Monday, October 27, 2014

2014-15 NBA Power Rankings: Week 1

In less than 24 hours, the 2014-15 NBA season will get underway with three games including the Mavericks at Spurs.

Beginning with Gregg Popovitch's first full season as Spurs coach, the Spurs have won 50-plus games every season except 1998-99. Only 50 total games were played that season and the Spurs won 37 of them. In fact, that was the first year that the Spurs won the NBA Finals.

Entering the season as defending champions, the Spurs have won five titles during the Popovitch and Tim Duncan era. Duncan exercised his player option for this season, which could be the last of his Hall-of-Fame career.

With a career win share of 191.57, the only players in NBA history with a higher win share are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (273.41), Wilt Chamberlain (247.26), Karl Malone (234.63), Michael Jordan (214.02) and John Stockton (207.70). Mr. Fundamental ranks 19th all-time in scoring, 12th in rebounding and 15th in blocks.

Based on Vegas odds to win it all, the Spurs are a close second (+350) behind the Cavaliers (+280).

As LeBron James returns home to Cleveland, he leads a more talented trio with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love than the one he had in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Considering the Heat made a trip to the NBA Finals in all four of LeBron's seasons in Miami and won two titles, it makes sense to install them as the preseason favorites even if it takes a bit of time for them to build chemistry.

Here are my Week 1 NBA Power Rankings (2013-14 record in parenthesis):

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (33-49)
2. San Antonio Spurs (62-20)
3. Chicago Bulls (48-34)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (57-25)
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (59-23)
6. Dallas Mavericks (49-33)
7. Golden State Warriors (51-31)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (50-32)
9. Portland Trail Blazers (54-28)
10. Washington Wizards (44-38)
11. Toronto Raptors (48-34)
12. Houston Rockets (48-34)
13. New Orleans Pelicans (34-48)
14. Phoenix Suns (48-34)
15. Charlotte Hornets (43-39)
16. Miami Heat (54-28)
17. Denver Nuggets (36-46)
18. Brooklyn Nets (44-38)
19. Atlanta Hawks (38-44)
20. Detroit Pistons (29-53)
21. Indiana Pacers (56-26)
22. Los Angeles Lakers (27-55)
23. Sacramento Kings (28-54)
24. New York Knicks (37-45)
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (40-42)
26. Utah Jazz (25-57)
27. Boston Celtics (25-57)
28. Milwaukee Bucks (15-67)
29. Orlando Magic (23-59)
30. Philadelphia 76ers (19-63)

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Report: Kevin Durant (foot) needs surgery and will miss next 6-8 weeks

Thunder forward Kevin Durant has missed only six games over the previous five NBA seasons, but he's going to miss more than that to begin the season.

Per Frank Isola of the NY Daily News, Durant needs surgery and will miss the next 6-8 weeks due to a Jones fracture in his foot.

Six weeks from today is Nov. 23rd and eight weeks from today is Dec. 7th. The Thunder have games on both of those days and they represent their 15th and 20th games of the season, respectively.

That said, general manager Sam Presti said that "all signs point" to Durant requiring surgery, but that decision won't be made until further consultation.

Obviously, this impacts Durant's fantasy value and I dropped him from No. 1 to No. 20 in my 2014-15 fantasy basketball rankings while moving teammate Russell Westbrook up a couple of spots to No. 6.