DA's Top 15 Rankings return as the regular season gets under way tomorrow in Cleveland and Golden State.
(2016-17 season finish in brackets)
1. Golden State Warriors (67-15, won 2017 NBA championship): Defending Champions’ prerogative.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31, lost in NBA Finals): There’s a J.R. Smith situation a’ brewin’, and I’m not sure how this gets resolved amicably.
3. Houston Rockets (55-27, lost in Western Conference semifinals): Too small a sample size to draw sweeping conclusions, of course. But not only did Luc Mbah a Moute shoot 50 percent on threes in exhibition play, he took way more -- three per game -- than he has during any other preseason.
4. Boston Celtics (53-29, lost in Eastern Conference finals): I can’t unhear what Heinsohn said about Aron Baynes.
5. San Antonio Spurs (61-21, lost in Western Conference finals): Amazing how circumstances change: all of a sudden, the Spurs need Cousin LaMarcus a lot more than anyone thought they would.
6. Toronto Raptors (51-31, lost in Eastern Conference semifinals): Raps looking for Serge Ibaka, “slim and trim,” as I heard it during the preseason, to have a big year.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35, lost in first round): Could one of y’all Knicks bring Carmelo’s other jacket on Wednesday? He left it there.
8. Washington Wizards (49-33, lost in Eastern Conference semifinals): Carrick Felix, the former second-round pick of the Cavaliers who’s been out of the NBA since 2014 after breaking his kneecap, makes the Wizards’ roster.
9. Milwaukee Bucks (42-40, lost in first round):Did not have him in the pool. Aren’t the Violent Femmes from Milwaukee?
10. LA Clippers (51-31, lost in first round): Preseason injuries impacting Clips’ continuity, which could be a problem out of the gate.
11. Utah Jazz (51-31, lost in Western Conference semifinals): Down to the wire with Rodney Hood on an extension.
12. Memphis Grizzlies (43-39, lost in first round): Third-year center Jarell Martin had a strong camp and preseason.
13. Portland Trail Blazers (41-41, lost in first round): Stunned that the Blazers are letting Jusuf Nurkic get to free agency, even if it’s restricted free agency. Yes, they don’t have a big sample size of Nurk in the middle, and, yes, they have a zillionaire owner who won’t lose anyone because of money, But there’s no way I’m letting Mark Cuban have a whack at recruiting this guy next summer.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51, did not make playoffs): Was wondering about this.
15. Miami Heat (41-41, did not make playoffs): Coach Erik Spoelstra starts the season with 440 wins, just 14 behind Pat Riley for the most in franchise history. Spoelstra's current .609 winning percentage (440-282) is already the best in franchise history.
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