Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Last season's runner-up has fallen behind the Los Angeles Lakers in the league heirarchy, according to ESPN.
ESPN's NBA Training Camp Power Rankings came out on Friday and the Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves in the No. 3 spot behind the defending champion Miami Heat and the reloaded Los Angeles Lakers.
ESPN's Marc Stein always gives the defending champion the top spot in his pre-season rankings so seeing the Heat at No. 1 is no shock. But the Lakers leapfrogging last season's runner-up will serve as motivation to the young Thunder as the Lakers have seemingly put the Thunder in the No. 2 hole in the loaded Western Conference. Four of the top five teams in the league (Lakers, Thunder, Spurs and Clippers) are in the Western Conference, according to Stein.
Stein admits that there are a few things to worry about in Thunder country with James Harden's contract situation, Kendrick Perkins' health and the recovery time from last year's Finals loss. The Thunder didn't make changes this summer but will use the return of guard Eric Maynor as a boost.