Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, NBA fans of all ages, it is finally here. The beginning of the NBA season. With 213 transactions in July, 62 transactions in August, 98 transactions in September and 65 transactions (and counting) for the month of October, it is safe to say that the NBA Off-Season was one of the busiest in the history of the NBA.
The most interesting dynamic of the NBA Off-Season is the number of stars that have been dealt. In addition to that we have seen a handful of role players moved as well. Here is a quick rundown of who has switched teams in case you missed it this Off-Season or if there have just been too many transactions you have forgotten.
Dwight Howard traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
Paul Millsap traded to the Denver Nuggets.
Danillo Galinari traded to Los Angeles Clippers.
Chris Paul traded to the Houston Rockets.
Kyrie Irving traded to the Boston Celtics.
Paul George traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Carmelo Anthony traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jimmy Butler traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Avery Bradley traded to the Detroit Pistons.
Marcus Morris traded to the Boston Celtics.
Corey Joseph traded to the Indiana Pacers.
CJ Miles traded to the Toronto Raptors.
Allen Crabbe traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis traded to the Indiana Pacers.
Ricky Rubio traded to the Utah Jazz.
D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Brook Lopez traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine traded to the Chicago Bulls.
Trey Lyles traded to the Denver Nuggets.
Demarre Carroll traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Lou Williams, Pat Beverly, Montrez Harrell and Sam Dekker traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Enes Kanter and Doug McDermett traded to the New York Knicks.
Rudy Gay signs with the San Antonio Spurs.
Gordon Hayward signs with the Boston Celtics.
Rajon Rondo signs with the New Orleans Pelicans.
PJ Tucker signs with the Houston Rockets.
Luc Mbah Moute signs with the Houston Rockets.
Darren Collison signs with the Indiana Pacers.
Bojan Bogdanovic signs with the Indiana Pacers.
Nick Young signs with the Golden State Warriors.
Kelly Olynyk signs with the Miami Heat.
Amir Johnson signs with the Philadelphia 76ers.
JJ Redick signs with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Jamaal Crawford signs with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tyreke Evans signs with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Patrick Patterson signs with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
George Hill signs with the Sacramento Kings.
Zach Randolph signs with the Sacramento Kings.
Vince Carter signs with the Sacramento Kings.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signs with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Milos Teodosic signs with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Taj Gibson signs with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jeff Teague signs with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tim Hardaway Jr. signs with the New York Knicks.
Derrick Rose signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Dwyane Wade signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jonas Jerebko signs with the Utah Jazz.
Thabo Sefolosha signs with the Utah Jazz.
Aron Baynes signs with the Boston Celtics.
Dewayne Dedmon signs with the Atlanta Hawks.
Jonathan Simmons signs with the Orlando Magic.
Aaron Afflalo signs with the Orlando Magic.
Marreese Speights signs with the Orlando Magic.
Ian Clark signs with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Tony Allen signs with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Michael Beasley signs with the New York Knicks.
Omri Casspi signs with the Golden State Warriors.
You can tell by the number of transactions before you, that this NBA Off-Season was one of the busiest in league history. However, the real question is, what moves that were made in the Off-Season will help advance my team from where they were last season. So, without further ado, here is the first of many weekly NBA Power Rankings:
1)Golden State Warriors – The Champions of the NBA have a slew of teams looking down their necks, aiming to conquer the title this season. However, the Warriors took care of their best players in the Off-Season and added more depth. This team has all the tools to repeat their NBA Championship.
2)Cleveland Cavaliers – Although the rumors are pointing to a LeBron James departure in the 2018 summer, let’s not overlook the 2017-2018 NBA regular season. The Cavs made some big trades as we listed above and that means there are going to be quite a few changes here. However, LeBron James is still the best player on the planet and if you have him on your roster, you will have the best shot at beating the Warriors.
3)San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs didn’t make any splashy moves this summer and everyone is ready to have the Rockets and the Thunder surpass them. I recommend you pump the breaks on that take. The Spurs won 61 games last season, 2nd most in the entire league. The Spurs love it when they are being overlooked. I will never bet against Pop.
