2018 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Night

The 2018-2019 season is about get started, and that means we get to rank teams based on assumptions, summer league and preseason! Some things are different: Lebron’s on the Lakers, Kawhi (and his laugh) are in Canada, Carmelo Anthony is on the Rockets, Demarcus Cousins joined the Warriors. Some things are the same: Golden State are the favorite to win the title, Boston has a great coach, and Ben Simmons can’t shoot threes. In our initial 2018/19 Power Rankings, each team has been ranked, their projected starters, their projected over/under, and where we think they finish. Give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter, and subscribe on iTunes and Spotify! You can follow me on Instagram & Twitter. Enjoy!

Tier 1 | Tier 2 | Tier 3 | Tier 4Tier 5


Tier 1: The Big 3

Miami Heat GIF
Shout out to the “original” big three 😂

1. Golden State Warriors

GSW

2017/18 Record: 58-24
Result: W, NBA Title (4-0)
18/19 Over/Under: 62.5
18/19 Projection: 61-21, 1st West

Projected Starters
G – Stephen Curry
G – Klay Thompson
F – Kevin Durant
F – Draymond Green
C – Jordan Bell*

*C Demarcus Cousins is out with an injured Achilles tendon until mid-December.

The Warriors are going for their fourth championship in five years, and they were able to sign All-Star Demarcus Cousins to a one-year deal. They still have Curry, Klay, Draymond, and Durant (who’s won back-to-back NBA finals MVP). The Warriors are locked and loaded once again. They may not win their traditional 65 games, but come playoff time, this team will be almost impossible to beat. They only have one weakness, Draymond’s willingness to kick people’s nut-sacks.

-Brandon 

Image result for golden state warriors
It’s all smiles for the Warriors

2. Boston Celtics

BOS

2017/18 Record: 55-27
Result: L, East Finals (3-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 59
18/19 Projection: 60-22, 1st East

Projected Starters
G – Kyrie Irving
G – Jaylen Brown
F – Jayson Tatum
F – Gordon Hayward
C – Al Horford

The Celtics are poised for a deep postseason run in 2018/19. The pathway has cleared (Lebron to LA) and they are the clear favorite to win the East. Gordon Hayward is back and healthy, Tatum and Brown are blossoming into stars, and Kyrie Irving is ready to go in a contract year. Should be a fun season in Bean town, minus all the Celtics fans. I expect the C’s to dominate the East and get back to their first NBA finals since 2010 (where they lost to my LA Lakers, just reminder). All seriousness, this team looks locked and loaded for many years to come. Oh, and they have the best coach in the league, who isn’t named Popovich.

-Brandon 


3. Houston Rockets

HOU

2017/18 Record: 65-17
Result: L, West Finals (3-4)s
18/19 Over/Under: 56.5
18/19 Projection: 58-26, 2nd West

Projected Starters
G – Chris Paul
G – James Harden
F – P.J. Tucker
F – Carmelo Anthony^
C – Clint Capela

The Houston Rockets only have one goal: Beat the Warriors. This team has been constructed to beat the Warrrios, and they were a CP3 injury away from doing so last year. This year, the Rockets bring in Carmelo to knock down some open jumpers (hopefully) so this team doesn’t go 0-11 from three down the stretch again. Capela has re-signed after a lengthy free agency, but this team lost some defense power with Ariza and Mbah a Moute leaving. The Rockets are good, and I can’t wait to see them blow it down the stretch again this season. Reigning MVP James Harden will put up MVP-like numbers again, and as long as CP3 is healthy, this team will be lethal.

-Brandon 

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Tier 2: Looking Strong

lebron james basketball GIF by NBA

4. Philadelphia 76ers

PHI

2017/18 Record: 52-30
Result: L, East Semi-Finals (1-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 53.5
18/19 Projection: 55-27, 2nd East

Projected Starters
G – Ben Simmons ®
G – Markelle Fultz
F – Robert Covington
F – Dario Saric
C – Joel Embiid

This was supposed to be the year the 76ers made the leap. Instead, they made it last year, losing to the Celtics in the East Semis. Now that LeBron is gone, this paves a path for the 76ers to compete with Boston for the East crown. Ben Simmons is a walking triple-double, Joel Embiid is a true difference maker, an All-Star, and a world-class Twitter-user, and Markelle Fultz is apparently healthy and has replaced JJ Redick as the starter. They might get off to a slow start, but this team is too talented to not win 50+.

