The 2021-2022 NBA season is almost here, with about 2 months left before the kick-off. There are a ton of exciting storylines including multiple superteams and some bright young players looking to make a jump in their careers. But which teams will have the best records in the league?
It is time to predict the win-loss record for every NBA team for the 2021 season. While the most talented teams will have the best records, some other teams will fail to make an impact due to intense competition in their conferences. While anything can change during an NBA season including blockbuster trades or injuries, here is what we can expect by the end of next season as things stand.
30. Orlando Magic - 17-65
The Magic will likely have the worst record in the NBA this offseason. They did well by drafting Jalen Suggs to be a cornerstone alongside Jonathan Isaac, but they do not have much else. Orlando are clearly in rebuild mode and will probably tank the season away with the hopes of acquiring another top pick in next year’s draft.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder - 21-61
The Oklahoma City Thunder are another team in rebuild mode and make no apologies for tanking the season away. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a bright young star and the franchise has high hopes for guard Josh Giddey. Rebuilding also means that the Thunder will have the worst record in the Western Conference.
28. Detroit Pistons - 25-57
Cade Cunningham will be the star for Detroit all year as the brightest spot on a rebuilding squad. The Pistons should also see improvements from Killian Hayes and Saddiq Bey, while other young players including Sekou Doumbouya should begin making an impact for their team. But the Pistons will likely be at the bottom of the East again as they continue to develop.
27. Houston Rockets - 26-56
The Houston Rockets believe they got the best scorer in the draft in Jalen Green, and have a very bright future with the likes of Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood playing starter's minutes. But Houston is at least a few more years away from becoming a major threat in the West, which means they will have a losing record again.
26. San Antonio Spurs - 27-55
It is strange to see the San Antonio Spurs playing like a mediocre team under Gregg Popovich, but that is the reality of their situation right now. The Spurs lost DeMar DeRozan, which means they do not have a star player to guide them to a winning record. Gregg Popovich will break the all-time wins record as a coach while the Spurs will be in the lottery by the end of next season.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves - 27-55
Minnesota held the 3rd worst seed in the West last season and could be at risk of falling there again. The Timberwolves have Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, two star players with exceptional talent, so the core is there. The Timberwolves could find a way to click on both ends of the floor and fight for the 8th seed, but based on last season, that is unlikely.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers - 28-54
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a future star in the making with Evan Mobley, and his pairing with Jarrett Allen will be a difficult one to score against. Collin Sexton and Darius Garland are on their way to having improved seasons, and the former could be moved to improve their roster going forward.
23. Washington Wizards - 33-49
Washington will not simply just roll over and die without Russell Westbrook. They are re-grouping with Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyle Kuzma, and Montrezl Harrell as role players alongside star Bradley Beal. The Wizards will have some good moments, but there will be growing pains with a new roster.
22. Sacramento Kings - 34-48
The Sacramento Kings are a solid team, but they will likely be on the trade market as they look to add players around De’Aaron Fox. It is likely that the current team will not stay the same by the end of the season, so their record could fluctuate. But overall, they will be fighting to make the playoffs again.
21. Toronto Raptors - 34-48
Toronto was a disaster last year, finishing with a 27-45 record and missing the playoffs. The Raptors are seemingly all-in with Pascal Siakam, as reports have come out that they do not want to trade him. But moving Siakam for future parts for a rebuild does not sound like a bad idea if the team doesn’t look playoff-bound by the trade deadline.
20. New Orleans Pelicans - 40-42
The Pelicans should be better than last year, but it might be another season that Zion Williamson does not make the playoffs. The explosive big man can score, rebound, and even handle the ball; so we should continue to see the ascension of the Pelicans’ superstar which is a good thing for them. But overall, New Orleans is not scaring anyone yet.
19. Memphis Grizzlies - 41-41
Ja Morant should continue his rise to become a superstar, and it could very well happen this upcoming season. The Grizzlies made the playoffs last year by defeating Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the play-in but will likely miss out this upcoming season. The competition is high in the West and a rampant Damian Lillard will make sure Portland are grabbing the 8th seed.
18. Indiana Pacers - 41-41
The addition of Rick Carlisle is a massive factor in the Pacers’ run for a playoff seed, but they will likely fall short. Other teams in the East (Knicks, Heat) have improved dramatically and will make it hard for the Pacers to do more than grabbing a .500 record. The future is still bright for the Pacers so they could position themselves accordingly.
17. Charlotte Hornets - 43-39
The Hornets are one of the most intriguing teams in the Eastern Conference, mainly thanks to LaMelo Ball, but they will not be able to make the playoffs this year. Ball is only 20 years old so he has over a decade to continue to play like a bonafide star. The Hornets are rising, but will miss the playoff again in 2022.
16. Portland Trail Blazers - 44-38
Damian Lillard is in Portland for now, and if he stays the entire season, he will lead them into the playoffs. The Trail Blazers still have a star player in C.J. McCollum, so their offensive capabilities will make them a tough team to play against. If Lillard is traded, however, Portland could realistically fall to a lottery position.
