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PBT Power Rankings: Heat start season on top, Bobcats in cellar

Oct 29, 2012, 4:56 PM EDT

Chris Bosh,Dwyane Wade, LeBron James AP

It’s that time of year — the PBT’s NBA Power Rankings are back.

Power Rankings before a single game is played are admittedly a bit silly, but then again the NBA has playoffs to determine which team is best so really all power rankings are silly and just for the entertainment value. It would take a ridiculous system that would take writer’s votes before the season and have those influence who gets to compete for a championship… oh, sorry college football.

We start the season with the Heat on top and the Bobcats on the bottom, just as we ended last season. The records next to the teams are from last season.

source:  1. Heat (46-20). They are the defending champs, Dwyane Wade seems to be healthy again, they added Ray Allen (who found his stroke the last couple preseason games) and most importantly they have their identity now. Preseason was sloppy for them at times, but does anyone really care?


source:  2. Lakers (41-25). It may take them a couple of months into the season to really hit their stride with a new offense and new players in it, but by the first of the year they should be an offensive juggernaut. If they stay healthy. A lack of depth could hurt them some during the regular season (unless you’re a huge Jordan Hill fan).


source:  3. Thunder (47-19). Even with James Harden seven hours south (by car) in Houston, Oklahoma City is a threat. Exactly how big a threat this year will be determined in part by if Kevin Martin can bounce back to his form from before last season. Eric Maynor has to do more with the second team.


source:  4. Clippers (40-26). If you are looking for an MVP candidate to pull for outside the obvious of LeBron and KD, might I recommend Chris Paul. Look for him to have a monster year, even if it is a contract year. Also, much deeper Clippers team this year.


source:  5. Celtics (39-27). Jeff Green has looked great in the preseason, we’ll see if he can carry it over to the regular season. The added depth in Boston this season (Jason Terry leads the way) is going to help them during the regular season.




6. Nuggets (38-28). My pick for the most fun team to watch this regular season, they are going to run and Ty Lawson is perfect for what they are trying to do (so extend him, would ya). Also, look for Andre Iguodala to have a monster year.


source:  7. Spurs (50-16). Every year we sleep on them, every year they are better than we thought. They slip a little for us to start the season because Manu Ginobili is out for at least the season opener.


source:  8. Pacers (42-24). Darren Collison is gone and George Hill is the guy at the point for a team that sees itself as a threat to Miami… except that Hill is banged up with a hip injury. And Danny Granger has been having knee issues. The Pacers were very healthy last season, which helped their cause.


source:  9. Grizzlies (41-25). Great news that new owner Robert Pera has been approved and is taking over the team. Not sure how that will trickle down to the court.



source:  10. Nets (22-44). Preseason didn’t make us think they were going to play any defense, which was the concern looking at the roster They play their official first game at their new home the Barclays’ Center in Brooklyn on Thursday. Against the budding rival New York Knicks. And the question is how many people there will be Knicks fans.


source:  11. Knicks (36-30). No Amare Stoudemire and probably no Marcus Camby to start the season due to injuries is not ideal, except that it moves Carmelo Anthony to the four spot and that is a good thing. I think as the season moves on you’ll see a lot of ‘Melo at the four with Tyson Chandler at the five. I think that could be a good lineup.


source:  12. 76ers (35-31). Andrew Bynum remains a question mark for the season opener, and maybe a little longer. The Sixers overcame that in the preseason and looked great, but things will be more difficult now.



source:  13. Bulls (50-16). The Bulls are going to defend, and a pretty soft schedule to open the season means they may be able to score enough to win. They will get off to a solid start.



source:  14. Jazz (36-30). Utah starts off the season with eight of their first 11 on the road and a gauntlet of Spurs, Grizzlies, Lakers and Nuggets. Still, the injuries in Minnesota and Dallas help their playoff chances.


