This NBA season is set to be one of the most exciting years we have ever seen in the sport of basketball. Whether it be the awesome new crop of rookies coming into the league of the old faces in new jerseys we are eager to see, this year is going to be very interesting to say the least. Many teams have bolstered their rosters to the point of contention since last year and, with that, some teams are still going to be at the bottom of the standings when it's all said and done. The NBA looks a lot different than it did just a year ago and many new teams are much better, while others are less equipped to battle it out against the amazing talent around the league.
In this article, we will be predicting the eight worst and eight best teams for this upcoming season. Looking at factors such as new additions to the team, chemistry issues, and progression of players from years past, this is what the best and the worst teams in the league will most likely look like when playoff time rolls around in the spring.
As always, feel free to leave any thoughts you have about this topic in the comment section below, as we would love to hear your opinion on this matter.
Here are the bottom eight and top eight NBA teams for this upcoming season.
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16 Top - Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies were held back by injuries last season immensely and hopefully they can stay healthy this year. Signing Mike Conley to a max contract, the Grizzlies retained all of their star players. Even though their front court has aged significantly, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph can still do some serious damage when it comes to winning games. Both of them are successful veterans who are vital to the Grizzlies’ success. In my opinion, the Grizzlies’ best move was signing Chandler Parsons, who can score from deep and also slash inside when needed. Injuries and staying healthy will be incredibly important for the Grizzlies, because as we saw last year that injuries completely ruined Memphis’ season. This year could be a different story for the Grizz, however.
15 Bottom - Miami Heat
The Heat were able to retain Hassan Whiteside this offseason, but losing Miami legend Dwyane Wade is going to immensely hurt the Heat’s chances of making the playoffs. The Heat have some exciting young players such as Justice Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Tyler Johnson, all of whom have shown promise throughout their young NBA careers. There are still many question marks around Chris Bosh, whose lung problems may have sadly put an end to his career. Goran Dragic is a solid NBA point guard and he is going to have to step it up big time to make up for Wade’s absence. The Heat could still possibly pull off a playoff spot, but if things go how I think they will, I expect the Heat to be one of the least successful teams in the league.
14 Top - Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have made some great strides in becoming a contender in the league, as they added two former all-stars in Jeff Teague and Al Horford. Led by NBA superstar Paul George, the Pacers have a solid veteran roster that will win a hefty amount of games this season. Thaddeus Young also had a great season with the struggling Brooklyn Nets and he will be a valuable cog in the Pacers machine this upcoming year. Myles Turner had a solid rookie year, but with all the new pieces, he may not get much of a minute upgrade this season. The Pacers could be a big surprise to many fans, as they have a great roster that could upset some big name teams this season. Larry Bird and the rest of the Pacers front office did a great job in revamping the roster, making Indiana a top ten team in the league.
13 Bottom - Phoenix Suns
The Suns are absolutely loaded with great young talent and have the pieces to compete for a championship in a few years. With Eric Bledsoe’s season-ending injury last year, Devin Booker was given a lot of minutes and showed he could be a premier scorer in the NBA at the young age of 19. The Suns also had two lottery picks in this year’s draft, and picked two exciting prospects in Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss with the 4th and 8th picks. However, Dragan Bender was also one of the biggest question marks coming out of the draft, as he has one of the highest ceilings in the league due to his height, athleticism, shooting abilities, and court vision. Alex Len had a nice season last year and, at only 23 years of age, he could be the Suns’ center for a long time. The Suns may be good in a few years, but expect some growing pains this year.
12 Top - Toronto Raptors
The Raptors did not make much of a splash this offseason, but they still kept their talented core of players. The Raptors have probably the best backcourt in the league with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas looks to be ready to take a big step forward with his game this season at the centre position. The Raptors will be a tough team to beat and, while they will most likely go deep into the playoffs, teams such as the Celtics and the Cavaliers may be the reasons the Raptors don’t make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto fans will be treated to another successful season, but other top teams have made moves that may end up leaving the Raptors in the dust come playoff time.
11 Bottom - Orlando Magic
Trading Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka this off-season was confusing to say the least and certainly nobody checked with me before they made the decision. Oladipo is one of the league’s most exciting young players and to trade him for the aging Ibaka just didn’t seem like the right move for Orlando. The Magic had a very nice and young backcourt with Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, but it has since been split, though Oladipo probably won’t be complaining considering he will be playing for the Thunder now. Acquiring Bismack Biyombo adds to the Magic’s already deep frontcourt, as he will be joining Serge Ibaka, Nik Vucevic, and Aaron Gordon. Aaron Gordon is the team’s most exciting young player, so hopefully he gets the minutes he needs to develop this season.
10 Top - Boston Celtics
The Celtics were a great team last year, but they will be new and improved this season due to their signing of all-star Al Horford this past free-agency. The Celtics have a great core of players that know how to win games and Al Horford may be the final piece needed for the Celtics to make it to the championship out of the East. Isaiah Thomas is due for another great season and Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley could have their best seasons to date. Going with Jaylen Brown from California with the 3rd pick in this year's draft, the Celtics didn’t go for a high ceiling guy such as Dragan Bender or Kris Dunn, but they did get a NBA ready defender in Brown, who is perfect for a championship contending team such as the Celtics.
