Even though the Denver Nuggets’ top-heavy team ran through the playoff gauntlet last season, the importance of a strong bench remains. At the very least, most championship teams have to be “eight deep,” with a few of those bench players capable of stepping in and maintaining chemistry and production in case of foul trouble or injuries.
Check out our top NBA benches for the 2023-24 season below, which will fluctuate throughout the season based on performance, injuries, additions, losses, and more! Additionally, head over to our NBA Power Rankings and NBA Sixth Man of the Year odds pages for more ranking content!
NBA Bench Rankings 2023-24
Last Updated: 10/23/24
1. Los Angeles Clippers
Loaded is an understatement. The Los Angeles Clippers have numerous players on their bench who would start for other teams but don’t due to the fact that they have Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard in their starting lineup. Terance Mann, Norman Powell, and Bones Hyland make up an outrageous trio of talented guards at the Clippers’ disposal. Don’t take my word for it; look at the shooting splits. Powell shot 48% from the field and 40% from deep last year, while Mann shot 52% from the field and 39% from behind the arc. Los Angeles also has 3-and-D veteran forward Robert Covington and three-point sniper Nic Batum joining the aforementioned backcourt. Even K.J. Martin, Amir Coffey, and Mason Plumlee are all positive impact players. What’s the phrase? There isn’t even time in a “game.”
2. New York Knicks
Led by Immanuel Quickley, the runner-up for last year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year award, the Knicks bench is poised to be one of the best bench units once again. New York returns all of its crucial bench contributors, including Quickley, Josh Hart, Miles McBride, and Isaiah Hartenstein, while also bringing in Donte DiVincenzo. Quickley, Hart, and DiVincenzo could start for a number of NBA teams, and there will be games where they outperform the starting unit. Considering head coach Tom Thibodeau likes to play his core guys more minutes than other head coaches, this team won’t have to dig any deeper than this.
3. Sacramento Kings
At the end of the day, teams play the game to win. And winning usually results in a playoff birth, with a chance at an NBA Championship. In last year’s playoffs, Sacramento’s bench finished second in net rating behind only the Clippers. The Kings not only returned every key contributor from last season’s team, but they also brought in Chris Duarte, who has solid on-court chemistry with Domantas Sabonis and EuroLeague MVP and professional veteran Sasha Vezenkov. Malik Monk is among the best sixth-man scorers in the NBA, while Davion Mitchell is likely a top-three second-unit perimeter defender. Meanwhile, Vezenkov is a sniper, with a career average of 40% shooting from behind the arc overseas, and Lyles fills in the gaps with his talent, hustle, rebounding, and extremely high basketball IQ.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
Rob Pelinka looked like a maestro at the trade deadline last season and continued that impressive orchestrating during the off-season. The Lakers went from a sinking team filled with injury-prone veterans to a balanced, deep squad that can compete for a ring. Los Angeles can rotate a talented backcourt featuring D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Gabe Vincent. Vincent will most likely come off the bench despite being the starting point guard for an NBA Finals team last season. Joining Vincent off the bench will be Rui Hachimura, another player who performed exceptionally well in the postseason last year, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood, and Taurean Prince. If Max Christie or Jalen Hood-Schifino steps up, it would simply be an added bonus.
5. Atlanta Hawks
While questions still remain about whether the Atlanta Hawks can be a true contender in a top-heavy Eastern Conference with this existing roster, there is still a ton to be optimistic about, including their bench play. The Hawks had a top-ten bench last season and carry a ton of momentum into this season with that unit. Rookie Kobe Bufkin will join veteran Patty Mills and Sixth Man of the Year candidate Bogdan Bogdanovic in the second unit backcourt, while marksman A.J. Griffin should get even more minutes this year after a highly efficient first season. Depending on the direction Atlanta decides to go in, either Jalen Johnson or Saddiq Bey will be the power forward in the second unit, and it can’t go wrong either way.
6. Philadelphia 76ers
Like most teams with an unhappy James Harden on their roster, there are a lot of uncertainties. While Harden likely has reason to be upset with the Sixers organization, particularly the President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey, that still leaves this team with more questions than answers heading into the season. As it stands, Philly will bring some combination of Patrick Beverley, De’Anthony Melton, Kelly Oubre Jr., Paul Reed, Jaden Springer, Danny Green, Furkan Korkmaz, and Mo Bamba off the bench to lead their second unit. That is a very talented group. There are several new faces, though, so chemistry is never a guarantee, but the shooting, ball movement, veteran leadership, and defensive potential are all enticing enough for a high spot on our list.
