June 25, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) celebrates the 2012 NBA championship during a rally at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Post Draft Power Rankings: Part I


The NBA Draft has subsided. Free Agency has slowly taken off with a dearth of names finding new homes — Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Jason Kidd etc. There are still talented players available and, thus, the landscape of the NBA could potentially change quickly. Here is my first edition of Power Rankings:

1. Miami Heat
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. San Antonio Spurs

Miami will sit atop this list for the forseaable future. The fact that they added Ray Allen certainly helps matters. Despite holding the 28th pick, Oklahoma City nabbed Perry Jones III, who is a tremendous value at the tail end of the first round.

4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Boston Celtics
6. Memphis Grizzlies

The Lakers are nestled into the fourth spot though they can easily vault into the top three by the end of the year.

7. Los Angeles Clippers
8. Indiana Pacers
9. Denver Nuggets

The Clippers signed Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups to a couple of contracts and the rest of their core remains intact. Indiana is ranked eighth but that will drop if they decline to match Portland’s offer sheet on restricted free agent Roy Hibbert.

10. New York Knicks
11. Orlando Magic
12. Philadelphia 76ers

Color me skeptical on giving Jason Kidd three-year, $9 million contract.

13. Brooklyn Nets
14. Utah Jazz
15. Minnesota Timberwolves

Brooklyn rectified their mistakes when they created a playoff caliber core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace.

16. Houston Rockets
17. Atlanta Hawks
18. Dallas Mavericks

Houston and Dallas were unsuccessful in their attempts to lure a big-name superstar. Atlanta took a different approach, trading their best player for approximately $80 million in added financial flexibility.

19. Chicago Bulls
20. Toronto Raptors
21. Milwaukee Bucks

Chicago will still remain in the hunt for a playoff bid even without Derrick Rose (torn ACL) because of Tom Thibodeau’s brilliance and their defensive proficiency. Toronto’s acquisition of Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields make them a playoff threat in a weak Eastern Conference.

22. New Orleans Hornets
23. Golden State Warriors
24. Phoenix Suns

New Orleans’ core — Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon (assuming they match Phoenix’ offer) and Austin Rivers — share the same trait: They are all under 24.

25. Portland Trail Blazers
26. Sacramento Kings
27. Cleveland Cavaliers

Portland would vault higher on this list if they pry away Hibbert.

28. Washington Wizards
29. Detroit Pistons
30. Charlotte Bobcats


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