Now that preview time is over, it’s time for us to start covering the now, and keep our sights on the powers that be currently.
There are 30 teams in the NBA, but for the sake of relevancy and keeping your attention, our weekly power rankings will consists solely of a top ten. As the season progresses, these rankings will be an aggregate of records, health, and other statistics such as point differential and offensive / defensive efficiency, but because the season just began yesterday, we’ll start the pure and uncorrupted art of my own damn opinion.
- Golden State Warriors
- Fresh off a historic season that resulted in a championship and are still pretty damn young. Seriously, what’s realistically stopping them from repeating?
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Kyrie isn’t back just yet, but the defending Eastern Conference champions are ready to return to the Finals. Again.
- Houston Rockets
- The addition of Ty Lawson seems to be the headline for this team, but how about the fact that James Harden was a pretty close runner up for MVP last year, and Dwight Howard is quietly very good again.
- San Antonio Spurs
- The Spurs will always be the Spurs… but Kawhi Leonard has emerged as a top ten player, a MVP candidate, and they’ve added Lamarcus Aldridge and David West to the mix. Two power forwards to learn from who? Oh yeah, one of the greatest power forwards of all time: Timmy D.
- Los Angeles Clippers
- They were the best offense in basketball last. No the Warriors. The Clippers, only now their rotation will consist of more than six players. They start low because of that collapse last year, but don’t underestimate their ability to rack up some wins.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- New coach, but same ol’ Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Dion Waiters is still a wrinkle that may need some ironing out, but I like Kanter and they still have the block master himself, Serge Ibaka.
- Chicago Bulls
- I know I wasn’t high on them in my previews, and I’m still not, but their ability to be consistently good despite injuries to key players puts them in my top ten for now, and benching Joakim Noah only makes them better in my book.
- Miami Heat
- Beautiful looking starting five. A probable ten man rotation. But no experience together outside of the usual suspects. Erik Spoelstra has a puzzle on his hands, and until I see him work, they don’t go any higher than eight.
- Toronto Raptors
- Adding Demarre Carroll gives them an edge they were missing, but they still don’t seem to have that “it” factor. Fortunately, they have a whole season to figure out before the playoffs come.
- Washington Wizards
- They lost Paul Pierce, but they added Kelly Oubre, Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson and Gary Neal. More outside shooting, plus an enlightened Randy Wittman, and the desire to make the organization seem desirable to a certain free-agent-to-be could all combine into a glorious season for the Zards.
ESPN NBA Trade Machine Gone Mad
Every week I’m going to play around with ESPN’s Trade Machine to see what kind of nonsens I can get away with. It’s actually quite a frustrating thing to do, because sometimes you find yourself being unfair to another team, but then you remember that it’s all pretend and you stop caring about hypothetical hurt feelings.
I tried to avoid giving the Knicks Hassan Whiteside, but Carmelo is making so much money that Miami would’ve been responsible for way too much in terms of both salary and luxury tax. What’s interesting is that the trade give both the Knicks and the Heat an additional 33 wins as a result of the trade. I’m not sure that’s true, but maybe it’s because there aren’t any real time statistics just yet.
Come back next week to see if the first week of regular season action has any effect on my top ten, and maybe I’ll find a Carmelo trade even worse than this one.