike Brown Now, the question is about whether Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Malik Monk, who is entering free agency, will return. If he does, Sacramento’s roster will look similar to last season. But if he walks, the Kings have to find a new veteran to lead their bench. — Kendra Andrews


18. Golden State Warriors
2023-24 record: 46-36
Result: Eliminated in play-in tournament
2024 draft pick: No. 52 (via MIL)

The biggest question for the Warriors’ offseason is all about Klay Thompson‘s free agency. How and when that domino falls will inform a lot of Golden State’s other decisions. It’s also worth keeping an eye on veteran Chris Paul, who is on a non-guaranteed $30 million contract for the 2024-25 NBA season. Will the Warriors want to lean more into veteran experience or continue to infuse their group with youth? The dust will settle once Thompson makes his move. — Andrews


19. Memphis Grizzlies
2023-24 record: 27-55
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft picks: No. 9 (own), No. 39 (via BKN) and No. 57 (via OKC)

A team that won the second-fewest games, missed the playoffs for the first time since 2019-20 and returns 14 players should be stuck near the bottom of the rankings. But Memphis is a unique situation. The Grizzlies will add a top-10 pick to a roster that returns Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart and Jaren Jackson Jr. If the Grizzlies can shake the injury bug that hindered them last season, expect them to compete for a play-in spot at the very least. The big question this offseason is how Memphis can land a center to complement Jackson after Steven Adams was traded in February. The Grizzlies are a projected luxury tax and first-apron team and can duck under both if they decline the $14.8 million Luke Kennard team option. — Bobby Marks


20. Houston Rockets
2023-24 record: 41-41
2023-24 final result: Missed postseason
2024 draft picks: No. 3 (via BKN) and No. 44 (via GS)

Houston has put together a talented young core over the last few drafts and spent big in free agency on veterans Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks last summer to make the leap back to respectability — the Rockets were .500 this season, the best record they’ve had since 2020. If the right situation arises, GM Rafael Stone has the assets to take a big swing in the trade market thanks to the return from the James Harden trade. Houston has the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft and Brooklyn’s 2026 first-rounder, as well as swap rights in 2025 and 2027. — MacMahon


21. Atlanta Hawks
2023-24 record: 36-46
Result: Eliminated in play-in tournament
2024 draft pick: No. 1 (own)

The Hawks’ future, already clouded by the inability of guards Dejounte Murray and Trae Young to be as productive playing together as they are individually, was further muddied when Atlanta won the draft lottery. Now the Hawks have to make a money-saving trade to avoid paying the luxury tax for a team that finished 10 games under .500. Atlanta’s decision between Murray and Young — or perhaps bringing both back with a new cast around them — will have an impact on aspiring contenders hoping to land either of those All-Star guards via trade. — Pelton


22. Chicago Bulls
2023-24 record: 39-43
Result: Eliminated in play-in tournament
2024 draft pick: No. 11 (own)

The biggest question for the Bulls lies with the future of Zach LaVine. Chicago VP Arturas Karnisovas vowed change after the Bulls missed the playoffs for the second straight season. One of his most clear avenues toward a roster overhaul would be trading LaVine, and according to sources, both sides have a mutual understanding they need to move on. But finding a trade partner for LaVine is less straightforward. He is due $138 million over the three years remaining in his contract and was limited to 25 games last year by injury. The Bulls would almost certainly be giving up value by moving LaVine, a former two-time All-Star, this summer. However, the alternative could leave the Bulls staying put with the same roster that’s lost in the play-in tournament for two straight seasons. — Collier


23. San Antonio Spurs
2023-24 record: 22-60
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft picks: No. 5 (own), No. 8, No. 35 (own) and No. 48 (via LAL)

How fast do you hit the accelerator with Victor Wembanyama already playing at an elite level? No one within the organization wants to endure another 22-win season. That record in 2022-23 netted San Antonio the French rookie sensation, and because of this season’s dismal performance, it has the No. 4 and No. 8 (per Toronto) picks in this year’s upcoming draft. The Spurs have 13 first-round picks available to them in the next seven years and another three potential swaps on top of that, giving them the ability to make any trade they want. But doing so too early could be a mistake. Waiting one more year to see the team’s growth while adding a smaller piece that fits in the roster could be the way they go. — Lopez


