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NBA power rankings 2012: Mavericks at No. 16 as season begins

SB Nation's first NBA Power Rankings are out just in time for Tuesday's tipoff.


"Dirk Nowitzki's knee kinda seems like it's going to be a thing all year." That's what SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal writes in his very first NBA Power Rankings of the 2012-13 season.

With the Dallas Mavericks set to tip off on Tues., Oct. 30, Rosenthal has the Mavs at No. 16 on the power rankings list. He writes, "A roster with several major new parts (Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman) will have to figure things out while [Nowitzki is] gone, then re-figure things out once he's back to anchor the offense."

This ranking puts Dallas third out of the five teams in the Southwest division. The Mavericks open against the Los Angeles Lakers, who are No. 2 in the rankings. Directly ahead of the Mavericks are the Utah Jazz, who matched Dallas with a 36-30 record last season.

Who tops Rosenthal's list? The Miami Heat, returning to defend its NBA title with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis joining LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Rosenthal ranks the Southwest division like this:

San Antonio Spurs - 5
Memphis Grizzlies - 9
Dallas Mavericks - 16
Houston Rockets - 20
New Orleans Hornets - 27

Make sure to check out the full Power Rankings list.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.