Ranking and Discussing Nike Jerseys for All 30 NBA Teams

Three years ago, the Suit & Nut team ranked and reviewed the jersey of each NBA team in the league. For some reason, Zach Lowe found it “fun” and tweeted about it. What better way to celebrate the NBA finally returning later tonight than to rank the new Nike jerseys the players will be wearing? As is standard practice for these articles, Mike (Suit) writes the blurbs and Ricky (Nut) writes the captions.

30. DETROIT PISTONS

Suit: The Detroit Piston haven’t changed their jerseys since 2001, and it shows.

Nut: Eminem is currently crafting his battle rap against us.

Fifteen other NBA teams have blue in their color scheme. Twelve other NBA teams have red in their color scheme. Three other NBA teams have red, white, and blue color schemes, and two of those (Wizards and Sixers) make sense (sorry, Clippers.) One NBA has teal in their scheme. The Pistons used to have teal as their primary color. THUS, THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THE PISTONS NEED TO BRING BACK THE TEAL. (They also should ditch the font that screams 2001 louder than Avril Lavigne.)

29. DALLAS MAVERICKS

Suit: Do the Mavs know it’s not 2002 anymore?

Nut: Mark Cuban still wants Dirk to try out Air Skechers.

The Mavs have always had an awkward shoulder stripe that looks out of place. Now, with the new cut of the Nike jerseys, it manages to look even worse. The Mavs need a rebrand BADLY. Like the Pistons, the font is incredibly dated, like someone still using “epic” to describe their party. The shade of blue they use must be called “Lifeless Blue.” The Mavs look horrible and have for some time, so for that reason, I’m out.

28. HOUSTON ROCKETS

Suit: Houston had one good jersey, and they fucked it up.

Nut: This is slightly better and it could have been worse thanks!

The Rockets removing the awkward shoulder swoops they had donned since 2003 was smart. Changing the trim on the neck to be thicker and adding trim around the sleeves are also improvements. Despite these positive changes, the Rockets uniforms are still some of the worst in the league. Keeping gray as the trim color despite white being the color of the font/numbers and the only other color in their logo will forever remain a mystery. Last year, they unveiled their black alternates and they were amazing. This year, they decided to make the neck trim red and the sleeve trim black. I’m sorry, WHAT?! That’s some “5th grader making custom jerseys for Create-A-Team mode in 2K” shenanigans right there.

27. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Suit: I will never forgive the Pelicans for not making their color scheme Mardi Gras.

Nut: The font is bad but local. The color is local but bad.

Despite Nike fixing some of the glaring issues their Adidas versions had (small lettering, enormous side panels, etc.), these uniforms are still painfully drab. Navy and tan is an incredibly dull choice for a team staring the Mardi Gras colorway in the face. The red ones are nice, but there are so many teams with red jerseys already. PLEASE GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY DESIRE MOST: A PURPLE, GOLD, AND GREEN COLOR SCHEME.

26. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Suit: Just wear those alternates for every game.

Nut: We’ve been saying this for a while but Thunder is, uh, not blue.

It’s no secret that OKC has some of the worst jerseys and by far the worst logo in the league. They sadly didn’t alter their home and away jerseys, but they introduced a new alternate for their Nike Statement jersey and it is an enormous step in the right direction. Is it a perfect jersey? No. Is it a bit bland? Sure. Does the design seem more fit for a Nike t-shirt than a jersey? Probably. But is it already the best jersey OKC has had in their entire franchise history? You better believe it, cupcake.

25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Suit: They look better, but they literally could not have gotten worse.

Nut: These jerseys could have gotten worse, so I’m deducting points for low effort. Still want to see a Blue Screen of Death on one of these!

The bi-color neck trim is nice. Each leg of the shorts having a different trim is somewhat fun. The little horizontal stripes down the sides of the jersey is at least something. These jerseys aren’t ugly, but like the rest of their rebrand, they’re unabashedly boring. There’s no single element to the jersey that is exciting. How very Microsoft of them.

24. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Suit: Somehow, the Cavs have made me yearn for their previous jerseys

Nut: Straight fire, as in burning LeBron jerseys is okay now.

