ESPN, in its many iterations and editions, spends most of the preseason ranking everything from rookies to players to franchises, as well as future power rankings and whatever you can think of, plus whatever they can think of. A lot of rankings are done by a list of "experts" whose number is in the hundreds, thus discounting the "expert" label.
What we think may be one of the last rankings is Watchability on League Pass. Just two experts, Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe, rank the teams for fans who are about to buy in to the NBA's league-wide channel. It's on Grantland, Simmons ESPN-affiliated online magazine.
They have several criteria in their ranking, including things like the announcers (guess which team has the best? Duh!), comedic value, relevancy to the playoff picture, style and something else. It's a long list.
Anyway, the Nets come in fifth!! They are behind, in order, the Warriors, Bulls, Clippers and Heat and just ahead of the Pistons, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Knicks and Rockets. Suns finish last, by the way, ahead of the Sixers. Really?
In their analysis, Lowe is typically measured and precise; Simmons (who may be overextended) facile and personal, and Celtic-centric.
Here's Lowe summing up: "The talent is there, and it will be fun to watch how the parts mesh — especially Pierce and Joe Johnson on the wing. The Barclays Center looks great, in person and on TV, and the Nets have the single best broadcast crew, top to bottom, in the entire league. Now, if we could just find a way for the Brooklyn Knight to disappear …"
Here's Simmons on leadership issues: "My biggest question mark is Kidd, and leadership issues in general — Pierce and Garnett (along with Doc Rivers) owned that Boston locker room, and Rondo had a difficult time dealing with that. How will the notoriously moody Williams handle it? Will Kidd be able to exert authority while also deferring to the Boston guys? And will Williams crack the first time KG makes fun of his spray-painted hair? Fascinating all the way around."
- Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe on the watchability of every NBA team, Part I - Bill Simmons & Zach Lowe - Grantland
Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe on the watchability of every NBA team - Part II - Bill Simmons & Zach Lowe - Grantland