24. Brooklyn Nets
2023-24 record: 32-50
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft picks: None

After hiring Jordi Fernandez as the team’s head coach earlier this offseason, the Nets have to plot out a direction this summer. Nic Claxton is an unrestricted free agent, though Fernandez and general manager Sean Marks have indicated they will do everything to keep him in Brooklyn. Beyond that, Brooklyn has to decide whether to continue on its perceived path to cresting cap space in 2025, or to cash in its chips now to improve or retool the roster. — Bontemps


25. Utah Jazz
2023-24 record: 31-51
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft pick: No. 10 (own), No. 29 (via OKC) and No. 32 (via WSH)

The Jazz have rebuilt methodically since dealing Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, trading away veterans at the past two trade deadlines despite being in the play-in mix. They enter this summer with two first-round picks (No. 10 and No. 29), up to $30 million in cap space and six more picks coming from the Gobert and Mitchell trades. All of that allowed Utah CEO Danny Ainge to say in April, “We’re ready to go big-game hunting, and that hasn’t happened in the last two years.” The Jazz will also surely look to renegotiate and extend the contract of All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen. — Pelton


26. Toronto Raptors
2023-24 record: 25-57
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft pick: No. 6 (own), No. 19 (via IND) and No. 31 (via DET)

Toronto swung a couple of huge deals during this past season, dealing away a pair of key players in Siakam and OG Anunoby — moves that came just months after point guard VanVleet left the club in free agency last summer. More movement could be on the way this offseason, as the Raptors will have to decide how they want to handle Bruce Brown‘s deal for $23 million next season as he could easily be a trade candidate. Still, team president Masai Ujiri could decide that he wants to spend more time studying his young, new-look roster before making any other big moves. The club is now headed by 22-year-old Scottie Barnes, 24-year-old RJ Barrett and 25-year-old Immanuel Quickley. The latter two joined the club to start the 2024 calendar year and combined to average 40 points and nearly 11 assists per game. — Herring


27. Portland Trail Blazers
2023-24 record: 21-61
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft picks: No. 7 (own), No. 14 (via GS), No. 33/34 (via CHA) and No. 40 (via ATL)

Portland’s roster could undergo a lot of changes this offseason, but where do the Trail Blazers begin? In broad terms, they need more versatile players who can fit into any role to help supplement Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons. Financially, signing a player via free agency could be tricky, so they might have to get creative with trade packages. All will depend on if they’re willing to split from some of their young players, or veteran players like Jerami Grant. — Andrews


28. Charlotte Hornets
2023-24 record: 21-61
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft picks: No. 6 (own) and No. 42 (via HOU)

There is a fresh coat of paint in Charlotte with the hiring of Jeff Peterson to run basketball operations and Charles Lee as head coach. And to usher in this new partnership, both will have to make a decision about their star player — unrestricted free agent Miles Bridges — this offseason. Bridges averaged career highs in points (21), rebounds (7.3), steals (0.9) and usage rate (24.2) last season. However, Charlotte is in the beginning stages of deciding if rewarding Bridges with a lucrative contract is the smart move. Bridges was arrested for felony domestic violence in June 2022, missed the 2022-23 season and the beginning of this season, and pleaded no contest to the charge, receiving three years of probation. — Marks


29. Washington Wizards
2023-24 record: 15-67
Result: Missed postseason
2024 draft picks: No. 2 (own), No. 26 (via LAC) and No. 51 (via PHX)

Year 2 of the Wizards’ rebuild begins with the draft, with Washington claiming the second pick to go with No. 26 and No. 51. The No. 2 pick is Washington’s most important draft pick since taking Bradley Beal with the third pick in 2012. Will the Wizards be active in the trade market on draft night and see what assets a veteran scorer like Kyle Kuzma could bring back in return? They elevated Brian Keefe to head coach, leaning into his strength in developing players like Bilal Coulibaly. Washington also will have a decision to make with free agent point guard Tyus Jones, who averaged career highs of 12 points and 7.3 assists. — Youngmisuk


30. Detroit Pistons
2023-24 record: 14-68
Result: Missed playoffs
2024 draft picks: No. 5 (own) and No. 53 (via NYK)

Detroit started the offseason by hiring Trajan Langdon to run basketball operations. Langdon takes over a roster that won a franchise-low 14 games and set the record for the NBA’s single-season losing streak with 28. There is light at the end of the tunnel to reshape the roster as Detroit has the No. 5 pick in the upcoming draft and a projected $65 million in cap space. The Pistons’ front man and former No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham is also eligible to sign his rookie extension this offseason. — Marks

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