NBA Power Rankings: Kings open outside Top 20; Warriors over Cavs
From 30 to 1...
The 2016-17 NBA season tips off on Tuesday night, Oct. 25...
Not only are the Nets bad - really, really bad, but they have very little chance of digging out of the hole they are in. The Celtics hold the rights to swap picks with the Nets this season and they own their 2018 pick. Jeremy Lin decided to sign a big money deal with Brooklyn over the summer. Didn’t he go to Harvard?
The youth movement in Philly is impressive, but the loss of Ben Simmons for half the season will hurt. Joel Embiid and Dario Saric take the floor for the first time this season. Trust the process...
Kobe has left the building (D’Angelo Russell high-fives himself). Brandon Ingram is a long way from a finished product. Veterans Luol Deng and Jose Calderon will help a young core develop, but $64 million for Timofey Mozgov is CRAZY.
Phoenix's young core got another boost in talent this summer with the additions of Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis. They are still guard heavy and really young, but a base is in place. Expect plenty of losses, but a fun brand of hoops.
The big three are gone, whether Chris Bosh wants to admit it or not. What’s left isn’t pretty. Hassan Whiteside got paid. So did Tyler Johnson. Goran Dragic is one of the few holdovers from a team clearly on the path to rebuild. There are going to be a lot of long nights in South Beach.
Denver is in a tough spot. They didn’t make any major additions outside of rookie first round picks Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez and Malik Beasley. This is a team building towards the future.
Anthony Davis can’t stay healthy. Neither can Tyreke Evans. Their big free agent acquisitions were E'Twaun Moore and Solomon Hill. This team is going nowhere fast. Prayers to Jrue Holliday and his wife as they battle through health concerns as a family.
The loss of Khris Middleton cost this team a couple of spots in the rankings. Milwaukee spent almost $120 million for the combination of Matthew Dellavedova, Miles Plumlee and Mirza Teletovic this summer and they still haven’t been able to give away Greg Monroe. But they have the Greek Freak, which makes everything better.
Fresh off Olympic gold, DeMarcus Cousins is primed to have another huge season. Dave Joerger was one of the steals of the offseason. But the Kings can’t seem to avoid the drama. If they can keep it to a minimum during the season, they have a chance to build off their 33-win total from last season. That’s a big ‘if.’
It seems like just yesterday that the Wizards were an up-and-comer in the East. Now they are getting a reboot with Scott Brooks. He’ll push the pace, which will help John Wall and Bradley Beal, but this team is looking more and more like a rebuild candidate.
Dealing Oladipo was a big mistake. But Frank Vogel is an excellent coach with plenty of talent to mold. They have a heap of bigs after adding Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo to Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. They have a lot riding on the development of Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja.
Losing Big Al and Jeremy Lin hurts this team. Steve Clifford is a good coach and he has Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back, at least for the moment. But this team isn’t nearly as scary as they were a season ago.
So much talent, but how long will it take to develop? Karl-Anthony Towns is a star. Andrew Wiggins might be as well. Drafting Kris Dunn was brilliant. This group is still going to need some more time to simmer in the pot, but with Tom Thibodeau at the helm, this is the next big thing to hit the NBA.
Dallas spent huge money on Harrison Barnes this offseason, putting pressure on the former Warrior to be much more than he was in Golden State. He’ll have former teammate Andrew Bogut to keep him company and a ton of veterans to support him. Rick Carlisle is a great coach, but father time is knocking on Dallas’ door.
Utah added veterans George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw in the offseason to add a new dimension to their roster. But the health of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Dante Exum will likely dictate whether this is a playoff team or not this season.
This team was boring last season and adding Dwight Howard did nothing to spice things up. The Hawks are still a top tier playoff team, but any talk of contending for the top spot in the East is over. Losing Horford and Teague should hurt this team.
Adding Derrick Rose and his wild off-court issues could hurt this team more than help it. But the additions of quality defensive-minded vets like Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah will push this team into the playoff hunt in the East. Jeff Hornacek’s second chance has boon or bust written all over it.
Memphis backed up the truck, committing almost $250 million to Mike Conley Jr. and Chandler Parsons. David Fizdale will get his first shot at an NBA head coaching job and he’ll have plenty of veterans to rely on. This team has a chance to remain relevant after a tough finish to the 2015-16 season.
Stan Van Gundy has a plan. He’s building a winner in Detroit, although the health of leading scorer Reggie Jackson might temper the expectations of the Pistons this season. This is a young team built on a defensive identity. They have the look of a perennial playoff team in the East.
Chicago gambled big time this summer, adding ball dominant players like Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. Dealing Derrick Rose to New York for Robin Lopez is addition by subtraction. This team is going to either be really good or a hot mess.
Houston finished the season by backing into the playoffs. They made major changes during the summer, including the additions of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon and the subtraction of Dwight Howard. Bringing in Mike D’Antoni to run the show was an interesting decision.
The Pacers needed more speed in the backcourt, so they added Jeff Teague. They needed more punch in the post, so they signed Al Jefferson. They needed a power forward to take the stress off of Paul George, so they traded for Thaddeus Young. It should be a good year in Indiana.
Up 3-1 on the Warriors and staring greatness in the eye, the Thunder’s collapse may have changed the future of the entire NBA. Durant is gone, but Russell Westbrook is a superstar. Adding Victor Oladipo was brilliant. This team will be good. Not great, but really good.
Terry Stotts is building a winner in Portland. He has stars in the backcourt and plenty of firepower around the horn. Handing major money to Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe and Meyers Leonard this summer could come back to haunt this team. But for now, they are building something.
The future is bright in Boston. Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder are joined by All-Star big man Al Horford this season, creating a new power team in the East. They have youth, talent and plenty of ammo to go add pieces at the deadline.
The window is closing on this team. J.J. Redick is a free agent following the season and both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can opt out. The additions of Marreese Speights and Brandon Bass strengthen the bench, but this team is looking up at the Warriors and Spurs.
In a shocking move, DeMar DeRozan didn’t chase fame and fortune in a bigger market. Dwane Casey has done a yeoman's job of turning this team into a winner. Bolstering the frontline with Jakob Poeltl might pay dividends late in the season.
Tim Duncan out, Pau Gasol in. The Spurs are a juggernaut. 36 playoff seasons in 40 years in the league. This team isn’t done by a long shot. Kawhi Leonard is ready to take another leap forward.
Cleveland comes back with a similar roster and they are Vegas’ pick to come out of the East. Losing Dellavedova hurts. So does giving J.R. Smith $57 million over four years. But when you have LeBron, anything is possible...just ask the Warriors.
Sorry Cavs, the addition of Kevin Durant makes this the team to beat. They hurt their depth adding one of the greats of the game, but a starting lineup with four bonafide All-Stars is going to do damage this season.