Power Ranking All the NBA Teams Going into the 2011-2012 NBA Season

Adam HartAnalyst IAugust 12, 2011

Power Ranking All the NBA Teams Going into the 2011-2012 NBA Season

0 of 30

    After crowning the Dallas Mavericks NBA champions, the long journey to next year's NBA championship begins for every team. After the draft, many teams had a chance to rebuild and improve. All teams are looking to hoist the championship trophy above their head and claim it as their own. Will the Dallas Mavericks repeat? Or will the star-studded Miami Heat take what they thought was rightfully theirs. Here is a list of the top 25 teams most likely to win the 2011-2012 NBA season.

30. Minnesota Timberwolves

1 of 30

    The Minnesota Timberwolves finished with the worst record in the league last season. Although they were able to draft PF Derrick Williams, he will not provide the depth the team needs, nor will he provide the leadership to this rag-tag team. There is no playoff hope for this team.


    Season Exit: Regular Season

29. Toronto Raptors

2 of 30

    The Toronto Raptors did finish close to last the previous season but will improve this year. After drafting Jonas Valančiūnas, they may be able to train him to be an amazing center that can sub in for top scorer Andrea Bargnani. It is very difficult to say that unless all of their players become amazing during the next two season, i predict an extension to their playoff drought.


    Season Exit: Regular Season

28. New Jersey Nets

3 of 30

    The New Jersey Nets have yet to become a threat to teams who aren't within the bottom eight. This is another team that could become amazing. Center Brook Lopez is their top scorer. It is good to have a larger guy scoring a lot because then all you have to do is teach the forwards and guards how to shoot jumpers and play defense. The difficult aspect to this is that it could take time to change. While the Nets weren't low enough to acquire college stars in the draft, they did draft JaJuan Johnson, a PF who has the ability to learn to shoot and score. This team will unfortunately not make it to the playoffs in the coming season.


    Season Exit: Regular Season

27. Sacramento Kings

4 of 30

    The Sacramento Kings are one of those teams that are just "there". They are not bad enough to be constantly talked about. Nor are they good enough that people are always watching and discussing their games. Yet next season, they won't be just "there". They will become one of the teams aiming for the 8th and 7th conference playoff spot. After drafting PF Bismack Biyombo and SF Tyler Honeycutt, their chances of a playoff spot are improving.


    Season Exit: Regular Season 

26. Washington Wizards

5 of 30

    The Washington Wizards finished the 2010-2011 season with a record of 23-59. While it is not the worst record in the league, there was little chance  of the Wizards doing well. There away record was pathetic, winning less than five games. Yet during the offseason, the team looked to rebuild, acquiring Jan Vasely of Serbia, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack. With Jan Vasely as the center they so desperately need, and Shelvin Mack, a player who can substitute in for John Wall, the Wizards are a team that will improve throughout the next season.


    Season Exit: Regular Season  

25. Cleveland Cavaliers

6 of 30

    The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered an embarrassing season after the departure of Lebron James. Not only did they finish last in the Eastern Conference, but went on a losing streak that lasted 26 games. They had become the laughing-stock of the league. Yet if a team can lose so badly when one player leaves, couldn't they be able to start winning if another player fills the role of the departed player? That's what the Cavs thought too. They drafted Kyrie Irving so they could have a strong point guard lead their team to victory. 


    Season Exit: Regular Season

24. Houston Rockets

7 of 30

    The Houston Rockets missed the playoff cut by a three-game margin. Unfortunately, the teams ahead of them in their conference have improved so much, there isn't much hope for the once great Rockets.


    Season Exit: Regular Season 

23. L.A. Clippers

8 of 30

    The L.A. Clippers, "the other L.A. team" is what they are most commonly referred as. Although they have a stupendous forward in Blake Griffin, they lack depth. Like the Cleveland Cavaliers, they rely on one man to pull the team together. Yet unlike the Cavs, they haven't made it to the playoffs in five seasons. Not even close to making the playoffs, this team won't do any better during the coming season. Until the Clippers start getting more good players to help Blake Griffin, this team isn't going anywhere. 


    Season Exit: Regular Season

22. Utah Jazz

9 of 30

    The Utah Jazz finished eleventh overall in their conference last season. They have slim chances of making it to the playoffs but chances no the least. With Deron Williams leading the way, other starters may start to feel more comfortable and begin to score more and more. This team might not make the playoffs this year, but can become a playoff hopeful in the seasons afterwards.


