Blog Entry

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown

Posted on: December 21, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 1:39 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

los-angeles-clippers

The 2011-2012 NBA season starts on Sunday, and with that comes the inaugural batch of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 7
Let's pump the brakes just a bit on the Grizzlies bandwagon right now. They look good and they made a lot of noise in the postseason, but how much of that was overachievement? How much of that was because of favorable matchups? The Grizzlies could be a really nice team, but a top eight power? I'm not ready to go there until they show they're actually something to be taken seriously. -- RY

2. Too Low: Portland Trail Blazers at No. 17 The Blazers had about as sucky an offseason as you could have. And we're talking about the Blazers here, a team that's had their fair share of sucky things. Greg Oden had his annual setback, Brandon Roy retired and the team still doesn't have a general manager. That said, Jamal Crawford is a perfect signing, LaMarcus Aldridge may be the West's best power forward and Nate McMillan seems to keep winning despite all the crap that falls down around him. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Boston Celtics at No. 6 The roster is worse at virtually every position, injuries are mounting and Father Time is grasping to claim this group with both hands. The Celtics were dropkicked out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, and the gap between the two teams has transformed into a canyon. The Big 4 can still get it done but they aren't scaring teams like they once did. It's possible to show the veterans too much respect, and that's what happened here. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Indiana Pacers at No. 12
The small-market Pacers have the best roster that no one is talking about. With talent at all five positions, a former All-Star added to the mix in David West plus expected growth from Paul George, Indiana could wind up being a top-5 team in the East. Their frontcourt has sneaky depth thanks to Jeff Foster, Jeff Pendergraph, Lou Amundson and Tyler Hansbrough, four guys who will do the dirty work and make life easier for West and franchise guy Danny Granger. More credit due! -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Toronto Raptors at No. 30 They stink. There's no way around it. I like DeMar DeRozan. I like Andrea Bargnani. I like Dwane Casey. I want to like the Raptors. But they aren't going to be good. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 9 Take one look at the highlights from their preseason opening win over the Lakers and it's tempting to think the Clippers should be much higher than the No. 9 spot. Is No. 3 or No. 4 really out of the question for the league's latest and greatest flavor of the month? Of course, it's one thing to fill up highlight tapes and it's another to stack up wins. Where the Clippers settle in the West's hiearchy will be one of the biggest NBA questions to watch in January. -- BG
Comments

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2011 7:03 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown

This perspective is so far superior to Matt's original list it makes me wonder why he didn't consult you both. The Grizzlies not only overachieved but they have lost their top bench big-man for the season in Darrell Arthur's Achilles tendon tear. They ended last season as the fourth best team in their division! Plus it was a contract year for Z-Bo and he has always followed such years by mediocre years. Now that he has $66 million coming guaranteed will he return to his strip club, pot-smoking days? Also fresh off a contract year is Marc Gasol. who now has $58 million coming. Will he continue to improve? Also unresolved is OJ Mayo's status as he is in a contract year but not starting. Can he be content?

The national view of the Blazers has been highly colored by Brandon Roy's retirement and Greg Oden's setback. What they do not consider is that this team only had 23 games last year from Gerald Wallace and they had only 23 games from Brandon in which he felt good enough to start. They got zero games from Oden. My point is that this is a very highly talented team and has added some excellent additions in Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford, Kurt Thomas and Craig Smith. LaMarcus Aldridge remains a premier talent and the team actually has some depth, some rookie talent and some chemistry. In that regard losing Andre Miller was addition by subtraction as Miller held the Blazers down in pace and defense. Some writers think the Blazers are the 3rd best team in the West.




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com