Preseason NBA Power Ratings
Achieve of our 2008 NBA preseason power ratings from the beginning of the 2008 NBA Basketball season showing how our writers stacked up the teams before the 2008 season.
2008 Preseason NBA Power Rankings
(Dated: November 1 - 7, 2008)
1. Boston Celtics – After winning 66 games, and a NBA title it is hard not to pick Boston as our # 1 team. With everyone back, they are favorites to go back to back for the first time since 1968 and 1969. Rondo and Perkins add a ton of ability to a lineup already stacked with talent.
2. Los Angeles Lakers – If Boston slips up this season look for the Lakers to come away with a title. With the emergence of Andrew Bynum the Lakers are the favorites in the West. When you have a MVP candidate each time he steps on the floor in Kobe Bryant, and the coaching legend- Phil Jackson, you are going to get high expectations.
3. New Orleans Hornets – The addition of James Posey will loom large for the Hornets. Chris Paul and David West have turned into one of the best 1-2 duos in the league. Tyson Chandler has continued his quest to be a man in the league. How will the Hornets adjust to the expectations they now have on them after such a strong 2007-2008 season?
4. San Antonio Spurs – Every year experts continue to claim the San Antonio Spurs are getting older, and just too old to make a run in the West. Last year San Antonio finished just a game back for the best record in the league. San Antonio’s four titles in the last ten years have come in odd years (99,03,05,07) will 2009 once again be their year?
5. Utah Jazz – Jerry Sloan’s team loves the role of the underdog. And once again the Jazz are going to be a very overlooked team. This could be their West title run, with the likes of DeRon Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Andrei Kirilenko. Utah hopes to improve on the defensive end, which is a must if they want to compete with the big boys at West.
6. Houston Rockets – We will have a better gauge of the offseason acquisition of Ron Artest in a few weeks. One thing this does for Houston is turns them into an even bigger threat. With the three-headed threat now in Ming, McGrady and now Artest, they can now matchup with the big dogs. If Artest is a good boy this season and Houston stays healthy- look out!
7. Dallas Mavericks – Owner Marc Cuban sure hopes his new coach Rick Carlisle sparks some magic into a Dallas squad that has been free falling the past few years. With talents such as Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jason Terry; Dallas should be able to put points on the board with the best of them. The guard play in Kidd, Terry and Stackhouse are developing in age, how will they respond come May?
8. Cleveland Cavaliers – The good news for Cleveland is they appear to be improved from last season. After getting Mo Williams from Milwaukee to help LeBron James; the backcourt appears solidified for Cleveland. The bad news is; they will still be competing with Boston in the Eastern Conference. Ilgauskas, Wallace and Varejao will have to stay healthy for the Cavs to have a shot at knocking off Boston.
9. Detroit Pistons – There are never any surprises when you speak of the Detroit Pistons. Even with no coach Michael Curry in place; Detroit will still bring fundamental hard-nosed basketball to the motor city. Chauncey Bullups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, and Antonio McDyess are a very talent starting force. What will coach Curry get off the bench? Detroit has reached the Eastern Conference Finals six straight years, will this be their 7th?
10. Toronto Raptors – Can new acquisition Jermaine O’Neal stay healthy in Toronto? With a reputation of being weak, O’Neal hopes to shake that this year and regain his form of old. If O’Neal can be a form of what he has been in the past, and Chris Bosh continues to emerge as a complete stud in the paint, Toronto will be a force to reckon with, and possible finally past the first round.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Garnering Elton Brand from the Clippers was arguably the biggest free agent signing this off-season. Brand signed in Philadelphia for five years and $80 million. Brand will mix with talent guards Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala. Philadelphia won 40 straight and reached the playoffs for the first time since Allen Iverson bolted town and went to Denver. The 76ers hope to improve their fortunes this season.
12. Portland Trailblazers – The Greg Oden era is set to begin in Portland. After missing all of last year with a knee injury, the experts are expecting a huge year from the big man. Oden is not lacking for support; with all star Brandon Roy, along with LaMarcus Aldridge, and Martell Webster. The Blazers look to be poised to slide in the mix of talented teams in the NBA West.
13. Phoenix Suns – Out with Mike D’Antoni, and in with Terry Porter. Porter appears to bring a much more balanced game to Phoenix, after D’Antoni’s run and gun style play. Phoenix may have a little defense on their minds this season, which should bare fruit for stars such as Steve Nash, and Amare Stoudemire. Remember SHAQ resides in Phoenix, and he may not be done winning titles; just yet.
14. Orlando Magic – After winning 52 games last season, the Orlando Magic cemented their name in the pack of contenders in the Eastern Conference. Led by Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu the Magic will be able to light up scoreboards night after night. Howard is going to have to improve his free throw shooting for the Magic to take their game to the next level.
