NBA League Pass Rankings: Part Three

Stephen Curry versus Isaiah Thomas - Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Part three of your guide to who to watch this season and why.

With the NBA regular season upon us it's time to decide who to watch this season, who not to watch this season, and what teams you'll want to watch every night. That's where I come in, giving you my League Pass rankings for the upcoming season. Who are the most watchable teams in the NBA? Let's find out...

PART ONE: 30-21

PART TWO: 20-11

PART THREE: 10-1

10. Detroit Pistons

Why you should watch:

In the comments of the last two posts, this seems like the most talked about team. Folks are down on the Pistons, but I’m optimistic whether they succeed or blow up in Mo Cheeks' and Joe Dumars' face.

The Pistons went out and spent some money on play-making and scoring this off season by acquiring point guard Brandon Jennings and forward Josh Smith. Jennings (at just age 24) is a streaky shooter that has the ability to get hot and light up a stat sheet. The last few years, he’s been a 17-6 type guy, shooting around 39 percent from the field. Smith is a really fun player who is excellent at finishing at the rim and plays solid defense in the post and the perimeter and also blocks a ton of shots. His jumper is suspect, but playing with guys like Jennings, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Chauncey Billups he won’t have to take as many jumpers and should be more open when taking them. But hey, Josh Smith showed us a few nights ago that he at least still has faith in his jumper...

Monroe is in a contract year and will be playing next to fellow young big Andre Drummond to form twin towers in the Motor City. Mr. Big Shot Billups is back, Rodney Stuckey is still around, and the Pistons drafted guards Peyton Siva and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

There’s also the chance of Smith and Jennings arguing over shot selection at mid court at any given moment, which… could be entertaining.

The Pistons also present the debut of the always entertaining Coach Rasheed Wallace. BALL DON’T LIE.

Big Question: Can Drummond and Monroe establish themselves as dominant big men this season? Will Smith and Jennings work together? Is this Chauncey Billups’ last season in the NBA?

9. New York Knicks

Why you should watch:

The Knicks may be enjoying their last year of Carmelo Anthony, who could be a free agent this summer. Melo is still one of the best scorers in the game and can easily get hot and turn into must-watch-basketball on any given night. J. R. Smith is back and he’ll be doing J. R. Smith things, as well as shooting a lot of threes. The Knicks acquired Metta World Peace, who will be doing Ron Artest things. With all that said, there is potential to see a NYK lineup that looks like: Ben Udrih - JR Smith - Metta World Peace - Kenyon MartinAndrea Bargnani. This will result in chaos. If Amare Stoudamire, Tyson Chandler, and Iman Shumpert can stay healthy then this team should be able to make a deep playoff run and be fun to watch the whole way. If not? Start saying your goodbyes to Melo and Mike Woodson, Knicks fans.

Big Question: Can the front line stay healthy? Will we see the "chaos lineup" at some point this season?

8. Sacramento Kings

Why you should watch:

New owners, new coach, new players; what’s not to like with this Sacramento team? The Kings seem to be all in with DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie has a new coach, a new owner, and a new GM that all believe in him. He has Shaq mentoring him and he has Greivis Vasquez feeding him. He has a new deal. Things are looking up for Boogie, look out.

Speaking of the former Terp, Vasquez racked up assist numbers last year in NOLA. I can’t wait to see what he does in Sac Town with Cousins. While playing for the Hornets (now Pelicans) Vasquez put up numbers that looked like: 78 starts, 13.9 – 4.3 – 9.0, 25 double-doubles. I’d argue that this year’s Kings roster is better than last year’s Hornets Pelicans roster. The Kings also went out and picked up Carl Landry and drafted one of the most explosive scorers in the draft in Ben McLemore. They will be involved in a lot of trade talks… oh, and they still have Jimmer Freddette, who can shoot the three. Young, athletic point guard Isaiah Thomas is also still around. He’ll be huge coming off the bench for them as a guy that can score, defend, and can pass decently for his position and is quite the scrapper and trash talker.

Big Question: Can Mike Malone make all these parts fit? Will DeMarcus Cousins be an All-Star? Will Greivis Vasquez put up better numbers in SAC than he did in NOLA?

7. Oklahoma City Thunder

Why you should watch:

Russell Westbrook should be back in about six weeks, which means two of the league’s top twelve players will be playing together again. He’ll also be shooting more than he should. Until then, look for Kevin Durant to average close to 38 ppg in the absence of his shot taking partner in crime. Even after Westbrook returns, KD should be well on his way to another scoring title. Serge Ibaka will be sending shots into the upper deck, playing solid defense, and will continue to shoot well around the basket and from mid-range.

Derek Fisher is still playing?

Big Question: Can Jeremy Lamb or Reggie Jackson step up and fill the second guard void left by James Harden/Kevin Martin? Will OKC trade for another guard or big man?

6. Chicago Bulls

Why you should watch:

DERRICK ROSE IS BACK! NO REALLY, DERRICK ROSE IS BACK!

Jimmy Butler showed last year in the playoffs that he is becoming one of the best defenders in the game. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer will have shouting matches while being one of the best PF/C tandems in the league. Tom Thibodeau’s team will still have really awesome defense.

DERRICK ROSE IS BACK! SERIOUSLY!

Big Question: Can Thibodeau manage minutes? Will this team miss Nate Robinson more than we think?

5. Houston Rockets

Why you should watch:

Dwight Howard has landed in Houston and , like he was in Orlando in 2009, he is surrounded by shooters again. One of those shooters happens to be the best SG in league, James Harden. Harden and D12 should be able to form a big 1-2 punch and this offense should be able to score at will from anywhere on the floor with the likes of Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, and Terrence Jones. Patrick Beverly is also back in H-Town and will be huge for the Rockets off the bench as a great perimeter defender; he could also challenge Lin for that starting PG job. If Dwight can return to his pre-injury form, if Harden can continue to play at a high level, and if everyone else on the team plays their part then this team should be well on their way to scoring a lot of points, winning a lot of games, making a deep playoff run and being very fun to watch.

