Way too early NBA power rankings 2022-23

Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

team. 147. . . . Brooklyn Nets. 15

NBA power rankings — 15. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets are one of the league’s premier contenders on paper. Alas, last season cannot be ignored, nor can Kevin Durant’s trade request and the uncertainty around Kyrie Irving’s future. Who will play for Brooklyn next season, and how long will they play for Brooklyn? That is the question. Ben Simmons’ theoretical return should benefit the team, and any hypothetical Durant trade should yield a big enough return to keep the Nets in contention. But the vibes are bad — straight up horrendous — and the lack of organizational cohesion could once again be the Nets’ undoing.

Atlanta Hawks. 14. team. 125. . .

NBA power rankings — 14. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks swung big with a trade for All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray. With two dynamic playmakers now helming offense, it will be interesting to see how Trae Young’s workload changes. Can he become more dynamic off the ball, a la Stephen Curry, or is it Dejounte who will have to undergo the most drastic change. On paper, Atlanta has the talent to really compete. We’ll see if last season’s lethargic play was merely a blip on the radar, or a sign of things to come.

Toronto Raptors. 13. team. 81. . .

NBA power rankings — 13. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors continue to field deep, sturdy teams who can swarm on defense and do just enough to get by on offense. A Durant trade would obviously change the calculus of Toronto’s immediate outlook, but even without Durant, the Raptors could make plenty of noise in the East. OG Anunoby is due for another leap, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are proper All-Stars, and very few teams can develop talent better on the margins.