    Season Exit: Regular Season

21. Detroit Pistons

10 of 30

    The Detroit Pistons are like many teams nowadays who were good several years ago, but have become a team in the lower half of their conference. Yet after finishing eleventh in the Eastern Conference, this team has begun to make major improvements. Drafting Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler, they are building a strong bench that can sub in when starters get tired or have a bad day. Like the Bobcats, the Pistons are another Eastern Conference playoff hopeful going into next season.


    Season Exit: Regular Season

20. Golden State Warriors

11 of 30

    The Golden State Warriors are in one of the worst positions. They didn't do badly enough in the previous season to earn a top spot in the draft. They didn't draft anyone that could really make a difference. This team is staying right where they are in the middle of the bottom section of the Western Conference.


    Season Exit: Regular Season 

19. Indiana Pacers

12 of 30

    The Indiana Pacers earned a playoff spot even with a 37-45 record. Yet they were very closely followed by the Milwaukee Bucks, who were only 2 wins behind them. Unfortunately, their luck will run out and they won't obtain a playoff spot in the coming season. Like many other teams, once they lose their starters to fatigue, their bench can't keep the team up. This inconsistent team will find their way to the lower section of the Eastern Conference even with draft pick Kawhi Leonard.


    Season Exit: Regular Season  

18. Philadelphia 76ers

13 of 30

    Although the Philadelphia 76ers finished 7th in the Eastern Conference last season, that glory will be short lived. Their poor draft decisions might cost them their playoff spot. Although they needed another strong C or PF, Nikola Vučević wasn't the right way to go. Their .500 season wouldn't get them into the playoffs during different seasons and might not get them in next season.


    Season Exit: Regular Season 

17. Phoenix Suns

14 of 30

    The Phoenix Suns are no longer a team making it to the later rounds of the playoffs. They will become a team that sits at the bottom of the division and conference wondering what went wrong. Although Steve Nash is aging, he is playing well enough to drive a playoff run. The draft, unlike so many other teams, didn't benefit them as much as they might have hoped. The next season for the Suns will be a long and painful one.


    Season Exit: First-Round Playoffs

16. Charlotte Bobcats

15 of 30

    The Charlotte Bobcats were a team that had good playoff chances at the beginning and middle of the season. Yet towards the end of the season, things just started to fall apart. Their playoff chances were lost after trading Gerald Wallace and losing Stephen Jackson. However, the draft paid off after they acquired Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo. With this strong point guard able to sub in for their starter, the Bobcats can be a playoff hopeful. 


    Season Exit: Regular Season

15. Milwaukee Bucks

16 of 30

    The Milwaukee Bucks finished just shy of a playoff spot last season. That won't be happening next season. They will not only make it to the playoffs, but show everyone that they can. They made one of the smartest draft choices of the year by drafting Jimmer Fredette, who, unlike most teams think, will perform very well next season. He has a sense of leadership that will be the driving force behind the Bucks playoff run.


    Season Exit: First-Round Playoffs

14. Portland Trail Blazers

17 of 30

    The Portland Trail Blazers finished a well-deserved sixth place last season. Unfortunately, the Dallas Mavericks knocked them out of the playoffs. This next season they will make it to the playoffs but most likely in the seventh or eighth spot. While their choice of drafting PG Nolan Smith was a very good one. It won't be enough to save them from the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Hornets, who finished amazingly, knocking out the number one and two seeded teams last season. This team should get used to being in the bottom of the conference playoff seeding and getting eliminated in the first round.


    Season Exit: First-Round Playoffs

13. Memphis Grizzlies

18 of 30

    The Memphis Grizzlies did exceedingly well this past season and are in for another playoff year. Although their draft picks weren't all that great, their team is already very good. With Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph leading the way, this is a team just waiting to have a Cinderella story.


    Season Exit: First-Round Playoffs

12. New York Knicks

19 of 30

    The New York Knicks finished sixth in the division, but were swept by the Boston Celtics to end their playoff run. It was amazing the Knicks did as good as they did, but there can always be room for improvement. Carmelo Anthony has done an amazing job leading this once awful team. PG Iman Shumpert will be an excellent addition to their bench. This team will once again finish in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff teams.