When the Cavs announced a rebrand this offseason, it was confusing. For a team that has changed its home court design four times in the past five years, one would hope they had finally settled on an identity. Removing their old and outdated logo made sense, but changing the font and adding black to the color scheme seemed nonsensical. The font is trying too hard to be edgy and lacks vision, and what is the point of adding black to a color scheme that already has navy blue? It was no surprise how atrocious their jerseys turned out given this rebrand, and somewhere in the distance Kyrie is thanking his lucky stars in the flat night sky.

23. ORLANDO MAGIC

Suit: Like the team the past decade, these are middle-of-the-pack at best.

Nut: They should do a Space Jam rebrand or something before Aaron leaves.

Modernizing old uniform designs can look great, take the Suns, Wizards, and Blazers for example. The Magic did a decent job of this when these uniforms first came out, but they are not aging very well. The wide pinstripes are an odd look, especially in how they fanout at the top of the jersey. The Nike versions made improvements to the side panelling and neck trim, but a rebrand would be ideal sooner rather than later. Changing the jerseys would make the team look better and helps fans forget that somehow every team involved lost the Dwight trade.

22. INDIANA PACERS

Suit: Never has a jersey so perfectly matched the excitement surrounding the team.

Nut: Time is a flat circle, and so is losing. Great thematic choice.

These jerseys aren’t gaudy, but they’re certainly not fun (astonishingly fitting for Indiana). The side panels are confusing, as they change shape, angle, and pattern as they move down the uniform. The circular arc of “Indiana Pacers” is unique and makes Indiana the only team donning their entire team name on their chest, so… nice? The Statement jerseys are actually interesting in that they remove the trim colors so that they’re only gold and blue, and perhaps going with this choice across all jerseys would give them a simplistic Nets look. These are forgettable jerseys for a forgettable team, and maybe it’s all part of their ownership’s plan to get us to forget they traded PG13 for Sabonis and Oladipo.

21. PHOENIX SUNS

Suit: Oh how the mighty have fallen…

Nut: The Sun has Set on our Way of Life.

The Suns’ look and branding has had a perplexing run the past few years. They continue to introduce new uniforms, modify old ones, and flip-flop on whether or not they want purple in their color scheme. These jerseys are more simple, but far less fun. They’ve lost all elements of their retro look (sun design, diagonal font, sun beams) and for some reason added cheesy 3-D lettering effects. Their black Statement jersey is nice, but it’s sad to see their previous jerseys which modernized their early-90s look go.

20. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Suit: They look as good as Chandler Parsons’ contract.

Nut: Baby blue is good, love the numbers. The other 97% is eh.

Memphis has a classic color scheme, but their decision to almost entirely abandon yellow from their jerseys results in a look that is a bit bland. The biggest issue with the jerseys is that the font has become stale and out of place. A minor change that could go a long way would be to reintroduce more yellow into the design of the jerseys. A major change that would significantly differentiate themselves from the rest of the league would be to BRING BACK THE TEAL. The Grizzlies had teal in Vancouver and in the early Memphis years, so why not bring it back? Introducing a throwback would be huge for Memphis’ fourth jersey, but until then, their current lineup of jerseys is showing its age like Grit n’ Grind.

19. BROOKLYN NETS

Suit: The collar trim not matching the side trim bugs me more than it should.

Nut: Clonetroopers wore drab, colorless uniforms, and were indistinguishable to many of the native species they served with.

Identical to the Adidas version, and thank goodness they are. The Nets have always stood out as the only team without a color scheme (because grey somehow counts for the Spurs?) and their jerseys fit this bill as well. Brooklyn stood out a bit more before nearly half the league introduced black alternate jerseys, so now they just look like another team with a minimalist design. Adding a patch to a jersey whose entire purpose is to be simplistic and without clutter isn’t ideal, but then again, neither are the contracts of Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll.

18. UTAH JAZZ

Suit: BRING. BACK. THE PURPLE.

Nut: I don’t give a shit about the Jazz and also jazz music isn’t green.

These jerseys look fine, but they are being carried entirely by the Jazz’s logo, arguably the best in the NBA. The font used for their numbers and the stripes on the sides are both nice, modern looks, but they’re incredibly safe choices. The Statement jerseys are at least bold, despite not looking incredible. It’s always nice to see NBA teams take a risk for once, and this is the first time Utah has made gold the primary color of a jersey. There are rumors that their fourth jersey will be burnt orange, which sounds like it will either be amazing or terrible, much like the Jazz this season.

