Power Rankings

NBA Power Rankings: Post-free agency standings


The NBA Draft is in the rear view mirror and free agency is over for the most part. Let’s check how all 30 teams stack up.

30 photos

In: JaVale McGee; Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens
Out: Tristan Thompson, Jordan Bell, Alfonzo McKinnie
Pending: Matthew Dellavedova, Ante Zizic

Isaac Okoro was a prudent pick for a team in need of a defensive and athletic boost on the perimeter. But not much has changed from the Cleveland team that won 19 games in 2019-20. A jump from Collin Sexton or Darius Garland could affect their fortunes.


In: Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Austin Rivers, Omari Spellman, Jacob Evans, Elfrid Payton (retained), Theo Pinson (retained); Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley
Out: Bobby Portis, Moe Harkless, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, Kenny Wooten
Pending: Wayne Ellington, Damyean Dotson, Jared Harper

The Knicks are in asset-stacking mode and doing a decent job of it. But Tom Thibodeau's first roster won't look drastically better than last season's. If Toppin pops and R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson break out, the Knicks could take a step forward, but as it stands, they’re at a relative talent deficiency.


In: Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Josh Jackson, Jahlil Okafor, Delon Wright, Justin Jackson, Dzanan Musa, Zhaire Smith; Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, Saben Lee
Out: Christian Wood, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell, Kyhri Thomas
Pending: Langston Galloway, John Henson, Jordan Bone, Jordan McRae, Brandon Knight, Thon Maker, Louis King

“What the hell are the Pistons doing?” became a popular refrain among NBA observers as Troy Weaver’s first free agency as general manager unfolded. The (almost) finished product is… still a bit mismatched. But, to their credit, Detroit did well to nab a building block in Killian Hayes -- along with Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey -- in the draft, take a flier on Josh Jackson and ink the promising Jerami Grant for the next three seasons. Could additional trade dominos fall with Blake Griffin in Derrick Rose? How many centers can Weaver stack? Both questions that need answering as the season approaches.


In: George Hill, Al Horford, Trevor Ariza, Ty Jerome, Darius Miller, Kenrich Williams, T.J. Leaf, Mike Muscala (retained), Hamidou Diallo (retained), a Kajillion draft picks; Aleksej Pokusevski, Theo Maledon
Out: Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schröder, Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel
Pending: Andre Robertson, Deonte Burton, Kevin Hervey

The teardown is in effect. While the Thunder will still be an eminently watchable product with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Aleksej Pokusevski, at least, projected to be on the roster come opening night, Sam Presti’s intentions were clear in offloading Chris Paul, Dennis Schröder and Steven Adams, among others, primarily for draft assets.


In: Ricky Rubio, Ed Davis, Malik Beasley (retained), Juan Hernangómez (retained); Anthony Edwards, Leandro Bolmaro (stash), Jaden McDaniels, Ashton Hagans
Out: James Johnson
Pending: Jordan McLaughlin, Evan Turner, Kelan Martin

The Timberwolves want to win, but their core -- while promising -- has something to prove. Karl Anthony-Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards project as a potent offensive nucleus and Malik Beasley is back to provide some pop on the wing, but questions regarding defense and fit will persist until proven otherwise. Ricky Rubio, at least, should be a stabilizing backcourt presence at both ends.


In: Garrett Temple, Denzel Valentine (retained); Patrick Williams, Marko Simonović (stash), Devon Dotson
Out: Kris Dunn
Pending: Shaquille Harrison

After a tsunami of change across the front office and coaching staff, the Bulls have held steady on the personnel front to this point. They’re currently on pace to return 13 players from 2019-20’s 15-man roster that produced 22 wins in 65 games.

There’s reason for that: Artūras Karnišovas and company inherited a fairly inflexible cap sheet for the offseason, and the team’s five most important players (Zach LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Patrick Williams) are all 25 or under -- 23 and under, discounting LaVine. Perhaps this season will be evaluatory under Billy Donovan, who is lauded for his player development acumen, before setting up for bigger splashes in the summer of 2021. Expect improvement from the Bulls this season -- perhaps enough to jump a couple of the teams in front of them here -- but in the immediate future, they appear to have been lapped by other teams in their Eastern Conference tier during free agency.


