NBA Opening Day Power Rankings

 

 

 

 

MH’s NBA Start of the Season Power Rankings

Image

1. Miami Heat –

If you are shocked in this pick you might want to assess your standing as a basketball enthusiast and rethink things since you have clearly taken a 3-year hiatus from American sports. Miami is in the driver’s seat again and looks ready to head for a 3rd straight title and 4th straight championship appearance. LeBron James and a great supporting cast that allows for the Heat to dominate in almost any way imaginable the Heat are only left with one key weakness. This is the lack of a true big man that can eat minutes and play physical D. Until someone can actually exploit this weakness the Heat will continue on virtually unrivaled.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder –

This might seem to be somewhat of a questionable pick since Westbrook is out for now but Durant looks primed for a big time season with legitimate championship aspirations. If Ibaka can step up and handle some of the scoring duties in making up for Westbrook the Thunder will be in great shape with a young team with enough role players to keep them amongst the elite until Westbrook returns.

3. Indiana Pacers –

Some of the stiffest competition for the heat right here. The Pacers come in blessed with a talented big in Roy Hibbert as well as a dominate wing player in Paul George. The combination of the two multi-faceted stars and a strong supporting class that plays intense physical defense that wears down opponents will make them an elite team again.

4. San Antonio Spurs –

The Spurs benefit from facing some weakened opponents while also being a perennial contender with a budding star in Kawhi Leonard, a star Point Guard in Tony Parker, and a future Hall of Famer that somehow continues to perform at a high level in Tim Duncan. These pieces along with some solid role players and phenomenal coaching keep them amongst the NBA’s elite.

5. Golden State Warriors –

The new kid on the block in terms of the NBA’s elite teams. The relative newcomer, the Warriors armed with a scoring machine in superstar Point Guard Steph Curry alone keeps them in most games but they also have a healthy big man in Bogut, a phenomenal lengthy defender and decent offensive player in Iggy, as well as the sharp shooting number two to Curry in Klay Thompson. This group of talented players looks to carry the Warriors into continued relevance.

6. Memphis Grizzlies –

This pick is a bit of an odd one since the Grizzlies aren’t really a title contender but they are a top team. A bit of an oddity. They have the pieces to win a ton of games with the supporting cast they have assembled around one of the best defensive players and all-around big men in the game in Marc Gasol. But they don’t really have enough star power to compete for a title so unless they really surprise this will probably be as high as they get all season on the power rankings.

7. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are an established top team that hasn’t exactly dominated come playoff time. The combo of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul should be enough to keep them in contention. This is especially true with a decent supporting cast. They certainly have some glaring weaknesses to address though which is what keeps them from being higher.

8. Chicago Bulls –

The Bulls look set to return to being a competitor in the East after what was essentially a throw away year with the injury to Rose. With Rose back and supposedly ready to step right back in without losing anything from his game the Bulls tough D and scoring potential make them a top 10 team. The questions surrounding the injury keep them on the lower end of the top 10 though.

9. Portland Trail Blazers –

The first real shocker of the top 10. The Trail Blazers look like a team ready to finally reach its potential behind an incredibly talented cast of players. Lillard, Aldridge, Batum, Matthews, Robinson, Wright, Williams, and the promising rookie McCollum give them a great shot at making a statement this year.

10. Denver Nuggets –

A team similar to the Grizzlies in my opinion. Loaded with very good players but only 1 true star caliber player in Manimal. They look to win plenty of games but not necessarily challenge for a title.

11. Brooklyn Nets –

The Nets made some rather bold offseason moves giving them one of the most talented starting 5’s in the NBA, although this is true they are fairly old and don’t have incredible depth so minute management will be key and until that issue is settled they are held back in my power rankings. If they are managed well the ranking could skyrocket and they could contend for a title.

12. Houston Rockets –

The Rockets. Where to begin? They have what looks like a top 5-10 player in James Harden but I still have my doubts and question whether he can keep Dwight satisfied and in check. Dwight… I think we all know Dwight by now, not much to add on him. The Rockets definitely have the talent but how it fits together remains to be seen.

13. New York Knicks –

The Knicks still have Melo and that is enough to keep them just above the middle of the pack in the NBA. Melo is a scoring machine who, when motivated, can take over in all facets. Motivation though, is a big issue for him. Smith and Chandler look to be featured contributors as well.

14. Detroit Pistons –

The Pistons look to have one of the more underrated teams especially with some early injury troubles but the combo of Drummond, Smith, and Monroe is a force to be reckoned with and should win them their fair share of games. A few more years of picking up decent pieces and they could find their why amongst the elite.

15. New Orleans Pelicans –

The Pelicans also look a bit underrated but have a few very talented players in Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans. If they find a way to incorporate Gordon well they could definitely be a force.

16. Cleveland Cavaliers –

The Cavaliers look to improve upon a quite lackluster season and fully emerge from the LeBron loss. Irving, Waiters, Bennett, and Bynum might be just what the Cavs need to do so. Look for them to surprise people this year.

