Power ranking the eight teams set to be included in the NBA’s second bubble in Chicago.
The NBA is reportedly close to finalizing a deal that would create a second bubble for the Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, and the rest of the eight teams that were left out of the Orlando season revival.
The news was a delight to fans of those teams and basketball fans in general, and the teams themselves had to be happy. Not playing from mid-March until December (at the earliest) is not something you want as a young, rebuilding team and the new Chicago bubble would help all eight squads.
Here we’ll be power ranking those eight teams based on their performance when the hiatus hit a few months back.
NBA Chicago Bubble Power Rankings:
8. Golden State Warriors
Obviously the Warriors would easily jump to the number one spot if Steph Curry and/or Klay Thompson return from injury, but that seems like a highly unrealistic outcome. As they’re built now, the Dubs are the worst team of the bunch by quite a bit.
7. Detroit Pistons
Like the Warriors, the Pistons could be higher is their vets participate, which is again, unlikely. Blake Griffin is still recovering from a knee injury and it’s hard to imagine the 31-year-old Derrick Rose getting too excited about some exhibition games.
Detroit lost 12 of their final 13 games and have only won eight games total in the 2020 calendar year. They will value getting Sekou Doumbouya, Luke Kennard (also hurt), and Svi Mykhailiuk some more meaningful court time.
6. New York Knicks
There is a considerable drop off after the Warriors and Pistons, and the Knicks are nowhere near as bad as those two teams. They have a good mix of veteran and young guys and have overachieved since interim head coach Mike Miller took over.
Perhaps they’ll be looking to replace Miller with their new coach before the bubble begins in September so he can get a feel for running the team.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell will both be top-five players in Chicago (if they play), and the rest of the team was just coming together before the play stoppage. Malik Beasley in particular was looking like a future franchise building block.
The T-Wolves have likely the most top-heavy roster of the eight, which can be seen as both a positive and a negative.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs are interesting, and will likely appreciate getting some more time to see how Kevin Love and Andre Drummond share the court. Drummond played just eight games with Cleveland but has already expressed interest in picking up his player option to stay there.
Cleveland also has a backcourt duo to assess, with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland both looking like studs at times throughout their respective seasons. The team went 5-6 with new head coach J.B Bickerstaff took over as coach after going 14-40 with John Beilein.
3. Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young very well might be the best player in the Chicago bubble, with John Collins and Clint Capela also being on the shortlist. Speaking of Capela, Hawks fans will finally get to see how he meshes with Collins, Trae, and the rest of the team.
The Atlanta Hawks are very young, and perhaps most appreciative of the return to play. They were also heating up a bit as the season ended, going 7-9 down the stretch.
2. Charlotte Hornets
One of, if the not most over-achieving teams in the league this season, the Hornets came within just two games of making the trip to Disney after being a popular preseason pick to be the worst team in the league.
This was thanks to the breakout play of Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, and P.J Washington alongside the steady performances of Terry Rozier and Cody Zeller. Under coach James Borrego, Charlotte is headed in the right direction, which they can prove in Chicago this September.
1. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls probably should have been in Orlando instead of staying in the Windy City, but they were hit pretty hard by the injury bug this year. Zach LaVine is among the best guards in the East and they have probably the deepest supporting casts of the eight.
Knowing Jim Boylen, the Bulls will also be taking their return to play pretty seriously, which is an unknown for the other teams.
Where would you rank the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Chicago bubble power rankings?