NBA Power Rankings 15-1

To see the First part of this series click here!

15: New Orleans Pelicans  Offensive Rating in 2013-14 (ORtg) 107.2 Defensive Rating (DRtg) 110.1

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Tyreke Evans
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Omer Asik

The Pelicans will be one of the most exciting young squads to watch this year due to Anthony Davis’ emergence as an MVP player. Davis provides New Orleans with elite defending and shot blocking to go along with an always improving offensive game. Davis will look to establish himself as a legitimate 20 point, 10 rebound per game player. The power of The Brow will be a big enough reason to get excited about the Pelicans this season.

14: Phoenix Suns ORtg 109.5 DRtg 106.7

PG: Goran Dragic
SG: Eric Bledsoe
SF: PJ Tucker
PF: Markieff Morris
C: Miles Plumlee

In one of the most surprising stories of last season, the Suns finished the year with 48 wins, which was not enough to make it to the playoffs in the brutal western conference. Phoenix will look to outrun their opponents with a three headed monster in the backcourt that features Dragic, Bledsoe, and first year Sun Isaiah Thomas who averaged 20 points per game as a starter for the Sacramento Kings a year ago. If Phoenix can find a way to feature all three of these exciting young guards, the Suns could find themselves in the postseason.

13. Toronto Raptors ORtg 108.8 DRtg 105.3

PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Terrence Ross
SF: DeMar DeRozan
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Another surprise from a year ago was the Toronto Raptors, who made their fifth playoff run in franchise history. Toronto enjoyed a breakout season from Kyle Lowry who earned himself a major payday in the offseason. Dwayne Casey has this young squad playing an exciting brand of basketball highlighted by Lowry and DeMar Derozan who also enjoyed the best year of his career last season. Toronto’s biggest move of the offseason was hanging onto Kyle Lowry. While Toronto should continue to grow this year, they should continue to grow into a contender in the weak eastern conference.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder ORtg 110.5 DRtg 103.9

PG: Sebastian Telfair
SG: Andre Roberson
SF: Perry Jones
PF: Serge Ibaka
C: Steven Adams

No offseason/first week of the season went as poorly for any franchise as it did for the Thunder. Loosing last year’s MVP Kevin Durant to a Jones fracture in his foot was bad enough, but Russell Westbrook breaking his hand in just the second regular season game makes things even harder for the Thunder. While neither of these injuries will derail OKC’s chances come playoff time, staying in the picture until their all star tandem returns will be a tall task for head coach Scott Brooks.

11. Charlotte Hornets ORtg 103.6 DRtg 103.8

PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Lance Stephenson
SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrest
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Al Jefferson

Another major winner of the offseason was Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets. Yeah, they’re the Hornets again for those keeping score at home. Lance Stephenson is a perfect fit in Charlotte’s defense first system, which earned them the seventh seed in the playoffs a year ago. The Hornets will be one of the top young teams this year unless Michael Jordan replace Al Jefferson with Kwame Brown.

10. Washington Wizards ORtg 106.0 DRtg 104.6

PG: John Wall
SG: Garrett Temple
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Nene Hilario
C: Marcin Gortat

Many expect the Wizards to take the next step this year but losing Bradley Beal for the first part of the season will hinder their win total. Paul Pierces gives Washington playoff experience and a veteran presence they desperately needed. If Beal can come back strong, the Wizards should be able to contend for a top spot in the eastern conference playoffs.

9. Houston Rockets ORtg 111.0 DRtg 106.3

PG: Patrick Beverly
SG: James Harden
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Terrence Jones
C: Dwight Howard

The Rockets had a legitimate shot to land Chris Bosh in the offseason but once again were unsuccessful in free agency. Despite their miss on Bosh, they replaced Chandler Parsons with Trevor Ariza who gives Houston a much-needed defensive presence on the perimeter. Terrence Jones is my pick for most improved player of the year as he is capable of recording a double double every night alongside Dwight Howard. If Houston can improve their defensive numbers, they should be able to contend in the West.

8. Portland Trail Blazers ORtg 111.5 DRtg 107.4

PG: Damien Lillard
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Robin Lopez

The high-powered Trail Blazers are one of the many lethal offensive teams in the western conference. Lillard and Aldridge are one of the best guard/big man combos in the league and wins are always hard to come by for visitors of the Rose Garden. While the Blazers might get lost in the shuffle in the West, they are certainly talented enough to make a deep playoff run.

