The NBA: Power Rankings: Pre-Season Edition

The wait is over. The NBA season will officially start in a week. Can the Spurs finally repeat and win back-to-back rings for the first time in franchise history? Can LeBron bring the Cavs to the Promised Land? Can Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose discover their elite forms before devastating injuries shortened their seasons last year? There are so many questions to ponder which only the start of the season can answer... I cannot wait for tip off!

The standings refer to the 2013-2014 regular season standings.

The rankings from Last Week refer to the Off-Season Edition which was the last Power Rankings during the summer months of the NBA.

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Kobe Bryant looks very healthy during the preseason.
(Image from:

1. San Antonio Spurs | 62-20 | Last Week: 1 | Same
The current NBA champions are returning with most of their bench intact and their core healthy. Kawhi Leonard looks to prove his Finals MVP was not fluke. The Spurs have yet to win back-to-back titles and this year looks to be their best chance yet. 

2. Cleveland Cavaliers | 33-49 | Last Week: 4 | +2
Not sure how the leaner and lighter LeBron James will improve his play. Last I checked, he is still the best player in the world and quite durable. However, the problem that the Cavs might face could be the durability of Varejao, Love and Irving. Those guys have missed a ton of games before.

3. Los Angeles Clippers | 57-25 | Last Week: 3 | Same
Can their new owner, Steve Ballmer add wins to this group? Maybe. He definitely won't be a negative influence and won't be a distraction. The injury to Kevin Durant allows them to leapfrog OKC early and maybe challenge the Spurs at the top.

4. Chicago Bulls | 48-34 | Last Week: 5 | +1
Derrick Rose looked rusty during the FIBA World Cup but the good news, he showed flashes of brilliance and he did not get hurt. The bigger concern should be directed at Joakim Noah who had off-season knee surgery. Can his pairing with Pau Gasol work?

5. Oklahoma City Thunder | 59-23 | Last Week: 2 | -3
Kevin Durant could be out 6-8 weeks with a foot injury. This is the 2nd consecutive season where OKC had a major injury to one of their top guns. Westbrook will love the extra touches but if OKC gets more loses than wins, his critics will have a jolly good time ripping him.

6. Dallas Mavericks | 49-33 | Last Week: 6 | Same
Chandler Parsons received a lot of flak from his coach due to his increased weight and bulk. Parsons claimed to be heavier by about 15-20 pounds due to his improved muscle mass. However, his coach feels that Parsons is "too heavy" or probably out of shape.

7. Portland | 54-28 | Last Week: 7 | Same
Damian Lillard got cut from Team USA. He is using that as added motivation for the upcoming season. Meanwhile, LaMarcus Aldridge refused to sign a contract extension this summer but he plans to re-sign next summer barring a sudden change of heart.

8. Golden State Warriors | 51-31 | Last Week: 9 | +1
The best shooting back-court will presumably play another season together especially since the Warriors nixed the deal that would have swapped Klay Thompson and David Lee as part of a deal to get Kevin Love. The Dubs hope that they will not regret that decision.

9. Houston Rockets | 54-28 | Last Week: 8 | -1
James Harden had a very good stint at the FIBA World Cup. He even tried playing defense a few times, the key word: tried. Even though they lost Parsons, Lin and Asik during the summer, the Rockets can still become a key competitor in the West. 

10. Miami Heat | 54-28 | Last Week: 10 | Same
Miami can still make some noise as long as D-Wade remains healthy and efficient. For all the talk that Chris Bosh wants to prove himself again and be a top-tier player, Miami's relevancy will be dictated by how much Wade plays and if CB can average a double-double.

11. Toronto Raptors | 48-34 | Last Week: 12 | +1
The Raptors are quite capable of finishing top 3 in the East. The addition of Lou Williams was a great move. Meanwhile, DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas had solid trips with their respective clubs in the FIBA World Cup. A slimmer Kyle Lowry can bring them a lot farther.

12. Phoenix Suns | 43-34 | Last Week: 11 | -1
The Suns managed to pluck another Dragic from international play, Zoran Dragic, the younger brother of Goran. That move was somewhat surprising since the Suns already have a loaded back-court with Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green and Eric Bledsoe.

13. Memphis Grizzlies | 50-32 | Last Week: 14 | +1
They appear a stronger and better team this season with the arrival of Vince Carter and a healthy Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter. Zach Randolph got paid over the summer and the Grizzlies hope that his play on the court will reflect his new contract.

14. Charlotte Hornets | 43-39 | Last Week: 15 | +1
The Hornets are back in Charlotte. They used to be a solid contender for the playoffs during the 90s and this new edition hopes to be very competitive. Having, Jefferson, Stephenson and Kemba Walker can definitely land the Hornets another playoff berth. BTW, watch out for Kidd-Gilchrist's new jumper.

