Offseason NBA Power Rankings
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1. Lakers —They did win the championship last season. I’m not going to rain on L.A.’s parade, yet.
2. Heat —The roster? Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Joel Anthony, Mario Chalmers, Eddie House, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. A championship is on the horizon. They just have to dig down and take it.
3. Celtics —The Celtisaurs are going to have trouble keeping up with Miami’s firepower, as will everyone else. There’s a better chance Rosie O’Donell becomes hot than this team staying healthy all year.
4. Magic —Vince Carter is weighing the Magic down. Look for him to be moved during the season.
Chris Paul would would take this squad to the next level.
5. Mavericks —Their core of Dirk, Jason Kidd, Brendan Haywood, and Jason Terry isn’t getting any younger, but they boast the best depth in the league with a supporting cast of Rodrigue Beabouis, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, and Shawn Marion.
6. Spurs —Remember the name Tiago Splitter? the Brazilian import who has been overseas. He is Duncan’s heir and is going to make a big impact from day one.
Tony Parker might be on his way out with the emergence of George Hill last year, but regardless of the roster moves the Spurs will will be much improved.
7. Bulls —The Bulls struck big in free agency, even without landing any of the "Big Three." Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, and Ronnie Brewer will take this team to another level offensively, while new coach Tom Thibodeau (the former Celtics assistant) will mold it into a force on the defensive end.
It will be fun to watch Derrick Rose play with his new toys.
8. Thunder —Anytime you lock up one of the league’s top five players, as the Thunder did this summer with the Kevin Durant extension, it’s a great offseason. They have the best combination of financial flexibility and young talent in the league.
9. Jazz —Even after losing their franchise big in Boozer, they did a hell of a job replacing him with Al Jefferson, a potential top fifteen NBA player. Rookie Gordan Hayward will be critical in stretching the floor.
10. Hawks —Joe Johnson won the biggest payday of the offseason? That deal alone will financially paralyze this team in a few years .
11. Bucks —The Bucks were the league’s top overachievers last year. So, what did they do?
They went on the offensive during the offseason, re-signing John Salmons and acquiring Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden. But I’m still not sold on Brandon Jennings and his 37 percent shooting from the field.
12. Rockets —The Rockets entire season will depend on the health of Yao Ming. This might be his last hurrah.
13. Blazers —If Greg Oden is going to become something—anything—his contract year is the time to do it.
14. Nuggets —Al Harrington will give them a boost offensively, but will it matter when Melo skips town next summer?
15. Suns —Minus Amar'e, they become a third-tier playoff team. They added Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu, and Hakim Warrick, but, as always, where is the defense going to come from?
16. Knicks —The additions, Raymond Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire, will allow them to play faster, and they should be among the top echelon of teams offensively. Danilo Gallinari’s improvement will be key.
17. Clippers —The odds of Blake Griffin suffering a freak accident by game one: 5/4. The Clippers curse must live on.
18. Grizzlies —Marc Gasol (Pau’s bro) is one of the most underrated big men in the game.
The Grizzlies have the talent to be a playoff team, but do they have the experience and defensive prowess to take the next step?
19. Sixers —They will be improved, with the draft’s most NBA-ready player in Evan Turner and the addition of coach Doug Collins.
20. Hornets —Just wait until the losses start piling up and Chris Paul wants out again. Say hello to the lottery.
21. Bobcats —MJ has made some perplexing moves thus far, setting the team back in the process. Tyson Chandler for Erick Dampier?
22. Pacers —Things haven’t been the same ever since the Ron Artest Brawl six years ago. This is an average team at best.
23. Pistons —Year three of rebuilding does not look promising, unless Greg Monroe makes an immediate impact.
24. Wizards —Count me as one of the few non-believers in John Wall. Yes, he has the insane athleticism, but is he skilled enough to be a top-tier point guard?
25. Warriors —Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are fun to watch, but this team is very far from relevancy. David Lee and Dorrell Wright were nice additions.
26. Kings —DeMarcus Cousins will go down as the best player of this draft, so long as he doesn’t have any Michael Beasley moments.
27. Cavaliers —Ouch, that fall hurt. How long until this franchise goes under?
28. Raptors —One of the biggest drop-offs of 2010 after losing Bosh in free agency.
29. Timberwolves —Beasley could become a star as the go-to guy in Minnesota. I kid you not, the guy’s going to get it together. What’s there to do in Minnesota?
30. Nets —They received some help in Anthony Morrow, rookie Derrick Favors, and Travis Outlaw. That should be good for another eight wins!
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