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The 2012-2013 NBA season is quickly approaching. Thankfully, there isn’t a lockout and it looks like we’re going to have an 82 game season.
This week will mark the first of six weeks where I progressively unveil team power rankings all the way from number 30, the absolute worst team in the league, to number 1, the cream of the crop. Each week, I will unveil five teams starting this week from 30-26, next week from 25-21, and so on.
Obviously, teams 30-26 are the worst of the worst. Barring a major trade or a miracle on the hardwood, these guys have almost no shot of competing for a spot in the 2012-2013 playoffs. Every one of these teams is also in the Eastern conference, showing a potential shift of power back to the West. We start off with the only team whose home court is not located in the United States of America.
30. Toronto Raptors: Considering that they’ve yet to find anyone to replace Italian softie Andrea Bargnani (below) at the center position, the Raptors are clearly going nowhere. I’ve seen players under 6’5 outmuscle Bargnani in the paint and fluster his shots behind the three point line – and they literally have NO ONE besides him to rely on defensively on the frontline. Other than Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan, they hold no other night in, night out threats to the better teams in the league. Expect nothing positive out of them in the hypercompetitive Atlantic division, only probable 30 point/30 rebound games from Andrew Bynum against them. Team Grade: F
29. Orlando Magic: There is no NBA team that got screwed over in the offseason more than Orlando following Dwight Howard’s decision to leave town after a several year soap opera – but that’s not all the Magic lost this offseason. They also failed to bring back Ryan Anderson and Jason Richardson; these three players accounted for almost 50 points per game last year. Don’t expect newcomers Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo to make up for that scoring hole, or rookie Andrew Nicholson to be a stud immediately. Do expect many trade rumors with contenders who want to snag J.J. Redick for a high draft pick. Team Grade: F
28. Charlotte Bobcats: Even after drafting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and acquiring Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood, I still don’t see the Bobcats separating themselves from the bottom of the league. Kemba Walker (below) will continually get better (if he plays more), but when a team’s three best rebounders are Haywood, Byron Mullens and Tyrus Thomas, you have to worry. A lot. You have to worry even more when your team’s go-to guy is Gerald Henderson. This’ll undoubtedly be yet another lottery year for Charlotte. Team Grade: D-
27. Detroit Pistons: Former Nets head coach and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank has been appointed as the man to bring the Pistons back to their early 21st century greatness – but the task will not be quick or easy. Why the team decided to draft UCONN center Andre Drummond when they already have the up and coming Greg Monroe at that position completely baffles me, but hey, I guess they’re still thinking Rodney Stuckey is still the next Chauncey Billups and that the NBA is still a big man’s league. I wonder if veteran Tayshaun Prince can connect the past greatness with the future raw talent? I doubt it. Team Grade: D+
26. Milwaukee Bucks: This team is way too guard heavy in terms of scoring, and trying to envision any kind of backcourt chemistry between the outspoken walking tattoo men Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis (below) doesn’t usually amount to anything encouraging. Add to that the fact that they no longer have one of the best rebounders in the league in center Andrew Bogut and they look perpetually screwed. They’ll win a few games based on their backcourt skill and quickness, but their potential starting frontcourt of Samuel Dalembert and Drew Gooden is potentially the worst in the league. Team Grade: D+
Stay tuned for next week, where I’ll unveil the teams ranked 25-21.
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