4)Oklahoma City Thunder – I was a huge fan of the Paul George move for OKC. I immediately put them as my favorite to challenge the Warriors in the West Finals. Then they added Carmelo Anthony. In all seriousness, I think the addition of Melo causes bigger problems for the flow of the Thunder’s offense. I am a believer that this team will still get it done in crunch time. I am still banking on them challenging the Warriors in the West Finals.
5)Houston Rockets – James Harden looked completely defeated in Game 6 of the West Semi-Finals going 2/11, scoring 10 points and fouling out. The Rockets realized he needed some help. They went and acquired Chris Paul who has had his fair of struggles in the NBA Playoffs as well. I understand why many are in love with this team, but I think they’re the 4th best in the West. I could see them being the 2 seed if everything comes together, but I also see the negative side to things. This will be a fun regular season team to watch but the CP3-Harden dynamic will be one to keep an eye on.
6)Boston Celtics – Look at what Danny Ainge has done. He has drafted two, highly talented wings in Tatum and Brown. He traded the heartbeat of his team for Kyrie Irving, and he acquired Gordon Hayward through free agency. This team lost some major pieces to their roster and that is why I don’t see them surpassing the Cavaliers this season. The defense of the Celtics has me a tad bit concerned and I am not the biggest supporter of Al Horford. I like Kyrie and Hayward together a lot though. Hayward is probably the best overall player on this team but there is no doubt in my mind, that this is Irving’s team.
7)Washington Wizards – I am extremely interested to see what Washington does this season. While we saw a handful of moves above, you’ll notice that the Wizards aren’t mentioned. The continuity of this roster might be the key to success. Not to mention the Eastern Conference isn’t as loaded. Lastly, I am curious to see if Beal and Wall can remain healthy this season.
8)Minnesota Timberwolves – The Wolves have been a team that everyone wants to see explode with success. They added three key starters to the roster this summer and I expect these moves to leap Minnesota into the playoffs. Jimmy Butler might be the leader, but the best player on this roster is Karl Anthony Townes. You saw the last few months of the season and how well he played. I believe that KAT and Butler together will make a way for the T-Wolves to succeed.
9)Milwaukee Bucks – All aboard the Giannis for MVP train! I am screaming this from the mountain top because I truly believe that he is the most exciting player in the league. If his three-point shot can develop over the year, he will be one of the most un-guardable forces in the entire league.
10)Toronto Raptors – It has been an interesting few years in Toronto. The Raptors have a solid basketball team but they have been bounced in the playoffs in dramatic fashion. DeRozan is a really good-player but for some reason they just haven’t had that post-season success like many suspected they would have. I don’t know how much of a help CJ Miles will be to this roster, but they need more shooting. This will be one of the better teams in the East, but they have holes they haven’t addressed.
11)Denver Nuggets – I don’t believe there was one day on Twitter where I didn’t hear or read someone talking about how great Nikola Jokic is. NBA Twitter has a ton of reasons to love this young player. This young team is just ready to explode into the playoff scene and I am fully behind it. This team is deep and they have the pieces to make a BIG move. One area I am concerned is the point guard area. Mudiay has talent but he hasn’t found his niche with Denver. I think Denver should Pair Mudiay and Faired/Chandler (plus a pick if needed) to the Suns for Eric Bledsoe. Either way, I think Nelson is a solid backup point guard that could run this team well enough to get them into the playoffs
12)Los Angeles Clippers – I am eager to see this team more than any other team in the league. The pieces they’ve added have just been solid pickups across the board. When you ship out Chris Paul and receive a handful of guys that can help you compete, you’ve done alright. If Blake Griffin can stay healthy, (which he hasn’t in recent years) using him as the focal point of the offense will lead to a more team first type of offense.
13)New Orleans Pelicans – This roster has me skeptical. I don’t love it, but I want it to work so bad. This might be a little too high but I have them making the playoffs in the Western Conference. They still have areas they need to improve on, but I like Anthony Davis being able to raise his game up to an MVP level. DeMarcus Cousins needs to adjust the way he has been perceived over his entire NBA career as well. Looming free agency, Cousins could also be dealt this season if things start to fall. I am rooting for New Orleans to win a lot of games because Anthony Davis is too good to be watching the playoffs on his couch.
