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For all intents and purposes, we are through the 2024 NBA free agency period. Some big names could still be on the move via trade, chief among them Lauri Markkanen and potentially Brandon Ingram, but as it all stands we have a pretty clear picture of what 2024-25 rosters will look like. 

Which gives us an opportunity to step back and assess the power structure as we head into the NBA's only real dead period preceding the opening of training camps. Spoiler: The Celtics are still the best team. Have a handful of teams closed the gap, however? You could definitely make that case after the additions the Thunder, Knicks, 76ers and others have made.

And that's what we're here to do, as below you'll find our first Power Rankings, which is effectively a 1-30 hierarchy of title contenders, for the 2024-25 season. Let the debating begin. 

Biggest Movers
15 Grizzlies
14 Clippers
1 Celtics The Celtics just lost a total of three playoff games on their way to the 2024 title. They're bringing everyone back. Let's not make this difficult. -- 64-18
2 Thunder OKC addressed its one weakness (rebounding) by signing Isaiah Hartenstein and added to its already lethal stable of perimeter defenders by trading for Alex Caruso. This looks like the best team in the Western Conference. -- 57-25
3 Knicks Adding Mikal Bridges and re-signing OG Anunoby takes this team to the top tier of potential Boston beaters. The Knicks can credibly line up against the Celtics' perimeter attack on both ends and Jalen Brunson is an MVP-level star whose offensive clarity has not been compromised. 3 50-32
4 Timberwolves Despite being eliminated by Dallas in this past season's WCF that was closer than the five-game series would indicate, Minnesota slots slightly higher than the Mavs heading into next season on the strength of a more reliably elite defense and another year under the belt of emerging MVP candidate Anthony Edwards. -- 56-26
5 Mavericks Klay Thompson's movement and shooting is an intriguing fit alongside the double-team demanding Luka Doncic, but he's a wild card and Dallas' defense, with Luka and Kyrie Irving is always vulnerable to leaks and off-ball disinterest, isn't as bankable as Minnesota's. 4 50-32
6 Nuggets Losing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hurts big time, but Denver still has enough to be counted among the top contenders, if only on the fringes, with the best player in the league still leading the way. 3 57-25
7 76ers Health is the main concern here. If Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Paul George are all 100% come playoff time, this team can beat anyone. But that's a big IF, and they also don't have the defensive wing depth of New York or Boston, though Caleb Martin joining George does help. 5 47-35
8 Bucks The Bucks never found their stride last season and the point-of-attack defense remains a major question, but the top-end talent is still scary. It feels like this could be a big Damian Lillard season after he took a year to get his feet underneath him in Milwaukee. It needs to be, because the Bucks didn't add anything of significance. -- 49-33
9 Grizzlies The Grizzlies effectively made the league's biggest offseason acquisition in getting Ja Morant, who only played nine games last season, back at the top of their lineup. It would be foolish to forget how much talent Memphis has if it can rediscover the momentum it was building as a Tier 2 title contender before all the Morant drama. 15 27-55
10 Cavaliers Donovan Mitchell is back and a top-10 defense is in place. We'll see if Darius Garland and/or Jarrett Allen ends up on the trade block, but as it stands now, Cleveland is a second-round team that can put a scare into just about anyone. 1 48-34
11 Pelicans If Dejounte Murray rediscovers his fire for ball pressure and ball-hawking alongside Herb Jones and Trey Murphy III, then the No. 6 defense from last season becomes even stiffer while the offense adds more firepower. Brandon Ingram could still net them a decent trade return, too, although with Sacramento going the DeMar DeRozan route that market could be a little dry. 4 49-33
12 Pacers Indiana made the conference finals last season and yet nobody would be surprised if the Pacers were fighting to stay out of the play-in this coming season. In reality, the Pacers, who merely brought back their own guys in Pascal Siakam and Obi Toppin, feel like a team somewhere in the middle: A No. 4 or No. 5 seed with a turbocharged offense but still not enough defense to be taken totally seriously. 1 47-35
13 Magic Kentavious Caldwell-Pope joins what was already the second-best defense in the league, but Orlando still needs a consistent leverage creator at point guard and more shooting to contend. 1 47-35
14 Kings DeMar DeRozan could be a wonky fit with his preference for ball-stopping isolation offense next to De'Aaron Fox and the hub facilitation of Domantas Sabonis, but on talent alone he raises Sacramento's floor. The ceiling, however, is still below contention until the defense is addressed. 3 46-36