In: Jakob Poeltl (retained), Drew Eubanks (retained); Devin Vassell, Tre Jones
Out: Bryn Forbes, Chimezie Metu
Pending: Marco Bellinelli, Quinndary Weatherspoon

Entering draft night with the 11th and 41st overall picks and leaving with Devin Vassell and Tre Jones is solid work by San Antonio. Free agency was less eventful -- their biggest move was extending Poeltl -- and all of DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay are set to return. Steps forward for any of the Dejounte Murray/Keldon Johnson/Lonnie Walker trio could position them well to rebuild on the fly, but the Spurs find themselves in limbo a bit for the time being.


In: Dwayne Bacon, James Ennis (retained), Michael Carter-Williams (retained), Gary Clark (retained); Cole Anthony
Out: D.J. Augustin, Wesley Iwundu
Pending: Melvin Frazier Jr., B.J. Johnson, Vic Law

A team that’s been long in search of a lead guard of the future may have found it in Cole Anthony. Evan Fournier is back, and Nikola Vučević continues to produce at a borderline All-Star level, but with Jonathan Isaac set to miss the season after tearing his ACL during the 2019-20 restart, there’s a firm cap on the Magic’s ceiling for this year.


In: Robin Lopez, Raul Neto, Dāvis Bertāns (retained), Garrison Matthews (retained); Deni Avdija, Cassius Winston, Anthony Gill
Out: N/A
Pending: Shabazz Napier, Gary Payton II, Ian Mahinmi, Jonathan Williams

All of a sudden, John Wall reportedly wants out. Whether a suitor emerges remains to be seen, but much of the optimism around the Wizards stemmed from Wall and Bradley Beal getting back to work with some solid young talent flanking them. Deni Avdija, at least, still represents a solid addition ninth overall, and while Bertāns’ five-year, $80 million extension might be considered an overpay, he adds a valuable element to their offense. The defensive side of the ball remains a soft spot for Washington, and other than the marginal signing Robin Lopez, they didn’t do much to alleviate concerns there.


In: Gordon Hayward, Bismack Biyombo (retained); LaMelo Ball, Nick Richards, Grant Riller, Nate Darling
Out: Dwyane Bacon, Willy Hernangómez
Pending: Kobi Simmons

The Hornets, Wizards and Bulls were all around neck-and-neck last season, but the Hornets did the most to immediately improve their roster this offseason. LaMelo Ball is a worthy star swing at No. 3 overall, and though Gordon Hayward’s four-year, $120 million is certainly an overpay, he still affects winning as a scorer, facilitator and defender from the wing spot when healthy. There remains a hole at center, but Charlotte’s solid young nucleus -- Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington -- got quite the jolt last week.


In: Tyrese Haliburton, Jahmi’us Ramsey
Out: Harry Giles, Kent Bazemore
Pending: Bogdan Bogdanović, Alex Len, Yogi Ferrell, DaQuan Jeffries

De’Aaron Fox got his bag, and a new front office regime helmed by Monte McNair drafted a perfect backcourt running mate for him in Tyrese Haliburton. If Marvin Bagley III can stay healthy this season, the Kings should get a better idea of where their team-build stands. Two balls that remain in the air: Whether or not they trade the aggrieved Buddy Hield, and whether or not they match Atlanta’s four-year, $72 million offer sheet from the Atlanta Hawks.


In: Danilo Gallinari, Kris Dunn, Rajon Rondo, Tony Snell; Onyeka Okongwu 

Out: Damian Jones, Jeff Teague, Deandre' Bembry, Vince Carter (retired)

Pending: Bogdan Bogdanović, Skal Labissiere, DeAndre’ Bembry, Charles Brown Jr., Treveon Graham

The Hawks are on the rise, having deployed their abundant cap space to affect immediate, material improvement. Coming off consecutive career seasons, Gallinari should flourish playing off Trae Young. Kris Dunn and Rajon Rondo should bolster their shaky perimeter defense. And Okongwu should develop into a long-term defensive anchor, even if redundant with Clint Capela for the time being. Adding Bogdan Bogdanović would be gravy -- and almost assure Atlanta a playoff spot.


