2016 NBA Playoffs. One Out. One In. One Sleeper.

This year’s NBA season has a lot of questions going into it. Will this be Kobe’s last season? Can LeBron James win a championship with his hometown team? Can Derrick Rose finally stay healthy for a season? But the most important question of them all: Who will rise to the cream of the crop and have their chance at the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship trophy come June?

Team from 2015 NBA postseason that will not make the 2016 playoffs:

The Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks

This team climbed onto Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis’ back last year and they took Mavs into the playoffs with a 50-32 record and received a 7 seed. In the first round of the playoffs they ran into a stiff first test, the Houston Rockets. Led by James Harden, the Mavs were no match to the Rockets that went on to the Western Conference Finals. Whether it was distractions led by the now former Mav PG Rajon Rondo, bad play on the court, relying to heavily on scoring from their two offensive playmakers, or a mixture of them all, Dallas couldn’t get the job done. During the offseason the Mavs have put together a nice team. They added some quality players in Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams. But they also lost their key offensive guy, Monta Ellis. Another loss that has really put this team into a bad position is their lack of a big man. The center they were looking forward to having on their squad bailed on them at the last moment. DeAndre Jordan decided to keep his talents in Los Angeles after reportedly agreeing to go to Dallas earlier this summer. This lack of a center and loss of Monta Ellis has digged them a whole they can’t get out of. The Mavericks miss out on the 2016 postseason.

2015 NBA Playoff No-Show Who Will Make an Impact in 2016’s Postseason

Miami Heat

Miami Heat

One look at this roster and you have to think immediate contender. They have playmakers all over the place. Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, Luol Deng, Mario Chalmers, Hassan Whiteside, and the newbie in town, Justin Winslow. All of these players can make the big play any given night. Winslow and Whiteside are the players that intrigue the most. If both of these players play up to their potential, we could be talking NBA Championship in April. Especially if Whiteside picks up right where he left off at the end of last season, exploding onto the scene and Winslow produces well for his first year, every night will be a tough matchup for opposing teams. A top 4 seed is possible in Miami this year.

2016 NBA Season Sleeper 

Orlando Magic

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The Magic went 25-57 last year, in large part because of how young the team is. The young core of players need a new mindset and identity, somthing new coach Scott Skiles is trying to implement just that. Nikola Vucevic is entering his final year of his rookie contract and looks to continue his excellent play. Victor Oladipo has shown he can ball in his rookie season, shooting 42.8% for his career. Both Oladipo and Vucevic will be able to spread the floor for Elfrid Payton after a shaky but promising season last year. Aaron Gordon, another young key piece, has unteachable athletic abilities. This team is capable of winning 40 to 50 games, good enough for a postseason birth in the weak Eastern Conference.

Out of Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks

New to the postseason: Miami Heat

Sleeper: Orlando Magic

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