Every year, more and more people across the world watch the NBA, and fall in love with because it such an exciting product. We are in an age where highlights and games are available to consumers 24/7, so naturally, people are going to be interested. Basketball is seen as a cool sport, and it is a sport that more and more people are beginning to talk about, purely because we are in a golden age of NBA talent.
One of the things people struggle with most, is choosing their team. Some like myself just choose a team at random, whilst others gravitate to the best team, and others simply choose one that they like because of things such as jersey colours, or team name.
This article seeks to rank all 30 NBA teams in terms of attractiveness, and I hope that this list can help new NBA fans to choose their team wisely. The 30 teams were all sorted into tiers, which should help explain why I have put teams higher than others. In this article, I use the term ‘bandwagon’ to describe some teams, please note that I am not labelling fans of said teams as bandwagoners, but am just pointing out that choosing to support one of these teams tomorrow, would be the act of a band wagoner, don’t be that guy.
The ‘About to become really good’ tier
- Philadelphia 76ers- The time to jump on the Sixers bandwagon without being called a glory hunter is running out fast, as they should be a perennial 50 win team within a year or two. They have the best young core in the League, a load of cap room, and a coach who really seems to know what he is doing. Philadelphia could be about to enter a golden age, and the Sixers are huge contributors here.
- Minnesota Timberwolves- Even if the team had not acquired Jimmy Butler, they still would have been a probable contender in a couple of years, but Jimmy Butler’s arrival from Chicago just accelerates the process. The Wolves have the most underrated point guard in the League, the best center, a top five coach, and cap room to work with, things are looking up in Minnesota.
- Milwaukee Bucks- the Bucks have drafted better than any other team in the last six years, and they are about to become a legit contender. Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the best young player in the NBA, and the Bucks have surrounded him with another top 30 player in Khris Middleton, and loads of rangy athletic players who are excellent defenders.
- Denver Nuggets- the Nuggets were consistently a playoff team in the 2000s, but they only actually made it out of the first round on one occasion under George Karl. They have the best passer in the NBA in Nikola Jokic, and the weirdest part of this, is that he is a center who stands at 6’10’’. Denver are armed with cap room, and a lot of very good young players. They will soon be a top four team in the loaded Western Conference.
The Established, yet non band wagon tier
- Utah Jazz- the Jazz were the 2nd best team throughout the 80s and 90s, they were just unlucky that Michael Jordan existed at the same time as their golden generation. The Jazz are one of the better run organizations in the League, and they have a really versatile roster that always seems to have a line of succession in place. They are a very fun watch, and should not be underestimated.
- Washington Wizards- the Wizards have been a dismal organization throughout their history, but in John Wall and Bradley Beal, they have an elite back court who have been maximized under new Head Coach Scott Brooks. A title run is not out of the question for the Wizards if they start to spend their cap money more efficiently, and they could be a playoff team for the next decade.
- Houston Rockets- James Harden is the leader of the pack in Houston, and he has elevated them to a legit contender. They have a genius GM in Daryl Morey, and they are reportedly planning to make some big moves this summer, so they could be even better next year, which is a scary thought.
- Portland Trail Blazers- Portland are a team who attract a lot of young fans because of their hipster brand, and because of their young back court pairing of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Portland draft well, and have a coach who always tries to produce exciting basketball, and this makes the time difference of eight hours more bearable for UK fans.
- Boston Celtics- I would personally not support the Celtics as a lot of other people do, but they are by no means a bandwagon team. They are armed with high draft picks for the next two years, and they already have a nice core in place with the likes of Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas.
- Toronto Raptors- Toronto were a joke for many years, but their genius General Manager Masai Ujiri has turned them round, and they have consistently been a playoff team since Chris Bosh departed in 2010. The Raptors may slide down these rankings if Kyle Lowry opts to leave in free agency, but I predict he will stay, and if he does, they are a fun team to choose.
Teams you won’t get bored with, as something is always happening
- Miami Heat- the Heat have gained a lot of fans since LeBron James arrived in 2010, but in their defence, most of them have stayed with the team, and not defected, despite what the stereotypes suggest. The Heat have the most ambitious executive in NBA history, and a pretty good roster, and they are always in the running for big name free agents, so they are a fun team to follow.
- Dallas Mavericks- Dallas are owned by TV star and famous businessman Mark Cuban, and because of his personality, they are a team who always try to compete. They only have one more year left with legendary German Dirk Nowitzki, but they are a team who can land free agents, and they have a really fun young core led by Dennis Smith and Harrison Barnes. As long as Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle are in Dallas, they will always compete.
- New Orleans Pelicans- the Pelicans are a really hard team to place, because they have been historically awful, but their luck changed in 2012 when they drafted Anthony Davis, and they paired him with DeMarcus Cousins at the trade deadline, and they form one of the scariest front courts in NBA history. The Pelicans could turn out to be terrible next year, but they have Anthony Davis on lockdown for a while, who is a legit top ten player.
- Oklahoma City Thunder- the Thunder have become one of the most popular teams in the NBA, largely because of the soundbites produced by center Steven Adams, and the strong personality of Russell Westbrook. Westbrook looks to be an OKC lifer, which means that they will always be a fun team, even if their ceiling is limited.
