Power Rankings: Heat start No. 1

Updated: September 28, 2012, 11:50 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Friday, September 28

We're back!

Back to work on this fabulous fall Friday with four overseas-bound teams (Heat, Clippers, Celtics and Mavericks) holding their annual media day. Back with a piping hot batch of ESPN.com's NBA Power Rankings, this one coming to you after a wild summer that sandwiched monster trades landing Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in Hollywood around a little international tournament known as the Olympics.

You know the score by now: This is where we meet up every week during the regular season to take the pulse of NBA teams from 1 to 30, relying on the trusted formula employed for more than a decade by your devoted committee (of one) that calculates each team's slot by gauging what's happening in the present in equal measure with the big-picture outlook for the season … while always allowing for a dash of subjective whim.

Don't forget, furthermore, that this preseason edition of the rankings, as always, automatically awards the top spot to the reigning champions and likewise factors a team's personnel successes (or failures) from the summer into our calculations. Which is why, in addition to Miami's standing as an automatic No. 1 as training camps begin, you'll see the Lakers ahead of Oklahoma City, Philadelphia ahead of Indiana and Dallas ahead of Memphis. And, yes, those upstarts from Brooklyn one spot ahead of their New York neighbors at Madison Square Garden.

The next edition of the rankings is scheduled for Oct. 29 in advance of opening night after taking the next month to get a decent look at everyone during exhibition play. Click here to rank the teams yourself or here to comment on the rankings, which as always are compiled with ever-helpful dishing from ESPN Stats & Info and the Elias Sports Bureau.

Editor's note: The "Last Week" category below is from the final Power Rankings of 2011-12 in April, while "Record" reflects how the team finished last season.

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