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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: Three teams on the rise

NBA Power Rankings
Derrick White, PJ Washington - Charlotte Hornets v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

. . . . 170. . 19.

To me, the Charlotte Hornets are right about where the Memphis Grizzlies were a year or two ago. They've managed to form a talented young core that includes LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, and Vernon Carey Jr. They then added to that young core by adding three very high-ceiling players in James Bouknight, Kai Jones, and JT Thor in this year's draft.

This is not to mention that the team still has Terry Rozier at their disposal and managed to pick up both Mason Plumlee and Kelly Oubre Jr. in free agency. While this might not be their year to make a meaningful playoff push, I anticipate that year coming very soon.

. . . . 142. . . 20

For being a team that can't seem to decide whether to "blow it up" and rebuild or trade for someone that can help take the team to the playoffs, the Wizards could be in a much worse position. In a trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, the Wizards took back a package that included Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

The Wizards then managed to land Spencer Dinwiddie in a sign-and-trade deal, Corey Kispert and Isaiah Todd in the draft, and retain Bradley Beal and the young core. Don't mistake-- this was a good offseason for D.C., but I wouldn't expect too much from them just yet.

. . 149. . 21. . .

The Oklahoma City Thunder are still very much in the middle of a rebuild, but I think this will be the season where the team's young core begins to take shape. At 23 years old, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looks like he's going to have a long and star-studded career in the league, but the next couple of seasons will be about putting more talent around him.

Sam Presti made some interesting, albeit very good choices in this year's draft, and, like some others on this list, I think they'll be primed for a breakout season a year or two down the road. Unfortunately for the teams after the Thunder on this list, though, this is where things could start getting ugly.