In: Jalen Lecque, Justin Holiday (retained), JaKarr Sampson (retained); Cassius Stanley
Out: T.J. Leaf
Pending: Naz Mitrou-Long, Alize Johnson, Brian Bowen II

The Pacers appear relatively content to run it back under new coach Nate Bjorkgren, though swirling rumors around Victor Oladipo’s status could be a dark cloud over affairs if he enters next season still on the roster. Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner isn’t a championship core, but is amply competitive in the East.


In: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Willy Hernangómez; Kira Lewis Jr., Nnaji Marshall
Out: Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, E’Twaun Moore, Jahlil Okafor
Pending: Brandon Ingram, Frank Jackson, Josh Gray

Brandon Ingram is still floating in the ether, but with cap space drying up, a return to New Orleans feels inevitable. Trading Jrue Holiday for three first-rounders (and two swaps) continued to set the Pels up splendidly for the future, while the additions of Bledsoe and Adams will help them compete for a playoff spot now. And Kira Lewis Jr., drafted 13th overall, should grow into an electric lead guard of the future to complement Zion Williamson and Ingram.


In: Mario Hezonja, De’Anthony Melton (retained), John Konchar (retained), Jontay Porter (retained); Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman, Robert Woodard III, Killian Tillie
Out: Josh Jackson
Pending: Anthony Tolliver, Yuta Watanabe

They entered the draft without a first-round pick and walked out with three great value plays in Bane, Tillman and Woodard -- plus perhaps the highest-upside UDFA of the bunch in Killian Tillie. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. spearhead their supercharged rebuild and should have Memphis prominently featured in the playoff conversation once again.


In: Christian Wood, Sterling Brown; Kenyon Martin Jr., Mason Jones
Out: Robert Covington, Austin Rivers, Jeff Green, Isaiah Hartenstein
Pending: Tyson Chandler, DeMarre Carroll, Thabo Sefalosha, Bruno Caboclo, Michael Frazier II, William Howard

Until James Harden and Russell Westbrook are officially gone -- which appears more a matter of when than if -- the Rockets should be treated as a playoff hopeful, at the least. And even after flipping Robert Covington for draft capital, inking Wood off of his breakout 2019-20 offers tremendous upside. If they find suitable deals for their stars, let the rebuild begin.


In: Kelly Oubre, Brad Wanamaker, Kent Bazemore; James Wiseman, Nico Mannion, Justinian Jessup
Out: Ky Bowman
Pending: N/A

Klay Thompson’s Achilles tear was a devastating blow for basketball fans everywhere -- and the Warriors’ title hopes. They rebounded nicely to add Oubre on the wing, potential reserve contributors in Wanamaker and Bazemore -- and Wiseman, their No. 2 overall pick, could be a star. But, while no team with Steph Curry and Draymond Green should be fully counted out, the Thompson injury likely plummets Golden State into a crowded field between Nos. 6 and 11 in the West.


In: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, Abdel Nader, E’Twaun Moore, Dario Šarić (retained), Jevon Carter (retained); Jalen Smith
Out: Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky
Pending: Cheick Diallo, Tariq Owens

Trading for the revived Chris Paul telegraphed a clear, win-now motive for Phoenix. While plucking Jalen Smith with the tenth pick was a bit of a head-scratcher, they added 3-and-D help in Jae Crowder in free agency, and with Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges all poised for continued improvement, their quest for a playoff return begins with optimism. A decision on Dario Šarić (restricted free agent) looms as likely their final free agent decision.


