Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. Come inside, come inside.

The 2016-17 NBA season is here, and so, we resume power rankings. Preseason has moved a few teams up and down since the offseason. The Rockets are a great example of a team that entered preseason with a lot of questions, not only about the defense, but if they would jell within Mike D'Antoni's system, and it certainly appears they have.

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Meanwhile, injuries are causing slips and bumps. Many teams are on the precipice of a fall-off, like the Mavericks, whose starters have been disastrous. We're trusting them until the season starts, but a bad launch off the block once the games matter could send them cliff diving.

And then, of course, there's the top. There's the Warriors, and the Cavs -- by virtue of what they accomplished last year -- and then there's everyone else. The NBA this season is basically a relegation league. It's a two-team race for the title. Maybe the league will surprise us, but any other start but saying the Warriors are No. 1 would be dishonest.

Can the Spurs maintain without Tim Duncan? What happens to the Heat after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are gone? Can the Knicks really pull this off? Are the Timberwolves ready? And is Joel Embiid for real?

So many questions to be answered in 82 games. The season begins Tuesday, so let's get this started with the opening session of our regular season power rankings.

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1 Warriors Hey, I just found this out the other day. Did you guys know that Kevin Durant signed with them? That's crazy! I wonder if they'll be good? -- 17-2
2 Cavaliers If you're LeBron James, how much time do you take off this season? I'm saying two months. I think he genuinely misses two months of action, total, because this team has nothing left to prove. We've never seen a LeBron James without the weight on his shoulders. Everything from here is gravy, what does he do with that? -- 10-10
3 Spurs I have a world of concerns about them going into the season, but they have built up so much credit I'm starting them here. Tim Duncan's gone, Danny Green is hurt, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker are going to have to guard pick and rolls. But they are the Spurs, and they deserve the right to have to lose their standing. -- 5-13
4 Clippers You start to remember, the more you think about it, how much went wrong for this team last year. Injuries, dysfunction, bad stretches, bad big games. What if this team is due for some love from the basketball gods? -- 11-8
5 Raptors Boston vs. Toronto is a fascinating debate. I'm giving the Raptors a small edge based on some promising signs in preseason and trust for their season last year. Topping the best year in franchise history will be tough, though. -- 9-11
6 Celtics The Celtics' specific struggle last season offensively was shots from big men out of the pick and roll and on spot-up shots. Jared Sullinger's performance in those areas was terrible, and Amir Johnson's wasn't great. Al Horford specifically fixes that while making a great defense better. There's a good chance this team is awesome. 1 10-10
7 Grizzlies If they come down with injuries, they'll tumble, but the roster makes sense, they're stocked with talent and everyone seems to be ignoring that every year this team is a top-four seed when not hampered by hurt players. 1 9-10
8 Jazz The hype train is rolling so fast that I'm scared for the passengers, but there really is no discernible weakness for this team. The Gordon Hayward injury isn't great; they could stumble out of the gate a bit and will need to get footing quickly to avoid a slide. 2 13-7
9 Hornets I was down on the Hornets this summer after they lost so much depth, but after watching them and remembering how Steve Clifford coaches up guys, I started to remember how good their balance is. So they jump four spots because of my trust in the coach. 4 13-9
10 Rockets My stock in Houston has gone way up over the course of preseason, based on how much they all seem to be investing in Mike D'Antoni's system. That hasn't happened since Phoenix. They are going to light the nets on fire, even if the defense is atrocious -- which it may not completely be. 2 3-16
11 Pacers Like "Ocean's Eleven," you're either in or you're out on the Pacers. Some have them missing the playoffs. I'm way higher, with their combination of legit veteran talent and confidence in Nate McMillan as coach. They have a superstar, they have size and they have capable guards. The spacing is a concern, but McMillan has done more with less. Paul George is legitimately the difference in about 10 spots for them. 3 9-12
