Ranking the NBA from No. 1 to No. 30

By Jason Jones

jejones@sacbee.com

October 21, 2016 08:16 PM

Warriors guard Stephen Curry averaged a league-high 30.1 points last season and broke his record for 3-pointers with 402. How he coexists with Kevin Durant will be key. Denis Poroy The Associated Press
Warriors guard Stephen Curry averaged a league-high 30.1 points last season and broke his record for 3-pointers with 402. How he coexists with Kevin Durant will be key. Denis Poroy The Associated Press

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2015-16: 57-25, won NBA championship

Coach: Tyronn Lue

The Big Question: Can the Cavaliers pile up enough wins for home-court advantage in a potential Finals rematch with the Warriors?

They’ll be here: Jan. 13

2. Golden State Warriors

2015-16: 73-9, lost in NBA Finals

Coach: Steve Kerr

The Big Question: With the addition of former MVP Kevin Durant, can Kerr keep a team full of talent and egos in check all season?

They’ll be here: Jan. 8, Feb. 4

3. San Antonio Spurs

2015-16: 67-15, lost in second round of Western Conference playoffs

Coach: Gregg Popovich

The Big Question: Are the Spurs still too old with 36-year-old Pau Gasol, entering his 16th season, replacing the retired Tim Duncan?

They’ll be here: Oct. 27, Nov. 16

4. Los Angeles Clippers

2015-16: 53-29, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs

Coach: Doc Rivers

The Big Question: Can a team with a history of underachieving in the postseason finally reach the conference finals?

They’ll be here: Nov. 18, Jan. 13

5. Toronto Raptors

2015-16: 56-26, lost in Eastern Conference finals

Coach: Dwane Casey

The Big Question: After reaching their first Eastern Conference finals last season, do the Raptors have a realistic chance of beating Cleveland in the postseason?

They’ll be here: Nov. 20

6. Portland

Trail Blazers

2015-16: 44-38, lost in second round of Western Conference playoffs

Coach: Terry Stotts

The Big Question: Is there enough help in the frontcourt to go with Portland’s dynamic guards?

They’ll be here: Dec. 20

7. Boston Celtics

2015-16: 48-34, lost in first round of Eastern Conference playoffs

Coach: Brad Stevens

The Big Question: Is adding Al Horford enough to push the Celtics into contention to win the East?

They’ll be here: Feb. 8

8. Charlotte Hornets

2015-16: 48-34, lost in first round of Eastern Conference playoffs

Coach: Steve Clifford

The Big Question: Can Kemba Walker become an All-Star and get Charlotte out of the first round of the playoffs?

They’ll be here: Feb. 25

9. Utah Jazz

2015-16: 40-42, missed playoffs

Coach: Quin Snyder

The Big Question: Can Gordon Hayward become a franchise player and carry the Jazz to the postseason?

They’ll be here: March 5, March 29

10. Memphis Grizzlies

2015-16: 42-40, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs

Coach: David Fizdale

The Big Question: Will Memphis maintain its defensive identity under a new coach and amid roster changes?

They’ll be here: Dec. 31, March 27

11. Indiana Pacers

2015-16: 45-37, lost in first round of Eastern Conference playoffs

Coach: Nate McMillan

The Big Question: Will the Pacers reach the playoffs and convince Paul George to sign a contract extension?

They’ll be here: Jan. 18

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

2015-16: 55-27, lost in Western Conference finals

Coach: Billy Donovan

The Big Question: Has the Thunder’s brass added enough players around Russell Westbrook to make the playoffs without Kevin Durant?

They’ll be here: Nov. 23, Jan. 15

13. Houston Rockets

2015-16: 41-41, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs

Coach: Mike D’Antoni

The Big Question: James Harden will flourish under D’Antoni, but what about the Rockets’ defense?

They’ll be here: Nov. 25, April 9

14. Chicago Bulls

2015-16: 42-40, missed playoffs

Coach: Fred Hoiberg

The Big Question: Can Hoiberg smoothly blend the games of Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler?

