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Old 07-19-2012, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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2012-13 Power Rankings

RealGM Power rankings

1) Miami Heat -- With the signings of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, Miami is pushing forward with the small frontcourt (Chris Bosh at the five, LeBron James at power forward) they used to win the NBA Finals. Now that LeBron has embraced playing in the post, it’s a nearly indefensible lineup. A dominant seven-footer who can force the Heat to play a traditional center might be the only hope for stopping a dynasty on South Beach.

2) Oklahoma City Thunder -- The next 12 months could be a crossroads for Oklahoma City, as they will have to make tough financial decisions on Serge Ibaka and James Harden. If the league’s big markets continue to flout the luxury tax, the Thunder may have to pay to keep up. They’ll get a boost on the back-end of their rotation from the return of Eric Maynor and the arrival of Perry Jones III, who could end up being the steal of the 2012 draft.

3) Los Angeles Lakers -- Incorporating Steve Nash into their offense will require some juggling, but his shooting ability will dramatically improve their talent level and floor spacing around Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. But as dangerous as they are offensively, they’re going to need Mike Brown to work some miracles on the other end of the floor, which is why Howard would be such a good fit with this roster.

4) San Antonio Spurs -- San Antonio’s finely-tuned offensive system should continue being the envy of the rest of the NBA, but they won’t win another championship until they improve their defense, particularly their lack of a big man who can play above the rim and protect the paint at an elite level.

5) Boston Celtics -- The Big Three is no more, but Jason Terry should be able to fill Ray Allen’s shoes as a perimeter shooter and secondary ball-handler, and Courtney Lee will provide strong depth. Boston will have enough perimeter shooting around Rajon Rondo to keep him playing at an All-NBA level, but the Celtics will only go as far as the ageless Kevin Garnett can take them, especially on the defensive end.

6) Memphis Grizzlies -- No team should be more haunted by the 2012 playoffs than Memphis, who allowed a historic comeback in Game 1 and blew a home Game 7 to the Clippers. The continuing recovery of Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur from knee injuries should improve their front-line, but they still need to figure out how to maximize Rudy Gay’s offensive ability.

7) New York Knicks -- In a league getting smaller by the year, would New York be better off moving Carmelo Anthony to power forward and improving their floor spacing? Amar'e Stoudemire will never regain his explosiveness, which is why he’ll need to continue expanding his range out to the three-point line to justify his contract going forward. Raymond Felton, meanwhile, had better come into training camp in shape this year.

8) Brooklyn Nets -- Deron Williams, the NBA’s top point guard, has never played with a core as talented as Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez. However, without much interior defense, the Nets will have to hope they can sneak back into the Howard discussions in January to have a chance of contending for a title.

9) Dallas Mavericks -- The great irony is, now that they’ve gotten younger on the perimeter with Darren Collison and OJ Mayo, they could have built a title contender around Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler. Chris Kaman is a nice pick-up, but without Chandler, the team doesn’t have enough interior defense to contend.

10) Denver Nuggets -- With Ty Lawson at the helm of George Karl’s uptempo offense, Denver should continue their streak of playoff appearances. However, any chance of breaking out of the first-round will depend on the continued development of Javale McGee. At the very least, it will be interesting.

11) Los Angeles Clippers -- Blake Griffin’s latest knee injury is a huge red flag, especially given the history of high-flying big-bodied PF’s like Shawn Kemp, Antonio McDyess and Amar'e. They have a lot of big names on the wings - Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill - but they’re all in the decline phase of their careers.

26) Toronto Raptors -- They are going to have almost an entirely new team this season, as Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross will have a chance to form a Big Three of their own up north. Since Chris Bosh’s departure, the Raptors have been one of the most brutal teams in the NBA, but things are finally pointed in the right direction.
2012-13 NBA Power Rankings - RealGM Articles

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