® = Rookie (Just kidding. sorry Simmons, low hanging fruit)

-Brandon 


5. Toronto Raptors

TOR

2017/18 Record: 59-23
Result: L, East Semi-Finals (0-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 55.5
18/19 Projection: 53-29, 3rd East

Projected Starters
G – Kyle Lowry
G – Danny Green^
F – Kawhi Leonard^
F – Serge Ibaka
C – Jonas Valanciunas

The Raptors made the move everyone dared them to make. After falling short again, the Raps traded DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs for former Finals-MVP Kawhi Leonard. The move was shocking, but necessary, and now the Raptors have a great shot at getting to their first NBA Finals. Chemistry might be an issue, but if Kawhi is healthy, he’s one of the best two-way players in the league. Danny Green can shoot the three, and Lowry is still one of the better guards in the east (despite being sad they traded his bff). New head coach Nick Nurse will have high expectations heading into 2019.

-Brandon 


6. Los Angeles Lakers

LosAngeles_Lakers_logo.svg

2017/18 Record: 35-47
Result: 11th in West, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 48.5
18/19 Projection: 52-30, 3rd West

Projected Starters
G – Rajon Rondo^
G – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
F – Brandon Ingram
F – LeBron James^
C – Javale McGee^

*PG Lonzo Ball will come off the bench to start the year as he recovers from knee surgery.

The Lakers plan to rebuild took a enormous leap forward with the addition of LeBron James (and Javale McGee). The Lakers find themselves in borderline title contention, with a roster full of young guns and veteran role players. Lonzo should regain the starting spot shortly, and this should be a big breakout season for him and Brandon Ingram. Kuzma can score off the bench, and Josh Hart should replace KCP in the starting lineup, hopefully. With LeBron leading the way, this team should win more than 50 games and solidify themselves as top team in the West. Now if they can just beat those pesky Warriors…

-Brandon 


7. Utah Jazz

UTA

2017/18 Record: 48-34
Result: L, West Semi-Finals (1-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 49.5
18/19 Projection: 51-31, 4th West

Projected Starters
G – Ricky Rubio
G – Donovan Mitchell
F – Joe Ingles
F – Derrick Favors
C – Rudy Gobert

Reigning Dunk Champ & Rookie of the Year Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz had a very nice progression last season, but a very untimely injury to Ricky Rubio derailed any real postseason hopes. This year Rubio is ready to go, and the Jazz should be a formidable opponent in the West. Rudy Gobert has regained his defensive form, and become a true leader in the process. The Jazz should find themselves with home-court advantage for the postseason, though they will have plenty of competition. We all await the sophomore season of Donovan Mitchell, and the next funny Joe Ingles tweet.

-Brandon 


8. Indiana Pacers

IND

2017/18 Record: 48-34
Result: L, East 1st Round (3-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 47.5
18/19 Projection: 50-32, 4th East

Projected Starters
G – Darren Collison
G – Victor Oladipo
F – Bojan Bogdanovic
F – Thaddeous Young
C – Myles Turner

The Pacers faced a tough opponent in last year’s postseason, and that opponent is no longer in that conference (there is a theme going on here). The Pacers have a very good team, and a budding star in Victor Oladipo (DIPO!!). This team has a deep bench, good talent, and a solid coach. Time will tell if last year was a peak year, or a stepping stone to bigger things. I think this team wins 50 games for the first time 13-14, getting some home games in the postseason.

-Brandon 


9. Milwaukee Bucks

MIL

2017/18 Record: 44-38
Result: L, East 1st Round (3-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 48
18/19 Projection: 50-32, 5th East

Projected Starters
G – Eric Bledsoe
G – Malcolm Brogdon
F – Khris Middleton
F – Giannis Antetokoumpo
C – Brook Lopez^

The Bucks have a very motivated Giannis Antetokoumpo, and yes, I had to google his name to spell it correctly. The Bucks have a new coach (Mike Budenholzer, another name I had to google), and a new big man in Brook Lopez. This team should improve, but unforunately for the Bucks, the rest of the East has improves as well. I predict a 50-win season, but due to some tiebreakers, they lose out on home-court. Giannis should up MVP-like numbers, and if Middleton can stay healthy, the Bucks can make some noise. The main question is, will it be enough noise? If Giannis wants the MVP, they need to win at least 50, but will the voters make another 5th seed NBA MVP?

-Brandon 


10. Oklahoma City Thunder

okc

2017/18 Record: 48-34
Result: L, West 1st Round (2-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 48.5
18/19 Projection: 48-34, 5th West

Projected Starters
G – Russell Westbrook
G – Alex Abrines*
F – Paul George
F – Jerami Grant
C – Steven Adams

*Andre Roberson is out at least until late-December with a knee injury.