They’ll be here: Feb. 6

15. Atlanta Hawks

2015-16: 48-34, lost in second round of Eastern Conference playoffs

Coach: Mike Budenholzer

The Big Question: Will the addition of Dwight Howard help after the Hawks fell from 60 wins to 48 last season?

They’ll be here: Feb. 10

16. Detroit Pistons

2015-16: 44-38, lost in first round of Eastern Conference playoffs

Coach: Stan Van Gundy

The Big Question: Will Andre Drummond improve on free throws enough to stay on the floor late in games?

They’ll be here: Jan. 10

17. Washington Wizards

2015-16: 41-41, missed playoffs

Coach: Scott Brooks

The Big Question: Can Brooks maximize the talents of John Wall and Bradley Beal?

They’ll be here: March 10

18. New York Knicks

2015-16: 32-50, missed playoffs

Coach: Jeff Hornacek

The Big Question: Will Derrick Rose stay healthy and regain his superstar form alongside Carmelo Anthony?

They’ll be here: Dec. 9

19. Dallas Mavericks

2015-16: 42-40, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs

Coach: Rick Carlisle

The Big Question: Will Harrison Barnes eventually replace Dirk Nowitzki as the team’s cornerstone player?

They’ll be here: April 4

20. Miami Heat

2015-16: 48-34, lost in second round of Eastern Conference playoffs

Coach: Erik Spoelstra

The Big Question: Who will be the leader with Wade playing in Chicago and Chris Bosh not medically cleared to play?

They’ll be here: Jan. 4

21. Kings

2015-16: 33-49, missed playoffs

Coach: Dave Joerger

The Big Question: Can Joerger turn the Kings into a defensive-minded squad and end their 10-season playoff drought?

22. New Orleans Pelicans

2015-16: 30-52, missed playoffs

Coach: Alvin Gentry

The Big Question: Will Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans remain healthy enough to help the Pelicans return to the playoffs?

They’ll be here: Nov. 8, Feb. 12

23. Minnesota Timberwolves

2015-16: 29-53, missed playoffs

Coach: Tom Thibodeau

The Big Question: How will first-round draft pick Kris Dunn influence a young, talented team?

They’ll be here: Oct. 29, Feb. 27

24. Orlando Magic

2015-16: 35-47, missed playoffs

Coach: Frank Vogel

The Big Question: Has Orlando’s young talent been overrated or will Vogel make a difference?

They’ll be here: March 13

25. Milwaukee Bucks

2015-16: 33-49, missed playoffs

Coach: Jason Kidd

The Big Question: Is Matthew Dellavedova the point guard Kidd can rely on for the long haul?

They’ll be here: March 22

26. Denver Nuggets

2015-16: 33-49, missed playoffs

Coach: Michael Malone

The Big Question: After struggling as a rookie, can Emmanuel Mudiay bounce back?

They’ll be here: Feb. 23, March 11

27. Phoenix Suns

2015-16: 23-59, missed playoffs

Coach: Earl Watson

The Big Question: Will the Suns they trade one of their two point guards, Brandon Knight or Eric Bledsoe ?

They’ll be here: Feb. 3, April 11

28. Los Angeles Lakers

2015-16: 17-65, missed playoffs

Coach: Luke Walton

The Big Question: Will point guard D’Angelo Russell begin to fulfill his potential in Walton’s system?

They’ll be here: Nov. 10, Dec. 12

29. Brooklyn Nets

2015-16: 21-61, missed playoffs

Coach: Kenny Atkinson

The Big Question: Will general manager Sean Marks have to trade Brook Lopez as part of the rebuilding plan?

They’ll be here: March 1

30. Philadelphia 76ers

2015-16: 10-72, missed playoffs

Coach: Brett Brown

The Big Question: Will Joel Embiid’s play be as entertaining as his Twitter account?

They’ll be here: Dec. 26