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The Clippers are now the team to beat



LAS VEGAS – There is a new world order in the NBA.

Finding out that this order is another beast.

After Kawhi Leonard has picked the Clippers late on Friday and joined Paul George, it's madness to close down a deal there on the thunder of the big Free Agency sweepstakes. The number of All-Stars who changed sides last week has made the NBA an open race.

The league has become largely predictable in recent years. Before the Raptors reached the finals last month defeating a crippled Golden State team, the Warriors and Cavaliers had met in the final four years in a row. The only sure bet for the season 2019-2020 is that the dust of the free agents has already flown anyway. Here's a look at the league's new power rankings:

The Contenders

1

. Clippers
Doc Rivers' team was in the playoffs last year, then Leonard and George landed in one fell swoop to team up with Patrick Beverley and Company. It not only stole the momentum of their Los Angeles counterparts, but immediately made them a team to beat.

2. Bucks
Last year's NBA-winning team, before taking a 2-0 lead over the Raptors in the Eastern Conference final, will be back with mostly the same team. They lost Malcolm Brogdon, but MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is still the Greek freak.

3. Lakers
The Lakers waited for Leonard and sniffed, but tried to recover by recording DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Danny Green to join LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma. It is a top-heavy unit that must stay healthy to cause harm.

4. 76ers
They exchanged Jimmy Butler, but still had a strong off-season – they retrieved Josh Richardson, re-signed Tobias Harris, and stealthily landed Al Horford. Could this be the year to end The Process with a championship?

5. Nuggets
They were probably the biggest surprise in the West last year, leaving a game behind the final of the conference. They did not do spills off-season, but they may not need them.

6. Rockets
Although there have been reports of problems in paradise between James Harden and Chris Paul and a possible dissolution of the squad, the Rockets will try to weather the storm. Your biggest roadblock, the Warriors, may not be in your way.

7. Jazz
After a strong season, Jazz quietly strengthened its lineup behind Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Veteran Mike Conley comes in to score the point, while Bojan Bogdanovic will add a threat from the depths.

8. Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum's successors are still among the best in the league. Trading with Kent Bazemore and Hassan Whiteside – a large presence in the absence of Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg) – could help.

9th Warrior
The dynasty may be left in the Oracle Arena on the way across the bay, but Golden State still can not be counted, especially if Klay Thompson (ACL) can return late. While Kevin Durant is away, D'Angelo will help Russell Stephen Curry carry the cargo.

10. Celtics
This may not have been the list they had imagined after they lost Kyrie Irving and Horford to Free Agency, but Boston added Kemba Walker, hoping that he would be better too Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward could fit.

Aways

11. Nets
After the playoffs were fought with a bunch of Scrappy, the Nets accelerated the rebuilding by adding Irving and Kevin Durant. They will have to wait a year to get Durant but should still be in the mix this season.

12th Pacers
Trading with Brogdon will help Indiana as he waits for Victor Oladipo to return from a knee injury. The Pacers had a strong start last year before losing it in the mid season. Then he could return next year.

13. Raptors
The defending championship on the NBA ended with Leonard's shot, which decided not to return. They still have Kyle Lowry and an aspiring Pascal Siakam, but a repeat will be difficult.

14. Mavericks
What will they look like when Kristaps Porzingis returns from his ACL tear? They dream of what he can do with the freshman of the year, Luka Doncic, though they may need another piece.

15th Spurs
Coach Gregg Popovich is still here, which means the Spurs always have a shot. When and if Dejounte Murray takes a step forward can decide his fate.

16. Kings
They showed a taste of what's to come last year, and now have a new coach, Luke Walton, who takes the lead. With Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox as the headliners of rebuilding, they may not be far from the competition.

17. Magic
They sneaked into the playoffs last year before being bounced off the Raptors, but they have some interesting young pieces in store for Nikola Vucevic, who has re-signed a maximum deal ,

They come [19659007] 18. Pelicans
Although they lost Davis, it is difficult to call their off-season a defeat when they received the ultimate prize, Zion Williamson. With a cast that includes Jrue Holliday and Brandon Ingram, David Griffin has the Pelicans in a good place now and in the future.

19th Thunder
Will Oklahoma City make a final attempt with Russell Westbrook or swap it and tackle the full recovery with plenty of tips for the first round? They could still have fun with Westbrook and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but their plans still need to be determined.

20th Heat
Butler brought his talents to Miami by a sign-and-trade, but he will need more help to become a legitimate threat to the East.

21st Timberwolves
They missed Russell, which would have intrigued them, but the sixth choice, Jarrett Culver, adds to the young core headed by Karl-Anthony Towns. It would be helpful to find a way to unload Andrew Wiggins' big job.

22nd Piston
Although they placed the playoffs as # 8 last year, they did not do much to take a step forward. They added veteran Derrick Rose and still have Blake Griffin, but there is still much to do.

23. Hawks
This is a team that could make some noise in a couple of years but first the young talent has to develop. On the program are a lot of them – including Trae Young, John Collins and the youngest draft picks De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.

The projects

24. Knicks
After missing the top pick and top free agents, the Knicks tried to make the most of a bad situation by signing a handful of solid free agents led by Julius Randle. Rookie RJ Barrett has great potential for more with Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson.

25th Bullen
The reconstruction continues. Lauri Markkanen has some young teammates he can grow with – including Coby White # 7, who could thrive next to Zach LaVine on the forecourt.

26. Wizards
John Wall may miss the entire season following an Achilles injury, and the Wizards must make some decisions – namely, whether to trade Bradley Beal and start all over again.

27. Sunshine
Getting stuck in the lottery for a few years could end up paying off. Devin Booker is a star, but if Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and others are able to reach their potential, they may have something.

28. Grizzlies
They selected their Playmaker of the Future in # 2 for Ja Morant and added another brilliant young player when they acquired Jaren Jackson Jr. for Mike Conley. Filling out a usable remainder of the roster will cost some work.

29. Cavaliers
John Beilein takes over a young group that wants to grow up behind recent draft picks like Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Kevin Love may soon be gone.

30. Hornets
They were punched in the stomach when Walker left for Boston. It will be Terry Rozier's show for the time being, but they still have a long way to go.


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