2014-15 NBA Power Rankings

Frank Passalacqua, Opinion Editor

As the NBA season gets underway, it is time we look at the power rankings for the 2014-2015 season.

First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room.

This past offseason saw one of the most crucial free agent periods the NBA has seen in a long time. There is no denying that the San Antonio Spurs single handedly destroyed the future of the Miami Heat, with their Championship win ultimately sending LeBron back to Cleveland.

LeBron took the Heat’s final loss as more than just a missed opportunity for a three-peat, but as a chance to resurge his career by making a move that shocked the world. LeBron announced that he would opt out of his contract and would go back home. That brings us to the power rankings:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers:

There is no way possible that anyone can deny this. Granted the team has yet to play a single season game together, the talent this team possess is more than the 2008 Boston Celtics posses and more than the Miami Heat’s run that started in 2010. Adding LeBron James to the talented Kyrie Irving was enough to make any team cringe, but the team did not stop recruitments there.

Adding Kevin Love was arguably the bigger transaction here, adding a 6’ 10″ power forward who could rebound and shoot lights out from beyond the arc. Not only does this perfectly complete the trio, but it takes a load off LeBron’s shoulders. Now, LeBron can play his true position without having to worry about carrying his team at more than one position.

The move sent rookie sensation Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota. Wiggins, the 19-year-old standout, got the worst end of the deal possible, and I really feel for the kid. He went from being drafted first overall in the NBA Draft, to literally feeling like he isn’t wanted. A big move like that in the life of a young player is a lot of stress to bare.

Lastly, Cleveland added sharp shooters Mike Miller and James Jones, two players who LeBron won two Championships with in Miami. Shawn Marion was also signed to the team, giving the legitimate team depth at almost every single position. The NBA is not ready for the beat downs that the Cavaliers will be laying on every team this season, and each game will be history in the making.

2. San Antonio Spurs:

Has there ever been a more solid, textbook team in the history of the NBA? In years past, the Spurs have been notorious for playing ‘boring’ basketball. While true, the team still has won more than any other team in the past 20 years. In fact, the Spurs have only been under .500 twice since 1990 and have made it to the NBA Finals 10 times, winning 5 during that span.

One more fun fact, the SPurs have only missed the playoffs three times in the team’s history. Let that sink in.

The Spurs are truly timeless. The trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker are reaching the end of their careers, but their play has not shown any signs of that notion on the court. Having a young player in Kawhi Leonard is something special, because already in just his second year in the league, he has made the mental and physical step needed to step up his game to become a top-tier player. People may laugh at that statement, but his play proved that in the Finals when it mattered. Learning under the trio is significant to his career development, and having Coach Pop is all he needs to become the face of the franchise, and ultimately one of the top players in the Western Conference.

3. Chicago Bulls:

This one is solely dependent on one player: Derrick Rose. He is one of the most electric players in the league, but everyone knows his injuries has kept him out of play for the majority of the past three years.

Health is the kryptonite of the Bulls. Rose is more fragile now than Michael Vick, making him a glass-like player. When he can stay healthy, the league is reminded why he was rookie of the year and NBA MVP.

During the summer for Team USA, Rose looked like he was back. He survived that small stretch without tearing anything, so if that can stay true for 2015, then he gives the Bulls a good shot at being one of the top teams in the East, which is why I have them ranked at No. 3. Oh yea, they have Pau Gasol, giving them more stability and a bigger presence on the court.

4. Los Angeles Clippers:

After that whole fiasco at the end of last season with Donald Sterling, the Clippers will look to bounce back in 2015 and dominate the West again.

Let me get this out as well. Nothing makes me happier than to see the Clippers take over Los Angeles as the best team. In the past when everyone was a Lakers bandwagon fan because of Kobe, it was annoying as anything. Now that Kobe is slowly fading away and the Clippers take names on a daily basis, all those purple loving bandwagoners can take to the register their newly bought Blake Griffin jerseys.

Doc Rivers at head coach, Chris Paul at center, Blake Griffin at power forward and DeAndre Jordan at center, what other team poses this amount of pure athleticism? I look for them to go far this year

5. Miami Heat:

I will probably get a lot of crap for this, but oh well.

Instead of doing a designated “honorable metions” section to those who did not get this spot, let me explain the rest of the teams downfalls.

The Thunder would have clenched this spot, except for the fact of team chemistry and injuries.

Durant is obviously the leader of that team and as soon as Russell Westbrook understands that, the better. The problem is he never will, and that is why the Thunder will never win the ring.

Dallas is simply getting too old without having enough talent, and their run last season in the playoffs was a fluke. Golden State and the Portland Trailblazers are up and coming, but right now, they are too young and inexperienced to make a next step. Adding another key player with years on his belt would help them both greatly.

Now for the Heat, they still have a solid core. Dwyane Wade will have to take over as the main man, with Bosh playing his true position for the first time since Toronto.

With their offseason acqusitions and their draft, I think the Heat can still be a top team in the East.

Oh, watch of for James Ennis, NBA,