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PBT NBA Power Rankings: Let the season begin!

Oct 28, 2013, 1:16 PM EDT

LeBron James AP

To celebrate a new season, we bring you a new set of NBA Power Rankings from PBT. Let the kvetching about your ranking begin! Just remember that this is an exercise in fun — these are meaningless as the NBA has a playoff system to decide who is best. What sport would rely on journalist’s rankings to help decide a title… oh, forgot. Sorry college football, no offense.

(The number in parenthesis is last year’s record.)

source:  1. Heat (66-16). When you are the two-time defending NBA champions, when you have the best player on the planet, when you won 66 games last season, including 27 in a row at one point, you start the season on top of the rankings. The road to a title still goes through Miami.


source:  2. Spurs (58-24). They came within a defensive rebound of winning the NBA title last season and the only real question about them contending again is if Tim Duncan can continue his renaissance? Also, in the preseason Marco Belinelli has looked like another classic good Spurs pickup.


source:  3. Bulls (45-37). Derrick Rose looks like his old self and Joakim Noah says he is ready and healthy for the start of the season. The Bulls went 8-0 in the preseason and while you don’t want to read too much into that, understand they are going to win a lot of games this season.


source:  4. Clippers (56-26). DeAndre Jordan has been vocal on defense all preseason, barking out commands. If he can keep this up, if takes control of this defense and plays anywhere near his potential the Clippers are serious contenders. They are my pick to come out of the West.


source:  5. Pacers (49-32). Their deeper bench with C.J. Watson, Luis Scola and Chris Copeland will help them win more regular season games (as will getting Danny Granger back in a few weeks). Still, this is a team whose style and personnel is better suited for the playoffs than the regular season.


source:  6. Thunder (60-22). Without Russell Westbrook out the first month of the season (don’t be shocked if he’s back sooner than predicted) this is still a very good, very dangerous team. Kevin Durant can pick up a lot of scoring slack. That said, even a couple extra losses can really hurt their playoff seeding.


source:  7. Rockets (45-37). Dwight Howard has played with a real energy on defense this preseason — he’s looked healthy. I still think it is going to take time for this team to meld; it will take time for Kevin McHale to find the lineups that work best. They are a year away to me.


source:  8. Grizzlies (56-26). An unfair amount of criticism/praise is going to fall on new head coach Dave Joerger. The bigger issue from where I sit is they didn’t really address their need for shooting (Mike Miller is not the answer anymore).



source:  9. Nets (49-33). Deron Williams wasn’t around for most of the preseason but should be back for the games that matter. Still they went 5-2 in the preseason and if they can stay healthy they are going to win a lot of games, I just am not fully on board with them as contenders yet.


source:  10. Warriors (47-35). They signed Andrew Bogut to an extension, which means they are making a big bet on his long-term health. I think they will miss Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry coming off the bench this season more than people realize.


source:  11. Knicks (54-28). What is the date the entire Knicks nation turns on Andrea Bargnani? I’d give an under/over of Dec. 1. Remember they are without J.R. Smith for the first five games.


source:  12. Timberwolves (31-51). With Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio healthy — plus the addition of Kevin Martin — this should be a playoff team in the West (even after the Chase Budinger injury). But their defense could be what holds them back.


source:  13. Mavericks (41-41). Can Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki be a playoff pairing? Maybe. Jose Calderon distributing the shots efficiently could be the key.



source:  14. Nuggets (57-25). They were 2-5 in the preseason. With Andre Iguodala gone, Danilo Gallinari out until December due to his knee injury, this is a team poised to take a big step back.


source:  15. Pistons (29-53). They could be a poor man’s Grizzlies — a fantastic front line with Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, but do they have enough outside shooting? Brandon Jennings will be their key but he is out to start the season with a jaw issue.


source:  16. Cavaliers (24-58). Kyrie Irving can lift the Cavaliers to the playoffs, but unless their gamble on Andrew Bynum (who is not expected in the opener) pays off he can’t lift them much farther.


source:  17. Trail Blazers (33-49). LaMarcus Aldridge promised Portland would get the 7 seed in the West, then went out and led the team to a 5-2 record in the preseason. Maybe this is going to work.


source:  18. Pelicans (27-55). Anthony Davis has had a strong preseason — 19.9 points a game on 55.2 percent shooting, he is attacking the rim off the dribble — and the Pelicans were 7-1 in the preseason. This ranking may be too low for them.


source:  19. Lakers (45-37). Kobe Bryant hasn’t practiced yet and now it looks like Steve Nash may sit out the second nights of back-to-backs. This could be a tough season in Los Angeles, but look for a good year from Pau Gasol.


