NBA Power Rankings: Heat, Clippers, Nets, Rockets all with title aspirations

Paul Pierce Brooklyn Nets Celtics
Paul Pierce is poised to have a throwback year in Brooklyn. Credit: Getty Images

1. Miami Heat - You have to beat the best to be the best, and well, nobody has beaten the best when it counts most for the past two seasons. It could be a three-peat, folks.

2. Los Angeles Clippers – Has Doc Rivers stopped talking about the Celtics yet? Because he’s got a pretty good team in L.A., and very high expectations.

3. Brooklyn Nets - Just another quiet offseason in Brooklyn. It’s too bad they couldn’t go out and get two Hall of Famers to add to an already stacked lineup. Oh, wait.

4. Houston Rockets - Dwight Howard … if you corrupt the Rockets and turn James Harden and Jeremy Lin against each other … we won’t be all that surprised.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder - Russell Westbrook’s knee injury ended the Thunder’s title hopes last postseason, and he’ll miss the start of the regular season after arthroscopic surgery on it again on Oct. 1. When he returns, the Thunder will be again be dangerous.

6. Indiana Pacers - Always the forgotten team, the Pacers will once again compete with the best teams in the East. But are they title contenders? Not anymore with Tyler Hansbrough in Toronto.

7. Chicago Bulls - We THINK Derrick Rose is going to be ready for this season. But that could all change if he decides he wants to feel 101-percent. If he does play, look for the Bulls to cause trouble.

8. San Antonio Spurs - The first rule about the Spurs is don’t criticize the Spurs. That said, how much longer can Tim Duncan do what he’s doing? Asking for a friend.

9. Golden State Warriors - Breaking: Steph Curry just hit another 3-pointer. The Warriors will miss Jarrett Jack (now in Cleveland), but the real question is can Mark Jackson get them to play defense?

10. Memphis Grizzlies – The Griz signed Mike Miller for cheap to help with outside shooting woes, and added big man Kosta Koufos to bulk up an already stacked front court. They’ll stay tough out West.

11. Denver Nuggets - No George Karl in Denver this season just doesn’t sound right after the way he got his team to play. Note to new coach Brian Shaw: play Kenneth Faried as much as possible.

12. New York Knicks - Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace are two big additions, but we can’t help but think the Knicks will be the second-best team in New York this season.

13. Atlanta Hawks - Paul Millsap is one of the more underrated, complete forwards in the NBA, and hopefully that shows in the ATL, where the void of Josh Smith may be felt early.

14. Detroit Pistons - Between Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith, the Pistons are stacked at the forward/center positions. They also now have Brandon Jennings at guard. But points off for Charlie Villanueva.

15. Cleveland Cavaliers - No, they aren’t back to the LeBron years, but if the Cavs stay healthy, they’ll absolutely be a playoff team. Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Anderson Varejao, and *gasp* Andrew Bynum will have a big say.

16. New Orleans Pelicans - Pelicans! We like the name change, OK? And we also like Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Eric Gordon (if he can stay healthy). Make us like you this season, Austin Rivers.

17. Washington Wizards - Give us a fully-healthy John Wall (please, for once!) and the Wizards could make a little noise in the East. Looking at a fringe playoff team.

18. Portland Trailblazers - Damian Lillard looks poised to have a huge sophomore year, and the Blazers lineup is solid overall. That’s all we got.

19. Dallas Mavericks - Mark Cuban may want to sit a couple seasons of Shark Tank out and focus on this Mavericks team, who we’re pretty sure none of the sharks would make an offer on right now.

20. Los Angeles Lakers - Out of all the ridiculousness that surrounded Dwight Howard with the Lakers, none of it touches injuring a finger while tobogganing at the Great Wall of China. Congrats, Chris Kaman, and welcome back to L.A.!

21. Milwaukee Bucks - It looked like the Bucks had something last season. Now? We’ll see. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are replaced by Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo. At least Larry Sanders will still dominate.

22. Minnesota Timberwolves - We don’t expect much out of the T-Wolves, but we’d like to see Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio get some serious minutes together. Also, Love could go on trade block during the season if things go south.

23. Utah Jazz – They got nothing for Al Jefferson’s or Paul Millsap’s expiring deals last year, and lost them both over this offseason. Cool strategy!

24. Toronto Raptors - Addition by subtraction in dumping Andrea Bargnani on the Knicks (plus they got picks). But where is Toronto going? Talk about an identity crisis.

 25. Sacramento Kings - DeMarcus Cousins signed a four-year extension worth a reported $62 million over the offseason. That’ll come out to around $40 million after all the “suspended without pay” incidents that should pop up between now and then.

26. Boston Celtics – If Jeff Green can play like a superstar, and Rajon Rondo comes back soon, and Kelly Olynyk wins Rookie of the Year, and, and, and … #denial.

27. Charlotte Bobcats - Hey, the Bobcats made a splash this offseason by inking Al Jefferson to a multi-year deal. Now for the inevitable Michael Jordan 10-day contract.

28. Phoenix Suns – Eric Bledsoe is a nice addition to a Suns team that hopes to not finish dead last in the Western Conference again this year. Good luck with that.

29. Orlando Magic - The Magic will once again go very largely unnoticed around the NBA (and in Orlando), but Victor Oladipo is your Rookie of the Year. You heard it here first.

30. Philadelphia 76ers - The 76ers wouldn’t even crack the Top 10 of Metro’s NBA D-League Power Rankings.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

MLB

Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."