Power rankings are something NBA fans seem to love.
You're constantly discussing how your team compares to the rest of the league. Does your favorite team stack up to the contenders in the league? Are they close to the same teams that are competing for a playoff berth? Where do they rank in the league right now and where are they headed throughout the season? The fans near the bottom of the rankings typically start to grow numb to it, but this year should be different.
With such an important and hyped draft class expected to grace the league with the talents of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and even more top prospects. It's why we're seeing teams forgo their responsibilities this season and looking ahead to the NBA Draft Lottery. To help include the fans of teams at the bottom of the Power Rankings that Matt Moore provides each week, we've decided to rank how well teams are tanking this coming season and as mystery injuries pop up and wins go out the window in the later months, we'll welcome more teams to this list and analyze how they're doing it.
NBA fans of crappy teams with no hope for this season, welcome to CBSSports.com's Power Tankings:
|1. Philadelphia 76ers|
The Sixers are so bad that the bookies gave them 17 wins for an over/under this year and a lot of people started laughing at it being so high. Their new coach has come out and named six players on the roster as "NBA players." They may have a historically poor shooting point guard combination in Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten. Thaddeus Young is a fantastic glue guy but he's their best player. Evan Turner is their second best player. Spencer Hawes is their third best player. None of these things are signs that they can be taken seriously as an NBA team right now, which is unfortunate for the players on the squad but it does allow them to show their value for future teams interested in adding role players.
The Sixers decided not keep Royce White around which is an interesting query regarding his place with this team and the league. Was he too talented to have around for a team trying to guarantee they're going to be the worst in the league? Or was he not worth the trouble and a complete afterthought because the Houston Rockets took care of his money? There was such an amazingly amicable parting ways between the Sixers and White that it makes this decision even more fascinating. Philadelphia are your tanking kings for the year and it's not even close until lottery night.
|2. Phoenix Suns|
The Phoenix Suns are doing tanking the way you'd want to do it. They're providing exciting young players, they have twins on the floor (everybody loves twins), Eric Bledsoe is going to probably lead the league in steals, they have a project big man that fans will love tracking the progress of, and they're going to play a chaotic style of basketball that will be entertaining to the fans while still accomplishing the goal of bringing home the ping-pong balls. The Suns are even one of the few teams in the league that have a good social media presence while providing a hashtag for the Twitter followers that isn't stupid. They have "IgniteTheFuture" which is a really good, honest hashtag that doesn't sound like you're catering to eight-year olds.
The Suns will still be really bad. 20 wins could be a struggle for them throughout the year, but if they're providing you with fast break highlights, Gerald Green dunks, and a bevy of plays that make the fans feel good about the future while planning for it at the same time, isn't that what you want out of an organization that is focused on losing now to be set up for later? The Suns aren't the most tanking team of the 2013-14 season but they're doing it arguably the best way from a basketball and business standpoint.
|3. Orlando Magic|
Feel free to throw the Orlando Magic right in there with the Suns in terms of teams going about this tanking thing the correct way. Look at the deep frontcourt the Magic will throw at opponents this season. Nikola Vucevic is basically a walking double-double, Glen Davisand Jason Maxiell are quality rotation bigs that any contender could use, Tobias Harris could be a really good stretch-4, and Andrew Nicholson is a role player that a lot of scouts are high on. If you want to extend the excitement for the future to the backcourt, you can do that with Rookie of the Year candidate Victor Oladipo that will get plenty of minutes at both guard positions. This team has a lot of talent that you can watch grow this season.
The issue for them is while they're talented and deep in some areas, they don't quite have the top talent yet to really make a difference. It wouldn't shock me if this was the most consistently competitive team we deal with throughout the season. Jameer Nelson will take too many shots and we may be disappointed with the production juxtaposed with the pay scale of guard Arron Afflalo once again, but the rest of this team should be fun. It is a little weird that they thought getting rid of Matt Guokas as the color commentator role on telivision broadcasts would help their tanking position, but I don't understand a lot of moves teams make during the offseason.
|4. Charlotte Bobcats|
There is a lot to love about the Bobcats after this offseason. They went out and got a scoring big in Al Jefferson. They saw Kemba Walker make huge strides last season. The wing corps of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gerald Henderson, and Jeff Taylor should be fantastic defensively. They got Cody Zeller in the draft that is like a giraffe running the floor. The Bobcats look like they're turning it all around. However, we don't know if they'll have consistent scoring and the defense is an issue. Bismack Biyombo may still be a guy that has to work on catching the ball before games (I've literally seen them practice just catching basic post-entry passes with him).
Also, Ben Gordon will be gunning for a contract with a contender or a trade at the deadline. Ramon Sessions is still a guy that puts up a lot of empty calories in the stats department. Unfortunately when the season starts up, they put on Charlotte Bobcats uniforms, which tends to ruin any hope they may build up in the preseason. The Bobcats are heading in the right direction, but they're still a team looking toward the draft for a savior. We're still waiting for that top moment of the Bobcats season when Michael Jordan remembers he owns a team and heads down for a little post-practice one-on-one with the wing players.
|On the tank bubble|
The Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, and Utah Jazz are all teams to watch in this respect but they haven't come close to finding mystery ailments for their key players yet as they attempt to "Wig out for Wiggins" or "Have a Scandal for Randle" or "Be Sorry for Jabari." That could come in a couple of months.