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.
7. Portland: Greg Oden has agreed to avoid drinking alcohol, going to clubs and eating late-night fast food. Maybe now he’ll stay healthy. Or not.
8. Chicago: The Bulls are off to a great start, as they’ve already lost Carloos Boozer for two months. The good news? More playing time for Brian Scalabrine.
9. Utah: Andrei Kirilenko is entering a contract year, which means he might actually live up to his nickname (AK-47) this season. Then the Jazz can package him for somebody better.
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?
15. Milwaukee: The Bucks have a ton of good players but no great ones. Guys like John Salmons. That’ll get you to the playoffs, but not much further.
16. Denver: Add Kenyon Martin to the list of unhapy Nuggets. Wait a second. Can you remember Kenyon Martin every being happy?
17. Golden State: Did you notice that most fantasy basketball player ratings have Stephen Curry in their top 10? He’s good, but not that good. I think Monta Ellis is better.
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.
21. New Orleans: Can any team with Chris Paul on it be this bad? I think so. They’re relying way too much on guys like Marcus Thornton. How did they not get more for Darren Collison?
22. Memphis: Any time there’s an article that reads “Grizzlies need Acie Law, others to boost bench,” you’re in trouble. Sorry Memphis fans.
25. Washington: John Wall is already way better than I thought he was going to be in his rookie year. This team could actually make some noise this season.
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?
29. Cleveland: As Jamario Moon said, the Cavaliers are looking to prove they’re still good without Lebron James. Good luck with that, because I don’t see it.