(Predicted order of finish)
1. Boston Celtics
The Celtics have put together some good pieces with a number of playmakers like Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder. But they still lacked a big man to fortify things inside. Now they have added power forward Al Horford via free agency, making them a legitimate contender. Well…not a championship contender. But they’ll contend for the chance to get beat by Cleveland.
2. Toronto Raptors
The big concern for Toronto heading into the past two offseasons was whether or not they could retain guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. But they overcame that obstacle, with Lowry signing last year and DeRozan signing a five year deal this past summer.
So that’s taken care of.
Don’t forget, the Raptors were near the peak of their game last year, just two wins away from the NBA Finals.
Now begins the slide back to mediocrity.
3. New York Knicks
Don’t look now, but the Knicks have completely rebuilt their roster.
Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings, Courtney Lee, and Joakim Noah have now joined Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the Big Apple.
If this was 2010, this roster would really look loaded.
But it’s 2016, and this roster is loaded with nagging injuries.
4. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are in dire need of a rebuild, but they have very limited resources.
They have traded away their top draft selections for players that haven’t worked out.
And the players they do have won’t fetch much on the trading block.
But they do have Jeremy Lin and Anthony Bennett.
So I guess there’s that.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
Finally, there is hope for the 76ers!
With the past past injuries to top draft picks Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, Philly finally landed a player that can change their fortunes.
Versatile forward Ben Simmons can be a key player for years to come, and is drawing comparisons to Magic Johnson and LeBron James.
Oh he’s already hurt too?
Nevermind, there’s always next year.
Coming next: The Southwest Division