2012-13 NBA Power Rankings
2012-13 NBA Power Rankings: Pre-Season Edition
With every NBA Fan ready for the season to begin everybody has their choice in the two teams that will be in the NBA Finals. They are the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers, but every team begins their season at 0-0.
The Los Angeles Lakers enter in the NBA season as the favorites to win the Western Conference, but the defending Western Champions, Oklahoma City Thunder, may have something to say about that. Also the Los Angeles Clippers are on the rise to compete with the Lakers as the best team in Los Angeles for the first time in their rivalry history. There is also the Dallas Mavericks who failed to sign Deron Williams in the off-season, but were able to fill up that hole by signing a lot of key players.
Then of course there is the Defending NBA Champions, Miami Heat, who have a team that could push them to 70 plus wins. However, as I mentioned before all 30 NBA Teams start at the bottom and will have to work their way to the top of the mountain as NBA Champions.
After having a condense season last year due to the lockout every team can finally see what type of team they actually have since they each had a full training camp and a full pre-season to work with. Plus they do not have to worry about playing back-to-back-to-back as they did last season.
A few weeks ago I did a “Pre-Ranking” for each NBA team these rankings may seem similar, but more in depth. For an example, are the Brooklyn Nets really that better now or How bad will the Charlotte Bobcats will be? The Following Rankings are based on where each team ranks coming into the season and starting after the first week of the season I will give out each rankings of each NBA team throught the regular season.
The Lifeless Bobcats
#30-CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (7-59)
The team that finished last season with the worst winning percentage in NBA History the Charlotte Bobcats will try to redeem themselves this year. However, I do not see that happening that is unless winning 20 games is a type of redemption. It just seems like the team is dead, the front office is dead and the crowd is dead, but who knows maybe this season is a start of something new for Bobcats fans. They may not win a lot of games this year, but they may be building up for the draft in June and to add a few key players in trades before the trade deadline in February. If not then the Bobcats will have yet another embarrassing season
Starting From Scratch
What did you expect? Everybody knew that once Dwight Howard was gone the Magic was just going to be a very bad team. They do have Jameer Neson, J.J. Redick, Quentin Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis, but it is most likely they will end up trading a lot of their role players in order to start from scratch. Plus with a brand new coach the Magic may not be winning too many games anytime soon. One this is for sure all eyes will be on the fans of the Magic when Dwight Howard returns in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.
Trouble In Portland
The Blazers have always been a dangerous team to play, but other than LaMarcus Aldridge I do not see any other players stepping up for the Trail Blazers. I believe that the Blazers will start to trade some of their role players away in order to rebuild their team. They are still a dangerous team at home, but they may not be good enough to produce much wins and they could find themselves at the bottom of the NBA. Which it could be a good thing in the long run since they would have a shot in winning the draft lottery in June.
Stuck At The Bottom
People may have the Sacramento Kings as a team that could finally get out of that bottom of the standings, but as I mentioned in the past that there's an old saying that when you are stuck at the bottom you usually stay at the bottom. That's where the Kings are right now. Even though they have talented players on the team they just seem to be stuck in one spot and I believe that this year will be the same for these Kings. However, they may not be in Sacramento for too long if they do not improve any for their fans in Sacramento.
Kyrie Irving Still Alone In Cleveland
Ever since LeBron James left for the Miami Heat it seems like the Cavs front office were more focus on cheering for other teams to eliminate King James and the Heat. Now that James has his title maybe the Cleveland Cavaliers can finally think about rebuilding their team. Other than Kyrie Irving they are going to need more pieces to add around him, but it seems like they have not done that thus far. If they want to do any damage anytime soon they might want to hurry up before Irving decides to pack it up and leave as well.
Building For Next Year
The Houston Rockets traded most of their role players away for future draft picks, but they were able to sign Jeremy Lin away from the New York Knicks. However, that's all they really have. They only have Lin and he will not be able to carry a team especially being in the Western Conference. The Rockets still make some trades before the trade deadline and I believe that they are still hoping Dwight Howard will come their way if it does not work out there in Hollywood for him. As for this year it's going to be a long season for Houston fans and if you are a Rocket fan hopefully it will not take too long before they actually start rebuilding the team.
Rebuilding In Detroit
The Detroit Pistons are on a rebuilding stage right now with their franchise and will probably not be much of a factor in terms of wins this season. However, they are on the right track. They do have have Rodney Stuckey, Corey Maggette and Greg Monroe who all could be keys to rebuilding this team. It will not be too long before they will go back to competing in the Eastern Conference. Plus being in the Eastern Conference helps them in returning to that post-season action sooner rather than later like it would if they were in the Western Conference.
A New Era For New Orleans
Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers should bring great success to this New Orleans team, but this year is not the year. They enter the season with great hope in the future with these two rookies and if coached right they could be a dangerous combination. Plus being in the Summer Olympics, Davis, could use that experience he learned from the veterans that were there with them and used that this season. However, since they are rookies they will have to learn that winning in the NBA is not easy and this year will show it. They are on the right track in New Orleans though and won't be long before they are back into the post-season.
