2014 NBA Preseason Power Rankings
NBA Power Rankings
2014 NBA Season
The Line: See the Latest Odds
With the 2014 NBA preseason just a week or two away from tipping off, here are the power rankings for the upcoming season.
1. San Antonio Spurs - The San Antonio Spurs are fresh off another NBA championship and return nearly the exact same roster they just won it with. Until somebody shows otherwise, the Spurs enter the upcoming season as the team to beat once again.
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2. Oklahoma City Thunder - I’m worried about depth being an issue for the Oklahoma City Thunder to finally take that next step. Still, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and a healthy Serge Ibaka is still arguably the best trio in the NBA.
3. Los Angeles Clippers - The Los Angeles Clippers were already an NBA championship caliber team and got even better with the addition of Spencer Hawes. I really like what the Clippers are doing, and they’re currently my pick to make it out of the West.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers - The Cleveland Cavaliers could be a couple of notches higher but we have no idea how LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are going to blend together. Regardless, the Cavs are going to be fun to watch and should win a ton of games in the watered down East.
5. Chicago Bulls - The Chicago Bulls were always one of the better teams in the East but should take that next step with a healthy Derrick Rose and the additions of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott. One could argue that the Bulls are the team to beat in the East given the experience.
6. Golden State Warriors - With a healthy Andrew Bogut and point guard depth with the addition of Shaun Livingston, the Golden State Warriors are a dark horse championship caliber team. The Warriors are also the most fun team to watch on a nightly basis.
7. Memphis Grizzlies - The Memphis Grizzlies don’t get enough credit because they don’t have a superstar or play flashy offense. Still, the Grizzlies are the best defensive team in the NBA and is that team nobody wants to play due to their physicality.
8. Washington Wizards - I really, really like what the Washington Wizards are doing right now. The Wizards have a young talented core that now has some experience with the additions of Paul Pierce and Kris Humphries. Watch out, East, as the Wizards are good enough to make a deep playoff run.
9. Portland Trail Blazers - The Portland Trail Blazers showed a sneak peek of what they were capable of last season and people forget that Damian Lillard and Thomas Robinson are under 25 years old. The Trail Blazers are only going to get better and scarier.
10. Dallas Mavericks - The Dallas Mavericks took the San Antonio Spurs to seven games in last season’s playoffs. The Mavs are truly an even better team than last season after adding Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson. Don’t sleep on Dallas this season.
11. Miami Heat - Despite what other people will tell you, the Miami Heat aren’t done just because LeBron James left town. Chris Bosh is still an All-Star player and the additions of Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng were solid. The Heat will push for 50 wins this season.
12. Houston Rockets - There’s all the talent in the world on the Houston Rockets, and adding Trevor Ariza certainly doesn’t hurt. The real question with the Rockets is if there’s enough defense in place for them to be taken seriously.
13. Charlotte Hornets - Gone are the days of laughing at the Charlotte Hornets. A team made up of Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker and Lance Stephenson has great potential. The Hornets are going to be a team worth keeping an eye on this season and could develop into a fun team to watch.
14. Toronto Raptors - The Toronto Raptors did a great job of convincing Kyle Lowry to stay in town and return the same team that shocked the NBA last season with 48 wins. The Raptors are once again a sneaky playoff team that could knock off just about anyone in the East.
15. Atlanta Hawks - Remember how the Atlanta Hawks nearly eliminated the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs? Well, know the Hawks get their top player back in Al Horford. Atlanta shouldn’t be ignored this season.
16. Phoenix Suns - It really comes down to what happens with Eric Bledsoe that decides how good the Phoenix Suns can really be. But with all the young talent on the Suns and the addition of Isaiah Thomas, there's no doubt they’ll be in the playoff conversation in the loaded West.
17. Denver Nuggets - The Denver Nuggets are a team that’s growing up before our very eyes. With Kenneth Faried, Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo leading the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nuggets sneaked their way into the playoffs this season.
18. Brooklyn Nets - Sure, the Brooklyn Nets lost their head coach and Paul Pierce, but they return just about everybody else and get back a healthy Brook Lopez. With the Nets overall experience and talent, they shouldn’t be taken lightly regardless of what happened a year ago.
19. New Orleans Pelicans - It’s only a matter of time before Anthony Davis is dominating this league. And with a finally healthy Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and others, the New Orleans Pelicans have a chance to be a dangerous sleeper this season.
20. New York Knicks - It’s going to be a while before Phil Jackson’s masterplan comes together for the New York Knicks. Still, when you have a talent such as Carmelo Anthony, anything can happen, especially when playing in the East.
21. Detroit Pistons - The Detroit Pistons have some great pieces in Greg Drummond, Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings and even D.J. Augustin. It all comes down to buying in defensively and picking up a little more experience.
22. Indiana Pacers - After losing Lance Stephenson to free agency and Paul George to injury, the Indiana Pacers season is all but over before it started. And you thought the Pacers struggled to score last season? You haven’t seen anything yet.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves - Despite losing Kevin Love, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a bright future with young players such as Thaddeus Young, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio and Anthony Bennett. Unfortunately for Minnesota fans, the future isn’t now.
24. Los Angeles Lakers - A healthy Kobe Bryant is capable of almost anything, but nobody knows what to expect from him. And besides an aging Carlos Boozer and a rookie Julius Randle, the Lakers don’t have much else to write home about. Things could be ugly once again in Laker Land.
25. Milwaukee Bucks - I know the Milwaukee Bucks finished with the worst record in the league last season, but unlike the teams below them in these rankings, they have a potential dominant player in rookie Jabari Parker.
26. Philadelphia 76ers - The Philadelphia 76ers are another team with a bright future that has struck gold in the draft with Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. But at the end of the day the 76ers are a team that just won 19 games a season ago.
27. Sacramento Kings - DeMarcus Cousins has to be one of the more underrated players in the NBA and Ben McLemore is somebody who is only going to improve with another year under his belt. The Sacramento Kings have a chance to be decent in a year or two.
28. Utah Jazz - The Utah Jazz actually have some solid players in Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward. It’s now all up to them to take that next step and make others around them better, which is going to take time.
29. Boston Celtics - The Boston Celtics have no leadership and Rajon Rondo is likely gone by February. It’s another rebuilding season for Boston fans.
30. Orlando Magic - Quick, name five players on the Orlando Magic. Case closed.