With teams 30-16 being posted, it is time to reveal teams 15-1 in the preseason NBA power rankings.
These teams are playoff contenders and are trying to cement themselves as a part of the elite class in the league.
Let’s take a look at how numbers 15-1 panned out in the preseason power rankings.
15. Minnesota Timberwolves
This was one of the public’s favorite teams last season. The Kevin Love led T-Wolves had a very successful campaign for their standards. Despite losing Ricky Rubio, Spanish standout last season to a torn acl, Minnesota added some depth to their squad like Chase Budinger and Brandon Roy, who is coming out of retirement. Rubio is expected to be back around Christmas time. Without Rubio this team could keep themselves in the playoff hunt, and with Rubio, they could push into the top 8 in April.
14. Chicago Bulls
This ranking is dependent on the return of Derrick Rose. Yes, the Bulls did fine with out Rose in the regular season, but in the playoffs, they lost in the first round. The Bulls need Rose to stay afloat in the East, which became much deeper over the offseason. With his return doubtful for the first half of the year, their core group of players must step up or else they could have put themselves to far behind for Rose to make a difference in their season.
13. Dallas Mavericks
After striking out on Deron Williams and Dwight Howard in the offseason, the Mavs salvaged their summer by obtaining Darren Collison, Elton Brand, and Chris Kaman. Led by the always-great Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks are going to try and keep their head above water in the always-competitive Western Conference.
12. New York Knicks
After Linsanity, and Melo’s clutch shots, what happened? Nothing. Amar’e Stoudemire’s poor play caught up with them and the Knicks would fall to the Heat in April. After getting rid of Jeremy Lin and adding some seasoned veterans like Jason Kidd and bringing back Raymond Felton, the Knicks are going to try and play a more consistent style of play this year and are hoping for a big pay off at the end of the season. The play of Amar’e Stoudemire is going to make or break it for New York this season.
11. Brooklyn Nets
New stadium, new team—literally. The Nets revamped their roster en lieu of their move to the newly opened Barclays Center. Bringing Joe Johnson on board and bringing back Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, and Kris Humphries, the Nets boast a great new lineup and expect to return to league prominence in the inaugural season in Brooklyn.
10. Indiana Pacers
After leaping up the Eastern conference ladder, the Pacers lost some of their momentum with an uneventful offseason. Indiana kept their core group of guys except getting rid of Darren Collision and adding under achiever D.J. Augustin. This team will remain in the top half of the East, but they could have been higher in the east with a key acquisition.
9. Memphis Grizzlies
An unsuccessful run in the postseason stopped the Grizzlies short. With injuries getting to them, they are out to prove doubters wrong. A healthy Zach Randolph, and Rudy Gay continuing to become a star in the league, Memphis is looking to make a statement this season.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
One of the teams involved in the Dwight Howard deal, the 76ers added a top center in Andrew Bynum and proceeded to get Dwight Howard out of the East that he terrorized for several years. The 76ers have a balanced team even with out Iguodala, who they lost in the trade. Building around Andrew Bynum is a good start to this team though.
7. Denver Nuggets
Everybody’s sleeper pick in the league, the Nuggets were also a part of the Dwight Howard blockbuster. Essentially gaining one of the most consistent all-around 2-guard in the league, Andre Iguodala for a couple of role players. With the emergence of Ty Lawson and the freakish athleticism of Javale McGee, the Nuggets are ready to make the jump into the next-tier of teams, the elite teams.
6.Los Angeles Clippers
A bit high, maybe. Although the Clippers are already facing a must-win in year 2 of having a successful organization. With Chris Paul not being locked down to a long-term deal in lob city, the Clippers need to prove they can compete or else Paul could be gone. I believe they do have a great season this year, with adding a solid bench and role players such as Lamar Odom and Grant Hill, the Clippers are stronger than last season, expect big things from CP3 and company.
5. Boston Celtics
A team that was thought to be written off due to age, the Celtics responded to losing Ray Allen by bringing in Jason Terry and Courtney Lee into the fold. As well, Doc Rivers has developed Avery Bradley into a legitimate starting 2-guard in this league. Led by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo, this team will still find much success in the Eastern Conference.
4. San Antonio Spurs
Despite their surprising success last season by grabbing the number one seed in the West, this veteran team could not keep up with the young Oklahoma City squad. Even though you could rule out Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili—don’t. Led by coach Greg Popovich, the Spurs will continue their success this season.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Just when you thought they were finished, they got even stronger. The Lakers made the move of the summer by adding Dwight Howard to their starting lineup and only losing one key player in the process, Andrew Bynum. We also can not overlook the addition of Steve Nash, who will make this one of the most complete starting fives in basketball. With Howard’s surprisingly quick return to practicing, this Laker team will dominate the game in all aspects. This team may be more talented then the Thunder, but I need to see them play before putting them over.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Last season’s runners up, this young team only added to their talent in the offseason. By stealing Perry Jones III at the back-end of the first round, Sam Presti continues to build a powerhouse in OKC. With Kevin Durant preparing to come back with vengeance, this Thunder team will be scary good when the season opens up.
1. Miami Heat
After the miraculous run last spring, led by Lebron James, the Heat finally captured the NBA championship that slipped through their fingers the season before. With the big 3 only getting better, and the addition of veteran Ray Allen, the Heat are putting themselves in prime position to repeat as champs.