NBA Watchability Rankings: The Top 15 Most Exciting Teams to Watch

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NBA Watchability Rankings: The Top 15 Most Exciting Teams to Watch
© USA Today

The NBA season is underway and we could be in for one of the most wide-open in a long time. 

With no overwhelming favorite to win the title, this could be an exciting year to watch games on TV.

What teams will be the most exciting to watch? We're glad you asked. Here are our Watchability Rankings and this list includes the Top 15 teams. Check out Part I, which included teams ranked No. 16 through No. 30

All title odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook

1. Brooklyn Nets, +900

No team combines off-the-court drama with basketball talent quite like the Brooklyn Nets, making them the team with the highest watchability this season. 

How will the dynamic between Kevin Durant and coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks play out? Will there be continued strife after Durant’s ultimatum failed when he requested both Nash and Marks be fired or he wouldn’t play? 

How will Kyrie Irving and Durant co-exist after Durant request a trade? 

What kind of Alex Jones nonsense will Irving post to his Instagram story? 

That’s just the off-the-court stuff the Nets will have to work through. There’s the prospect of working in Ben Simmons. Can he regain his all-star form after sitting out all of last season? Will he be healthy? Will he even shoot the ball?

But in addition to the questions, the reality is the Nets have two of the most offensively talented players in the league. Durant is one of the all-time great scorers with his silky jumper, guard-like skills and size to elevate over defenders. Irving remains one of the toughest individual defensive assignments due to his quick handles. 

Take into account all of these questions facing the Nets and the individual greatness on the roster, and you have the most watchable team this year. 

2. Golden State Warriors, +700

A case could be made Steph Curry is the most exciting player to watch in the history of basketball. I wouldn't dispute that. Curry has revolutionized the game with his deep 3-point shooting and unique shotmaking skills. 

Watching Curry transform basketball in the prime of his career is something that should not be taken for granted. 

Oh, and add in one of the best catch-and-shoot 3-point shooters of all time in Klay Thompson and the drama with Draymond Green and Jordan Poole, and you have basketball bliss mixed in with a little off-court drama. The Warriors essentially have it all when it comes to watchability and they are one of the NBA betting favorites to win the title.

3. Memphis Grizzlies, +2400

One of the most exciting players in the NBA is Ja Morant. Just look at this dunk.


But as a group, this team has a swagger to them that is infectious to watch. They will dunk on you and let you know about it. 

Memphis has made waves online for trash-talking LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors. In many instances, this can feel fake, or as if it’s coming from an inferiority complex, but not with the Grizzlies. 

This team genuinely feels they belong, and it’s fun to watch a team play. 

4. New Orleans Pelicans, +3000

One of the most electric sporting event atmospheres I’ve been a part of came in a Las Vegas Summer league game. 

It was Zion Williamson’s first professional game, and during pregame warmups, there was a unique excitement and anticipation as he took his turn to perform slam dunk competition-worthy dunks. 

When the game started, there were “oohs” and “aahs” anytime he caught the ball or showcased his quick-twitch vertical. 

After sitting out last season because of injury, he’s back and healthy. And any player who can draw that type of excitement I experienced in Las Vegas has unprecedented watchability. 

5. Milwaukee Bucks, +550

Giannis Antenttokounmpo. That is all. 

6. Denver Nuggets, +1700

For the Nuggets, it starts with Nikola Jokic. The two-time MVP is bound to make you say “What?” on at least a few of his passes over the course of a game. He hits cutters in rhythm and finds openings you didn’t think were possible. That doesn’t take into account his body control and handles for a player his size. Then there are his near-unblockable fadeaway jumpers. 

Denver also gets Jamal Murray back this season. The last time we saw a healthy Murray was in the 2020 playoffs when he averaged 26 points and shot 45% from 3-point range. Watching Murray and Jokic execute masterful pick-and-rolls is enough for them to make the top six. 

A key factor for Denver’s chances of contending in the west this year is Michael Porter Jr., who has one of the most free-wheeling shot selections and can light it up when he’s on fire. 

7. Dallas Mavericks, +3000

Luke Doncic led the league in usage rate last season at 37.4%, and for basketball fans, that’s a good thing. 

Doncic remains one of the top scorers in the league with his size and strength. His step-back, high-arching 3s are the equivalent of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook in terms of how indefensible it is. 

