The NBA is less than a month away from its return. Teams will begin scrimmage play in less than three weeks, and the first official games will tip-off on July 30th. The league’s landscape, however, is very different than it was in March. Several players have already decided to opt-out of the Orlando bubble or will be unavailable due to injury. This changes the outlook of favorites in the top ten power rankings.
Top Ten Power Rankings
10. Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers have not seen any players choose to opt-out yet. They’re also only without Zhaire Smith due to injury. With this being said, they have underperformed this season. Al Horford has been a disappointing addition, and Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons still lack great chemistry. The talent is definitely there for a run, however.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Trey Burke was signed to replace Brunson. It’s a solid addition, but nothing to move the Mavericks up the rankings. Cauley-Stein’s decision also leaves the Mavericks with thin frontcourt depth. With all that being said, however, the emerging duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis will be tough to stop and enough to keep the Mavs in the top 10 power rankings.
8. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat should be healthy and loaded. Jimmy Butler has been a great leader, and the young stars like Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn have stepped up this season. The play of veterans like Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala could decide the team’s fate.
7. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets made a real commitment to “small ball.” Releasing Isaiah Hartenstein was a further indicator. So far, however, they’ve remained a legitimate contender. James Harden and Russell Westbrook will be playing with their legacies on the line.
6. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have reported a few positive cases of COVID-19, including star Nikola Jokic. If recoveries go smoothly, then the Nuggets are primed for a run. They’re a deep team and Michael Porter Jr. will be an x-factor.
5. Boston Celtics
4. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors have not missed a beat without Kawhi Leonard this season, as seen in their high placement in the top 10 power rankings. Pascal Siakam has become a legitimate star, in Kyle Lowry is still elite. Their depth will be difficult to deal with.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers look like the most complete team on paper. Adding Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson only made the rich even richer. The team is a defensive nightmare, and Leonard and Paul George are one of the best duos in basketball.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Avery Bradley opted out, but the Los Angeles Lakers will now have J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters. If the Lakers can keep the rest of their roster intact then they are a real favorite behind the NBA’s best duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis
1. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks earn the top spot here after finishing with the best regular-season record. The team, however, shut down their practice facility due to COVID-19 results. If the team is at full strength, however, they will be a favorite behind likely consecutive MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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