INSIDER: OCTOBER POWER RANKINGS

Here is the training camp installment of my monthly power rankings, which are posted on the first Friday of every month. While teams just started practicing over the last week, there have been a number of transactions and noteworthy injuries since the last edition. I took into account some of the more significant storylines coming out of teams’ camps and adjusted the rankings accordingly. I also added a column for last month’s ranking as well as one to show each team’s recent trend. I would love to read your comments on Twitter (@ericpatten). You can also leave comments at the bottom of these rankings.


Rank

Team

Previous

Arrow

Reason

1

1

-

Nothing’s changed from Sept. except Wade’s recovery from knee surgery sounds as though he’s on track for a return soon.

2

2

-

If one of their “projects” pan out (Perry Jones III, Hasheem Thabeet or Daniel Orton), it could be a huge coup. However, it still seems imperative they extend James Harden (deadline Oct. 31)

3

4

While Lakers brass remains mum, it’s sounding more and more like Dwight Howard will be healthy nearer to the start of the season than originally believed.

4

3

Nothing’s changed on the Spurs front in the immediate term, but Manu, a free agent at the end of the season, admitted the thought of retirement has crossed his mind.

5

5

-

The addition of Matt Barnes only makes the deepest team in the league deeper. Granted CP3 (thumb) and Chauncey Billups (Achilles) were sidelined, but in LAC’s open scrimmage Oct. 3, the reserves matched the starters.  

6

7

Will not dock the Nuggets for their dreadful gold third jerseys because they could vault into the West’s elite. George Karl told the Denver Post it was the best September since he’s been in Denver with the number of players working out at the team’s facility.

7

6

According to Doc Rivers, Avery Bradley (shoulder) is “not even close” to a return. They have the wings (Terry and Lee) to make up for it, but the Bradley news is still enough to raise concern.

8

9

The Pacers will continue to go under the radar because they lack star power, but they could be scary good if Paul George scratches the surface of his potential.

9

10

Enes Kanter is said to have lost more than 50 pounds, Al Jefferson is allegedly not worried about his contract, and Paul Millsap is really good. And by the way, Derrick Favors is potentially the best of the bunch in Utah’s crowded.

10

11

With Zach Randolph (knee) and Tony Allen (knee) reportedly 100% healthy, the Grizzlies may resemble the team that made it within a game of the West Finals in 2011.

11

12

They are reportedly taking a worthwhile chance on Andray Blatche. The 26-year-old could add a new dynamic to the Nets’ frontcourt, and if he doesn’t pan out, there’s always former Clipper Reggie Evans.   

12

8

Andrew Bynum’s knees are again a topic of discussion. He says he “feels better” but it was not a good sign when the team announced Bynum will miss about 3 weeks to rest after plasma-rich treatment in Germany.

13

13

-

The Bulls retained coach Tom Thibodeau with a 4-year extension and Luol Deng said basically Chicago’s camp has been so far, so good even without superstar Derrick Rose (knee).

14

14

-

With the addition of Louis Amundson, the Wolves have a scrappy, defensive-savvy forward to go with… forget it. Amundson, Rubio, and Alexey Shved may just make up the best trio of haircuts in the league.

15

15

-

The Knicks have accumulated talent and the good news is that Ray Felton is allegedly in much better shape than last season. The bad? They’re going to be counting on a number of players upwards of 38 years old.

16

16

-

Chris Kaman left the first day of training camp with a strained back. It was reportedly not a serious injury, but an ominous start for the oft-injured former Clipper.

17

17

-

The Hawks surprisingly cut Jordan Williams who was sent to Atlanta in the Joe Johnson trade. They are clearly in rebuilding mode, but could still contend for a spot in the bottom three of the East playoff race.

18

18

-

Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers and Ryan Anderson are a very solid group for the future. It just might take a few bumps and bruises before the young Hornets get there.

19

19

-

The health of Andrew Bogut and Steph Curry could be the difference between contending for a low playoff seed or finishing with one of the five worst records in the league.

20

22

It will be fascinating to watch Scott Skiles, a defensive oriented coach, manage an offensively talented but defensively underwhelming and undersized backcourt.

21

24

Kyrie Irving (hand) is completely healed. Can he be an All-Star lacking a worthy supporting cast? It is certainly a possibility. 

22

20

This was supposed to be the year John Wall made a jump. He had more talent around him than his previous two seasons… The jump will have to wait for 6-8 weeks as he recovers from a stress fracture in his knee. Devastating.

23

21

The Raptors spent most of last season dealing with a calf injury to Andrea Bargnani, so news that rookie Jonas Valanciunas suffered one during a September workout was not likely the best way to ring in the new season.

24

23

The Arizona Republic says the starting 2-spot for the Suns is open to Shannon Brown or Jared Dudley. If Brown wins the job, only Marcin Gortat will return as a starter from last season. Also, the Channing Frye (heart) news was a terrible blow.

25

25

-

Royce White, one of three first round picks in Houston, has not reported to camp yet as he continues to deal with an anxiety disorder. Hopefully, everything works out for the young forward, who was one of the more unique talents entering the draft.

26

26

-

One of the more recent reports out of Portland is that newly re-signed forward Nic Batum and veteran Ronnie Price have thrived in camp. No matter, it will likely take a while for the young Blazers to gel.

27

28

Perhaps the Kings channel the energy from their unenviable limbo in Sacramento and give one of the best fan bases in the league one last run. You never know, the A’s did it in Major League Baseball…

28

27

The Pistons have a ton of unproven pieces, and could be good eventually, it’s just not going to be this year (or maybe even next for that matter).

29

29

-

According to the Charlotte Observer, the Bobcats with new coach Mike Dunlap are focused on becoming a more defensive oriented team. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and second-year big man Bismack Biyombo are a good place to start.

30

30

-

Not much to be optimistic about in the Magic Kingdom, except maybe that Moe Harkless is perhaps pushing Hedo Turkoglu for the starting nod at SF.