Many teams improved drastically, while some regressed heavily. For the next few days, a set of rankings will be released and as to why a team deserves that ranking.
The top 10 squad is about to be revealed, where most of the teams are in the Western Conference, due to the amount of star power it has. Here are the rankings from 10-6:
10. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards will be a team that is being heavily slept on. Led by the backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards can be a top 5 team in the Eastern Conference, barring injuries or trades. Dwight Howard replaces Marcin Gortat, who was traded away to the Clippers for Austin Rivers, as he will look to start fresh. Otto Porter Jr. is an underrated player that can drop around 15-20 points a game, as well as Rivers. Scott Brooks is still a very good head coach, one of the best in the Eastern Conference. Expect the Wizards to play spoiler, as they will most likely get the 4th or 5th seed this year.
9. San Antonio Spurs
Now past the Kawhi era, the Spurs will look to build around their new star Demar DeRozan. Gregg Popovich has stated that he will look to retire around 2020, as he will make sure the team will still contend by then. The Spurs also got a good bench player in Jakob Poeltl, a versatile big. Dejounte Murray, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay are all valuable contributors to the team, as they got the 7th seed last season. Manu Ginobili is returning for his 20th season and possibly last season. The Spurs will continue to compete with Gregg Popovich as the coach, who is one of the best coaches in the league. The Spurs will definitely improve from their record last year, possibly leapfrogging into the 5th or 6th seed.
8. Indiana Pacers
Almost dethroning King James in a series of 7, Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers will look to improve in the weak Eastern Conference. Despite losing Lance Stephenson, they added Doug McDermott and Tyreke Evans to strengthen their bench. Myles Turner is a versatile big that can shoot the ball. Thaddeus Young and Darren Collison are two underrated players at their position, as they both have a good shooting range. Nate McMillan has done an impressive job in turning this team around after the Paul George trade. Despite the lack of star talent they have, having only one All-Star in Victor Oladipo, the Pacers play very well as a team and everyone is above average at their respective positions. Besides, the Eastern Conference is weak enough for them to actually be in the conversation for a championship. The Pacers have the best chance of getting the 4th seed, maybe even stealing the 3rd.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
Despite losing in 5 games to an injured Celtics team, the 76ers won’t look back, as they will be welcoming back their 1st round draft pick Markelle Fultz from a lingering shoulder injury. Comprised of a young group in Fultz, Simmons, and Embiid, along with Saric, Covington, and Redick, the Sixers can be a deadly team and win 50+ games next year. Despite striking out on all the star free agents, they did trade for Wilson Chandler, who although plays on a very overpaid contract, does provide quality minutes to teams. The Sixers also drafted Zhaire Smith, a rookie with tremendous athleticism. Brett Brown, the head coach, will have to step it up this year in order for the Sixers to have a chance at making the NBA Finals. The Sixers, with the off-season moves they made, have the highest chance of getting the 3rd seed.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
The OKC Thunder are a sleeper team many forget about but shouldn’t be. The Thunder were the 4th seed but lost to the Jazz led by a rookie in Donovan Mitchell. However, expect the Thunder to forget that miserable season. Andre Roberson, their best defender, was out for the playoffs with an injury and will look to come back playing at that same high intensity. With Carmelo Anthony being traded for Dennis Schroeder, OKC finally gets a good 6th man, but who can lead the 2nd unit, something the Thunder have been lacking all season. Paul George also agreed to re-sign with the Thunder, which was a huge win for the Thunder, as their gamble making the trade paid off. The Thunder have one of the best chance of advancing to the NBA Finals, with the way their team is set up.
Next: 5-1 Released Later today