The 2020-21 NBA season is set to begin today. Let us look at the Power Rankings as they stand today:
10. Toronto Raptors – Toronto Raptors surprised us last season and ended up with a better winning percentage than with Kawhi Leonard. They have some great players like Nick Nurse, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam, who could come back in the Eastern Conference elite even without players like OG Anunoby, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka.
9. Dallas Mavericks – Dallas Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis is expected to miss some time, and the team isn’t quite as potent to start the season. But Luka Doncic, the MVP favorite, and the league’s best offense should be able to put up wins without Porzingis. With him and Porzingis at the helm, the team could be a dangerous playoff opponent irrespective of their standings. The addition of rookie Josh Green and Josh Richardson gives the league two more solid wing defenders to go with that stellar offense.
8. Boston Celtics – Boston Celtics will be starting the 2020-21 season with some big holes in the lineup, dealing with the absence of Kemba Walker and trying to replace Gordon Hayward. The team has plenty of young players who get a chance to play, but they will be relying mostly on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for most of their offensive creation. The rookie point guard Payton Pritchard has drawn rave reviews in camp in his preseason debut and put up 16 points.
7. Utah Jazz – The Jazz’s defense suffered as they took a step forward on offense last season. At offense, they still have the same firepower as the previous season with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Donovan Mitchell, and Mike Conley, who would be more comfortable this season after a rough start to his first season in Utah last year. The league has brought back Derrick Favors. This will allow Quin Snyder and Rudy Gobert to pair up in the frontcourt, a lineup combination that was stingy in the past.
6. Brooklyn Nets – There is a lot to like about the Nets besides Kyrie Irving’s run-ins with the media. Kevin Durant seems in the form, while for Irving, it was relatively easy to rack up the points in the preseason. Spencer Dinwiddie continues to adjust to the back-up point guard’s role while showcasing improved playmaking skills. Caris LeVert also looked lively against the Boston Celtics as he scored eighteen points in only twenty-one minutes. It might take a while to set-off as the coach, Steve Nash, spends the year figuring out the rotations, but this team has the pieces to be very special if it can stay healthy.
5. Miami Heat – Miami Heat is one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference with the expected improvement of Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. They looked very comfortable with his mid-range jumper in the preseason opener. Jae Crowder was replaced by Moe Harkless, who might prove to be great too. Also, the good thing is that the team’s front office has plenty of room to make a trade as the season progresses. The team will be focusing on getting back to the NBA Finals with pretty much the whole squad back again.
4. L.A. Clippers – The Clippers’ aim to be a regular-season powerhouse again as they have a new coach, Tyronn Lue, and Montrezl Harrell was replaced with Serge Ibaka. Paul George is healthy enough to begin the season after struggling with shoulder issues. Kawhi Leonard is in great form; he quietly put up career numbers last season.
3. Denver Nuggets – Losing Jerami Grant would mean more time for Michael Porter Jr., and he’s ready for a breakout season as Nuggets tries to build on his momentum from the bubble. It would be interesting to see whether he can fit into the starting unit next to Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic or if he’s best served as a super sixth man. A healthy Gary Harris and Will Barton are to start the NBA 2020-21 season. They will be a delight for the Nuggets fans’ sore eyes.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Milwaukee Bucks has been a regular-season winning machine over the past two seasons. Also, Giannis Antetokounmpo signed his extension. The Bucks now looks to incorporate Jrue Holiday into a team. The offseason addition Bobby Portis seems to be a great addition as he performed well, averaging thirteen points and seven rebounds in less than 20 minutes per game.
1. L.A. Lakers – L.A. Lakers had a tremendous offseason in which they added the top two ‘Sixth Man of the Year’ finishers and two veterans. The team now has a growing rotation player in Talen Horton-Tucker, who performed exceptionally well on both ends of the floor in the preseason games. Kyle Kuzma looks confident, too, shooting 10 for 21 from the 3-point line in his first three preseason games. The defending league should stay afloat with such great players while intermittently resting LeBron James and Anthony Davis to be ready for the playoff time.