The NBA season is upon us! Oklahoma City doesn’t play until Thursday but the NBA season starts tomorrow night. With that said, we’re going to try and do something every Monday here at Thunder Digest. We’re going to rank all 30 NBA teams. If you disagree, please tell us. We’re going to try and remain impartial to being a Thunder site.
1) Golden State Warriors
I feel like this is a given. The Warriors added Nick Young and are the defending champions. They’re going to be here until they lose more than they’re expected. Vegas has them at 67 wins. I’d take the low as the West is very tough this season.
2) Houston Rockets
When you add a hall-of-fame point guard, you’re going to improve. The Houston Rockets with the addition of Chris Paul are going to barrage every team in the league with three-pointers and there is only way to stop them, let them miss. That’s really it.
3) The Oklahoma City Thunder
You add Paul George and Carmelo Anthony? You shoot up everyone’s rankings. Russell Westbrook doesn’t need to do it all himself this year. Alex Abrines, who set a rookie Thunder record for made threes, is back and will provide a nice support off the bench. The bench is the major question mark for the Thunder.
4) Boston Celtics
Once again, a team acquiring another superstar(s) shoots up the rankings. Though, Boston went to the Eastern Conference Finals, they added Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Boston is deep and very talented. How will Irving and the rest of the Celtics gel?
5) San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard. Enough said. This man might be the front-runner for the MVP this season. Their age is always going to be a factor but you cannot discount everything the Spurs do. They’re consistent as the sun and the moon.
6) Washington Wizards
I have a soft spot for Scottie Brooks. That man will always be revered in my household. Wizards almost won 49 games last year after an abysmal 3-9 start. With a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards are on the right path.
7) Cleveland Cavaliers
Now please don’t sacrifice me for putting the Cavaliers this far down. It’s really due to Isaiah Thomas being out with the hip until at least Christmas. This list is to start the season. The Cavaliers will probably still win the Eastern Conference.
8) Minnesota Timberwolves
How many teams have 2016-17 20-point scorers? Three. Golden State, Oklahoma City and Minnesota. Adding Jimmy Butler and Co., the Timberwolves will finally move into the playoffs.
9) Toronto Raptors
Patrick Patterson is gone but that’s fine. Serge Ibaka is the stretch Toronto wanted anyway. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan give the Raptors one of the best backcourt duos in the NBA.
10) Milwaukee Bucks
Kevin Durant said Giannis Antetokounmpo could be the player in the history of the NBA. The dude keeps getting better and better. Experts, not Durant, think he could eventually average multiple seasons of triple-doubles. That’ll be time before it comes true but he’s fun to watch. Oh and there is Thon Maker, too. He’s cool.
11) L.A. Clippers
What a weird season for the Clippers. Chris Paul is gone but they retain Blake Griffin and still have DeAndre Jordan. I’d like to think Milos Teodosic is the real deal. Plus, adding Sam Dekker was a clutch move to sure up them their bench.
12) Utah Jazz
The Jazz are in a weird spot, like the Thunder were last year. However, with Derek Favors and Rudy Gobert, they still have some players. They added Ricky Rubio from Minnesota. It’s not like they fell off the map. Bench is a bit of a question but they’ll be okay.
13) Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic is a stud. Will Barton and Gary Harris will lead a backcourt but the inconsistency of the Nuggets from last year leaves them out of my top 10. Though, they were 15-11 after the Nurkic trade last year.
14) Portland Trail Blazers
It’s the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum show once again. Jusuf Nurkic was a beast after the trade and they added Caleb Swanigan but is there enough defense out there to contend in the super tough Northwest Division?
15) Philadelphia 76ers
Okay, maybe I’m overselling the 76ers but that’s fine. Joel Embiid is so entertaining to watch. If he can stay healthy, he’s an All-Star player and the 76ers make the playoffs. If he gets hurt, JJ Redick made $23 million to go to Brooklyn next season.
16) Charlotte Hornets
Kemba Walker gets help from an over-the-hill Dwight Howard but will still be enough to make the playoffs in the East but won’t be entertaining to watch.
17) Miami Heat
The Heatles went 30-11 down the stretch and barely missed the playoffs. Curious to see what Waiter’s Island is like without a contract year to fall back on.
18) New Orleans Pelicans
Despite Boogie and Anthony Davis being maybe the best front court in NBA history, the Pelicans don’t have enough to get it done. Rajon Rondo isn’t the answer, either.
19) Dallas Mavericks
If you haven’t seen Dennis Smith Jr. play yet, this guy is going to be so good. Dallas found their next franchise player. Even with aging Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks will miss the playoffs.
20) Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies have been a staple in the playoffs for the last few years. I think that ends this year. While Mike Conley is one of my favorite point guards to watch, I don’t think him and Marc Gasol can do it alone.
21) Sacramento Kings
Dave Joerger and Zach Randolph, okay. Also, Vince Carter is on this team. Is this the rejected Memphis Grizzlies? Why didn’t Tony Allen come here?
22) Detroit Pistons
There isn’t a lot from keeping me ranking the Pistons lower on this rankings, other than bottom six teams are all from the East. Just a plague of how bad the East bottom half is.
23) Los Angeles Lakers
I’m not sold on Lonzo Ball yet. However, he makes the Lakers relevant, even if they’re bad again. The League’s (and team’s throughout the league’s, profit goes up when the Lakers are relevant.
24) Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker and Dragon Bender got some help in Josh Jackson. The Suns are going to be bad again. However, they’ll at least be entertaingly bad.
25) Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo will have his work cut out for him in Indiana. Luckily he has Miles Turner to assist him in this 35-win season.
26) Orlando Magic
Kind of like Chicago, I find it hard to really name some players. Then, they rolled in a bit better than with Chicago. Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier will get some attention but for the most part, this team might not win 30 games.
27) Chicago Bulls
I thought about it really quick, there isn’t a person on the Bulls I could name off the top of my head. That’s not a good sign. However, Zach LaVine and Robin Lopez will try not let this team end up worst than some expect.
28) New York Knicks
Poor Ron Baker. He and Kristaps Prozingis will have to win every game on their own.
29) Brooklyn Nets
They don’t have a first round pick of their own until next season. They do have a first round pick from the Raptors, but it’s lottery protected. That’s about the only thing going well for Brooklyn coming up. This is going to be a rough season. They only won 20 games last year.
30) Atlanta Hawks
Only if the Hawks were going to be as entertaining as their twitter account is. This is going to be a rough season in the dirty south.
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