15. Phoenix Suns – Phoenix has a group of guards that will have to try and carry the team this season, as they lack depth in the front court. The Warriors have shown that guard play can win games, but the Suns need a few years’ more experience before they can compete.
14. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets have a young core of players, and have drafted well the past two seasons. Emmanuel Mudiay will continue to grow at the point as he runs the offense through Danilo Gallinari, but it won’t be enough for Denver to compete this season.
13. Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers made a few moves for some veteran players this offseason, adding Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. They will give leadership to the young stars in LA, which will help them contend in years to come.
12. Houston Rockets – James Harden is a lone. James Harden is inconsistent. Not a recipe for success in Houston.
11. New Orleans Pelicans – Anthony Davis is a beast, but the rest of the roster is questionable. The backcourt doesn’t have much experience, which could give opportunities to young players like rookie Buddy Hield to make a difference.
10. Dallas Mavericks – Somehow, the Mavs have made their roster work for years. Experience has been key, as veterans like Dirk Nowitzki lead the way. A few offseason losses hurt the Mavs depth, though, and might keep them out of the playoffs this year.
9. Sacramento Kings – The Kings look much the same as they did last season. DeMarcus Cousins will carry them as much as he can, but besides that, they’re in a tough spot.
8. Portland Trail Blazers – No one expected Portland to do so well last year. They have a dynamic backcourt lead by Damian Lillard, and he could lead them back to the playoffs. Don’t expect a deep run from this team, though.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – We could see the Timberwolves break out this year, as their young stars have had a couple years to develop in the league. Karl-Anthony Towns showed last year he was as good as advertised, and Andrew Wiggins is still playing solid basketball. The Timberwolves will claim a low playoff seed this year.
6. Utah Jazz – The Jazz don’t have any superstars on their roster, but they have solid players all around. They added George Hill to run the point, and they look poised for a playoff run.
5. Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies are a very experienced team, but that’s because their core is a bunch of old players. They gave Mike Conley the most ridiculous contract in NBA history. They will win games and make the playoffs, but without some young energy they will fizzle out around playoff time.
4. OKC Thunder – The departures of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka hurt, but the Thunder are still going to win games this year. Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo will keep them in the top half of the conference as they look to see who else can contribute on offense.
3. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers are deep. This roster is easily the best roster to lack success in the past few years. If they can stay healthy (looking at you, Blake Griffin), look for them to make a playoff run.
2. San Antonio Spurs – Tim Duncan retired, but the Spurs still have LaMarcus Aldridge to lock down the frontcourt. Kawhi Leonard is a beast, and the Spurs can rely on their experience to succeed this season.
1. Golden State Warriors – The Warriors added Kevin Durant. The scariest offense in the league just got another weapon. Enough said.