The preseason is now underway and it’s time to overreact to what’s going on in those games. Well, not really. Here is a look at the first installment of our Power Rankings here at Thunderous Intentions from last week.
Since that time there were just a few preseason games for every team. Not a lot changed in terms of that. NBA title odds have been released as well as projections from a lot of sites. It can get you to thinking and rethinking some of your rankings.
Taking some of that into account, here are the newly updated Power Rankings.
1. Miami Heat (1)
It’s going to take a lot for the Heat to fall from the top of these rankings. The best thing they have going for them is they are in the weak Eastern Conference and their road to the Finals once the playoffs begin seems like as easy as ever. The Heat are 1-2 so far in the preseason losing to the Hawks then winning one of two vs. the Clippers in China.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (2)
Unlike the Heat, the Thunder have a good chance of sliding up and down in these rankings once the season begins. That all depends on how teams like the Lakers and Spurs look. For now, the Thunder are still the Western Conference champs and all signs are that they are going to get better next season. OKC is 0-2 so far in the preseason losing to Houston and Utah on the road.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (3)
Dwight Howard still hasn’t played any preseason games yet but Steve Nash has gotten a chance to get to know his new teammates. If there is any team with a chance to jump to No. 1 in these rankings in the near future, it is the Lakers if they begin the season looking absolutely dominant, which could happen. The Lakers are 0-3 so far in the preseason having lost to Golden State, Portland and Utah.
4. San Antonio Spurs (4)
A lot of projections out there like the Spurs winning more games than anyone else in the league this coming season. It isn’t unreasonable since they have done just that in each of the last two years. These rankings are more about winning a title and not regular season prowess and since the Spurs still have basically the same roster as the last two years, they have a big hump to get over to surpass the top three on this list. The Spurs are 3-1 so far in the preseason having beaten Atlanta, Houston and Florence and lost to Denver.
5. Denver Nuggets (6)
The Nuggets moved up in these rankings. Why? I overlooked them somewhat last week I feel. John Hollinger has them finishing as the No. 2 seed in the West and that is totally possible in my opinion as well. Their depth will be unmatched and the addition of Andre Iguodala will really improve their defense giving them a leg up on a lot of teams. Denver is 2-0 beating the Clippers and Spurs so far in the preseason.
6. Los Angeles Clippers (5)
The Nuggets jumped the Clippers in these rankings. I feel Denver is a safer bet in the playoffs and the regular season than the Clippers. The Clippers added some depth but still might have the same issues as last season. Vinny Del Negro is still their head coach and that is a problem. The Clippers are 1-2 in the preseason so far losing to the Nuggets and splitting two games with the Heat in China.
7. Boston Celtics (7)
The Celtics looked good in the preseason so far. Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger impressed. Jason Terry and Courtney Lee will essentially be an upgrade from Ray Allen as well. Boston is deeper than they have been in awhile and have addressed some of their weaknesses from last year. They lost to a Turkish team in their first preseason game then beat AC Milan and then lost to the Knicks in overtime two days ago.
8. Indiana Pacers (9)
I have the Pacers jumping a spot here as well. I expect them to come out of the East as the No. 2 seed and that advantage cannot be overlooked in these power rankings. It means they would meet the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals and advance further than any other Eastern Conference team. The Pacers are 1-1 in the preseason so far in two games vs. the Timberwolves.
9. Chicago Bulls (8)
I drop the Bulls behind the Pacers here. Chicago has a lot to prove before they get any higher in these rankings and that starts with Derrick Rose’s health. The Bulls are 1-2 so far in the preseason beating Memphis and losing to Cleveland and Minnesota.
10. Memphis Grizzlies (NR)
The Brooklyn Nets were previously in the No. 10 spot on these rankings while the Grizzlies were not ranked. Brooklyn has to prove a little more before being ranked ahead of a team like Memphis who is so solid. The Grizzlies have one of the best frontlines in the NBA making them a very tough matchup for some teams ahead of them in this list including OKC, the Spurs and the Nuggets. The Grizzlies are 2-1 so far in the preseason beating Real Madrid and the Hawks and losing to the Bulls.