17. MIAMI HEAT

Suit: Starting to look a bit dated, but not a problem just yet.

Nut: Maybe the team that should most heavily consider TRON-style outfits a la Charlotte.

It’s astounding that Miami has not changed the look of their jerseys since the early 2000s, but still manage not to look out of place (looking at you, Mavs and Pistons). However, their look is starting to get a bit stale. The prime example is their red alternates; the “MIAMI” font just looks like it’s trying to be hip and edgy, which is a very 2000s thing to do. The HEAT don’t look bad, but they might want to stay ahead of the curve and look to change things up before they get stale (looking at you, Pitbull).

 

16. SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Suit: Nike somehow managed to make me like these jerseys…

Nut: Did you know a horseshoe looks like a capital letter U sort of hehe.

The Spurs made two minor tweaks in their switch from Adidas to Nike, but these changes resulted in major improvements. First, they removed the border around the lettering on the jersey, creating a crisp look. Second, they widened the white trim on the side-paneling of the jersey. Finally, they softened up the tone of the gray used on the uniforms. These three adjustments combined make the Spurs jerseys look more sleek and less muted and dull. That being said, the world is waiting for the Spurs to reintroduce teal, pink, and gold into their color scheme.

15. TORONTO RAPTORS

Suit: A corrected version of their last jersey, which was needed

Nut: I want more black and gold.

Every minor issue that existed with their last line of jerseys has been fixed. The side trim has been simplified, the wordmark has shifted up and away from the number, and the white of the trim pops more. Toronto already had quality jerseys, and these tweaks improve upon their solid foundation. Now if they would just reintroduce the purple lightning bolt dinosaur ones for their fourth jersey…

14. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Suit: Jerseys are great, but have the purples been banished?

Nut: Still wanna know who crayons in those block letters.

Almost entirely untouched from their last iteration, save for a few tweaks in the rotation. The teals have now become the standard “away” jersey and thus say “Hornets” instead of “Charlotte.” Since the (FUCKING DOPE) retro teals have been released, I’m confused as to why the modern teals became a primary jersey. The retro teals should always be chosen over the modern teals, so why not keep the purples as the main away jersey? Purple is an under-utilized color in the league, so no team with purple as a staple in their color scheme should shy away from it.

13. SACRAMENTO KINGS

Suit: PURPLE! But why is everything so muted?

Nut: Regal yet understated. Bold yet powerful. Buddy Hield yet Skal Labissiere.

Having “SAC” on the jersey is bold. Making the “N” in Kings lowercase while the rest of the letters are capital is bold. Making purple your primary color is bold. SO WHY ARE THE COLORS OF THESE UNIFORMS SO MUTED? A true, deep purple would make these look incredibly regal. Instead, we are left with a jersey with a nice design that leaves more to the imagination. Still, props to the Kings for choosing a design and color scheme that fits their team’s moniker, which can be rare in the NBA.

12. ATLANTA HAWKS

Suit: They’re a bold choice, which instantly makes them better than half the league

Nut: Every time I see this pattern it makes me think of the Charlotte Hornets, which is actually great.

They remain mostly unchanged from their Adidas predecessors, but these divisive jerseys are bold in the best way. The triangle pattern is unique and modern, the font stands out, and volt green makes for an electric accent color. Not the perfect outcome, but it’s nice to see a team take a risk for once. The only time these jerseys look truly horrific is when Atlanta mismatches the color of the top with that of the shorts, so hopefully they’ll drop those shenanigans faster than they dropped Dwight Howard from their team.

11. DENVER NUGGETS

Suit: It’s like the Pacers stopped dating their old uniforms and Denver swooped in.

Nut: These are still good.

The Nuggets rebrand results in a painful amount of conflict. Their old jerseys looked nice, but the new jerseys look nice too. Their old jerseys made them stand out from the league, the new ones make them look like Pacers West. They kept the amazing yellow alternates, but they change the yellow alternates. Some changes to the yellow alternates are nice (better shorts design, adding retro font, improved number location), but others are disappointing (removing the semi-rainbow element hurts the homage to their perfect jerseys of the 80s). Objectively, the jerseys look nice despite the confusing pivot towards navy. Here’s hoping they wear the yellow alternates as often as possible.