- Memphis Grizzlies- the Grizzlies are a team that people respect more than like, largely because they play tough defence, and are really hard to play against. Memphis finally appointed a modern coach in David Fizdale, and with more injury luck, they are a serious dark horse to challenge the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference.
- Charlotte Hornets- Charlotte are owned by Michael Jordan, but they haven’t quite managed to reach the heights he did as a player. Regardless, they are a fun team to watch and they have a great young back court pairing in Kemba Walker and Malik Monk, and they alone will produce highlights every night. They also have an amazing Head Coach, and just added Dwight Howard to their ranks. They may not win a lot, but they would be a fun team to watch every night.
- Los Angeles Clippers- The Clippers could be on the verge of turning into crap as Blake Griffin, JJ Redick and Chris Paul look all set to talk to other teams, but they have a rich and ambitious owner who is not afraid to spend his own money to make the team good. The Clippers have been famous for their ‘lob city’ play style, and although that era is over, a new one is about to begin.
Teams who are bad now, but could be good with inevitable high draft picks
- Phoenix Suns- the Suns were one of the most entertaining teams in the mid-2000s, but in recent years, they have fallen into chaos. They finally embraced a rebuild, and they have a couple of really talented young players who will continue to develop, but not at the cost of causing them to miss out on more draft picks. The Suns are a couple of years away from relevance, but they are a fun young team.
- Orlando Magic- The Magic have one of the most iconic jerseys in sporting history, but in recent years, their basketball has been anything but iconic. They look to have finally committed to a rebuild, and although the next couple of years could be really depressing, they will get high draft picks to spend, and that is the best way to become a relevant team. If you were to choose Orlando, you would need to be in it for the long haul.
- Sacramento Kings- Because of the fact they have been a disaster in recent years, it is hard to believe that the Kings were once the best team in the NBA. Luckily for the Kings fanbase, which is the best in the NBA, they appear to have sorted themselves out, and they have a good young core, and a really talented young coach. They won’t be good in the near future, but they have some pieces who could develop into really good players.
- Brooklyn Nets- A lot of people like to hate on the Brooklyn Nets, but I personally find the negativity towards Brooklyn boring and unfair. They made a historically awful trade in 2012 which gave two high draft picks to the Boston Celtics, but their new ownership knows what they are doing, and once they stop owing Boston picks, they will be armed with high draft picks, a lot of cap space, and some fun young players.
- Chicago Bulls- the Bulls have been trying to keep afloat for a while, but they have now decided to commit to a rebuild after moving Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. They didn’t get a lot in return, but they need a rebuild, and could land a high pick in next years loaded draft class.
- Los Angeles Lakers- the Lakers are a historically great team, so if that appeals to you, then they are probably the team to choose. The Lakers were originally working towards a rebuild, but they appear to have put that on hold, and they are planning to target Paul George and LeBron James next summer. They are the most boom or bust team in the NBA right now, as they are either going to become really good, or are going to strip their roster of all the young talent and end up looking hasty.
The Glory Hunting tier- Don’t be that guy
- San Antonio Spurs- the Spurs are one of the longest lasting dynasties in the history of professional sport, as they have not missed the playoffs since 1997, and they have won 50 games in each of the last twenty seasons bar one, and that was a season that only had 50 games! Many thought San Antonio would drop off after Tim Duncan retired, but they hit a home run with the draft pick of Kawhi Leonard, and they will probably be contenders for another decade.
- Cleveland Cavaliers- Many are attracted to the Cavaliers because of LeBron James, and they have pretty much had a free fun to the finals in the last three years because of his brilliance. There is some speculation that he is once again going to leave Ohio, but this speculation is weak, and he will probably stay with his home town team.
- Golden State Warriors- Yeah, don’t be a glory hunter.
The Dead-end tier of Depression and Sadness
- Atlanta Hawks- The Hawks have been consistently good, but they have really only had one great team in the last decade, and most of those guys have now left Atlanta. Their recent draft selections suggest they might be committed to a rebuild, but they are once again linked with mid-level free agents, which signals another year as a middling team in the Eastern Conference. They aren’t a horrendous team to follow, but there is very little upside.
- Indiana Pacers- Indiana were led by the legendary Larry Bird, and he mostly did a good job, but he had a disastrous last two years, and this has caused their star player to commit to playing somewhere else next year. Indiana have a nice young building block in Myles Turner, but there is no indication that they want to commit to a rebuild, so they will end up being a good, yet not great team.
- New York Knicks- For a team that plays in the greatest City in the world, the Knicks are just down right depressing. They haven’t been relevant since the 1990s, and they are currently led by a dictator in Phil Jackson who is trying to crowbar an outdated system on a talented roster, and this is when he is not trying to trade their best player to flex his muscles. If Jackson leaves, the Knicks become an attractive team, but the Knicks have the worst ownership in America, so change isn’t very likely.
- Detroit Pistons- Detroit were once a team that were feared, but they are in the toughest situation of any team. They have no cap room, no players with any upside, no movable assets, and multiple people on terrible contracts that no one will want to take on. The only positive to this team, is that their coach is hilarious.