NBA Power Rankings: Post-free agency and trade season edition

Chicago Bulls, NBA Power Rankings (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls, NBA Power Rankings (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Rudy Gobert is on the move to Minnesota. Deandre Ayton is actually returning to Phoenix. Dejounte Murray is headed to Atlanta and trashing his former team online in the process. Multiple players are signing extensions while others like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are still waiting to be traded. There’s never a dull day in the NBA, is there? As such, these blockbuster moves have had a significant impact on the league’s landscape in our NBA Power Rankings.

While several other teams made big moves to improve, the Chicago Bulls stayed true to the original plan and decided to bring back the same core from last season. It’s hard to see that as a failure, considering Chicago managed to bring Zach LaVine back in the biggest signing in franchise history. With their star secured for the future, let’s take a look at how the Bulls stack up against their competition entering next season.

Here is the first edition of our 2022-23 NBA Power Rankings.

NBA Power Rankings
Chet Holmgren, NBA Power Rankings (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

NBA Power Rankings: 5 blatantly tanking teams

30. Oklahoma City Thunder

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and now Chet Holmgren leading the way, the Oklahoma City Thunder are certainly more talented than their ranking would show. However, there’s no team in the NBA more committed to outright tanking, intentionally resting players, and doing whatever it takes to lose as many games as possible as the Thunder. Their somewhat questionable tactics will have OKC right back at the bottom until they have stockpiled enough young talent for the future.

29. San Antonio Spurs

After dealing away Dejounte Murray, the San Antonio Spurs made the long-overdue decision to completely revamp the roster and look to rebuild anew. Locking down Keldon Johnson to a long-term deal, giving bigger roles to Devin Vassell and Joshua Primo, and positioning themselves for a good shot at Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 NBA Draft was absolutely the best decision the Spurs could have made.

28. Houston Rockets

It remains to be seen if Jalen Green is ready to take the reigns and become “the guy” on a contending team, and until the Houston Rockets know for sure, we can expect them to be right back at the bottom of things. Green, Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, and Alperen Sengun form a very interesting young core, but I wouldn’t expect Houston to start racking up wins until they find a real point guard to run the offense.

27. Indiana Pacers

After dealing away Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, and Caris LeVert, this year’s Indiana Pacers will look radically different. Unfortunately, they were unable to convince Phoenix to not match their offer sheet for Deandre Ayton. Instead of winning now, I expect the Pacers to try finding their Ayton replacement in the draft. That being said, Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin will still make this team fun to watch until then.

26. Orlando Magic

With Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac expected to finally return to the fold, we’ll get our first chance to see these young Orlando Magic at full strength. Paolo Banchero immediately steps into a primary offensive role here, providing some much-needed structure to this roster. I think the Magic could outperform these lowly expectations provided a few things fall their way, but they will almost assuredly still be a lottery team next year.