The Thunder were able to resign Paul George, running it back again for another shot. The Thunder shredded Carmelo Anthony, which is great for them, however Andre Roberson suffered a setback on his knee, which is not good. Expect former MVP Russell Westbrook to throw up triple-double numbers, or close to it, but this is basically the same team from last year. Roberson makes this team different defensively, so until he’s back, this is a middle-of-the-pack team in the West. However, this team should be able to make more noise in the playoffs this year than they did last year. If Westbrook can give his teammates more chances, this team will only improve.

-Brandon 


11. Denver Nuggets

DEN

2017/18 Record: 46-36
Result: 10th in West, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 47.5
18/19 Projection: 48-34, 6th West

Projected Starters
G – Jamal Murray
G – Gary Harris
F – Will Barton
F – Paul Millsap
C – Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets missed the postseason by one game last year, and this year they get a healthy Paul Millsap. Big man Nokola Jokic is one of the best players in the league, and combined with Millsap, that is a dynamic one-two combo. Another one-two combo is Gary Harris and Jamal Murray. Jamal gets most of the attention, but Gary Harris is a two-way future star. The Nuggets will not miss the postseason this year, and will push their way there. The Nuggets have a deep roster, and that will proof fruitful as the season progresses.

-Brandon 

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Tier 3: Stuck in the Middle

stuck loop GIF

12. Washington Wizards

WAS

2017/18 Record: 41-39
Result: L, East First Round (2-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 45.5
18/19 Projection: 48-34, 6th East

Projected Starters
G – John Wall
G – Bradley Beal
F – Otto Porter
F – Markieff Morris
C – Dwight Howard^

The Wizards are the next stop on the Dwight Howard fart-train, but this could be a team that actually works. John Wall is the perfect pick-and-roll PG, and Dwight seems finally ready to play nice (chill Orlando Magic fans, chill). Bradley Beal is a bonafide All-Star. This team massively under achieved last year, and cannot afford to do the same in 2019. John Wall looks ready to go, and could be a MVP darkhorse. The Wizards are two years removed from a deep playoff run, and with LeBron gone, the East is more open for the taking than it has been. This is the time to make the run, or changes should take place.

-Brandon 


13. New Orleans Pelicans

NO

2017/18 Record: 48-34
Result: L, West Semi-Finals (1-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 45.5
18/19 Projection: 45-37, 7th West

Projected Starters
G – Elfrid Payton^
G – Jrue Holiday
F – E’Twan Moore
F – Julius Randle^
C – Anthony Davis

The Pelicans made a very nice late-season run last year, sweeping the Blazers and getting into the second round. They lost Boogie Cousins to the Warriors, but signed Julius Randle away from the Lakers. Oh, and they still have this guy named Anthony Davis aka The Brow. He is one of the MVP favorites, and while his numbers might be crazy good, this team might not be. Jrue Holiday as the off-guard is something that worked in the postseason, so a full season of it might work as well. HC Alvin Gentry is on the hot seat for sure, especially if this team regresses.

-Brandon 


14. Miami Heat

MIA

2017/18 Record: 44-38
Result: L, East First Round (1-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 43
18/19 Projection: 45-37, 7th East

Projected Starters
G – Goran Dragic
G – Dwyane Wade
F – Josh Richardson
F – James Johnson
C – Hassan Whiteside

The Miami Heat are one of the deepest teams in the league. They have a ton of wing players that can defend and get to the rim, and a great coach in Erik Spoelstra. This is Wade’s final season, so it’s nice that he get’s a curtain call in Miami. Dion Waiters might supplant him as the starter, but I expect Wade to play some meaningful minutes. Dragic is still a legit starting PG who can make things happen, and Justice Winslow is primed for a 6th man of the year season. Miami is one of those teams that will never blow you away, but the will hang around and out-work opponents.

-Brandon 


15. Portland Trailblazers

POR

2017/18 Record: 49-33
Result:, L, West First Round (0-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 42
18/19 Projection: 44-38, 8th West

Projected Starters
G – Damian Lillard
G – CJ McCollum
F – Moe Harkless
F – Al-Farouq Aminu
C – Jusuf Nurkic

The Blazers are coming off a very confusing ending to 2018. On the bright side, they won 49 games and earned the 3 seed. The bad news is they got swept out of the first round. So back to the drawing board. The Blazers have decided to run it back one more time. Damian Lillard is still incredible and is constantly over-looked, but this team just isn’t good enough to surpass what they did last season (unless there’s a trade). CJ McCollom is still a very nice off-guard, and Nurkic is a solid big. It’s rinse, wash, and repeat in Portland, and it might be the same ending to 2019 as it was in 2018.

