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2011 NBA Power Rankings

Written by Byron Reyna
User Rating: / 4

Is it ever too early to start thinking about next season in the NBA? No? Alright good, because I already can’t wait like I know some of you can’t either. With the looming lockout starting in July, we have no clue when the season will start, so you have to factor the amount of rest most of these players will have as well. Well anyways, you let’s get started. Take into account that this is for the teams as they stand right now, the weekend AFTER the draft.

1. Miami Heat: Love them or hate them, they have the a lot of talent on that team, and with the possibility to improve this offseason (whenever it starts), next season looks good for them. Plus, you know Dwyane Wade won’t let the Finals loss sit well with him, LeBron on the other hand, I’m not entirely sure how he is feeling.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant leading the league in scoring for another year, the team gains another year of experience, Kendrick Perkins gets healthier, and the team is pretty much complete. If Durant can gain some body mass, and have a legitimate post game, this team could be dangerous.

3. Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki alone allows this team to contend next year. The team is still well maintained as long as they can bring back Barea as well as Tyson Chandler. Jason Kidd may want another ring too, so don’t look for any let up, plus with the addition of Rudy Fernandez, the team has a good, young outside shooter to add to their list of wing players.

4. Chicago Bulls: With another year to work under Coach Thibs, the Bulls can only improve their defense, as well as add more chemistry in the upcoming year. Derrick Rose will look for vengeance next year, as well as improving from this year, but that is only if his team can keep up with him.

5. New York Knicks: Crazy to have the Knicks this high, but actually having some time to have Melo and Chauncey Billups to get together and practice before playing will be extremely beneficiary for this team. You can expect a lot better than 42-40 for this team next season.

6. Los Angeles Lakers: Without Dwight Howard, this team will look like the team that got swept in the playoffs, with him, they’ll look a better, but sacrifice their bench as the trade will likely get rid of Odom and Bynum. Regardless, as of now, Kobe still believes that he can carry that team, when he clearly needs to start feeding the low post with his twin towers.

7. Denver Nuggets: This team averaged the most points scored for the season, and that was mainly due to the run and gun scheme the team played with once Carmelo was traded. Andre Miller is back in Denver once again, after trading away Raymond Felton, and the team looks to be solid going into this season. Once again, Denver can run and gun, or slow it down when they have to. This team will be a hidden gem in the West.

8. Boston Celtics: The team is getting older, and with Rondo’s liability as a shooter, you can expect the team to look a little similar to this past season. Glen Davis may be on the way out, as JaJuan Johnson steps in as a legitimate power forward to learn from KG, but the issues at Center have to make you think how big this team can be, when just a year ago, they were the biggest team in the league. A drop off is expected of this team, but if the season is cut short, the rest will be a boost to the veterans on this team.

9. San Antonio Spurs: With Tim Duncan playing in possibly his last year, and Tony Parker being shopped around before the draft, the Spurs just have the feel of a team that is ready to rebuild. They acquire Kawhi Leonard in exchange for George Hill, so the Spurs will be looking like a new team of sorts this coming season if they could trade Parker somewhere, so you can expect the Spurs to not lead the West next season.

10. Atlanta Hawks: The team is young, but experienced with Joe Johnson, Josh Smith (if he doesn’t get traded), and Al Horford, the team can’t decline. The addition of Keith Benson, and a few other centers returning, Horford can play Power Forward, and really play well for the team. The Hawks just seem to be missing something to make them legitimate contenders… maybe someone better than Johnson to be their go-to guy?

11. Orlando Magic: Now the only reason the Magic are down this low, is because we all know how teams can be affected when they know their star player can be gone at any second (ex. Denver Nuggets 2010) . So with Howard being someone that could be gone at any time, the Magic could play horribly. Dwight Howard alone, is a force that can win games as long as the team contributes a bit, so the Magic can’t drop off too far as long as D12 is still on the team.

12. Portland Trailblazers: Once again, the Portland team looks good, but how healthy is that team? Greg Oden could be on his way out, while Brandon Roy is still a question mark with the stability of his knees. The addition of Raymond Felton over Andre Miller makes the team better though, as Felton is a reliable player at the point guard position. Rudy Fernandez is gone, so any distractions he might have caused are now in Dallas, so the minutes can be spread however Coach McMillan wants them to be.

13. Memphis Grizzlies: The team proved this past season that having a great post game can win you games. Mark Gasol and Zach Randolph really did damage for the team, and now this upcoming year the team could be even fiercer as players know they can hang with any team out there. Conley proved he deserved to be in the league, and with Rudy Gay now not so necessary for the team, you get that sense that the team is ready to go in another direction. This team is no longer a pushover, as any win against this team will be hard earned in 2011.

14. New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul will once again lead this team, and David West who is coming off an ACL tear will be looking to prove that he is still the good player that he was, when he was the team leader in scoring and rebounding this past year before going down with the injury. The Hornets always look good as long as CP3 is on the team, but this year could be more about marketing, as he could leave the team in 2012.

15. Houston Rockets: Being only three games away from the playoffs, the Rockets came off hot after the all-star break. With the team seemingly moving on from Yao Ming, they seem to have their head in the game and not worrying about an injury prone seven-footer. With some pretty good additions in the draft, and a new head coach in Kevin McHale, the Rockets could sneak in the playoffs next year in a very tough Western Conference.

16. Philadelphia 76ers: With the possible loss of Andre Iguodala when the season does start, the 76ers team gives me a little worry. With Iggy though, the team can only improve from their seven seed last year, and even challenged Miami in the first round playoffs. Without Iggy, the team is in question because the lack of defense.

