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NBA Power Rankings, 10/7

[1]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.

[1]2. Boston: When your biggest question mark is whether Von Wafer [2] 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 [3] doesn’t hurt Shaq with one of his pranks. Oh, and Semih Erden looks like he’ll actually contribute.

[10] [4]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 [5] keeps contributing like he has, they just might slide up to No. 2 on opening night.

[7] [6]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?

[7] [8]

[8]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 [9], only they don’t rebound much and play porous defense. Still, they’ll be tough out West.

6. Orlando: Will Dwight Howard’s offseason work with Hakeem Olajuwon pay off? It probably would’ve helped last season, before the Heat and Celtics got much better in the East.

7 [11]. Portland: Greg Oden [12] has agreed to avoid drinking alcohol, going to clubs and eating late-night fast food. Maybe now he’ll stay healthy. Or not.

[13]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 [14].

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 [15] can package him for somebody better.

[16] [15] [9]10. Atlanta: Jamal Crawford [17] 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.

[15] [18]11. San Antonio: Gregg Popovich [19] believes Richard Jefferson [20] 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 [21] and Manu Ginobili [22].

[9]12. Phoenix: Whenever guys like Jared Dudley [23] 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 [24] keep playing at a high level?

[25] [9]13. New York: The Knicks might make a move for Rudy Fernandez? Well, then, watch out Eastern Conference. Just kidding. If anything, I see them moving backwards from No. 13.

[9] [26] [9]14. Houston: What’s the bigger question for the Rockets: How many minutes will Yao play a night? Or why does Shane Battier’s head have ripples in it?

[27] [23]15. Milwaukee: The Bucks have a ton of good players but no great ones. Guys like John Salmons [28]. That’ll get you to the playoffs, but not much further.

[4]16. Denver: Add Kenyon Martin [29] to the list of unhapy Nuggets. Wait a second. Can you remember Kenyon Martin every being happy?

[30]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 [31] is better.

[32]18. Philadelphia: How many points did they score against the Celtics? Fifteen? I’m guessing that — plus a loss to the Nets [33] to start the preseason — isn’t what the 76ers were looking for. Still, I like their young talent, especially Jrue Holiday.

[34]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.

[25]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 [35]. Question marks galore on this team.

[36]21. New Orleans: Can any team with Chris Paul [37] 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?

[25]22. Memphis: Any time there’s an article that reads “Grizzlies [38] need Acie Law, others to boost bench,” you’re in trouble. Sorry Memphis fans.

23. Indiana: The Cavaliers [39] reportedly tried to lure Larry Bird [40] away from the Pacers. Somehow, Cleveland is even less desirable than Indianapolis.

[34]24. Minnesota: Could I have been wrong about Michael Beasley? After all, the T-Wolves are 2-0 in the preseason. No, I think I was right. Just wait.


[41]25. Washington: John Wall [42] 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 [43] could actually play minutes for his team, or is it just me?

[41]27. Detroit: T-Mac openly pined for a chance to play for the Heat after losing to them in the preseason. Good job whining before the season even starts. More bad news for the city.

28. New Jersey: The Nets are 1-0. The Nets are 1-0! Oh, wait, they beat the Sixers by seven in the preseason? Nevermind. They still stink.

[44]29. Cleveland: As Jamario Moon said, the Cavaliers are looking to prove they’re still good without Lebron James [45]. Good luck with that, because I don’t see it.

[46]30. Toronto: A possible signing of Erick Dampier would be a big deal for the Raptors. That is a sad sentence to write about any team.