Post Labor Day NBA Power Rankings

This is the first ever Power Rankings from the Jump Ball, new rankings will come out on the first Tuesday of every month during the regular season.

1.
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Golden State Warriors Last season depth was a big concern, so after resigning their core the Warriors shored up their bench with additions of Omri Casspi and Nick Young as well as stealing Jordan Bell from the Bulls. Primed for another big season
2.  Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.37 AM Houston Rockets Besides adding a top 5 Point Guard in Chris Paul, they added solid defensive wings in Luc Mbah-a-Moute and PJ Tucker to help take on the Warriors. Harden will be able to pace himself during games and through the whole season to make sure there is something left in the tank come playoff time.
3. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.45 AM Oklahoma City Thunder Swindling the Indiana Pacers for Paul George, then adding Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton to the fold will give the Thunder more options on the offensive end to ease the burden on Russell Westbrook. With a stronger supporting cast expect Russ’ numbers to drop a bit but the Thunder’s win totals to go up.
 4.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.09 AM Cleveland Cavaliers The trade for Isaiah Thomas might not look so good if he misses a large chunk of the season. The trade was billed as a piece for the current squad and for the future. The Brooklyn draft pick may not turn into a top 5 pick like the Cavs are hoping for.
 5.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.42 AM Boston Celtics Only 4 returning players (Smart, Horford, Rozier, Brown) from last year’s roster, the Celtics have a lot of work to do when it comes to figure out how all the new pieces will fit. Even after all these improvements, the Celtics still have the same weaknesses, rebounding and rim protection.
 6.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.21 AM San Antonio Spurs Expecting the Spurs to take a dip this year is not out of the question, with DeJounte Murray and Patty Mills handling the PG duties with Tony Parker out for a long while. Also losing Jonathan Simmons and Dewayne Dedmon will hurt them this coming year.
 7.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.38 AM Washington Wizards The Wizards basically are bringing back the same team as last season while the Cavs and Celtics each made improvements. Going to need another big year from John Wall and Bradley Beal but the biggest weakness is when those guys need some rest.
8.  Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.27 AM Toronto Raptors The Raptors were in a tough spot with all the free agents they had going into the offseason. They did well not to give up a long-term deal to Kyle Lowery but it feels like the Clippers of the East are going to begin to decline this year unless DeMar DeRozan can have another amazing offensive season.
 9.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.23 AM Minnesota Timberwolves After falling way short of their expectations last season, the Wolves made a ton of changes the biggest of all was getting Jimmy Butler from the Bulls then adding veterans like Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague, and Taj Gibson so the time is now to end this playoff draught.
 10.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.34 AM Utah Jazz Losing Gordon Hayward definitely hurt but the Jazz recovered nicely with Ricky Rubio and resigning Joe Ingles. The big question is whether Rodney Hood can step and contribute in a big way for them. Also watch for Donovan Mitchell to have an impact as a rookie.
 11.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.16 AM Milwaukee Bucks The hardest thing to do in sports is taking the leap. The Bucks failed two seasons ago to make the leap but have another chance now. It’s going to take Giannis Antetokounmpo taking and hitting more jumpers, Middleton coming in strong as the secondary scorer, and Thon Maker taking the leap.
12.Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.20 AM Denver Nuggets If the Nuggets are not already the League Pass darlings of the NBA they will be once the season gets rolling. With an ever improving Nikola Jokic and the addition of Paul Millsaps they aren’t hoping to make the playoffs, they are expecting to make it.
13. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.09 AM Portland Trail Blazers A full season of the core Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and a fit Jusef Nurkic could put the Blazers squarely in the playoff race in the Western Conference. Look for rookie Caleb Swanigan to quickly become a fan favorite with his blue-collar work in the paint and ability to stretch the floor with his shot.
14. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.56 AM Charlotte Hornets The reunion of Steve Clifford and Dwight Howard, snagging Malik Monk in the draft and a healthy Cody Zeller could kelp Kemba Walker and the Hornets get back into the playoffs in a weaker Eastern Conference
15. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.03 AM Memphis Grizzlies With the end of the Grit and Grind era it’s tough to really figure out this team. Losing Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, and most likely Tony Allen is going to hurt but they still have Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. A lot will depend on how healthy Chandler Parsons can remain this season.
16. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.52 AM Los Angeles Clippers Like the Jazz, the Clippers did a good job of quick recovery after losing Chris Paul to the Rockets. They are a deeper team but not sure if they are a better team. Danilo Gallinari is probably the most talented offensive players they’ve had at the small forward spot in years, it’s a shame that in the new NBA he’s better suited to play as a stretch four.
17. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.29 AM New Orleans Pelicans We barely hit September and the Pelicans have already lost two guys to injury. Not a good sign for a team that has to start strong otherwise Alvin Gentry might be shown the door rather quickly. I’m one of the few that believe the DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis pairing could work but worry the Pels don’t have enough shooters to give them the required space.
18. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.11 AM Miami Heat The Jekyll and Hyde team in the NBA, are they the 11-31 team that started last season or are they 31-11 team that just nearly missed the playoffs? After striking out in the big name free agency market, they brought in guys who are mostly role players to help them prove that the end of last season was not a fluke.
19. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.57 AM Philadelphia 76ers Playoffs are not at all out of the question for this Sixers team if they can stay healthy. They’ll need to get at least 60 games from Embiid and a healthy Simmons to go along with Fultiz and Redick. In the weak Eastern Conference, they have enough talent to finish in the 6-8 range.
20. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.26 AM Detroit Pistons Replacing KCP with Avery Bradley is an upgrade for the Pistons but their season will come down to what they do with Reggie Jackson, can they find a way to get it going with him or find a trade partner for him if they want to make it back into the playoffs.
21. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.14 AM Dallas Mavericks The Mavs might have come away with the steal of the draft with Dennis Smith Jr but in the ultra tough West it may not be enough to make the playoffs. This will be a good year to tank and invest fully into their young guys but I do not expect Mark Cuban to go for it.
22. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.58 AM Los Angeles Lakers All eyes are going to be on Lonzo Ball, if struggles early everyone will jump off the wagon, if he finds early success the already full bandwagon will get even more crowded. With all eyes on Ball, the guy to really watch is Brandon Ingram who is poised to have a great out year.
23. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.14 AM Sacramento Kings After having a great draft, the Kings had an interesting free agency bringing in vets like George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter to mentor the young guys while they try to win a few more games this year. Not sure how many more wins they’ll get this year but it won’t be a lot.
24. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.35 AM New York Knicks The drama just never ends in the city that doesn’t sleep. It looks like the new regime wants to invest in their young guys and transition from the Melo era to the Porzingis era. It’s hard to do with Melo still in the locker room. The good news for Jeff Hornacek is the shackles of the Triangle have been lifted and he can coach the team as he sees fit.
25. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.48 AM Brooklyn Nets Many forget that the Nets were not that bad when Lin was healthy. The addition of D’Angelo Russell might have given them a future cornerstone of the franchise if they can change his approach to the game.
26. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.46.51 AM Orlando Magic This is a team that I never seem to understand their plan (if there is one), Jonathan Isaacs might be the forgotten rookie but not sure where he’ll play on an already frontcourt with Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, Bismack Biyombo, Jonathan Simmons, and Maurice Speights. Just tough to make out what their long term plans out. The new front office certainly will have to figure it all out.
27. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.43 AM Indiana Pacers The Pacers decision to trade Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis just doesn’t make sense if they waited a few days to see what the Celtics might have ponied up for him. I’m sure the Thunder deal would have still been on the table if they waited. Now the team is building around second year player Myles Turner and has a roster full of role players. It’s a race to the bottom for them.
28. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.44.34 AM Atlanta Hawks Travis Schlenk has already begun the tanking process in Atlanta but found a nice young asset in John Collins in the draft to start it off.
29. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.47.02 AM Phoenix Suns Devin Booker is a scoring savant but his play hasn’t led to many wins in first two seasons in the NBA. The Suns have a ton of young and unproven talent in Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, and now rookie Josh Jackson to develop to get the Suns to start rising.
30. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.45.01 AM Chicago Bulls Giving your best player away from about 50 cents on the dollar is a great way to kick off a tanking movement. Not getting a future draft pick out of the deal doesn’t help the tank job they are going to try to pull off. Lauri Markkanen’s play for Finland in the EuroBasket tournament might give fans something to watch this season but that’s about it.

 

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