2016-17 NBA Preseason Power Rankings
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
The 2016-17 NBA preseason is just a couple of weeks away and it won’t be long after that when the real fun begins. The league is slowly becoming less top heavy and there’s bundles of storylines to keep an eye on. But before we get into anything else, let’s take a look at how every team stacks up before play begins.
Here are the 2016 NBA preseason power rankings.
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1. Golden State Warriors - The Golden State Warriors won 73 games last season and now added Kevin Durant, a top-five player in the world. There’s holes with Golden State such as lack of depth and rim protection, but the Warriors should be the overwhelming favorite to win it all regardless.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers - The defending champs still have LeBron James and a roster that is super confident now that the monkey is off the back of Cleveland. We’re starting to see peak Kyrie Irving, which is a scary sight when he pair him with the best player on the planet.
3. Los Angeles Clippers - The Los Angeles Clippers have the second best starting five in the league behind only the Warriors. The Clippers have their best chance to win the title this season and the addition of Brandon Bass will prove to be super underrated.
4. San Antonio Spurs - The San Antonio Spurs still have Gregg Popovich as head coach and replacing Tim Duncan with Pau Gasol is actually an upgrade. The Spurs aren't going anywhere.
5. Boston Celtics - The Boston Celtics are one of the most well coached teams in the league that returns everybody and added Al Horford. The Celtics are maybe one of two other teams in the East that can push the Cavs in terms of reaching the Finals.
6. Utah Jazz - The Utah Jazz were good last season and they didn’t have Dante Exum, George Hill, Boris Diaw or Joe Johnson. Oh, my, the Jazz are going to be fun to watch this season and are going to be that team nobody wants to see come playoff time.
7. Toronto Raptors - The Toronto Raptors were a couple of wins away from winning the East last season and that was with a DeMarre Carroll who wasn’t 100 percent. The addition of Jared Sullinger makes the Raptors a deeper and better basketball team than a year ago.
8. Portland Trail Blazers - I was driving the Portland Trail Blazers bandwagon last season and I’m making sure to be the first one on again. The baby Trail Blazers experienced playoff success last season and then added Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli. Portland is only going to improve with a roster that includes just one player above 30 years old.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder - Even without Durant, Russell Westbrook isn’t letting OKC sink that easily. Victor Oladipo gives the Thunder the most explosive backcourt in the league and Steven Adams is starting to come into his own. The Thunder have dampered expectations now, but are still a competitive and respectable team.
10. Memphis Grizzlies - The Memphis Grizzlies are bringing the band back together with a healthy Marc Gasol and now have an outside shooter in Chandler Parsons. The Grizzlies could be much better than last season.
11. Indiana Pacers - The Indiana Pacers won 45 games last season simply with Paul George carrying the team most nights. Now PG13 has some offensive help with the additions of Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young. Pacers are the sleeper team in the East.
12. Houston Rockets - The Rockets have had defensive problems for years and now have Mike D'Antoni as head coach. Dear lord. However, on the flipside, how many teams have the firepower to outmatch the Rockets offensive talent in his system? Add Ryan Anderson to the mix and Houston is going to run a lot of teams out of the gym.
13. Atlanta Hawks - Dennis Schroder is the best point guard Dwight Howard has ever played with in his career. Sorry Jameer Nelson. The Hawks have a lot of underrated pieces that could mesh well.
14. Detroit Pistons - The Detroit Pistons have one of the top coaches in the league and will get a full season out of Tobias Harris. The potential is big time for the Pistons, it just comes down to putting everything together.
15. Miami Heat - The Miami Heat are a giant question mark mainly because nobody knows what’s going on with Chris Bosh. If he returns, the Heat have a competitive roster in the wide open East when you add Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic. If not, Miami will be undermanned most nights and struggle to return to the playoffs and their ranking drops quite a bit.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves - Everybody knows the upside with the Minnesota Timberwolves is through the roof, it’s just a matter of youth that’s holding them back from really taking off. Still, with this much talent and a great coach in Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota has a shot to make the playoffs in the West this season.
17. Charlotte Hornets - The Charlotte Hornets return their key players from last season and will get back Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Vegas doesn’t believe in the Hornets much with a O/U total set under 40 wins, but Kemba Walker hasn’t beaten the odds many times throughout his basketball career.
18. New Orleans Pelicans - The Pelicans success all comes down to whether or not Anthony Davis can stay healthy. The additions of Langston Galloway, E'Twaun Moore and even rookie Buddy Hield also make New Orleans a deeper team that could sneak into the playoffs.
19. Milwaukee Bucks - The loss of Khris Middleton really hurts the Bucks heading into the season even if Michael Beasley is better than most give him credit for being. There’s still a lot to like with the Bucks led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, but Milwaukee is now without its leading scorer and top three point shooter on a team that struggles to score to begin with.
20. New York Knicks - Are we sure Derrick Rose can return to his MVP ability? Can Joakim Noah play 70 games for the first time since 2013-14? Is Carmelo Anthony still capable of carrying a team at 32 years old and with knee issues? The Knicks have a lot of questions but the good thing is most people will be watching to find out.
21. Chicago Bulls - I’m not sure how the Bulls are going to score, as they have a backcourt that combined for 69 made threes last season. No spacing at all on this team. But, like the Knicks, the name and starpower is there with this team, so, uh, we’ll be watching?
22. Denver Nuggets - There’s a lot to like with the Denver Nuggets, as they’re a young team and were the only club to beat the Spurs and Warriors last season. The Nuggets have a lot of intriguing pieces and are maybe a star away from being taken seriously as contenders. Kind of like Minnesota.
23. Dallas Mavericks - Mark Cuban continues to try to surround Dirk Nowitzki with everything he can, as he added Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut to a group of aging veterans. The Mavs have a shot to be better than expected, but all in all, it’s going to be the same mediocre season in Dallas.
24. Washington Wizards - The Wizards got a solid head coach in Scott Brooks and have an explosive backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal. After that, it’s a bunch of blah. Washington needs playmakers and depth to make a splash in the East.
25. Sacramento Kings - The Sacramento Kings are a decent late night NBA League Pass team due to the youth and potential. But the Kings aren’t ready to do anything this season and still need a couple of drafts or key free agent signings to help DeMarcus Cousins finally make the playoffs.
26. Orlando Magic - I’m not sure what the Magic were doing in trading Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova for an aging Serge Ibaka. The good news is that Orlando does have Frank Vogel as head coach and that can translate into a few wins.
27. Los Angeles Lakers - The Lakers have some decent pieces and the addition of Luol Deng will help on and off the court. I also have Brandon Ingram winning Rookie of the Year. Baby steps Lakers fans, baby steps.
28. Phoenix Suns - The Suns want to get back to that run-and-gun style and have the players to do it. But that Phoenix defense is very bad and adding a 33-year-old Leandro Barbosa won’t improve things. Still, another fun team to watch late nights.
29. Brooklyn Nets - Quick, name five players on the Brooklyn Nets roster besides Brook Lopez. Times up. At least the Knicks are going to be entertaining for New York, right?
30. Philadelphia 76ers - Even with Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers have won a combined 47 games the last three years. Three years of victories would have made the 76ers a seventh seed in the East last season.