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NBA power rankings 2012: Cavaliers check in at No. 26

The Cleveland Cavaliers are ranked 26th in the initial SB Nation NBA power rankings.

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

The start of the NBA regular season is just around the corner, which means games that actually count and the release of NBA power rankings. SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal released his initial 2012-13 NBA power rankings and the Cleveland Cavaliers open the season at No. 26.

Coming off a 21-45 season, the Cavs are ahead of the New Orleans Hornets, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats. The Cavs' initial placement would make them the No. 12 team in the Eastern Conference and the fifth team in the Central Division.

Like most who follow the NBA, Rosenthal praises Kyrie Irving, but notes the Cavs lack depth and are coming off a rough season. Here is Rosenthal's complete blurb on Cleveland's 2012-13 outlook:

Kyrie Irving is a majestic creature, but last year's offensively and defensively poor squad plus a couple rookies still looks like a pretty bad team. Note that this low ranking neglects the possibility that Kyrie Irving has taken up asexual reproduction and will bud additional Kyrie Irvings as the season progresses.

While the 26th ranking might seem low, it's actually higher than some other NBA experts. ESPN's Marc Stein ranked the Cavs 28th in his initial power rankings. Cleveland opens its season on Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.