NBA Power Rankings

Not to long ago I concocted a power rankings for the NBA in an unnecessarily long-form way of determining how bad the Magic really were. That was unnecessary really because the Magic only will be competing with a few teams for the NBA’s worst record (something I’m ready to root for). Either way, I made them, and figured I’d share them here. I plan on breaking down each division more in depth during the upcoming weeks, just for fun. The NBA is, after all, my favorite sport.

I am not at all a fan of power rankings if for no other reason than the fact that they are completely useless and serve no purpose other than to generate arguments between fans. They really just don’t mean anything, but it’s fun nonetheless.

I digress, and I’ll indulge a little, just this one time.

Note: The purpose of this initially was to hash out where I thought the Magic ranked, so focus on the teams at the top was marginal. You’ll find nothing in depth here.

1. Miami Heat: If Wade gets healthy, and if Lewis and Allen are draining threes, there’s no reason to think that this team can’t be better than they were last year.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: The combination of Nash, Bryant, Gasol and Howard is the most complimentary collection of star talent the league has seen in quite some time.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Maynor will provide a slight upgrade for the second unit, but it will be the continued maturation of Durant, Harden and Westbrook that will determine whether Thunder — who added very little — see a tangible improvement.

4. Boston Celtics: Losing Allen will hurt a little, but adding Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jason Collins as well as rookies Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph should lead to enough improvements to give themselves at least a chance at a shot at redemption against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

5. San Antonio Spurs: Return all 10 rotation players; similar results on the horizon.

6. Los Angeles Clippers: With Chauncey Billups at full health, Crawford backing him up and the additions of Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Ronny Turiaf, the Clippers figure to be a decently improved team.

7. Brooklyn Nets: A very talented roster, with surprising depth considering how quickly things were thrown together. I’ll add an extra sentence here to state that I think Brook Lopez has a big year, and silences a few of his detractors.

8. Denver Nuggets:  My “sleeper” pick; there may not be a superstar on this team, but the pieces fit together so seamlessly and their depth, defense and size should help them compete with just about any team in the league.

9. Memphis Grizzlies: A bit of a disappointment last year, but assuming full health, the team should be one of the best in the West.

10. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers return the majority of their team that pushed the Heat to 6 games in last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.

11. New York Knicks: The hardest team for me to assess; could contend for a 2 seed, might instead contend for a 7-8 seed.

12. Philadelphia 76ers: Getting Bynum filled their most glaring weakness, and even at the expense of losing one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, it should prove to be well worth it.

13. Dallas Mavericks: Their starting five figures to be improved with Collison, Mayo and Kaman replacing Kidd, West and Haywood, and they maintained most of their future financial flexibility.

14. Chicago Bulls: Not only is Rose out for most or all of the season, but all that remains of their 2011-12 bench — which was one of their hugest strengths — is Taj Gibson.

15. Atlanta Hawks: This figures to be a big transition season for them as they stand to shed a tremendous amount of salary after this season and traded away Joe Johnson.

16. Utah Jazz: With Favors, Millsap, Williams, Jefferson and Kanter, the Jazz have one of the most talented front courts in the NBA.

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Non-playoff teams…

17. Minnesota Timberwolves: They should be one of the more interesting and exciting teams yet again, but the huge question mark at SG and defensively, and there might be some times where they struggle to find scoring outside of Love.

18. Portland Trailblazers: Damian Lillard will be a very solid pro, and could compete for ROY, but the team lacks depth at most every position as well as an established second scoring option and have youth at pivotal positions.

19. Milwaukee Bucks: Any other year and I’d have this current Bucks team projected to make the playoffs but the East is just a little more deep than usual.

20. Detroit Pistons: A young and talented roster that will have some growing pains still, but will also turn some heads from time to time led by Greg Monroe who is already one of the league’s very best centers.

21. Sacramento Kings: A continual tease of of young and exciting talent, and there’s no reason to believe this year will be significantly different.

22. Golden State Warriors: The team has some great depth, but Bogut and Curry’s health will be the difference maker and I’m being conservative with my rankings here because of that.

23.  Washington Wizards: They got rid of most of the head cases and replaced them with solid veterans, but everything will come down to John Wall who needs to take the next step.

24. New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets ended the Chris Paul era in a great way, and now have a solid foundation for a team that has a seemingly very bright future.

25. Phoenix Suns: The Suns are stuck in limbo with a roster full of role players, but no real established winning pieces.

26. Toronto Raptors: They added Lowry and Valanciunas, but I still don’t see much improvement coming from them. They struggled mightily on both ends of the court last year, and I can’t see bounding improvements coming.

27. Houston Rockets: Morey has concocted a very interesting team, and a team that’s hard to really project. It’s such a jumbled roster that has so many huge question marks riddled in it.

28. Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs were a horrid offensive team last year, and it’s hard to see them getting too much better in that regard. Kyrie is on the doorstep of superstardom, but there isn’t a lot around him that will help them win now, and that’s probably a good thing for the future of this franchise – keep stockpiling top 5 picks.

29. Orlando Magic: A huge hole at center, very few defenders and a lot of youth. It’s going to be a bad year in Orlando, but bottoming out is what the team needs to do. Shed cap, acquire draft picks and start rebuilding.

30. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben Gordon’s addition to the bench will help the unit out as well as helping the team score a little more than they did last year. A lot hinges on the development of their youth, but I can’t imagine huge and paramount strides this year.

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