9 Bottom - Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have some solid young pieces, but that doesn’t mean they will be making the playoffs this year. Denver has a plethora of young talent to build around such as Emmanuel Mudiay, who can do it all at the point-guard position. Kenneth Faried is one of the leagues most dominant rebounders, and has the best motors on the team. Nikola Jokic was a total steal for the Nuggets with the 41st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft because he had a very successful rookie season with Denver. The Nuggets' success will be based a lot around their leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, who couldn’t seem to stay healthy last year. Hopefully for the Nuggets sake he does, but he hasn't been able to beat his injuries and with that in mind, we expect to Nuggets to struggle again.
8 Top - Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will continue to be a dominant team in the West, due to their great combination of Chris Paul’s passing ability and the finishing skill of the Clippers big men. Hopefully Blake can stay on the right path this season unlike last year, because, at full strength, Blake Griffin is one of the best power forwards in the game. The Clippers roster hasn’t changed much from last season, which isn’t such a bad thing considering the team won 53 games last season. Lob City is one of the most exciting teams in the league and the Clippers have the talent to go deep into the playoffs, and fans of the team are hoping they can bring home a championship this season. It's certainly possible if everything goes the right way for them.
7 Bottom - Sacramento Kings
Even though Sacramento has one of the best big men in the league in DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are not one of the better teams in the league. Last season, the Kings went 32-48, which is not impressive at all. Losing Rajon Rondo to free agency this season, the Kings don’t have a true point guard anymore either, which will add to their struggles this season. The Kings are going to be looking for some production out of Willie Cauley-Stein, who will most likely get the starting job at the power forward position. Acquiring the Knicks’ scorer Arron Afflalo will help the Kings out, but I don’t think the Kings will make much progress this season and may end up having a worse record than they did last year.
6 Top - San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have been one of the most successful franchises in the NBA for the past couple of decades and the team will still be contending for a championship even with their beloved Tim Duncan retiring recently. Kawhi Leonard has grown into one of the league’s most elite players, and this year could be his best season of his career. Adding Pau Gasol was a great move for San Antonio this offseason and he will be paired up with the equally talented LaMarcus Aldridge, creating a solid front court. The timeless Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli will still help continue to steer the team to the top of the NBA mountain, as the Spurs will still get over the 60 win mark again this season. The Spurs will be feeling The Big Fundamental’s absence throughout the season, but San Antonio will still be one of the best teams in the entire league.
5 Bottom - Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers fans will be treated to some very successful teams in a few seasons, but as of now, the Lakers aren’t expecting a championship just yet. Getting the 2nd pick in the lottery was big for the Lakers, as they grabbed the lanky scorer from Duke, Brandon Ingram. D’Angelo Russell is only 20 years old and is already one of the best talents on the team, due to Kobe Bryant retiring last season. D-Loading is going to take a lot of the scoring load through the season, so expect his numbers to rise significantly this year. The Lakers have a great young core in D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle, who will develop a lot this season and the Lakers poor record this year is not going to bother anybody.
4 Top - Cleveland Cavaliers
Fresh off their historic comeback series win against the Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be ready to go at it again this year. LeBron James is the best player in the world and having him on the team is a luxury for Cleveland. Kyrie Irving played like a man possessed in the NBA Finals this year and expect him to have a whole new confidence this season. The Cavaliers’ chemistry will be at an all-time high and the team will be hitting on all cylinders throughout the year. The Cavs have a much easier look on the East this year and will cruise to the number one spot on the Eastern Conference when the season comes to an end. They have a big mountain to climb with the Warriors, but I believe LeBron James is the someone that could beat them.
3 Bottom - Philadelphia 76ers
With Ben Simmons being out for a good amount of the upcoming season due to his foot injury, the Sixers lost, in my opinion, their best player. I believed the Sixers could have won a decent amount of games this season with Simmons leading the young squad, but I think the team will now be one of the worst teams in the league when the season ends. Considering the Sixers moves in the past, I wouldn't even be surprised if they kept Simmons out for the entire season in hopes of getting another top three draft pick in next year's draft. Sixers fans will still get to see the likes of Joel Embiid play for the first time, so that should be exciting. Although they will be better than last year, I expect the Sixers to one of the worst teams in the league. #TrustTheProcess
2 Top - Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are absolutely stacked this year and you shouldn’t be surprised they're sitting pretty at the #1 spot on this list. On paper, the Warriors’ new look team is the best group of players ever assembled. Adding former MVP Kevin Durant to the already successful Warriors team was surprising to say the least. The team did lose a lot of its talented bench to get Durant, but they did add a few pieces, such as David West, to fill some holes left. While the Warriors will be spending a few games early in the season working out the kinks that will come with the new added talent, the Warriors have an opportunity to dominate the rest of the league if they play the right way. The new big four have played great during this pre-season, so maybe their domination comes sooner than later.
1 Bottom - Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are not a very talented NBA team and will continue to be at the bottom of the standings. The Nets have a few guys who can score, such as Brook Lopez, but that is not enough considering the Nets went 21-61 last season, and had no draft pick for their struggles. They acquired Jeremy Lin this off-season to man the point guard position, but is Jeremy Lin the type of guy you want running your starting point guard spot? Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the team’s only real talented young player and the best he can do is rebound some shots over the course of a game. Due to the Nets’ decision on trading away their draft picks for low impact guys the last couple years, the Nets have nothing to look forward to for a long, long time.
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