Monday, February 8, 2016

NBA Power Rankings: 76ers dead last

Pompey’s Week One NBA Power Rankings

NBA Power Rankings: 76ers dead last

76ers coach Brett Brown. (Chris Szagola/AP file photo)
76ers coach Brett Brown. (Chris Szagola/AP file photo)

Pompey’s Week One NBA Power Rankings

Here are my NBA power rankings heading into Tuesday’s season-opening matchups. Tell me what you think. I want your comments and criticisms.

1. Miami Heat (66-16 last season). With the additions of Michael Beasley and Greg Oden, the Heat are positioned to win their third consecutive NBA championship.

2. San Antonio Spurs (58-24 last season).  The Spurs will be tough to beat if Kawhi Leonard can come close to producing an all-star caliber season.

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3. Indiana Pacers (49-32 last season). Don’t count out the Pacers, who have the weapons to challenge the Heat.

4. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26 last season). The Clippers are serious contenders to win the Western Conference because of new coach and president Doc Rivers.

5. Chicago Bulls (45-37 last season). The Bulls are once again a top-five team with a healthy Derrick Rose back on the court.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder (60-22 last season). The Thunder will surely move up the rankings when Russell Westbrook returns in December.

7. Brooklyn Nets (49-33 last season).  While upgrading with veteran talent is nice, the Nets will go as far as rookie coach Jason Kidd takes them.

8. Golden State Warriors (47-35 last season). The addition of former Sixer Andre Iguodala makes the Warriors a trendy pick for another deep postseason run.

9.  Houston Rockets (45-37 last season). The Rockets made the leap from a fringe playoff team to a Western Conference contender by adding Dwight Howard.

10. Memphis Grizzlies (56-26 last season). New coach Dave Joerger has a tough task of replacing Lionel Hollins, the most successful coach in franchise history.

11. New York Knicks (54-28 last season). Expect a slow start for the Knicks with J. R. Smith serving a suspension and Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin not yet cleared for back-to-backs.

12. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51 last season). The Timberwolves head into the season with the league’s longest playoff drought (nine seasons).

13. Washington Wizards (29-53 last season). We now have to consider the Wizards playoff contenders after acquiring center Marcin Gortat.

14. New Orleans Pelicans (27-55 last season). The Pelicans accelerated their rebuilding process by adding former Sixer Jrue Holiday and Chester native Tyreke Evans.

15. Portland Trail Blazers (33-49 last season).  With quality additions, the Trail Blazers are built to make the Western Conference playoffs.

16. Denver Nuggets (57-25 last season). The Nuggets are at risk to be the eighth team to miss the playoffs after winning 55-plus games the previous season.

17. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-58 last season). Will Andrew Bynum play this season? That’s the only thing that matters in Cleveland.

18. Detroit Pistons (29-53 last season).  The Pistons should improve on last season with a front line of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Eric Drummond.

19. Dallas Mavericks (41-41 last season). New addition Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki should provide a stellar tandem that should have the Mavericks battling for a playoff spot.

20. Los Angeles Lakers (45-37 last season). The Lakers will struggle before Kobe Bryant is 100 percent healthy. Duh!

21. Toronto Raptors (34-48 last season). The Raptors should be fun to watch as Rudy Gay has an improved supporting cast.

22. Sacramento Kings (28-54 last season).  The Kings hope the hiring of coach Mike Malone and giving DeMarcus Cousins a max contract will jumpstart the franchise.

23. Atlanta Hawks (44-38 last season).  We will soon find out if Al Horford being the face of the franchise is a good thing.

24.  Milwaukee Bucks (38-44 last season). New coach Larry Drew takes over a team in serious rebuilding mode.

25. Charlotte Bobcats (21-61 last season). The Bobcats are hoping that the acquisition Al Jefferson (ankle) can elevate them from being one of the laughing stocks of the NBA.

26. Utah Jazz (43-39 last season). The Jazz are forced to play young players and deal with their mistakes after Jefferson and Paul Millsap walked in the summer.

27. Orlando Magic (20-62 last season). Rookie-of-the-year candidate Victor Oladipo will lead a young Magic team that’s beginning the second season of a rebuilding process.

28. Boston Celtics (41-40 last season). This is going to be a long, long season for the Celtics faithful, as rookie coach Brad Stevens doesn’t have a clear starting lineup.

29. Phoenix Suns (25-57 last season).  The Suns are expected to challenge the Sixers as the league’s worst team after trading Gortat to the Wizards for injured center Emeka Okafor and a first-round pick.

30.  Philadelphia 76ers (34-48 last season). The Sixers’ pursuit of the league-worst record in the hope to get Andrew Wiggins begins Wednesday night against the Heat.

 - Keith Pompey

Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers

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About this blog

Keith Pompey has been an Inquirer reporter since September 2004 and took over the Sixers beat in the summer of 2013 after covering Temple basketball and football for the previous three years.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Keith Pompey Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Staff Writer
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