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
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 Heat2. Oklahoma City Thunder3. 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 Lakers5. Boston Celtics6. 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 Clippers8. Indiana Pacers9. 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 Knicks11. Orlando Magic12. Philadelphia 76ers
Color me skeptical on giving Jason Kidd three-year, $9 million contract.
13. Brooklyn Nets14. Utah Jazz15. Minnesota Timberwolves
Brooklyn rectified their mistakes when they created a playoff caliber core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace.
16. Houston Rockets17. Atlanta Hawks18. 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 Bulls20. Toronto Raptors21. 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 Hornets23. Golden State Warriors24. 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 Blazers26. Sacramento Kings27. Cleveland Cavaliers
Portland would vault higher on this list if they pry away Hibbert.
28. Washington Wizards29. Detroit Pistons30. Charlotte Bobcats