2020 NBA Power Rankings: Where Celtics rank as regular season begins


The shortest offseason in NBA history is in the books. So, which teams are best-positioned for a title run? It's time for one last edition of NBA Power Rankings before the 2020-21 regular season tips off Tuesday night.

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Last month's ranking: 30

Rookie Isaac Okoro looked great in the preseason and could stuff the stat sheet out of the gate, especially if the Kevins (Porter Jr. and Love) miss time early on. He and Collin Sexton are pretty much the only two reasons to get excited in Cleveland. 


Last month's ranking: 28

The Knicks don't have single player over age 30 and just four players over 26. Tom Thibodeau should have fun with this talented but very raw roster. Expect lots of Obi Toppin highlights -- and a lot more losses.


Last month's ranking: 29

The Thunder probably have the NBA's worst roster, but they battled to a No. 5 seed last season with borderline playoff talent. So, they may finish last in the Western Conference -- but not at the bottom of the league cellar.


Last month's ranking: 27

The Pistons' success this season may hinge on the health of Blake Griffin. Which is to say, they probably won't have success this season.

Rookies Killian Hayes and Saddiq Bey will be worth watching, while Josh Jackson -- who was taken one spot behind Jayson Tatum in the 2017 NBA Draft -- will try to find success on his third team in two years.


Last month's ranking: 26

The preseason reinforced what we already knew: The Wolves aren't big fans of defense. Their struggles on that end combined with the potential offensive firepower of Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards could result in some entertaining games in Minnesota.


Last month's ranking: 25

Guard Coby White could be a breakout candidate this season, while big man Patrick Williams looks like a solid draft pick at No. 4 overall. The arrow is pointing up in Chicago, but there's still a long way to go.


Last month's ranking: 23

LaMelo Ball made some jaw-dropping passes this preseason. Charlotte also averaged about 20 turnovers per game and gave up 116.5 points per contest. Ball and Gordon Hayward will make highlight reels, but that ain't a winning formula.


Last month's ranking: 24

The Kings are well-stocked with nice young players, from De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield to Richaun Holmes, Marvin Bagley and rookie Tyrese Haliburton. They're just lacking any consistent veteran talents to help them make headway in a deep Western Conference.


Last month's ranking: 22

The Magic's best-case scenario may be a slow start that finally convinces the front office to put Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier on the trade market to initiate a rebuild. The more likely scenario is that Orlando hovers around .500 while battling for a spot in the East play-in tournament.


Last month's ranking: 21

San Antonio might be Orlando's slightly-more-talented Western Conference cousin. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge will keep the Spurs competitive, and if Dejounte Murray can come close to his pre-ACL tear level, they could battle for a playoff spot. But that's probably their ceiling. 


Last month's ranking: 20

The Wizards are probably a .500 team at best, but you're gonna want to watch them play. After ditching the NBA's biggest ball hog in James Harden, Russell Westbrook should rank among the league's usage rate leaders as he and Bradley Beal dominate offensive possessions.


Last month's ranking: 17

Ja Morant should fill it up on a nightly basis with Jaren Jackson Jr. sidelined to begin the season, but the Grizzlies need their talented big man back in short order if they want to stay in the West conversation.


Last month's ranking: 16

With an offseason overhaul comes increased expectations. The Hawks are a real threat to make the playoffs after adding Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Kris Dunn and Rajon Rondo, but those postseason hopes likely hinge on their ability to get stops on defense.


Last month's ranking: 18

John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are throwing it back to their Kentucky days, and James Harden has finally reported for duty.

If the Rockets make it five months with all three players on their roster and healthy, they could be a playoff team. We're putting those chances at just above zero.


Last month's ranking: 19

Yeah, it's the preseason, but Williamson dropping 31 points in a team-high 34 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks is a scary sight for West opponents.

Williamson looks like he's lost as many pounds as James Harden has gained, and if he can play 30-plus minutes a night, New Orleans is a sleeper in the West.


