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This is from my new blog: basketballbeat.blogspot.com Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/corymcknight
Throughout the off season, there has been moves that have been incredible (Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter), as well as those that do not make any sense whatsoever (Hedo Turkoglu, Marcin Gortat). A few teams made themselves better (San Antonio, Cleveland), however several made themselves worse (Chicago, Boston). Also, some teams have simply positioned themselves for the summer of 2010 (Knicks, Clippers). With that being said, lets check out the offseason power rankings, which is where I would rank the teams if the season would start right now (Some signings are assumed).
1. Los Angeles Lakers --Assuming they resign Lamar Odom, the defending champions return everyone except Trevor Ariza. In order to upgrade at that position, they added Ron Artest. I have questions about their ability to defend a scoring PG, but they can use their front line size (Gasol, Odom, Bynum, Artest) to muscle teams off the floor.
2. San Antonio Spurs --San Antonio seems to always find a way to make the smartest decision possible. As they saw their window closing, they traded for Richard Jefferson. Now, their big three turns into a four-headed monster. Along with the Jefferson trade, they also signed veteran forward Antonio McDyess at a fairly low price. Also, they retained Roger Mason and George Hill and stole DeJaun Blair from the rest of the league on draft day. Throw in The Red Rocket Matt Bonner, and this may be the best Spurs team we have seen yet.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers --As dissapointing as last season ended for Cleveland, there is plenty of hope coming into this season, potentially the last for their courtship with LeBron James. Not only did their biggest challengers get worse, but they got better themselves. They answered questions about their frontline by trading for a revamped Shaquille O'Neal. They also turned their mid-level exception into Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon. With those signings, they added athletic forwards with size, which they seemed to lack in last seasons Eastern Conference Finals against Orlando. The rotation does not have any major holes. I look for Cleveland to win as many games as they did last year, but I still have questions about their hunger come playoff time.
4. Boston Celtics --I think there is a big gap between the first three teams and the Boston Celtics, but here they are nonetheless. There are obvious question marks, the main ones being Kevin Garnett's knees and how much Paul Pierce has left in the tank. They did add Rasheed Wallace and are working on a deal to bring in Marquis Daniels, but that did not address their main problem. Their problem in last season's playoffs was their inability to matchup with teams when they went small. Glen "Big Baby" Davis remains unsigned and I do not see him in a Boston Celtic uniform next season.
5. Orlando Magic --Although they traded a guy I was high on, Courtney Lee, they added Vince Carter to replace him. After that trade, they proceeded to overpay for both Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass. Somehow, someway, Marcin Gortat is making $7 million a year to spell franchise man Dwight Howard. Losing Turkoglu will hurt them early, but I think they can be dangerous come playoff time if they can keep healthy.
6. Denver Nuggets 7. Portland Trailblazers 8. Utah Jazz 9. Dallas Mavericks 10. New Orleans Hornets 11. Atlanta Hawks 12. Chicago Bulls 13. Miami Heat 14. Detroit Pistons 15. Washington Wizards
On the way out: Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns On the way up: Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies
Also, Im looking for a few writers for the blog as well as a cohost for a podcast. Email me at: email@example.com if you are interested!