Disappointment In Milwaukee
The Bucks could be a surprising team out in the Eastern Conference, but other than Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis I do not see anybody else stepping up for this team. They could be a team that enters the season on a hot streak but cools down after the first few weeks of the season. I see this team having short streaks of 3-4 wins and 3-4 losing streaks. It's going to be an up and down battle throughout the season for this Milwaukee Bucks team and if they do not make any improvements this season or next off-season then it will be awhile before the Bucks are back in the playoff mix out East.
Question Mark In Washington
They have great talent in Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, Nene, John Wall and Jordan Crawford, but for some reason I do not see the Wizards clicking together. I do not see the chemistry building in Washington, but then again they could prove me wrong and be a surprising team out East that I know that they could be. They have the right guys for their team they just need to produce on the court. If not then the fans in Washington will just have to sit back and wait for next's year draft lottery in hopes in landing a top draft pick.
A Full Season For Mark Jackson
I know that the Warriors have great talent on their team and they are very young, but with Mark Jackson entering his second year as a NBA head coach there is no telling what type of coach he really is. Yes last year may have shown something, but last year was a lockout season with 66 condense games in four months that had to be played. Now with a full training camp, a full pre-season and a full regular season this year could be the year we will find out what type of coach Mark Jackson really is. If he is a great coach then the Warriors will have no problem getting into the post-season this year or the next, but if he is not a great coach then he will face like every other coach has in the past and that's the front door.
A New Flight For The Hawks
By trading Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets the Hawks for the first time can actually build up a team that can compete in the Eastern Conference. They have cap room now where they are able to sign one big name player or three or four key players that could help them to that next level in the NBA. However, this is not the year that the Hawks become a playoff team. They do have Josh Smith, but other than him I do not see anybody else stepping up for this team and that's why I believe the Hawks will have a tough season ahead of them.
An Uprising Team In The Great Lakes
A team that could be on the rise and sneak into the post-season for the first time since the Kevin Garnett Era. With Kevin Love, who will be a MVP Candidate this season, to go along with Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams and J.J. Barea the Timberwolves are on the right track. It all depends if they all can stay healthy and if they do the Timberwolves will be back as a playoff contending team for years to come. If they fail to do so then look for the Timberwolves to make a few moves before the trade deadline or if they do fail then their superstar, Kevin Love, may be asking to play elsewhere in the near future.
On The Right Track
Losing Steve Nash could have been the best thing for this team. Now they can finally rebuild and they are on a great track right now. They now have a team that includes Michael Beasley, Jermaine O'Neal, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola to go along with Marcin Gortat and Shannon Brown. These players should take the Suns and their fans to a 35-40 win season, but they are still missing one or two key guys that will help them get back into the NBA Playoffs and get back to what they were a decade ago when they did have Steve Nash in his prime.
Upcoming Roller Coaster Season For Salt Lake
The Jazz have good talent on their team like Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, Randy Foye and Mo Williams, but I still think that the Jazz will have a roller coaster type season. With the Western Conference packed with talented teams I see the Jazz having a lot of losing and winning streak combinations. They could go one month where they win 6-7 games in a row and another month were they lose 7-10 games in a row. They should still be good enough to make the post-season, but they will just be that team that gets that bottom seed and get swept in the First Round of the post-season.
A Surprise Team Up North
My pick as the sleeper team out in the Eastern Conference are these Toronto Raptors. When I mean sleeper I do not mean a team that will eliminate the Miami Heat from a title, but a team that is on the uprising. They have John Lucas III and Landry Fields to go along with Andrea Bargnani who are all young players. They will surprise everybody by taking their Raptors to a playoff berth. However, they are still a year or two away to becoming a higher seed contender, but they are on the right track to compete in the Eastern Conference.
A Step Back For Memphis
I've said this before in my previous rankings and my predictions that the Grizzlies is the one team out in the Western Conference that did not make any moves that benefits themselves. I believe that the Grizzlies have taken a step back in their process of success. Letting O.J. Mayo walk away to their division rivals, the Dallas Mavericks, the Grizzlies may go back to what they were and that's a lottery team. This could have been a team on the rise to compete in the West, but with no improvements and the West getting stronger the Grizzlies will just have to sit back and wait for something to fall onto their laps.
A Step Forward For Denver
Ever since trading away Carmelo Anthony it seems like the Nuggets are a better team without him. They have been competitive and they have been a nuisance at home. Teams will tell you that winning in Denver is not an easy task and the Nuggets have proved that. Now that they have traded for Andre Iguodala the Nuggets may have found that key piece that they need to push them over that hump. However, being in the Western Conference with tons of teams with a lot of talent it may be hard for the Nuggets to get a top seed again, but do not be surprise if they upset somebody in the first round of the post-season. If they can add one more guy to go along with Iguodala the Nuggets will be very dangerous for years to come.
A "Roseless" Season
There is only one reason why the team with the best record last year is coming into this season with a low ranking and that is because of Derrick Rose. The Bulls will most likely be without Rose for most of the season at least until the All-Star Break. If Rose returns after that then the Bulls should have a good enough record for him to work with. If he is able to play the way he has been then the Bulls could surprise whoever they face in the first round since I believe the Bulls will be a bottom seed entering the post-season.
