NBA: Spurs Top INSCMagazine’s NBA 2014-15 Power Rankings, Bulls Second, Cavaliers Third
The NBA basketball season is almost here, and that means it’s time for hoop – heads like myself to rejoice. Here are my 2014-15 NBA Power Rankings.
1. San Antonio Spurs – I get it. The Spurs play boring basketball. They aren’t a fun team to watch, but they win. The Spurs have one more year of Tim Duncan and head coach Greg Popovich will get his collection of old and young talent to win. After all, they still are the champions.
2. Chicago Bulls – I put the Bulls here because when all is said and done, they have something the Cavs don’t, chemistry. They added Pau Gasol, but he is the ultimate team guy, so I don’t foresee a problem.
Of course, all of this depends on the health of Derrick Rose. If Rose stays healthy, he will bring the team together with his leadership and his talent. However, another Rose injury quickly end the team’s chances.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – I think this is self-explanatory as the Cavs did add the best player in basketball—LeBron James. The new big three (Love, LeBron, Kyrie) are not only great themselves, but have a great supporting cast around them.
My worries about the Cavs—and the reason they aren’t higher—is what makes Chicago and San Antonio so great, and that’s chemistry. If they can get hot at the right time, than its title town in Cleveland.
4. Los Angeles Clippers – Chris Paul will lead this team to the playoffs, but he can he slay the playoff dragon? Well, that remains to be seen. Oh yeah, Blake Griffin will win MVP.
5. Dallas Mavericks – Whoa! The Dallas Mavericks almost missed out on the playoffs last year. They added brought back 2010 title hero, Tyson Chandler signed Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson. Combine that with Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki, you’re going to be better than a year ago.
6. Golden State Warriors – Steph Curry and Klay Thompson maybe the NBA’s best backcourt. If their frontcourt can hold up (Andrew Bogut and David Lee), then the Splash Brothers will put up enough offense to carry them during the season.
7. Houston Rockets – Despite the loss of Parsons, Houston, led by James Harden, has some firepower on its roster. The three-point shooting Rockets will be in full flight this season. I’m expecting another good season from Dwight Howard, but he isn’t what he once was.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder – Kevin Durant isn’t out the season. Russell Westbrook knows this is his chance at proving he is indeed the team’s alpha dog. If they can survive the nine weeks without Durant, than it could be hard times for the rest of the league.
9. Washington Wizards – John Wall will take the next step, but can he be as deadly without the services of Bradley Beal for two months? Paul Pierce gives this team the battle-tested leader it needs, and I believe that will make a huge difference.
10. Memphis Grizzles – With Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and now Vince Carter in the fold, I have a feeling Memphis will be playing basketball in June.
11. Portland Trail Blazers – LaMarcus Aldridge is the most under-appreciated player in basketball. Damian Lillard is on the verge of super-stardom. The addition of Chris Kaman gives them the bench big that they have needed for a long time. However, they still don’t have that dominant sixth-man, and that could hurt them down the stretch.
12. New Orleans Pelicans – If healthy, this team is deadly. Anthony Davis will be a front-runner for MVP, and if all goes well, its playoff time on Bourbon Street.
13. Toronto Raptors – With the emergence of Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan, Toronto will be a fun team to watch. Not only are they are a deep team, but they are good too. Watch out for the Raptors this year, they could surprise you.
14. Charlotte Hornets – Can Kemba Walker and Lance Stephenson co-exist in the same backcourt? If so, than Al Jefferson might not be the only superstar in Charlotte.
15. Denver Nuggets – The addition of Aaron Afflalo gives this team an additional weapon to pair with Raymond Felton. With Kenneth Faried getting better every day, Denver could make some noise. However, the Nuggets will have trouble competing in a loaded Western Conference.
16. Miami Heat – Yep, Dwayne Wade is back and so is Chris Bosh. The team also signed an All- Star small forward by the name of Luol Deng. I know what Deng and Bosh bring to the table, but will Wade hold up?
17. Brooklyn Nets – The biggest question is on the injury front. Can Deron Williams and Brook Lopez stay healthy? By default, Brooklyn makes the playoffs, but do they make it in easy or fight for it?
18. Phoenix Suns – Last year’s season was not a fluke. Phoenix got stronger by adding spark plug, Isaiah Thomas. The team will also need to see big things from the Morris twins if they are to make it into the playoffs this year.
19. Atlanta Hawks – Paul Milsap will look to improve on his All-Star year, and Kyle Korver will look to jack up threes. Big question with this team is will Al Horford stay healthy? Also, expect Jeff Teague to make his first All-Star game.
20. New York Knicks – Can Carmelo Anthony effectively play in the triangle offense? Will someone aside from Melo step up? (Don’t say J.R. Smith either)
21. Indiana Pacers – With Paul George out for the season, there isn’t a true superstar on this team. I also think that you can’t rely on Roy Hibbert at this point.
22.Sacramento Kings – Despite Rudy Gay and Demarcus Cousins, the Kings don’t have a lot of offense, but I expect rookie Nik Stauskas to lead all rookie’s in three-point attempts (Yes, even more than the great Doug McDermott).
23. Boston Celtics – It is likely that Rajon Rondo is gone mid-season, but will the Celtics be looking playoff – bound? I highly doubt it, but expect a breakout season by Jared Sullinger.
24. Minnesota Timberwolves – This is a new era for Wolves basketball. The team has a young nucleus led by Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins. This an exciting team, but it isn’t a good one.
25. Detroit Pistons – Until this team trades Greg Monroe, I don’t feel they are ready to compete. Brandon Jennings is not the answer at point guard, but that’s a problem for new coach, Stan Van Gundy to address at a later date.
26. Los Angeles Lakers – Their simply isn’t enough talent on this team to compete in the West. Jeremy Lin will give the Lakers a consistent point guard for the year, but this team is far from competing, sorry Kobe.
27. Orlando Magic – I want to like the Magic, I really do, but they are just too inexperienced. The pieces are there, but the team isn’t. In a few years, they have playoffs written all over them. Also, Elfrid Payton will be Rookie of the Year.
28. Utah Jazz – Utah probably boasts the most exciting set of guards in the NBA, and a still developing frontcourt. They have talent, but Utah isn’t ready for primetime yet. Look for Rudy Gobert to be the starting center by Christmas.
29. Milwaukee Bucks – Jason Kidd is inheriting a mess of a roster. However, Jabari Parker looks like a franchise player, and that’s about it.
30. Philadelphia 76ers – I feel no reason to mention this team. If you like a good flat-top hairdo, then you’ll love Nerlens Noel.
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