Oct 29, 2012, 4:56 PM EST
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dec 19, 2013, 9:16 PM EST
Reeling from the latest injury to Kobe Bryant and with no healthy point guards able to return to action anytime soon, the Lakers signed a capable initiator of the offense from the D-League to bolster the team’s ever-eroding roster. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that L.A. has agreed to a deal with Kendall Marshall,…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:33 PM EST
The Pacers had targeted Friday’s nationally televised home contest against the Rockets for Danny Granger to make his season debut, and a week of practice has him on schedule to do just that. Indiana confirmed on Thursday that Granger will be back in the lineup versus Houston, but the team will be easing him in…
Dec 19, 2013, 7:19 PM EST
The news that Kobe Bryant would miss the next six weeks with a fractured bone in his left knee was not only devastating to a team decimated by injuries for the second straight season, but it could have taken an emotional toll on Bryant, as well. The league’s most fiery competitor was sidelined for eight…
Dec 19, 2013, 6:32 PM EST
Ersan Ilyasova has not been himself this season – the guy who averaged 13.2 points a game on 46.2 percent shooting and 44.4 percent from three last season is averaging 8.2 points a game on 38.3 percent shooing this season and 21.6 percent from three. His stats are like that across the board. To use…
Dec 19, 2013, 5:46 PM EST
Not that the Lakers were expecting Steve Nash to return like the cavalry charging over the mountain to save the day, but now we know for sure that is not happening. Steve Nash is going to be out at least another month, he announced to the media on Thursday afternoon. That announcement came at basically…
Dec 19, 2013, 4:32 PM EST
Gregg Popovich is making a habit of tempting fate. First, he confronted Stephen Jackson. Even if that was done in a joking manner – and it was – you can never be certain how Jackson will react. Now, the Spurs coach is challenging another one of the NBA’s most strong-willed figures: David Stern. Both Tim…
Dec 19, 2013, 4:14 PM EST
This is a punch to the gut. For the Lakers. And For Kobe Bryant. Kobe will be out six weeks with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, the Lakers announced. That is the basically the flat part of the top of the shin where it connects to the bottom of…
Dec 19, 2013, 3:12 PM EST
Derrick Rose is loyal. Don’t believe me? Remember when he said he wanted to roll with with Keith Bogans as his two guard rather than recruit other guys to shake up the roster? It’s just who he is. Then came the report out of the New York Daily News (not a local source) that Rose…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:05 PM EST
“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.” —Derrick Zoolander This basketball thing is working out pretty well for Chandler Parsons (he is averaging 17.1 points a game for the Rockets, and shooting 41 percent from three), but…
Dec 19, 2013, 1:50 PM EST
I genuinely believe there can be “basketball diplomacy.” I think the average person in North Korea is not really different than us — they care about their families, they try to be good to their neighbors, they worry about the future — and sometimes something simple like bonding over a sport together can help bring…
Dec 19, 2013, 1:26 PM EST
Omer Asik may not like it, but he’s staying a Rocket for now. Probably. After weeks of talks — not to mention media and fan speculation — Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey has looked at the trade market for Asik and decided it’s not good enough. The Rockets have pulled out of all Asik trade talks…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:51 PM EST
He’s the reigning NBA MVP, won the last two NBA titles, earned the last two the Finals MVPs… And not surprisingly, LeBron James sells a lot of jerseys. The NBA released the top selling jerseys from the start of this season (October through December this year), which includes the holiday buying rush, and not surprisingly…
Dec 19, 2013, 11:36 AM EST
After this play, you just thought it was the Celtics’ night. Turns out not so much (the Pistons came back to win). Still, this was a fantastic execution by the Celtics. With o.2 seconds left on the clock the only way to score was a tip in, and Jared Sullinger rolls to the basket (without…
Dec 19, 2013, 11:20 AM EST
It looks like Michael Jordan will have enough children to form his own basketball team. Jordan’s wife Yvette Prieto is pregnant with twins, reports TMZ. TMZ Sports has learned he’s having IDENTICAL twin girls. Michael’s wife, Yvette Prieto, is pregnant, though we don’t know how far along. They were married in April. Jordan has three…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:52 AM EST
LeBron James didn’t do anything blatent here — he didn’t go for the ball or hit the shooters’ elbow — but make no mistake: He fouled Paul George on the game’s final shot. Despite some protestations of Pacers’ players there was no call and the Heat got a 97-94 win Wednesday night. George did a…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:13 AM EST
Andrea Bargnani made a play near the end of the first overtime session on Wednesday in Milwaukee that was as boneheaded as they come, and could’ve easily cost his desperate Knicks team a much-needed win. After a missed shot by Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler tipped out the offensive rebound, which landed in Bargnani’s hands. The…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:31 AM EST
The Jazz won an ugly one against a Magic team playing without Arron Afflalo on Wednesday, and Trey Burke thoroughly outplayed fellow rookie Victor Oladipo in the process. Burke finished with a career high 30 points, while Oladipo managed just three on 1-of-12 shooting in 36 minutes of action. But Orlando likes Oladipo for his…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:45 AM EST
The Heat can be a little nonchalant about the regular season at times, but the Indiana Pacers got their attention. There’s a budding rivalry here (although it lacks someone to really stir the pot) and after the Pacers hot start to the season then win over the Heat eight days before, Miami’s key players showed…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:00 AM EST
The Signature Series takes a look at a play that’s largely unique to one team. Here’s Golden State’s Elevator screen play: The “Elevator” screen is one of the most aesthetically pleasing plays you’ll see in the league, particularly when it’s run by Golden State. That’s in large part because any possession that ends in a…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:23 AM EST
Our quick look around a busy night in the NBA, or what you missed while trying to buy some beer and pay for it with a live alligator… Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat. The last time Wade scored 30 points or more in a game it was Game 4 of the NBA Finals, so it’s been…
- Spurs will rest Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in nationally televised game, Tony Parker also out 20
- Kobe Bryant is out six weeks with fracture in the left knee 55
- Chicago columnist hammers Derrick Rose as no longer humble star 32
- Reports: Houston Rockets pull out of Asik trade talks, will keep him for now 37
- Report: Michael Jordan’s wife pregnant with twin girls 9
- Kobe Bryant is out six weeks with fracture in the left knee (55)
- Report: Heat have interest in Celtics’ Jordan Crawford (50)
- Pau Gasol expresses frustration with D’Antoni offense. Lakers have to think trade. (49)
- Mike D’Antoni to Pau Gasol: “There’s no reason to not play hard” (48)
- LeBron angrily goes after Mario Chalmers on the Heat bench (VIDEO) (42)