NBA 2021-22 Season Team Projections

A prediction of the top six teams for the Western and Eastern Conferences at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Starting October 19, the highly anticipated NBA 2021-22 season will return to television. Below, I have compiled my predictions of the top 6 teams in both the Western and Eastern Conference. Factors such as off season trades, injuries, new head coaches, and team chemistry have been heavily considered.

Western Conference


1: Los Angeles Lakers

Coming off a disappointing season last year, it is safe to say the Los Angeles Lakers are the favorite to come out of the West following their blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook. During the offseason, the Lakers picked up a good mix of veterans and young players for the bench, including Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony, and Kendrick Nunn. These players will improve the overall depth of the team. In the upcoming season, I expect the Laker’s new big three (LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis) to be very successful this season.

2: Phoenix Suns

Fresh off a strong finals run, the Phoenix Suns (and especially Chris Paul) are hungry for a championship ring. Young players, such as Deandre Ayton and Miles Bridges, will continue to improve, giving the team a good advantage coming into the season. In addition, Devin Booker is a growing superstar, and is expected to have another great season. I would not be surprised if Phoenix would be able to pull off another deep playoff run.

3: Utah Jazz

After being the number 1 seed in the Western Conference last year, the Jazz had a strong offseason, bringing in Rudy Gay from the Spurs and Hassan Whiteside from the Kings. These players are both quality veterans with solid playoff experience off the bench. Throughout the season, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert will build upon their previous success. Lastly, the Jazz have a nice supporting cast that will propel them into a successful season.

4: Golden State Warriors

Assuming Klay Thompson is back to full health, the Warriors will once again be a force to be reckoned with after being in the lottery for the last two seasons. This season, the Warriors will have a deep roster with lots of young pieces while Curry will continue to perform as a steady and strong player. As the Warriors look to make it back to the finals this year, Klay Thompson is definitely the X factor for how deep the team will go.

5: Los Angeles Clippers

Since Kawhi Leonard partially tore his ACL in the playoffs last season, he will most likely miss a large chunk of the season, which will definitely hurt the Clipper’s record. Hopefully, Paul George will be able to carry the Clippers to a solid seed in the West going into playoffs. And, once Kawhi is healthy for the playoffs, I think that the Clippers will be able to make a decent finals run.

6: Denver Nuggets

Rounding out the number six spot in the West are the Denver Nuggets. Although the Nuggets did lose Paul Millsap in free agency, they were able to add young talent such as Michael Porter Jr. and a promising rookie, Nah’Shon ‘Bones’ Hyland. In addition, Bol Bol will continue to improve as a power forward and will probably have a bigger role on the team this season. Yet, because Jamal Murray will be out for the start of the season with an ACL injury, this will definitely hurt their record. Lastly, the team’s star center, Nikola Jokić, will be very successful and have another MVP type season.


Eastern Conference


1: Brooklyn Nets

Riddled with injuries, the Nets probably would have won the Eastern Conference last season. Now that the team is back to full health, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are expected to do great things this upcoming season. During free agency, the Nets were able to pick up some good pieces, including Perry Mills from the Spurs and Paul Millsnap from the Nuggets. Also, veteran player Lamarcus Aldridge will come out of  retirement to play.

2: Milwaukee Bucks

The current NBA defending champions are bound to do extremely well this upcoming season. The team’s star Giannis Antetokounmpo will easily have another MVP level season as well as become the face of the team. The Bucks have also improved their depth by signing a multitude of players, including Grayson Allen, Tony Parker, and Rodney Hood. But, losing PJ Tucker to the Miami Heat may hurt the team’s ability to play small ball, as they have been able to do in the past.

3: Philadephia 76ers

Although it is still unclear where Ben Simmons will play this upcoming season, his possible trade could impact the success of the 76ers. On the other hand, the signings of University of Tennessee star Jade Springier as well as Danny Green will definitely help the team. It is expected that Joel Embiid will continue to have another dominant season with Philadelphia.

4: Miami Heat

With young players such as Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson, the Heat will be a very competitive team coming out of the East. Also, the Heat had arguably the best offseason pickup through a sign-and-trade deal for Kyle Lowry. Kyle Lowry is a point guard who previously played for the Raptors, and will be a very good addition to this growing team.

5: Atlanta Hawks

Fresh off their Eastern Conference Finals run, the Atlanta Hawks have one of the best young cores in the league. These young players, which include Trae Young, John Collins, Deandre Hunter, and Cam Reddish, will be very successful this season. Also, Trae Young’s leadership abilities could lead the team to a deep play off run.

6: New York Knicks

During the offseason, the Knicks have impressively acquired former all stars Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, who both previously came from the Boston Celtics. In addition, Mitchell Robinson, the team’s starting center, will be returning after missing the Knicks’ postseason run last year. With both these new and veteran players returning to the team, as well as a breakout year for RJ Barrett (who I could see becoming an all star), the Knicks will have a very solid season.


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