I am back…Here are my NBA power rankings with the season starting.
1. Lakers – so hard to bet against this team
2. Celtics – I will take their front line above Miami’s any day
3. Heat – better pray that a center becomes available by the playoffs. I can’t see it unless Rasheed Wallace comes back
4. Blazers – need Brandon Roy to stay healthy
6. Bucks – Last year they went into the playoffs and almost beat the Hawks without Bogut. This year, they only got better.
7. Magic – Why are they in the 3rd tier? Dwight Howard may be getting into his prime years but Carter and Lewis are aging.
8. Mavericks – Speaking of age, will this team ever age?
9. Spurs – They are the only team in the NBA who I will never bet against. It looks like their final year with this nucleus so expect them to go at it hard.
(I am not sure that I would even call the 4th tier, the 4th tier. I can see any of the above 9 teams, being NBA champions; however, their is no way that any team below will win the Championship this year unless they can add a Chris Paul (or in the case of the Jazz a Monta Ellis and Antawn Jamison. In the Grizzlies case: A Kevin Love/Chris Kaman/Emeka Okafor/Andrea Barnagni type) without gutting their depth)
10. Grizzlies – This may be my most controversial pick but this is the one that I feel that I can defend the most and not just because they are my favorite NBA team not named the Celtics. They almost snuck into the playoffs last year and they only got better this year. This is also a team that has improved every year for the last 3 years. In my west preview, I only have 6 locks for the playoffs: the Griz are one of them.
11. Jazz – experts love this team but I just can’t see it. They lost the depth that they had last season. I am not so sure that Al Jefferson is an upgrade over Carlos Boozer. They need Gordon Heyward to step up and be the back up that Millsap deserpately needs.
12. Bobcats – everyone would argue that they got worse and I will agree but I must point out that everyone below them got worse for the most part.
15. Clippers – every year, I think that it is their year but I challenge you to find someone who can find a better core of Davis, Gordon, Kaman, and Griffin when healthy
(The teams in the tier below can sneak into the playoffs (18-20). The teams below them can count on the lottery or bad luck and injuries by every team above them.)
18. Knicks – if they had one more consistent 15 point, 6 rebound guy, I would put them in the playoffs. A lot of people don’t like Felton but I like him a lot. I could easily see him sneak into an All Star Game before his contract expires.
20. Kings – a lot to like about this team. They are blossoming.
21. Pacers – improving but not at a fast enough rate.
22. Pistons – need everything to go right to even get near the playoff race.
23. Warriors – if I had to pick one team that I did not want to face this season that isn’t a top tier team, the Warriors would be my choice. They have Curry, Ellis, and now Lee. If they can add one more lottery pick (like a center who could put up 18 points a game), they will be scary. They could be this years Bucks.
24. Hornets – This is David West’s last year with the team, Peja too. That will leave them with Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, and umm?
25. Nuggets – This is the last year that they have a chance to be competitive with K-Mart and Melo leaving. Now, here is the question? Do you go all in or blow them up now while you still have pieces?
26. Wizards – like every team, they need a solid center to be competitive. They have all star caliber players at the 1-4 spots. Wow, that was pretty positive for a team that I ranked 26.
(The competition for #1)
28. Raptors – If they use their trade exemption for a player who puts up 15 points and 10 rebounds, then maybe they can be competitive. Good luck finding that guy for nothing.
29. Nets – need a go to guy. Did not find it in the lottery, need to find it in this year’s lottery. Melo will do this team no Favors.
30. Cavaliers – loss of Shaq and Z will hurt more than loss of Lebron.
4. Oklahoma City
5. San Antonio
Boston over Chicago
Miami over Charlotte
Milwaukee over Atlanta again
Orlando barely over Philly
Lakers over Phoenix
Utah over Dallas
Memphis over Portland
OKC over San Antonio
OKC over Lakers
Memphis over Utah
Orlando over Boston
Miami over Milwaukee
Orlando over Miami
OKC over Memphis
Orlando over OKC