Many teams improved drastically from the offseason, while some regressed heavily. For the next few days, a set of NBA power rankings will be released and an analyzation of their offseason and position for the season.
As the rankings come closer and closer to the top spot, teams will start to have bigger chances to make the playoffs. Here are the rankings from 15-11:
15. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets had a very good offseason, resigning Nikola Jokic and Will Barton. They also added free agent Isaiah Thomas, who will look to improve from last year and play similar to his MVP-caliber season two years ago. Along with the young players in Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and newly drafted Michael Porter Jr, the Nuggets can make a serious run for the playoffs. Michael Porter Jr will be a question mark heading into the season, whether he will be healthy enough to play or not. Jokic, Harris, and Murray can all make strides next year after they all had impressive seasons last year. The sky’s the limit for the Nuggets.
14. Milwaukee Bucks
Losing to an injured team in the playoffs is rough, especially in the first round, again. However, expect the Bucks to immediately bounce back. Hiring new head coach Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks can finally have an organized team, as they lose last year due to head coaching issues. The Bucks still have their best player Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has been improving his jump shot, Khris Middleton, an underrated forward, Malcolm Brogdon, a three-point assassin, and Eric Bledsoe, a point guard that can put up decent numbers. Although they lost Jabari Parker, the Bucks will not look back and could quite possibly be a top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference next year.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves regressed in the second half of the season and that was due to Jimmy Butler’s injury. Now with him fully healthy, the Wolves can head into the league, getting a higher seed than last year. The only concern within the team is the average defense that has set them back sometimes. Despite how tough the Western Conference is, the Timberwolves have the talent of their own to compete. Led by their big three in Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns, and Jimmy Butler, coupled with head coach Tom Thibodeau, and Derrick Rose, a former MVP point guard that can play well, the Timberwolves can present a serious threat in the Western Conference.
12. New Orleans Pelicans
Although losing your second best player to the best team in the league for less money is surprising, the Pelicans fared better without Demarcus Cousins. Replacing both Rondo and Cousins with Payton and Randle, respectively, the Pelicans will most likely make the playoffs as the 5th or 6th seed, once again. They also have one of the best players in the NBA today in Anthony Davis, a dominant big that can almost do anything, as well as a good defender/shooter in Jrue Holiday. Not to mention, a great bench, in which everyone can provide quality minutes to a team. The Pelicans are one of the teams that can play spoiler once again, just like last year.
11. Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz exceeded expectations as they were projected to be a lottery team last year. Fresh off a series win against the Thunder, the Jazz could look to improve with their young star Donovan Mitchell and DPOY Rudy Gobert, as well as drafting Grayson Allen, who helps Jazz immensely on defense. With everyone healthy, the Jazz can potentially be a top 4 seed. Mitchell can improve heavily under head coach Quin Snyder, who has helped turn the team around. Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, and Ricky Rubio are all good players and can continue to improve, as well as their bench, which could help propel them into any of the top 4 seeds.
Next: Rankings 10-6