The NBA off-season has slowed to a crawl and it’s a perfect time to take a look at how all 30 teams currently stack up. Here is the second edition of the SCIC Power Rankings (prior rank in parenthesis):
1) Los Angeles Lakers (1) - Inking Odom was essential and the Lake Show is still the team to beat. Garnered 12% of the vote in the right sidebar poll question which surprised me. Is Ron Artest really that big of an upgrade over Trevor Ariza?
2) San Antonio Spurs (2) – Richard Jefferson is obviously the key acquisition and the best fourth wheel in the league. RJ should take a lot of the offensive pressure off of Tony Parker.
3) Dallas Mavericks (3) – Failing to land The Polish Hammer and losing Brandon Bass hurt a bit, but the Mavs should still have enough talent and experience to lock up a #3 seed.
4) Denver Nuggets (4) – The departure of Linas Kleiza is a big blow and bringing in Wally World isn’t the answer. Portland is breathing down Denver’s neck and Melo will need to take his game to the next level.
5) Portland Trailblazers (6) – The addition of Andre Miller solidifies the backcourt, but Greg Oden really needs to step it up this year for Portland to win the division and overtake the Nuggets.
6) Utah Jazz (5) – The talent is still in place for the Jazz to contend, but an overcrowded frontcourt is a concern. Where will Carlos Boozer land once the inevitable trade goes down?
7) New Orleans Hornets (7) - Chis Paul, David West and newly acquired Emeka Okafor form a nice trio, but question marks abound elsewhere on the roster.
8) Los Angeles Clippers (10) – I hate to say it, but Mike Dunleavy deserves props. The additions of Rasual Butler, Craig Smith and Bassy Telfair move the Clips into the playoffs ahead of the Rockets.
9) Houston Rockets (8) – Without Ming, Houston is going to be mighty thin at center. Does Daryl Morey really think David Andersen and Pops Mensah-Bonsu are the answer? I sure as hell don’t.
10) Phoenix Suns (9) – Will Amar’e be able to return at full strength and remain healthy all year. If not, the Suns might not win 40 games.
11) Golden State Warriors (11) – I don’t think Golden State has a prayer of reaching the playoffs, but at least they will be exciting.
12) Oklahoma City Thunder (12) – Evidently, Sam “The Golden Boy” Presti is content with Etan Thomas and Kevin Ollie as his key off-season acquistions.
13) Memphis Grizzlies (13) – Shrewd move to steer clear of Allen Iverson. Solid starting five should make the Grizzlies competitive.
14) Sacramento Kings (14) – Call me crazy, but I just don’t think Sean May is the answer. It’s going to be a very long season for Paul Westphal…that is if he makes it through the entire season.
15) Minnesota Timberwolves (15) – Without Ricky Rubio around, Jonny Flynn may challenge for ROY. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing to be excited about in Minnesota.
1) Boston Celtics (1) – Only injuries can keep the Celtics from a division crown and top three seed.
2) Cleveland Cavaliers (2) – Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon are nice additions, but will it be enough?
3) Orlando Magic (3) – Adding White Chocolate could give the Magic enough depth to make it back to the Finals. Can Boston or Cleveland keep them from getting there?
4) Toronto Raptors (8) – Other than San Antonio, Toronto had the best summer of any team in the league. RuPaul should be very happy about his new supporting cast. 50+ wins this season is not out of the question.
5) Washington Wizards (5) – The return of Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood make the Wizards a viable threat. If the injury bug can be avoided, Washington matches up pretty well with almost everyone.
6) Chicago Bulls (4) - Adding Jenaro Pargo was a nice move, but other than that it has been eerily quiet in the Windy City.
7) Atlanta Hawks (6) – A lot of firepower and athleticism on the roster, but the team still lacks size.
8) Philadelphia 76ers (7) – Downgraded due to the departure of Andre Miller and the return of Elton Brand may hurt more than it helps.
9) Indiana Pacers (9) – Danny Granger & Co. should hang around the .500 mark all year and contend for a playoff berth.
10) Detroit Pistons (10) – Sorry, but the three-headed monster of Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox and Ben Wallace just isn’t good enough.
11) Miami Heat (11) – This is the team with best chance to make a jump. If Pat Riley can find a way to acquire Carlos Boozer, the Heat could easily become a solid 7th or 8th seed.
12) Charlotte Bobcats (12) – Larry Brown is going to need a lot more than Tyson Chandler to be a playoff contender. It’s not a perfect fit, but the smart money has Allen Iverson landing in Charlotte.
13) New York Knicks (13) – There are a few quality young pieces in place, but not enough talent to compete for a playoff berth this season.
14) New Jersey Nets (14) – 2009 will be a lost season. The only question of concern in New Jersey is whether a big name free agent or two will be there in 2010.
15) Milwaukee Bucks (15) – It has been an absolutely horrific summer in Milwaukee. The team’s new slogan for the upcoming season is: In Roko We Trust
Drew is also the lead blogger of Pacman Jonesin’. Look for a new SCIC Poll Question this weekend.