NBA Preseason Power 16


It’s hard to dethrone the champions when they return essentially the same squad that won 67 games last season. The loss of David Lee won’t affect this team one bit.


Cleveland got even deeper this summer with the addition of Mo Williams. Re-signing Tristan Thompson remains a must, but with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love healthy, this team is scary.


If healthy, this might be the deepest, most talented roster in the NBA. We all know what KD, Russ, and Ibaka can do, but now you throw in guys like Kanter, Morrow, and a maturing Adams, this team might be impossible to stop on the offensive end. Defense will be the key to the Thunder’s season.


The biggest news of the offseason was the acquisition of Lamarcus Aldridge, which looks great on paper, but it was at the expense of one of their key defenders in Tiago Splitter. Their defense will slip, no doubt, but like the Thunder, they will be a juggernaut offensively.


A really nice offseason for the Clips bringing in Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Wes Johnson and Lance Stephenson to help their depth, which was their biggest issue last season. They’re a legit title contender this year.


Memphis was an under-the-radar team this offseason with their pick-ups of two really nice role players in Brandan Wright and Matt Barnes. Just yet another West team that got deeper. Zach Randolph isn’t getting any younger though (or slimmer).


The acquisition of Ty Lawson looks great on paper, but I’m worried about the fit. Harden is the primary ball handler by a MILE, and Ty Lawson has never been an off-the-ball player. Talent never hurts, but poor chemistry can.


Like the Thunder, I think it was time for the Bulls to make a coaching change. It ought to rejuvenate and energize them. If Joakim Noah can get back to who he used to be, and not who he was in last year’s playoffs, this is the only team that can legitimately challenge the Cavs in the East.


The acquisition of DeMarre Carroll, Luis Scola, and Cory Joseph give this team depth, and add on a slimmed down Kyle Lowry who is absolutely tearing up the preseason, I like the Raptors A LOT this year.


They lost Paul Pierce, their locker room leader, but John Wall and Bradley Beal will only get better.


Many are extremely high on the Heat this year. I’m undecided. Can Wade stay healthy? Can Bosh? Is Whiteside really THAT good, or is he just a stat stuffer? Dragic is slightly overrated, in my opinion. But they should be a playoff team.


Last year was a crazy year for the Hawks. They got beat just like everyone thought they would, but they still won 60 games. The loss of Carroll stings, but they still have Sefolosha, Tim Hardaway Jr. and rookie Kelly Oubre to help.


Anthony Davis is a beast, this we know. Everyone loves the Gentry hire, maybe a little too much. I think you have to pump the brakes on the Pels. They haven’t done themselves any favors roster-wise. Wait, never mind... they got Perk.


This might be too low for the young Bucks. Ha, get it? Young Bucks. But until I see it, I can’t make them top 10 just yet. It will be interesting to see how newcomer Greg Monroe fits in.


People are sleeping on the Suns. This will be one of those annoying teams that you have to play when you want an easy win, but they won’t just give it to you. The edition of Tyson Chandler should help them improve immensely on the defensive end.


Every year people have high hopes for Charlotte and every year Charlotte lets them down. The MKG injury hurts, but their added depth over the offseason will keep them afloat. It’s a playoff year for the Hornets.


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