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Top 10 NBA Power Rankings:
10) Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets:
The Bucks opened their season with an impressive win at Houston, 117-111. They have struggled since that victory, losing to Miami and Boston. This team looks a little out of sync but they have too much talent to not win 55 games. I don’t think the Nuggets can go deep in the post-season with this roster. Nikola Jokic is a very good player but he is not a 25 points per game scoring in the post-season.
9) Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors:
Both the Heat and Raptors are 4-1. Both teams have played better than expected. Who will be the #2 scoring option on Toronto and Miami? Until those questions are answered, we can’t consider either a legitimate threat, to be a top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
8) Houston Rockets:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. In NBA terms, it is hiring Mike D’Antonio to be your head coach. The Rockets gave up 158 points, in regulation, to the Wizards. Houston is exciting and fun to watch but they can’t get a big defensive stop when they need one, not in the regular season or come playoff time.
7) Dallas Mavericks:
The Mavericks are very well coached and they have talent around Rick Carlisle. Luka Doncic is averaging 25 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. Kristaps Porzingis is averaging 22.3 points. 3.3 assists and 7.8 rebounds. Porzingis has added about 15 of muscle, but he must do a better job rebounding the basketball. Stephen Curry and Maxi Kleber can stretch the floor and provide scoring. I don’t know how good this defense will be, but if they stay healthy, they will make the playoffs.
6) San Antonio Spurs:
Dejounte Murray sat out last season with an injury and he has come back with a vengeance. Murray is averaging 14.7 points, 6 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2 steals per game. He is the Swiss Army Knife of the NBA, he can do many things. The Problem with the Spurs is a simple one… They have two players in DeMar DeRozan and LeMarcus Aldridge who can score 20 points per game, but neither shoot the three ball. The Spurs have to figure out how to spread the floor so teams don’t just pack the paint. As long as Gregg Popovich is on the sidelines, this team will be in the post-season.
5) Boston Celtics:
Brad Stevens is a very good coach. This roster has a lot of good players but who is going to score 20 points a night in a 7 game series? Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker appear to be this team’s 1-2 punch. When healthy, Enes Kanter can be a double/double machine.
4) Utah Jazz:
Quin Snyder is the best coach in the NBA that no one outside of Utah knows about. The Jazz added Mike Conley to run the point and Bojan Bogdanovic can stretch the defense with his long-range shooting. This team is well coached and talented. Is this the year they make a deep playoff run with Donovan Mitchell?
3) LA Lakers:
I don’t like this Lakers bench but Anthony Davis and LeBron James could be the best 1-2 combo in the NBA. When Kyle Kuzma returns to the starting lineup, LA could have the best “Big-3” in the entire league. The Lakers need to acquire a point guard and more bench depth. When they do that, they are a legitimate title contender. Davis should win the MVP Award this season.
2) LA Clippers:
The Clippers won 48 games last season without Kahwi Leonard and Paul George. Two of LA’s top 4 players come off the bench. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell could both win 6th man of the year. I don’t expect this team to compete for the best overall regular season record. Doc Rivers will rest his players and make sure they are healthy for the playoffs. They have the deepest team in the NBA and they should be the favorite in the Western Conference.
1) Philadelphia 76ers:
The 76ers are 4-0 and have scored over 105 points in every game. They have the best starting 5 in the NBA and Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons could be in the conversation for MVP. Adding Al Horford in the off-season was a tremendous move. Horford provides leadership, scoring, passing and rebounding. I would be shocked if Philadelphia doesn’t get to the Eastern Conference finals, minimum.
Ricky Rubio has been a tremendous acquisition by the Phoenix Suns. Aron Baynes has filled in nice for the suspended Deandre Ayton. Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre are averaging 44 points between the two of them. Frank Kaminsky has played well off the bench.
The Knicks are 1-4 despite having a talented roster. Add David Fizdale to the long line of bad coaching hires by the incompetent owner, James Dolan. The Knicks have won 1 playoff series win since 2000.
How long before Chris Paul demands a trade from OKC and Kevin Love leaves Cleveland?
The Pacers are 1-3 but I expect them to be a playoff team when they are fully healthy.
The Golden State Warriors will lose 50 or more games this season. Their reward will be a lottery pick to go along with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green next season.
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