NBA Offseason Tier Rankings

NBA Tier Rankings- Post Free Agency/Draft

Western Conference:

Tier 1: NBA Title Contender

Golden State Warriors: The defending NBA champs not only were able to sign every important piece from last years team but they also were able to upgrade their bench by adding Nick Young and Omri Casspi. The Warriors are not only the favorite to win the title but they could have a shot at going 16-0 during the playoffs.

Houston Rockets: If there is any team that could possibly pose a threat to the Warriors right now its the Houston Rockets. They were able to get Chris Paul and are looking to find a way to trade for Carmelo Anthony. Should the Rockets get him, they would have a team that on paper might be the Warriors toughest opponent but that could just mean that it takes 6 games instead of 5 for Golden State to win the series.

San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs won 61 games last season, saw Kawhi Leonard become a MVP candidate, and had the Warriors down by 20 before an injury to Leonard killed any chance they had at the upset. San Antonio brings back virtually the same team but they did add Rudy Gay who is recovering from an Achilles injury. The Spurs will be the Spurs this upcoming season so expect a top 3 seed and 60 wins again.

Tier 2: Playoff Contender

Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC pulled off an impressive heist when they traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Paul George. Even if George could be a one year rental the move still allowed them to get rid of Oladipo’s contract and not give up any assets. If the Thunder played in the East they would be a real threat to play in the Conference championship and possibly the NBA Finals but in the West they are probably no better than the 4th best team.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Much like OKC, Minnesota also pulled off an impressive trade landing Jimmy Butler from the Bulls for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and a swap of 1st round picks. The move makes the Timberwolves look like a team that should make the playoffs instead of a lottery team.

Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets have a star in center Nikolai Jokic and they went out and signed Paul Millsap to pair with him. Denver now has one of the NBA’s best frontcourts and they should ride it to a playoff berth.

Tier 3: Playoff Hopefuls

L.A. Clippers: The Clippers lost Chris Paul to the Rockets but they did sign his replacement in Miloš Teodosić. He should help the Clippers remain a playoff team along with Blake Griffin who resigned with L.A. The Clippers on paper have a better bench but the loss of Paul will hurt but they shouldn’t miss the playoffs.

Portland Trail Blazers: The Trail Blazers are in a rough situation as they have so much money tied up into their current roster but the roster was only good enough to earn the 8 seed in the playoffs. They not only have to find a way to shed some salary but also will have to find a way to resign Jusuf Nurkic next season. Portland should make the playoffs but that’s about as good as it gets for this roster.

New Orleans Pelicans: New Orleans decided to pair superstar Anthony Davis with DeMarcus Cousins and it didn’t look great but neither were the players around them. The Pelicans did bring back Jrue Holiday who looked good but they also signed Rajon Rondo in a move they feel will help the young team. The Pelicans look like a team that will fight for that last playoff spot.

Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies are a team stuck in an interesting spot. They have talent but their current roster isn’t on par with the super teams at the top of the conference. Its hard to see them being more than 7-8 seed in the loaded Western Conference.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz were a good team last year that played great defense and had several players who could score. They return most of that team but they not only lost Gordon Hayward to Boston but brought in Ricky Rubio to run the point. The Jazz should be good defensively again but they will struggle to score at times.

Tier 4: Outside Looking In

Sacramento Kings: The Kings did the unthinkable and had a good offseason and draft. They will be much improved compared to last years finish but they are still years away from competing for a playoff spot.

L.A. Lakers: The Lakers will be better from the addition of Lopez and Ball running point but they still lack the talent to contend for a playoff spot. They’ll be fun to watch but next offseason is when they will go all in to build a playoff roster.

Tier 5: Number One Pick Contender

Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks have some nice pieces and a future hall of famer but this team is going to be rough to watch.

Phoenix Suns: The Suns have some good young players in Booker and Jackson but they still need more before they move out of lottery territory.

Eastern Conference:

Tier 1: NBA Title Contender

Cleveland Cavaliers: As long as the Cavaliers have LeBron then they are the title contender in the East but if they trade Kyrie Irving then that could change. Should they not get a great haul for him then maybe Boston or another tier 2 team becomes a title threat in the East.

Tier 2: Playoff Contender

Boston Celtics: Boston made a big splash this offseason landing Gordon Hayward and now they look like they could give Cleveland a better series. Should Kyrie get traded, we could see a 7 game series to decide who goes to the NBA Finals from Boston and Cleveland.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards have one of the NBA’s best starting lineups and one of the NBA’s worst bench units. They attempted to upgrade the bench during this offseason and if it pays off then they could become a contender in the East.

Toronto Raptors: Toronto decided to keep its team together while making small upgrades. Should Cleveland take a step back the Raptors would love to get payback for the beating they took in last years playoffs.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks seem poised to take another step this season and as long Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to elevate his game, they will. Milwaukee isn’t quite as good as the teams in this tier but they should be much better than tier 3 teams.

Tier 3: Playoff Hopefuls

Philadelphia 76ers: After years of tanking, it appears this is the season where we get a glimpse of how the payoff will look. Philadelphia has a lot of young talent to go with the signing of JJ Redick as well as the returns of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Miami Heat: Miami is a tough team to figure out. They looked terrible for half the season last year and then they looked like a top 5 team during the last half. The Heat should be a playoff team but just how good are they?

Charlotte Hornets: Charlotte took a step back last season as injuries and an inability to win close games hurt any playoff chances they had. This offseason they acquired Dwight Howard while also drafting Malik Monk. The Hornets should be better this year.

Tier 4: Outside Looking In:

Detroit Pistons: Detroit was a disappointment last year as they too had injury problems and issues with player fit. They have talent to be a playoff team but its hard to see them passing any of the teams ahead.

New York Knicks: The Knicks are finally in rebuild mode and should they get rid of Carmelo Anthony this year, they will slide down into tier 5. New York needed a fresh makeover after the Phil Jackson debacle.

Tier 5: Number One Pick Contender

Orlando Magic: The Magic have many issues from player personnel to fit. Maybe this is the year they fix it.

Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks are in full rebuild mode.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers traded Paul George for an unimpressive haul of Oladipo and Sabonis. They have Myles Turner to build around but he wont be enough as they should battle for a top 3 pick.

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls traded Jimmy Butler for LaVine and Dunn. They have a team that fits the coach’s philosophy better but they still lack talent to escape having a top 5 pick come next June.

Brooklyn Nets: The Nets are better than last year and will be more competitive. They should have a bottom 5 record but it might not be the worst team in the NBA this season.

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