One week of the NBA preseason is behind us and the regular season is right around the corner!
It was a long offseason packed with superstar movement, trades, signings and more. The league is as open as it has been in nearly a decade with a ton of different teams that believe they have what it takes to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy at the end of the season.
These power rankings aren't necessarily impacted by the results of the preseason. If a team has been playing well they may have earned a boost, but preseason action can only be taken with a grain of salt as the premier players typically only play one half of the game.
This is more to give you an idea of where we believe teams stand heading into the 2019-20 season.
With that being said, take a look at the first edition of our power rankings heading into the new season:
All projected records are based off of the Westgate odds in Las Vegas.
10. Boston Celtics
Projected record: 50-32
The Celtics are coming off of one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history in terms of never reaching their full potential. After some roster turnover with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford both gone, All-NBA guard Kemba Walker will lead Boston as he takes over as the floor general and leader of this team.
The talent is still there for the Celtics to go as far as the NBA Finals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown should continue their progress as one of the most promising young duos in the league. Gordon Hayward looks like he has his bounce back and Marcus Smart will remain one of the best defenders in the NBA.
Their frontcourt depth poses potential issues, but if Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams can find a way to maximize their production, the Celtics will be right near the top of the Eastern Conference again.
9. Portland Trail Blazers
Projected record: 46-36
The Trail Blazers get counted out every offseason and time-and-time again, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum lead their team to one of the best records in the Western Conference.
They've now made the playoffs in six consecutive seasons with last year's trip to the Western Conference Finals being the best result we've seen from Portland's backcourt tandem.
The Blazers signed both Lillard and McCollum to contract extensions this offseason, showing their belief that the duo has what it takes to reach the NBA Finals and win a title.
However, the rest of the roster had almost a complete makeover. They'll now rely on Hassan Whiteside to hold down the centre position until Jusuf Nurkic can return from his season-ending leg injury last year. Players like Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and Mario Hezonja will have key roles on their new team while returning guys like Rodney Hood and Zach Collins will be asked to do a lot more than last season.
The new-look Blazers might take some time to mesh, but you can count on Lillard and McCollum to keep this team in the playoff hunt no matter what's going on around them.
8. Golden State Warriors
Projected record: 48-34
It was confusing seeing the Warriors take the floor for the first time in the preseason - with Klay Thompson out and players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston no longer on the roster, there were a ton of new faces getting significant playing time for the team that controlled the league the past five seasons.
Centres Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein missed the preseason with injuries, paving the way for Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman to man the frontcourt. Should either of the aforementioned miss time in the regular season, the Warriors will be relying on two unproven players to step up. Rookies Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole have jumped right into big roles with the team's second unit, and Poole looks like he's ready to take over as the leading scorer off the bench.
D'Angelo Russell is still working on getting accustomed to playing alongside his new teammates, but Stephen Curry looks like he's ready to make a push for MVP again this season.
40 points- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 11, 2019
preszn work from SC30 📹 pic.twitter.com/e8ej3lk4iR
Curry, Russell and Draymond Green will have to bring their A-game all season long to keep the Warriors among the top teams in the loaded Western Conference.
7. Utah Jazz
Projected record: 54-28
We've gotten a small taste of what the Jazz's new backcourt duo of Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are capable of.
Conley's preseason debut wasn't anything to write home about but Utah's ceiling is an NBA title with a player of his calibre taking over at point guard.
The Jazz will again be one of the league's best defences, anchored by reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Donovan Mitchell should have less attention from opposing teams with scorers like Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic by his side now.
Utah is deep and possesses everything a championship team needs - veterans, quality role players, multiple offensive weapons and a great defence. It might take a few games for all of their new pieces to get adjusted, but Utah will be a threat to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
6. Denver Nuggets
Projected record: 54-28
The Nuggets performed ahead of schedule last season and have their entire rotation returning, as well as a few new key additions.
