Wild’s Weekly NBA Power Rankings and Tiers
With pre-season coming to an end, it Is time for the first installment of power rankings and tiers. Here each tier will be broken down to show which teams are better or worse in that tear.
Tier 4: New Additions Can Make or Break
11. Philadelphia 76ers
The addition of Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers have been and will be huge for this team. While I do not think Doc is as amazing of a championship-winning coach as others make him out to be, he does know how to get the best from his players in the regular season. Morey was amazing this offseason, getting rid of the Horford contract and bringing in shooting via Green and Curry. This team now has pieces in place that should help Embiid and Simmons coexist. Worst comes to worst, a Harden trade could always be a way out if the season goes poorly.
Tier 5: Lower Seeded Playoff Teams
12. Golden State Warriors
This may be high for a team lacking star power with Klay Thompson out, but any team with a top 7 player in the league has an almost perennial playoff spot locked up. Curry looked good in the preseason, putting up high scoring games while taking a lot of shots. This team is yet to play a game with Green or Wiseman. The big question is does this team have any depth, and they looked surprisingly deep in preseason. Poole, Lee and Mulder looked like they could all shoot the ball well, which could help Kerr form a decent bench unit.
13. Utah Jazz
Utah did not make many big moves this offseason, re-signing Clarkson and giving Gobert a huge contract extension. However, this team does have Donavan Mitchell, who was on fire in the first round of last playoffs. If Mitchell can build off that momentum and bring more offense to a strong defensive team, the Jazz could move up a tier. This team relies on Gobert and Mitchell, but having Bogdanovic back after he missed last season’s playoffs could bring the Jazz into unexpected territory with a top 5 seed this season.
14. Toronto Raptors
Toronto lost both Ibaka and Gasol this offseason, but did end up nabbing Aaron Baynes from the Suns, and re-signed Chris Boucher. Baynes and Boucher may not be quite as adaptable as Ibaka and Gasol but should not be a large drop-off. Lowry will also be one year older, and likely a step slower, where VanVleet may be the primary guard for the Raptors this year. This team is deep like usual but lacks true star power outside of Siakam (if even). It would be a surprise to see the raptors finish as a top 4 seed in the east, but somehow, they always seem to prove their doubters wrong.
15. Indiana Pacers
Indiana missed out on acquiring Gordon Hayward this season as the Celtics got a little greedy in their offers, but still provide one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. The Pacers have a solid player at every position with some decent bench pieces. If Oladipo can return to all star form, a versatile duo of Oladipo and Sabonis could spell problems for other east contenders. This team has so many good pieces, its just about putting them together.
Tier 6: Waiting on the Surprise
16. Houston Rockets
Houston is in an interesting scenario with the Harden trade. This team is waiting for a surprise in that Harden could be there for a while, or could be gone today. Similarly, John Wall or Demarcus Cousins could be a huge surprise as these former all-stars return from injury. This team has the potential to be a middle playoff seed in the west or be the 14th seed in the west. It almost all depends on Harden. If I knew harden was going to be there, I would say this team is probably a tier 4 team.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis was really good last season, and their young pieces are extremely talented, but they are likely still a year or two away. The reason they are in this tier is because they could take a massive leap, even if just one of their young pieces improves. Its funny how this team had Iguodala and Crowder, and was almost forced to trade them away when they now lack the 3 and D players they need (except for Dillon Brooks).
18. New Orleans Pelicans
Zion playing full minutes is scary, but the scarier thing to me is that Brandon Ingram is not getting the same touches and shots as he did when he was an all-star. It is interesting they have gone away from Ingram as they move towards Zion, as while Zion is a freak of nature, he really does not have the refined skillset on offense that Ingram does (passing, playmaking, 3-point shooting). Regardless, this team has plenty of talent and depth. The only issue is that they play in a difficult western conference, where making even the eight seed is quite challenging for a young team. They need someone to make a jump, but that “someone” might even just be Zion’s minutes.
19. Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta had a crazy offseason, bringing in Gallinari, Bogdanovic and Rondo. This means that they have a bench lineup including Rondo, Gallinari, Reddish, and one of Huerter or Bogdanovic. That is a solid bench lineup, and will provide the Hawks with consistent scoring when Trae sits. This team could easily sneak into the bottom of the easter conference playoff bracket, but I still think Trae needs another anchor. I am excited to see if Collins can be that guy as the Hawks move forward. The only issue I foresee is that there could be too many scorers for just one ball.
20. Washington Wizards
The Wizards finally moved on from John Wall, in a move that made a lot of sense. Westbrook does have more time left on his deal but provides more energy and athleticism to this team that John Wall would have. Similarly, it seems like he actually wants to be in Washington and is working well with Bradley Beal. This team is likely a fringe playoff team, as they lack talented big men to complement their all-star duo.