17. Indiana Pacers: With Coach Vogel most likely taking over this team full season, the team can only get better especially now with the addition of George Hill. The team is relatively young, but on the rise as Roy Hibbert gets better, and if Danny Granger can get some help to take the pressure off of him, this team could definitely improve.

18. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin coming back for his sophomore year still looks to be on pace to tear up the league. Eric Gordon, if healthy can also get better this year, as last year he was already making strides towards becoming a star in the league. The Clippers are a very good team that just lacks a good small forward, once they can acquire a reliable three, this team could be dangerous.

19. Utah Jazz: With the additions of Enes Kanter and Alex Burks, the Jazz could look to improve on their young team. Devin Harris can have a full season with the team, and take over the lead guard role, better than the end of last season. What the team does with Al Jefferson though, can decide how much time Kanter gets to play. The Jazz are still a team in rebuilding though, and shouldn’t make too big of a splash this season.

20. Milwaukee Bucks: Brandon Jennings, if healthy can play well, along with another year coming off the arm injury, Andrew Bogut could get back to form from 2010 when the Bucks made the playoffs. With the addition of Stephen Jackson, the team could make improvements from last season, in which they were the lowest scoring team in the league.

21. Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash, getting a year older does not go over well for the Suns. The team needs to start rebuilding soon, but keeping Nash and Grant Hill around only hinders that process. If the Suns can ship out their aging stars, they could start over with a new young team, which is what this team needs now.

22. New Jersey Nets: With Deron Williams on the team and a full offseason to practice (when the lockout is over) Brook Lopez could definitely play well. Williams, although an offensive weapon, can set up his teammates well, and Lopez needs all the help he can get after his drop off last season. Marshon Brooks coming to the team, can also add a ton of offense for a team, with promise for the upcoming season.

23. Golden State Warriors: With a lot of questions at the center position, you can only help but wonder how well the Warriors can play defense this year. They already prefer to go out and run the opponent of the gym, and with Monta Ellis being able to score on practically anyone, you can wonder if defense will be a focus of theirs. Mark Jackson, coming in for his first season, could face a lot of headaches with this team. Klay Thompson though, could be a good replacement for Ellis, if he were to get traded though, but honestly, does this team need another shooter?

24. Charlotte Bobcats: Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo can help this rebuilding Bobcat team quickly. Walker, although undersized, is a game changer at the point guard position, and Biyombo can improve the defensive side of the ball. With Corey Maggette coming to the team, Charlotte has some quick offense as well, but this team won’t make much noise, even in a crummy bottom half of the Eastern conference.

25. Sacramento Kings: How will the fans respond to having their team move more than likely after this season? Jimmer Fredette going to the Kings can add a little offense to the team, as a role player though. Still, questions about how he will factor in the NBA still have no answer, but alongside Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, and John Salmons, the Kings can improve on their 24 win season.

26. Washington Wizards: John Wall and Javale McGee can improve this year, and Jan Vesely coming to the nation’s capital can start a future for the lowly Wizards squad. This year though, doesn’t look hopeful for the team with the East looking pretty good, especially in their division.

27. Detroit Pistons: Brandon Knight, who himself is questionable to be relevant his rookie year, going to a team where Austin Daye is the top player just doesn’t look to great for the Detroit faithful. The addition of Joe Dumars though can be helpful, but Kyle Singler? Going to be another sad year in Detroit… at least the Lions look good.

28. Cleveland Cavaliers: Byron Scott will not let this team play without fire and desire. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson could see a lot of playing time for rookies, but at this point the Cavs can’t afford to not play their top talent. They won’t be at the bottom of the league, but they will remain around it for another year. The future looks bright though.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves: What can we say about Kahn? He makes every other NBA GM look like a genius year in and year out. The fact he still has his job astonishes me. Derrick Williams was the smart pick though, and could help this team. The problem is, that he is behind Michael Beasley, and with Kurt Rambis on his way out, who will coach this team? Will Ricky Rubio be any good? A lot of questions on this team, doesn’t usually mean good play for the season.

30. Toronto Raptors: Having to wait a year for your top pick, doesn’t help you much this season. The same team that underperformed last year, can only get worse this season. At least Canada doesn’t take basketball as serious, as they take hockey.


0 Byron Reyna 2011-06-27 09:18 #2
Quoting Don:
First, Rudy is not a "good shooter". That is a myth. He shot 32% from 3 last year. He hasn't played well for 2 years. If anything, he's a bit of an energy guy. Portland is glad to see him go. Second, how is Portland ranked #12? Bringing Felton in makes them better immediately and last year, they played the Dallas Maveriks better than anyone in the playoffs, including OKC - your #2 team. If Oden even shows up, Portland is a serious contender. If not, they're at least top 10.

One, Portland ALWAYS has something go wrong which hinders their process. Brandon Roy is still a question, yet is demanding to start again. After Greg Oden, IF he does not return, who else the Blazers have to play in the post? Camby could be gone as well. Felton is a good point guard, but you have to find out if he can mesh with the teams, you can't just add a good player and expect him to automatically fit in, and the team to look like champs: ex. 2010 New York Knicks and Carmelo.
+1 Don 2011-06-26 19:39 #1
First, Rudy is not a "good shooter". That is a myth. He shot 32% from 3 last year. He hasn't played well for 2 years. If anything, he's a bit of an energy guy. Portland is glad to see him go. Second, how is Portland ranked #12? Bringing Felton in makes them better immediately and last year, they played the Dallas Maveriks better than anyone in the playoffs, including OKC - your #2 team. If Oden even shows up, Portland is a serious contender. If not, they're at least top 10.

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