10. BOSTON CELTICS

Suit: Good jerseys never ruined so fast (THAT PATCH! THAT PATCH! THAT PATCH!)

Nut: I would put that logo on the NBA’s first-ever Mandatory Headband. The Third Eye is a gateway to higher consciousness baby!!

An eternal classic jersey that has stayed mostly unchanged for good reason. It’s iconic, it stands out, and it’s timeless. However, the GE logo feels enormous and incredibly out of place. This was a bigger issue when teams like the Lakers and Knicks seemed like they were holding out, but now those teams have also caved and added sponsors. Unlike their fellow long-tenured teams rocking classic jerseys, the Celtics have always sported an attempted modern jersey that incorporates black, and they’ve always looked off. Boston’s black Statement jersey is no different and though it’s not horrible by any means, it’s certainly worse than their main jerseys. Ideally Boston treats these jerseys like Danny Ainge treated Isaiah Thomas and tells them to take a hike.

9. CHICAGO BULLS

Suit: Almost perfect, but a minor tweak looks off.

Nut: I think putting “HIT” on the back of every jersey was a misstep.

The Bulls’ jerseys are as timeless and iconic as the Jumpman logo. Miraculously, the Bulls’ front office didn’t add some other logo with an  abomination of a patch on the jersey. Upon first reveal, it appeared as if the jerseys were untouched, and the NBA world breathed a collective sigh of relief. However, this picture of… someone… on media day shows the jerseys were, in fact, altered. The “belt buckle” is modeled after the Chicago flag, which was one star for each of the major events integral to the growth of America’s 3rd largest city. That’s all well and good, but it looks strange since it breaks up the stripe of the waistband. The sentiment is nice, but the execution is not. Why not integrate it into the stripe so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb?

8. NEW YORK KNICKS

Suit: Nothing really changed, which is exactly what needed to happen.

Nut: Not enough Illuminati triangles.

The only change made to these jerseys from their Adidas version was updating the sleeve trim to match Nike’s design. The Knicks were one of the few teams to utilize a sleeve trim that did not cover the entire underarm to increase player comfort, and it has now become the standard design for Nike uniforms. So the Knicks I guess did something right for once? The jerseys have a timeless look much like their peers of Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago, and thankfully Nike didn’t screw that up. The Statement jersey New York revealed is nice, but doesn’t differentiate itself from the Association jersey that much. Their best play would be to use the design of one of their amazing throwback jerseys for their fourth jersey, but this is the Knicks we’re talking about after all… so can we really trsut them to do anything right? (Editor’s Note: I am a huge Knicks fan and I vehemently stand by this question.)

7. WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Suit: The quintessential modernized retro look, but “washington” looks too small across the jersey.

Nut: A nice retro throwback. The font is starting to get weird.

The Bullets had some of the best jerseys in the history of the league, and Washington’s decision to incorporate that classic look into a modern design is smart. The trim, shorts, and stripes all look crisp with a color scheme that actually fits the team. The “Stars and Stripes” alternated Washington wore during the playoffs last year were incredible, so hopefully the fourth jersey will utilize design more reminiscent of our flag. The one area that looks off is “washington” on the red and blue jerseys. Being all lowercase looks odd and it seems too small on the jersey. Still, the Wizards have mastered the art of modernizing a retro team look, which is a foolproof design strategy. But what the hell do we know, Zach Lowe’s tweet of our rankings last year mentioned two things about the article: 1) it was fun 2)Washington ranked at #2 seemed “way too high.”

6. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Suit: One of the best rebrands in history thankfully stays in tact

Nut: The dashes on the sides look like ribs.

When the Bucks shifted from their absurd green and red look to their new forest green and cream colors, NBA fans rejoiced. Their new logo, colors, and uniforms are impeccable, and thankfully none of that was lost in the shift to Nike. The Harley Davidson logo is HIDEOUS, but then again, none of the patches really look great. Milwaukee’s black alternates work, unlike those of other teams, because they look mean. These alternates prominently display their mean-mugging deer logo, which could make opponents “Fear the Deer” as much as broadcasters fear pronouncing Giannis’ last name. Overall, the Bucks’ main jerseys are what truly set them apart; a clean and crisp breath of fresh air in a league overrun with red and blue uniforms. 

5. LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Suit: You’re going to make a Lavar joke, aren’t you?

Nut: What a beautiful and classic jersey from a fine organization. Boy how Swell!

A classic jersey that was effectively unaltered. The Lakers have not changed the look of their uniforms in a while, and they shouldn’t since they have one of the most recognizable jerseys in the world. These jerseys have an updated side paneling trim, which won’t be very noticeable, but does look a bit more modern. These little tweaks are an essential element to preventing Los Angeles’ jerseys from looking outdated. A fan might not notice it incrementally, but when one looks back at the Frobe era jerseys, it sparks the question “The numbers used to look like THAT?” Thanks, Magic.

4. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Suit: Jersey design is all part of The Process™.

Nut: Can’t wait to see the Association Cast and Icon Splint accessories™.

Pulling off a good numbering/lettering outline is a feat achieved by few. The Hardway-era Heat is a prime example, and now these Sixers uniforms join their ranks. The Sixers improved upon already great-looking jerseys that fits the team name and the city of Philadelphia so well. From the side panels to the trim to the outlines, these jerseys are fresh all over. The Statement jerseys feature a font vastly different from any font used in the league, and creates a great retro effect. Regardless of which jersey they’re wearing and how many turnovers they’re committing, Philly will be looking good this year. Let’s just hope Joel Embiid gets to wear them more than 30 times…

3. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Suit: Minor adjustments turn great jerseys into incredible jerseys.

Nut: No complaints, aesthetic AF.

Portland is one of the few teams to never have a bad era of uniforms. They’ve avoided looking hideous by sticking to a theme and only ever making minor tweaks to their jerseys, and this iteration is no different. The large stripes on these Nike jerseys have a steeper angle, and it looks far more stylish and less like a poorly adjusted Miss America sash. The Blazers also removed the outline on the lettering of the jerseys and simplified the outline on the numbers, ditching the dated 3-D effect they had previously. Most notably, the font for every jersey has changed to the one used only in their red alternates last year. They’ve scrapped the italicized font, which was aging very poorly, and replaced it with one that is bold and more modern (C’mon Dallas and Detroit, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!). Also, HOLY CRAP LOOK AT THOSE STATEMENT JERSEYS.

2. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Suit: MOST IMPROVED JERSEYS 2018

Nut: These look like an NBA 2k custom team jersey, and I think I like it?

Everything about these jerseys is fresh and unique. The horizontal bars, the design of the shorts, the roundness of the numbers… it’s all fantastic. Minnesota finally has a font that doesn’t make fans cringe, and they thankfully decided to scrap that muted teal/green/blue/whatever-the-hell color they were rocking before. The beauty of the jerseys perfectly matches the new and beautiful logo they unveiled this offseason. And people gave them flack, but the lime green jerseys are loud and I AM ALL FOR IT. Removing green entirely from their uniforms would’ve been a crime, and it’s good for an NBA to take a damn risk once in a while. You know, like trading away a proven star player for a point guard that shot 37% last year, a defense-averse shooting guard coming off an ACL tear, and drafting a 7 footer that rebounds like John Stockton in NBA Jam.

1. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Suit: The best team in basketball easily has the best jerseys as well.

Nut: After consulting with a Silicon Valley team of crack investor brain surgeons, the Warriors concluded their bridge thing is still good.

Just when you think they can’t get any better, they switch up their black alternates to pay homage to Oakland and they look FRESH. Not only is their brand of basketball gorgeous, but so are their uniforms. The rich get richer. (We would go into more detail but we ranked them #1 last time and the jerseys haven’t changed since aside from this amazing new alternate. Also, we know every media outlet will talk about them incessantly until they inevitably win the title this year, so let’s just shut up about how perfect they are and keep making fun of KD’s burner accounts.)

Mike (@Schubes17) is the Suit of Suit & Nut and the host of Potterless Podcast. Ricky (doesn’t use Twitter) is the Nut and Founder of Chode League.
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