-Brandon 


16. San Antonio Spurs

SAS

2017/18 Record: 47-35
Result: L, West First Round (1-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 43.5
18/19 Projection: 44-38, 9th West

Projected Starters
G – Patty Mills*
G – DeMar DeRozan^
F – Rudy Gay
F – LaMarcus Aldridge
C – Pau Gasol

The Spurs are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time in 100 years. Ok, so it’s closer to 20, but still, that’s a long time. Spurs legend Manu Ginobili retired. Spurs legend Tony Parker left via free agency. The Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard in the offseason and got DeMar DeRozan in return. A lot of changes. He is a very talanted scorer, and now his leadership will be tested. A big blow to the spurs season was PG Dejounte Murray tearing his ACL, and is now out for the season. Ouch. Lamarcus Aldridge is still there doing his thing, and so is the legend of Pau Gasol. This team is a mosh-posh of players, and it will take every ounce of Popovich’s lore to lead these guys to the postseason.

-Brandon 


17. Minnesota Timberwolves

MIN

2017/18 Record: 47-35
Result: L, West First Round (1-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 41.5
18/19 Projection: 43-39, 10th West

Projected Starters
G – Jeff Teague
G – Jimmy Butler
F – Andrew Wiggins
F – Taj Gibson
C – Karl Anthony-Towns

The Timberwolves are starting off the season in the worst way. Jimmy Butler has requested to be traded…TWICE! Head Coach/GM Tom Thibodeau doesn’t want to do it. Jimmy Butler yelled at everyone in practice. Everything is in great shape….🙄. The Timberwolves clearly decided that Karl Towns was the franchise player we all think he is, by signing him to a mega-deal. This team is still very talented, and can win plenty of games. I still think they deal Jimmy for parts and move on. They need a real point guard, no offense to Jeff Teague. This seems like an ideal breakout season for Wiggins, but does he care enough? Does Karl Towns? Do we?

-Brandon 

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Tier 4: Dazed and Confused

no idea.gif

18. Detroit Pistons

DET

2017/18 Record: 39-43
Result: 9th in East, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 38.5
18/19 Projection: 41-41, 8th East

Projected Starters
G – Reggie Jackson
G – Reggie Bullock
F – Stanley Johnson
F – Blake Griffin
C – Andre Drummond

The Pistons parted ways with Stan Van Gundy, and hired Dwayne Casey to be the next coach. He is now tasked with figuring out how to partner Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. They are both talented bigs, but kind of do the same things. Blake has aged a bit, but can still run the point-forward (if healthy) and can still dunk on people (again, if healthy). Drummond has improved greatly, mainly at the charity stripe, and is a rebounding machine. The all-Reggie backcourt is an interesting mix, and everyone is waiting for Stanley Johnson to breakout. Let’s see how Casey has this team looking starting off. I expect a return to the postseason, but this team is flawed and could be a trade candidate.

-Brandon 


19. Dallas Mavericks

DAL

2017/18 Record: 24-58
Result: 13th in West, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 34.5
18/19 Projection: 40-42, 11th West

Projected Starters
G – Dennis Smith Jr.
G – Luka Doncic®
F – Wesley Matthews
F – Harrison Barnes
C – DeAndre Jordan^

The Mavericks are a sleeping in the West. The Mavs struck gold in the draft, trading for Luka Doncic, who looks like a future star. PG Dennis Smith Jr. looks like he is going to be pretty good as well, and Harrison Barnes is still there. Free agent big-man DeAndre Jordan finally signed the squad, which pushes an aging Dirk to the bench. If this is Dirk’s last season, what a ride it was. The Mavs are going to be sneaky good, and will surprise some folks.

-Brandon 


20. Los Angeles Clippers

LAC

2017/18 Record: 42-40
Result: 10th in West, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 37
18/19 Projection: 39-43, 12th West

Projected Starters
G – Patrick Beverly
G – Avery Bradley
F – Danilo Galinari
F – Tobias Harris
C – Marcin Gortat^

The LA Clippers have officially moved on from the “Lob-City” era. Blake, CP3 and DJ are all gone, and only Doc Rivers remains. Jerry West has come in and retooled this roster. 6th Man of the year candidate Lou Williams is the leading scorer, and he doesn’t even start. This team is scrappy, and will compete, there is no doubt about that. The Clippers lack a star, but Tobias Harris can do a lot of things well. The real issue for the Clippers is that they have a lot of injury-prone players. I see this team hanging around a bit, but ultimately falling short. Their draft pick Shai Gregorious-Alexander should be exciting to watch, if he gets a chance. The Clippers short “reign” over Los Angeles is over.