source:  15. Hawks (40-26). This team is still better than people think — Josh Smith and Al Horford are one of the best front lines in the league. At least until trades start happening midseason. Their backcourt is another story, that could be a running experiment.


source:  16. Mavericks (36-29). No Dirk Nowitzki to start the season. No Chris Kaman. No Delonte West off the bench. So, a whole lot of O.J. Mayo, with Eddy Curry starting at center. It’s as bad as it sounds.



source:  17. Bucks (31-35). Welcome to the Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis experiment. Likely with Scott Skiles job hanging in the balance.



source:  18. Warriors (23-43). There’s a lot to like here when they are healthy, but Andrew Bogut hasn’t stepped on the court yet and when Stephen Curry did he tweaked his ankle again. I like Harrison Barnes though, if you are looking for a dark horse ROY candidate.



source:  19. Timberwolves (26-40). They played really good defense in the preseason… which is the preseason. If they can carry it over to games that matter and keep their head above water until Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio return, the playoffs are within reach.


source:  20. Blazers (28-38). Hey Damian Lillard, welcome to the NBA. Your first three games: Steve Nash and the Lakers, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets. Have fun storming the castle.


source:  21. Rockets (34-32). Royce White’s beard and James Harden’s beard on the same team? New League Pass favorite. Now let’s see if they can run the pick-and-roll well with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.


source:  22. Raptors (23-43). They looked strong in the preseason, but now they start with 15 of their first 22 on the road. We’ll get a sense if they can contend for a playoff spot in the East in the first few weeks.


source:  23. Pistons (25-41). Andre Drummond has been fantastic in the preseason paired with Greg Monroe. Add Detroit to the “teams that could be better than we thought” list.


source:  24. Cavaliers (21-45). I like Kyrie Irving. We all like Kyrie Irving. But once we get down the roster into Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters we’re all hesitant. Seems another rough year ahead in Cleveland with not a lot of offense.


source:  25. Kings (22-44). DeMarcus Cousins looked good in the preseason, except when he was launching threes. Still, the big question here is where does Tyreke Evans fit in? Or does he?



source:  26. Wizards (17-46). No John Wall, no Nene to start the season. That means no wins. At least not many with A.J. Price at the point and a lot of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. We’ll see how Bradley Beal develops. I answer more Wizards questions here from friend of this blog Ben Standig.


source:  27. Hornets (21-45). Anthony Davis looked good in the preseason, as did the Hornets defense. Play like that now that the games matter and they will move up this list fast.


source:  28. Suns (33-33). Steve who? Michael Beasley has the green light and his coach thinks he may be passing too much. Going to be a long year in the Valley of the Sun.


source:  29. Magic (37-29). Jameer Nelson is solid and Glen Davis is… well, Big Baby. He’ll make some plays. But the Magic are about the future and that means Andrew Nicholson is the guy to watch.


source:  30. Bobcats (7-59). They are not going to be as bad as last season, if for no other reason then Michael Kidd-Gillchrist will hustle for 82 games. Think of them as just average bad now, not historically bad. Hey, it’s something.

  1. kingbeason52 - Oct 29, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Bobcats wont be the worst team in the league this year..there is no way..outside of Biyombo they have a whole new starting I hope not anyways..

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM

      I fellow Bobcats fan on PBT? We should start a support group, kingbeason.

      Anyway I don’t expect any playoff murmurs, but the Bobcats look good to beat the Vegas line of 19.5 wins. I think MKG will bring energy and attitude to the team.

    • passerby23 - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      The Magic could be worse. Charlotte will definitely be better comparatively to last year, but better than who in the standings? They still lack star power, are young, and don’t have a climate of winning. Good news is they can only go up from here.

  2. biasedhomer - Oct 29, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Underrated: Mavs, Sixers, Bulls, Blazers, Jazz

    Overrated: Nuggets, Clippers, Nets, Grizzlies

    • pantsfreezone - Oct 29, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      You forgot Celtics in Overrated. And take out the Mavs in Underrated and add in the Warriors.

