Written by @RobbieNYK
Here we go basketball heads, the 2013/2014 NBA season is fast approaching. With exciting trades, big names coming off of injury and teams that have everything to prove, this year is everything we’ve been craving and more!
Hoop fans all around can’t wait to see what Doc Rivers can do in LA, and if Dwight Howard is the cancer he has been made out to be. Are Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett still relevant? Will Derrick Rose still be D-Rose? Is this Carmelo Anthony’s year to prove he is a winner? So many questions so much to anticipate. Let’s break it down.
NBA Preseason Power Rankings
1. Miami Heat – What can you really say? They are coming off back to back titles, and since the addition of the best player in the world (LeBron James) they haven’t missed the finals. Adding Free Agent Michael Beasley to the mix, they will attempt to play for their third straight title.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – Tough break for the Thunder losing Russell Westbrook in the playoffs last season. Whether you like it or not, it proved how important he is to this team moving forward. They still have an extremely young core of Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka which should have them right back in the championship conversation.
3. San Antonio Spurs – After all that “too old” talk, they proved everyone wrong by being able to take the Heat to game 7! Not to mention they were a desperation 3 point shot from taking down Miami in 6. With father time their only enemy you just can’t count them out.
4. Memphis Grizzles – They didn’t add much this offseason, but they didn’t lose much either. With the twin tower presence of Gasol and Z-Bo down low, expect the Grizzlies to be battling deep into the playoffs again.
5. New York Knicks – The Knicks finished in second place in the East last season, and have added some good pieces to the puzzle. They had the 6th man of the year (JR Smith) and signed him to a new contract. Fell short to the Pacers in the playoffs, so they added some size with Bargnani, and toughness with Metta World Peace. Like it or not, the Knicks will be back battling again come playoff time.
6. Los Angeles Clippers – We already knew that the Clippers were a talented team, the addition of coach Doc Rivers and the extension to their star point guard Chris Paul will make them the new face of the Staples center for years to come.
7. Indiana Pacers – A defensive powerhouse in the playoffs last season went all the way to the ECF to challenge the Miami Heat for a shot at the title. They have Granger coming back and added a few shooters. If they can find some offense to match their defense, they will be a tough match up for anyone.
8. Brooklyn Nets – They made the most noise this offseason with their blockbuster trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. They also acquired a new coach with Jason Kidd. With aging stars and a rookie coach it could be a disaster or it could be a perfect storm for Brooklyn.
9. Houston Rockets – The Rockets took on the Dwightmare headache with open arms by stealing the biggest FA name this offseason from the Lakers. Houston will now have high expectations with the addition of Dwight Howard to Jeremy Lin and James Harden’s team.
10. Chicago Bulls – Chicago will be a well-coached, hardnosed defensive team as always under coach Thibodeau. The huge question mark will be their former MVP point guard Derrick Rose. Will he get back to MVP form after being out for a year and a half?
11. Golden State Warriors – I LOVE the addition of Andre Iguodala. They have arguably the best home court advantage in the league, but Steph Curry and his ankles will decide how good this team can be.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves – Can Kevin Love and Rubio stay healthy together? This can be a fun team to watch if they can. Nice pick up in Kevin Martin, he will knock down the open shots that Rubio will find for him.
13. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie to Bynum sounds like music to my ears. The only problem is what does Bynum bring to this team? Can he be the same big man who was in the argument for best center in the league, or is he the next Amare Stoudemire?
14. Washington Wizards – Their season really turned around when Wall came back from injury last year. If Wall stays healthy they have a shot at the playoffs this year.
15. Atlanta Hawks – Lost Josh Smith but added Paul Milsap. I think the Hawks will be right in the middle of the pack. They will make the playoffs on the back of Al Horford.
16. Denver Nuggets – The loss of Iguodala will hurt them big time. What will Gallo be after he returns from the ACL injury? They still have some talent but I could see them battling for the 7 or 8 seed in the west.
17. Portland Trailblazers – This is tough team to read. They needed to address the bench and they did. They have a rising star in Damian Lillard, but LaMarcus Aldridge is the key to their success. The rumors all summer were about how Aldridge isn’t happy in Portland and wanted out.
18. Detroit Pistons – I like the pickups of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. If anything it shows that Detroit doesn’t want to be a laughing stock anymore. They have the talent for a run at the playoffs but I’m not sure if the talent gels together.
19. Toronto Raptors – The loss of Bargnani could be addition by subtraction. He just wasn’t the right fit in that franchise. Rudy Gay and DeRozan will keep them in games with a chance to win.
20. Dallas Mavericks – They added Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon to be Dirks back court. We can expect them to put up a lot of points but their defense will be in question.
21. New Orleans Pelicans – They have added really nice pieces to complement their young star Anthony Davis. They should have an entertaining but young back court with Gordon, Holiday, and Evans. The Pelicans are a young team with plenty of upside.
22. Los Angeles Lakers – I’m trying to be nice with a ranking of 22 for the Lakers. Kobe coming off a torn Achilles. Nash looked old last year. Can Pau carry them to an 8th seed? I don’t expect much from the Lakers this season. That’s the first time in a long time that I can say that.
23. Sacramento Kings – New ownership, same old DeMarcus Cousins. Will this be the season that Cousins can mature in to a star? We all know he has the tools to get there, he needs the direction.
24. Milwaukee Bucks – They lost their core backcourt of Jennings and Ellis but added O.J. Mayo and Luke Ridnour. The Bucks will live and die by the jump shot. I’m not confident if they will compete for a playoff spot.
25. Charlotte Bobcats – They added Al Jefferson who will make them better than they were, but that’s not saying much after their 21-61 record last season.
26. Utah Jazz – The Jazz might be the best team out of the teams that are stockpiling draft picks to rebuild.
27. Orlando Magic – The Magic are still trying to recover from the Dwightmare 2 years ago.
28. Phoenix Suns – they acquired Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers. Too many question marks not enough talent.
29. Philadelphia 76ers – Another team battling for the top lottery pick in next year’s draft class.
30. Boston Celtics – Last but not least the Celtics. After losing Rondo to a torn ACL they were bound to blow the team up. Doc Rivers was shipped to the Clippers and KG and Paul Pierce shipped to Brooklyn. They have a young coach and a bunch of draft picks. Let’s see what the future brings.
There it is folks, the 2013-2014 power rankings. Thanks for stopping by and your criticism is expected. I’m looking forward to interacting with you guys during this upcoming season.