Big Question: Will Omer Asik be on this roster come playoff time? Can Kevin McHale get Dwight to be the dominant big man he can be?

4. Brooklyn Nets

Why you should watch:

Future hall of fame point guard Jason Kidd finished up last season playing for the Knicks, and traded in his jersey for a suit this summer by accepting a job coaching his old team, the Nets. Russian warlord owner Mikhail Prokhorov went out and spent MORE MONEY (yes, it was possible) by acquiring Andrei Kirilenko and trading for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. KG and the Truth bring a lot of things to the Nets, including:

Miami hate, pounding of the chest, veteran leadership, efficient mid-range shooting and rebounding (KG), and a constant threat from behind the arc (Pierce).

A few days ago, Pierce said:

"I think probably why I'm missing a lot of shots is because it's surprising that I'm so open. I'm used to getting a lot of shots contested, so it's an adjustment. But it's going to be great to have these teammates take pressure off me [so] that I could get a lot of wide-open shots."

Which is Pierce basically saying, "This is weird because I’ve never been this open before in my LIFE."

My guess is that when the season starts, this won’t be an issue for the vet. Other things to look for: Andray Blatche being Andray Blatche (Sixth man of the year dark horse candidate; you have been warned) and Joe Johnson buzzer beaters. Oh, and they have this guy Deron Williams running the point for them. He’s pretty good.

Big Question: Can Jason Kidd coach? Will Pierce and KG hold up? Is this team really a legitimate threat to Miami?


3. Los Angeles Clippers

Why you should watch:

Over the off season the Clippers acquired wing shooters Jared Dudley and JJ Reddick, a huge upgrade in the three point shooting department over who was playing the two and three spots last year for the Clips. Perhaps the Clippers biggest off season acquisition was head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers brings a new attitude and huge upgrade in the coaching department to the Clippers and won’t make the same mistakes Vinny Del Negro did (example: Matt Barnes defending Z-Bo in the playoffs). Rivers should be able to instill new confidence into this team and carry them past the first round of the playoffs.

As much as Doc might not want it to be, this is still Lob City. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will be posterizing folks via lobs from Chris Paul. Paul is still the best point guard in the game and a top five overall player. The Clippers also still have Matt Barnes and Seattle native Jamal Crawford on their roster. Crawford can still bring a hell of an offensive game to the table and Barnes can bring… well, don’t mess with Matt Barnes.

Big Question: Can Doc Rivers get this team to the conference finals?

2. Miami Heat

Why you should watch:

There’s this guy Lebron James-not sure if you have heard of him, but he’s pretty good…

LeBron, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh will continue to be must watch basketball this season. LeBron is the number one player in the game and he and the guys will be looking to add ring number three to their hands in what could be the last season of the Big Three in Miami. The Heat front office went out and did some shopping this off season and took a few risks signing Greg Oden (who hasn’t played in a meaningful NBA game since 2009) and Michael Beasley who was drafted by the Heat in 2008. When drafted by the Heat, he was looked at to be the Robin to Dwayne Wade’s Batman. After falling short of that, spending time in Minnesota and Phoenix, and running into some drug problems, Beasley is back where he started. If the Heat can form a support system and create a comfort zone for the troubled yet talented forward he could make the Heat even better and challenge some for sixth man of the year. Ray Allen and his excellent three point shooting are also still in South Beach and the Heat kept reserve big Chris "BIRDMAN! BIRDMAN!" Anderson as well. Let’s see how this team does with the pressure of a three peat hanging over their head…

Big Question: Will Greg Oden play for the Miami Heat this year? Can Michael Beasley find a comfort zone with bench minutes in Miami? How many times this year will we receive a text message that says "TURN ON THE HEAT GAME, LEBRON IS GOING OFF."?

1. Golden State Warriors

Why you should watch:

Yes, Golden State is more watchable and more fun than the Miami Heat.

Steph Curry has turned himself into the number one "TURN THIS GAME ON RIGHT NOW, (blank) IS GOING OFF" guy in the NBA. He can get hot at any second, and the kid is only 25 and has yet to appear in his first All-Star game; in other words, he’s still getting better. The Warriors also bring the addition of the ultimate Swiss-army knife player in Andre Iguodola. Iggy is not only a player that can defend four positions, score when needed, and rebound for his position, but he can also bring the ball up the court allowing Curry to play off the ball (serving in the Jarrett Jack role for the 13-14 Warriors). The addition of Iggy means that Harrison Barnes is coming off the bench, which makes him an early favorite for sixth man of the year. In his rookie year, Barnes started and averaged 16-6-1 while shooting 44 percent from the field in the post season. David Lee and Andrew Bogut are healthy (for now). Kent Bazemore is another exciting young player coming off the bench for this team. He can score and defend for his position (please Google #Bazemoring). I’m really excited for a lineup that includes: Curry-Bazemore-Klay Thompson- Barnes-Lee.

Andris Biedrens and Richard Jefferson aren’t taking away minutes from guys like Bazemore and Draymond Green.

I haven’t even talked about Klay Thompson yet- let the three’s rain down (career 40 percent from 3pt).

The bottom line is, if the Warriors are on you will watch that game and nothing else and you will like it!

Big Question: Is Harrison Barnes coming off the bench a bad thing for him? Is this team as good as they are watchable?

And now, Stephen Curry's top ten plays from last season...

Hope you all enjoyed! Hit the poll! Hit the comments! What five teams will you be watching the most this season?

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