15. Denver Nuggets – With guys like Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith; Denver will most certainly be at the top of the scoring leaders again this season. Losing Marcus Camby hampers Denver inside, and are going to put more on the shoulders of Nene in the middle. The biggest presence Camby brought to Denver was the defensive shot blocking ability. Coach George Karl looks to break Denver’s five-year streak of first round playoff exits.
16. Indiana Pacers – The Pacers were able to dump longtime Pacer Jeremain O’Neal, and were able to acquire T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and Roy Hibbert. Ford will bring lighting quickness to a point guard position that will get plenty of opportunities to feed star Danny Granger, along with Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. With some luck, health, and surprise from newcomers, Indiana could sneak into the playoffs this season.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Scott Skiles is the new headman in Milwaukee, after being let go in Chicago last season. The Nets now have high-octane offensive guru Richard Jefferson, which teamed with Michael Redd gives the Bucks a nice 1-2 scoring option. With question marks and the point guard position, along with no real big man, Milwaukee may have a tough time finding a playoff berth.
18. Chicago Bulls – # 1 pick Derrick Rose brings excitement to Chicago, but once again until the many talented guards get things figured out for the Bulls, they appear to be an underachieving team once again. With a rookie point guard and no studs in the paint, along with a new coach the Bulls look to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the 2009 postseason.
19. Los Angeles Clippers – Los Angeles is excited about the additions of Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Ricky Davis and Eric Gordon. Losing Elton Brand will be difficult to replace, as he single handedly carried the load inside for the Clippers. With Camby as a question mark daily as far as his health, the Clippers seem to have some question marks. With some luck, the Clippers can be part of the playoff field this season.
20. Atlanta Hawks – Was reaching the playoffs last season an aberration for Atlanta? Will Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby and Josh Smith be able to regain the form that almost pulled the biggest playoff upset in years? A lot of question marks sit for a young Hawks squad, with the top question being will this group of athletes play defense for head coach Mike Woodson?
21. Miami Heat – The youngster Erik Spoelstra is now in charge in Miami. Taking over for Pat Riley, off last years 15-67 team, the Heat actually seem to have a lot going for them. With a healthy Dwayne Wade alongside Shawn Marion, the Heat has a nice duo to put the ball in the hole. With the addition of rookie Michael Beasley; the Heat will get a quick look at what brand of basketball they want to play. Their top priority for the season needs to be; who will take the reigns of the starting point guard position.
22. Washington Wizards – Re-signing star Gilbert Arenas was all nice and all, but with him missing the first two months of the season, puts them in a proverbial early season hole. When Arenas returns; with him along with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, the Wizards will have one of the best threesomes in the league. Big man Brendan Haywood appears to be out until 2009 as well. Healthy, or lack thereof will play a huge part this season in the nations capital.
23. Charlotte Bobcats – Charlotte appears to be stock piling young talent. Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace, and Emeka Okafor bring a great deal of excitement to legendary coach Larry Brown’s face. But with them being offensive minded, the Bobcats appear to still be a year or two away from a playoff birth. Look for them to flirt with contention for that final spot, but fall a bit short. One thing is for sure in Charlotte; the Bobcats will start to play very fundamental basketball!
24. Sacramento Kings – With guys like John Salmons, Beno Udrih, Brad Miller, and Mikki Moore, the Kings are not going to win any titles, but they can be respectable in the middle of rebuilding for the future. Young guys; Spencer Hawes and Francisco Garcia look to develop a name in the league.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves – The acquisitions of Mike Miller and Kevin Love seemed to solidify the inside position for the Timberwolves. With Al Jefferson and Corey Brewer the Wolves appear to have some talent budding. The point guard position is where Minnesota will struggle, and with Foye missing the first 30 games, the backcourt will be in a world of hurt in the tough NBA West.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder – A new city will mean very little for the once Seattle SuperSonics. After major struggles last season, the Seattle/Oklahoma City fans still had Kevin Durant to hold onto. His progress in his second season will be a lead story for much of the 82 game schedule for OK City; it surely won’t be a playoff watch for this young squad.
27. Memphis Grizzles – Memphis is excited about the additions of Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo, but that is about their only excitement. This teams looks to have a load of growing paints to geo throw in 08-09. For now Memphis just hopes Gasol brings half the potential his brother did while in the Grizzles uniform.
28. New York Knicks – Coach D’Antoni will soon find out what he got himself into. The fast paced system that D’Antoni enjoys so much is going to get put to the test with guys like Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry in the Big Apple. Chris Duhon is going to have a heavy load of point guard thrown on his shoulder this season. Things could get ugly fast at the Garden.
29. New Jersey Nets – New Jersey is definitely in rebuilding mode. After trading Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson, the long term appears to be in sight for the Nets. Many are claiming they are setting themselves up to grab LeBron in 2010. Until then, the Nets are going to suffer long and hard with youngsters such as Devin Harris, Yi Jianlian, Sean Williams and Brook Lopez. Vince Carter still resides in New Jersey, but he hasn’t had a full season of health in quite some time.