7. Memphis Grizzlies ORtg 106.3 DRtg 104.6

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Courtney Lee
SF: Tony Allen
PF: Zach Randolph
C: Marc Gasol

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are about to square off against the Memphis Grizzlies. First off, you are going to be in for a dogfight as Memphis prides themselves on making you feel uncomfortable with hellacious defense. Secondly, their coach’s name is Dave Joerger. How he is not a household name is beyond this writer, as Memphis is prime for a big year. Look for a breakout year from Marc Gasol as he will continue to progress and become the superior player in the Gasol family. (Sorry Pau, but at least you can take comfort in the fact that you have a funnier sad face.)

Pau Gasol is sad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Golden State Warriors ORtg 107.5 DRtg 102.6

PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: David Lee
C: Andrew Bogut

Out with Mark Jackson and in with Steve Kerr in Golden State. Still, Golden State will play a frenetic pace with the focal point of the offense being Curry and Thompson. I hold the belief that the Warriors should have parted ways with Thompson to acquire Kevin Love, but when it came down to it, the Warriors had to make a tough choice as to which white guy would be paired with “Chef Curry” (Drake voice).

5. Dallas Mavericks ORtg 111.2 DRtg 108.7

PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Monta Ellis
SF: Chandler Parsons
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Tyson Chandler

Besides for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Mavs were the obvious winners of the offseason. Many view the acquisition of Chandler Parsons as a huge one for Dallas as he gives Mark Cuban’s squad some offensive punch. However, do not overlook Tyson Chandler making his return to Dallas. Chandler was the most pivotal defensive piece in Dallas’ title run a few years ago and brings the same level of toughness to the floor in 2014. If Dallas can get enough defense on the perimeter, look for the Mavs to make a nice run this season.

4. Chicago Bulls ORtg 102.5 DRtg 100.5

PG: Derrick Rose
SG: Kirk Hinrich
SF: Mike Dunleavey
PF: Pau Gasol
C: Joakim Noah

Can Derrick Rose make it through the season with a clean bill of health? That is the one million dollar question for the Bulls as they hope to gear up for another run in the Eastern Conference. Pau Gasol will bring some much-needed scoring help but Rose will remain  the center of attention on Chicago. If Rose is unable to make it through the season once again, Chicago stands little chance to advance deep in the playoffs.

3. Los Angeles Clippers ORtg 112.1 DRtg 104.8

PG: Chris Paul
SG: JJ Redick
SF: Matt Barnes
PF: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan

The Donald Sterling era in LA has thankfully come to an end, and title hopes seem realistic for the Clippers. Blake Griffin is my preseason pick for MVP as Chris/Cliff Paul, (whoever decides to take the court) will be serving up dimes the entire season. If Doc gets the entire team to buy into playing defense come playoff time, the Clippers will be a very difficult out in the postseason. Get excited Clipper nation, you are the true kings of LA.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers ORtg 104.2 DRtg 107.7

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Dion Waiters
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kevin Love
C: Anderson Varejao

He’s back (creepy little girl voice). In one of the most exciting offseasons for any franchises in sports history, Cleveland got their hometown hero back. But this time, LeBron brought some friends. The trio of LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love has the potential to be one of the most dynamic trios in history as any one of those three has a chance to have a big game every single night. First year Cavalier Mike Miller described head coach David Blatt’s offensive system as “borderline genius” as the new look Cavs are looking to break Cleveland’s 50 year professional sports championship drought (no I do not count indoor soccer).

1. San Antonio Spurs ORtg 110.5 DRtg 102.4

PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Tiago Splitter

Another season has arrived and folks around the country are still overlooking the Spurs. You would think they’d learn. Amidst all the fanfare and excitement built around the new “super team” formed in Cleveland, San Antonio will bring everyone back for their championship run a year ago. While questions about Duncan and Parker’s age always seem to arise, coach Popovich always seems to be at the top of his game no matter who is on the floor. There is no reason why the Spurs cannot make another run to the finals.

MVP: Blake Griffin

ROY: Elfrid Payton

COY: David Blatt

Western Conference Finals: Spurs over Clippers

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavs over Bulls

Finals Pick: Cavs over Spurs in 7

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