|NBA Power Rankings, 10/7||10.07.10 at 12:48 pm ET|
1. LA Lakers: As the long as the Lakers avoid terrorist threats in Europe and manage to stay healthy, they’ll hang on to this spot throughout the preseason. I’m not too worried about a loss to the T-Wolves or Kobe’s knee being 60 percent. And they’re pretty used to surviving without Bynum at this point.
2. Boston: When your biggest question mark is whether Von Wafer or Mario West will fill the final spot on the roster, I’d say your team is in pretty good shape … as long as Nate Robinson doesn’t hurt Shaq with one of his pranks. Oh, and Semih Erden looks like he’ll actually contribute.
3. Miami: Don’t let D-Wade’s hamstring injury alarm you. Those things happen in the preseason, and he’s played through far worse. The Heat looked good. No surprise there. And if Udonis Haslem keeps contributing like he has, they just might slide up to No. 2 on opening night.
4. Oklahoma City: The Thunder recently invited the greatest name in the NBA to their training camp: Longar Longar. If he makes the team, watch out league. What better complement to Durant, Westbrook and Green?
5. Dallas: The Mavericks are a bunch of 30-somethings who have a limited window left to challenge for an NBA title. Sound familiar? Yup, they’re like the Celtics, only they don’t rebound much and play porous defense. Still, they’ll be tough out West.
10. Atlanta: Jamal Crawford is already demanding a contract extension. Why is it that these types of stories always pop up around the Hawks? They’re the cockiest bunch for a group that’s never really accomplished anything.
11. San Antonio: Gregg Popovich believes Richard Jefferson will have a breakout year. Can you have one of those when you’re past your prime? Although, I do expect bounce-back seasons out of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
12. Phoenix: Whenever guys like Jared Dudley and Hakim Warrick are at the end of your bench, that’s a good sign. I love the Suns’ depth but question their starpower. How long can Steve Nash keep playing at a high level?
18. Philadelphia: How many points did they score against the Celtics? Fifteen? I’m guessing that — plus a loss to the Nets to start the preseason — isn’t what the 76ers were looking for. Still, I like their young talent, especially Jrue Holiday.
19. LA Clippers: Did you know that the Thunder have a future lottery-protected first-round pick from the Clippers? They’ll be able to use that pick the next time the Clippers make the playoffs — somewhere around the year 2083.
20. Sacramento: You never want your coach saying, “If he ever gets in shape, he’ll really be able to do a lot,” about your No. 5 overall pick. But that’s exactly what Paul Westphal said about DeMarcus Cousins. Question marks galore on this team.
26. Charlotte: The least surprising news of the week: “Shaun Livingston experiencing some pain in his repaired knee.” Does anybody else think Michael Jordan could actually play minutes for his team, or is it just me?
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