Trail Blazers

NBA’s Way Too Early Power Rankings

Trail Blazers

We still don’t know exactly when the 2020-21 season is going to tip-off, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about how next season will play out!

NBC Sports Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin put together his “way, way, way too early to do an NBA Power Rankings for next season.”

And we’re here for it. Rankings that are being posted before free agency, before the draft, and before every team even has a head coach -- yes! 

Here are the top 3 out of NBC Sports’ way too early power rankings:

1. Lakers

“LeBron James and Anthony Davis won the Lakers one title, and as long as those two are on the roster L.A. is a contender for another. This summer, Davis will opt-out then re-sign, but the challenge is the roster around Davis and LeBron. Markieff Morris and Dwight Howard are free agents; meanwhile, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo will opt out looking for the bigger payday. Kyle Kuzma is extension eligible. Do the Lakers run it back with last year’s team or make a bold trade (Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo)?”

2. Bucks

“One question hangs over Milwaukee this offseason: Will Giannis Antetokounmpo sign the max contract extension put in front of him? If not, don’t expect a trade, the only way that happens is the Greek Freak tells the Bucks he will not re-sign, and indications are he still wants to win in Milwaukee. If he does wait, it puts other teams in a holding pattern. The Bucks were smart not to overreact to a rough bubble outing, but they need to tweak this roster around Antetokounmpo and get more playmaking, and more shooting would help, too.”

 

3. Clippers

“Doc Rivers paid the price for an underwhelming bubble performance. Tyrone Lue moves up a chair and takes over as head coach, tasked with improving the chemistry in this talented locker room (and just getting guys on the court together more). The biggest off-season question is will the Clippers: re-sign Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell or will they let him go? Do they re-sign Marcus Morris? Also, can the Clippers find a more traditional playmaking point guard to help spur the playoff offense?”

As for the Portland Trail Blazers, NBC Sports ranks Damian Lillardand co. as No. 14 ahead of free agency and the NBA draft.

The big offseason question marks surrounding the Blazers this offseason will, of course, be -- what will happen with free agents Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside? Will the two stay in Portland? And how will Rodney Hood coming off his torn Achilles injury fare?

Not to mention, how will Gary Trent Jr.’s breakout sophomore season translate to year number three in the league? Because just a reminder, Trent Jr. averaged 8.9 points in 61 games last season while wreaking havoc on the defensive end.

Here’s what Helin had to say about the Blazers:

Portland isn’t poised to make a lot of roster moves this offseason, but they will have a healthy Jusuf Nurkic to add to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, so they don’t need to do much to remain a threat. Carmelo Anthony is a free agent and says he found a home in Portland, but with Zach Collins and Rodney Hood healthy there may be a steep minutes drop for Melo.

Check out the top 15 in NBC Sports' early Power Rankings (including last season records):

1. Lakers (52-19)

2. Bucks (56-17)

3. Clippers (49-23)

4. Nuggets (46-27)

5. Warriors (15-50)

6. Heat (44-29)

7. Celtics 48-24)

8. Nets (35-37)

9. Mavericks (43-32)

10. Raptors (53-19)

11. Jazz (44-28)

12. Rockets (44-28)

13. 76ers (43-30)

14. Trail Blazers (35-39)

15. Pelicans (30-42)

For the complete list of power rankings and more on NBC Sports’ Way too Early NBA Power Rankings head over to nba.nbcsports.com.