MVP candidate Nikola Jokic headlines a roster that is loaded with talent - Denver will surely be one of the deepest teams in the NBA again this season. Jamal Murray took his play to the next level last postseason and if he can replicate that this year, the Nuggets will be tough to beat.
They added Jerami Grant to an already loaded roster of wings and Michael Porter Jr. has finally taken the floor and looks ready to make an impact after missing all of last season.
MPJ scores his first points on an NBA floor!!- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) October 9, 2019
(and that step-back too 👀)#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/WTPT52OstZ
Everything is tougher with expectations and Denver will learn that quickly this season, but if they can live up to their expectations, they have as good a chance as any of these teams to reach the NBA Finals and potentially win a title.
5. Houston Rockets
Projected record: 55-27
We got the chance to see the Rockets' new duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook and Houston looks like a problem for the rest of the league.
.@JHarden13 & @RussWest44 put on a show in Tokyo! 🚀 🇯🇵#OneMission | #NBAJapanGames pic.twitter.com/8GuXzaCdHi- Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 11, 2019
Harden wasted no time to get back to his ways as the league's most prolific scorer, going for 30-plus points twice and 40 points once in the preseason.
Harden wasted no time to get back to his ways as the league's most prolific scorer as he's already dropped 30-plus points twice in the preseason. Westbrook only played limited minutes and sat out in two contests but it doesn't appear that it will take these two long to get used to playing alongside one-another.
With Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and PJ Tucker rounding out the starting unit, Harden and Westbrook have plenty of help around them and the Rockets' depth doesn't seem to be as much of an issue as it's been in years past. The Rockets did receive a blow to their depth with Gerald Green reportedly out for the season, but Austin Rivers, Danuel House, Tyson Chandler still make for a very solid second unit.
Houston will be right near the top of the Western Conference in hopes of finally returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
Projected record: 55-27
The biggest news out of the 76ers preseason came in their very first game when All-Star point guard Ben Simmons knocked down the first 3-pointer of his career, sending the NBA world into a frenzy.
BEN SIMMONS HIT HIS FIRST NBA 3-POINTER. pic.twitter.com/yFMRqLzDFc- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 9, 2019
This was a big step for Simmons and if he could add the occasional 3-ball or outside jumper to his game, that could be bad news for the rest of the NBA as a player that already averaged 17 points per game without that in his arsenal.
Philadelphia is a legitimate title contender this season after adding Al Horford and Josh Richardson to their trio of Simmons, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. It will take time for Horford and Embiid to get comfortable playing next to each other, but once that tandem figures things out they'll be the best frontcourt in the NBA.
Their depth is still a question mark, but you could make the case that the 76ers have the best starting five in the league. The pressure is on in Philly as this team with championship aspirations looks to advance past the dreaded Conference Semifinals to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2001.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
Projected record: 58-24
The Bucks dominated the NBA last year on their way to a 60-win season behind the play of league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In the preseason, Antetokounmpo picked up right where he left off going for massive double-doubles in limited playing time.
Giannis in 23 minutes vs. Dallas:- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 12, 2019
34 PTS | 11 REB | 4 AST | 75% 3PT | 65% FG pic.twitter.com/ERYHxFwISu
If the Greek Freak is playing at the same level he did last season - or an even higher level - the Bucks will have no trouble retaining their spot at the top of the Eastern Conference. They may have lost key pieces like Nikola Mirotic and Malcolm Brogdon, but their core of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez is still intact and they've brought in key role players like Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver that can help this team get to the NBA Finals.
The East is controlled by Milwaukee and it will stay that way until another team can prove they can consistently stop Antetokounmpo.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Projected record: 50-32
The Lakers made their statement to the league with their preseason-opening win over the Warriors.
Anthony Davis' debut in a Lakers uniform did not disappoint as the MVP candidate scored from wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted while dominating the boards in the process.