17. Washington Wizards –

If the Wizards can stay healthy they should look much improved from last year. Wall appears to be a dominant player who, if he ever finds a jump shot, will be a top 5 player in the NBA. Beal, Gortat, and Nene provide a decent set of contributors around Wall.

18. Dallas Mavericks –

Dallas would be higher if it weren’t for the fact that they decided to field a team that plays literally no defense. Luckily they packed on the offense with Dirk, Monta, and Jose Calderon. Dallas should be able to score plenty but I doubt they make the playoffs this year.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves –

The T-Wolves have a ton of potential but are just filled with question marks. Love and Rubio need to come out of the gates strong for the Wolves to perform well. They also need to avoid injuries that have killed the team in the past.

20. Milwaukee Bucks –

The Bucks have a relatively young team with a strong defensive presence that should keep them in games. They may have a future star in Giannis but that remains to be seen and won’t really help them this year. Until then the Bucks should be scrappers with a lot of perimeter shooting and nothing more.

21. Atlanta Hawks –

The Hawks have some decent pieces in Horford, Teague, and Millsap. They also have a budding rookie in Schroeder but he is not expected to be a big contributor at the moment. The Hawks just have too many glaring weaknesses to be successful this year.

22. Toronto Raptors –

The Raptors seem to be in a bit of a pickle. Stuck with some budding youngsters but still way too terrible to really compete for anything and keep everyone happy while adding the right pieces. Look for the Raptors to be bad again this season.

23. Sacramento Kings –

One of my 2 teams to watch this season. Cousins, Vasquez, and McLemore look to lead this young potential filled team this season. With some strong performances out of their big three and some support from Luc Richard, Patrick Patterson, and Isaiah Thomas the Kings look poised to make a statement this season.

24. Charlotte Bobcats –

Team number 2 of my 2 teams to watch this season. The Bobcats have been bottom feeders for a while now and now is their chance to emerge. MKG has been working all offseason to fix that wicked looking jumper and if it has been even moderately successful he should look like a complete player and one of the best youngsters in the game. Accompanying him is the reliable and dominant post player, Al Jefferson. Those two alone should improve their standing over last season. But they also have a very good point guard in Kemba Walker, a gifted shot blocker in Biyombo, and a rookie with potential in Zeller.

25. Utah Jazz –

The Jazz have some talented young players in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors that look to carry the team basically. Alec Burks and Trey Burke need to step up for the Jazz to make any real noise. Other than that the Jazz don’t have much to look forward to this year.

26. Los Angeles Lakers –

Kobe and Pau can’t do it all… They won’t be the worst but they will suck. The Lakers outlook in a nutshell.

27. Orlando Magic –

Not much to say here… The Magic certainly aren’t a passable team. Definitely an unfortunate start for Oladipo…

28. Phoenix Suns –

They have a couple of busts in the Morris brothers, 4 decent but unspectacular guards, and 1 potentially passable big man in Len. Not exactly the building blocks of a good year.

29. Boston Celtics –

… It could be worse. Could be the 76ers. Forced to start without Rondo they essentially have role players leading this young and unproven bunch for the most part. Should be interesting to watch. Once Rondo returns they should jump up substantially, but until then.

30. Philadelphia 76ers –

The only really redeemable players on the roster are Thad Young, Evan Turner, and the rookie who probably won’t play at all, Nerlens Noel. Michael Carter-Williams, Arnett Moultrie, and Tony Wroten don’t look like anything overly special at the moment. Definitely a poor outlook for the 76ers. Better luck next year.

Advertisements

Pre-Pre Season NFL Power Rankings

Can the Ravens and Joe Flacco repeat?

With the Pre Season officially starting tomorrow (minus the HOF game) here are the power rankings right before. I provided some brief input next to each team and their strengths and weaknesses.

32) Jags

This team has a nice OL but no QB. Gabbert is a mess and Henne struggled against the Raiders 2012 ‘defense’. Greg Olson got the most out of him but he’s gone and Henne hasn’t even distinctively separated himself from Gabbert yet in camp. The defense is pretty bad with the exception of the LBs

31) Eagles

you generally won’t see the Eagles this low on most rankings but this team is a mess. Maclin and Benn both out with ACLs, the QB is a turn over machine, reckless, and old. The other guy is “neck and neck” with him so that’s not a good sign. Most of this team is injury prone (the entire OL, the entire WR corps, the QB, etc). On the bright side, they have Lane Johnson who has a ton of upside and a great running game with McCoy and Bryce Brown

30) Bills

I like this teams WR corps and they have some nice pieces on defense (Byrd, Mario Williams, Kyle Williams) but their OL took a hit with Andy Levitre gone and they have ? at the QB position. CJ Spiller is a beast but not a complete RB (pass blocking, goal line, etc)

29) Browns

If this team goes with Campbell they’d be higher but I have a feeling they’ll hand the job to Weeden. Personell wise this team has a stout defense but they are not a fit for the 3-4. This defense would be top 10 in a 4-3 but in a 3-4 a lot of the players weaknesses (eg Paul Kruger, Desmond Bryant). Their offense features a great RB and OL. But the QB sucks and Josh Gordon out for two games is no help.

