FranT and I share an affinity for Grantland. But much like Fran has adopted the Grantland concept of BestCoolest and wondered how he could create his own lists by that measure, I read Zach Lowe's categorization of NBA teams the other day, and loved it but wasn't wholly satisfied. After reading countless preview articles and thousands of tweets, I had to make a preview list of my own.
Here are how I see all 30 NBA teams, from worst to first so you at least have to skip down to the bottom before closing out. This is how I see the best teams, not necessarily the most wins, as there is speculation some of the older teams will rest guys more often, and some teams won't get key players back from injury until certain points in the season. So the ranking also assumes full health unless otherwise noted.
To save you from my rantings, and to save me from myself - I'm keeping commentary in "twitter verse", 140 characters or less, or so. Here goes!
30. Philadelphia 76ers
Gonna be so bad I couldn’t even bid on tickets for them vs the Knicks at the Murphy’s Masters.I totally would’ve bid otherwise(eye roll).
29. Orlando Magic
Oladipo plus Wiggins could be a lethal combo NEXT season? Turkoglu will provide veteran leadership? Barf.
28. Charlotte Bobcats
Interested to see if Michael-Kidd Gilchrist is the dude so many people thought he'd be. Does the addition of Al Jefferson open things up? Does anyone care?
27. Phoenix Suns
I know every player wants more minutes, touches, and money (not always in that order). But Eric Bledsoe can’t love going from Lob City to this.
26. Toronto Raptors
I know that there’s a guy named Valucinas, and I know he’s supposed to be good… Let’s move on.
25. Milwaukee Bucks
Hey they say there's no middle class in today's NBA, right? Milwaukee knew what it had to do and did it. Could be a long one.
Jefferson gone. Millsap gone. Gordon Hayward, this.is.your.time!
23. Boston Celtics
Do love how far they’ve fallen...but they r not as good to hate w/o Pierce or KG. Never fully trusted Rondo - wonder how he handles playing for a stinker?
22.Los Angeles Lakers
Maybe Gasol and Nash can play some real fun to watch, beautiful basketball together before Kobe Buzzkill returns. Still don't see many W's.
21. Sacramento Kings
Ben McLemore couldn’t have ended up in a worse spot. Seems toxic out there...but maybe we’re all looking too much into the subject.
20. New Orelans Pelicans
Great young talent on paper. Jrue is awesome. Tyreke? Jury's still out in my book. Regardless seems like the birds are trending upward.
19. Detroit Pistons
Thought the Drummond/Monroe front line was scary before the addition of Josh Smiff. At best, though, "trap game" wins will be their highlight.
18. Atlanta Hawks
The ultimate "bleh" team lost some of its "bleh" when the aforemtnioned Smiff left town. Love Horford, like Teague, they don't have much else.
17. Cleveland Cavaliers
My East excited pick. I'm as big on Kyrie as anyone, and if him and Bynum stay healthy, Cleveland learns to love again after being jolted 3 years ago.
16. Portland Trail Blazers
Stinks that McCollum will start the season injured. Lillard, McCollum and Aldrige make the Blazers a tough out for anybody. But will be an out.
15. Dallas Mavericks
Is Monta Ellis the piece they've been missing?? I doubt it. I was actually hoping the O.J. Mayo resurgence would work out in Big D.
14. Washington Wizards
The Wizards got some sneaky W's last season without John Wall, and then Wall came back and they made even bigger waves. Just sayyyyyin.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
My West excited pick. I think Love and Rubio are awesome together and separate, but neither have been healthy same time. Let’s get them into the playoffs.
12. Denver Nuggets
No Iguodala, more importantly no George Karl, so they’ll drop off. But Lawson, Faried, McGee get you somewhere.
11. Brooklyn Nets
Scary at their best. Seems like Joe Johnson and Pierce do much of the same thing. Will Pierce be content being a "half-truth"? Like Lopez. Hate KG.
10. New York Knicks
So excited. So many question marks, but all a fan needs is a little hope. It's there. But still don't think their "best" gets out of East :(
Still....I had to...let's go!
9. Golden State Warriors
The Splash Brothers are must see TV. Some argued D Lee ruined their spacing..does Mark Jackson balance D Lee, AI, and Bogut properly?
8. Memphis Grizzlies
Randolph is always a question mark but he's a beast at best, and Conley was trending upward all last season. Grindhouse tough place to play.
7. Los Angeles Clippers
If you believe in that "it takes 3 years" bit, this is CP3's third in LA. Doc and their new additions will help them make a deep run finally.
6. Houston Rockets
I liked them before they ended up on the winning end of the "Dwightmare". Harden finally got the spotlight last year...wonder if they can share it?
5. Chicago Bulls
I'm with everyone thinking Thibs's Grinders + Rose = a force. My one question is if D Rose's return messes with that "blue collar" mojo?
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
KD is famously tired of being "no 2". Doubt that changes this year but think they r once again elite. Plus they have a true home court advantage.
3. Indiana Pacers
The book on them last year was they were "1 player away" from toppling MIA. I think if their current personnel (if slightly improved) plus Granger, they r fine.
2. San Antonio Spurs
As long as Parker plays as well as last year and Leohnard/Green weren't playoff flukes. Last serious run for this core group? Getting there.
1. Miami Heat
Same dominance all year long, D-Wade might be out to prove something and LBJ is still LBJ. May have exhausted most of their luck in Game 6, tho.