NBA Pre-Season Power Rankings

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NBA Pre-Season Power Rankings
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EAST:
1. Miami Heat: All-Star trio proves too tough to topple in a record-chasing regular season.
2. Boston Celtics: Same old green, Big 3, plus addition of Jermaine O'Neal strengthens frontcourt looking to repeat their long run in the playoffs.
3. Orlando Magic: Few roster changes leads most to believe in a repeat of a successful 2009-2010 season, but hope to relinquish their post-season shortcomings.
4. Atlanta Hawks: Returning all 5 starters and 6th man Crawford, proven to be a contender in the East.
5. Chicago Bulls: Emerging Superstar Derrick Rose looks to lead a new supporting cast headed by former Utah Forward Carlos Boozer.
6. Detroit Pistons: Solid starting 5, looking to stay healthy deep into 2011 which would make them a tough outing come April.
7. Milwaukee Bucks: Sophomore Phenom Brandon Jennings leads a cast of floating NBA names, including newcomers Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden, but seem to be a likely first round exit.
8. Charlotte Bobcats: Veteran Erick Dampier and athletic Forward Tyrus Thomas add versatility to frontcourt in supporting Guard/Forward play of Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace. They should lock up the 8th and final playoff spot.
9. New York Knicks: Amare Stoudemire and 'new-look' Knicks make solid run but come up short in 2011.
10. Cleveland Cavaliers: Depleted (or not?) Cavaliers' roster makes great strides in disproving doubters, but cannot lock up a playoff spot.
11. Washington Wizards: Guard play of Rookie John Wall speeds up the rebuilding process as injury-plagued Gilbert Arenas and Josh Howard look to stay healthy. Another year contributing to the playoff drought in our Nation's Capital.
12. Indiana Pacers: Familiar faces in Indiana fail to get the job done yet again. Fantasy owners, however, pleased in Danny Granger's consistent numbers.
13. Philadelphia 76ers: Absence of backcourt leadership (Jrue Holiday) cripples team chemistry as Rookie Evan Turner looks to find his place alongside big names Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand.
14. New Jersey Nets: Rookie Derrick Favors makes for a solid frontcourt with Brook Lopez, but a repeat of last season's nightmare is seeming all the more likely.
15. Toronto Raptors: Hope to avoid being a replica of the 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets, but with a roster filled with role players it seems almost inevitable.

WEST:
1. Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson complete their second "3-peat" as player-coach and swingman Ron Artest seems to finally have found his place behind the steady play of Spaniard Pau Gasol.
2. Dallas Mavericks: Centers Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler add athleticism to Dirk Nowitzki's frontcourt. The Mavericks cruise to a second seed in the playoffs behind the veteran play of Jason Kidd and big name forwards Caron Butler and Shawn Marion.
3. Denver Nuggets: Newly motivated Carmelo Anthony ignores this Summer's Free Agency buzz and looks to take care of serious business in 2010-2011. Critics seem interested in the fitting in of former Knick Forward Al Harrington.
4. Houston Rockets: Resurgence of Chinese Center Yao Ming gives fans in Houston reason to have "high" hopes for next season. Steady play of ex-Oregon star Aaron Brooks keeps the Rockets' eye on the prize as they enter the playoffs highly seeded.
5. Utah Jazz: Superstar Point Guard Deron Williams is joined by Boozer's replacement, Al Jefferson. Paul Millsap may finally get his chance to shine if given the minutes he deserves. The Jazz will be tough to beat.
6. Portland Trail Blazers: Frontcourt trio of Aldridge, Camby and surgically repaired Greg Oden look to back All-Star Guard Brandon Roy in their quest for post-season adventure.
7. Phoenix Suns: Stoudemire-less Suns shift gears as the new cast takes some getting used to. Ever-durable Steve Nash finds himself getting to know the team's trainer better than ever as the injuries finally begin to pile up.
8. San Antonio Spurs: The experienced Spurs scrape for the final playoff spot, but veteran Tim Duncan is all the more excited to compete with Los Angeles in the first round. 
9. Oklahoma City Thunder: Marginally supported Forward Kevin Durant leads a disgruntled Thunder team through the competitive Western Conference.
10. New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets miss the playoffs again leaving star Point Guard Chris Paul unsatisfied...again. 
11. Golden State Warriors: Newcomer David Lee fits right in to fast-paced Warrior offense and "swiss cheese" defense, as youth backcourt of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry lead the rebuilding...fast approaching that 8th playoff spot.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: Re-signing of Forward Rudy Gay a plus, but the Grizzlies prove too soft for a legitimate playoff run.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin's Rookie season comes a year late in a season filled with ups and downs and mysteries unsolved, leaving the fans in Staples Center...well...Laker fans.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves: One man's trash is another man's treasure as Minnesota picks up last night's baked potato, Michael Beasley, from Miami's leftovers...
15. Sacramento Kings: No, your sons and daughters are NOT allowed to try out for this year's Kings team, as Tyreke Evans leads this young team through an abundance of 'tough lesson-learning'.

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