NBA Power Rankings: #10-1
In this piece, we’ll finally wrap up our three-part power rankings series. So far, we’ve now ranked teams #30-11, and in this part we take a look at the top third of the league. Without further ado, #10:
#10 Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia has cycled through star-partnerships throughout the past several years, still waiting for their breakthrough come playoff time. This time its James Harden and Joel Embiid paired together, and the two look very good together throughout the first couple games of this season. If Harden can keep it up come springtime, the 76ers might finally take the next step.
#9 Dallas Mavericks
Dallas was able to take that leap last season, making the Western Conference finals after annihilating the Suns in a game seven. Dallas unfortunately didn’t do anything against Golden State, but for the first time Luka and the Mavericks proved they could win in the playoffs. Dallas will look to do the same thing this year.
#8 Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis has a couple of young stars, and their rebuild has jumpstarted them up to becoming a true contender. The Grizzlies underperformed in the playoffs last season though. Memphis is an excellent young team, but they’ll have to prove they can win in the playoffs before jumping up these rankings.
#7 Denver Nuggets
Denver made an early exit in the playoffs last season, but they made it decently far without Jamal Murray or Michael Porter Jr. Nikola Jokic had some of the better performances in his career late last season, but it wasn’t enough against Golden State. With a healthy team this season, Denver can really make a push.
#6 Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers flamed out in the play-in last year, but like the Nuggets, they were never fully-healthy. Now, they’ll have both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as well as John Wall who comes into this season deeply well-rested. There may not be a team with as much depth as the Clippers, and they’re set up for a deep postseason run.
#5 Phoenix Suns
The Suns had the best record in the western conference last season. Then, they suffered an embarrassing second-round loss to Dallas, and were forced to deal with a turbulent off-season full of issues both on and off the court. Phoenix may only have one more shot at this, and they can’t waste their chance this season.
#4 Miami Heat
Like Phoenix, Miami also possessed the first seed in their conference. They made it a bit further, and were just one missed three-pointer from Jimmy Butler away from heading to the NBA finals. Miami will keep the same core around this year, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to make a deep run again this time around.
#3 Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee fell a bit short last year, losing to the eventual eastern conference champions in the second round. The Bucks were without Khris Middleton, which undoubtedly played a role in that series. If they can stay healthy this year, they’ll once again contend for a championship.
#2 Boston Celtics
It’s no surprise Boston is up here, especially after their run to the NBA finals last summer. They’ll keep the same squad around, and as Jayson Tatum continues to step into the upper-echelon of the league, so does his team.
#1 Golden State Warriors
Golden state is no stranger to the number one spot on this list. After winning their fourth championship in the past seven years, where else would they be? This team just keeps on winning, as we continue to wait for them to be dethroned.