15. Washington Wizards | 44-38 | Last Week: 13 | -2
Losing Bradley Beal to a wrist injury for maybe 6-8 weeks might cost the Wizards in the standings but they will definitely be in the playoffs again. John Wall was good last year and expect him to improve but the onus is on Paul Pierce to provide them more than he did in Brooklyn.

16. Atlanta Hawks | 38-44 | Last Week: 16 | Same
Al Horford has missed a lot of games over the past 2 of 3 seasons and both times, the injury has involved his chest muscles. The Hawks don't have anyone particularly new in their lineup but a roster with Millsap, Korver and Jeff Teague is good enough in the East.

17. Brooklyn Nets | 44-38 | Last Week: 17 | Same
Deron Williams has not seen his former All-Star numbers in the last 2 years. He is now undoubtedly their leader since Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd have left town. Kevin Garnett will try to survive one more year while Mason Plumlee gets better and better.

18. New York Knicks | 37-45 | Last Week: 18 | Same
Phil Jackson and new Coach Derek Fisher will try to resurrect the triangle offense in New York with Carmelo Anthony who has never been considered a good and willing passer. Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani are both healthy but can they play defense this season?

19. New Orleans Pelicans | 34-48 | Last Week: 19 | Same
Anthony Davis played like the best player offensively and defensively a few times while with Team USA at the World Cup. The arrival of Omer Asik should allow AD to play PF which is his preferred position. A healthy Ryan Anderson should make the Pelicans playoff contenders.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves | 40-42 | Last Week: 20 | Same
Minny has an outside shot to make the playoffs if ALL their new acquisitions instantly contribute and a major part of that belongs to Andrew Wiggins. So far, Wiggins has been okay during the preseason with averages of 12 points and 4 boards in 27 minutes of play.

21. Denver Nuggets | 36-46 | Last Week: 21 | Same 
Kenneth Faried was a beast during the World Cup. His hustle and energy was always evident. Expect the "Manimal" to be a vocal leader this season. Meanwhile, Nate Robinson, Danilo Gallinari and JJ Hickson have all played during the preseason and so far, so good.

22. Los Angeles Lakers | 27-55 | Last Week: 22 | Same
It's great to see Kobe back on the court but it's saddening to see Steve Nash slowly deteriorate to a useless player due to all his injuries. Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson is expected to compete for the backup PG duties but an injured calf might slow that process.

23. Sacramento Kings | 28-54 | Last Week: 23 | Same
DeMarcus Cousins had a decent showing during the World Cup. Heck, he even managed to restrain himself from going after Jonas Valanciunas after DMC received an elbow. Watch out for rookie Nik Stauskas who can shoot the lights out. He might compete with Ben McLemore for minutes at SG.

24. Detroit Pistons | 29-53 | Last Week: 23 | -1
Andre Drummond is already their best player. He played well during the limited minutes given during the World Cup. His FT shooting is still a major problem but that might be ignored if he continues to post monster double-double numbers.

25. Indiana Pacers | 56-26 | Last Week: 6 | -19
Awesome news for the Pacer fans regarding Paul George. PG-13 (his number change was approved) was seen shooting jumpers recently. Bad news, he still won't play this season which means that the Pacers will not get a sniff of the playoffs.

26. Utah Jazz | 25-57 | Last Week: 26 | Same
Utah could parade a starting lineup of Exum, Hayward, Burke, Favors and Kanter. The oldest of that group is Hayward at 24. However, Exum is a natural PG so playing with Burke might be a problem. If they played in the East, the Jazz might be good enough to squeeze into the 8th spot.

27. Boston Celtics | 25-57 | Last Week: 27 | Same
Rondo will be out another month due to his injury, There's no rush to have Rondo back because the Celtics suck with or without him. However, if they plan to trade Rondo, they need him to play ASAP so that other teams can see how good Rondo can be.

28. Orlando Magic | 23-59 | Last Week: 28 | Same
Nic Vucevic signed an extension with the Magic for 4 years and $54 million. He won't be going anywhere unless Orlando trades him. With Jameer Nelson gone, expect Victor Oladipo to log a lot of minutes as their new primary PG and best playmaker.

29. Milwaukee Bucks | 15-67 | Last Week: 29 | Same
Jabari Parker and Giannis will be the cornerstones of the Bucks. It also helps that other supporting players are young (Henson, Sanders, Middleton, Wolters) which allows them to develop and mature together. The downside, lots of losses will happen first.

30. Philadelphia 76ers | 19-63 | Last Week: 30 | Same
The Sixers are not a legitimate NBA team. They are willingly tanking again for the second straight season plus their prized lottery pick, Joel Embiid will miss a big chunk of the season. However, Nerlens Noel (who skipped last season) seems like the real deal.

Biggest Jump of the Week: Cavs +2

Biggest Drop of the Week: Thunder -3

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