Anthony Davis made it a debut to remember with 22 points and 10 boards in only one half of action. #LakeShow- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 6, 2019
(📺: @SpectrumSN & TNT) pic.twitter.com/zdF8u2mixZ
With LeBron James running the show at point guard and the offence operating through Davis, the Lakers look like one of the scariest teams in the league as we expected. When Davis heads to the bench, James takes over as the lead scorer and dominates the game the way we've seen him do for 17 years now.
We've yet to see these two play more than a half of any preseason game but in the small sample size we have seen, this duo looks as threatening as advertised all offseason.
1. LA Clippers
Projected record: 53-29
We've yet to see the Clippers' new duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George take the floor together as George's shoulder injury is expected to keep him out for roughly the first 10 games of the regular season.
Leonard made his Clippers debut and in a very short stint of playing time he reminded us of how great he is and why he's considered by many as the best player in the world today.
📊 7 PTS | 6 AST | 1 STL@kawhileonard looked sharp in his preseason debut. pic.twitter.com/kxRgv3Sx2q- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 11, 2019
The Clippers depth alongside their superstar duo is what makes them the best team in the league heading into the 2019-20 season. With players like Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell as a supporting cast to Leonard and George, L.A. has one of the scariest defensive units while not having to sacrifice any offensive firepower.
We'll have to wait a few weeks to see this team at full strength but on paper, it's hard to argue against them being the top team in the league.
Rest of the NBA
11. New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson's preseason has shot the Pelicans way up on this list. We already knew this team had the talent to be a potential playoff team, but with how well their rookie phenom has played they're looking like a serious threat to knock out a supposed "lock" for a playoff spot in the West.
29 points last game, 26 points tonight.- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 12, 2019
Zion is already a force.#WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/H2CDR3I8QI
12. San Antonio Spurs
13. Indiana Pacers
It only took one preseason game for the Pacers to figure out who will fill in as the team's leading scorer with Victor Oladipo out and Bojan Bogdanovic off the roster. Trading for TJ Warren this offseason already looks like it will play dividends as the prolific forward went for 30 points in his debut with Indiana.
3️⃣0️⃣ points from @TonyWarrenJr- Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) October 4, 2019
Including the 3️⃣ to send it to OT 👏 pic.twitter.com/Eu2mpXku4l
14. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors looked strong early on in the preseason behind the play of their new go-to guy Pascal Siakam. Even more encouraging than Siakam's play was Norman Powell's 22 points in their second preseason contest against the Rockets. Powell is one of the players that will need to step up in a bigger role this season and he's off to a good start in doing so.
Norm out here ballin'- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 10, 2019
14 pts - 4 3pm pic.twitter.com/Jtp1O3Gu9S
15. Miami Heat
16. Brooklyn Nets
17. Dallas Mavericks
Kristaps Porzingis was solid in his first game since the 2017-18 season going for 18 points and seven boards to open up his preseason. The Mavericks duo of the future is off to a hot start, as Luka Doncic went toe-to-toe with the league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo the following game. Once this tandem clicks, the Mavericks could surprise people as a dark horse to make the playoffs in the West.
🎥: @luka7doncic ended with 27 points at last nights first of two home preseason games. #MFFL pic.twitter.com/khXbTHeLrk- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 12, 2019
18. Sacramento Kings
19. Orlando Magic
20. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder were assumed to be in a rebuilding stage after trading Paul George for seven first-round draft picks but they also got a promising young star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. With how well SGA performed in his OKC preseason debut, this team looks like it could make some noise in the West and contend for a bottom playoff spot.
24 PTS | 4 3PM@shaiglalex shows out in his @okcthunder #NBAPreseason debut! #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/5n6XxSRABG- NBA (@NBA) October 9, 2019
21. Detroit Pistons
22. Minnesota Timberwolves
23. Atlanta Hawks
24. Chicago Bulls
25. Phoenix Suns
26. Washington Wizards
27. New York Knicks
28. Memphis Grizzlies
29. Cleveland Cavaliers
30. Charlotte Hornets
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