2013 NBA Power Rankings
1. Miami Heat—Because.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder— Still have the 2nd best player in the league, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook, who I am predicting will emerge as the 3rd best player in the league this season.
3. Indiana Pacers— Addressed their biggest need by adding Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson to their bench. Also, look for Paul George to be even better this year with Danny Granger’s return. With him back, George won’t have to dribble as much (a VERY good thing) and there will be less pressure on George to score.
4. San Antonio Spurs— Every year we think they’ll regress and every year we are wrong. It isn’t that crazy to imagine Kawhi Leonard having a bigger role this year and becoming the 4th best small forward in the game.
5. Los Angeles Clippers—Had the best offseason of any team by getting Doc Rivers and two underrated floor spacers in Jared Dudley and J.J. Reddick. My only question is if Blake Griffin can become a reliable offensive option.
6. Brooklyn Nets— Added a lot of championship experience with Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and Kevin Garnett, but do they have anything left? Age and the Jason Kidd dynamic are the wild cards here. We will find out if he can coach.
7. Houston Rockets—I know it seems like forever ago and Lakers fans probably will disagree, but it was only three years ago that Dwight Howard was the 2nd best player in the league. Another offseason of back recovery, a change of scenery, and a worthy sidekick in James Harden could bring him back to that level.
8. Golden State Warriors— I didn’t love the Andre Iguodola move, but Stephen Curry is undeniable. If he can stay healthy, and Harrison Barnes continues to develop, they may end up higher on end of year lists.
9. Chicago Bulls— I can’t put them any higher because of the uncertainty of Derrick Rose. Regardless of how he returns, the Bulls need to find some way to take the load off of him on offense. He can’t create every shot.
10. Memphis Grizzlies— With how bad Zach Randolph looked towards the end of the playoffs, we might see be a big three of Mike Conley Jr., Marc Gasol, and Quincy Pondexter. I like that.
11. New York Knicks— Questionable moves this offseason overshadowed my biggest concern. Can a team win with Carmelo Anthony as its best player? They might win 50 games, but playoff basketball seems to be a problem.
12. Portland Trailblazers— Had an awesome offseason and a backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum is going to be all kinds of fun.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves—Health is obviously the issue here, but a full season of Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love is exciting.
14. Atlanta Hawks— Al Horford is still really really good, and Dennis Schroeder looked legitimately great in summer league. I know that last part doesn’t mean anything, but I think he will have an immediate impact.
15. Denver Nuggets— Who is going to score?
16. Los Angeles Lakers— A healthy Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol is still good in this league. But if Kobe doesn’t return to form, yikes.
17. Dallas Mavericks— Same as the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki is still there. They are going to be bad on defense, but with Dirk and Jose Calderon they will score.
18. Cleveland Cavaliers— I think they could end up higher with healthy seasons from Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao. Anthony Bennett seems to fit and Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson look to improve even more this season.
19. Detroit Pistons— A lot of talent on this team but I am not optimistic that their offense will work. A point guard in Brandon Jennings who needs the ball and three post players who need the ball. How will they space the floor?
20. Washington Wizards— When John Wall returned last season, they became a good offensive team and could potentially be a playoff team with a healthy full season. The Okafor’ injury hurts, but look for Otto Porter to really help on defense.
21. New Orleans Pelicans— They have a crowded backcourt but if they figure out the minutes those guards and Anthony Davis could really be a force.
22. Utah Jazz— Kind of depends on how Trey Burke ends up playing but I think if he is good, they will be okay.
23. Toronto Raptors— Jonas Valanciunas is a beast and if he gets the minutes he deserves this season, the Raptors may move up this list.
24. Sacramento Kings— Ben Mclemore and DeMarcus Cousins aren’t an ideal pairing, but maybe it will work.
25. Boston Celtics— Their best player’s best skill is passing, but there is no one else worth passing to, what gives?
26. Milwaukee Bucks— Actually have a more talented roster than most might expect, but may have a tough time scoring the ball.
27. Charlotte Bobcats— Kemba Walker is one of the more underrated players in the league, but this team is still very bad.
28. Orlando Magic—Might be the worst offensive team in the league.
29. Phoenix Suns— Their best player is probably going to be Eric Bledsoe, who was a backup last year.
30. Philadelphia 76ers— Best player is… Spencer Hawes? Evan Turner? Yikes.