2021 NBA Preseason Power Rankings

Every season, almost every team believes it can be better than the year before. This season, other teams believe it, too.

In the 2021-22 NBA.com GM Survey, 13 different teams received votes for the “Which team will be most improved?” question. That’s the highest total in the history of the survey and almost double the average of the last 10 years (6.7). The Chicago Bulls got the most votes, but only 27% of the total.

There was no Kevin Durant or LeBron James or Anthony Davis changing teams this season. The two teams that shook things up the most were the Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. But for both, you can make a valid argument for why the moves they made won’t work out so well. Other teams that received votes made smaller moves or have young cores that should see year-to-year improvement.

For all 30 teams in the league, even when you disregard injuries, there are best and worst-case scenarios for how the next eight months will play out. Right now, nobody knows which teams and players will fulfill their potential for the 2021-22 season and which will disappoint.

But we’ll start finding out on Tuesday. The games count now, all of them matter, and the very first one will feature the two teams projected to be the best in the league.

The Brooklyn Nets were No. 1 in the offseason Eastern Conference rankings, but Kyrie Irving’s absence is a good excuse to start the season with the defending champs in the top spot. The Nets, of course, have an immediate opportunity to take it back, visiting Milwaukee on ring night.

1 Milwaukee Bucks

2 Brooklyn Nets

3 Phoenix Suns

4 Utah Jazz

5 Los Angeles Lakers

6 Dallas Mavericks

7 Atlanta Hawks

8 Philadelphia 76ers

9 Miami Heat

10 Golden State Warriors

11 Denver Nuggets

12 LA Clippers

13 New York Knicks

14 Memphis Grizzlies

15 Chicago Bulls

16 Boston Celtics

17 Portland Trail Blazers

18 Toronto Raptors

19 Minnesota Timberwolves

20 Sacramento Kings

21 Washington Wizards

22 Charlotte Hornets

23 Indiana Pacers

24 San Antonio Spurs

25 Cleveland Cavaliers

26 New Orleans Pelicans

27 Detroit Pistons

28 Orlando Magic

29 Houston Rockets

30 Oklahoma City Thunder