Most NBA training camps open Monday.After a lockout shortened the 2011-12 season and severely limited practice time, all 30 teams will finally have a chance to properly prepare for NBA action.
To make our preseason power rankings, we took each team’s record last year, then moved them up and down based on how they changed their rosters in the offseason.
We found that there’s an upper tier of five teams that are truly going to contend for the title, a middle tier of talented teams that have a slim chance to break through, and a lower tier of hopeless squads destined for the lottery.
Key Pick-ups: Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Josh Harrellson
Key Subtractions: None
Best five: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers
The Heat go into training camp an even bigger juggernaut than they did last year. Allen, Lewis, and Harrellson all fill needs that they had last year.
Key Pick-ups: Perry Jones III (rookie)
Key Subtractions: None
Best five: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha
This team is so young than an extra year of experience should make them improve greatly.
Key Pick-ups: Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Antwan Jamison
Key Subtractions: Andrew Bynum, Matt Barnes
Best five: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace
No team added more big names, but Howard is injured and it's unclear if they can mesh.
Key Pick-ups: Nando Colo
Key Subtractions: None
Best five: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Gary Neal
Same team that gave the Thunder all they could handle last year. We'll see how Tony Parker performs with that eye injury from the Drake-Chris Brown fight.
Key Pick-ups: Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger (rookie)
Key Subtractions: Greg Steimsma
Best five: Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Avery Bradley
Rondo had a coming out party in the '12 playoffs, and now they upgrade on the perimeter with Terry and Green, and inside with Sullinger.
Key Pick-ups: DJ Augustin, Ian Mahinmi, Miles Plumlee
Key Subtractions: Darren Collison
Best five: Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, David West, Paul George
A tier below the top 5, but they can made noise if Granger has a bounce back year and George continues to develop.
Key Pick-ups: Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes
Key Subtractions: Reggie Evans, Mo Williams
Best five: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom
Still a ton of talent, but need to prove that they can play together.
Key Pick-ups: Jerryd Bayless, Tony Wroten
Key Subtractions: OJ Mayo
Best five: Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Mike Conley
People really like the rookie Wroten, but this team will come down to whether or not Gay and Randolph can thrive together.
Key Pick-ups: Joe Johnson, Mirza Teletovic, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, Jerry Stackhouse, CJ Watson
Key Subtractions: Anthony Morrow
Best five: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks
Lots of excitement around this year, but Lopez will need to have a great year for them to compete in the East
Key Pick-ups: Andre Iguodala, Evan Fournier, Quincy Miller
Key Subtractions: Aaron Afflalo
Best five: Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee
Everyone loves the Iguodala trade, he fits in perfectly
Key Pick-ups: Andrew Bynum, Nick Young, Dorell Wright
Key Subtractions: Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Elton Brand, Nikola Vucevic
Best five: Andrew Bynum, Jrue Holiday, Thad Young, Evan Turner, Nick Young
A team that had redundancies at the wings suddenly makes a lot of sense.
Key Pick-ups: Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer (injured) Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby
Key Subtractions: Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries, Josh Harrelson
Best five: Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert (hurt)
Tons of turnover for this team. Their success will come down to whether or not Felton is in shape at point guard
Key Pick-ups: Marco Bellinelli, Kirk Hinrich
Key Subtractions: Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Kyler Korver
Best five: Derrick Rose (hurt), Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson
If Rose is out for the year, they won't win a playoff series.
Key Pick-ups: Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko, Alexy Shved, Brandon Roy
Key Subtractions: Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic, Anthony Tolliver
Best five: Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio (hurt), JJ Barea, Nikola Pekovic, Derrick Williams
Both Russians (Kirilenko and Shved) should give them instant offence and some bench depth.
