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.
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