    Season Exit:First-Round Playoffs

11. Denver Nuggets

20 of 30

    The Denver Nuggets not only finished fifth in their conference, but showed their team's potential as well. Their decision to pick PF Kenneth Faried was very wise. Like so many other teams, they needed a player like Kenneth Faried to sub in when their starters become sluggish. Although they may have a breakout regular season, the Nuggets will end up playing the number one or two seeded team and be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.


    Season Exit: First-Round Playoffs

10. Atlanta Hawks

21 of 30

    The Atlanta Hawks have improved more than any other team over the past three seasons. They worked their way from the bottom of the conference to a conference semi-finals appearance. Although they were eliminated by the top-ranked team, the Chicago Bulls, they pulled off quite a season. After drafting center Keith Benson, this team is becoming an Eastern Conference powerhouse. With high hopes going into the next season, the Atlanta Hawks are going to become a force to be reckoned with. 


    Season Exit: First-Round Playoffs

9. San Antonio Spurs

22 of 30

    While it would seem the San Antonio Spurs could win a championship easily with a lineup full of All-Stars, they couldn't perform during the playoffs and ended up losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 4-2. The San Antonio Spurs are the Washington Capitals of the NBA. They can win their conference during the regular season but lose in the first-round of the playoffs or the next round. With no major draft picks, the San Antonio Spurs will have another season of playoff disappointment. 


    Season Exit: First-Round Playoffs

8. New Orleans Hornets

23 of 30

    This is one team to be reckoned with. The New Orleans Hornets will shutdown a team when they are playing good. Chris Paul leads the way and saves the day all the time. With new team member Josh Harrellson, this team is due for another amazing season.


    Season Exit: Conference Semi-Finals

7. Orlando Magic

24 of 30

    The Orlando Magic did not meet expectations last season, but this next season will be a major improvement. They acquired Gilbert Arenas after the trade deadline and have started molding him into the star that he used to be. Dwight Howard is one of the best—if not the best—Centers in the league. He can play amazing defense while also scoring a good portion of their final score. Things can only get better for this team just itching to win a championship.


    Season Exit: Conference Semi-Finals

6. Boston Celtics

25 of 30

    The Boston Celtics will continue to perform on the court but won't continue past the conference semis. With a star-studded lineup and an able bodied bench, this team looks like the perfect title candidate. Yet performing in the playoffs is a big problem. After sweeping the Knicks in the first round, the Celtics were eliminated by the Heat in five the very next series. The Boston Celtics are a very good team, they are just not the best.


    Season Exit: Conference Semi Finals. 

5. L.A. Lakers

26 of 30

    The L.A. Lakers will go down the next season after the loss of one of the greatest basketball coaches of all-time in Phil Jackson. With aging All-Star Kobe Bryant not playing his best any more and no one to lead the team, this team is going nowhere but down. Pau Gasol can't lead the team and none of the other players can. This is a team that won't be seeing a championship ring in a while.


    Season Exit: Conference Semi-Finals

4. Dallas Mavericks

27 of 30

    The Dallas Mavericks won a championship. It was well deserved. Yet luck played a large part in their win. While their lineup is one of the best in the league. it wasn't the best statistically and it won't perform as well in the coming season. One of their largest problems is they are not a team to repeat and are even a team that could do worse after winning a championship. Against a rising powerhouse Oklahoma City Thunder, this team will have a challenge.


    Season Exit: Conference Finals. 

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

28 of 30

    The Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated by the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks last season. There is no shame in losing to the best. Yet a new team with a lot of potential will drastically affect the coming season. There starters Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will continue to dominate as the dynamic duo and the players will get more experience playing against veterans like Lebron or Wade. I suspect an epic season that will define them as a powerhouse.


    Season Exit: NBA Finals 

2. Chicago Bulls

29 of 30

    The Chicago Bulls are going to be an amazing team. With MVP Derrick Rose on their team, and starters including Noah, Boozer and Deng, this team will be unstoppable. Last season was an amazing beginning. The next season will be an amazing finish. It is hard to believe they were almost swept by the Heat last season with such an amazing team. Watch out Miami, Chicago is gonna give you a "Rose" that you won't forget.


    Season Exit: Conference Finals 

1. Miami Heat

30 of 30

    Although Lebron has been getting a lot of hate for joining with fellow superstars Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade to create an amazing team, he made the right move. Last season was a fluke for the Heat and chances are they will win next season's championship. It is hard for me to admit it but is almost laughable that someone might argue that they aren't the best. The Miami Heat will win the 2011-2012 NBA Championship.


    Season Exit: Win Championship.