In: Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., Harry Giles, Enes Kanter, Rodney Hood (retained), Carmelo Anthony (retained); C.J. Elleby
Out: Trevor Ariza, Mario Hezonja, Caleb Swanigan, Wenyen Gabriel
Pending: Hassan Whiteside, Caleb Swanigan, Wenyen Gabriel, Moses Brown, Jaylen Hoard

Short on wing defense? How about adding Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr., two of the switchiest, most versatile disruptors in the association? Damian Lillard is fresh off a historically prolific scoring season, C.J. McCollum is in the thick of his prime, Rodney Hood returns and full seasons from Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins -- plus the additions of Kanter and Giles -- make for a solid frontcourt rotation. Consider the Trail Blazers among the leaders in what will be a contentious fight for playoff position from No. 6-10 in the West.


In: Seth Curry, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Terrance Ferguson, Tony Bradley; Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed
Out: Josh Richardson, Al Horford, Alec Burks, Zhaire Smith, Raul Neto, Norvel Pelle
Pending: Kyle O’Quinn, Glenn Robinson III

It’s to overstate how expertly the 76ers played this offseason -- not so coincidentally, Daryl Morey’s first as general manager. Swapping Al Horford (and his albatross contract), Josh Richardson and (relatively marginal) future draft assets for Danny Green, Seth Curry and Terrence Ferguson addressed the team’s desperate need for perimeter shooting without sacrificing too much defensively. Maxey (No. 21), Joe (No. 49) -- another pure shooter -- and Reed (No. 58) were all drafted at positions of great value. Dwight Howard, fresh off a resurgent campaign, provides depth behind Joel Embiid, not a logjam beside him. 

Last season, everything Philadelphia did on the court felt mismatched and uneven. Now, they have a roster that, on paper, is much better tailored to their two headline stars, Embiid and Ben Simmons. A breakout under Doc Rivers -- another upgrade -- could very well be in the cards.


In: Josh Richardson, Wesley Iwundu, James Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein (retained); Tyrell Terry, Tyler Bey, Nate Hinton
Out: Seth Curry, Delon Wright
Pending: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, J.J. Barea, Courtney Lee, Antonius Cleveland, Josh Reaves

Adding athletic wing defenders was clearly atop the priority list this offseason. Richardson will slide in nicely alongside Luka Dončić and Tim Hardaway Jr., and snagging Terry with the first pick of the second round was a good move to ease the perimeter shooting pain of Curry’s departure. With Dončić well-positioned for another superstar leap in Year 3, the sky's the limit for Dallas.


In: JaMychal Green, Facundo Campazzo, Paul Millsap (retained); Zeke Nnaji, R.J. Hampton, Markus Howard
Out: Jerami Grant, Torrey Craig
Pending: Troy Daniels, Noah Vonleh

They’re led by as promising a star duo as any in Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray, will get Will Barton back, and made solid, high-upside additions through the draft -- nabbing Nnaji and Hampton in the 20s -- and international market -- signing a passing maestro in Campazzo. But in Grant and Craig, two important wing defenders skip town. Retaining Millsap and signing JaMychal Green in light of Grant’s departure was solid work, and they’re still neck and neck with Utah on paper, but this offseason didn’t play out how Denver envisioned.


In: Derrick Favors, Jordan Clarkson (retained); Udoka Azubuike, Elijah Hughes
Out: Tony Bradley
Pending: Emmanuel Mudiay, Justin Wright-Foreman, Jarrell Brantley

The Jazz, plus Derrick Favors and two rooks, appear to be running back last year’s construction. And there are worse plans to have. This is a team that, without their second leading scorer in Bojan Bogdanović, took the Nuggets to the final possession of a Game 7 in the 2020 Western Conference first round. Bogdanović returning and Donovan Mitchell taking the leap he appears poised for puts Utah firmly in the mix for a top-four seed in the West.


In: Fred VanVleet, Aron Baynes, DeAndre’ Bembry, Chris Boucher (retained); Malachi Flynn, Jalen Harris
Out: Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol
Pending: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Malcolm Miller, Oshae Brissett

For a moment, the Raptors’ drafting of Flynn late in the first round appeared to foreshadow parting ways with VanVleet, but their once-undrafted free agent star is back on a four-year, $85 million extension. Losing Serge Ibaka is significant, but running back the core of last season’s No. 2 seed in the East -- with Aron Baynes in Marc Gasol's spot -- sets Toronto up for another highly competitive campaign, especially with expected progression from 2020 third-team All-NBAer Pascal Siakam. (Oh, and a lot of teams will regret not beating two years, $4 million for Bembry.)


