The NBA: Power Rankings: Week Zero

So, the preseason is finally over and the regular season is upon us! Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls were the only unbeaten team during the exhibition games (8-0) and they play the Miami Heat on Opening Night which is also the championship ring ceremony for Miami. The Raptors and Bobcats had winning records while the Knicks, Hawks and Wizards all struggled.

Over in the West, the Pelicans and Rockets only lost once while the Warriors, Spurs and Nuggets did not do so well... Now, how much stock do we put into preseason games? Probably not a whole lot. Although last year, the Lakers did not win a single preseason game and they stumbled through the first few weeks of the regular season.

Anyway, on to the inaugural Power Rankings of the 2013-2014 NBA season!

The standings come from last season while the rankings from Last Week refer to Week 24 from 2012-2013.

Please hit the comments and follow me on Twitter @rollzter

Will we see the Miami Heat raise the Larry O'Brien trophy for the third straight time?
(Photo by: Getty Images)
1. Miami Heat | 66-16 | Last Week: 1 | Same
The Heat will bring back players who played 95% of the minutes played last season. LeBron James said that he got better last summer while Dwyane Wade feels healthier than ever. Heck, even Chris Bosh looked fantastic during the preseason. Michael Beasley, Roger Mason and Greg Oden are nice additions too.


2. San Antonio Spurs | 58-24 | Last Week: 6 | +4
Just like the Heat, the Spurs will bring back most of its core. Gary Neal is gone but Marco Belinelli is an adequate replacement. Kawhi Leonard has usurped Manu as part of their Big 3 and Danny Green worked on his ball-handling skills. The Spurs hope that they can move past their heartbreak in the Finals.

3. Indiana Pacers | 49-32 | Last Week: 8 | +5
The Pacers were 1 win away from the Finals and they're coming back with a stronger team. The bench is much improved with Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, CJ Watson and either Lance Stephenson or Danny Granger depending on who starts. Paul George looks ready to take another step towards superstar level.

4. Los Angeles Clippers | 56-26 | Last Week: 7 | +3
The Clippers have arguably the deepest team (Redick, Dudley, Collison) and they upgraded the coaching staff significantly. DeAndre Jordan looks focused and motivated on defense. Blake Griffin also showcased his improved perimeter game during the preseason which could add more pick and pops with CP3.

5. Chicago Bulls | 45-37 | Last Week: 11 | +6
Derrick Rose looked absolutely marvelous during the preseason! He was fast, explosive and confident when driving to the lane. Even his perimeter shots look good and D-Rose said his vertical leap increased from 37 to 42 inches. Still, the biggest worry for the Bulls right now is Joakim Noah who has a few nagging injuries.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder | 60-22 | Last Week: 2 | -4
The Thunder could easily be the #2 team if Russell Westbrook was healthy to start the season. Russ could miss as much as 20 games which might cost the Thunder a handful of losses. Durant was told by the coaching staff to be more of a passer/playmaker but who can be the viable 3rd option: Lamb, Jackson or Ibaka?

7. Brooklyn Nets | 49-33 | Last Week: 9 | +2
The Nets beat the Heat twice during the preseason by an average of 23 points. They quickly play the Heat on November 1st. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have given the Nets a nasty streak which makes them a tougher team to beat. Deron Williams only played 1 game during the exhibitions to recover from a sprained ankle.

8. Golden State Warriors | 47-35 | Last Week: 10 | +2
The Dubs gave Andrew Bogut a new contract laden with incentives that are tied to games played. His health is important so that the Warriors can battle against the bigger teams in the West (Grizzlies, Rockets, Clippers). Klay Thompson needs to be more than a shooter and expand his game while Steph Curry needs to improve defensively.

9. Houston Rockets | 45-37 | Last Week: 13 | +4
James Harden received a knee contusion in their last exhibition game. The Rockets hope that it's a minor injury and that Harden will be ready by opening tip. Dwight Howard and Omer Asik finally got to play three games together and the experiment worked, for now. I still think that Asik will be traded soon.

10. Memphis Grizzlies | 56-26 | Last Week: 5 | -5
Mike Conley had a great playoffs run last season but the Grizzlies still got swept by the Spurs. They need Conley to be even better this year and key addition, Mike Miller needs to be extremely healthy to provide perimeter offense for them. New coach Dave Joerger wants the Grizz to be uptempo more. I wonder how many games that will last.

11. New York Knicks | 54-28 | Last Week: 4 | -7
The Knicks got Amare, JR Smith and Kenyon Martin healthy enough to practice and play a preseason game. Amare is ready to start the season but he will play on limited minutes while JR will be suspended for 5 games once fully healthy. Bargnani is a good addition to their offense but shots could be a problem when playing with Melo.

12. Portland Trailblazers | 33-49 | Last Week: 21 | +9
The Blazers had the worst bench production last season and they fixed that glaring weakness by adding Mo Williams, Dorell Wright, Thomas Robinson and Robin Lopez to strengthen their roster from top to bottom. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are one of the top duos in using the pick & roll or pick & pop sets.

13. Denver Nuggets | 57-25 | Last Week: 3 | -10
The Nuggets still wont have Danilo Gallinari for maybe another 2-3 months but they have enough depth to be competitive until Gallo gets back. Wilson Chandler is healthy to start the year and JaVale McGee seems poised to be a regular starting center now that Kosta Koufos is gone. Nate Robinson can also bring instant offense coming off the bench.

14. Atlanta Hawks | 44-38 | Last Week: 14 | Same
The Hawks lost Josh Smith to the Pistons but they added Paul Millsap and Elton Brand to solidify their front court. DeMarre Carroll is also a capable starting SF who can defend and make hustle plays. Lou Williams is still out with an injury and he might be back by February. Jeff Teague has improved his play in the past 2 years.

