With the NBA Season upon us, and ESPN the Magazine predicting the Indiana Pacers would finish 8th in the Eastern Conference, we here at Always Miller Time knew we had to give our home team some love and put together our own NBA Power Rankings. Looking over how the season can unfold, there’s little doubt who’s the best team and who is the worst team. With everything else open to discussion, especially in the Western after Oklahoma City Thunder traded away their Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden. That should shake up things for that team. Where everyone else falls is right here? Feel free to argue for your team to be up higher.
1. Miami Heat
The reigning champs only looked to get better with the addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Allen won’t have to do much other than come in and shoot threes. But will the motivation of another championship be enough to carry the Heat to not one, not two, not three, but however championships?
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Signing Steve Nash seems like the bigger move for the Lakers of Los Angeles in my mind as that gives the team a point guard that actually you know plays point guard. Sure Dwight Howard is a great signing as well, but will he handle that pressure of being a great big men for this storied franchise. Can this team stay healthy as well with the old legs of Kobe Bryant?
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
Losing James Harden could be bigger than we think, which is why there has to be some concern in OKC right now. But there still is top five player Kevin Durant, who played so well in the playoffs until that Finals performance. He might have to take on even more with the loss of Harden.
4. San Antonio Spurs
I’m not ready to count out the Spurs, which could mean their demise is eminent. Bringing back Tim Duncan was bound to happen, and it’s great to see a guy play for one team his whole career. Tony Parker had a MVP type season, one that saw him finish in the top five voting, and like Durant, he’ll need another season like that.
5. Indiana Pacers
Have to give home town love to the Pacers who solidified their starting line up by bringing back George Hill and Roy Hibbert. Some people think they overpaid for both guys, but there was obviously great chemistry there, so the Pacers had to spend the money. The bench looks to be revamped this season, which means that they could win some games for the team or lose some games. Not a settling thought there. But this team has great potential, and it should all play out this season.
6. Boston Celtics
A team vying with the Pacers for second in the East in this guy’s mind. Like the Pacers, they looked to solidify things, and they improved upon their bench. Making them one of the deepest teams in the league, which could present problems for the rest of the league.
7. Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul get another year to mesh together, and Lob City wants to take over LA. But that is probably years away. Maybe the Clippers can settle for somehow overtaking the Lakers in the Pacific Division this season.
8. Memphis Grizzlies
A team like the Indiana Pacers, where they play such a solid team game. Last year’s playoff run didn’t last as long as predicted, which should leave this team hungry for the playoffs this season.
9. Denver Nuggets
Once again, who plays on this team? Ty Lawson is turning into quite the star in Denver. Adding Andre Iguodala should provide scoring help. A team effort like the Grizzlies and Pacers should show the NBA you don’t need the superstar quota to win.
10. Brooklyn Nets
I’m not ready to buy the hype for this team, but looking in the East, where else could they finish but up in the top half of the Conference. Joe Johnson has been going down for years, so we’ll see how he does in Brooklyn.
11. Utah Jazz
Lots of big men here in Utah, so there’s a great need for a point guard. But playing in the West, big men are needed, and that could propel the Jazz to a playoff run.
12. Chicago Bulls
How do the Bulls handle the loss of Derrick Rose for a good chunk of the season? That’s the million dollar question in Chicago. Even then, how does Rose shake off the court rust when he does come back?
13. Philadelphia 76ers
I was ready to buy the 76ers as a contending East team, but Andrew Bynum hasn’t played a lick of preseason, and his health is a concern. That’s going to be huge for the Sixers as Bynum gives them a big man that can play. He just needs to play up to that potential.
14. Dallas Mavericks
Well the Mavericks missed out on so much, but they did pick up Darren Collison, who provides a great starting point guard. Dirk Nowitzki will be Dirk with his supreme shooting. Health could be a concern for him as he’s up there in age.
15. New York Knicks
Can Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire finally get the Knicks going in the right direction? Lots of pressure there to do something, and this team will have to play defense to have a shot at good playoff position.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves
Just like the Knicks, there’s a tandem that people think can be great together. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love started so hot together, but each had their own injury issues, and never got going again. Time for each guy to stay healthy and carry Minnesota to a playoff run.
17. Atlanta Hawks
Lots of guys who can do something for the Hawks, but can they carry them to a playoff position? Probably in the East, but they won’t go anywhere after that.
18. Houston Rockets
Picking up James Harden could really help this team, and he gets a shot at starting. Jeremy Lin gets a shot to show he’s not a fluke. But the jury will be out on him until there’s a full season played.
19. Golden State Warriors
Andrew Bogut needs to come play if the Warriors want some shot at the playoffs. Stephen Curry can shot, but if that’s all he’s doing, how else does this team do something?
20. Cleveland Cavaliers
Possibly my spoiler team in the league as one who could pick up some wins that weren’t expected, and knock some teams out of playoff contention or down a spot in playoff positioning. But there’s still work to do in Cleveland before they’re back in the playoffs.
21. Portland Trailblazers
LaMarcus Aldridge is there as a star player, but how long will he want to stay around this team, who doesn’t look to be doing much?
22. Milwaukee Bucks
They’ve got scorers in Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, but is there anything else here?
23. Sacramento Kings
Just like the Pistons, a team that was good back in the day, but hasn’t been anything recently.
24. Toronto Raptors
A young team with potential to grow. But they probably need a veteran to show the ropes of how to play.
25. Orlando Magic
Cap room for this team in the coming summer, so that’s something to look forward to.
26. Phoenix Suns
Losing Steve Nash is going to drop this team. Some big men who can play, but once again, who gets them the ball to score, and puts them in that position to score.
27. Washington Wizards
Hey they got John Wall, who looks to be a stud. But other than that, not much else going on in D.C.
28. New Orleans Hornets
Young guys here that could mesh together in a few years, but it’s looking like another high draft pick for the Hornets this season.
29. Detroit Pistons
The good old days of championships and that team effort are long gone. Here are the days of overpaid players and no team chemistry at all. That doesn’t make any recipe for success, and to me they are years away from contending in the East again.
30. Charlotte Bobcats
Not how many wins will this team get, but how many losses will this team get? Surely, they can surpass 7 wins from last year, but with as bad as they look, even getting that win total might be hard to reach.