Melo Vs Amar'e
There's no doubt that the Knicks have great talent on their roster and on paper they could be a threat to take the title away from the Heat. However, there is something about Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire that I see never building up a chemistry that they will need to bound the Knicks together. I think a battle between Stoudemire and Anthony will build up for most of the season and I really will not be surprise if they decide to trade either of them before the trade deadline in February. If that happens then the fans of the Knicks may have to wait another year or two before the Knicks become that championship looking team that they have been waiting for.
Different Year Possibly The Same Result From Last Year
Last year was a surprising year for the Indiana Pacers. Being a 3rd seeded team and taking the Miami Heat to six games in the Conference Semi-Finals where they were eventually eliminated. They lost Darren Williams, but acquiring D.J. Augustin fills up that role. They are still a top playoff contending team even more now that Derrick Rose is out for the Chicago Bulls, but with the Miami Heat being so powerful and probably unstoppable the Pacers will probably have no chance in getting past the defending champions. However, with a few pieces add they could be a title contending team in the upcoming years.
The "Andrew Bynum" Era Begins In Philly
The 76ers may not be a championship contending team or a top seeded team, but they are on the right track. Trading for Andrew Bynum is a good start. I believe that with Bynum that the 76ers could make more trades before the trade deadline to get a few players to try to compete with the higher seeds if they do make the post-season this coming season. One thing is for sure and that's the fans of the 76ers will not have to wait too long before their team becomes what they were when they had Allen Iverson and to become a championship contender.
A Revamped Mavs Team
Last year was a complete meltdown for the Dallas Mavericks. Trading for Lamar Odom last year everybody thought the Mavericks would be able to defend their title. Weren't we wrong. Odom probably was the factor for the Mavs lack of chemistry on the court, but that is past them and they are ready to go again. With Dirk Nowitzki only have two years left on his current contract and possibly his last contract in the NBA the Mavs are wanting to give him one more shot in another run for a NBA Title. Acquiring Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo could be the pieces that the Mavs will need to compete this season and beyond and giving the right circumstances they could take advantage of whatever may come during that time of the year as they did in 2011.
The Old Three
For over a decade the San Antonio Spurs have always been the quite team. They have always been the team that starts off slow, but finds a way to turn on the gears once it gets close to the post-season. They still have Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, so they will always be a contending team. However, they are showing their age and that could hurt them down the stretch. As long as they can stay healthy for most of the season and into the post-season the Spurs will always be considered a threat in the Western Conference.
All Eyes On Brooklyn
They have done a good job building up a team to compete for a few years, but signing a lot of players to max contracts it's going to be hard for the Nets to make any moves during the off-season for years to come due to the new CBA that was signed last year. It may be great right now that they have Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brooke Lopez to go along with Deron Williams, but if this doesn't work out the way they hope it's going to be hard to restart and will have to live what they have for five to six years
The "Spurs" Of The East
They did lose Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, but signing Jason Terry should fill that gap they would have missed if they did not sign another sharpshooter. I've said it before and I'll say it again that the Boston Celtics are the “San Antonio Spurs” of the Eastern Conference. They are getting old, but still have the talent and the experience to get them to an elite level. Just as long as they keep Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce healthy the Celtics will still be a dominate team in the East, but it may still not be enough to dethrone the Miami Heat.
Changing Of Power In Hollywood
Last year the Clippers were close to taking the division from the Lakers and this year should be another fight for the division title between the two L.A. teams. The Los Angeles Lakers may have Howard, Nash and Kobe Bryant, but the Clippers have Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billiups, Matt Barnes, Caron Butler, Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford. That right there shows that the Clippers have a better roster when it comes to there depth and for the first time in LA Basketball history there could be a change of power in Hollywood this season and seasons to come.
Superman In Hollywood
More than half of the basketball fans out there have put the Lakers as the #1 favorite to meet the Heat in the NBA Finals this season and who blames them? Acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash has made the Lakers a really great team on paper, we will just have to wait and see how great these Lakers can be. There's no doubt that they will have a great regular season, but with the Western Conference being so packed with talented teams it could ware them down come playoff time. When that comes it could be a different story for these Lakers.
A Young Hungry Team
The defending Western Conference Champions come into this season as the underdog to the Los Angeles Lakers and other sites may put them behind L.A. However, they are the West Champions, so they have to be #2 behind the NBA Champions. Plus, Kevin Durant is on this team and if they have anything to do about being #2 behind the Lakers in the West they will show otherwise this season. Although, they are a young team coming off a championship lost we shall see if they are more hungry or that hunger will hurt them by being to anxious which will set them back a few.
A Repeat For Miami?
The Miami Heat enters the season as the defending NBA Champions and is there really any questions into why they are ranked #1? LeBron James may be entering the stage that the great Michael Jordan did when he was with the Chicago Bulls. James won his first NBA Title around the same amount of time Jordan won his and we all know what happened after he won his first and that's six NBA Championships in eight years with two three-peats. This could be the start of something great and that is the Miami Heat winning multiple titles and the legend that is LeBron James will keep growing.