Way Too Early Power Rankings for the 2019-2020 Season

With the 2018-2019 season over, it’s time to start thinking about next year. So today, I’ll be setting my own power rankings including brief descriptions for every team. Let’s get started

Western Conference

  1. Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are the team to beat, despite recent advancements in the West, Curry and the Warriors will continue to be a threat, with or without Klay and KD, this team is more than half of its stars.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

It’s finally time for Lebron’s return. Now with the help of AD, the Lakers will be a force to reckoned with. Not to mention the Lakers are front runners in the Kyrie, Jimmy and Kemba sweepstakes.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder had an off year, but PG and Westbrook aren’t done yet. Expect this team to surge through the rankings and find their way into the second round, maybe even third round. This team is due for a breakthrough.

4. Houston Rockets

James Harden alone will carry the Rockets to a top 4 seed. Chris Paul and Clint Capela’s situations put Houston in a do or die situation. These two stars could be traded for better pieces that could help elevate this team, or be traded for rebuilding assets. Regardless, the 4th seed seems like a comfortable fit for Houston.

5. Denver Nuggets

Following an impressive season, the Nuggets have a lot to live up to. Jokic and Murray will certainly be up to the challenge, as they welcome Michael Porter Jr. back from injury, someone who could really help the Nuggets hold onto their elite status

SACRAMENTO, CA – JANUARY 3: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets and Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 3, 2019 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

6. Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum aren’t done just yet. Following an anti-climatic sweep from the injury riddled Warriors, Portland will be looking for redemption as they look to make use of Damian Lillards prime.

7. Sacramento Kings

The Kings are looking to make a big free agency signing to add to Fox and Hield, if this happens, the Kings could be looking at finally ending their playoff drought, and gaining a playoff position for the first time in years.

8. Utah Jazz

Last season the Jazz were a 50 win team, while this was certainly great, the Jazz are going to be losing crucial player like Rubio, and Gobert’s impact may decrease as he gets older, Mitchell will need to step up and earn a playoff spot for Utah once again

9. Los Angeles Clippers

A strikeout in free agency seems very likely for the Clippers. Unfortunately they simply don’t have the star power to keep ahead of Lebron’s Lakers, who will eventually lead to their elimination. No question the Clippers are good, but there are just too many great teams in this conference.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves

Sadly, it seems as though another disappointing year awaits Minnesota. No significant roster upgrades have been made, and the only one imminent is a draft pick that awaits the Timberwolves. The only hope for the Wolves is that fro-Wiggins finally reaches his true potential

11. San Antonio Spurs

The end of an era is on the horizon. The Spurs have barely made the playoffs two years in a row now. An aging Aldridge and Derozan are lingering whispers in the ears of Spurs executives that make a rebuild imminent in San Antonio

12. New Orleans Pelicans

While the Pelicans are certainly on the rise, especially with their most recent trade, and winning of the draft lottery, Zion, Ball and the squad will need to wait a few more years before they see any playoff action. Look for this team to dominate in 3 or so years though

13. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks are on the rise, with Doncic and Porzingis coming in, the Mavericks will be a fighter for a playoff spot this season. The Mavs not making the playoffs will just be a result of too many good teams in the west taking the spots

OAKLAND, CA – MARCH 23: Kristaps Porzingis #6 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks warm up prior to a game against the Golden State Warriors on March 22, 2019 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

14. Phoenix Suns

The Suns are another team on the rise, but unfortunately, teams on the rise cannot be contenders in the west. A deep team with stars is what earns a playoff spot, the Suns simply don’t have that just yet. But they will rise very soon, with the help of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton.

15. Memphis Grizzlies

This team is the only team in the west that has no true star power (Conley seems to be on the way out). The Grizzlies are weathering a storm and hoping Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks, and likely Ja Morant will be able to break through in the future, and restore Memphis’ playoff position.

Eastern Conference

  1. Toronto Raptors

It seems more and more likely every day that Kawhi resigns. If he chooses to do so, the defending champions should be a lock for the first seed. This is a team even without Kawhi that could find their way into a top seed, led by Siakam and Lowry.

2. Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn is eyeing multiple big name free agents. If they can secure Kyrie Irving and Tobias Harris, there’s no question Brooklyn will find themselves as a top seed in the East.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers are hungry. Joel and Ben Simmons are back, and they’ll both be looking to avenge the shot that cost the Sixers their title. In the likely event that either Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris leaves, this team will need to play gritty in order to hold onto a top seed.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 25: Ben Simmons #25 and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the game against the Houston Rockets on October 25, 2017 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

4. Milwaukee Bucks

MVP Giannis will surely be in full effect, but the free agency of Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon could bring the Bucks back down to earth after their incredible regular season.

5. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are another team that are looking to score big, notably with D’Angelo Russell, in FA. If the Pacers can land Russell, the currently existing team of Oladipo and Turner would easily find their way into the playoffs.

6. Boston Celtics

A Kyrie departure seems evident, and with Al Horford entering free agency, the future of the Celtics lies in the hands of Jayson Tatum, who will certainly get the Celtics in the playoffs, however it won’t be nearly as strong as last season, without Kyrie.

7. Charlotte Hornets

Let’s get one thing straight, Kemba is staying. Walker had an incredible season and will be looking to propel the Hornets back into the playoffs after a couple missed years. The Hornets are also targeting Hassan Whiteside, who could help the Hornets get into the playoffs if given enough minutes

8. Detroit Pistons

The Pistons have been very steady. Despite getting destroyed by the Bucks in round 1, don’t expect the gritty men in Detroit to back down. Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will be looking to hold onto a playoff spot once again.

9. Washington Wizards

A playoff appearance for the Wizards has slipped away as John Wall remains sidelined for the entire season. Wall is a crucial player for the Wizards, and Beal simply won’t have the help he needs to get Washington back into the playoffs.

10. Orlando Magic

Following an impressive playoff appearance, Orlando now faces the potential loss of their star center, Nikola Vucevic, who enters free agency looking for a nice contract. Many teams will show interest in Vucevic, and his departure could significantly hurt the Magic

11. Miami Heat

Miami is in no position to succeed at the moment. With tons of expensive contracts, and only Josh Richardson playing well, the Heat will surely feel the loss of DWade as they enter a dark era. A high concentration of average players will win games, but will not secure a playoff spot

12. New York Knicks

The Knicks are going to sign somebody. It might not be who they want, but names like Terry Rozier and even Nikola Vucevic seem appealing to a Knicks team that needs stars. The Knicks will likely improve, but still fall short of a playoff spot.

13. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are asking a lot out of Zach Lavine. Lavine by himself is not enough to get Chicago back into the playoffs. They will need to surprise everyone if they want to come even close to earning a playoff seed. For now, Zach Lavine’s development must continue, as Chicago will need to capitalize on a week east eventually.

14. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are a solid team no doubt, but Taurean Prince for Allen Crabbe will only hurt their chances at the playoffs. Trae Young and John Collins will eventually be a strong duo, but the Hawks will need more time to develop Trae Young specifically, before they make any noise in the East.

15. Cleveland Cavaliers

There’s no reason for Cleveland to be ahead of anyone. They are looking at saying goodbye to Kevin Love for rebuilding assets, and will have no great players on their roster next season. Jordan Clarkson and Colin Sexton have a lot of work to do before they even come close to a playoff spot.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – MARCH 22: Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pauses on the court during the first half against the LA Clippers at Quicken Loans Arena on March 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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