-Brandon 


21. Charlotte Hornets

cha

2017/18 Record: 36-46
Result: 10th in East, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 35.5
18/19 Projection: 39-43, 9th East

Projected Starters
G – Kemba Walker
G – Jeremy Lamb
F – Nicolas Batum
F – Marvin Williams
C – Cody Zeller

The Charlotte Hornets bring back a lot of 90’s nostalgia, which is awesome for me. Cool uniforms and Michael Jordan is involved. The real issue is the Hornets haven’t helped Kemba Walker much, and bring back the same roster into 2019, with a new head coach. Nic Batum should be healthy, which is good considering he gets paid a lot. His buddy Tony Parker joined the Hornets in free agency, which is a little weird to see. Malik Monk is in year two, and should grow into a nice two way player. The Hornets have a chance to recapture the playoff seed they had a couple years ago, but it doesn’t seem likely.

-Brandon 


22. Memphis Grizzlies

MEM

2017/18 Record: 22-60
Result: 14th in West, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 34.5
18/19 Projection: 35-47, 13th West

Projected Starters
G – Mike Conley
G – Garrett Temple
F – Kyle Anderson^
F – JaMychal Green
C – Marc Gasol

The Grizzlies are in the in-between phase. It seems like they’ve been there for year, but now they are on the negative side of it. Gasol and Conley are still very good, and hopefully healthy. If they are not traded (big if), this team should be decent enough to compete. Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. should find his way into the starting line up soon, probably after he dunks on a few dudes. SloMo aka Kyle Anderson is the new small forward, so expect the pace to be even slower in Memphis. Perfect for eating bbq, not ideal for 2019 NBA basketball. Oh, and Chandler Parsons might actually play.

-Brandon 


23. Brooklyn Nets

BKN

2017/18 Record: 28-54
Result: 12th in East, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 32
18/19 Projection: 34-48, 10th East

Projected Starters
G – DeAngelo Russell
G – Allen Crabbe
F – DeMarre Carroll
F – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
C – Jarrett Allen

The Nets are moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. DeAngelo Russell is in a contract year, and if healthy, should have a nice season. He’s shown flashes of brilliance at times, at flashes of being a complete dumbass. Spencer Dindwiddie is making the Nets coaching staff play him, and they should be. Jarrett Allen is proving to be a decent big man, with the best afro in the league. This team has depth, and that could provide worthy down the stretch. If the Nets can somehow land Jimmy Butler, that would change things. Until then, this team is a border-line 8th seed, but that is improvement.

-Brandon 


24. Cleveland Cavaliers

CLE

2017/18 Record: 50-32
Result: L NBA Finals (0-4)
18/19 Over/Under: 30.5
18/19 Projection: 34-48, 11th East

Projected Starters
G – George Hill
G – Rodney Hood
F – Cedi Osman
F – Kevin Love
C – Tristan Thompson

The Cavaliers have an interesting mix of veterans and young players heading into 2019. Sure, LeBron James bolting to LA hurts the lineup, but it also opens the door for opportunity. Kevin Love will get a chance to be the number one option again, and that could mean good things. The rest of the roster is a little unproven. Larry Nance Jr. is a player with high-hopes, but can he play a full 82, or even 70? This team could surprise some people, and push for the 8th seed. The real question for this team is how many more tattoos will Jordan Clarkson get?

-Brandon 


25. Phoenix Suns

suns.png

2017/18 Record: 21-61
Result: 15th in West
18/19 Over/Under: 29
18/19 Projection: 32-50, 14th West

Projected Starters
G – Devin Booker
G – Josh Jackson
F – Trevor Ariza^
F – Ryan Anderson^
C – DeAndre Ayton®

The Phoenix Suns are the young team that all the NBA analysts love, and for good reason. This team has a lot of upside and talent, but most of it is unproven. Devin Booker is the real deal, and he’s coming off a summer in which he got paid handsomely, and then had a mysterious injury (he may or may not have fell off of a cart). The Suns also drafted DeAndre Ayton with the number pick in the draft, so they are hoping Ayton and Booker are Kobe/Shaq 2.0. They have big shoes to fill, literally.

