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NBA Power Rankings — 10/29

10.29.09 at 11:59 am ET
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Kobe Bryant and the Lakers received their championship rings Tuesday night.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers received their championship rings Tuesday night. (AP)

Los Angeles Lakers1. All right, dammit, I’ll give them their props for last year. But there’s no way in hell they’ll be here next week.

Boston Celtics2. I thought Sheed was crazy with the 72-win talk; why not 75? Seriously, this will be Doc’s best team yet.

San Antonio Spurs3. Tim Duncan is still great, but the Spurs also win because they’ve got the smartest front office in the league.

Orlando Magic4. You’ve hated on Vince. I’ve hated on Vince. But Vince is gonna play out of his mind in this system.

Cleveland Cavaliers5. OK, Mike Brown. I’ll be the first to say it: The Cavs would be a better team if Shaq came off the bench.

Portland Trail Blazers 6. The Blazers will have a deep playoff run this year, have their hearts broken in the conference finals, and then win next year’s title.

Denver Nuggets7. If the Nuggets were your kid, you’d let them borrow the car and then go through a bottle of Maalox waiting for them to return it. Something about them makes me very nervous.

Before the Mavericks' first game, Shawn Marion told the crowd: "We're going to take you on a long journey. Enjoy the ride." (AP)

Before the Mavericks' first game, Shawn Marion told the crowd: "We're going to take you on a long journey. Enjoy the ride." (AP)

Dallas Mavericks8. Question of the year: Is Shawn Marion back to being the original Matrix? Or is he the just-miss of Matrix Reloaded? (Full disclosure: I don’t care about Shawn Marion. I just wanted to shout out the movie, which — and I can’t believe this — is already 10 years old.)

Washington Wizards9. They’ll easily win 30 more games than last year (when they won 19). But their flaw is that they don’t have an elite, or even good, defender on the roster.
New Orleans Hornets10. It’s too bad Isiah Thomas has been a disaster since he retired from the Pistons. Otherwise, you’d know exactly what I mean when I say that the dynamic Chris Paul is Isiah of the 21st century.
Utah Jazz11. It’s simple: If they can move Carlos Boozer, they’ll be a better team. If not, one and done in the playoffs.

Atlanta Hawks12. I’m impressed with 23-year-old Josh Smith. His number of 3-point attempts has been on the decline for three straight seasons. He’s a year away from being a great player.

Phoenix Suns13. Desert philosophy: We know we can’t stop you, so — at least 42 nights a year — we’ll outscore you.

Miami Heat14. Sometimes I get visions of the future. With that said, I believe Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will be teammates here next year.

Toronto Raptors15. See No. 14 and trade “Desert” for “Canadian.”

Chicago Bulls16. Yeah, I know what the stats say, pardnuh. But John Salmons ain’t Ben Gordon. They’re gonna miss the hell out of him this year.

Blake Griffin is expected to be out six weeks with a stress fracture in his left kneecap. (AP)

Blake Griffin is expected to be out six weeks with a stress fracture in his left kneecap. (AP)

Detroit Pistons17. Not sure what Joe Dumars is trying to build here. Then again, I STILL can’t believe Joe D passed up Melo, D-Wade and Chris Bosh for Darko Milicic.

Los Angeles Clippers18. Sorry, but I’m not watching them until Blake Griffin returns from injury. Wake me in eight weeks.

Memphis Grizzles19. With a couple of breaks, the Grizz will sneak into the playoffs. And if you still think they got nothing in the Pao Gasol trade, watch Pao’s brother, Marc, play.

Charlotte Bobcats20. I must be in a good mood, because I’m leaving them here despite watching them score 59 points against the Celtics. 59!

Indiana Pacers21. Bad sign for the Pacers: Danny Granger is a baller and Troy Murphy is a baller, yet they still managed just 36 wins last year. And the addition who will help them most this year is … Dahntay Jones.

Golden State Warriors22. Once upon a time, long ago in a 1980s land, Don Nelson actually coached teams that played defense.

Philadelphia 76ers23. Where are my baseball fans? The 76ers have a roster full of No. 3 and 4 starters, but they aren’t going anywhere because they don’t have an ace.

New Jersey Nets24. The best thing I can say about the Nets is that if the Magic win the title, maybe Nets execs also will get rings for generously helping the cause.

Kevin Durant had 25 points and 11 rebound in the Thunder's opener, a victory over the Kings Wednesday night.

Kevin Durant had 25 points and 11 rebound in the Thunder's opener, a victory over the Kings Wednesday night.

Houston Rockets25. You guys aren’t gonna believe what I just heard: Tracy McGrady is hurt. Oh, I know it’s shocking, but it’s true.

Oklahoma City Thunder26. I’m in love with Kevin Durant. Yeah, I said it. You’d say it, too, if he was playing in a real market. I swear, the University of Texas got more attention with Durant than Oklahoma City has with him.

New York Knicks27. You can offer LeBron a lead role in the next Spike Lee Joint and promise him Jay-Z’s empire, but there’s no way he’s playing for the Knicks next year. It’s either Cleveland or Miami. You’ll see.

Minnesota Timberwolves28. Remember what I said about the Spurs’ front office? Well, the Wolves may have the dumbest. Taking two point guards in the lottery? Foolish. The only thing fun about this team is watching Al Jefferson, and he’ll be hurt by March.

Milwaukee Bucks29. Is it possible for a team to tank AFTER the season? I hate blatant salary dumps, and that’s exactly what the Richard Jefferson deal was.

Sacramento Kings30. True story: I was hanging out with a half-dozen hoop fans last week, and five of them didn’t know who Sacramento’s coach is. Do you? Do you need a hint?  Damn, you know Paul Westphal must love the game if he took this job.

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