source:  20. Hawks (44-38). They were 1-6 in the preseason, which is a disturbing sign. If things go poorly in Atlanta Al Horford is going to get a lot of the blame (fair or not). I am pumped about the potential of Dennis Schroeder.


source:  21. Wizards (29-53). They want to make the playoffs this year, enough to reach out and trade for Marcin Gortat. One guy who had a good preseason is Bradley Beal, who averaged 20.7 points on 51.9% shooting and 47.2% from three.


source:  22. Raptors (34-48). They were 6-1 in the preseason, we’ll see if they can carry some of that over to games that matter. Still think it’s going to be a breakout year for Jonas Valanciunas.


source:  23. Kings (28-51). I’m not reading a lot into it, but the Kings were 5-2 in the preseason. We’ll all talk about DeMarcus Cousins, but the Greivis Vasquez and Ben McLemore backcourt could be a lot of fun.


source:  24. Bucks (38-44). They are not tanking, but if they want a return trip to the playoffs there is no margin for error. Which is why having Ersan Ilyasova (ankle), Ekpe Udoh (knee) and Carlos Delfino (foot) injured to start the season is not good.


source:  25. Bobcats (21-61). I like the Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller front court, they are going to be fun to watch. This team may not be terrible, which is an improvement.


26. Celtics (41-40). It’s going to be a long fall and winter in Boston. At least the city can be focused on the Red Sox/Patriots for a while. The Celtics do have nine first round picks in the next five seasons, which is good for a rebuild.


source:  27. Magic (20-62). Tobias Harris will not play Tuesday in the season opener. What will be the most interesting part of the Orlando season: Victor Oladipo adjusting to the NBA or the Jameer Nelson/Glen Davis trade watch?


source:  28. Jazz (43-39). Trey Burke was my rookie of the year pick until he got injured. Still will be watching to see how the Derrick Favors/Enes Kanter front line works out.


source:  29. Suns (24-56). Trading Marcin Gortat for a pick (and the bad neck of Emeka Okafor) tells you where this team is headed.



source:  30. 76ers (34-48). I think they will win more than 8 or 9 games this season. Not many more, but more. The question is can Brett Brown build the foundation of a winning culture amid all that losing?

  1. naterich21 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Bulls, Clippers, Wolves are too high.

    • basketballgod87 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      how are the bulls and clipper too high please explain

    • ryanrockzzz - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      I think the Bulls aren’t too high at all. Now that Rose is back, and looks to be 100%, he can carry that team to 40 wins easily. Jimmy Butler is primed for a breakout year, and I like the defense of this team. The coaching is also top notch with Tibs, and he always matches his players up well.

      The Wolves are boom or bust, and I just can’t imagine Love/Rubio both play a full season. Not a real impressive supporting cast outside of the one dementional Pek, so I think they are too high.

      The Clippers have to show me when the games count. Deandre Jordan looks like he finally figured it out. But it’s not the first time we’ve said that. Still will be a top 15 team though.

    • psubeerman21 - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      For that matter, why are the Wolves too high? 12 seems about right

  2. 00maltliquor - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Frrrrruck outta here with the Mavericks #13!!! LMAO!!

  3. 00maltliquor - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    And then he has the Spurs #2, then goes on to say the Clippers (#4) are his pick (mine’s too, btw) to come out the West!

    • asimonetti88 - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Spurs were in the Finals last year. Until the season starts and it’s proven wrong they deserve to be at 2, even if you don’t pick them to win the West this year.

  4. lemfaxx - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Too high for the spurs. Maybe #5 or six, but still i want them to be in the finals vs miami…

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      I say the same thing about the Spurs EVERY year too, then they always end up making me look stupid. I know learn to leave it alone and watch in amazement and wonder as they stay on the top of the Totem Pole.

      • 00maltliquor - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        *I now

  5. hildezero - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Yay! My Suns suck… Wiggins here we come.

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      You guys will have a better shot at getting him vs. the Sixers too. Typically, if I’m not mistaken, the worst team almost NEVER gets the #1 pick. That usually goes to the 2nd-5th worst teams. So you don’t want to suck ALLL the way. I have to do my research on that but I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

      • ryanrockzzz - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        No that is true. But the Sixers (all kidding aside) are not Riggin’ for Wiggins. They are tanking so there is no doubt they get a pick in the top three. That’s the only way tanking can really be justified. As you mentioned, tanking for the top pick gives you a low percentage, I think around 25%.

  6. unxpexted1 - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    The wizards are WAAAAY to low. They should be anywhere between 15-17. Much better team than people are given credit for.

  7. antistratfordian - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Pau Gasol for MVP!!!

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