14)Miami Heat – Waiter’s Island is BACK! It is time for the NBA fans to continue on this hype train as the Miami Heat look to expand upon their success from the last half of the 2016-17 season. There is a lot to like here with this roster and I am fully expecting the Heat to make the playoffs and challenge one of the top 4 teams in a competitive series.
15)Portland Trailblazers – I hate that I have Portland as the 9th seed in the West, but I just am really struggling to see them make it. They had a decent showing in 2015-2016 and they regressed in 2016-2017. I think teams below them made better moves to solidify themselves as playoff worthy. Keep an eye on the trade exception they received when they dealt Allen Crabbe. That money could be valuable to a decent size trade for the Blazers.
16)Utah Jazz – The Jazz are one of the most efficient defenses in the league. They have a defensive juggernaut in Rudy Gobert who can change the game for them. Like Portland, I wanted to put this team in the playoffs. However, they lost their two best scorers and as much as I love defense, you have to have guys that can make buckets. As good as he was last season in the playoffs, relying on iso-Joe for 82 games is a bit much to ask. If the Jazz do exceed my expectations, it is because their coach, Quinn Snyder found something in this group that I can’t see. Snyder is a phenomenal coach.
17)Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets have been a team you will see me joke about all season long. I actually don’t hate this roster but there are a number of guys on here I don’t think fit. I like Cody Zeller with the starting unit, but with adding Howard to the roster you have to place Zeller on the bench. Kemba is a darn good point guard. I don’t understand how the Hornets missed the playoffs last season but they struggled. I am still not ready to fall in love with them again like I did two seasons ago, but they are a playoff team in the East.
18)Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies have changed their identity a little this season but Gasol and Conley Jr. are what is the heartbeat of this roster. Will Parsons finally stay healthy this season? Don’t bank on it. Losing Randolph, Allen and Carter takes the level of leadership away from this team and it has me worried. Gasol has been linked to multiple trade rumors as well. I hope that the Grizzlies make a move of some sort, because Grit and Grind is officially over. They will have talent to win games like they always do, but the end of an era in Memphis is among us.
19)Philadelphia 76ers – I want Joel Embiid to play at least 60 games before I place this team in the playoffs. I love his game probably more than any other player in the league. He has everything you want in a franchise player except for his inability to stay on the court. I have Philly outside of the playoffs right now but I think this roster is talented enough to get in. They are an extremely young team as well. Last year, so many people bought into the T-Wolves hype and they had the 7th overall pick in the lottery instead of the 7th best record in the West. I think Philly is more than likely going to be like last years’ T-Wolves, than the team we expect to dive into the playoffs to upset a top 3 seed.
20)Detroit Pistons – The Pistons are the 7th seed for me in the East. While I like the move to acquire Bradley, I am hesitant to deem them playoff worthy. I like Drummond but he can’t hit a free throw to save his life. Reggie Jackson has been dangled in multiple trade rumors as head coach, SVG has made it clear that Jackson isn’t his top choice to run the offense. I am hoping that Detroit does succeed because this could be the last year SVG is the head coach if things begin to fall.
21)Indiana Pacers – The Pacers have a tough road ahead of them this season. Losing you best player in franchise history since Reggie Miller is never an easy task to overcome. However, they have financially set themselves up for success come next season and they have a lot of talented players. I would love for Indiana to either tank or get into the playoffs but I don’t think they’ll do either. I am anticipating Indiana gets another late lottery pick. They’ve managed to draft guys like Paul George, Myles Turner and Reggie Miller in those late lottery selections, so maybe they’re smarter than we think.
22)Dallas Mavericks – The Mavericks have a young point guard in Dennis Smith Jr. that is going to take the league by storm. In addition, this season will be more about Maverick legend, Dirk. Dirk is entering what could be his finally season as a Maverick and that is heartbreaking for the NBA. Germany hasn’t produced a talent for the NBA like Dirk, ever. The Mavericks overall have some talent and they could be a surprise team, but I would not put my money on it.
