NBA Preseason Rankings

Ashley Wright

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In recent years once the notable NBA free agents sign during the preseason NBA Playoff Power Rankings have been predictable but, this year that is not the case. This off season has arguably been the most entertaining off season yet. From free agent signings to trade demands more top free agents and talents have taken their services elsewhere. With teams gearing up for a championship run the NBA has been shifted like never before. There are many stars in new threads like Paul George in a Oklahoma City Thunder uniform and Gordon Hayward reuniting with his head coach from Butler University Brad Stevens! How did all these changes impact the potential NBA playoff picture? Check out NTheZone’s NBA preseason playoff Power Rankings below!

Western Conference

  1. Golden State Warriors (67-15)

The Golden State Warriors bring back their starting five and add to a bench that many think is also worthy of being a starting five itself. With the addition of Nick “Swaggy P” Young and re-signing of Andre Iguodala the Warriors have been thrusted into repeat talks. Just how much swag can Swaggy P provide?

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35)

Russell Westbrook. Paul George. Carmelo Anthony. Translation offense, offense, offense! With the signings of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to compliment reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook the Thunder should have no problem scoring with the heavyweights in the Western Conference. Center Steven Adams is also in the paint to provide a defensive upside. Let the Thunder roll!

  1. Houston Rockets (55-27)

Houston finished third in the West last season however that was before the signing of Chris Paul. Now that CP3 has been added to the mix the Rockets should have a better record however they are still in the same place due to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s offseason activity. Although Houston is still third they are ahead of the next team on the list that knocked them out of the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs.

  1. San Antonio Spurs (61-21)

San Antonio has been quiet this offseason however they did sign veteran forward Rudy Gay. All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker has missed preseason action due to injuries. The Spurs defense should remain strong as they also return skilled veterans Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51)

There is some roaring going on in Minnesota! With the acquisition of Jimmy Butler who is reuniting with head coach Tom Thibodeau, and that monster in the paint by the name of Karl-Anthony Towns anything short of the playoffs would be an absolute disappointment for the guys in Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins is also back after signing a 5-year $148 million contract extension. Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague also add their offensive abilities.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (51-31)

The Clippers should not decline as much as people might think even with the lost of Chris Paul to Houston. Los Angeles signed Serbian guard Milos Teodosic who has a similar style of play as Paul. They also have valuable replacements in Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams to sweeten the return of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

  1. Denver Nuggets (40-42)

Denver just missed out on the playoffs last year, and with the addition of Paul Millsap, they expect to make it this year. This team has plenty of talent, much of it young in players such as Jamal Murray and Kenneth Faried. Denver’s success will depend on the continued growth of those young players.

  1. Utah Jazz (51-31)

Without Gordon Hayward, the Jazz are going to have a very tough time making a playoff push. That said, players like Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles and Rodney Hood will keep them from being a disaster. Also guard Ricky Rubio is going to have to perform well at the point guard spot.

Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (2016-17 record: 51-31)

Yes, it is true Cleveland lost one of the most dynamic point guards in the NBA in Kyrie Irving but what they received in return is not bad. Isaiah Thomas is projected to be sidelined until January with a hip injury however the Cavs have also signed Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade. Sure Derrick Rose is not what he used to be but he is averaging 11.7 points and 3.7 assists in the preseason. Also Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did win two championships in Miami. With all that being said I haven’t even mentioned other players in Jae Crowder, J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. Cleveland doesn’t look shabby!

  1. Boston Celtics (53-29)

This offseason Danny Ainge did what Danny Ainge does and shocked us all when he pulled off a trade that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics also acquired Gordon Hayward through free agency and drafted a gem this summer in forward Jayson Tatum. Although the Celtics have offensive firepower their defense seems to have taken a hit given they dealt away defensive studs in Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley.  However with Danny Ainge at the helm anything can happen especially during the trade deadline!

  1. Washington Wizards (49-33)

The Wizards largely have the same team that it had last year which is why they are in the same spot. The same team does not necessarily mean the same skill. John Wall and Bradley Beal are entering their fifth season together and they are complemented by players Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre.

  1. Toronto Raptors (51-31)

The Raptors lost contributors Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll however they did re-sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Not to mention DeMar DeRozan is still in town. However last year they got a scare from the Milwaukee Bucks. Have the Raptors hit their ceiling?

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (42-40)

Many people are projecting forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to possibly when the MVP award nevertheless the young man can ball! Antetokounmpo paired with Jabari Parker who averaged 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season, that may be a recipe for a strong playoff push!

  1. Charlotte Hornets (36-46)

Charlotte missed the playoffs last season but they didn’t have center Dwight Howard or talented guard Malik Monk out of Kentucky. Howard may not play at the level that he once displayed but he did average a double-double last season with the Hawks translating in 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. The team is also bringing back Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and Frank Kaminsky who all averaged over 11 points per game.

  1. Miami Heat (41-41)

The Heat re-signed James Johnson and Dion Waiters this offseason which means they have retained the bulk of the squad that went 30-11 during the second half of the season. Center Hassan Whiteside will also return to South Beach in hopes of building on his phenomenal play from last season.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (28-54)

Young guys better ball! Philadelphia is finally healthy for now. Former lottery picks Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid missed significant time last season due to injuries, but they are healthy now and they are directed by the number one pick of the 2017 NBA draft Markelle Fultz. The Sixers have also added a veteran presence in J.J. Redick. Can the 76ers make a legitimate playoff case?

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