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NBA Power Rankings: San Antonio Spurs make unexpected leap

Keldon Johnson, Kevin Durant - San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets
Keldon Johnson, Kevin Durant - San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets / Elsa/Getty Images
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NBA Power Rankings: These young stars aren't going anywhere

NBA Power Rankings
Keldon Johnson, Luka Doncic - San Antonio Spurs v Dallas Mavericks / Tom Pennington/Getty Images

. . . . . 10. 27.

The New York Knicks finally had a regular season that they could be proud about this past year, but that pride came to a screeching halt after a first-round exit in the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. Even after that disappointing loss, though, the Knicks finally have a foundation to build upon.

Julius Randle had his best season in the league yet this past year. RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson, and Obi Toppin are increasingly looking like a young core worth sticking with. When factoring in the additions of Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, Miles McBride, Quentin Grimes, and Jericho Sims, something good is brewing in Madison Square Garden.

. 11. . . . 18. .

Despite having a down season this past year, the Boston Celtics are due for a much better performance this coming season. If Jayson Tatum can build upon his performance in the Olympics, the C's will be in good shape. Moreover, with former Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka at the helm, one can't help but think that only good things are in the Celtics' future.

The rest of their young core was kept intact in the offseason and they managed to offload some serious cash with the departure of Walker, Fournier, and Tristen Thompson. Meanwhile, they gained a few quality roleplayers in Enes Kanter, Dennis Schroder, and the return of Al Horford.

. 12. . . . 79. .

While he may not be quite ready to compete for a championship, Luka Doncic is the real deal. In last year's playoffs, he led his team against a full-strength Clippers team and took the series all the way to seven games. The team will be going into the 2021-2022 season looking more or less the same only exchanging Josh Richardson for Frank Ntilikina and Reggie Bullock.

The Mavericks have the potential to move up this list fairly quickly, but Kristaps Porzingis will have to figure out how to assert himself on the floor. If he and Doncic can't get on the same page, then we may see a similar outcome to last year.

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