Where Haberstroh ranks Warriors among his top five West teams


The top of the Western Conference is stacked heading into next season. Tom Haberstroh ranks his top five teams.

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Earlier this week ESPN released its early 2021 NBA power rankings, with the Warriors coming in at No. 5 on the Western Conference list, below the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.

While there is so much left to be determined for next season, including the salary cap, head coaching vacancies and roster construction, the star players of the top-dog teams in the West are pretty solidified (barring any blockbuster trades). 

So how would you order the top five in the West, as of now?

Well, NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh spoke with NBC Sports Bay Area and took a stab at it, breaking down his own version of the way-too-early 2021 NBA Power Rankings.

Here's Haberstroh's top five, and what he said about each team.


"Kristaps Porzingis, his knee issue this offseason undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus, worries me. I actually had Dallas probably at No. 3 before I heard that.

"Considering he had the torn ACL and another surgery on his knees, at 7-foot-3 and they need him to be at 100 percent to be in the top 3 with home-court advantage in the Western Conference, I actually had them higher before I learned that news."


"I think Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are sensational, but they might lose Paul Millsap, who I think is a really essential piece for them, and I just don't know how much I can believe of what I saw out of Jamal Murray in the bubble. You know, he's not MVP caliber, I don't think quite yet.

"That's what kind of player he was in the bubble, just playing outrageous basketball and I just don't know if that's sustainable outside of that bubble, so the Denver Nuggets have a really good young team -- I just think maybe they peaked in the bubble."


"Clippers at No. 3 simply because I don't know who their head coach is yet. Until I know that, I won't know what style of basketball they are going to play, what their veterans are going to look like. Montrezl Harrell, when he comes back and gets paid, what kind of shape is he going to look like? He's just won the Sixth Man of the Year, is he going to start feeling like 'I need more playing time?'

"And just the chemistry issues with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and the whole entire team, I just get a little nervous putting them at No. 1. Who knows, maybe Kawhi Leonard is a machine and upgrades his operating software and is basically going to be a ridiculous player next year, but there are a lot of questions there."


"Don't forget, 73-9 was without Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry I think is a sleeping giant here. I think people are dismissing him as an MVP candidate, a scoring leader, and I think he will come out looking as good as ever. So I think Stephen Curry with a year of rest, I think he is going to lead this team, and score a gazillion points.

"The question is defensively are they going to be good enough to be the No. 2 in the regular season. But they are No. 2 in my book with Draymond Green and that core, we will see what they do with the rest of the roster."


"I got to go with the incumbent, the champions, the reigning champs. LeBron James is as good as he has ever been.

"You have Anthony Davis, who is now confident knowing he's an NBA Champion and can rule the league. I think that will keep them at No. 1."

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