Latest 2013-14 NBA Power Rankings

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Dwyane Wade and LeBron James

Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) react against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

We’re about 60 days removed from the start of the 2013-14 NBA season. Prepare to lose whatever little free time you had because the coming season looks to be one of the best in recent memory.

Miami is chasing a three-peat but it looks like the field might have finally caught up to them. There’s a good 5-6 teams who look like they can give them problems especially since Miker Miller is gone, Greg Oden might not pan out, and Dwyane Wade’s knees are further turning into Play-Doh. Of course, we also don’t know what LeBron’s ceiling is.

With free agency about done, and some recent trades finalized, it’s a good time to revisit how the coming season will stack up. Here are 2013-14′s NBA power rankings.

Current Ranking
Last Ranking
Team
Notes
(1)↔(1)Popular opinion says that if Greg Oden can give them at least 50%, they're making a fourth-straight trip to the finals. That reasoning implies that Wade won't regress any this year health wise. After all, soon he'll be stapling his kneecaps to his legs at the rate he's eroding.
(2)↔(2)Yes, their second unit isn't without flaws but give them a half-decent bench option in last year's ECF and they beat a historically good team. Scola, Copeland, Stephenson, and Watson on bad days are halfway decent and there's four of them.
(3)↔(3)Duncan is the new 20. As long as he's around, and continues his age-defying play, the Spurs will be a top-shelf team.
(4)↔(4)The Thunder have made some bonehead personnel moves of late, yet they're still ranked in the top-5 on most power rankings. Drafting generational talents helps mask some front office follies but not forever.
(5)↔(5)Butler and Rose. That combination propped up by good size, stellar rebounding, elite team defense, and added lineup flexibility will give them their best Rose-led team yet. Of course, that all depends on Rose.
(6)↔(6)This is not the Lakers super team of last year. Like the postseason Knicks of last year, their biggest weakness is Jason Kidd but they have a multi-faceted and deep, deep bench.
(7)↔(7)The Grizzlies have shot themselves in the foot by not getting a hold of more shooters. But Conley, Bayless, and Gasol are still on the upside of their prime projection. That will help.
(8)↔(8)CP3 is one of the best point guards to ever dribble a basketball. So why can't he get to the finals? Oh right, he never had J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Jamal Crawford, and Antawn Jamison on the wings. They'll be Let It Fly City instead of Lob City now which should take care of their biggest drawbacks: rebounding and defense. Oh wait...
(9)↔(9)It all hinges on the hinges of Curry's ankles. Steph's not Seth's. If he stays healthy they'll be a top-5 team out West.
(10)↔(10)Howard needs to go from diva to divination, which he was in his years at Orlando (except for that last one). The Harden-Howard experiment will take some time to get right but it'll prove a successful one. Also, you're not going to be better than Golden State if your power forward is Asik.
(11)↔(11)The Knicks are still a playoff team but to what end? They're the anti-TLC: all about the scrubs. Sure, they can get past a potential first-round matchup against Washington, Cleveland, Atlanta, or Detroit but who has them winning against Chicago or Miami?
(12)↔(12)John Wall is a year younger than Damian Lillard. Still eight years away from his projected prime. Watch out lower-tier Eastern Conference teams.
(13)↔(13)The Cavs have made some very keen moves this off-season. Irving, already a top-10 player, should only get better and they have a 6th Man of the Year candidate in Jack to help mold the youngsters in check.
(14)↔(14)The Wolves want Rubio to score more. Too bad he's a career 35.9% shooter. Luckily they've brought in some wing weapons in Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger.
(15)↔(15)The Hawks are masters of mediocrity. And that's not exactly an insult. They've remained modestly relevant for some time now and will continue that distinction next year.
(16)↑(17)From no bench to half a bench, the Blazers now have the ability to rest their starters. That will help Batum and Lillard get to the next stage of their development without getting put through a Tom Thibodeau-esque boot camp.
(17)↓(16)The Drummond mania is getting out of hand. While Josh Smith AND Brandon Jennings are around, he's going to have a talent growth stunt since he'll have a hard time getting the ball in his hands. Detroit will still be fun to watch however.
(18)↔(18)All eyes are on Drummond but Davis might end up with the better year. If egos remain grounded, the Pelicans can play according to his strengths and allow him to stick to his defense-first mindset.
(19)↔(19)The Nuggets were fool's gold last year. They're fool's copper in this one.
(20)↑(22)The Bucks are less horrible than once expected. The Butler pickup might not help their stats tremendously but it will give them another shooter and a needed veteran voice. Less talent than last year but also less Monta and Jennings.
(21)↓(20)2011 Nowitzki got it done. So will 2013 Nowitzki, right? Dalembert will recover against the converter belt assault Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon are going to let through on defense, right? Mark Cuban did the right thing by breaking up the champion Mavs, right? Guys?
(22)↓(21)To a lesser, or greater, degree—depending on who you ask—Valanciunas is going to go through a Drummond scenario. That means that guys like Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan will hurt his development much like Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings will do to Drummond. Still, one can hope that the Raptors offense will run through Valancuinas soon.
(23)↔(23)Welcome to the Land of the Ten Thousand Lames.
(24)↔(24)They're still bottom of the pack but on all cylinders this team will surprise at legs throughout the regular season.
(25)↔(25)At least they got rid of Fab Melo, right?
(26)↔(26)The Magic are only better than four teams now but in 2014-15 expect them to be better than at least seven! Look out for Tobias Harris though.
(27)↔(27)The Jazz might be a halfway decent team by season's end. But the growing pains along the way are going to ground them for the most part.
(28)↔(28)The Sacramento Kings should be the Sacramento Goldfish. They have the talent but, as an organization, the foresight of the dimwitted pet.
(29)↑(30)Philly can only improve vicariously at this point. They go up one spot because of the loss of Caron Butler in Phoenix.
(30)↓(29)The Suns got rid of Caron Butler before they did Michael Beasley. They had their reasons but let that sink in.
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles
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