NBA Power Rankings: Recalibrating ahead of a new season
The NBA Power Rankings are selected by a panel of theScore's basketball editors.
With the 2020-21 season less than a month away, we're looking at how everyone stacks up after a flurry of moves during a jam-packed offseason stretch.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Milwaukee Bucks
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. Miami Heat
5. Boston Celtics
The Celtics will miss Gordon Hayward's secondary playmaking, but the team belongs to Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown now. Time for young depth assets like Romeo Langford and Grant Williams to step up.
6. Denver Nuggets
Losing Jerami Grant wasn't ideal, but not back-breaking. If the Nuggets can carry over last year's momentum, getting a top-four seed and home court in the thin air of Denver is a problem for opponents.
7. Portland Trail Blazers
Robert Covington and Derrick Jones will significantly improve the Trail Blazers' perimeter defense. Meanwhile, Enes Kanter and Harry Giles provide Portland with depth if its frontcourt gets decimated by injuries again.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
9. Brooklyn Nets
10. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors lost a lot of basketball IQ with Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol departing, but the core remains intact. Pascal Siakam has to take another step, however, to keep Toronto in upper-tier contention.
11. Dallas Mavericks
12. Utah Jazz
13. Golden State Warriors
14. Phoenix Suns
15. Houston Rockets
Shrug. Who knows how long the Rockets will boast the reunited James Harden-Russell Westbrook backcourt tandem. However, even with huge turnover throughout the organization, having those two in tow all but guarantees a playoff berth.
16. Indiana Pacers
17. New Orleans Pelicans
An extended layoff should help a well-rested Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram push the Pelicans into the playoff picture. New Orleans' young talent and compilation of draft picks have them positioned incredibly well going forward.
18. Atlanta Hawks
Time will tell whether the Hawks' big swings - signing Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, and Kris Dunn; adding Clint Capela last February - will accelerate or merely complicate Trae Young's upward trajectory.
19. Memphis Grizzlies
20. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs remain a collection of wily veterans and promising young talent - with substantial overlap. If they stumble out of the gate, expect some or all of the vets to get traded.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
Anthony Edwards should bring some much-needed excitement to the Timberwolves' fan base. The No. 1 overall pick's addition alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell give Minnesota an intriguing trio to build on.
22. Orlando Magic
23. Washington Wizards
24. Sacramento Kings
Will Buddy Hield answer coach Luke Walton's calls now that his chief competition for starting two-guard minutes, Bogdan Bogdanovic, has vamoosed? At least signee Hassan Whiteside should help smooth the uncomfortable locker room dynamics for the Kings.
25. Chicago Bulls
26. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets' offense should improve with LaMelo Ball running point and Gordon Hayward on the wing. Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington's development could go a long way in expediting Charlotte's path to contention.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder
If Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, and Lu Dort continue to grow, and Al Horford, George Hill, and Trevor Ariza actually stick around for all of 2020-21, the Thunder might be tougher than expected.
28. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons project as a bottom feeder once again after a peculiar offseason. If Blake Griffin starts the campaign healthy, expect Detroit to try and collect assets in return for the former All-NBA talent.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers' main goal should be discovering whether the Darius Garland-Collin Sexton backcourt can work long term. Beyond that, maybe Cleveland can find takers for Andre Drummond or Kevin Love's outstanding salaries.
30. New York Knicks
For a second straight offseason, the Knicks failed to land a marquee free agent after clearing salary-cap space. New York won't be much better this season, but at least it didn't overpay a player.
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