15. New York Knicks - 45-37
The Knicks got better with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, and they have a solid group of players that could lead this team past the first round of the playoffs. New York will be a strong team in the East and will field a better team than the pushovers they were last year. Especially with Julius Randle leading the way, there are happy times on the horizon for Knicks fans.
14. Boston Celtics - 46-36
The Boston Celtics are not winning a championship next season, but that isn’t their goal. The goal is to get Jaylen Brown healthy, create a plan for future free agency periods, and focus on developing Jayson Tatum. Tatum has a chance to become one of the top-10 players in the NBA and it could happen next season. But do not expect the Celtics to get past the first round with this current roster.
13. Chicago Bulls - 46-36
One of the biggest winners in the offseason, the Chicago Bulls have improved on both ends of the floor. DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball bring athleticism, scoring, and defense to a strong starting lineup. The Bulls will most likely be in the playoffs and return as a threat to proceeding past the first round. Chicago won’t win a championship next season but this is a great start for a franchise starving for winning basketball.
12. Dallas Mavericks - 46-36
Luka Doncic might be the favorite for the MVP Award next season, and that means Dallas will make the playoffs once again. The Mavericks lost Rick Carlisle, but Jason Kidd could elevate Luka’s game even more because he was an all-time great playmaker. Kristaps Porzingis needs to return to All-Star form or else the Mavericks are at risk of another first-round exit.
11. Philadelphia 76ers - 50-32
The 76ers have a ton of planning to do because Ben Simmons is clearly not the man for them going forward. If Philadelphia cannot find a suitable return for their All-Star point guard, they will have to start the season with Simmons which could become very awkward. Either way, the Sixers are not making the Eastern Conference Finals next year unless they can somehow acquire Damian Lillard.
10. Los Angeles Clippers - 52-30
The Clippers have fallen in the power rankings mainly due to the amount of time that Kawhi Leonard will probably miss. Paul George will need to be an MVP-caliber player to keep the Clippers afloat, and he should be in the MVP race because of that. But Los Angeles will have to settle for a lower seed in the West unless Kawhi can return earlier than expected.
9. Golden State Warriors - 53-29
Klay Thompson will be back, which means the Warriors will be in the playoffs. As presently constructed, they can be a factor in the playoffs although a trade for another All-Star player could take them over the top. Things will be interesting in Golden State all season long because the Splash Brothers are back.
8. Atlanta Hawks - 54-28
The Hawks are a great team and will show it again in 2022. Trae Young is a baller and will solidify his case as one of the best guards in the NBA in his 4th season. Atlanta will be looking to make the Eastern Conference Finals again, and with the way they played last year, that could realistically happen. The return of Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter further bolsters a team with exceptional talent.
7. Denver Nuggets - 55-27
As long as the Nuggets have the reigning MVP in Nikola Jokic on their roster, they will be in the mix for the championship. Their season depends on the return of Jamal Murray because they sorely missed his scoring ability in last year’s playoffs. Denver will be a great team nonetheless and will easily make the playoffs.
6. Utah Jazz - 56-26
The Utah Jazz finished with the best record in the NBA but that likely will not happen again. The Lakers are back at full strength, and the Nets have a year under their belts. But even without the best record in the league, the Jazz will be a playoff contender and we could see Donovan Mitchell take another big step in his on-court play and leadership.
5. Miami Heat - 56-26
One of the biggest winners in free agency were the Miami Heat, a team with a strong starting lineup. Kyle Lowry is truly that much of an impactful player for a team that needed a point guard. Other than the Nets, no team is more playoff-ready and hungry than the Heat.
4. Phoenix Suns - 58-24
Chris Paul finally tasted what it was like to play in the NBA Finals, and will do everything in his power to lead the Suns there again. Nobody will overlook the Suns this time, so they will have stiff competition from day 1 of the regular season. But overall, they are easily one of the best teams in the NBA and will have the 2nd best record in the West.
3. Milwaukee Bucks - 59-23
The Bucks are reigning NBA champions, and because of that, they will be a top-3 team in the league. Giannis Antetokounmpo will likely be great enough to be in contention for his 3rd MVP Award, and the team is still stacked with competitors even with the departure of P.J. Tucker. Milwaukee are the second-best team in the East and will be looking to repeat as NBA champions.
2. Los Angeles Lakers - 62-20
The Los Angeles Lakers will grab the #1 seed in the West, even if Russell Westbrook is not a natural fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook, James, and Davis are incredibly dominant on a physical level and will beat up teams all season long. If the Lakers are fully healthy, they will be back in the NBA Finals.
1. Brooklyn Nets - 66-16
At full health, no team is beating the Brooklyn Nets. Kevin Durant might be the best player in the world, and it is only fitting he wins his 3rd championship following his Olympic gold medal. James Harden and Kyrie Irving are unstoppable as well, and this Big Three cannot be defeated in a 7-game series. The Nets will pace themselves all season long, but they will still grab the best record in the league.
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