15 Warriors The Warriors have quietly had a pretty nice offseason adding De'Anthony Melton, Kyle Anderson and Buddy Hield, but they're still not a viable contender for anything more than a second-round run at best. A Lauri Markkanen trade could change that. 1 46-36
16 Heat Miami lost Caleb Martin and brought back ... wait for it ... Kevin Love and Haywood Highsmith. In a summer where we've seen so many teams beefing up their perimeter defense, the Heat are going with Tyler Herro and Terry Rozier. There will always be a fear of playing a Jimmy Butler/Bam Adebayo team in the playoffs and Jaime Jaquez could make a leap, but this team just doesn't have the horses. They slot above the Suns, Lakers and Clippers simply by virtue of being in the Eastern Conference. 2 46-36
17 Suns Not enough depth or 3-point shooting. Too many stale offensive possessions. We've pretty much seen what this top-heavy team is. Mike Budenholzer isn't likely to change that. 7 49-33
18 Lakers A dud summer for a team that really needs defense and shooting. What are the chances that LeBron and AD play in 90% of the Lakers' games again? JJ Redick's math is going to add up to about 45 wins at best and another play-in appointment. 3 47-35
19 Clippers There's a world in which Kawhi Leonard and James Harden are healthy all year and Derrick Jones Jr. replaces, or even improves on, the Paul George defensive element. But it's a fantasy world. This team simply rehired the aging captains of an already sinking ship. 14 51-31
20 Rockets The Rockets want to compete. They were reportedly trying to get Kevin Durant. Without a move like that, they can't do much in the West except be a nightly headache for everyone they play, but the young talent on this team is undeniable and if any team is going to pull off a total surprise playoff run, this is one to watch. 1 41-41
21 Hawks The Hawks still have Trae Young (for the moment) and they brought back a solid defensive piece in Dyson Daniels to join DeAndre Hunter and No. 1 overall pick Zaccharie Risacher on a quietly pretty decent perimeter defensive trio. We could see a bunch of trades at any point, but as it stands right now, Trae, Daniels, Hunter, Jalen Johnson, Onyeka Okongwu, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela and Risacher is a top eight that can, on paper, top out as a playoff team in the East. -- 36-46
22 Spurs Victor Wembanyama could potentially explode into a fringe MVP candidate. He's that unbelievable. And the Spurs could probably put together the best package for Lauri Markkanen. If they do that, we'll revisit, but it doesn't seem like they're going to rush this thing with the way they've been stockpiling future draft equity. 4 22-60
23 Raptors Scottie Barnes, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett are proven players but still young and getting used to playing with each other. Toronto could compete for a play-in spot but would probably be best served to spend the second half of the season positioning itself as highly as possible on the loaded 2025 draft board. 2 25-57
24 Hornets Everything that's true of the Raptors is also true of the Hornets. LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller and Miles Bridges is a talented trio and the Hornets could shoot for a playoff spot via the play-in, but the smart play is to let Miller develop and ultimately end fade out for another lottery pick. 4 21-61
25 Jazz All eyes are on the potential Lauri Markkanen trade. But whether he stays or goes, Danny Ainge is going to make certain the Jazz end up in the lottery with how good the 2025 class is projected to be. 2 31-51
26 Pistons Detroit has real, if young, talent and hopefully J.B. Bickerstaff won't do a lot of the actively harmful stuff that Monty Williams was doing. Still, the spacing issue is a nightly obstacle that will make any sort of sustained success pretty difficult. 4 14-68
27 Wizards Hands down the weirdest signing of the offseason is Jonas Valanciunas going to Washington, which also traded for Malcolm Brogdon. Proven NBA veterans should rise the water level a smidge, but still the only reasons to watch the Wizards is Bilal Coulibaly's development and to see what kind of craziness Jordan Poole is up to. 2 15-67
28 Bulls The Bulls managed to ship off Alex Caruso, DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond without bringing a single first-round draft pick back, and it looks like Chicago is going to have to actually GIVE UP a pick to eventually get off Zach LaVine. What a mess. 8 39-43
29 Trail Blazers The only reason to watch this team is to see if Scoot Henderson is actually going to be a bust. It's way too early to draw any kind of conclusion, but every month or so of his second season will be another piece of evidence to consider. 2 21-61
30 Nets Brooklyn has every incentive to tank for this one season as it regained control of its 2025 and 2026 first-round picks in a deal with Houston. With a boatload of cap space opening in 2025 and a war chest of draft equity to make a couple big trades into that space, this could be a short stay at the bottom if Sean Marks chooses to play it that way. 8 32-50