With a long preseason finally in the rearview, here are theScore's NBA Power Rankings heading into the 2019-20 campaign. Every two weeks until the end of the season, our hoops staff will compile and adjust accordingly.
The 6-foot-5 Josh Richardson is the shortest player in the Sixers' projected starting lineup. That alone is going to give teams nightmares this season.
With a high-usage playmaker in James Harden already in the fold, swapping out Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook feels like a downgrade in fit. However, there's no denying the degree of MVP-caliber talent at the Rockets' disposal.
One of last season's best defensive teams added a stud two-way point guard in Mike Conley and a premium shooter in Bojan Bogdanovic. This is Utah's best opportunity to reach the Finals since the Jerry Sloan era.
The addition of Jerami Grant was one of the offseason's sneakiest moves. His ability to stretch the floor and defend multiple positions will pay dividends for the Nuggets.
The Warriors' depth is spotty with several longtime reserves moving on, but Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and D'Angelo Russell still form a formidable foundation. Klay Thompson may return late in the season as well.
A conference finals return may be too much for the Blazers, who are still solid on paper. Competition in the West has increased tenfold, and Hassan Whiteside may not be enough to deputize for the injured Jusuf Nurkic.
Caris LeVert was averaging nearly 20 points per contest before suffering a gruesome leg injury early last season. Playing alongside Irving could take his game to the next level.
The maestros of the mid-range are chasing the Spurs' 23rd consecutive playoff berth. Dejounte Murray returning from a one-year injury layoff is a boost.
The Heat have treaded water in the five seasons since LeBron left, finishing with between 37 and 48 wins. With the Dwyane Wade retirement tour over, they can start looking to the future with Jimmy Butler leading the charge.
The Pacers sat third in the East as late as March 15 last season. Victor Oladipo returning to full health will be key, as is Myles Turner making a leap and Malcolm Brogdon offsetting the loss of Bogdanovic.
With Steve Clifford inserted at head coach last season, the Magic saw a 17-win improvement (42-40) and their first playoff appearance since 2012. Further ascent will come down to successfully decluttering the team's overcrowded frontcourt.
Harrison Barnes' four-year, $85-million contract might be a bit too much, but he'll bring stability to a position that's seen a revolving door of players in recent seasons.
Unless former No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins can improve his weaknesses - defense, passing, scoring efficiency - the Timberwolves will miss the postseason for the 15th time in 16 seasons.
The size of Paul's contract might keep him in Oklahoma City this season. It will be interesting to see how he helps the development of backcourt mate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
You're better off letting the nightly highlight shows cherry-pick the best moments of Ja Morant's rookie year.
Here's to hoping that rookie RJ Barrett gets some spacing to operate with the Knicks' glut of big men.
Kevin Love is one of the league's most intriguing trade chips. At 31, he still has plenty in the tank but is entering the first season of a four-year, $120-million contract extension.
The Hornets own a .396 winning percentage since the franchise returned to Charlotte in 2004. They just lost their all-time leading scorer, so don't expect that number to improve much - or at all.