Oct 28, 2013, 1:16 PM EDT
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
29. Suns (24-56). Trading Marcin Gortat for a pick (and the bad neck of Emeka Okafor) tells you where this team is headed.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
The NBA has simplified signing first-round picks. This case fell through the cracks.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Like with fans, there was some surprise and a lot of nods from NBA players on twitter.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
LeBron returns to Cleveland a fully realized player.
Jul 12, 2014, 1:11 AM EDT
Two teams near the top of their conference could get a lot better if they land him.
Jul 12, 2014, 12:10 AM EDT
Carter will likely replace Mike Miller, who might be Cleveland-bound to play with LeBron James
Jul 11, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
Bucks-Cavaliers was by far the main event of the first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas.
Jul 11, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
Bazemore join’s Atlanta’s crowded wing rotation
Jul 11, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT
If you’re betting on the Cavaliers to win the title next season
Jul 11, 2014, 9:39 PM EDT
“To say that I’m excited and happy would probably qualify as one of the great understatements of the millennium,” Blatt said.
Jul 11, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT
Odom had fully unguaranteed contract
Jul 11, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
“It is almost enough to make a Clevelander cry.”
Knicks coach Derek Fisher reflects on LeBron’s decision, while still waiting for Carmelo Anthony to make his
Jul 11, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT
Fisher talks LeBron, Carmelo after a successful Summer League debut coaching the Knicks.
Jul 11, 2014, 7:08 PM EDT
He handles it with class. What else did you expect?
Jul 11, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT
Dragic, Bledsoe and Thomas? The Suns will be fun to watch this season.
Jul 11, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT
That’s a lot of money.
Jul 11, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT
Writing was on the wall on the Lakers traded for Jeremy Lin
Jul 11, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT
Miami will try to re-sign Dwyane Wade next. What will Houston do?
Jul 11, 2014, 5:27 PM EDT
Bosh would give up more than $35 million to leave Miami for Houston, but maybe LeBron James’ departure convinces him to do so
Jul 11, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT
Wade is from Chicago, so there may be a desire to return home — the same way it was with LeBron and the Cavaliers.
Jul 11, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT
LeBron needs to win in Cleveland (not this season, but eventually) to secure his legacy.
- LeBron returns to Cleveland a more efficient, mature player that can take team further 12
- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker shine in head-to-head Summer League matchup 14
- Posnanski: LeBron James proves he’s a true Clevelander 52
- Report: Isaiah Thomas headed to Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade 38
- Report: Chris Bosh re-signing with Heat over joining Rockets 86
- Report: Heat offer Chris Bosh full max contract to keep him from Rockets 26
- PBT Extra: LeBron James returns to Cleveland to try and cement legacy 18
- Deal set: Lakers trade for Jeremy Lin, which for L.A. is largely about draft pick (as is Gasol for Boozer idea) 38