7. Miami Heat
The depth of this Miami Heat team took a massive hit this off-season when they lost Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Victor Oladipo, two playoff starters and a former All-Star, who unfortunately suffered yet another significant injury. Still, Miami feels good about its existing talent, including win-now rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr., big men Thomas Bryant and Orlando Robinson, and sharpshooters Josh Richardson, Nikola Jovic, Duncan Robinson, and Caleb Martin. If Jaquez and Jovic perform at the level that the Heat expect them to, then this could be one of the better bench units in the league.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder had terrific bench output last season, ranking second in Plus-Minus and fifth in Net Rating throughout the 2022-23 campaign. And they have only gotten deeper now that Chet Holmgren is healthy and will join the starting lineup. Coming off the bench will be Vasilije Micic, Cason Wallace, Isaiah Joe, Jaylin Williams, Ousmane Dieng, Aleksej Pokusevski, Kenrich Williams, and Tre Mann. The addition of Wallace and Micic drastically improves the backcourt depth for Oklahoma City, giving it a little bit of everything off the bench. Expectations will be higher, and teams will take this team much more seriously, but the Thunder should still have a formidable second unit.
9. Indiana Pacers
Even just one season ago, it was hard to be optimistic about the Indiana Pacers’ depth; they had Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, and a talented rookie prospect in Benn Mathurin, but depth was nonexistent. Now, Indiana has a bench unit that could compete with a few different starting lineups around the league. T.J. McConnell, Andrew Nembhard, Buddy Hield, Jordan Nwora, Jarace Walker, and likely either Isaiah Jackson or Jalen Smith will come off the bench for the ‘Cers. They will not lose much production when the starters catch their breath on the sideline; there is youth, experience, athleticism, playmaking, shooting, and defense in this unit.
10. Golden State Warriors
While Golden State doesn’t have the depth, in terms of numbers, that some other teams on this list have, it does have talent off the bench and likely enough of it to be just fine. The Warriors will likely bring Kevon Looney off the bench, giving him an opportunity to battle against second-unit bigs for most of the season; he will win a lot of those battles with flying colors. Golden State also can stagger Chris Paul and Steph Curry’s minutes, even with them starting together, to limit the necessity for another point guard to get a substantial amount of tick. Gary Payton II, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, and Dario Saric can fill in the gaps elsewhere.
11. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers decided to make some tweaks to its roster after an early first-round playoff exit last season; they completed a sign-and-trade with Miami for Max Strus to help with their shooting and halfcourt offense. Strus’ arrival moves Isaac Okoro to the second unit, where he will join Caris LeVert, Georges Niang, Ty Jerome, Emoni Bates, and Damian Jones. There’s enough talent and shooting in this unit to be above average, but the uncertainty of Ricky Rubio’s basketball future could limit its ceiling.
12. Memphis Grizzlies
At first, the Grizzlies’ bench might not inspire as much as we believe they will by season’s end, but there is a sizable combination of youth, talent, and experience here. Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, David Roddy, Santi Aldama, Xavier Tillman, Kenneth Lofton Jr., John Konchar, and Ziaire Williams will all fight for minutes in the second unit. Later in the season, Brandon Clarke could also return, which could give Memphis one of the five or ten best benches in the league.
13. Portland Trail Blazers
Had this article about bench talent been completed about one month before the start of the 2023-24 regular season (before the Damian Lillard trade) instead of at this point, we would be singing a completely different tune. But that did not happen, and, now, the Blazers have reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner Malcolm Brogdon coming off the bench, as well as interior anchor Robert Williams III and perimeter pest Matisse Thybulle. Add in Jabari Walker and ready-now forward Kris Murray into the equation, and this bench will be more than serviceable.
14. Chicago Bulls
The best bench last season belonged to a team that didn’t even make the playoffs. Chicago’s bench finished first in net rating and first in Plus-Minus while also shooting the highest field goal percentage in the NBA. Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, Dalen Terry, and Andre Drummond are joined by one of the peskiest defensive guards in the NBA in Jevon Carter, and a veteran in Torrey Craig, who is fresh off his best three-point shooting season of his career. Expect continued improvements from this loaded backcourt.