15. Dallas Mavericks | 41-41 | Last Week: 18 | +3
The Mavs will have a healthy and fit Dirk Nowitzki to start this season which means that they will probably avoid last year's start which was 12-15 without Dirk. Jose Calderon (efficient shooter) and Monta Ellis (inefficient) will be their new starting back court while Vince (inefficient) will be coming off the bench.

16. Washington Wizards | 29-53 | Last Week: 23 | +7
The Wizards received Marcin Gortat in exchange for an injured Omeka Okafor. Gortat provides them a more polished offensive player than Okafor although not as good defensively. The key thing for the Wiz is that Gortat is healthy and ready to contribute. Bradley Beal played amazing in the preseason and shot pretty good from the perimeter.

17. Cleveland Cavaliers | 24-58 | Last Week: 28 | +11
The Cavs think Andrew Bynum is close to playing while Andy Varejao and Kyrie Irving are both healthy. Anthony Bennett has been good so far and he displayed his ability to make threes by going 9-28 in 8 games. Tristan Thompson's decision to switch shooting hands has worked in his favor (13 points in 26 minutes).

18. Los Angeles Lakers | 45-37 | Last Week: 12 | -6
No specific return has been set for Kobe and he should not rush his recovery. Even at full strength, the Lakers will have a tough time reaching the playoffs with guys like Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar and Nic Young expected to play big roles. Pau Gasol is on a contract year so expect a monster year from him.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves | 31-51 | Last Week: 22 | +3
The T'wolves had so many injury problems last year that affected Love, Pekovic and Shved (just to name a few). Everyone seems healthy (except Budinger) and they added Kevin Martin to be their starting SG. Ricky Rubio struggled shooting last season and that needs to improve this year to allow him to make more plays for his teammates.

20. Detroit Pistons | 29-53 | Last Week: 24 | +4
Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings are excellent players but are there enough balls to distribute shots that would make both happy? Greg Monroe is on a contract year so he will also want more shots. Meanwhile, Andre Drummond who could be their best player must avoid getting in foul trouble often.

21. Milwaukee Bucks | 38-44 | Last Week: 16 | -5
The Bucks have 11 new players in their roster and their starting back court on opening night might be OJ Mayo and Brandon Knight. I dont think these guys are better than Ellis and Jennings. Larry Sanders received a massive contract extension over the summer and he should be a major candidate for DPOY again.

22. Toronto Raptors | 34-48 | Last Week: 19 | -3
Jonas Valanciunas was a beast during the Summer League. He pushed people around and exerted his will on the smaller and weaker defenders. JV can potentially be the best player on the Raptors once Rudy Gay gets traded. Terrence Ross appears to have matured and improved as a player which means that DeRozan has competition for SG minutes.

23. New Orleans Hornets | 27-55 | Last Week: 26 | +3
Anthony Davis came into camp leaner, stronger and bigger. After D-Rose, Davis was the most impressive guy during preseason and his perimeter game looks much improved. Only injuries can prevent him from being an All-star this season. The Pelicans can play small ball too with Evans-Gordon-Holiday in their lineup while Anderson and Davis can spread the floor.

24. Sacramento Kings | 28-54 | Last Week: 25 | +1
The Kings gave DeMarcus Cousins a contract extension. He is their franchise player for the next 4 years. The Kings also brought in Shaq as a minority owner and there have been talks that Shaq will mentor DMC. If DMC matures as a player on and off the court, the Kings could be surprise contenders for a playoffs spot.

25. Charlotte Bobcats | 21-61 | Last Week: 29 | +4
Big Al Jefferson could lead the league in double-doubles but his critics will attack him for being a "black hole" and "ball stopper" on offense. Jefferson needs to clean that up because he has capable teammates in Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions. Kidd-Gilchrist (#2 pick) had a very underwhelming rookie year and hopefully he performs better this time.

26. Boston Celtics | 41-40 | Last Week: 15 | -11
Rajon Rondo said that his knee is 87% healthy. That means he might come back in 2 months or maybe he misses a year just like D-Rose. There's no upside in playing this year because the Celtics wont be very competitive. Kelly Olynyk might have an outside chance to be among ROY contenders if he gets major minutes.

27. Utah Jazz | 43-39 | Last Week: 17 | -10
The Jazz wont have lottery pick Trey Burke for a few weeks and that's totally okay since they are tanking the season. Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward got their contract extensions so Utah is expecting big things from them. Enes Kanter will be their starting center and he performed well during preseason but needs more rebounds.

28. Orlando Magic | 20-62 | Last Week: 30 | +2
The Magic's Victor Oladipo is a very strong candidate for Rookie of the Year. Oladipo had a very good preseason coming mostly off the bench. If he constantly plays well, the Magic could use Jameer Nelson or even Arron Afflalo as trade bait.

29. Phoenix Suns | 25-57 | Last Week: 27 | -2
The Suns traded away Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee to the Wizards for Omeka Okafor and a 1st-round draft pick in the 2014 draft which is projected to be VERY, VERY deep. The Suns are obviously giving up (tanking) this season and already preparing for their four 1st-rounders next season.

30. Philadelphia 76ers | 34-48 | Last Week: 20 | -10
The Sixers will not play prized rookie Nerlens Noel for the whole season while he recovers from an ACL injury. Their team is below the salary cap by about $14.5 million and they don't plan to sign anyone good. It will be a major surprise if the Sixers win more than 9 games which is the all-time fewest wins in NBA history.


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2 Comment
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who do you think comes out of the West?

Balas
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In my playoffs prediction, i had the clippers and spurs for the west finals. I think the spurs go to the finals again

Balas