NBA power rankings 2012: Rockets check in at No. 20 as season begins

Doubting this face allows the Rockets to stay at No. 20 for long. - Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

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

With the NBA set to tip on Tues., Oct. 30, SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal has debuted the very first NBA Power Rankings of the 2012-13 season. At the top of Rosenthal's list? The Miami Heat, returning to defend its NBA title with the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.

The Houston Rockets make Rosenthal's ranking at No. 20. Of the shaken-up Rockets roster, Rosenthal writes, "Jeremy Lin and James Harden are as young, exciting, and pick-and-roll savvy a backcourt as you'll find anywhere. It's uncertain whether any of Houston's bevy of big men will make a suitable picker/roller."

This ranking puts Houston fourth out of the five teams in the Southwest division, ahead of only the New Orleans Hornets. The Rockets' opening-game opponent, the Detroit Pistons, are a few spots behind at No. 24. Directly ahead of the Rockets are the Toronto Raptors, who only mustered a 23-43 record last season.

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.

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