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.
The previous rankings were teams that have their eyes set for the future. However, as the rankings go on, some teams have more talent than others. These next 5 teams have themselves stuck in the mud, as they have the talent to put themselves outside the lottery picture, but have the slightest chance in grabbing a playoff spot. Regardless, here are the rankings from 25th to 21st:
25. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are in a very strange position, as they have their star players returning from injury in Chandler Parsons, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley. They also drafted Jaren Jackson with the 3rd pick and signed Kyle Anderson in free agency. Although they do have talent, expect the Grizzlies to most likely go all in, trading for proven stars or go all out, trading away their stars before the trade deadline. Not to mention, they don’t really own their first round pick, as the Celtics own it if the pick isn’t 8 or below. If it is, however, then next year it will shorten to 6, and eventually will become unprotected. The Grizzlies will either go all in or will blow it up, ready to set themselves up for the future.
24. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are a team that is in a similar situation to the Grizzlies, as they have more talent than most teams, but can just blow it up if possible. If the Clippers somehow make the playoffs, their first-round pick will head to the Celtics. Assuming their pick will not head to the Celtics, considering the tough conference they are playing in and the lack of talent they have, the Clippers could just play this season and grab a high draft pick. Even though they have young players on their team, like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson, they do have talent, especially defensive point guards Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley, as well as 6th Man Lou Williams, who could provide quality minutes for the Clippers. Doc Rivers has always stated that he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild and will make sure his team competes for the hardest it can, which could be a positive outcome or a problem in disguise.
23. New York Knicks
The Knicks are eyeing stars in a loaded free agency class of 2019. They have the chance to land one star, possibly two if they can somehow get out of Noah’s contract. David Fizdale will be hired to make it their 29th head coach in the franchise. Fizdale is beloved around the league, which could help in making a splash next year. Kristaps Porzingis is returning from a scary knee injury and will look to rebound from his impressive run last year, as he was quietly tearing up the league. Frank Ntilikina is an underrated point guard that has been putting on muscle and can quite possibly improve his range as time goes on. Drafting Kevin Knox, despite the boos from Knicks fans, will be a steal for New York as the season progresses.
22. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are in a similar spot like the Knicks, but with less talent. Led by point guard D’Angelo Russell, 2nd-year player Jarrett Allen, underrated point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Kenneth Faried, the Nets have a very slight chance to make the playoffs. If Russell does make strides next year, there might as well be a chance. The Nets made a questionable move trading Jeremy Lin away to the Hawks, who actually helped them win some games. Lin is an underrated player and only time will tell whether the Nets made the right move. Speaking of trades, the Nets will finally get their own first-round picks back after the horrendous trade made back in 2013, which plunged them into misery for three years. Barring another trade, the Nets will get their first round pick back and can finally grab lottery-caliber talent.
21. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets had an average offseason this year, signing Tony Parker and drafting Miles Bridges, they have a very slight chance in heading to the playoffs, despite how weak the Eastern Conference is. Kemba Walker is about to be a free agent next year and can look to head out of Charlotte to play in a better atmosphere. James Borrego is the new head coach for the Hornets, as he previously was the assistant head coach for the San Antonio Spurs. The Hornets made a good selection for their head coach, but the chances of heading to the playoffs are still slim. However, the Hornets are one of the teams that have a bright future, with Frank Kaminsky, Malik Monk, and Miles Bridges, so either way, there shouldn’t be a “no future” problem.