Doncic alone makes the Mavericks must-see TV, and he’s also the MVP favorite at FanDuel at +440.

8. Philadelphia 76ers, +1300

James Harden came into this season in better shape than in seasons past, claiming he lost 100 pounds. Whether you agree with his style or not, he’s one of the best one-on-one scorers in the league, and if he’s in shape, Harden is among the best scorers. 

In the 76ers’ season debut, Harden appeared healthy and delivered a vintage performance, scoring 35 points while converting 9 of 14 shots. 

Joel Embiid was in MVP conversations last season and has established himself as one of the top players. For a center his size, he has an impressive amount of grace around the rim to also go with his brute strength on the block. Embiid can also stretch the floor and knock down 3s consistently, shooting 37% from deep the last two years. 

9. Los Angeles Lakers, +3500

It’s more likely the Lakers miss the playoffs than seriously compete for a title. Every person who has played the 2K video games could have put together a better and more efficient roster than the Lakers' front office. The key to success with LeBron James is to surround him with shooters, and the Lakers do not have any shooters. 

This was evident in the opening night 123-109 loss to the Golden State Warriors when the Lakers made just 10 of 40 attempts from 3-point range. Golden State simply sagged off, and the Lakers could not take advantage. 

Besides the bad shooting, the Russell Westbrook situation will dominate storylines. His relationship and history with Patrick Beverly could create drama. And there’s LeBron James’ chase to become the all-time leading scorer in the league.  

10. Los Angeles Clippers, +700

With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George returning, the Clippers get two of the best two-way players in the league. Their title hopes hinge on the health of those two, but they’ve turned into one of the preseason favorites with the third-shortest odds. 

John Wall also returns after sitting out all of last season. When healthy, Wall has been of the fastest players up the court with the ball in his hands. 

He could inject some pace into a Clippers unit that has traditionally slowed it down and operated in the halfcourt. Who wouldn’t want to see Wall leading a break with Leonard and George alongside him?

11. Boston Celtics, +600

The Celtics are dealing with the aftermath of former coach Ime Udoke being suspended for the season and transitioning to Joe Mazzula who is making his head coaching debut. 

Boston made a run to the Finals last year because in large part Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown figured out how to efficiently play well together. The other key to Boston’s Finals run was its defense, anchored by Robert Williams who has developed into one of the top rim protectors. 

12. Minnesota Timberwolves, +3000

The Timberwolves mortgaged their future on Rudy Gobert, sending five players, four first-round picks and a pick swap to Utah for the All-Star center. 

Now, after making the playoffs last season, Minnesota is going all in this season. How Gobert works with Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the most intriguing on-court storylines. 

Add in Anthony Edwards, who is on the verge of becoming a star and can put together highlights like this. 


13. Cleveland Cavaliers, +3300

Before Victor Wembenyama arrives next year and Chet Holmgren returns from injury, the most interesting lengthy big is Evan Mobley. The 7-foot forward has a smooth release from 3, can break down defenders off the dribble and bully his way to the rim on the block. As far as Most Improved Player candidates go, he’s one worth monitoring. 

Then you add Donovan Mitchell to a young, established core that includes Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen. A case could be made for the Cavaliers to be higher, and to be honest, any of the top 13 I could understand being placed higher than they are.  

14. Atlanta Hawks, +5000

Trae Young is the closest thing to Steph Curry, which is enough of a reason to want to tune into Hawks games. 

Now you add in Dejounte Murray, and you have one of the more dynamic backcourts in the league.

Sure, there will probably be a learning curve as they get accustomed to playing with each other but when they click, it could look like basketball nirvana. Imagine Murray slashing down the lane and kicking out to Young, who pump fakes and hits a 30-foot step-back. 

15. Sacramento Kings, +49000

If you paid attention to the national analysts, you’d know there’s plenty of discussion about the Kings as an underdog team that could potentially break the NBA’s longest playoff drought of 16 seasons. By comparison, the next highest on the list is Charlotte at six. 

This should also be an exciting team. De’Aron Fox and Domantas Sabonis could be one of the better two-man pick-and-rolls in the league, given Fox’s speed and Sabonis's ability to pop or power his way to the rim. Keegan Murray was also the Summer League MVP and should be an interesting follow because of his size and skill. 

With Fox pushing the pace, the Kings will play fast, but will also give up a lot of points, leading to what should be some fun shootouts this season.

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