28) Chargers

Rivers is good but OL sucks. Freeney is not fit for 3-4 and they don’t have a proven CB #2 or SS. RB is an injury prone average back. Great TE but most explosive weapon in Alexander is out for year. nice DL

27) Jets

Geno Smith looks legit so far but I still don’t trust Chris Ivory (unlike everyone else) YET, If he plays to expectations and stays healthy he could be a great weapon. WR corps is NFLs worse. Defense is solid but poor safeties.

26) Raiders

Great RB but needs to stay healthy. Unproven QB who’s shown flashes and intelligence but has weak arm. Young and talented WRs but again unproven. Unproven TEs. Solid underrated defense.

25) Titans

Unproven, talented QB. Inconsistent, talented RB who was once considered NFLs best. Young, talented WRs, good blocking TE. Solid, underrated defense.

24) Cardinals

Decent QB but crap OL (outside of Winston). Good RB (if healthy), great WR with young talented WRs complementing him. Outside of crappy safeties solid defense. Would be higher if they didn’t play in such a tough division.

23) Dolphins

Talented QB and RB. Mike Wallace as deep threat and Hartline as possession receiver is a nice combo. Good TE but crappy OL (outside of Clabo). Secondary got worse but still have Reshad Jones. Great DL, LBs are talented but potential one hit wonders (Wheeler, Ellerbe)

22) Lions

Good talented QB. Decent RB (one of the best pass catchers). Best WR in the game. Good TE. Meh OL, STUD DL. Good LBs.

21) Cheifs

Decent QB, Talented defense all around, Great RB, Deccent OL, Good WR. No WR#2. Good TE core. Bad SS, ILB #2.

20) Rams

Talented QB, Great TE, Very Talented WR Core (Chris Givens, Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, STUDMAN). Solid defense all around. Great CBs but bad Safeties. No proven RB but talented

19) Panthers

Great up and coming QB. Great FB/H-Back. Good RB core. Good TE, great WR in Steve Smith. Decent WR #2. decent OL. Great DL, LBs but crap secondary.

18) Buccaneers

Inconsistent, talented QB. Great young RB. Amazing secondary, Solid defense all around even with Bennett gone. Meh OL(other than Donald Penn). Great WR core. Bad TE.

17) Bears

Good QB and RB. Good TE, crap OL, good defense all around. Great secondary. Great WR core (mainly due to Marshall but Jeffrey is good). bad FS

16) Steelers

Great QB, good RB, great TE. Bad OL, good defense all around. (the usual for steelers)

15) Giants

Great but inconsistent QB. Talented RB, great WR corps. Ok OL but Defense has a lot of ?

14) Cowboys

Good but choke artist QB, good but injury prone RB. Great TE, great WR core. Talented and solid defense all around. Genius DC and OC.

13) Saints

Elite QB, good RB core (complement each other well). Great WR, Elite TE. Decent OL (Brees has a great release though). Still have good interior OL but bad tackles. Talented defense with some ?

12) Colts

Good, talented QB. Good RB core. Good TE core. Good WR. Solid Defense. Balanced team

11) Redskins

Ditto but with a great young RB.

10) Vikings

Ok QB but Elite RB and MVP, good OL, great WR core, good talented TE, good DL, great LBs,Bad secondary

9) Ravens

Great QB and SB MVP, Elite RB core, Torrey Smith is good but outside of him ? at WR. ? at TE. Good OL, great DL, great secondary but ? at CB #2

8) Texans

bad QB, Elite RB core, Elite WR core, good TE, good OL, good defense all around. ? at NT

7) Bengals

Average QB, Elite WR, Great RB core (gio and law firm), Great TE core, Great defense all around, ? at SS, good OL

6) Pats

Elite QB, Good RB core, Elite TE, Good slot WR, decent WR core (Dobson, Boyce, Edelman) Good LBs, Good DL, Good Safeties (McCourty and Wilson), Good CB core (Dennard, Talib, Dowling, Arrington), Great OL

5) Packers

Best QB in NFL, Talented RB core (lacy has been great), Great WR core, Good TE, ? OL, Great front 7, decent secondary (sam shields is good but ? at safety)

4) Falcons

Good QB, Great RB core, Great TE, Elite WR core, Solid DL, Good LBs, Great safeties, Good CBs, Bad OL

3) Niners

Good QB, Good WR, ? at WR besides Boldin, Elite TE, promising TE2, Great defense overall but big ? in the secondary. Best LB core hands down, Best RB core, Good DL even with Ian WIlliams starting, best OL

2) Broncos

Elite QB, Talented RBs, Best WR core (Decker, Thomas, Welker) Good TEs, Great OL but has injury concerns and QB of OL is out, Great defense, great secondary (if DRC comes back soon), Big ? at safety tho

1) Sea Hawks

Good Talented QB, Great WR, Good TE, Excellent DL, Great talented LBs, Best CB core (Sherman, Browner, Winfield), Best safety core, great OL

Those are my pre-Pre Season rankings. What are yours? Feel free to leave them in the comments as well as any questions, comments, or suggestions