      • passerby23 - Oct 29, 2012 at 6:50 PM

        Celtics overrated? With that collection of talent? I don’t think so. They are a threat to the Heat.

        Mavs will be lucky to sniff the playoffs. With a healthy Nowitski, I thought they were in trouble – and he’s already hurt. West is gone, Kaman is hurt, and there’s some age on that team.

  3. curtis35w - Oct 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    cant believe i actually agree for once….Heat Vs Lakers in the finals

  4. heathater4lifeson - Oct 29, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I don’t get the hype around the clippers. They will be lucky if they have home court in the first round

    • passerby23 - Oct 29, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      Too many variables for the Clippers in my opinion to put them at fourth:

      1. Does Lamar Odom show up? He’s already hurt. I predict a big disappointment.
      2. Can Chauncey Billups recover and be a solid contributor?
      3. Can Grant HIll hold up? He’s already hurt.
      4. Can Blake Griffin take his game to the next level? Yet to be seen.
      5. Is Vinny Del Negro the man for the job?

      I don’t see how the Clippers are ahead of Boston at this point.

  5. worldbfree4me - Oct 29, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Wow, the Mavs went from “Champs” to “Chumps” in only two season! Damn shame if you ask me. Hope Mark is enjoying the R.O.I.

  6. blueintown - Oct 29, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Can anyone explain to me why the Bulls logo has no nostrils or mouth? That minor omission is not exclusive to this site, but it’s always puzzled me.

    • abchome - Oct 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      Because the Bulls are holding their breath for Derrick Rose’s return ;p

  7. rodge1 - Oct 29, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Lakers have not done anything to earn a top-5 spot. Clippers have not done anything to earn a top-10 spot.

    • blueintown - Oct 29, 2012 at 8:09 PM

      No s**t. It’s a preseason power ranking. No one has done anything to earn anything.

  8. cpcfan - Oct 29, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    If Lamar Odom is anything like his 2010 self and DeAndre Jordan continues from a strong pre-season this ranking is completely justified considering their depth.

    • passerby23 - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:22 AM

      Right, IF Lamar Odom is his old self, the Clippers are for real. But two years older, injuries, lack of conditioning, and what appears to be a lack of passion for the game, I have serious doubts there. He, Grant Hill, and Chauncey Billups must be key contributors for them to have a chance. If you were putting them up against Boston in a series right now, I would take Boston in a second.

  9. rodge1 - Oct 29, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    You’re obviously a L.A. fan. The Thunder, Spurs, and Grizzlies are better than the Lakers and Clippers because of they all have more depth and chemistry. ‘Thumbs down’ me all you want but you know it’s true…

    • blueintown - Oct 29, 2012 at 9:44 PM

      If you had actually read my response, you would see that I agreed with you. The Lakers haven’t done anything to “earn” a top 5 spot. Neither have the Clippers. The Suns haven’t done anything to “earn” the 28th spot. The Bucks haven’t done anything to “earn” number 17. Nobody has done anything to earn anything. They haven’t played any games. It’s a preseason guess based on the talent that teams have at their disposal.

      But since you brought it up, did you seriously cite depth as meaningful? Ask the Bulls and their bench mob how all that depth worked out. Then ask Miami about that plethora of talent they had coming off the bench. This isn’t college basketball. Depth does not matter. The great teams ask their “depth” to step in for a few minutes a game and not blow the big lead they have accumulated as a result of their stars’ superior basketball skills.

      Regardless of all the proof yet-to-be-seen stated above, you do realize you just said the Grizzlies are better than the Lakers. I’ll allow you this opportunity to retract that asinine statement and save yourself any further embarrassment. You’re welcome.

