There is still a few months left before the start of the NBA season and with the off-season still in full motion, the landscape of the NBA remains unclear. Several free agents remain in the open market and a blockbuster trade is always on the horizon. While it may be too early to try and rank all the teams, the latest power rankings show the effect of LeBron James’ decision to go back home to Cleveland.
The Golden State Warriors were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year, but they are a team on the rise and the latest power rankings show it. The Western Conference takes up the first five spots, as they should, they are simply the superior conference and it’s not even close. The Warriors rank fifth overall in the latest power rankings by NBA.com:
The off-season might not have included a blockbuster trade for the Warriors, but their off-season moves are good enough to bump them up three spots and into the top five. The hiring of Steve Kerr might also explain why the Warriors are entering the 2014-15 with high expectations, he’s listed as a key addition on the graphic above. After not having an efficient bench last season, the addition of Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush could finally give the Warriors the flexibility to rest their stating five, which could make the difference in the post-season.
Although it is encouraging to see the Warriors as a top five team, it must emphasized that these rankings are pre-mature. According to John Schuhmann of NBA.com, there is still time for a team to make an off-season move that could dramatically impact the latest power rankings:
There are still some moves that can make an impact. Obviously, a Kevin Love trade could send the Warriors or Cavaliers to the top of their conference.
The Cavaliers are currently ranked seventh overall, they jumped 22 spots with the arrival of James. With their current roster, the Cavs are Eastern Conference contenders, but they don’t have enough to challenge the Western Conference power houses. The addition of Love would catapult them as the favorites in the East and the Warriors would also be up there with the Spurs and Thunder in the West if they added the former Bruin. Both teams know what’s at stake, but will they pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal before the start of the NBA season?