NBA Power Rankings Following Flurry of Offseason Action
With LeBron in the west and Kawhi in the east, the landscape has changed.
Winners of three of the last four NBA titles, the Golden State Warriors – who already had four All-Star-caliber players – got better this offseason by adding DeMarcus Cousins to their roster.
They are the best team in the NBA by any and every metric – and it’s not even close.
Determining the second-best team in the league is a little bit trickier, but ESPN asked a panel of 40 reporters, insiders and editors to give it a shot in their updated power rankings for the NBA.
To determine their ranks, panelists were asked to take into account offseason moves that have already happened (LeBron James to the Lakers, Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors, etc.) as well as ones that could potentially occur before the season begins.
There’s still some uncertainty regarding Kyrie Irving’s future in Boston, but ESPN’s rankers have installed the Celtics as the second-best team in the NBA behind Golden State. The Celtics haven’t done much this offseason, but they also haven’t lost anyone and will return a team that took James and the Cavs to seven games despite not having Irving or Gordon Hayward.
Behind the Celtics at No. 3 are the Houston Rockets. With Carmelo Anthony possibly coming to town, Houston will have about the same team as they did last year and that Rockets squad was good enough to push the Warriors to think brink of elimination in the conference finals.
At No. 4, ESPN has the Philadelphia 76ers. Talented and young, the Sixers should feast off an Eastern Conference that has plenty of bad teams. A similar sentiment applies to the No. 5-ranked Toronto Raptors, who should be re-energized with Leonard now playing in Canada.
From there, ESPN rankers have the Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 6), Utah Jazz (No. 7), Denver Nuggets (No. 8), Los Angeles Lakers (No. 9), and Portland Trail Blazers (No. 10).
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