15. Dallas Mavericks
There isn’t much excuse for the Dallas Mavericks to fail to produce anymore; they finally have the talent and depth necessary to compete in a hyper-competitive Western Conference. The Mavs made several huge moves in the off-season, adding two solid pieces in the NBA Draft (Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper), completing a sign-and-trade for Grant Williams, and bringing in the sharp-shooting Seth Curry. Curry, Lively (or Dwight Powell), and Prosper will join “professional scorer” Jaden Hardy and veteran Tim Hardaway Jr. off the bench for Dallas. This unit oozes offensive potential and balances the need for both veterans and younger players with less mileage. There won’t be much defense, though.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves
Few NBA benches are more well-positioned in the frontcourt than the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota will bring Kyle Anderson and Naz Reid off the bench once again, and joining them will be lanky, athletic, do-it-all rookie Leonard Miller. Miller might take some time to get up to speed, as he is just a rookie; however, he has already completed (and dominated) a season for the G-League Ignite, so that process will only be a matter of time. Still, the Timberwolves’ backcourt bench options are a bit limited with some combination of Jordan McLaughlin, Shake Milton, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Any time that you have a Sixth Man of the Year candidate and a double-double machine coming off your bench, then you are off to a good start. Bobby Portis will lead the Milwaukee Bucks’ bench unit once again, while Jae Crowder and either Pat Connaughton or Malik Beasley will join him. That talented trio boasts championship DNA and the veteran mentality needed to make deep postseason runs. How does the rest of the bench look, though? Frankly, Cam Payne and MarJon Beauchamp could decide between a championship and an unfortunate late-playoff exit. Beauchamp is a young forward with tremendous upside, but Milwaukee needs him to reach it sooner versus later.
18. New Orleans Pelicans
INJURIES! New Orleans, one of the NBA teams that has been consistently plagued by injuries, continues to experience misfortune. The Pelicans will start the season without Trey Murphy III, the sharpshooting wing out of Virginia who was poised for another massive leap on both ends of the floor, and Naji Marshall, who suffered a bone bruise to his knee. In their absence, Larry Nance Jr., Jose Alvarado, Dyson Daniels, and Jordan Hawkins will be forced to pick up the slack. When healthy, this bench unit has elite upside and would likely skyrocket in these rankings. Unfortunately, that has scarcely been the case recently, so there are no guarantees.
19. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets might not have a bunch of superstars, but there certainly isn’t much “fat” on this team. Brooklyn’s second unit features scoring guard Cam Thomas, lockdown perimeter defender Dennis Smith Jr., young big man Day’Ron Sharpe, and two 3-and-D wings in Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale. Even Darius Bazley and Lonnie Walker IV could sneak in some tick, as each player has been in a team’s rotation. If Brooklyn lets Cam Thomas loose this season, he could be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Further, O’Neale and DFS have been significant contributors on winning teams, while Dennis Smith Jr. has finally found his role on an NBA floor; he takes it seriously, too.
20. Phoenix Suns
What looked like an inevitably colossal shortcoming in their championship quest at the beginning of the off-season, the Phoenix Suns can now find relative strength in their bench. Somehow, some way, the Suns brought in Grayson Allen and Eric Gordon to back up Bradley Beal and Devin Booker while also adding Yuta Watanabe, Drew Eubanks, Keita Bates-Diop, Nassir Little, and Bol Bol. This unit’s chemistry has not been proven, so it cannot rank much higher than it is at right now, but the talent and experience are there.
21. Boston Celtics
In an effort to get over the proverbial hump, the Boston Celtics decided to trade for Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis this off-season; they now join Derrick White, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown to form a new “super team.” However, Boston did lose a lot of talent in the process, including Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and Robert Williams III. The C’s also completed a sign-and-trade in the off-season, sending Grant Williams, another key contributor, to Dallas. Boston maintains the versatility to roll out opponent-specific starting lineups, interchanging Horford and White depending on the game, but outside of Payton Pritchard, it is challenging to feel confident in any of these other players.
