Updated: Aug 21, 2021
1) Milwaukee Bucks – Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks overcame multiple obstacles to complete one of the most impressive championship runs in NBA history.
2) Phoenix Suns – Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are the future of the Suns, but will future Hall of Famer Chris Paul be back in Phoenix next season?
3) Los Angeles Clippers – A trip to the Conference Finals despite losing Kawhi Leonard has to be encouraging going into next season.
4) Atlanta Hawks – A deep playoff run by Trae Young and the Hawks has put Atlanta among the East’s elite.
5) Brooklyn Nets – Kevin Durant had one of the best performances in playoff history, but injuries to Kyrie Irving and James Harden derailed the Nets’ chance at a championship.
6) Utah Jazz – For the second straight year, Utah’s season ended with a devastating playoff loss, this time as the #1 overall seed.
7) Philadelphia 76ers – Another early playoff exit has made it clear that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid cannot coexist in Philly.
8) Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets found out how much they missed Jamal Murray’s scoring
in a disappointing sweep against the Suns.
9) Dallas Mavericks – Luka Doncic will be an MVP candidate for at least the next decade, but he can’t win a championship by himself.
10) Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers have too much talent to have only one playoff series win in the last five years.
11) Los Angeles Lakers – LeBron James may get the publicity, but the Lakers were outscored by 47 points after Anthony Davis was injured in Game 4 against the Suns.
12) Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant and the Grizzlies hope to take the next step in 2022 after a strong showing against the top-seeded Jazz.
13) New York Knicks – The Knicks will need to find more offense if they hope to get past the first round in 2022.
14) Miami Heat – After reaching the NBA Finals in 2020, the Heat were humbled by a highly-motivated Bucks team.
15) Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown rose to elite status in 2021, but the rest of the Celtics’ roster will be anyone’s guess in 2022.
16) Washington Wizards – Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal put on a show in 2021, but the Wizards need to find some defensive help to improve in 2022.
17) Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry played like an MVP this season, but he needs help if the Warriors hope to return to glory.
18) Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets finished the season on a down note, but LaMelo Ball and a young supporting cast provide hope for the future.
19) Indiana Pacers – The Pacers’ porous defense finally did them in with their ugly play-in loss to the Wizards.
20) San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs have plenty of decisions to make after a disappointing play-in loss.
21) New Orleans Pelicans – It will be playoffs or bust for Zion Williamson and the talented Pelicans in 2022.
22) Sacramento Kings – The Kings have plenty of offense, but they will need to improve on defense to make the playoffs next season.
23) Chicago Bulls – Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic have a chance to be a dynamic duo in 2022.
24) Toronto Raptors – Injuries derailed the Raptors in 2021, but there is enough talent to bounce back next season.
25) Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell give the Wolves an intriguing trio going into 2022.
26) Cleveland Cavaliers – The young backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland has given Cleveland fans hope for the future.
27) Orlando Magic – The rebuilding Magic will welcome back Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz in 2022.
28) Detroit Pistons – Most Improved Player finalist Jerami Grant will need help if the Pistons hope to stay out of the Central Division cellar.
29) Houston Rockets – Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. are strong building blocks, but John Wall and Eric Gordon are barriers to the Rockets’ rebuilding efforts.
30) Oklahoma City Thunder – The Thunder fought hard in 2021, but they just didn’t have enough players in the end.