NBA Power Rankings: Los Angeles Lakers Rise After Trades

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIMarch 20, 2012

NBA Power Rankings: Los Angeles Lakers Rise After Trades

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    The 2012 NBA trade deadline has passed, and the way the leading NBA contenders stack up has changed. The Los Angeles Lakers are one team that has changed greatly, as their acquisition of Ramon Sessions made them much better.

    Other teams helped themselves as well, while still others stood pat and benefited or suffered from it. The top10 teams in the NBA probably haven't changed, but the order they should be ranked in definitely has.

    Here are the top 10 best teams in the NBA right now.

10. Los Angeles Clippers

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    The Clippers have been on a skid lately, losing eight of 10 games at one point. That, combined with a lack of playoff experience and team cohesion, has dropped them to this spot at No. 10.

    Adding Nick Young at the deadline helps this team, especially moving forward to the future. However, it probably won't help as much for this season's playoff run.

9. Philadelphia 76ers

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    The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most balanced teams in the NBA. They share the ball and are among the league's leaders in assists, defense and rebounds. The cheap addition of Sam Young at the trade deadline makes the Sixers even deeper and more athletic on the perimeter.

    Look out for this team in the playoffs. They are young enough and athletic enough to give just about anyone fits.

8. Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Memphis Grizzlies have a 25-18 record right now, which is stellar considering that they have been without starting power forward Zach Randolph for most of the season.

    When they get Randolph back, they'll probably move up to the No. 4 seed in the West. They're already younger than most of the teams in the NBA, and the addition of Randolph makes them better in the front court than most too.

7. Dallas Mavericks

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    The Dallas Mavericks are not the same team that won a championship last season behind hot shooting and solid defense. However, they are still a threat in the Western Conference, mainly because they still have a superstar in Dirk Nowitzki and a solid core of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and others.

    This team isn't as good as they were, but they are still very much a contender.

6. Orlando Magic

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    The Orlando Magic are breathing sighs of relief after convincing superstar center Dwight Howard to stay for at least one more season in Orlando. That development alone makes them a championship contender.

    The Magic made the NBA Finals just a few years ago with the same core. If this team can get hot at the right time, don't count them out to make it there again.

5. San Antonio Spurs

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    The smartest team in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs made themselves even better at the trade deadline by shipping out Richard Jefferson in exchange for former Spur Stephen Jackson.

    The Spurs will continue to win and will probably maintain their No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker is still among the NBA's best.

4. Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Los Angeles Lakers got better immediately by trading away aging point guard Derek Fisher and other useless assets and getting back-up center Jordan Hill and point guard Ramon Sessions in return.

    Sessions is the man the Lakers have needed at the point. Not a superstar, but a young, dependable guy who can play the position well. His arrival puts the Lakers at this spot, while before, they would have probably been a few spots lower.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder did absolutely nothing at the trade deadline. And for good reason.

    The Kevin Durant-led Thunder lead the Western Conference by four games and trail the Chicago Bulls for the No. 1 overall seed by just two games. Their youth and natural talent is unparalleled in the league, and they look like the team of the next decade in this league.

2. Miami Heat

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    LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh mesh together better and better with each game they play, even now, nearly two years after they teamed up for the Miami Heat. They now also have a championship-caliber supporting cast, with guys like Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier.

    The Miami Heat are the most talented team in the NBA. They've lost some games they shouldn't have, but they won't do that when the playoffs come around.

1. Chicago Bulls

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    The Chicago Bulls have the best record in the NBA, and as a result, have earned the top spot on these power rankings.

    Led by Derrick Rose, the Bulls have proven themselves to be one of the most talented teams in the NBA, especially on the defensive end of the floor. That type of defensive intensity wins in the playoffs.

    Plus, they just recently defeated the vaunted Miami Heat without their superstar, Rose.