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Double G Sports NBA Power Rankings – Preseason Edition

As the 2017-2018 NBA season gets set to tip off, our NBA writers Jason Goldstein and Ben McDonald bring you the initial Double G Sports power rankings. 

Preseason edition: 10/17

 

  1. Golden State Warriors – Any team with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry in their primes is going to be a contender. Add Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and you have your favorite coming into the season.

 

  1. Houston Rockets – How long will it take for Chris Paul and James Harden to mesh? The offense could be historic if they put it together early in the season.

 

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Unless something goes colossally wrong, King James and the Cavs will be playing in their fourth-straight NBA Finals next June.

 

  1. San Antonio Spurs – When will the Spurs machine grind to a halt? Kawhi Leonard is an MVP favorite but he will need help to jump any of the other teams on this list.

 

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder – The new look Thunder have the star power to be a force but those trades compromised their depth. How long will it take for Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony to learn to play together?

 

  1. Boston Celtics – The Celtics added two All-Stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and will contend in the East, but with only four players returning from last season’s team, how fast will they come together?

 

  1. Washington Wizards – They paid Otto Porter Jr. a lot of money to keep him from going to Brooklyn. Most of their money is now tied to three players: Porter, John Wall and Bradley Beal.  The frontcourt needs work, but they are undoubtedly a playoff team.

 

  1. Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan still form a nice one-two punch, but it’s going to take much more than that if the Raptors want a top four seed in the East.

 

  1. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets are one of the big risers coming into the season. They have the scoring punch to be top five in offense. Can the defense play well enough to keep them in games?

 

  1. Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies will need someone other than Marc Gasol and Mike Conley to step up or this could be the year they finally off. Who is going to be that guy?

 

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Bulls north has begun with Tom Thibodeau getting the crew back together. They will need to learn to share with four ball dominant players and Coach Thibs might not make it to 2018 if the defense does not improve.

 

  1. Portland Trail Blazers – Portland has the offense to be a force in the West with CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard but they need the defense to improve. They are incredibly thin on the wings so the health and play of Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu will determine if the Blazers are back in the postseason again.

 

  1. Los Angeles Clippers – There is a lot of talent on this team but they need to stay healthy. A healthy Clippers team might be three or four spots higher but if Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari miss extended time, they might watch the playoffs from home.

 

  1. Utah Jazz – The defense is there but who steps up to fill Gordon Hayward’s role. Rodney Hood could be the guy but he does not have the playmaking or defensive chops of Hayward. Could some of the young guys like Summer League star Donovan Mitchell help fill the role?

 

  1. Milwaukee Bucks – Giannis Antetokounmpo will finish in the top five in league MVP voting.  The Bucks will also be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.  Yes, I am all in on Milwaukee this season.

 

  1. Miami Heat – If Justise Winslow can stay healthy, the Heat will contend for a playoff spot.  I don’t think the combination Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and Hassan Whiteside is enough.  Winslow’s presence makes their lineup look a lot better.

 

  1. New Orleans Pelicans – It is put up or shut up time for the Pelicans. They went out and got DeMarcus Cousins and then re-signed Jrue Holiday. If they cannot make the playoffs this year, it might be time to blow it up.

 

  1. Philadelphia 76ers – The Process will be playoff-bound this season.  You can take that to the bank.  Joel Embiid for Eastern Conference All-Star, anyone?

 

  1. Charlotte Hornets – The Nicolas Batum injury hurts, but they have enough depth to content in the watered down Eastern Conference. Dwight Howard’s chemistry with Kemba Walker and Frank Kaminsky’s continued development are the two most key components for the Hornets this season.

 

  1. Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki likely goes out not with a bang but a whimper. The Mavericks will struggle to crack the top ten in the West unless rookie Dennis Smith dominates from the jump or Dirk finds the fountain of youth.

 

  1. Detroit Pistons – Bold prediction: The Pistons crash and burn this season, and Andre Drummond will be playing elsewhere come February.

 

  1. Orlando Magic – The Magic have a roster full of role players.  If one or two of them don’t step up and become stars, they are in for another long season in Orlando.

 

  1. Brooklyn Nets – Year two of the Sean Marks/Kenny Atkinson era should be a lot of fun.  Expect a much-improved Brooklyn team to be playing relevant basketball into April, especially if D’Angelo Russell plays as good as he did during the pre-season.

 

  1. Los Angeles Lakers – Lots of youth but not lots of wins. The Lakers have a bright future and Lonzo Ball will keep the Laker fans enthralled but there are far too many teams above them to crack the playoffs. Look forward to next summer Angelenos!

 

  1. Sacramento Kings – Kings fans should hope this number is as low as possible this year. If they can add another top prospect to one overflowing with young talent then they could start building for the post Warriors universe.

 

  1. New York Knicks – The trade of Carmelo Anthony signaled a full-scale rebuild in New York.  Kristaps Porzingis officially has the keys to the car, but who else will be riding alongside of him?

 

  1. Phoenix Suns – The Suns should be fun this year with Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker running and gunning. Add in Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, TJ Warren, and newcomer Josh Jackson and Phoenix should be a league pass darling even if they do not crack 30 wins.

 

  1. Indiana Pacers – The first season without Paul George will be an interesting one for the Pacers.  Myles Turner is good, but the rest of the roster is not.  It will be a long season in Indiana.

 

  1. Atlanta Hawks – This team has now lost all five starters from their 2015 Eastern Conference Finals team.  Can Dennis Schroeder and Kent Bazemore lead Atlanta out of the doldrums of the Eastern Conference cellar?

 

  1. Chicago Bulls – A former perennial playoff contender in the East has now hit rock bottom.  They have some decent young pieces, but this rebuild is just beginning in the Windy City.

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Jason Goldstein is a co host of the Baseline Jumper NBA podcast, recording every Tuesday night along Ben McDonald. Jason has also spent time as the Basketball Editor at DoubleGSports.com while also handling the Brooklyn Nets Lead Writer duties since October 2015.
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