Last month's ranking: 15

The Pacers will need a healthy T.J. Warren and Myles Turner and a non-disgruntled Victor Oladipo to make any headway in the top-heavy East. Indiana looks destined for a No. 7 seed unless any East contenders take a a major step back.


Last month's ranking: 14

The Suns could win a lot of games this season with a Chris Paul and Devin Booker backcourt and look like a solid bet to make the playoffs. But they're still relatively thin and inexperienced outside Paul and Jae Crowder, so let's temper those expectations a bit.


Last month's ranking: 12

Kristaps Porzingis already is expected to miss time to start the season. The Mavs are a scary bunch when fully healthy, but it looks like Luka Doncic will have to put the team on his back out of the gate. At the very least, that should make for entertaining basketball.


Last month's ranking: 13

Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. give the Blazers much-needed reinforcements on defense. If they can figure it out on that end of the floor, CJ McCollum and dark horse MVP candidate Damian Lillard could power Portland to a top-five seed in the West.


Last month's ranking: 9

Stephen Curry looked like his pre-injury self during the preseason, which is awesome to see. But Golden State needs a full season of All-NBA Steph to be a serious playoff contender without Klay Thompson. That seems like a tall order for a 32-year-old who has missed at least 13 games in three straight seasons.


Last month's ranking: 11

Rudy Gobert got his max contract, a massive five-year, $205 million deal that's the third-largest in NBA history. Is that an overpay? It isn't if Gobert continues to set the tone on one of the league's best defenses while Donovan Mitchell continues to be an elite offensive player.


Last month's ranking: 8

OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher are long-shot Most Improved Player candidates, and both will need to raise their game with Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol out of the picture.

The Raptors should be in the thick of the East playoff race, but only four teams can host a first-round playoff series. They have their work cut out for them.


Last month's ranking: 10

The James Harden rumors are swirling, and his addition could drastically impact the Sixers' standing in the East (for better or worse depending on who they give up). For now, they're a strong candidate to finish as a top-four seed in the loaded East.


Last month's ranking: 7

The wild card for the Nuggets this season is if they package their quality young assets (led by Michael Porter Jr.) to trade for a third star. If Jamal Murray plays like he did in the bubble, though, he and passing savant Nikola Jokic make Denver a top-four team in the West.


Last month's ranking: 4

The Celtics won't miss 32.5 3-pointers a game like they did in the preseason. But Boston's atrocious shooting display raised an important question: How will this team generate offense if Kemba Walker is sidelined and Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown have off nights?

The C's have title contender potential, but a lot needs to go right for them to hang with the East's elite.


Last month's ranking: 5

The Heat reportedly are out on Harden, and that's probably for the best. If Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo continue to improve, Miami will be very hard to defend, while Erik Spoelstra's group should boast a top-10 defense. The Heat are no flash in the pan.


Last month's ranking: 6

Kevin Durant looks like himself again, and that's very bad news for the rest of the East. He and Kyrie Irving easily can lead Brooklyn to the East finals if they're healthy the whole season.

But again: That's a big "if." Injuries and chemistry issues under first-year head coach Steve Nash could derail the Nets at any moment.


Last month's ranking: 3

Poor chemistry aside, the Clippers are still the second-most-talented team in the West. They're also the second-most-talented team in Los Angeles, and it's not close. Paul George's situation is worth monitoring, as he and his massive contract could surface in trade talks if the Clippers hit rough patches.


Last month's ranking: 2

Giannis Antetokounmpo signing the supermax takes a whole lot of stress off the Bucks and his teammates. Milwaukee's revamped supporting cast may work through some growing pains, but this is still the best team in the East.


Last month's ranking: 1

Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol give the Lakers enough depth to load-manage LeBron James and Anthony Davis while still winning games. The Larry O'Brien Trophy runs through Los Angeles until further notice.

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