Key Pick-ups: John Henson, Samuel Dalembert
Key Subtractions: None
Best five: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Dunleavy, Samuel Dalembert
A full season of Jennings and Ellis is promising
Key Pick-ups: Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Deshawn Stevenson
Key Subtractions: Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich
Best five: Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia, Lou Williams
They lose Johnson, but they added enough depth to stay in the playoff picture
Key Pick-ups: Dion Waiters
Key Subtractions: Anthony Parker
Best five: Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Daniel Gibson
A full season of Varejo and another year of growth for Irving makes them an attractive sleeper
Key Pick-ups: Marvin Williams, Mo Williams, Randy Foye
Key Subtractions: Devin Harris
Best five: Al Jefferson, Gordan Hayward, Derrick favours, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams
Harris for Williams is a downgrade, but they played strong at the end of last season and another year of growth of Hayward will be huge.
Key Pick-ups: Darren Collison, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, OJ Mayo
Key Subtractions: Jason Terry, Lamar Odom, Ian Mahimni
Best five: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Darren Collison, Chris Kaman, Vince Carter
They've gambled on old guys before and won (see: Jason Kidd), but they're putting a whole lot of stock in Kaman and Brand to have something left.
Key Pick-ups: Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal
Key Subtractions: Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis
Best five: John Wall (hurt), Nene, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Kevin Seraphin
This team relies on Wall, and they'll struggle to score without him
Key Pick-ups: Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields, Kyle Lowry
Key Subtractions: Jerryd Bayless
Best five: Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields
Valanciunas underwhelmed in the Olympics, but he's still a rookie of the year candidate and they have a bit of depth now with Fields and keeping Jose Calderon.
Key Pick-ups: JJ Hickson, Damian Lillard, Jared Jeffries
Key Subtractions: Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton
Best five: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, JJ Hickson(?)
A team that had a lot of depth two years ago suddenly looks thin. People like Lillard, but there's really no other scoring in Portland.
Key Pick-ups: Harrison Barnes, Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry
Key Subtractions: Dorrell Wright
Best five: Stephan Curry, Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson, David Lee, Harrison Barnes
The talent is there. But it was also there last year, and they ended up as one of the worst teams in the league.
Key Pick-ups: Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Austin Rivers
Key Subtractions: Trevor Ariza
Best five: Eric Gordon, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Austin Rivers
Not going to compete this year, but Davis looked solid in the Olympics and it'll be interesting to see how he'll change his game when he enters the NBA.
Key Pick-ups: Andre Drummond, Corey Maggette, Kyle Singler
Key Subtractions: Ben Gordon
Best five: Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Corey Maggette, Tayshaun Prince
Getting Corey Maggettee is odd, and might prevent this from becoming Monroe's team like it should.
Key Pick-ups: Aaron Brooks, Thomas Robinson
Key Subtractions: None
Best five: Tyreke Evans, Demarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Isaiah Thomas, John Salmons
They have more depth than last year, but it's becoming increasingly clear that Evans isn't a No. 1 player on a contender
Key Pick-ups: Jeremy Lin, Royce White, Terrence Jones, Jon Leuer, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lamb
Key Subtractions: Kyle Lowry, Louis Scola, Chase Budinger, Samuel Dalembert
Best five: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, Jon Leuer, Royce White
This team is weird. We trust their GM Daryl Morey a ton, but the roster just looks like a mess right now.
Key Pick-ups: Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall, Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson, Luis Scola
Key Subtractions: Steve Nash
Best five: Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola, Jared Dudley, Kendall Marshall
Scola was a nice pick-up, and Marshall is a good point guard of the future, but they don't have the talent or depth to compete now.
Key Pick-ups: Gustavo Ayon, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic
Key Subtractions: Ryan Anderson
Best five: Aaron Afflalo, Hedo Turkoglu, Big Baby Davis, Jameer Nelson, JJ Redick
The cupboard is really, really empty.
Key Pick-ups: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ben Gordon, Brendan Haywood, Ramon Sessions
Key Subtractions: Corey Maggette
Best five: MKG, Ben Gordon, Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions
Still bad, but finally beginning to turn it around.
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