28. Brooklyn Nets
We’re only three teams in, and I’m already talking about League Pass teams I’m genuinely pumped to watch! The Nets have several storylines worth following next season. Can Mikal Bridges make an All-Star push? Can Cam Johnson keep getting better? Can Nic Claxton mount a DPOY campaign? Can Ben Simmons recapture any part of his magic? Can Cam Thomas play any defense whatsoever?
But I don’t expect the Nets to be all that good or play an interesting brand of basketball on either side, and their courts and jerseys are some of the worst in the league. Their terrific broadcast crew briefly made me consider bumping them up a few notches, though.
I’m excited to watch the Nets! I’m just more excited to watch, uh, 27 other teams.
27. Washington Wizards
The Wizards will be the worst defense in the league, but bad defense doesn’t necessarily make for bad TV. Tyus Jones finally earning a starting spot and playing next to two scorers in Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole and a sharpshooter in Corey Kispert should ensure at least a modicum of offensive capability, and Poole is a highlight (and lowlight) machine.
Deep cut: Delon Wright is one of my favorite defensive players to watch. He doesn’t swipe for steals as much as he jabs at the ball like a lanky boxer. Adorable rookie Bilal Coulibaly bears watching, too.
26. Miami Heat
It feels sacrilegious to put an NBA Finalist returning all its best players into the bottom five of a League Pass rankings. But Miami was not an exciting regular season team last year, and they won’t be this year. Jimmy Butler tends to reserve his best for the brightest lights, and his brutally efficient offensive game isn’t highlight material, anyway.
This rating is MUCH higher for true NBA sickos — Spoelstra and staff have some of the most creative X’s-and-O’s in the league, particularly defensively. And I love watching Bam’s outrageous defensive abilities. But Miami is a generally unathletic team that grinds out wins, and they can be a tough watch night-in and night-out.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
This team would rate higher if we knew their guys would play. But on any given night, it’s virtually guaranteed at least one of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George is sitting, and even when they’re together, it’s an iso-heavy game that isn’t always pretty.
When everyone’s healthy and locked in, this team can be a lot of fun. The Terance Mann evolution is interesting, and Russell Westbrook is a wild watch regardless of how you feel about him. If Harden joins, his slick passing could grease the wheels on this offense and introduce an exciting new dynamic. But for now, in a league that’s never been more entertaining, the Clippers slot in near the bottom.
24. New York Knicks
The Knicks shockingly had the second-ranked offense in the NBA last season despite being a poor shooting team. They did it in the least sexy ways possible: oodles of free throws, plentiful offensive rebounds, and few turnovers. They have a face made for radio.
Has Brunson reached his ceiling, or does he have another gear? I haven’t completely given up on RJ Barrett, but he’s a slow processor who can grind the game to a halt, and his defensive effort comes and goes. Julius Randle has the same profile, supersized.
Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo are all cool watches for different reasons, but they’re ultimately role players who only command so much attention. I think the Knicks will be a good team again, but I don’t think they’ll be a particularly fun team.