A tumultuous summer has left the NBA landscape completely changed. How should the league’s teams be ranked for the 2019-20 season?
The NBA thrives on uncertainty and speculation. Their tagline has been “The NBA: Where Amazing Happens” but the league’s popularity has been driven just as much from the amazing “What Could Happen” in everything from player movement to postseason success.
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This summer was the peak of speculation and change, as stars swapped teams like never before and rosters were shaken up like a magic-8 ball. With the Golden State Warriors knocked off their throne and grievously wounded, a half dozen other teams upgraded in order to challenge for a now open title.
For those teams at the bottom of the league, their interest is fueled by the unknown as well. “Can this player develop into a star” or “which prospect should our team take at the top of the draft” become almost more important than the games.
Which teams will end the year at the top, in contention for the NBA Finals? Which teams will be locked into college basketball scouting prospects? For the majority of teams in between, what will the season hold?
Predicting the outcomes of the season is a difficult task, one subject to serious revision as injuries and the unexpected happens. Take this with a large grain of salt. Even so, it’s a helpful exercise to frame the season ahead. We will sort the 30 teams into eight tiers, starting with those teams with the most direct path to the NBA Finals.