Tha Sports Junkies 101

NBA Power Rankings #11-20

nba, Power rankings, Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors


Power Rankings 11-20


Welcome back to the NBA Power Rankings. Let’s get right into teams 11-20.


11. Dallas Mavericks – (Last season 42-40)

How they can improve: Continue to sign players from Golden State

The Mavs are a team that, when healthy, can be a very good. Dirk will give it another year since he could hit turnaround fadeaways until he’s 65. They improved on last year’s squad by siphoning Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes from the Warriors. The key this year will be Deron Williams having another solid season, unfortunately we’ll never see the Deron Williams of New Jersey Nets fame, but with plenty of playmakers around him he doesn’t have to play like that. They signed Seth Curry too so that’s a thing people will talk about, although I won’t be surprised if Seth has a very solid season.


12. Oklahoma City Thunder – (Last season 55-27)

How they can improve: Kidnap Kevin Durant

Prepare yourselves for what you’re going to see this season from Russell Westbrook, it may be the most exciting spectacle in sports. OKC is now officially Westbrook’s team and the addition of Victor Oladipo creates the most athletic backcourt in the NBA. A very young and extremely talented front court make up what will be a better team than people might think. Russ will win them a lot of games, but he’ll lose some games in the process. It’ll be an interesting season for OKC and the step back they will take from last year might be hard to accept, but Russ will do everything in his power to keep his team from losing.


13. Detroit Pistons – (Last season 44-38)

How they can improve: Drummond shoots over 50% from FT

Reggie Jackson’s recent health concerns have put them a few spots lower than originally planned, but this team will still be very tough to beat in the East. The Pistons are one of the youngest teams in the NBA with tons of talent that goes 10 players deep. They will only get better as the year goes on. Andre Drummond is already beasting on the boards with athleticism only comparable to Deandre Jordan and I expect him to somehow improve on a season where he averaged 16/15. If he could manage to shoot better than 2% from the FT line, he could become unstoppable.


14. Charlotte Hornets – (Last season 48-34)

How they can improve: Pretend Roy Hibbert was never signed

The Hornets were a very pleasant surprise last season, winning over 45 games for the first time since 2001. Nicholas Batum has always been an above average player but last season he propelled himself into the national spotlight, showing how he can do just about everything on the court. Kemba Walker finished second in the Most Improved Player ballot, MKG will return from injury and there are plenty of shooters to go around, but I’m hesitant to place them any higher than #14 and that is largely due to the fact they replaced Al Jefferson with Roy Hibbert. Now if you aren’t familiar with Hibbert consider yourself lucky, because he turned out to be nothing more than a tease. I’m a big fan of Marvin Williams, he had an incredible season last year, but he is is no way a rim protector. A frontcourt consisting of Williams, Hibbert, Frank Kaminsky, Spencer Hawes and Cody Zeller does not give me much confidence in their ability to consistently defend. This team will heavily rely on their backcourt, which will win you titles in college, but it’ll get you knocked out of the first round in the NBA.


15. Memphis Grizzlies – (Last season 42-40)

How they can improve: Stay healthy

The Grizzlies will have the same core, plus the addition of Chandler Parson, but it is a team that will ever be able to win it all? The Grizzlies paid Mike Conley an outstanding amount of money for a third-tier point guard but he will always have this team playing well. Marc Gasol will return from last February’s season ending surgery.  His counterpart, Zach Randolph, will be coming off the bench this season. The Grizzlies will likely improve this season but the lack of a “superstar” puts them in NBA limbo.


16. Houston Rockets – (Last season 41-41)

How they can improve: Capela turns into pre-LA Dwight Howard

James Harden, who has somehow becoming underrated, should be in the conversation for MVP yet again. Without another go to player, the Rockets will be in the middle pack again this season. This team has some good players and new head coach Mike D’Antoni will have the offense playing fast with Harden running the show. The issue will be if they can improve on what was already a bad defense, even when Dwight Howard was on the team. No disrespect to Ryan Anderson, he’s an excellent shooter, but he can hardly move his legs. Clint Capela will have to come in and replace Howard while trying to hold down the paint almost exclusively by himself. The Rockets (mainly Harden) will be a fun team to watch, just don’t expect them to be a threat.


17. Orlando Magic – (Last season 35-47)

How they can improve:  Figure out the crowded frontcourt

The best way to describe the Magic is by simply saying they are loaded up front; Serge Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic, and Bismack Biyombo will form an impenetrable wall that will also be a threat on offense to stretch the floor, expect Bismack, who I’d call a paint dweller. But will the Magic keep all 3 big guys? They just signed Ibaka and Biyombo so I don’t see them being traded. Maybe they’ll trade Vucevic but I think letting Frank Vogel try to work it out first is the route they’ll take. They’re still rebuilding and need more backcourt players to compliment Fournier and Hezonja.  There’s no telling what moves they may or may not make. Either way this team will be improved from last season, and may even sneak into the playoffs.


18. Chicago Bulls – (Last season 42-40)

How they can improve: Learn to shoot the ball

What a trio in Chicago we get the honor of watching this season. I really don’t know what to predict of a Butler/Rondo/Wade ran team, but I can predict that they may only hit 12 threes the entire year. Points will very hard to come by, something Bulls fans should be used to by now. An improving Eastern Conference leaves the Bulls with very little room for error. They have talent and a solid defense that will win them games, just not as many as fans are expecting.


19. Denver Nuggets – (Last season 33-49)

How they can improve: Playing the waiting game

So much youth and so much raw talent packed into one team. The Nuggets could potentially start 4 players all under the age of 23. They’ll be one of the most exciting teams to watch, the question is can they put it all together? There is a concern of whether or not Faried has reached his ceiling, and Mudiay’s questionable decision making could stall the team for the year. The good news is they have guys like Jokic, Nurkic, Barton and Murray who all have the talent to become excellent pros, bad news is they just aren’t there yet (give it another year or two). So while the Nuggets will be a force in the future, they’ll have to suffer through another sub .500 season.


20. Miami Heat – (Last season 48-34)

How they can improve: Get Tim Tebow to heal Chris Bosh

With the loss of Chris Bosh, I’m not sure there is much left of this Miami Heat team. Granted, Hassan Whiteside is locked in for the next 4 years, but if you look around him, what is there? I’m becoming a bigger fan of Hassan each and every day, but is having someone like him as the centerpiece the way to go in today’s NBA? Probably not. The Heat threw a lot of money at Tyler Johnson ($50 million over the next 4 years to be exact) who hasn’t even played a full seasons worth of games and only averaged 7.4 PPG in that time. Goran Dragic, Justice Winslow, the emergence of Josh Richardson (and Dion Waiters, I guess) make up a solid core. With no Bosh and Hassan’s inability to score outside of 2 feet, this team won’t see many W’s.


Quick Recap #11-20

11. Mavericks
12. Thunder
13. Pistons
14. Hornets
15. Grizzlies
16. Rockets
17. Magic
18. Bulls
19. Nuggets
20. Heat


(Statistics via, and