Ranking all 30 teams in the NBA: Where do the Boston Celtics rank?

With most of the free agency signings and big-name trades in the rear view mirror, it's time to evaluate the current NBA landscape. This is a way-too-early ranking of all 30 teams in the NBA.
The Boston Celtics are the class of the NBA
The Boston Celtics are the class of the NBA / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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No. 22: Charlotte Hornets 

I still don’t understand why the Hornets drafted Tidjane Abdoul Salaün over Donovan Clingan, given their abundance of wing players, but Salaün certainly has a great deal of upside on the defensive end. Brandon Miller has a bright future in this league as a dynamic wing. Miles Bridges is objectively a pretty good basketball player.

The key here is the health of LaMelo Ball. Would I bet $100 that Ball will play a minimum of 60 games? No, not unless I was desperate. If he does, however, this team could easily be on the cusp of a playoff berth. 

No. 21: Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers essentially lost Paul George for Kevin Porter Jr, Derrick Jones Jr, Nic Batum, Kris Dunn, and Mo Bamba. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and P.J. Tucker will all return as well. If I were guaranteed at least 60 games from Kawhi Leonard, this team would be much higher on the list.

Instead, it’s up to James Harden to lead this eclectic group to the playoffs — with the occasional guest appearance from Leonard. That doesn’t sound like a winning equation. 

No. 20: Phoenix Suns

If the 2007-08 Boston Celtics created the “big three” model then the 2023-24 Phoenix Suns killed it. While they were on the cusp of winning 50 games last season, the Timberwolves made quick work of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and company in the postseason.

With Beal depreciating by the minute, how far can Durant and Booker carry this poorly constructed, one-dimensional roster? Is Durant’s future in Phoenix even guaranteed? Time will tell. 

No. 19: Los Angeles Lakers 

The Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason is an ongoing saga. What can I say in 150 words or less that accurately summarizes the Lakers’ offseason, that hasn’t already been said? This is worse than beating a dead horse.

Has LeBron James become the most valuable asset in basketball history? Two years, $101 million might seem exorbitant for a 39-year-old, but he’s still an All-NBA caliber player, and also the Lakers’ coach and general manager. It’s a 3-for-1 special.

Jokes aside, the Lakers will be an entertaining team to watch. 

No. 18: San Antonio Spurs

I expect Victor Wembanyama to take a huge leap next season, from generationally gifted rookie to galaxy-devouring monster. What excites me about this San Antonio Spurs team is the acquisition of Chris Paul, for one-year, $11 million.

This may be the single greatest deal of the offseason. The Spurs desperately needed a point guard last season, to command this wily group of young men. Why settle for Kyle Lowry or trade the farm for Dejounte Murray, when you can lease the “point god” (lowercase g) for one season?

Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, Keldon Johnson, and Stephon Castle will all benefit immensely from Paul’s veteran stewardship. The pick-and-roll actions between Paul and Victor Wembanyama will be basketball bliss for diehard NBA fans. 

No. 17: Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets narrowly missed last season’s Play-In Tournament with a 41-41 record, but made incredible strides in March and April, winning 16 of their last 22 games. Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, and Jabari Smith are one of the NBA’s most underappreciated young trios — who I’m sure will continue to make strides next season.

Adding Reed Sheppard as a complimentary guard to Green and Fred VanVleet will only add another dimension to this offense. The Rockets x-factor will be Green, who showed flashes of brilliance as a three-level scorer last season.

If Green can become a steadier hand for the Rockets, this team could really defy my wildest expectations. 

No. 16: Cleveland Cavaliers 

Locking Donovan Mitchell into a three-year, $150 million extension provides the Cavaliers much needed stability.

Now, head coach Kenny Atkinson has to find a way to make Darius Garland and Mitchell harmonize in the backcourt, to compensate for the team's lack of talent on the wing.