|Power Rankings - Week 1
||Read a story recently in which LeBron James said he
worked this summer on counters to his counter moves. Yikes!
||With or without Greg Oden, they're the favorites. But
if he contributes at all, it could cover up a glaring interior weakness.
||We know they'll be a threat at the end. How much do
they care about the regular season?
||Doc Rivers finally provides all this talent with a
well-respected conductor. My preseason pick to win the West.
||Derrick Rose's jump shot is no longer a liability and
his effort defensively looks fantastic
||Even after trading one of the NBA's best shooting
guards, OKC holds the league's best pre-prime talent.
||Prediction: Russell Westbrook will be back sooner
than you think.
||Until Tim Duncan announces his retirement, write off
the Spurs at your own risk.
||Watching the Nets this preseason, it became evident
how dangerous their role players are in addition to the collection of
||Derrick Rose's explosive athleticism has returned. In
related news, so have the Bulls' legit title hopes.
||Blake Griffin is the key here. He needs to take a
huge jump this season for the Clippers to have any shot at winning a
||An underrated Luis Scola and an if-he's-healthy Danny
Granger join a rotation that pushed Miami to the brink last season.
||Danny Granger will miss the first three weeks. That
hurts. Indiana needs to integrate him back in quickly.
||There's not a less appealing game on your schedule
than a date with Memphis' physical, rugged and menacing defense.
||Prediction: Patrick Beverly supplants Jeremy Lin as
the starter, if not on opening night then by Christmas at the latest.
||Can Dwight Howard return to his dominant 2009 Orlando
form? This team's title hopes hinge on the answer to that question.
||I have mixed feelings about the Iguodala acquisition.
But with A.I. and Bogut, the Warriors could become a solid defensive
||If this was the mid-2000s, Brooklyn would be the
title favorite. And their coach would be running the point.
||They're a first-round knockout waiting to happen.
||If Steph Curry is having one of those nights, where
30-foot prayers are nearly automatic, they can beat anyone.
||It'll take me a while to get over the firing of
Lionel Hollins. I just don't trust this team nearly as much going
forward without him.
||Carmelo Anthony finally made it out of the first
round last season. It'll be tough to repeat that task in 2014.
||Prediction: the Mavs ultimately will face the
Clippers in a 3-6 matchup and deliver a first-round upset.
||Health remains the big concern, but the rotation is
loaded: Rubio, Martin, Brewer, Love, Pekovic and others.
||Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio combined to play just 75
games last year. Here's hoping they can stay healthy this year.
||Gonna score a lot of points. Gonna give up a lot of
points. Sounds like fun to me.
||Kyrie Irving is by far the best player 21 or younger.
He will get the Cavs into the playoffs.
||The Marcin Gortat addition was a good one, raising
this team's ceiling. The playoffs are expected at this point.
||If you didn't get a chance to catch Damian Lillard
last year, do yourself a favor and check him out. He's a stud.
||Lots of young talent surrounding a potential
cornerstone in Anthony Davis. If he makes a leap, so do they.
||Prediction: Denver won't make the playoffs.
||Rick Carlisle and the Mavs going for a
14th-consecutive season at or above .500. Impressive streak.
||They passed on Nerlens Noel in part because of
injury only to see Otto Porter Jr. miss the entire preseason with one.
Yep, sounds like the Wizards.
||Andrew Bynum hasn't played a game in 17 months, but
if he returns to some version of his old self, this team could surprise.
||Anthony Davis got a superstar call in a preseason
game against the Thunder. Sort of showed what awaits that guy in his
||Josh Smith's steady and versatile contributions
became underrated the past few years in Atlanta. Great pickup by the
||Get well soon, Kobe.
||If the bench comes together and Damian Lillard avoids
the sophomore slump, this could be a playoff team.
||Prediction: they get swept by Miami in the first
||Far less talent, way better chemistry than a season
ago. A Dwight Howard-sized cloud has been lifted.
||Looking for a reason for optimism? They went 17-16
from Feb. 1 on last year.
||Wouldn't be surprised if they unload the underrated
Al Horford, pick up assets and enter rebuild mode.
||Bucks just can't get off the treadmill of mediocrity.
This year will be no different.
||New ownership brings a more optimistic long-term
outlook. But this roster is no better than last season.
||Some people actually like the Hawks going into this
season. Not me.
||Another year, another average team in Milwaukee. The
Bucks should be named the East's honorary 8th-seed every season.
||Prediction: DeMarcus Cousins gets slapped with 20
technical fouls this season.
||I'm a Brad Stevens believer, but not in Year One of a
massive rebuild. Long road ahead.
||In his nine seasons, Al Jefferson's teams have gone
281-441. And now he's a Bobcat.
||The only real national intrigue regarding this year's
Raptors squad is if and where they'll trade Rudy Gay.
||Outside of Victor Oladipo's Rookie of the Year tour,
there won't be much to get excited about here.
||Like the young talent on this roster. Future looks
bright, especially if they snare a top prospect in next year's draft.
||Only intrigue in Boston this year is whether the
Celtics will trade Rajon Rondo.
||Maybe an eventual name change back to the Hornets
will mildly excite the fanbase, because their roster sure hasn't.
||Prediction: Trey Burke will struggle to adjust.
||Gordon Hayward will remain one of the league's most
underappreciated talents, putting up big numbers on a bad team.
||When you trade four healthy players for one injured
one, it's clear what your intentions are.
||James Anderson will start, Daniel Orton may play.
Cool for Oklahoma hoops fans, bad for the Sixers competitiveness.
||Hope Andrew Wiggins likes cheesesteaks.
||A barren roster that continues to unload its leftover
talent for future assets. Battling Philly for the tanking crown.