A pre-season power ranking by 22 SBNation team bloggers has confirmed much of what we already knew. The Heat are the consensus number one team. And no one seems to have noticed what a dreadful off-season the Thunder had.
I find it pretty amazing that the Thunder can be ranked second in the NBA after losing the third leading scorer in the off-season and adding nothing. Whatevs.
The Clippers wound up fifth, behind the Heat, Thunder, Spurs and Pacers. That's fine. I certainly wouldn't rank them behind the Pacers, but I get it. Besides, with the Pacers in the East, it doesn't much matter whether the Clippers are ranked ahead or behind them. (Looking at the raw numbers, it's worth noting that it was pretty close -- the Pacers averaged 4.4 while the Clippers averaged 4.7.)
Ranking the Clippers behind the Thunder and the Spurs in the West is fine. Obviously I've made my views clear on the Thunder and their situation, and I think people have completely missed the importance of their losing Kevin Martin. But that's OK. Keeping expectations relatively low for the Clippers is a good thing.
The Clippers were ranked as high as second (not by me, I had them third) and as low as ninth (something of an outlier -- no one else had them lower than seventh, but I won't out the culprit).
Focusing just on the West for a moment, the rankings have:
Those top six are pretty obvious -- barring injuries, it's hard to imagine any of them not making the playoffs. After that, it's much less clear. The Lakers and Nuggets made the playoffs last season, but both should be significantly worse this season after losing major players in the off-season. But who might replace them? Or can they hang on to their spot at the table? The 7 through 15 spots in the West should be very interesting.