22. Houston Rockets
Houston threw well over $200 million at Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks despite having a boatload of younger players who need minutes to develop. VanVleet brings championship DNA and veteran leadership, and Brooks brings intensity; that aspect of these signings makes plenty of sense. However, there might not be enough offensive touches for all of Houston’s young talent, especially with a backcourt that loves to shoot. Still, expect the Rockets to have a much-improved second unit featuring Tari Eason, Amen Thompson, Cam Whitmore, Reggie Bullock, Jeff Green, and Jock Landale.
23. Toronto Raptors
While Toronto won’t quite have a bottom-of-the-barrel bench, it makes sense to curb expectations. Malachi Flynn has been a highly inefficient shooter since entering the league, while Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher are not even a remote threat on the perimeter. Further, Gradey Dick still has to get accustomed to the NBA before even modest expectations can be placed on him. Toronto will once again have to rely too heavily on Gary Trent Jr. Trent will keep this bench unit afloat, but don’t expect them to be dominant.
24. Detroit Pistons
This time last year, Detroit would have been in the bottom few spots on our Top Bench Units in the NBA list but added talent and depth have helped propel the Pistons to a much improved ranking this season. The Pistons could use Jaden Ivey, an-uber athletic and talented guard, as a sixth-man while also bringing former second overall picks James Wiseman and Marvin Bagley Jr. off the bench. Improved preseason play from Killian Hayes and the combination of Monte Morris and Marcus Sasser to keep the backup point guard spot competitive should create an “every play matters” attitude in an organization severely lacking it. Joe Harris, Isaiah Livers, and Alec Burks will duke it out for other bench minutes.
25. Orlando Magic
The problem that Orlando faces is less about talent and more about availability- having Joe Ingles and Jonathan Isaac coming off the bench is solid, but neither one of those guys has been healthy in the past few years, particularly Isaac, who has only played in 45 regular season games since the 2018-19 season. Mo Wagner is solid at the backup five spot and Jett Howard, Anthony Black, Cole Suggs, and Jalen Suggs make up a formidable backcourt off the bench. Still, we have seen this team struggle with injuries and consistency, and they are already relying on a ton of youth to provide valuable minutes.
26. Utah Jazz
Utah’s rebuild is ahead of schedule, as Walker Kessler has stepped in and virtually replaced Rudy Gobert’s production, while Lauri Markkanen has taken an All-Star-sized leap forward as a primary scoring option. However, the bench unit still leaves much to be desired, at least for now. The Jazz have two rookies (Keyone George and Taylor Hendricks) coming off the bench, as well as Kelly Olynyk, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Ochai Agbaji. This unit has a lot of upside but not much experience.
27. Charlotte Hornets
It appears more and more likely that Miles Bridges will be waived after he allegedly violated his domestic violence order. If Bridges is let go by the Hornets, then they will be even more thin than they anticipated. Coming off the bench will be either rookie Brandon Miller or Gordon Hayward, who hasn’t played in more than 52 games since the 2018-19 season. If Hayward can’t stay healthy and Miller is thrust into the starting lineup, then Charlotte will bring rookie guard Nick Smith Jr., Cody Martin, J.T. Thor, Edmond Sumner, and Nick Richards off the bench.
28. Washington Wizards
Washington could be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year after going all-in on a rebuild. The Wizards traded Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, their two best players, this off-season and will boast a starting lineup of Tyus Jones, Jordan Poole, Corey Kispert, Kyle Kuzma, and Daniel Gafford. However, coming off the bench will be Delon Wright, Bilal Coulibaly, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Deni Avdija, and Mike Muscala.
29. Denver Nuggets
Denver has high hopes for the 2023-24 season after steamrolling its opponents in last year’s playoffs on the way to the franchise’s first-ever NBA Championship. However, what was already one of the weakest bench units in the league got weaker this off-season. The Nuggets lost Bruce Brown and Jeff Green, two of their best bench players, this off-season and will look to fill their spots with *check notes* Justin Holiday and Peyton Watson. Yikes.
30. San Antonio Spurs
Adding a potential franchise cornerstone and generational player in Victor Wembanyama will undoubtedly help the San Antonio Spurs be more competitive this season and in the seasons to come; however, their bench has remained essentially unchanged from last year, when it was arguably the worst unit in the league. San Antonio will likely have some combination of Malaki Branham, Devonte’ Graham, Cedi Osman, Tre Jones, Charles Bassey, and Julian Champagnie coming off the bench.