NBA Power Rankings: Hot Teams That Will Fade

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IDecember 1, 2012

There are some NBA teams that have gotten off to a hot start to the 2012-13 campaign, but some of those same teams are sure to fade as the season moves along.

Let's take a look at the NBA power rankings and which teams' records will go south from this point on.


1. Miami Heat (11-3)

Miami is healthy and off to a great start to the season. As long as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are on the floor, this team will remain the NBA's best.


2. Memphis Grizzlies (11-2)

Despite their immense talent, many around the NBA are still surprised at the incredible start that Memphis is off to. But convincing wins over the Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder early on prove this team is for real.


3. Oklahoma City Thunder (12-4)

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are dominating like they normally do, and this team's youth and athleticism will ensure that the Thunder will be a powerhouse in the NBA all season long.


4. San Antonio Spurs (13-4)

David Stern can throw out whatever ridiculous fines he wants, but the Spurs still have their own big three healthy and that makes them a top contender in the Western Conference.


5. Brooklyn Nets (10-4)

The Nets enjoyed a victory in the first New York showdown of the season over the Knicks, so that has them just one spot ahead of their crosstown rivals. Things will only get better as this team continues to gel, but Brook Lopez's health is a concern.


6. New York Knicks (10-4)

The Knicks have been playing great defense to start the season and Carmelo Anthony is clearly buying in, showing that he is no doubt a MVP candidate for the 2012-13 season. All this while missing two players out of their starting five.


7. Los Angeles Clippers (9-6)

After a hot start, the Clippers are going through a rough patch at the moment. However, this team is far too talented to continue playing this poorly and Chris Paul help will make sure it doesn't last.


8. Atlanta Hawks (9-4)

The Hawks have won their last six games going into Friday night's action, but those wins have been against some of the worst the NBA has to offer.

Atlanta has played some great defense to start the season, but again, it hasn't been against competitive teams. Offensively, the Hawks are No. 20 in the NBA, and that won't get it done if they hope to compete in the east.

Lacking a pure scoring threat now that Joe Johnson is in Brooklyn, scoring points will get much tougher as the opponents get better. Atlanta just doesn't have enough firepower to compete for a top spot and that will leave them as a low seed, best-case scenario.


9. Philadelphia 76ers (9-6)

Things were looking bright for the 76ers before the season started thanks to the addition of Andrew Bynum during the offseason. But with Bynum's status as out indefinitely, there's no telling when the star center will return.

Without Bynum, the Sixers have gotten off to a solid start, but many of their wins are against bad teams.

As was the case last season, this team doesn't have a lethal scoring threat to help them succeed against tough defenses. On top of that, they lack an inside presence as long as Bynum is in the trainer's room.

As the schedule gets tougher during the season, the 76ers will find wins harder to come by without their best player.


10. Golden State Warriors (9-6)

Don't look now, but the Warriors are on top of the Pacific division ahead of the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, but that shouldn't last much longer.

The Warriors have taken advantage of a favorable schedule to start the season, so their record is a bit misleading. This is a very young team with a ton of talent, but health will remain the key.

Stephen Curry appears to be healthy for the moment, but the injury bug has certainly bitten the young guard in the past and he must prove he can remain healthy for 82 games. Also, Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely, and there's no telling when the Warriors No. 1 center will return.


11. Boston Celtics (8-7)

Boston is off to a shaky start this season, but that's to be expected for a team with a few new pieces added to the mix. The Celtics still have a premier point guard, scorer and interior presence, so expect things to get better this season.


12. Milwaukee Bucks (7-6)

Milwaukee's backcourt is one of the best in the league thanks to Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Ersan Ilyasova has been extremely disappointing to start this season, and Milwaukee will need a contribution from him if they hope to improve to a top team in the east.


13. Los Angeles Lakers (7-8)

So far so bad for the Mike D'Antoni era. This team doesn't look as explosive offensively as most D'Antoni teams do, and that isn't likely to change until Steve Nash returns. Whenever that is.