-Brandon 

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Tier 5: Hopeless

nba draft wtf GIF by ESPN

26. New York Knicks

NYK

2017/18 Record: 29-53
Result: 11th in East, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 29
18/19 Projection: 32-50, 12th East

Projected Starters
G – Trey Burke
G – Tim Hardaway Jr.
F – Kevin Knox ®
F – Lance Thomas*
C – Enes Kanter

*F/C Kristaps Porzingis is out with a torn ACL until at least the All-Star break.

The injury to Kristaps Porzingis was a brutal ending to a miserable season. Now the unicorn is out through the All-Star break, perhaps the season. The Knicks did draft Kevin Knox, and based purely off summer league, he’s going to win the MVP. Back in reality, the Knicks are going to struggle to win games, but Hardaway can score and if Knox and Franky Smokes can develop nicely, this team could make a push for the 8th seed. Maybe Porzingis come back and….ok my bad. Didn’t mean to get you excited, Knicks fans. It’s gonna be a rough one at the Mecca for at least one more year, so expect plenty of sound-bites from head coach David Fizdale.

-Brandon 


27. Chicago Bulls

CHI

2017/18 Record: 27-55
Result: 13th in East, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 30
18/19 Projection: 29-53, 13th East

Projected Starters
G – Kris Dunn
G – Zach Lavine^
F – Justin Holiday
F – Bobby Portis*
C – Robin Lopez

*F/C Lauri Markkanen is out until mid-December with an elbow sprain.

The Chicago Bulls are a team full of mystery, in a bad way. The have the potential to win some games, but they also have the potential to allow 250 points per game. Kris Dunn made some nice strides last year, and Markkanen really played well. Unfortunately, he’s out until Christmas, or around there, which really dampers the Bulls plans. New additions Zach Lavine and Jabari Parker could add some pop, and push this team higher in the rankings, or they could miss 75% of their games. A team full of mystery!

-Brandon 


28. Orlando Magic

ORL

2017/18 Record: 25-57
Result: 14th in East, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 30.5
18/19 Projection: 27-55, 14th East

Projected Starters
G – DJ Augustin
G – Evan Fournier
F – Jonathan Simmons
F – Aaron Gordon
C – Nikola Vucevic

The Magic have been a team stuck in the lottery since Dwight Howard left. Aaron Gordon is a nice piece, and Mo Bomba & Jonathan Isaac seem good too, but can they all play together? In a league where you need a point guard, they don’t have one, but they do have seventeen forwards. Perhaps this team can make a trade mid-season to get one, but even if they do, the Magic are destined for the bottom. Sorry Magic fans, just go to Disneyworld instead.

-Brandon 


29. Sacramento Kings

SAC

2017/18 Record: 27-55
Result: 12th in West, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 25.5
18/19 Projection: 23-59, 15th West

Projected Starters
G – De’Aaron Fox
G – Buddy Hield
F – Justin Jackson
F – Marvin Bagley III ®
C – Willie Cauley-Stein

The Kings have some nice pieces, but an incredibly inconsistent front office has lead to another year in the doldrums. Year 2 for De’Aaron Fox should be a year of growth, and we may even see him take a huge leap defensively. Backcourt mate Buddy Hield can shoot and score the ball, so this could be a great duo moving forward. Rookie Marvin Bagley III is ready to make a name for himself, but this is Sacramento, so best of luck to them, Vlade and the boys.

-Brandon 


30. Atlanta Hawks

ATL

2017/18 Record: 24-58
Result: 15th in East, Missed Playoffs
18/19 Over/Under: 23.5
18/19 Projection: 19-63, 15th East

Projected Starters
G – Trae Young ®
G – Kent Bazemore
F – Taurean Prince
F – John Collins
C – Dewayne Dedmond

The Hawks are are a young team, and it will show again this season. They took a huge risk by trading the rights to Luka Doncic for Trae Young, so all eyes will be on Young this year, judging harshly. I expect him to shoot a lot, to miss a few, but to have some nice games sprinkled in there. Taurean Prince is a nice player as well, and John Collins should provide some highlight dunks and blocks. Let’s hope it’s enough for 20 games. It might not be. However, Trae Young could win rookie of the year. Now Hawks fans just have to hope the Mavericks stink too.

-Brandon 

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® - Rookie
* - Player Note
^ - New Addition to Team

Thank you very much for reading the initial power rankings!

Brandon Rosenthal
30 Minute Lunchbeak Podcast
Host, Creator, Writer

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