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On October 25, the Cleveland Cavaliers raised a championship banner for the first time in their team’s history. This was a great moment for Cavalier fans and players that will most likely remain one of the most memorable moments in their lives. The best part about this? None of it matters now. Last season might as well never happened and every team has a fresh slate with every fan believing that they have a shot at taking home the Larry O’Brien trophy come June. However, there are ten teams that are viewed as the most likely to win the championship.


  1. Houston Rockets

Coach: Mike D’Antoni

MVP: James Harden

Key Add: Ryan Anderson

Last season the Rockets’ locker room was plagued with chemistry issues between their stars James Harden and Dwight Howard. These issues led to a coach getting fired, a disappointing 41-41 record, and Howard departing for Atlanta via free agency. The new-look Rockets team will provide the players with a fresh start and will be headlined with one of the high powered offensive units that coach D’Antoni is known for.


9.Oklahoma City Thunder

Coach: Billy Donovan

MVP: Russell Westbrook

Key Add: Victor Oladipo

The Thunder were one of the headlining teams of the 2016 offseason but not for the reason they would like. Kevin Durant, the face of their team, left Oklahoma to join the Golden State Warriors. This clears the path for a monster season from Russell Westbrook. He will be the star by far for this team, but, in order for the Thunder to achieve the expected level of success, he will have to receive some help from his teammates.


  1. Portland Trail Blazers

Coach: Terry Stotts

MVP: Damian Lillard

Key Add: Evan Turner

The Blazers were overachievers last season and made the playoffs despite losing three of their best players. This gave the dynamic Damian Lillard an opportunity to emerge as one of the best young players in the NBA. Now that Portland has acquired a few supporting pieces, the Blazers should be able to extend their success into this season.  


  1. Utah Jazz

Coach: Quin Snyder

MVP: Gordon Hayward

Key Add: Joe Johnson

The Jazz are one of the teams that most NBA fans are underrating this year. Last year, Utah was a team full of young talent that just barely missed the playoffs last season. With an extra season of experience for their young players, along with the acquisitions of veterans George Hill and Joe Johnson, the Jazz will be a team that surprises a lot of people with their success this year.    


  1. Toronto Raptors

Coach: Dwane Casey

MVP: DeMar DeRozan

Key Add: Jared Sullinger

Toronto is coming off of an exciting playoff run where they pushed the eventual champion Cavaliers to a six-game series. They return almost everyone from last year’s team and even add a couple of talented players that may be the final pieces in the Raptor’s championship puzzle.   


  1. Boston Celtics

Coach: Brad Stevens

MVP: Isaiah Thomas

Key Add: Al Horford

The Boston Celtics are one of the most promising young teams in the NBA. Behind the emergence of star guard Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics won 48 games last year and put the rest of the NBA on notice by displaying their young talent throughout their roster. With the addition of All-Star center Al Horford, the Celtics may be ready to take the next step towards their goal of a championship.


  1. Los Angeles Clippers

Coach: Doc Rivers

MVP: Chris Paul

Key Add: Brandon Bass

The Clippers may finally be the most famous team in Los Angeles. After years of living in the Lakers’ shadow, the Clippers’ recent success has fans expecting a different team to bring a championship to Los Angeles. Now that they are returning their entire core unit, they may have an opportunity to compete for a championship.


  1. San Antonio Spurs

Coach: Gregg Popovich

MVP: Kawhi Leonard  

Key Add: Pau Gasol

The Spurs have been the perfect model of consistency over the past two decades and have won five championships in that span. Now they are entering the post-Tim Duncan era after the big man announced his retirement this summer, and the future couldn’t look much brighter. With a combination of young talent and veteran leadership, the Spurs are legitimate contenders for the championship this year.


  1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Coach: Tyronn Lue

MVP: LeBron James

Key Add: Mike Dunleavy

Last season the Cavaliers became the first team to ever win an NBA finals, despite being down 3-1 in the series, and gave the city of Cleveland its first ever NBA championship. Entering this season with all the expectations that come with being a champion, the Cavaliers may slump a little but should still be good enough to deserve the number two spot in these rankings.


1.Golden State Warriors  

Coach: Steve Kerr

MVP: Kevin Durant

Key Add: Kevin Durant

Last year the Warriors made history in good and bad ways last season. In the regular season they set the record for best win-loss record by going 73-9. With the first ever unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry  leading the way, the expectations were championship or bust. They failed to meet these expectations in a historic way by blowing a 3-1 lead in the finals. Entering this season, the team that was regarded as a super team last year just got better with the signing of Kevin Durant. Durant, who is one of the best scorers in the NBA, paired with the the other three stars on the Warriors, will make them very hard to beat.

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The student news site of Blacksburg High School
2016 NBA Power Rankings