FOXSports.com's NBA power rankings

Improving Thunder, built-to-win Lakers still looking up at Heat in preseason power rankings.

By Sam Amico

FOXSports.com


1. Heat    0-0     --


Ray Allen isn’t the Ray Allen of three years ago, but he’s better than Mike Miller. Defending champs should be even better.


2. Thunder    0-0     --


In each of past three seasons, Thunder have advanced one round in playoffs. If it happens again, they’ll be champions.


3. Lakers    0-0     --


Now an older team that’s all in for a title right now. But it’s the Lakers’ youngest star ( Dwight Howard) who will likely determine if it happens.


4. Celtics    0-0     --


With additions of Jason Terry and return of Jeff Green, Celtics could actually be improved. And remember, we’re talking about a team that missed the Finals by a game.


5. Pacers    0-0     --


No super-duper All-Star types here. But Pacers are physical, deep and excel at teamwork. They think they’re better than the Heat.


6. Spurs    0-0     --


It’s stylish to write them off as has-beens led by aging star Tim Duncan. But better be careful on that one, kids. Spurs still have time and know-how.


7. Clippers    0-0     --


Full training camp with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin should work wonders. Year of playoff experience won’t hurt, either.


8. 76ers    0-0     --


Andrew Bynum in the middle, a bunch of steady perimeter shooters and an up-and-coming point guard in Jrue Holiday. And when it comes to hunger, Sixers are the Thunder of the East.


9. Nets    0-0     --


Everyone returns, only this time they’re happy and healthy. Should be a fun year in Nets’ new locale.


10. Grizzlies    0-0     --


Most underappreciated team has turned into the Gonzaga of the NBA. Grizzlies seem set for another year of trying to knock off the big boys.


11. Mavericks    0-0     --


Finally possess a decent center to play next to Dirk Nowitzki. But can the injury-prone Chris Kaman ever stay on the floor?


12. Knicks    0-0     --


Oh, Carmelo Anthony, will you ever win big in the NBA? Better at least come close this year or Knicks may move on.


13. Bulls    0-0     --


Just need to stay afloat until Derrick Rose returns. Will that be this season, though? If so, Bulls can dream.


14. Nuggets    0-0     --


George Karl-coached teams are never bad. These Nuggets will be able to say at least that much – and more if Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala have banner years.


15. Jazz    0-0     --


Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap can beat you on any given night. Throw in fact Jazz solid in all areas, and you can think “sleeper.”


16. Timberwolves    0-0     --


Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio need to get, and stay, healthy. After that, the T-Wolves can start talkin’ playoffs.


17. Warriors    0-0     --


Lots of perimeter shooting, decent inside play and plenty of passion. OK, Warriors, show us what it means.


18. Hawks    0-0     --


Traded Joe Johnson, added a bunch of guys who can really shoot. It’s up to Josh Smith and Al Horford now.


19. Trail Blazers    0-0     --


LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard likely to be league’s next dynamic duo. Blazers probably just a year away from very good things.


20. Bucks    0-0     --


Something to be said for staying the course. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis will keep Bucks in games. Can young frontcourt help finish the job?


21. Hornets    0-0     --


Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon make Hornets worth noting. With a little help, they could climb the charts.


22. Suns    0-0     --


Steve Nash and Grant Hill are gone. Luis Scola and Michael Beasley (and a few others) are in. Names aren’t as fancy, but results should be about the same, maybe even better.


23. Raptors    0-0     --


Andrea Bargnani needs Jonas Valanciunas to become member of all-rookie team. Otherwise, it’ll probably be more of the same.


24. Wizards    0-0     --


Bradley Beal looks like real deal. Rest is up to John Wall and improved frontcourt. Ranked low, but truth is, playoffs may not be out of reach.


25. Cavaliers    0-0     --


Extremely young team must figure out who’s No. 2 option. Either way, Kyrie Irving gives Cavs a chance most nights.


26. Rockets    0-0     --


At the very least, remade Rockets hoping for a little Lin-sanity. That may be all they get in first year of makeover.


27. Pistons    0-0     --


Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond provide a potential future Big Three. Key word there, of course, is “future.”


28. Kings    0-0     --


Plenty of young talent, but when will it ever come together? Or will it ever?


29. Bobcats    0-0     --


Addition of a few key veterans and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist should mean at least twice as many wins as last year. Unfortunately, not even that is much to brag about.


30. Magic    0-0     --


Shouldn’t be a total embarrassment in Year One of the post-Dwight Howard era. Hey, that’s something, right?