Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

NBA Power Rankings 2012: Heat lead pack

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

View photo

.

LeBron James won his first NBA championship last season. (Getty Images)

The reigning champion Miami Heat enter the 2012-13 NBA season as the league's elite team, but who knows what the next six months will hold for LeBron James and his teammates as they attempt to defend their title. Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are hungrier than ever. The Los Angeles Lakers have reloaded with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, and the Boston Celtics have stocked their roster with new faces.

Here's a look at how the league's 30 teams stand before the season starts on Tuesday:

Miami
1. Miami Heat (46-20 last season): Will the NBA see the Dwyane Wade of old or an old Dwyane Wade after his offseason knee surgery?


Oklahoma City
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19 last season): Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder return hungrier after losing in the Finals, but will James Harden's uncertain future with the franchise become a distraction?


Los Angeles
3. Los Angeles Lakers (41-25 last season): Dwight Howard's strong play in his preseason debut calmed any worries about his back, but the team's bench remains a concern.


Boston
4. Boston Celtics (39-27 last season): The Celtics certainly don't lack for depth after signing Leandro Barbosa, Jason Terry, Jeff Green and Darko Milicic in the offseason.


Los Angeles
5. Los Angeles Clippers (40-26 last season): The Clippers have a deep veteran bench, but will they all be happy with limited playing time?


San Antonio
6. San Antonio Spurs (50-16 last season): With Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard – and Gregg Popovich – all back, the Spurs still have the respect of their Western Conference peers.


Denver
7. Denver Nuggets (38-28 last season): Adding All-Star Andre Iguodala and having Wilson Chandler back healthy should make the Nuggets a team to watch in the West.


Indiana
8. Indiana Pacers (42-24 last season): With the Pacers restructuring their front office, will this be Danny Granger's last season in Indiana?


New York
9. New York Knicks (36-30 last season): Will Carmelo Anthony make a full-time move to power forward with Amar'e Stoudemire injured?


Brooklyn
10. Brooklyn Nets (22-44 last season): Is the Eastern Conference's best backcourt now in Brooklyn with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson?


Memphis
11. Memphis Grizzlies (41-25 last season): The Grizzlies haven't found a replacement for the scoring they lost with the departure of O.J. Mayo to Dallas.


Philadelphia
12. Philadelphia 76ers (35-31 last season): The Lakers are probably snickering about Andrew Bynum's latest knee injuries. Bynum could make the Sixers a contender in the East, but when will he play?


Chicago
13. Chicago Bulls (50-16 last season): The Bulls proved they could win for stretches without Derrick Rose, but how will they fare with their All-Star point guard's return for this season uncertain?


Utah
14. Utah Jazz (36-30 last season): The Jazz have quietly put together a talented and deep roster with the additions of Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Marvin Williams.


Dallas
15. Dallas Mavericks (36-30 last season): The Mavericks will have plenty of time to make up ground in the West once Dirk Nowitzki returns from knee surgery – provided he doesn't have any complications.


Atlanta
16. Atlanta Hawks (40-26 last season): The Hawks will soon appreciate what Joe Johnson meant to their franchise.


Milwaukee
17. Milwaukee Bucks (31-35 last season): The Bucks have a high-scoring backcourt in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but will they be able to stop their opponents defensively?


Detroit
18. Detroit Pistons (25-41 last season): Forward Greg Monroe and rookie center Andre Drummond give the Pistons a talented, young tandem inside – and maybe make them a surprise playoff contender in the East.


Phoenix
19. Phoenix Suns (33-33 last season): While Steve Nash and Grant Hill are gone, the additions of Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Michael Beasley and Wes Johnson will keep the Suns competitive.


Phoenix
20. Portland Trail Blazers (28-38 last season): Point guard Damian Lillard already looks like he could be the NBA's top rookie this season.


Sacramento
21. Sacramento Kings (22-44 last season): DeMarcus Cousins has the talent to become an All-Star center this season. Can he also lift the Kings into the playoffs?


Golden State
22. Golden State Warriors (23-43 last season): The Warriors have the talent and depth to make a run at the playoffs, but the success of their season is resting on the fragile ankles of Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut.


Minnesota
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (26-40 last season): The T'wolves will likely have to dig themselves out of a hole after beginning the season without Kevin Love or Ricky Rubio to start season.


Cleveland
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-45 last season): Kyrie Irving looks poised to become one of the NBA's elite players this season, but will Dion Waiters live up to being the fourth overall pick?


Toronto
25. Toronto Raptors (23-43 last season): The Raptors have high expectations for rookie center Jonas Valanciunas, but will Andrea Bargnani finally step up?


Houston
26. Houston Rockets (34-32 last season): Jeremy Lin is facing a lot of pressure to live up to the hype of last season – and his big contract.


New Orleans
27. New Orleans Hornets (21-45 last season): Eric Gordon is expected to be available for the start of the season, but how will Hornets fans react to him after he said he'd rather play for the Suns?


Orlando
28. Orlando Magic (37-29 last season): The Magic face a long rebuilding season after trading Dwight Howard. So much so that first-year coach Jacque Vaughn is now the face of the franchise.


Washington
29. Washington Wizards (20-46 last season): The Wizards have already been hit with several injuries, including point guard John Wall (knee) and oft-injured forward Nene (foot).


Charlotte
30. Charlotte Bobcats (7-59 last season): The Bobcats have nowhere to go but up after finishing last season with the worst losing percentage in NBA history.


Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Forbes: The NFL's most (and least) liked players
Forde-Yard Dash: Navigating the home stretch could prove difficult for BCS title contenders
Lance Armstrong removes Tour de France titles from his Twitter profile
ThePostGame: Most athletic presidents -- sabermetrics style

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football