23)Orlando Magic – I was able to attend a Magic preseason game while I was visiting on vacation and they have a beautiful arena. The fans were scarce but the ones that were there were having a blast. The Magic roster though is still just a work in progress. I like some of the moves they made and I expect them to find improvement this season. Seeing what Aaron Gordon can do is huge for this team. They are wanting him to handle the ball more like Blake Griffin is doing in LA, but I haven’t seen the skillset from Gordon to say he is on that level. If it doesn’t work out this year with Gordon, I say trade him while his stock is high. Orlando does have a lot to be excited for this season though. Especially watching rookie Jonathan Isaac, develop into the player they think he can be.
24)Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball is a good basketball player. Brandon Ingram is a talented basketball player. Brook Lopez is a proven veteran. Luke Walton is a great coach. This team also has preseason sensation, Kyle ‘The Goat’ Kuzma. While LA has a lot to be excited for I think this season should be titled ‘Growing Pains’. The Lakers will be fun to watch and they will be on TV a lot, but they’re just not as talented as the other teams in the West. I like what they’re building here, but I am not ready to jump on board for them pushing for a playoff spot.
25)New York Knicks – The light is starting to show itself at the end of the tunnel for the Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis is free from Phil Jackson and the Knicks are hoping to retool this team to help Kristaps rise to the playoffs. After trading Carmelo Anthony, the team can officially look to build around Kristaps as well. I like where this team is headed but it will take about 3-5 years to see how good Steve Mills can turn this team around. I want to see how the Knicks look with Porzingis at the center position and how rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina develops. Frank Ntilikina is tall point guard that can defend multiple positions. The worst information for Knicks fans is that you are still paying the shell of Joakim Noah, $17M a season.
26)Sacramento Kings – The Kings are a going to be a fun team that will use this season to grow. Bringing in three, key veterans to help teach a younger generation will be a work in progress. I personally thought the Kings had the best selections on Draft night. Being able to draft prospects who play different-positions on the court, will only help this team grow. They will more than likely have another top pick in the 2018 Draft, which can only strengthen the depth of this team.
27)Brooklyn Nets – The Nets are going to be on League Pass for me a lot. I like this team so much that I have them 11th overall in the East. With no incentives to tank, they will play to win every game. Not to mention, all these players have one thing in common. They all were signed to ridiculous contracts by other ball clubs, and then they were treated as salary dump offs to the Nets. These players were looked at as if they were more of a problem, than less of one. I think that frustration unifies this team to play with a chip on their shoulder. They were the outcasts on their former teams and now they have motivation to prove themselves.
28)Phoenix Suns – The Suns will more than likely tank this season to get the number one overall pick. They will probably try and trade Chandler, Dudley and Bledsoe if the asking price is high enough. I love Booker and think he is a star in the making. I like the potential of Josh Jackson as well. However, the rest of this roster is mediocre at best. Bledsoe is still the team most coveted asset and that is why I think the Suns should trade him.
29)Atlanta Hawks – Sorry Hawks fans, but I absolutely hate the makeup of your team. It is nice to see that your teams’ best player has already been arrested too. I don’t want to hate too much on your team because I really liked Prince last year and Collins this season in the NBA Draft. So knowing this, the team is rebuilding. They want to become a force once again but the core they had together wasn’t going to evolve into anything more than mediocrity. Be patient Hawks fans, because in about 3 years, you will be back in the hunt.
30)Chicago Bulls – When you think of the Bulls you think of Michael Jordan winning 6-NBA Finals. You think of Derrick Rose taking the league by storm and winning Rookie of the Year. You then see a terrific young player in Jimmy Butler become a coveted All-Star. Now this season, you get to hear Nikola Mirotic announced last with the starting lineup. My how things have changed in Chicago. Everyone in the league expects the Bulls to be the worst team in the NBA, and I fully agree. The Bulls will be in full tank mode, as they hope to find their next Derrick Rose.
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