12 Pistons The Reggie Jackson injury bumps them down a few spots. Andre Drummond is going to have to make "The Leap" this season if they're going to go where they feel they should. 3 4-15
13 Thunder Russell Westbrook will be the most interesting individual story in the NBA this season, but preseason has been a nice reminder that they have guys like Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. There's a real team here -- if they can recover from the heart ache. 4 6-13
14 Trail Blazers Well, Evan Turner's already talking about a struggle to fit in, and how they're going to get everything to line up the way it did in January and February last year remains to be seen. But, on the bright side, it seems like everyone likes Damian Lillard's rap album 3 10-10
15 Hawks I cover the league in as much detail as I can, pouring over video and stats and profiles. I have no idea who their backup point guards are, and Dwight Howard still looks like post-2011 Dwight Howard. They are balancing on a plank, trying to stay upright headed into the season. -- 11-10
16 Wizards I've liked their preseason quite a bit. There are destabilizing elements but there's also a lot of talent. I'm tentatively buying into them as one of the better teams in the middle of the messy East. 3 13-7
17 Mavericks Harrison Barnes' preseason shot chart is the scariest thing you'll see before Halloween. 1 10-8
18 Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns is the monster that lives in the closets of NBA GMs worrying about the next 10 years. This team will be fun, and good, but will they be consistent? 5 10-10
19 Pelicans Remember when we told you that E'Twaun Moore was one of the biggest steals of free agency? He's playing like it, and if he has a big show-up campaign for New Orleans, it could change the course of their season. 2 5-17
20 Bulls Rajon Rondo injured Nikola Mirotic's back trying to shove him through a screen on defense. There is not a better metaphor for the Bulls going into the season than that. They're going to have to woo us to their side. 2 13-8
21 Bucks That Khris Middleton injury was the one they could not withstand. Their spacing is going to look like a big rubber block. They need Giannis Antetokounmpo to become a top-10 player out of the gate to avoid sad mediocrity, though Jabari Parker's preseason has been fantastic 1 12-8
22 Knicks Brandon Jennings looks really good, but the overall depth is a huge concern. It still seems like they're held together on questionable foundations, from a roster perspective. -- 11-9
23 Heat It's put-up or shut-up time for Goran Dragic. The Heat are either going to be a really solid team like they were before the Triad era in 2010, or a complete mess. They need a lot from a second-year, incomplete player in Justise Winslow. 9 13-7
24 Nuggets The Nuggets' two biggest issues last year were guarding the 3-pointer and making them. They've been bad on both ends of that in preseason. The individual talent is strong, but it has to come together, and in a hurry with a tough opening month of the schedule. 1 9-10
25 Suns You can find a lot of things to feel good about with this team, it's just hard to find things you would legit trust to bring consistent success. Oh, and they have a backcourt logjam again, which has worked out great for them in the past few years. 2 17-3
26 Magic This is that moment where those of us that who invested in Frank Vogel as a startup finally see the company go public. We're about to find out a lot about just how much he can raise a mess of a roster. 2 4-17
27 Kings I always have a bad feeling about the Kings because they're the Kings, but I have a really bad feeling this year. The roster is imbalanced, Cousins seems to be tiring of keeping up optimism and the Rudy Gay trade needs to be handled well. This could get bad. 1 8-12
28 Lakers D'Angelo Russell playing like a firenado is starting to raise some eyebrows, but there's just so much inexperience and league-borderline talent. There will be some fun nights, at least, which is more than could be said last year. Or the year before. Or the year before that. 1 10-11
29 Nets I keep having pangs of "What if the Nets aren't bad?" because I think about Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin being legit NBA players. But they're just so unproven. I will say this: the Nets being forgettable is an overstatement. There's something interesting percolating here, if far from a good team. 1 14-6
30 76ers Well, Simmons is out, Nerlens Noel is out, Jerryd Bayless is out. If Joel Embiid makes this team anything resembling dangerous, it's going to be an amazing rookie season. Their bad fortune continues. -- 10-10