I’ve been waiting to write this article since the end of the NBA Finals in June. I was gonna write final NBA rankings, but that seemed pointless considering the Heat had just been crowned champions. I was gonna do an offseason ranking but that became pointless once all the player movement began. And I was getting ready for work this morning thinking I had all the time in the world, when SportsCenter reminded me that the season started one week from today.
So just like they do for the NCAA, I’ll rank every NBA team from #30 to #1. There is no rhyme or reason for the rankings other than my personal opinions. With a little luck, I’ll have rankings 3 more times (1/4 a season, All-Star Break, and 3/4 season) and then I’ll drop a playoff preview for each round. Deal?
#30 – Charlotte Bobcats
As a Tar Heels fan, I can’t support any team that has Gerald Henderson on it. And even with the additions of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ben Gordon, the Bobcats still won’t be any better. It’s gonna be another long season for MJ’s crew but I expect them to surprise a few more opponents than they did last season.
#29 – Washington Wizards
Looking over the Wizards roster, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bobcats somehow had a better season than them. John Wall needs help and I can’t imagine it taking long before he starts letting everyone know about it. Maybe I’ll get drafted by them or something when I get NBA 2K13.
#28 (From #26) – Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are a lot worse than I thought. The only names that stand out on their roster to me are Brandon Knight, old Corey Maggette, Jason Maxiell (who I’ve never thought much of), Greg Monroe (I only know him because Georgetown was in the Big East with WVU), old Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, and Charlie “headband” Villanueva. Maybe my ignorance is getting the bets of me but I don’t think this Pistons team will be very good. And I hate the Pistons. Other than the Grant Hill years and the 2004 and 2005 Playoffs, I always hope they’re terrible.
#27 – Sacramento Kings
The Kings are still super young and don’t have an identity. Unless DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, or Marcus Thornton take on a leadership role, I’d expect another last place Pacific Division finish in Sacramento. And maybe a move to Seattle in the future?1
#26 (From #25) – Toronto Raptors
I based my original ranking on last year’s records but again, this roster made me change my mind. What is going on up there? Beyond Bargnani and Calderon, there’s not much hope for their 17th NBA campaign. This could again be ignorance on my part but the Curse of Vince Carter2 is alive and well here.
#25 – New Orleans Hornets
Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis help. A lot. And a healthy Eric Gordon is nothing to sneeze at. I still think they’re a few seasons away from contending unless Rivers and Davis are a lot more NBA ready than anyone expects. As long as everyone stays healthy though, I think the Hornets will take giant strides from last year.
#24 (From #23) – Orlando Magic
This team could be a lot better than I expect it to be. It has the talent to maybe even sneak into the playoffs. But I don’t think Jacque Vaughn is the answer the Magic needed at head coach. They would’ve been better off keeping Van Gundy. I expect a rough first half with a decent recovery after the All-Star Break. But I don’t expect much more than that.
#23 (From #21) – Phoenix Suns
The Suns decided to be nice to Steve Nash and traded him to their division rival in the Lakers. And they’re going to pay dearly for it. Like the Magic, they have a talented roster but I don’t think Alvin Gentry works any miracles here.
#22 (From #15) – Houston Rockets
Everyone is expecting the Rockets to be terrible this season but not me. Maybe I still haven’t come down from my Linsanity but I think the Rockets will be a problem. They still have Kevin Martin and added rookie Jeremy Lamb. The frontcourt is still trying to replace Yao Ming but something about them just says don’t count them out.
Update: Lamb and Martin have both been traded to the Thunder for James Harden. While Harden is a great player, now I believe the hype that Houston will be terrible.
#21 – Minnesota Timberwolves
Ricky Rubio is going to miss half the season. Without their spark plug, I expect another cold winter in Minneapolis. Picking up Andrei Kirilenko will help but he’s now 31 even though he won Euroleague MVP in Russia last year. The full weight will fall to Kevin Love’s able shoulders and maybe second year man Derrick Williams will regain some of his 2011 NCAA Tournament form. If the Wolves can hold out for Rubio, they might sneak into the playoffs. Otherwise, hello Draft Lottery.
- I don’t wish a team relocating on any city, especially after the way the Thunder were torn away from Seattle originally. But I still don’t think a deal is in place yet, and Seattle has a new arena deal. Still don’t agree with the shared history though. ↩
- The Raptors haven’t truly been competitive since Vince started crying and got sent to New Jersey. I’m just saying. ↩