14. Utah Jazz (9-7)

Looking at the majority of their wins, the Jazz have benefited from some weak opponents to get where they are now. If this team wants more respect for its solid start, Utah must start beating quality opponents.


15. Indiana Pacers (7-8)

Despite not having Danny Granger in the lineup this season, the Pacers are holding their own early on. But this is a long season, and this team can't hope to compete against great defenses without its best scorer.


16. Chicago Bulls (7-7)

Six of Chicago's first seven wins have been against losing opponents and that huge lead the Bulls blew against the Bucks proves this team isn't anywhere near what they are with Derrick Rose on the floor. Rose might return this season, but it could be too little too late for Chicago.


17. Denver Nuggets (8-8)

The offense and rebounding has been there thus far for the Nuggets, but if they hope to be amongst the conference's elite by the end of the season, Denver must play some better defense.


18. Dallas Mavericks (7-9)

With Dirk Nowitzki, this team isn't elite. So as long as Nowitzki is sidelined with an injury, don't expect this team to get any better than it is now. It's only downhill from here until Dirk gets back.


19. Houston Rockets (7-8)

Without their head coach, the Rockets aren't in as good of hands as they'd like with Kelvin Sampson at the helm. Jeremy Lin has been a disappointment thus far, and the jury is still out on James Harden being the superstar this franchise needs.


20. Minnesota Timberwolves (6-8)

Kevin Love's return from injury has been huge for the Wolves, who have a ton of talent on their roster. But don't expect things to get markedly better until Ricky Rubio returns to the lineup.


21. Charlotte Bobcats (7-7)

The Bobcats have already matched their win total from last season, so we have to give credit where credit is due. However, after getting crushed by the Thunder, this team is obviously nowhere near ready for primetime.


22. Phoenix Suns (7-9)

I'm going to chalk up that 40-point butt-whipping at the hands of the Detroit Pistons to a bad night, which happens to most teams in the NBA during the season. This team doesn't have a lot of talent, so expect the Suns to finish well below .500 for the season.


23. Detroit Pistons (5-11)

I know, the Pistons record is dreadful and maybe they don't deserve to be even this high. But after a depressing start to the season, the Pistons are starting to win games and prove they are a credible squad.


24. Portland Trail Blazers (6-9)

The Blazers lost to the Washington Wizards this week, but even terrible teams like Washington are bound to win eventually. Portland still has a Rookie of the Year candidate and one of the best big men in the league, so look for things to improve as chemistry builds.


25. Orlando Magic (5-9)

Orlando is in the process of rebuilding and doesn't have a single star on their roster to speak of. It will be a long, depressing season for the Magic in the hopes that it will result in a solid draft pick.


26. Sacramento Kings (4-10)

The Kings have plenty of youth and athleticism, but it remains to be seen if a star can arise from this mess of inexperience. DeMarcus Cousins is the most likely candidate, but he has a lot of maturing to do.


27. New Orleans Hornets (4-10)

Anthony Davis' injury is a big concern for the Hornets right now and the longer he stays off the court, the slower his development will be. For a team centered around one potential star, that is a major problem.


28. Toronto Raptors (3-12)

Coming into Friday, the Raptors had lost their last six games, three of which were against the Bobcats, Pistons and Rockets. If the Raptors can't beat those teams, they don't deserve to move any higher on this list.


29. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-12)

Kyrie Irving's injury was a huge blow to the Cavaliers hopes of being competitive this season. It's no surprise that Cleveland has lost four of its last five games without Irving and this bad stretch will be too much to overcome during the course of the season.


30. Washinton Wizards (1-12)

The Wizards finally got their first win of the season, but it was against Portland, so nothing to get excited about there. As long as John Wall is out, this team will remain simply putrid. With Wall on the floor, this team is about as bad as it is now anyway.


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