Monday, January 2, 2012

NBA Consensus Power Rankings, Week 2

One week into the regular season, it's time for the first edition of our NBA Consensus Power Rankings, which will have a similar format to our NFL version.

The same four of us (John Trifone, Dan Yanotchko, Sean Beazley and I) will rank all 30 NBA franchises from 1 to 30 to get to our consensus (average) ranking of the 30 NBA teams.

Since the NBA is a star-driven league, one of the most popular topics of conversation in the NBA offseason was what would happen with then-Hornets point guard Chris Paul and to Magic center Dwight Howard.

Initially CP3 was heading to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers, then Cavs owner Dan Gilbert got out his crayons to complain to the league and the league vetoed the deal. Ultimately, however, Paul ended up in L.A. But instead of landing with the Lakers, CP3 was traded to the Clippers.

With our power rankings, as you may know from our NFL version, we have one weekly roundtable topic and our first question involves the two L.A. franchises.

Which L.A. team will win more regular-season games this year: Lakers or Clippers?

John (follow John on Twitter): There has been an awful lot of hype surrounding the Clippers this season and the acquisition of Chris Paul. However, as of now, they are still the second best team in Los Angeles. The Lakers did lose Lamar Odom, and are certainly an aging group, but they still have a solid core of good players. I still think it's fairly likely that the Lakers will make a big move like getting Dwight Howard, but even if they don't, Andrew Bynum is an animal when healthy. And although the Lakers may not have enough to truly contend for a title, they still have enough to get farther than the Clippers, who still have to gel together and probably add a few more pieces themselves before they are a serious contender.

Sean (visit Sean's website): In my preseason selections, I have the Clippers not the Lakers representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, however, I do think the Lakers will end the regular season with more wins. I had the Lakers with the #2 seed and the Clippers with the #3 seed. I love CP3 and Blake Griffin, but they aren't Kobe Bryant. I think the difference in wins is going to be small, and its going to be those games where Kobe can close and CP3/Blake can't that make up those few games. It is also going to take the Clippers time to gel together as well. Come playoff time I think they are going to be scary if they are healthy.

Dan (follow Dan on Twitter): This year will be the year that the little brother finally fights back. The Clippers have landed the second best point guard in the league, and posess a much better core than the Lakers. The Lakers are aging with Kobe's injuries, and Andrew Bynum sure to go down soon, and Pau Gasol looking disinterested, and losing the 6th man in Lamar Odom. I forsee this finally being the year of the clippers, and will enjoy watching Blake Griffin play with Chris Paul.

Kevin (follow Kevin on Twitter): With no NFL franchise, Los Angeles has been an NBA (and Lakers) city. For a long time, the Clippers have long been the laughing stock of the league. Not only is the gap narrowing, but the future of the Clippers is as bright as that of the showtime Lakers. While I would agree with Sean that the Lakers will likely get more regular-season wins as the Clips learn to learn together, I think the Clippers are a more dangerous team in the playoffs and the team that non-L.A. teams don't want to face in May and June.

To see where the Lakers and Clippers (and other 28 teams) fall in our power rankings, click here.

Related: Our NFL Consensus Power Rankings

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