NBA Tier List: Parity abounds with opening night upon us
The NBA regular season is upon us. After a long, incredibly busy summer, the games begin again on Tuesday night – most notably with the Toronto Raptors raising their first-ever championship banner before taking on the New Orleans Pelicans at Scotiabank Arena.To get more nba as, you can visit shine news official website.
But despite the Raptors’ defending-champion status, they certainly don’t feel like big favourites to repeat.One obvious reason for this is the departure of 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, but another major factor is the insane amount of parity across the NBA this season.
For the first time in seemingly forever there’s no clear-cut favourite to win it all. Instead, there’s a large swath of good-to-very good teams that look like they have a legitimate shot or are, perhaps, just one piece or one big break short of one.
As such, this season we’re going to tackle the power rankings a little differently than in years past. Instead of ranking each team 1-30, we’re going to divvy up groups of teams into tiers.So, before the ball tips and things get going for real, here’s the first edition of the NBA Tier List.Due to a mixture of raw star power, depth and experience, these five clubs are the cream of the crop heading into the season.
Star capital is apparent across the board here, with players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, respectively, in addition to reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Milwaukee Bucks, and Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Denver Nuggets’ wattage isn’t as obvious, but Nikola Jokic was, and should still remain, an MVP candidate, while Canadian Jamal Murray could take the next step and become an all-star this season.
All of these teams are expected to compete for the top spots of their respective conferences on the strength of their top-end talent, but they all also feature a fair amount of depth in terms of role players and specialists who can help them get over the top.
As mentioned before, there’s a lot of parity around the league this season, but for the time being these fives team like the far-too-early championship favourites.This is what was meant by a ton of good-to-very good teams.
These eight clubs could easily leap into the group above if things break right. But the reason they’re not there now is because they each come with key questions that could hold them back.
For example, there’s little denying the Raptors’ depth, but without Leonard — one of the three best players in the league — how legitimate are their championship aspirations even if Pascal Siakam takes another step forward?
Or in the case of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, their top talent is literally MVP calibre, but what about their overall depth? And for teams like the Utah Jazz or Brooklyn Nets, while it’s true adding players like Mike Conley and Kyrie Irving is a big boost, the jury is still out on whether it’ll be enough.All of these teams have questions that need to be answered before they can make a leap into the top tier.None of these 10 clubs are outright bad, per se, but it’s hard to see them pushing for anything beyond the final three playoff spots in their respective conferences.
The Sacramento Kings are a perfect example of this. They’re a team with depth and talent — see players like De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield — and look primed to make a leap back to relevancy. Unfortunately for them, the West is so deep that relevancy likely means scratching for a No. 7 or 8 seed.
And looking at an Eastern Conference example, the Orlando Magic are a well-coached team with intriguing talent that should only grow after a respectable five-game playoff exit to the Raptors. But what is the Magic’s realistic ceiling here? Can Nikola Vucevic make yet another leap and turn this Orlando side from a No. 6 seed into a top-three seed in the East?
All of these squads have talent. The problem is they either don’t have enough of it or they’re simply going to get gate-kept by clubs within the higher tiers.