UA-59049186-1 NBA Preseason Power Rankings - Good if it Goes

NBA Preseason Power Rankings

Hello all, NBA Preseason is upon us. As we cruise into the early weeks of the fall, it’s time to start thinking about basketball again. Here are my power rankings with light descriptions for the top ten.

1 Golden State Warriors  (Last Year Regular Season Record 67-15, NBA Champions)

The Warriors had what it took to win it all last year, and unless we get a few weeks into the season and they show otherwise, they will continue to be at the top of the NBA hierarchy. Reigning MVP Steph Curry returns and will look to continue his on court dominance.

2 Cleveland Cavaliers (Last Year Regular Season Record 53-29, Lost NBA Finals)

With LeBron James on your roster, you’re always a contender. This year’s edition of the Cavs will feature the return of James, and fellow stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, both who were injured during last year’s playoff run. James still managed to will the team to the finals and many believe the title would have went back to Cleveland had the other 2/3 of their big three been healthy. Look for James to continue to be the on-court coach (STFU Dave Blatt) and best player in the league, and for the Cavs to win the East with no problem.

3 San Antonio Spurs (Last Year Regular Season Record 55-27, Lost First Round)

I really want to put this team at #1 as I feel they will win it all. You know the drill, Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Popovich; staples of the NBA year in and year out. Not much to say here. The young leader and face of the franchise, Kawhi Leonard will be back. But the most intriguing piece to this Spurs team is LaMarcus Aldridge. LA will be the best player on the team and will make a huge impact in the changing of the Western Conference. Look for the Spurs, Warriors, and next team on the list to be interchangeable throughout the year in the race to have the best record in the league.

4 Oklahoma City Thunder (Last Year Regular Season Record 45-37, Did not make playoffs)

The Thunder will be back this year. Barring injury, they should be in the title hunt again. We all know how good Kevin Durant is and Russell Westbrook made statement after statement last year, putting up video game numbers in Durant’s absence and qualifying as the NBA scoring champion. Combine the talents of these two elite players with the entrance of rookie coach Billy Donovan (Florida Gators) and the Thunder bring plenty of excitement right back to their fan base.

5 Los Angeles Clippers (Last Year Regular Season Record 56-26, Lost Second Round)

The Clippers trapped DeAndre Jordan in his house to make sure their core remained intact. The additions of Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, and Lance Stephenson can go very good or very bad moving forward, but these additions, coupled with the tutelage of Doc Rivers, are why I have them ranked so high.  Will Chris Paul be able to get over the hump? Is DAJ the player that everyone thought he’d be during the free agency scramble?

6 Chicago Bulls (Last Year Regular Season Record 50-32, Lost Second Round)

Sigh… my beloved Chicago professional basketball team. After a disappointing end to an “eh” season, the Bullies are back with a breath of fresh air in the form of new head coach Fred Hoiberg. The “Iowa State Mayor” should look to a team that returns its starting five and other key contributors from the 2014-15 campaign. The Bulls are the best team not based in Cleveland in the Eastern Conference when they are healthy; there is no argument to this. But their success, as it has in the past FOUR seasons, relies on the health of Derrick Rose (as of press time, rose is out with an Orbital Fracture.) If they stay healthy, they are the only legit threat to LeBron and Co.

7 Houston Rockets (Last Year Regular Season Record 56-26, Lost Western Conference Finals)

James Harden had a coming out party last year showing that he, indeed, is the top of the shooting guard class.  They came up short (very short, actually) in the conference finals against eventual champion GSW, and I do not have any reason to believe they have gotten any better. Sure, they’ve added Ty Lawson (who has been bumping his gums a lot lately) but they haven’t improved at all defensively which will be their Achilles heel.  However, their offense, powered by Harden, should be enough to get them possibly into the second round of the West playoffs and another 50 win season.

8 Memphis Grizzlies (Last Year Regular Season Record 55-27, Lost Second Round)

You know what you are getting with Memphis year in and out. An excellent tandem in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, good point guard play from Mike Conley, and a nice addition in Matt Barnes to add to the grit this team is known for. However, Memphis does not have the offensive firepower to keep up with the GSW, OKC, HOU, LAC, etc. of their conference and will probably be bounced early on in the playoffs again.

9 Washington Wizards (Last Year Regular Season Record 46-36, Lost Second Round)

Otto Porter, this is your time. The Wiz Kids bring back four out of five starters, losing Paul Pierce. We know what they have at the guard positions and in their bigs. But Porter will be the key to this team ascending the ranks in the East. The problem is, their roster is full of guys with durability issues. Injuries hurt them in the playoffs last year (this team easily could have been in the East finals) and could be a theme to plague them yet again this year.

10 Miami Heat (Last Year Regular Season Record 37-45, Did not make playoffs)

I believe the Heat are fully recovered from the LeBron James hangover. If perennial All-Star Dwyane Wade can give them 60 good games, Chris Bosh can play at a high level after his near-death condition last year, and Goran Dragic delivers great guard play as he is believed to, there may be a possibility for a deep playoff run in South Beach. Hassan Whiteside will continue to improve as he wants his 2K16 rating to continue going up, and he will need to do what he does well as the Heat were last in rebounding last year. Add Justise Winslow, who is the consensus steal of this years draft, and the Heat have a very interesting roster. Playing in the Eastern Conference, they should be able to get a lot of cheap wins and make it as a top four team in the East.

11 New Orleans Pelicans 45-37

12 Toronto Raptors 49-33

13 Atlanta Hawks 60-22

14 Milwaukee Bucks 41-41

15 Utah Jazz 38-44

16 Boston Celtics 40-42

17 Dallas Mavericks 50-32

18 Indiana Pacers 38-44

19 Detroit Pistons 32-50

20 Orlando Magic 25-57

21 Sacramento Kings 29-53

22 Phoenix Suns 39-43

23 Charlotte Hornets 33-49

24 Brooklyn Nets 38-44

25 New York Knicks 17-65

26 Los Angeles Lakers 21-61

27 Portland Trailblazers 51-31

28 Minnesota Timberwolves 16-66

29 Denver Nuggets 30-52

30 Philadelphia 76ers 18-64

Comments or feedback? Hit me on Twitter @mikeyvick_ and check out the Good Podcast every week.

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