In: Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague; Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard, Yam Madar (stash)
Out: Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Brad Wanamaker, Vincent Poirier
Pending: Tacko Fall, Tremont Waters

The Celtics’ ceiling rises and falls with Jayson Tatum. It’s that simple. Losing Gordon Hayward for nothing stings, but swapping Enes Kanter for Tristan Thompson is a seismic upgrade, and Aaron Nesmith, Jeff Teague and Payton Pritchard, if they pan out, could add shotmaking to a bench that wore thin during last year’s playoff run. Boston still feels a piece away from getting over the hump, but has enough top-end talent to hang around with the East’s elite.


In: Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, Joe Harris (retained); Reggie Perry
Out: Garrett Temple, Dzanan Musa
Pending: Chris Chiozza, Wilson Chandler, Tyler Johnson

You could add “Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving” to that incoming list and no one would bat an eye. Assuming Durant is close to his former self, there’s no more dangerous challenger to Miami and Milwaukee’s claim to Eastern Conference supremacy. James Harden rumors will only continue, but even if that pursuit doesn’t bear fruit, Brooklyn’s stable of complementary players -- Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Harris, Shamet and Jarrett Allen, to name a few -- give this roster a lethal blend of superstar talent and snug-fitting depth pieces.


In: Avery Bradley, Moe Harkless, Goran Dragić (retained), Meyers Leonard (retained), Udonis Haslem (retained); Precious Achiuwa
Out: Jae Crowder, Derrick Jones Jr.
Pending: Solomon Hill

No reason to drop the Heat any further than the No. 2-ranked Eastern Conference team after their improbable run to the 2020 NBA Finals. With Goran Dragić back, Moe Harkless sliding into the wing hole vacated by Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley shoring up their backcourt defense, they return the majority of the nucleus that forged their strong bubble showing. Jimmy Butler isn’t going anywhere and Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo are only rising. Get used to the Heat being near the top of these.


In: Luke Kennard, Serge Ibaka, Marcus Morris (retained), Patrick Patterson (retained); Daniel Oturu, Jay Scrubb
Out: Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, JaMychal Green
Pending: Reggie Jackson, Johnathan Motley

A second-round exit was an inexcusable result for last season’s Clippers, but they still enter this one with as loaded a roster as anyone in the league. Perhaps with a new coaching staff, the veteran addition of Serge Ibaka (who, while five years older, brings better floor-spacing and rim protection than Harrell) and Luke Kennard, who’s coming off the best statistical season of his career, they’ll live up to their full potential. The Clips also brought back Marcus Morris and added two second-round helpfuls in center Daniel Oturu and wing Jay Scrubb, the latter of whom enters the league immediately atop my soon-to-come power ranking of Unfortunate Basketball Names.



In: Jrue Holiday, D.J. Augustin, Bobby Portis, Bryn Forbes, Torrey Craig, Pat Connaughton (retained); Jordan Nwora, Sam Merrill
Out: Robin Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova, Wesley Matthews, Sterling Brown, Frank Mason, Marvin Williams (retired)
Pending: Kyle Korver

The Bucks scored a major upgrade* adding Jrue Holiday as a third star alongside Khris Middleton and their two-time reigning MVP. They’d have loved to form the most prolific five-man unit in the league with a sign-and-trade for Bogdan Bogdanović, but with that move dead in the water, Milwaukee did well to add veteran depth that fits in D.J. Augustin, Torrey Craig, Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis. And Jordan Nwora and Sam Merrill, their two second-round picks, project to contribute immediately, as floor-spacers at the very least.

Is it enough to lock Giannis in before the start of the season? Or do the Bucks’ future fates ride on this year’s playoff results? Time will tell, but their moves were enough to make them the East favorites for now.

*Editor’s Note: Draft assets don’t count toward these rankings



In: Dennis Schröder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, Jordan Bell, Alfonzo McKinnie, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (retained)

Contact Us