With the start of the NBA season just 27 days away, it’s time to reveal the Preseason NBA Power Rankings. During the course of the season, teams will be ranked weekly on six determining factors.
1. Win/Loss record
2. Offensive Efficiency/Shooting Percentage
6. Strength of schedule
Each factor will have a 10 point total for a total of 60 points.
But since this is just preseason, the rankings will be based-off projections.
1. San Antonio Spurs – They are the defending champions and they won the title in swift fashion. Not to mention, they return a very good roster.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers – The offseason additions of LeBron James and Kevin Love will make the biggest difference, clearly. However, the play of Kyrie Irving will be the most important.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder – Perhaps the best 1-2 duo in the league with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. They will need Serge Ibaka to really emerge if they want to go further.
4. Chicago Bulls – Is Derrick Rose fully healthy? Will the addition of Pau Gasol really make a difference? Two big questions for Chicago.
5. Memphis Grizzlies – Hardly mentioned. Hardly recognized. Consistent, physical, and defensive-minded. The Grizzlies will be good, again.
6. Los Angeles Clippers – A lot of offensive talent, but DeAndre Jordan still can’t play big 4th quarter minutes and Blake Griffin’s offensive game is still shaky.
7. Miami Heat – They have been to four straight NBA Finals, but lost James. They still have Chris Bosh and hopefully Dwyane Wade is close to 100 percent. Still expect this team in the playoffs.
8. Dallas Mavericks – They stole Chandler Parsons from Houston and re-acquired Tyson Chandler. Not to mention, Dirk Nowitzki is still around. This team will return to the playoffs.
9. Washington Wizards – They might have over-achieved last season, but that won’t be the case this season. Making the playoffs are an expectation this season, and probably for years to come.
10. Golden State Warriors – They almost lost Klay Thompson and almost gained Kevin Love. This team has a new coach (Steve Kerr), but the same identity (lots of three-pointers).
11. Charlotte Hornets – I think the Lance Stephenson signing is being overrated. We will see just how good he can be this season.
12. Houston Rockets – Gained Trevor Ariza, but lost a very good, well-rounded player in Parsons. Is Dwight Howard on the downside of his career? Will James Harden exert any effort on defense?
13. Portland Trail Blazers – A nice story last season. Damian Lillard looks ready to take the step into (possible) stardom.
14. Toronto Raptors – The play of Jonas Valanciunas will decide how far the Raptors can go this season. FIBA experience for DeMar DeRozan will help his game as well.
15. New Orleans Pelicans – This team has a lot of young talent, led by Anthony Davis. Expect him to assume the role of best player, team leader, MVP candidate, and DPOY candidate. Too much to ask?
16. Atlanta Hawks – Made the playoffs despite a sub-.500 record. Offseason controversy about GM Danny Ferry and free agent Luol Deng, has this team in a bad way. But the media has blown it out of proportion. This team will be fine.
17. Denver Nuggets – They expect Danilo Gallinari back, and that’s good news. What also is good is that Kenneth Faried played above his ceiling during the FIBA games. Could be a big year for him.
18. Indiana Pacers – Losing Paul George for the season isn’t good. This team is a group of veterans though, and that alone will help them stay competitive.
19. Phoenix Suns – Only reason they are down this far is because they play in the Western Conference. They have three starting point guards, and it’ll be hard to find time for all three of them.
20. Brooklyn Nets – This team is old, oft-injured, and this season might be a big disaster.
21. New York Knicks – Carmelo Anthony lost weight and Phil Jackson has some of the pieces in place, including new head coach Derek Fisher. It’ll be an interesting season in New York.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves – Lots of inexperienced, youthful and talented players mixed with veterans. This season should be filled with optimism in Minnesota.
23. Detroit Pistons – Stan Van Gundy takes over a team with Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. What could be better?
24. Orlando Magic – This team won’t be horrible, but it won’t be very good either.
25. Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe Bryant returns to find Carlos Boozer as the power forward and Jeremy Lin as the point guard. This will be interesting.
26. Boston Celtics – The injury to Rajon Rondo doesn’t help if they want to win, but it does help Marcus Smart develop.
27. Utah Jazz – They signed Gordon Hayward to a maximum contract. They could have done a lot better this offseason.
28. Milwaukee Bucks – On the road, all eyes will be on Jabari Parker. At home, not sure.
29. Sacramento Kings – No matter what the Kings try, it never seems to work. I expect them to move up the Power Rankings during the year.
30. Philadelphia 76ers – Nerlens Noel will play, but Joel Embiid won’t. Not much to see in Philly.