      • passerby23 - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:28 AM

        I have the Lakers winning the whole thing, but right now, I’m not sure they should be that ranked that high even with the talent they have. Kobe is injured, Dwight is just being integrated, Jordan Hill is out (and possibly for the season), Nash hasn’t played well in preseason, they didn’t win a preseason game (I know, it’s just the preseason but, still, there was no impression given that they are going to walk right into the season and kick ass), Jamison hasn’t shown them what they expected, and they have no bench to speak of. They might stumble out of the blocks. In a month or two, they might be at the top of this list. Right now, have they done anything to warrant that high of a ranking?

  10. necr0philia - Oct 29, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    “Wow” you mean to tell me that the Atlanta Hawks are not at least #3 after getting rid of Joe Johnson and that other guy. That’s crazy talk. Hawks should be the team that keeps Miami Heat awake at night. Hahahaha

  11. xxakshunxx - Oct 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I know season hasn’t started but Boston is gettin their rankings based off last year alone.. Teams gettin old and losing Allen will probably see them drop to the 6 or 7th seed in the conference

    • passerby23 - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:33 AM

      No, they’re not, it’s based on the additions of Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger, a solid looking Jeff Green, an improved Rajon Rondo, Barbosa, Darko, a returning Wilcox, depth at every position, and a mix of youth and experience that makes them a lot better than last year.

  12. xcastorx - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    the Lakers will be a big disapointment this season.

    • lakerfan4life - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:54 PM

      disappointment? Well, yes… to all you haters. To the Laker fans, they are going to be a JOY to watch every night, all the way thru to the Championship parade next June…

      • passerby23 - Oct 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM

        I don’t know how anyone can know whether they will be a disappointment or not. You guys speak with such certainty. I THINK they will be pretty good and should raise another banner, but there are good reasons to believe they couldn’t as well.

  13. torontofalcon - Oct 30, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    As a laker fan im not trying to be biased but they are number 1 in the west. Grizzlies are the most underrated team, Rudy Gay will explode this year. Also s/o to my raptors we gonna be the heat as an 8th seed….

  14. rodge1 - Oct 30, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Grizzlies would beat Lakers in a 7 game series if it were played right now. You’re the same brainiac that was saying any West team would roll through Miami last year. Please, keep embarrassing yourself.

    • blueintown - Nov 2, 2012 at 9:34 PM

      What? I never said any West team would roll through Miami. I picked Miami the last two years. I was wrong once, I was right once.

  15. paulhargis53 - Oct 30, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    I’m simply amazed daily on this site, reading the posts of people that have no clue about the teams they bash. It’s like they just post on emotions and past hatred and don’t pay attention to the rosters and the transactions made.

    The Celtics are old? The Lakers are older on average……look it up. With the advent of the world wide web, there is no excuse for this type of ignorance.

    I know its just L.A. and Miami fans that are scared…

    • hehateme2 - Oct 30, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      You know nothing troll. The truth is that the celts have limited upside and will fall to the heat ONCE again. Enjoy delusion.

  16. paulhargis53 - Oct 30, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    You know dummy, if you would once, just once, come out with some analysis to back up your repetitive postings, I might give you some credit. But you don’t, can’t, or won’t. Come on and dazzle me with your take on their limited upside.

    Tell me how it doesn’t matter that they got Green and Wilcox back after a year off.
    Tell me how Lee doesn’t matter, that when Bradley is healthy that that won’t matter. That they have moving parts to match up with any team, can play big, or play small.
    Yep, KG, Pierce and Terry are older. So what? Boston is deep, and the bench is going to outscore most of the other benches in the league.

    You’re a Heat fan that is scared of this team, we get it. But for the love of everything holy, please come up with something other than what you’ve been posting. You have no analysis at all , all you ever say is this or that team sucks.
    You sir, with the dumbass screen name are the know nothing. The heat may be be the team to beat in the east, but I wouldn’t sleep on the Celtics. I don’t expect a coherent response, so don’t hurt yourself trying to do so. Just come back with your usual inane bs. It’s all we expect out of you. Turd.

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